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  • She was used to waiting for the L. 4 minutes. 3 minutes. 2 minutes. Due. There was a rhythm from the tracks that she had become familiar with over the years. She could hear it even with her headphones on. It was another brutally cold winter in Chicago and she was happy to be waiting underground. She had escaped the cold if only for a moment. Like the L, the cold had a rhythm too. It was just more silent.

    It was mid-day, so the train would be relatively empty. She wouldn’t be pushed up against any one’s chest fighting for her breath smooshed against the opening and closing doors. She looked forward to the seat. She was getting sick of this winter already. It was starting to beat her.

    The northbound train arrived heading towards Howard. The girl stepped onto the train and made a straight-line to the open window seat in the middle of the train. As the Loop passed by getting smaller and smaller, a man pulled out a foldable table with three red plastic cups placed on top of it. He placed a quarter under one of the cups and skillfully began to move his hands across the three cups asking passengers which cup the coin was hidden under. In order to play the game, he requested $5. If one guessed correctly, he or she would receive $10 in return. After a moment, a woman spoke up handing the man a five-dollar bill. He placed the quarter again under a cup, and began to move the cups rapidly. After a moment, she selected the correct cup and was given her reward. The passengers had seen this game before - they knew instinctually that she was clearly an accomplice. With little success in inspiring the crowd, the two exited at the next stop moving on to the next group of passengers.

    With their departure, the entire train erupted in sound- different passengers talking and gossiping about how the whole act was a sham. One man stood up in a sign of protest with a huff. “I knew the whole time it was an act.” One woman proclaimed. “I should have spoken up.” Whispered another. The girl sat there silently, unable to speak, but nodding along in assent. Does this happen only in Chicago? She thought. She wasn't sure. She exited the train pressing on into the brutal cold of the city, as the train continued on to Howard without hesitation with the remaining passengers still on board.
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