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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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Tom Bradley

Back in the nineties I used to sort of fuck someone named Chica, who thought of herself as either a painter or a cartoonist. It was hard to tell which. The behavior we engaged in that came closest to what most people would call fucking took place in a room with nothing in it but an easel. On that easel was pinned one of Chica's original, full-watercolored cartoons--or maybe they were paintings. Who knows?

This work was entitled "Hillary's Ham-Rod," and it was the true expression of Chica's politics in those days, if they could be called such.

Hillary Clinton had an enormous, delicious-looking American-style holiday ham, glazed and grease-glistening, which bristled with cloves and pineapple rings. She winked broadly into the viewer's eye and said, via speech-balloon, "It's Bill's best recipe. Took him three hours in the hot, hot, hot White House kitchen to whomp this baby up! It's southern-style, and I do mean southern!"

She had strapped this vast delicacy to her mighty pelvis and shoved it halfway up her obedient hubby's bleeding anus. Bill was holding one of his first press conferences, and Mrs. Clinton had taken up her position behind the curtain emblazoned with the handsome Presidential Seal. The as-yet uninserted segment of the Ham-Rod was just visible to the gallery, poking out between folds of true-blue velvet

The journalists seemed to have intuited this state of marital affairs. The female reporters snickered in self-righteous triumph, while the males blushed and squirmed on their fellow man's behalf, and looked ready to weep awhile together.

The depiction of the First Lady was clearly an unconscious self-portrait of Chica, though she somehow had managed simultaneously to get an uncanny likeness of that other pushy American woman. This Hillary had the big hair, the lawn mower-tempting, Madonna-derivative, wrong-color eyebrows bushed over the rat eyes, the mouth gaping and grunting like a hyena's and chock-full of needle-sharp teeth that sprouted directly from the unwholesome marrow of the clunky cheekbones. And yet, like the original, the effect of the whole was somehow even more unattractive than the sum of its frankly hideous parts. Perhaps it was due to some habitually ravenous cast of facial expression, a lurid light in the eyeballs that would have rendered the tender face of Marilyn Monroe herself a punishment to the retinae.

Meanwhile, Bill's face provided almost too perfect a contrast. Complete with potato nose, it was puffily sated and ingratiating, with a sincere glint in the eye, the ample cheeks reddening a bit demurely as his equal partner arranged and rearranged his peristaltic region. The Commander in-Chief was naked from the waist down behind the bulletproof podium, and his potato penis snuffled and sneezed a milliliter or so of dilute seminal fluid, labeled white water.

All in all, it was quite an unsettling piece of work, revealing not so much an utter contempt for the rights and dignity of foetuses and females, as for those of all human beings, regardless of gender and/or somatic development. And, let me tell you, it was no easy task getting a hardon anywhere near the thing. That's why I can't really call what we did fucking, in the strictest sense of that term. But I suppose it was close enough, for the nineties.


If you're anywhere near Paris, Tom will be presenting a paper entitled 'No Baudelaires in Babylon' 15 March 2002 at the International Conference on Literature and the Internet at the Sorbonne. Check http://trace.ntu.ac.uk/events/sorbonne/programme.htm for the details. Or visit the sponsor http://www.3ammagazine.com.