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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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Jason DeBoer

She was a bitch. I told her this. She responded in kind, so I ducked and the plate hit Simon instead. He swore and fell to his knees, dumbfounded at the blood and spit slopping out as if his face had unwillingly given birth. Simon later said he thought he lost a tooth, but he was a liar and was always losing things, so I didn't pay any attention. She grabbed at a knife from the dish rack, but in her haste ended up with a wire whisk. It still hurt like hell, but she looked so ridiculous, brandishing it over her head like some manic chef, that I was laughing as I knocked her down. The dog was going nuts, jumping, tearing at my arm. She shouted encouragement: "Get him, Puddles! Get him!" Christ, those two were a pain. I noticed she was in one of her nice outfits, as if she expected French dinner and candles.

Simon, who looked halfway sober beneath the blood, had staggered to his feet and was mumbling something about getting out of there. He had his own angry wife waiting at home. I glared at mine and she looked somewhat triumphant as she grabbed the phone and started to dial. I dug through her purse and took seven dollars. I threw her make-up around the room. "I'm taking the dog." She was horrified. "Like hell you are. Come back here!" I already had the little mutt by the collar. She was still on the porch yelling when we backed out of the driveway. The siren grew nearer, the dog howled louder, but they couldn't drown her out. Ten years and nothing had changed.

Jason DeBoer lives in Madison, Wisconsin. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Iowa Review, Quarterly West, Rosebud, Stand, Other Voices, Clackamas Literary Review, Mississippi Review, The Barcelona Review, Failbetter, CrossConnect, Pindeldyboz, Opium, The American Journal of Print, The Paumanok Review, and Suspect Thoughts. At the moment, he is working on Stupor, a novel.