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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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Kathryn Holmquist

Kathryn Holmquist lives in Brooklyn. She hails from Minneapolis, MN. What she misses most about the Midwest is the Uptown Bar and Grill, Leinenkugel's beer, Lake Calhoun and her dad.

The Mall of America was offering the opportunity to crawl through a forty-foot colon. We read about it in the newspaper. There were no good movies at the dollar theater, we'd eaten all the chips and cheesy sauce, and Hank's mom said she was taking over the living room to watch HGTV. Erin's car was full a quarter tank so we decided to go check out the colon. Even if forty-feet of colorectal cancer and other diseases of the colon totally sucked at least it was free.

The forty-foot colon was in a tent in a parking lot across the street from Mall of America. It was a pretty small tent and we were all pretty pissed there'd be no AC. Especially Hank who kept flicking boogers at the ground and saying, "Man, it totally sucks there's no fucking AC." I didn't really care, though; at least we were doing something.

Some nice old ladies were working the colon tent and they handed us gift bags. The gift bags were pretty cool, visors and pamphlets and new kinds of ChapStick and stuff. They told us to leave our complimentary gift bags by the colposcopy demo station when we were ready to crawl through "Coco," the nicknamed colon. They told us to enjoy our crawl.

The colon was a big red tube. It was nice and dark inside and a few degrees colder than outside the tent. Height-wise it was about four feet tall, pretty good clearance. They even put a squishy padding down so your knees didn't hurt or anything. Hank snuck in some vodka lemonade and when we got to a bend in between diverticulosis and ulcerative colitis the three of us parked it and took some swigs from the Minute Maid bottle.

When we left the colon we went to Arby's and ate some roast beef cheddar melts and reviewed our information flyers in our gift bag. I put on my "I'm Anal about Health" visor and Erin adjusted her fanny pack to fit. "Pretty fucking cool," Hank said. "Even though there was no fucking AC."