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**PRINT: FRIENDS FROM CINCINNATI: Installment 24 features this part coming-of-age short by Chicago's Patrick Somerville, author of the Trouble collection of shorts out in 2006. | PAST BROADSHEETS |

Columbia College Fiction Writing Department

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Two Hussein Allies Are Hanged; One Is Decapitated + Beckham Will Have to Learn Spanish
Paul A. Toth

Outside of dark,
dank Los Angeles,
many of us play at love
and some reckon with the trapdoor.
I don't, afraid or something.
I've never heard no trapdoor,
but have you seen an ATM?
Beckham will wear
a flame-orange jumpsuit
with a small group of men
for unlimited money,
while others dangle
under different contracts,
their best decades
inches from powder.
Okay, love,
yes, try love,
or shovel cash
to another planet,
not America.
Girl-singer wife,
short-shorts iconic,
then one day
a famous athlete
in a noose
for failure to deliver
on the contract,
head tumbling
into a pit of sunglasses.
I don't know anybody
who would videotape
that kind of height and build
standing by secret police,
but the hangmen
have their minds made up.

MORE BY PAUL A. TOTH, including previous installments of the "Additive Headlines" series.