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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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M.A. Internicola

less than two minutes into thailand already i'm reprimanded for smoking on the runway and walking into the girl's john laughing. took a cab to krabi with two french lesbians and a guy named tony living in bezing. tony and i got a boat to railay. twenty five minutes. gorgeous limestone rock formations with palm trees and green water. prettiest place my eyes have ever seen. jib is waiting. tan with a blue headband on. we hug like the last scene from shawshank. shower off my new york mind-set. the two of us grab lunch with the kid from san francisco. talk about rock climbing and china. dog eating. bullshit communism. rewards for baby producing back in the 70's. kayak over to another beach. stare and stare at the many topless women lying down. swim in the sea. pretend it's the indian ocean. baby jellyfish, like a thousand, pinprick me. doesn't matter. we leave and dick off drinking a few beers. i see my future wife, one of them anyway, with sandy blond hair and blue eyes. i love her already but she leaves. we split. eat dinner. go to a reggae party and drink vodka red bulls. the party is couples and cliques. the rock climbers with the rich girls who never look. jibby is primed to take me to ao nang to meet thai women or a girl who bartends from the other night, "it's a mad house and we'll be stuck there because of the tide" he tells me but we go anyway. nuts. ten fifteen bars sandwiched in a mall type setting. thais are yelling at every corner telling us to come in. we see jib's friend from his night two. her family owns the bar. we sit down. i play checkers and pros hustle me for drinks. the other bartender has a crush on me but she's chubby. a girl named apple comes over and sits down. sexy thai from bangkok. friends with jib's friend. we click. she's beautiful. twenty one. 5'9, 115, and has the face of an angel. it's easy from there. two hours move on. the girls build the bar tabs up. we buy beers for the staff. the place closes at three. apple is here for a week trying to support her family back home. she wants a thousand bhat, twenty bucks american, and two hundred bhat for the house. her cousins are behind the bar laughing. fuck it. we all decide we'll be heading to our place but we can't find a boat. everyone goes back to the bar. apple and i go back to her pad on a scooter. jib will be next door in the morning. on the way there we crash into a parked truck and wipe out. not a scratch on me. apple takes my fall and she's got a couple scrapes. everyone is lucky. ten people ask us if we're okay. we are. she is. another guy says we hit a cop. otherwise, apple's friends would have done something i'm told. another guy rides us both back. jib finds out when three girls tell him we've been in an accident. he runs to the scene thinking i'll die in his arms but we've bailed already. apple and i take separate showers. just a big tub of water, soap and a bowl to chuck suds on yourself. jibby and his girl arrive. everything is cool i tell him. apple and i fuck and suck. i wake up the next day on two garfield sheets. apple is sleeping. i put my shorts on and get something to drink. there are two apples in the fridge. i smoke a cigarette and walk outside. jib is there and says he's ready to leave. i say goodbye when everyone comes to. we take a cycle down to the gulf. check out of the hotel. eat lunch and head to phi phi two hours later. twelve hours into the trip i'm boat sick already and in dire need of a strong woman to kick my ass.

M.A. Internicola is the author of three novels, Kiss me Baby, Sunflowers!, Chaz, and All Our Skies are Blue and two collections of poetry, Malism and The Darkest Place is Under a Streetlight. His poems, prose and fiction have appeared in numerous magazines. He lives in New York City.