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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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Adam Voith

5:30AM: Alarm clock: Same one I've had for 11 years but digital at least, the same _ tuned radio station it's been set to for over a year. This morning it's a commercial for a jeweler who's having a huge sale on rocks for engagement rings. My girlfriend tells me: "Hit snooze."

5:40: Alarm clock: This time it's a Lionel Richie song.

5:46: My girlfriend is out the door, on her way to work, and I sit up and reset the alarm for 9:00.

5:47-8:59: In a series of dreams, I'm attempting to book travel arrangements for a candidate coming in to interview for a job. The telephone at the travel agency telephone rings a few times and I'm put on eternal hold while "Hello" by Richie plays over and over and over and over.

9:00: Alarm clock: Tom Petty. Snooze.

9:10: Alarm clock: Traffic report beaming from some helicopter to my ears and I'm out of bed.

9:12: Check e-mail. Cuss at the machine for delivering only some bullshit offer for 10% off some bullshit rather than a blind submission from the greatest unknown writer in the states.

9:15: Smoking. And coughing.

9:30: In the bathroom and shivering because the cold ass rain has arrived in Seattle and my roommate is anti-heater because it costs an extra five bucks or so a month.

9:50: Toweling off. Dressing.

10:00: Smoking. Coughing.

10:10: Checking e-mail. Nothing.

10:20: Cat chasing the lazer pointer around fruitlessly, confused. After a while, I start to feel guilty and I think maybe the cat's eyes are getting fried.

10:30: Early lunch in front of some talk show with a mother and her kid who fight like brother and sister. Spaghetti-O's and Meatballs with the last few bites choked down.

10:50: Smoking. Lungs burning.

10:55: E-mail. Empty.

11:00: Begin reading story for writing group tonight. My partner is moving forward, has a full outline for his book now. After a bit, wander from his story and outline and pick up a Chris Ware comic, getting lost in the tiny tiny drawings and words on the inside back cover. Eventually ditch the comic for a story on MSN.com discussing whether a vote for Nader is a wasted vote. Feel momentarily stupid for not registering to vote at all.

11:30: Smoking. Always smoking. It's too damn cold outside for smoking.

11:35: Spend 15 minutes with Jim Munroe's "Flyboy Action Figure Comes With Gasmask." The characters are becoming comfortable with superhero status and responsibilities.

11:50: Leave for work with decent traffic conditions.

12:00 NOON: Arrive near work site in record time and begin search for parking.

12:10 PM: Decide upon a "2 Hour Limit" spot. Walk in door to the dept., log onto network, check personal e-mail. One message from Dills talkin' about itineraries he's been receiving.

12:15-2:00: Various papers pushed and phone numbers dialed. Requests for temporaries needed throughout the organization filled. Some travel arrangements made for candidates interviewing with the organization. In actuality it wasn't Lionel Richie at all, but rather Muzak versions of Madonna while on hold.

2:05: Smoke on the way to the car. Move it from the "2 Hour" and score a "No Time Limit" spot for the remainder of the day.

2:15: Enter Burger King for a "To Go Burger," but realize my wallet is sitting back at the office.

2:30: Walk back to office. I'm way too hungry and there are no new e-mail messages waiting when I return.

2:45-3:30: Various tasks half-assed through, recruitment ads sent to the local paper for a Sunday run.

3:35: Smoke.

3:45-5:00: Kill time at desk. Visit numerous websites which have not been updated. Check the stats on my own site and realize that updating it doesn't do shit for boosting traffic. Mildly depressed, but off work now.

5:10: Getting the burger via drive-thru and heading home, smoking with the driver-side window down and the dashboard heat blaring. On the radio, NPR is trying to get listeners to call and donate their money, and I wish I had more than $6 bucks left for the month in order to give a little back.

5:25: Arrive back home. Check e-mail. Something about ad deadlines for magazines which I can't afford to advertise in and a letter from my cousin telling me Happy Birthday.

5:35: Lazer pointer again. Convinced that the cat has gone nuts in some way, never able to actaully pin the red spot with his paws. Smoke again. Phlem this time.

5:55: Revisit writing group partner's story and see that he's making some progress and his images are stronger than ever. Mark it up with a blue pen, noting where comma rules MUST be broken and such.

6:25: Smoke.

6:30: Dial girlfriend's cell. Discuss plans for the night. Say something nice and feel better than all other points throughout the day.

6:45: Back in car, smoking, and headed to Denny's to meet writing group partner.

7:00: Seated and smoking and drinking water.

7:10: Partner's late arrival.

7:15-8:30: Food served. My greasy sampler platter with cheese sticks, chicken strips and fries. His warm soup, crackers and salad. Lots of smoking. Discussion about words on paper and other nonsense.

8:45: Car in driveway. Back at home. Aimless. Email from my sister, my parents and a friend from New York with nice messages.

9:00: Some television and chocolate milk.

9:40-11:30: Long stares at the monitor resulting in no more than 6 sentences of writing which make no attempt to incorporate suggestions made by my writing group partner earlier in the evening.

11:35: The superheros in Munroe's book are vandalizing the billboards of cigarette companies and none of the papers or news channels are covering the story properly.

12:00 MIDNIGHT: Happy birthday to me. It's the first minute of my 26th birthday. Smoke. More phlem.