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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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Germania Solórzano


1. I am painting a large map of veins. It seems to be some sort of large medical illustration with everything outlined in black but with nothing to differentiate the veins from the tissue. The large map is spread out on a table and it is pre-made, all I do is dip my brush in water and swipe the brush over the picture and wherever water makes contact with a vein, that part of the drawing becomes orange. I keep wetting the paper because I want to create a more vibrant orange. It is filled with thick veins.

2. I am in a group of men playing pool. I seem to like being there and being part of their group. I think there is a man there that I like. It is my turn to make a shot and this other guy who I seem to know (I seem to know them all), begins to explain to me exactly how to make the next shot. I am very annoyed by this man on so many levels. A) He is always this way, arrogant and obnoxious with his knowledge. B) He has just assumed that I don't know how to play pool and that I need to be told how to make the next shot. C) He has taken away the opportunity for me to figure it out by myself. D) He is right. And if I don't take his advice I would be wrong and I would look like a brat. But he has pissed me off.

Anyway, I approach the table and try to make the shot as he said, only I am following his instructions and gestures half-heartedly and not really looking and aiming for myself and I miss -- I am way off. And I am very annoyed, because by my missing he will probably be confirmed in his idea that I need to be told what to do every step of the way. This man is white and big and I think bald or only had a bristly scalp of graying blonde hair. (BEWARE!)

3. Gorrión: my mother has found and caught a gorrión (hummingbird) and she comes to show it to me. It doesn't look like what I'd expected. It is very still and stiff and evidently freaked out. It looks like a bird made of papier-mâché and painted green. She gives it to me and I reach for it with my hand. It steps onto my finger but it is so freaked out that it grabs onto my finger for dear life. My mother is playing with it, teasing it, and I think this is very unfair. We should let it go free.

But I'm afraid it will go free in the house and start flying all over the place and knock into walls and the ceiling. But it doesn't. It seems to know that it is out of its element and is holding onto my finger in absolute terror.

Then somehow it is on the floor. It is in the sleeve of one of my sweatshirts on the floor. I reach for it with my hand and I can see this little lump moving in the sleeve towards my hand, but then it backs away, back into the depths of the sleeve because it recognizes that I am human and it no longer trusts humans. So I trick it by pulling my sleeve over my hand and it steps into my sleeve, again holding onto my finger very tightly with its little claws.

I go outside, telling my mother I've got it and that I am going to let it go.

"Oh, you have it? Let's see," she says, trying to pull the sleeve up only now there are bubbles of goo dripping down my finger. "Oh," she says surprised and disappointed. And I know that it is dead. But don't know why and I feel very bad for it. I was trying to get it out of the house to let it go. And it is like one of those locusts that leaves its crunchy shell behind and grows another one. The outside of the bird is a papier-mâché skin and I have to swipe it off my finger because the claws are still holding on. I am left with the gooey insides of the bird, which look like a sticky white soap or glue on my finger.