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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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Christopher Chambers

A woman with wings clothed in a flowing, near-sheer gown guides two bright-eyed tykes out of harm's way. Dad oblivious behind the wheel of a two-tone Buick Roadmaster, backs up oblivious on his way to the nuclear weapon facility, sports a fedora, whitewall tires, tail fins, despair. Her wings spread to form an X with her bare, outstretched arms. The gown firmly strapped over her shoulders shows no cleavage, gathers at her shapely hips. Down she fades from the hint of thigh and knee to an opaque azure blur hovering above the asphalt drive. She floats in this bright world where everything blooms or gleams. Even the sky radiates green, red, purple, along with the obligatory blue. Dick and Spot watch Jane. The guardian angel gazes at the tykes. Dad stares into the garage as he speeds backward toward the dog, the boy, the girl on skates, the floating winged woman in the flowing gown, as if loathe to leave that small darkness to hurl himself again into the perfect riotous color of this storybook life. If only he'd look back and see the angel, and she look up at him. She could fold her wings and slide into the Buick. Imagine. Dick and Jane tumble and cry. Dad slips his arm across the back of the seat and the angel lays her head upon it. He punches the Buick, backs over the mailbox, tunes in a jazz station and drives. He talks and words appear on the page and we begin to read: I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up...