Stories written on the run for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1971 by a freewheeler with no restrictions on his copy. All is stark Hecht-Hemingway detail (without the wiseguy pose), bright penny-in-the-gutter evocation, or quietly submerged outrage that is all the stronger for being unstated. He visits a Grant Park public washroom where Mrs. Judith Ott was stabbed to death ten minutes earlier while her waiting husband listened in horror: ""Murder in the afternoon. These are some of the sights and sounds and thoughts that come to you at a place of sudden death."" Some pieces are as simple, brief, and fugitive as a Japanese woodblock--but leave their image: a black counterman scraping dishes on New Year's Eve, a lonely bookseller declaiming his memoirs in his empty store. Some are ""pure Chicago"": a passerby steals a coin box from a crashed bus where 36 passengers and the driver are moaning; an estranged wife tries to set her husband on fire with lighter fluid while he's immobilized in a plaster body-cast. Celebrity sketches include Judge Hoffman chuckling over a TV dramatization of himself during the trial of the Chicago Seven; a week at Her's pad (round-the-clock service, entertainment, boredom and inanity); Greene's snide chat with Uri Geller; a psychotic phone interview with seemingly beer-crazed Mickey Spillane. Yesterday's newspaper showing real survival power.