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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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Paul A. Toth

"Well-p," Charlie said, chomped off cigar in his mouth, "I'm fucked. I got Mormons. I'm gonna be a gambler and I get Mormons for parents. It's gonna be a long haul."

"Ya hate to disappoint your parents," Billy said. "Say, ya think it's true we won't remember this? That we'll forget the mile-long line and even looking at these tickets?"

"Mormons. I got half a mind to rip my ticket up," Charlie said.

"Don't do it, Charlie," Billy said. "You know what happens."

"Ay, fuck it: I could do worse."

"So rip it, tough guy."

"Ain't ya gonna open yours?"

"Well," Billy said, turning the envelope over, "I kinda like holding it for a minute. All of hope inside and all."

"Yeah, you can end up anywhere. Where you wanna go? Like me, I was hoping Vegas."

"I'm hoping Paris. Artsy-fartsy type parents. Lots of books. Dad smokes a pipe. That kind of thing. Berets."


"Yeah, well, here goes." Billy ripped open his envelope. He read his ticket, pushed it away, read it again.


"Africa. Me, I'm going to Africa."


"Yup. Says here: Mozambique."

"Well, you ARE black."

"I was figuring Chicago, for some reason."

"You never know. You could end up anywhere."

"Ya sure can. You can end up anywhere. Hey, what's the political situation in Mozambique?"

"Couldn't tell ya."

"Oh, well. Hey, buddy, good luck to ya."

"Ay, it was nice knowin' ya, kid. Good luck in Mozambique or whatever it is you said."

"Yeah, good luck with your Mormons."

"Mormons," Charlie said. "Are they in for a surprise."