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More from the online graphic short story, The Java Knot. “She got on just north of downtown. Black and White save for the bit-lip pout matching that large purse of hers. Now I’m not a fellow that often takes liberties, but I treat myself, now and then. The bag in fact was black. And sure, it’s shiny leather surface was a compliment to the noir sheen on the Prince Valiant hairdo that was busy channeling that iconic doll in those Irving Klaw portfolios. But for me, for the sake of that proud little fleshy porch beneath the sharp punctuation of a nose, the black bag had to go. I slid my hand into my satchel, came out with my marker and let it‘s red ink gush generously over her designer knock off. It was late October and Day of The Dead was upon us, but I’d bet my accrued airline points the Congo line of death heads that traipsed around her hoodie and down her sternum, was a three season parade. Sometimes, a subject’s sixth sense will kick in, and I’ll have eyes rise to meet mine. But neither the wiggling crowd on that jostling train car nor my gaze pulled her bronzed eyelids up and away from the same device that filled four fifths of the focus of the passengers. For the remaining 15 stops that face, which held not a glimmer of last summer’s sun, was slack save a couple times when her nostrils flexed and the corners of her mouth pulled slightly deeper into her cheeks. I hold that we are tribalizing as a society. And, many wear their tribal identities as fashion. So I play this game as to whom will exit at which stops. The Gold Coast, Cottage Grove, Wicker Park, South Side, Logan Square, Wrigley Field, Cermak. Will the guy in blue business attire with tan cap-toe shoes and Tin Tin haircut depart at Bryn Mawr? Will the art nerd jump off at Harrison? The buttoned down duo of Asian post teens discussing Hayek, they’ll leave at Foster. But there’s a region that draws the nondescripts. The stylish young woman with fur collar, knee-high riding boots, large silver Tibetan earrings beneath glamorously highlighted mane gathered in an impromptu knot and sporting a large linen book bag with the beret capped face of Che printed on it. The six foot plus middle-aged black woman wearing copper lipstick, a leopard skin pillbox hat, wearing fingerless purple velvet gloves, ankle long black lace skirt, John Lenin glasses and reading an Ursula K. Le Guin novel. The broad Hispanic dude with the no nonsense face, meaty hands, neck tattoos, multiple earrings, burnt orange Longhorns baseball cap, maroon leather jacket, Chuck Taylor high tops, and chef’s pants. In the nether region of north Chicago, as the train slows for the Loyola, Morse, and Jarvis stops, they rise. She rose too. Here, the tribal signifiers bleed and blend. Out into the night, leaving the tube lit morgue blue and metal of the train car, her face of white went. The doors closed. The train slid north and I saw her black bangs heading down the platform stairwell. But I never recall seeing her shoes. No recollection. I spent the remainder of that night, and the next afternoon conjuring and drawing, with the help of several large cups of hot cocoa, the possibilities of footwear. How I managed to miss that, escapes me.”

Drawn with Pitt Artist Pens and fountain pen filled with deAtrametis Document Black Ink on a Romeo unlined Ivory journal. The figure was drawn while on the CTA Red Line, the shoes were drawn from online references. Disclaimer, no lab animals participated in this drawing in any way. Further, this was drawn by an artist who is a frequent consumer of tree nuts and legumes.

The Java Knot (cont.)

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