Jeff Phillips: I Go By Radio

Drinkers with Writing Problems

At quarter of four in the morning I arrived at the Grand Red Line stop. My work shirt was untucked and halfway unbuttoned. I could feel the bags under my eyes spread their dead weight back into my brain, snuffing the day’s remaining electrical charge. I had just worked a moonlight cruise, taking boarding photos of passengers that liquored themselves up in advance. I had already worked the brunch cruise, the afternoon cocktail cruise, and the dinner cruise, but was asked to stay late to cover for a callout. I walked from Navy Pier to the train because by the time I finished draining the effluent from the photo printer and rinsing the machine’s rollers, the buses stopped shuttling for the night. My feet ached from a day hustling tubs of souvenir photos up and down the clusterfuck that is the pier, pounding cheap dress shoes on pavement, further inflaming…

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The Fall of the House We Called The Manor by Jeff Phillips

Chicago Literati

In the spring of my first year in Chicago, as a college freshman, I went with my friend Alicia to a zine reading hosted at someone’s live/work space in Rogers Park. It was in a storefront across from a fenced off, grassy incline and the CTA Red Line tracks. A pile of tube TVs were stacked in view of the street level windows. The inside space was long, with tall ceilings and exposed brick. There was a cat who took a liking to me and sat on my lap as my friend and her community of writers performed. After the reading, the event transitioned into a dance party, and a pair arrived in neon pink bunny costumes to dance the night away.

I forget the name of it now, but I had saved a business card given to me by one of the people who lived there. It was still…

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Jeff Phillips: The Gospel According to Puke

Drinkers with Writing Problems

Luke’s parents had spread a 10’ x 10’ area rug in the corner of their unfinished basement, alongside red plastic shelving for trucks and dinosaurs to establish a playroom for him and his younger brother Reed. This was where they played Atari on an old TV and used cardboard boxes to make cities for their action figures. When he was 7 years old, Luke’s neighborhood playmate Tommy pointed out a crack in the cement near the furnace.

“Cracks like that are made by the devil. He’s trying to scratch his way to the surface.”

Luke tried to dismiss this, but it didn’t sit well with him despite how many times he said “nuh-uh.” It’s true he didn’t quite feel comfortable down there by himself at night to begin with. And recently the Atari seemed to be on the fritz. The screen would slip into static and it sounded like someone…

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