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At a red light at Irving Park and Halsted I was rear-ended so hard my car slammed into the car in front of me. We all pulled into the corner Amoco station, and the man I'd hit called the police on his car phone. The driver who'd caused the accident, it turned out, was an illegal alien from Armenia. No driver's license, no insurance. He also didn't speak English. I talked to his brother on a pay phone, and the brother asked me not to call the cops. I told him it was too late.

Over the next hour we flagged down two cops, and both assured us someone was coming for our accident report. Another hour passed. The brother arrived and offered the other driver $200 for his damages. He took it. My bumper was hanging loose. I estimated it would cost $1,000 to fix. The brother returned 45 minutes later with the cash. Still no cops. I took the money and left.

An hour later, after a stop at the bank, I drove back down Irving Park and saw the car still parked in the gas station. The plates were missing, the brothers were gone. Still no cops.

--James M. Lang

Early one night on Michigan Avenue near Columbia College, a homeless guy selling Streetwise approached a young man dressed in a dark business suit a couple of steps in front of me.

"Would you like to buy a copy of Streetwise?"

The businessman shook his head.

"Do you have any loose change then?"

The young man didn't respond as he quickened his pace.

In a last-ditch appeal, the vendor shouted after him, "I'm a Republican!"

--Kevin Finnerty

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