Academic journal article Chicago Review

Boredom

Academic journal article Chicago Review

Boredom

Article excerpt

I opened the phone directory any old way, shut my eyes, and let my finger fall: a name, an address, a phone number. Some nondescript guy always dragging around a sample case. Despite the routine schedule and the same routes every week, tailing him is fun enough. During his stops, while I wait in the shadow of a plane tree or a portal, I keep track of his every move. I'm catching on to his habits. Sometimes I can even predict what he's going to do. He only breaks the humdrum after work when he meets a redhead. They take strolls in out-of-the-way places or hole up in a hotel on the outskirts. Three times I took advantage of these nightly tête-à-têtes to force open his car trunk and lift his sample case. Now he tends to stay at home, going out only to buy a newspaper or meet the redhead. He's rarely in line at the unemployment office. The angry-looking woman must've gotten my unsigned note because she came to that hotel on the outskirts and sat waiting in the reception area for a couple hours. When they left, the man without the sample case was peaked, his voice fluttering. He patched together a bunch of excuses that didn't wash. Now he rooms at a low-budget hostel. He's made two trips to the house where the angry-looking woman lives all on her own so he could get his skimpy belongings. …

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