Reader to Reader | Essay | Chicago Reader

Reader to Reader 

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It was the middle of the downtown lunch-hour rush at the corner of Washington and Clark. A policewoman stood in the middle of the intersection, barking out orders to drivers and pedestrians. As she tried in vain to keep traffic moving, a well-dressed middle-aged man, briefcase in hand, stepped off the sidewalk to cross Clark Street. The traffic cop glared at him. "Stop!" she growled. He ignored her and continued to cross, dodging cars. "I said stop!" Again he ignored her.

"Come here!" she demanded. Now halfway across the street, the man finally looked at her. "I said come here," she repeated. He walked sheepishly to the middle of the intersection. "What do you think you're doing?" she asked him. The man said nothing. "Give me your hand," she insisted. He winced, apparently afraid she might handcuff him.

She didn't. Instead she took his hand gently and walked him to the corner. "You've been a bad boy," she said, now grinning broadly. "I know," the man said, also smiling. Then he lifted her hand to his face, kissed it, said thank you, and walked away.

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