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Book of Jobs Part 2

THREE PENNY

by Chris Auman

At the end of my sophomore year, I decided to stay in Chicago, never to return to the Eagle Ridge Inn of summers’ past. In December of the previous year, a friend from the dorm and I had found a two bedroom apartment a few blocks south of campus in Lincoln Park. The rent was $485 per month. Amazingly cheap even in 1990. It was tiny, of course, hot water and adequate heat were rare and it was located on the second floor scant inches from the Armitage el stop and two el lines, what was then known as the Ravenswood and Howard (Brown and Red lines in modern times). Tired by this point of doing phone solicitation work, I got a job at a movie theater in the neighborhood. This particular gig that lasted two days, roughly ten hours overall.

The theater was a small independent art house on Lincoln Avenue, run by a middle-aged married couple. I had quite a few friends who had worked at this place for various lengths of time so I got hired pretty easily even though I don’t think they were necessarily hiring at the time. Washing the projectionist’s car in the alley behind the theater was one of the tasks I performed during my brief career in the movie business. I was also asked to pull weeds from the alley that ran along the side and in back of the building. Yes, I pulled weeds from an alley — a dirty, smelly alley that was no doubt full of urine and vomit and the scene of many atrocities (it was located directly across the street from the alley where Dillinger was shot). My tasks on the inside of the theater were ripping a few tickets here and there and cruising through the theaters on the lookout for masturbators, which is more along the lines of what you would expect of a movie theater usher. I did not encounter any pervs. For the most part the job was incredibly boring. Enough so, that I did not for ask for any more hours, which they really didn’t have to offer anyway. It was summer and there still were a few shifts available at Phonathon, but I was looking for a full-time job, which I found, which brings us to the next chapter.

Life on the Mississippi >>


Originally published in RW#23, 2014

RW #23

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