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Book of Jobs Part 3

NEW JACKED CITY

by Chris Auman

During the summer of 2008, I got a job as a delivery driver for New City. Similar to newspapers across the country, New City had slimmed down considerably since the height of the weekly alternative heyday. I mostly did the University of Chicago route in Hyde Park but occasionally the West Loop route as well. That route included University Village, South Loop, Pilsen and Chinatown—a huge pain in the ass during rush hour.

I eventually got pretty efficient at the Hyde Park route. Every Wednesday morning I took the Kimball bus to the Blue Line train to New City's offices on Chicago Avenue. I grabbed the keys to a beat-to-hell rental van, drove it to the printers where they forklifted a pallet or two of newspapers into the back and off I went down the expressway in a metal can with shitty brakes and several tons of newsprint sliding around the back.

towed

The pay was low, the traffic, parking and everything that goes along with it, sucked. Probably the worst day was getting my fully-loaded van towed while I ran into a Starbucks on Clybourn Ave. I was warned the previous week by a good citizen who informed me that a tow truck was always lurking nearby ready to rush in and tow cars from the one spot in the small parking lot that was designated 'no parking'. My cell phone was in the van so I used the phone of the bike repair shop adjacent to the lot to find out the van's destination. The bike shop workers told me that vehicles were towed from that single spot all day long. It’s the perfect hustle and the kind of completely legal shakedown the city of Chicago approves of and models its own behavior on.

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Originally published in RW#24, 2014

RW #24

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