Illustration by Bob AulIt all started when I ritually rattled the door of the Los Angeles Times street rack, my usual prelude to risking any genuine coin of the realm on those capricious machines. Lo and behold, three quarter-sized steel washers cascaded into the change return. What I did next will make your blood run cold. I chucked the first washer into the nearby Orange County Register machine (after first rattling its door, mind you). Under my decisive yank, the door flew open, and I got my free copy—worth every penny I had paid. The next washer went to the Times rack at the nearby strip mall a block away. It, too, produced a free copy. I am holding the third washer for the inevitable phone call to my bail bondsman.
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