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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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Jason Jordan

12:00AM: the party is in full swing as I race to down the 12-pack of Miller Lite I bought before eager partygoers get their hands on it. Apparently, buying a 12-pack and consuming it at a party ensures that you will get only four or five beers tops. The rest will be stolen when you're not looking, and/or will be passed out to ungrateful assholes, upon request of course.

12:23: watch friend play bloody knuckles with a stranger. When friend loses, think, I thought he was tougher than that.

12:47: talk to girl who was obviously wasted when she arrived (twenty minutes earlier) and -- after brief, pointless conversation -- ask her what she took before she got here. Guess that it was a rum and Coke with a side of amphetamines, barbiturates, and a solid whiff of glue. Stare her down.

1:00: think about watching the poker game, but realize that you see enough of that shit on TV. Guarding of beer continues.

1:10: take the time to actually watch drunken people be stupid, belligerent, and loud. Notice that you're drunk as well, but not really that loud. Attempt to be loud. Don't like being loud.

1:58: bask in the cigarette smoke. Say to the person next to you, "Hey, this is like being in the smoking section of a restaurant except, like, worse!" Cave under disapproving look and say apologetically, "OK, it's not like that at all really."

2:30: friend needs to go home because he has to work a double shift that starts at 8AM. He looks for ride.

3:15: ride is found. Friend dines on White Castle, which he does not like, while I ride in the backseat.

3:20: "You want White Castle?" my friend asks. "No," I say, "I don't like them." "Me neither," he says, "except now."

4:00: get home, brush teeth, wash face, and slip into something more comfortable (i.e. bed, lingerie, etc).

4:21: sleep doesn't come; attribute that problem to the five-hour nap you took earlier that day. Begin reading Schlink's The Reader.

5:00: long for more beer, begrudge the fact that The Reader was a part of Oprah's Book Club. Dwell upon hatred of Oprah...and Dr. Phil.

5:15: wish you had defended the beer more strongly.

5:39: become very tired.

6:00: turn lights off. Think about sex until sleep comes (no pun intended).