about the author

Pete Segall is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was a Truman Capote Fellow. His work has appeared in Forge Lit, Blunderbuss, and The Collapsar, among other journals. He lives in Chicago.

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Pete Segall


Drotmann, of the 1400 block of W. Cullom, was surprised yesterday by the stranger who knocked on his door, asking for a donation to erect a small monument as a memorial to Drotmann’s life. The pamphlet the canvasser offered praised Drotmann for having lived a life of depthless devotion to our community.

                                           A Public Appeal

Plotkin of Buffalo Grove received the following text from an unfamiliar number: My aunts not gonna make it.. Anyone who can clarify whether this is a social or existential matter is asked to contact this publication so that he may respond appropriately.


In deep despair over his art, which was unnoticed and difficult to produce, Clattenburg remembered that Knut Hamsun had been a horse carriage conductor while he lived in Chicago, and this inspired him to go through the necessary steps to be hired as a bus driver. His first day on the job he got lost, had a child vomit on his fare box, clipped the side mirrors of several parked cars, and while making a left turn nearly ran over a woman walking her dog. He resigned as soon as his shift was finished. Afterward he sat at home in the dark for many days, trying to remember what other strange things great men had done while living in this city, waiting for their moment to arrive.

                                  Notes from the Commuter Rail

The people who ride the 5:03 to Waukegan will sell your secrets for pennies, while people on the 5:13 to Kenosha wonder if it’s just momentary aphasia or something more serious. People aboard the 4:59 to University Park are all failed adulterers. The 5:31 to Joliet is haunted by spirits who have grown indifferent. Who would dare tell the 7:18 to Fox Lake the reality of the situation? Passengers on the 8:23 to McHenry are getting better at telling the humans from the impostors, but their killing technique needs work. There’s a man on the 5:13 to Harvard who worries every night that he’s gotten on the wrong train. The train always departs from the same platform, manned by the same the conductors who nod to him knowingly when they punch his ticket. He sees the same landscapes, feels as much time passing as the day before and the day before that, and still he isn’t convinced that he hasn’t somehow managed to botch the operation. It isn’t until he’s nearly at his doorstep that he can stop doubting his ability to find the proper train, and then the real worries can finally take over. He sets his key into the latch, shuts his eyes, and goes to discover who or what will be waiting for him in his house that evening.


We would like to remind everyone facing imminent expropriation that now is the perfect time to think of those less fortunate and consider making a donation to your local Salvation Army or Goodwill.

                                      Who Do You Work For?

Police officers responding to a wellbeing check at the Evanston home of the retired attorney Hest found him unwilling to open the door, saying that this was a common ruse used by criminals preying on the elderly. It was only after one of the officers said that they were priests of the Great Old Ones that they were allowed inside, and greeted warmly, no less.


While acknowledging that recent events have made the name all but inevitable, a group of Lake County mayors have asked that the area no longer be referred to as The Second Burnt-Over District, citing fears of a decline in tourism revenue.

                                                Red Line

The high vascularity of the mouth means that while it is prone to bleed more than other parts of the body, it will also heal faster. This fact was of very little solace to certain riders on the Red Line earlier today.

                                          Some Speculation

At the fete held at the Adler Planetarium in honor of their mission, the four returning astronauts offered their thoughts on the whereabouts of the fifth. Captain V.: “I’m pretty certain he’s back home in Roanoke with his dogs and his parents.” Mission Specialist B.: “Someplace none of us, any of us, will ever go.” Dr. M.: “Everywhere.” Systems Engineer C.: “What in God’s name are all of you talking about?”

                                     Woodlawn Avenue Story

In aviation, V1 refers to the speed at which a plane accelerating down a runway can no longer abort takeoff. The plane must leave the ground; otherwise it will surge past the end of the runway or suffer catastrophic mechanical damage. V1 is where momentum and action temporarily are the same. It is a place of irreversibility and necessity. And while she stands in front of her television in her bathrobe and he is a quickly receding shadow on the sidewalk below, the radiant sensation they felt some hours earlier while walking together down the blustery street, of being unable to stop, that they had given themselves over to forces they had initiated but could not could halt even if they thought to, will stay with them for a very, very long time.

                                        Eyewitness Account

“Me? No, I’ve got nothing to say. I don’t know anything about what happened. I didn’t see anything. I’m just tired and a little bit lonely. If it’s all the same I’d just sit here and listen to you talk for a while.”


As she listened at dusk to the sounds of boys playing soccer in the park across from her house, a Palatine woman began to think of Leeds, a place she had never been, a place she wasn’t even sure she could point to on a map. The high-pitched yells and thudding of the ball kept bringing Leeds to mind, first only as a word but she could feel a larger idea churning and swelling. Standing at the sink, a fully formed city appeared to her. What was it? A place where the crunching of ice and broken glass underfoot were indistinguishable, of rows of factories that built inoperable machines, a city with a district of weeping men, inescapable parking garages, a rough knowledge that pierced the souls of everyone there but her. Her daughter yelled something from her room and she remembered her son in the park. How did this get here? she wondered about her Leeds. The evening grew darker and she continued to explore. The air was cool and smoky. A policeman took her by the hand and they walked along a dredged river. Beer bottles and knit caps tiled the muddy rim. Is it always like this, she asked. The policeman said it wasn’t, and proceeded to explain why, leading her up the curling ramp of yet another parking garage.

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