The Collapsar publishes new poetry, fiction, and nonfiction every other month, and new culture writing weekly.

Briefly Noted by Pete Segall

Briefly Noted by Pete Segall


Regret the Error

 Yesterday’s story about a Deerfield man’s legal difficulties stated that his was the first known case of folie-a-deux  involving a dog. In fact, there have been thousands upon thousands of nearly identical cases worldwide. We regret the error.



You First

A Lincolnshire couple has died after a fire destroyed their condominium. The fire was set by the couple themselves in order to make sure their love was sufficiently strong. One, tied up in a locked bathroom, dropped the open lighter onto a pile of newspaper; the other was supposed to come to the rescue. The exact point of failure in the exercise remains unknown.



You’re Next

The worldwide conspiracy against Doug Schwallert of Hinsdale has been called off. Organizers have deemed the nearly four year project a success.



The Name on the Bullet

It is said that the gunman approached his victim outside of the Michigan Avenue hotel with an air of resignation, although others have described his aspect as dispassionate and others as altogether absent. The gunshots startled pedestrians as far away as the Water Tower.



Chicago Should Understand

Among the destroyers of the silence this morning: a truck crossing over a pothole, a foot on a porch step, an open palm reaching a cheek.



They Came Out of the Walls

A Lake Bluff man has found the precise location in his frontal cortex responsible for his recurring nightmares involving the creatures from the Alien movies. What he hasn’t found? Someone willing to go into his brain and remove the offending matter. His preferred tool is a dental scraper.



Proehl’s Production

For Proehl’s latest production, he is staging muggings on El trains throughout the city. His actors, many of whom received instruction from inmates currently housed in Cook County correctional facilities, will select a “victim” aboard the train and go through all the familiar motions of a mugging. The true nature of the performance is only revealed when Proehl himself arrives in the car or on the platform, depending on whatever turns the action in the production has taken, to return the “stolen” wallet or phone or briefcase, while at the same time offering suggestions about how victim might improve his performance in the future. Proehl says the production, which he is calling Transit Authority, is a commentary on the decline of romance in large cities. Unlike his last production, Children and Family Services, it is expected to have a long and successful run.



The Fate of the Groceries

Ostapczuk of Park Ridge was struck and killed by a drunk driver as he was loading groceries from a food pantry into his car. Volunteers at the pantry are puzzling over the fate of the groceries, all of them still perfectly usable but now carrying a distinctly grim provenance.



Public Notice

If Michael Moeren of Edgewater keeps looking at people on the bus like that, he’s going to get his ass handed to him.




A Round Lake man and his visiting doppelganger, Marcus Komisaar of East London, South Africa, have been at odds lately over a number of things, not least of which are Joseph Losey’s best film (The Boy With Green Hair or The Go-Between) and the best soccer goalie (Gordon Banks or Lev Yashin). Neighbors report that both men are very capable of fashioning improvised weapons from household items and the only question seems to be, who will be on the business end of what?



Is it preferable to try to sneak across the road in front of an oncoming bus or to try to continue down the sidewalk past an angry-looking Alsatian led by a child no bigger than five? That was the question Leonard Surrace of Skokie tried to answer. His guess was wrong.



Bulletin Board

The Scorched Awareness death cult occupying the 33rd floor of the Hancock Building seeks an experienced child care worker. Harold Offenbach of the 2900 block of Wabansia would like to join a 16” softball team as a shortstop or third baseman; he has previously played for the Sacco-Vanzetti Elephants of the Lakefront Anarchists’ League. The Great Sprouts Preschool is proud to present its production of The Manuscript Found in Saragosa  next Tuesday at the Broadway Armory. Refreshments will not be served.



Against Vandals of the Near Future

An armed organization calling itself The Citizens Committee for the Protection of Ceres has taken up positions outside the Board of Trade. Their aim is to protect the statue of the Roman goddess of agriculture that stands atop the Board of Trade building from vandals of the near future whom, the organization believes, will be quick and merciless when the decline and fall of late capitalism is underway. Traders going to work must elbow and angle themselves past the increasingly animated group.



Police Blotter

When Frieda Bauss was questioned by Elmhurst police about the death of her husband, whom she described as caring but not concerned, neat but not tidy, adroit but not agile, interested but not seduced, irreducible but not complex, complex but not bewildering, Latvia but not Lithuania, shambolic but not ramshackle, a steadfast presence but not a constant companion, beloved but not adored, begotten but not benighted, beguiled but not hooked, two-bit but not flea-bitten, bohu but not tohu, the People’s Crusade but not the Children’s Crusade, Passchendaele but not the Somme, Europa but not Ganymede, tumescent but not erect, possessed but not inhabited, magnetic but not electric, present but not there, when the detective asked why she brought the hammer down against the back of his head all she could say was that life was a tunnel and she refused to abandon her search for the escape hatch.





Pete Segall is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His fiction has appeared in Epoch, Litro, Forge Lit, Blunderbuss, and elsewhere. He lives in Chicago with his wife, the writer Kim Brooks, and their children.


Science Rules: Brad Efford on Bill Nye the Science Guy, Episode 14: "Structures"

Science Rules: Brad Efford on Bill Nye the Science Guy, Episode 14: "Structures"

Consider This: Links

Consider This: Links