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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 |

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Kevin O'Cuinn

First they came for the Bloggers. I thought to myself 'this is too weird', but they took them anyway -- all of them, in big trucks. All you need is one Salam Pax, so it's best to be sure. Just look at Nam -- the one rotten apple in the barrel, and before you know it the whole of southeast Asia is goddamn Commie.

But I said nothing, I mean hey, it's not like I was a Blogger.

Next they came for the Rappers, who at least put up a fight, but by the following Monday when the dust had settled, those who weren't dead had had their tongues cut out and were sent off in the windowless trucks with the Bloggers.

But I said nothing, because I wasn't a Rapper. And to be honest, I found some of those guys offensive. And all that gold is so uncouth.

Then they came for Hollywood, but mostly it was just to pick up autographs for the kids. Michael Moore volunteered to get on the truck and join the Bloggers and Rappers, but they said no way, and tell that Chomsky guy to stay put at MIT because dissent is not unAmerican. And then they all laughed and said that'll give 'em something to think about.

I said nothing, of course. But, like, what was I supposed to do?

Then they came for Network News, threw a reception for them on the lawn at The White House. Speeches were made and backs were slapped. The Corporates sponsored the whole shebang and handed out sacks of used $50 and $20 bills at the door on the way out.

But I said nothing, because I didn't know; it wasn't reported on Fox.

Then they came for all the Web people, some of whom I knew. But they must have screwed up big-time to piss off the heavy-heavy brigade. And anyway, things wouldn't be so bad with all those other cool people on the trucks. I mean, it's gonna be a laugh a minute. Right?

So I kept my mouth shut. I was doing OK; lonely, but coping.

Then they came for the Students and Hippies and Liberals and Red Sox Fans. They gave them a good talking to, refreshments courtesy of Pizza Hut and Anheuser-Busch, and shipped them, en masse, to the Falkland Islands. The trucks were full.

But I said nothing, because I was busy that evening watching a game.

Then they came for me, and I felt kind of important. I said hey, what's up? And they said, you're up, is what. Get your coat -- you got a long ride ahead. And I said 'huh?' And they said 'yup.' And I said, 'Wait up now, hold on a second fellas. There must be some kind of mistake. I know a lot of Jews and Christians, and Unionists, and Blacks and Gays, too. Play ball,' I said, 'and I'll provide you with a long list of names.' But they laughed, and said, get in the truck; we know that list, that's us.

And for a second I knew how Charlton Heston must have felt that day on The Planet of The Apes, when he realised he was alone. There was nobody left to say shit.