Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I woke up to a sound no one likes to hear: helicopters overhead. As I've mentioned in previous entries, this can mean one of only a handful of things in our neighborhood: fatal shooting nearby, blazing fire nearby, gruesome discovery nearby.

This morning's helicopters had snuffed out a fatal car crash that allegedly happened around 3am. Why the place was still a roped-off crime scene at 7:30 remains a mystery, though by no means a rarity. The police were clearly investigating something. What they found we may never know, but there were apparently 7 separate garage fires in the neighborhood last night. Connection? Who's to say? And the whole thing may end up a red herring anyway: just the sad confluence of two drivers moving at excessive speed (which that particular street, with its 6-7 lanes across, tends to invite), then smashing like stars into planets.

Some folks have started to turn to an unlikely source for this kind of information. If you're a local, you may already know about the Avondale Logan Square Crime Blotter (as he calls himself), a 15-year-old autistic boy who blogs every detail he picks up on the District police scanner. He's been known to spend a dozen hours straight listing to the scanner, breaking only for meals or to use the bathroom.

The pleasure in this particular text isn't the pithiness of the information (though that's something too), but the unique character he gives to each story: His breezy digressions and marginal notes, his musings on the day or the weather or how well he may have slept the night before. One amazing exchange happened after Time Out Chicago published a piece on him in a recent issue. Check out the comment string, where the blogger repeatedly expresses his longing for a regular teenage life. The whole thing is full of pathos and poignancy, because along the way, the Blotter has told us more about himself than he realizes.


Stove said...

I feel like I live in the suburbs compared to you. Though, our car was broken into on Aug. 2. Looked it up on that kid's site, but he apparently wasn't up late that night. I hadn't known about it, so it's bookmarked now. I'm intrigued what happened for real. Made me think there's never been an accident on our corner that I've witnessed. People fly down Kedzie like it's a highway too. But then, lots of crap happens around here I don't know about. Ignorance is bliss for sure.

Christy said...

It looks like there's no deeper story here -- just a tragic case of wrong place, wrong time, and probably very wrong speed:

(But Steve, you do live in the suburbs compared to me. Three words: Velveteen Rabbit playlot) :-)

kkurtz said...

it's the wild, wild west over here.
I've seen all kinds of craziness/lawlessness on that stretch of Fullerton. in fact I was sideswiped a couple of years ago when a car of teens came flying the wrong way down 6pm!?!
luckily the only fatality in that case was my side mirror.

leslie said...

Thank you! I love his blog, and your sweet treatment of it.

Berdawn said...

I am jealous of your avondale logan blogger...what an interesting site. It makes me wish I knew all the areas he mentions.

and I know what you mean about the helicopters; I've gotten to the point that I can mostly sleep through them (unless they are shining their lights in my yard, which means they're also in my windows.)

Rosemary said...

My goodness! It's the protagonist of _The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time_ come to life and relocated to Chicago. Somehow, I find that deeply pleasing.

Christy said...

Uh oh. Looks like our Blotter had to return to his old blog site:

Hope this doesn't mean a service interruption!! I'm afraid I've grown awfully attached to this kid.