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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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Kathryn Rantala

There is a gurgling mumble behind him under a turned bicycle wheeling the air. He senses the absence of birds but there is a hurry in him to slow and see himself through his lunch. His jacket also concerns him. He turns to the trash basket to say, "are you through with this?" and removes a paper for the bench where he will sit. There is a silence beside him. He nods his pardons and crosses one leg on his other, exposing the foothills of thigh in his pants. There is also a silence behind him. So this is the holy rood, he thinks, the epiphanous second, this is the bench on which happens the thing that is worth his tidiness. He sits straight under a smile from the trash. His eyes make directional signs.

He would be annoyed by a dog, a plane, a butt and the gum on his shoe, or he could be levitating. Or would enjoy, perhaps, but instead erases the dog, the plane and interesting other things. He is thinking of putting parts of his body beneath him, creating a radiant whole.

He removes his money by fist from his pocket and spreads it in grains on the ground. A woman bounces her head and nose on it, summing her parts. There is never the cry of a baby; today there is never a baby.

This is the moment, he thinks, drawing the signs on his arms and feet and spreading his fingers before him-a fan, a web, a petition to hold in traffic. An interrogatory breeze stops by which he remembers to thank gently. He stands up, he sits down, he moves into himself and then he dissembles into the Seventh Seal. The sun begins to forget to reflect him.

On the bench, a paper, a stain, a holy curl of grass, tears from a wheeling boy ringed with trees, shaking a visible laugh.