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Dear Reader:

It was 2 AM when a nearly empty northbound el pulled out of the Loyola stop. Soon after the train began moving the silence was abruptly broken by one of two burly women in Bears jackets.

"What're you lookin' at?"

No one looked up, but everyone watched through the reflections in the windows.

"What the fuck are you lookin' at?"

A thin, pale guy, traveling by himself, replied, "Me?"

"Yeah, you--what the fuck you lookin' at?"

"Nothin'."

"You better not be, you AIDS-lookin' motherfucker!"

The el pulled into the Morse station and the guy got up to leave. Just as the doors opened the two women hustled out ahead of him.

The man, noting the otherwise deserted platform, stayed on the train.

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