I’m on way to a traditional Thanksgiving meal of pot-stickers and spicy pan-fried pork at Lao Sze Chuan when flags me down. A young guy in a tracksuit and expensive basketball shoes. He says his car broke down, which typically a scam. But it’s Thanksgiving, so I give him the benefit of the doubt and he directs to an address on the South Side.
He tells me about going to an event with Chicago Bulls players, proudly showing the autographs he collected. He is excited like a kid would be, which makes me think the broken-down car might actually exist. He asks if I’d had my Thanksgiving meal.
When we pull up to his house, he tells me his mother will have the $25 for the cab. He has me honk a few times then goes into the yard and hollers up the second-floor window. Eventually a dark form appears and a negotiation begins. I can only make out what my passenger is saying. He pleads and promises to pay it all back. It goes on for close to fifteen minutes. Then the figure in the window tosses a crumpled bill out past the overgrown shrubbery of the yard. He comes up to the driver’s side, sheepishly offering a twenty-dollar bill. “It’s all sh has.”
He says his name is Dwayne and shakes my hand when I accept it.