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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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Jotham Burrello

Summer break 1977. Cindy Pedersen stripped for a mini Snickers bar in David Millar's pump shack. Dave's older brother Keith, who sported beads, bean bag chairs, and felt Grateful Dead posters in his basement bedroom, a cool cat to be sure, baby-sat. Keith chucked us into the greenish water as if we were dirt clods, sunk the molded deck furniture, then went inside to get high.

The Millar's pool was low tech. The elevated plastic cylinder was as wide as my mom's Buick station wagon and as tall as a fifth grader. A wooden deck bit into half of the plastic edging like a bear trap. The pump shack wheezed from its lattice box directly below the deck. The light cut through the lattice in diamond shapes. The sweating pipes dripped chlorinated water in our hair.

Snickers first, Cindy said.

Suit first, we said.

Same time, she said.

She peeled off her wet orange one-piece and Dave tossed her the treat. Caramel wisps clung to her chin. Goose-pimples sprouted on her tummy. Dave and I giggled and squirmed. We pointed too, pointed at the parts that were usually covered. The parts that looked entirely different in Keith's magazines. We laughed mostly. It was just funny. Like hiding from the recess monitor or farting in the bathtub. Back then kids could be naughty once in a while. If caught, our parents employed yard sticks not therapists. We didn't need guns or gangs. Just another Snickers bar.

Cindy stopped munching.

All of it, we said, and pointed at the chocolate stuck to the wrapper. She licked the plastic.


In one fluid motion she tossed the shiny casing at us and bowed down and hooked the shoulder straps of the suit under her thumbs. The elastic snapped on her shoulders. Then she dashed between us, blew up the stairs, and splashed in the pool.

Last one in is a turd ball, she called.

Dave and I scurried into the water. We played Marco Polo for the rest of the afternoon. Later Keith took the three of us for ice cream.

Jotham Burrello teaches in the Fiction Writing Department at Columbia College Chicago. He has recently completed his first novel. The author has not spoken to David Millar since childhood. Sadly, big brother Keith died in a motorcycle accident in the early '90s.