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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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Marc Baez

Caruthers: Good afternoon folks. This is Uncooperative Artist Hour on 90.1 A.M. And I'm your host, Lincoln Caruthers, coming to you today from the extraordinarily painful bear-hug of a three hundred and eighty three pound man-child who has apparently mistaken me for his favorite toy -- a doll which "giggles" whenever squeezed. For some reason my screams and flailing have failed to tip him off that I am not this doll. And I sure would prefer a seat on that chair. But having struggled valiantly for one half of an hour to find an exit out of these arms, I have decided for time's sake to just conduct my interview from this uncomfortable position. Our guest today is no other than Octoveer Slatokov, a great human who, besides being the father of this giant man-child, has written one of the most important books of poetry in the history of this or any other universe you can imagine. Mr. Slatokov, good afternoon sir.

Slatokov: Spare me the fumbled football of your attempt at charm, and get to the questions.

Caruthers: Yes sir, I apologize most intensely. You are a righteous solar system. And I am a de-clawed zero, only able to purr or cower in your presence. My first question concerns your education at Harvard.

Slatokov: Dull place. All ivy-vines and retarded-winged egos. No wit. Lectures about as relevant to my genius as the tinkling silverware of an aristocratic tea party. No reason to have gone there. But heh, we all make mistakes in our youth. Harvard is mine.

Caruthers: You had your first poems published there. Did you feel&

Slatokov: I do not care about my first poems or where they were published, be it in a Harvard magazine or in the undertow of Santa's sleigh. You have a little blood trickling out of your nose.

Caruthers: Yes sir. Your son's arms are quite intense. But enough about me. Since Harvard seems a touchy spot with you let me move on to your time in New York. It seemed to have affected your poems in a significant way which perhaps you could dive into a little.

Slatokov: If anything in that question had been even half as intelligent as one of the farts my infant daughter lets go of during her slumber, then perhaps I would, as you so sleazily put it, "dive in a little." But the question you asked was totally inadequate. Do you even read?

Caruthers: Yes sir. I have a Ph.D. in English Literature from Berkeley. Thank you for asking.

Slatokov: I'm not convinced. But continue. By the way you have a whitish foam leaking out of your mouth.

Caruthers: Yes sir. The pressure of your son's arms is doing things to my internal organs which will probably make for a quite fascinating diagnoses if I make it to a hospital. But enough about me. Last year you made a now famous speech at the University of Chicago, a speech in which you claimed that you had crossed over from a poet into a God of such magnitude that the images of all other gods should be rearranged so as to show them giving you oral pleasure. This was controversial. Were you surprised?

Slatokov: What I am surprised by is your gall to ask me such a question without your lips being wrapped around my penis while you ask it. What are the names of your parents? I am going to have them murdered.

Caruthers: Yes sir. My mother's name is Tabitha. And my father's name is Graham. I apologize most intensely for any gall I might have displayed.

Slatokov: I think you should apologize to your parents, not me. They're the ones who are going to be murdered. You really are an idiot.

Caruthers: Yes sir. Absolutely right. My head is an empty baby crib. But enough about me. You have won the Nobel Prize ten years in a row for the same book, accumulating in the process not only a lot of honors, but an impressive pile of cash. Yet you live in such a modest house.

Slatokov: What I do with my money is my business. But I will let you in on one of my projects. There is a town in a third-world country which I won't name because I don't want a cosmic shower of fans and flashbulbs landing on me there. But there is a town which I purchased for a reasonable price -- a town whose land and inhabitants are, as we speak, being transformed by brute force into my personal playpen where I shall soon go to live, eating and smoking opium while sex slaves give me potent services. What excites me most about this place is the fact that because I own it there will be no sexual borders I can not cross. I have ordered make-up to be put on all infants. I have ordered that the sphincters of all animals shall be kept moist with Vaseline in case I get an urge to enter one of them during one of my drunken stumbles back from whatever house I have wandered into to be pleasured that day or night or whatever time it is. I have ordered the penises to be cut off all the men and replaced with vaginas modeled after Marilyn Monroe's. I have ordered the skin of the elderly to be transformed into condoms which I shall wear when thrusting my thing into the animals I just spoke of. I have ordered that the lock on the door of every domicile be openable by the key of my middle finger, and that the corpse of every member of my town who dies will be immediately cut up and blended with vodka into a drink which the deceased's family members will watch me drink as they give me oral pleasure. The whole thing promises to be very amusing. Your eyes are fading out by the way. I hope I'm not boring you.

Caruthers: No sir. I believe what is happening is that your son's arms have just about literally squeezed the life out of me. I probably have no more than five minutes left before I atrophy But enough about me. You look happy. Has the thought of this town warmed you?

Slatokov: Actually the smile on my face is a function of the fact that all you had to do to get out of my son's arms was giggle, and he would have dropped you. But instead you asked me all these insipid questions and now the blood-vessels in your eyes have burst like bad lines of romantic poetry, and your body is so damaged that even if you live it will be plugged into one of those machines for human vegetables.

Caruthers: Yes sir. I have been a fool. And this has been Uncooperative Artist Hour. Join me next week. If I'm still alive I'll be speaking to the painter Margaret Rose. She has promised to paint the inside of my mouth with her excrement. Good afternoon folks. And thanks for listening.