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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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Jessica Slaven

Preface: At 7:12 this morning, I awoke. Today is Saturday, June 28, 2003.

7:12 is great. Really. Yesterday I was roused shortly after five at the wish of my stomach, which was a boiling pot of eggs, seaweed salad, fish cake, pickled herring, and one tater tot insisting that I stumble over the "Trees of America" and a pregnant wash-basket to kneel before the toilet and pretend to lose my stew. Sweating and everything. But it didn't happen.

Last time that happened, fifteen years ago, it was earlier in the morning, probably about one. I got up and ran to the toilet, then deposited a serving of well-preserved, undigested, perfectly identifiable McDonald's fries on the cold porcelain. But that's time running in the wrong direction.

But this is how you do it:

5:13: realize that if I were a real man, I'd make a business venture of this experience. That's all you can do with anything.

5:17: wipe mouth with TP, freeze. Plan crystallizes.

5:19: rinse out all vials in bathroom: drug vials, perfume-sample vials, waste-sample vials, take-out hot-sauce containers. Set to dry on washcloth. Rinse mouth with Act.

5:20: do 200 jumping jacks for sweat; to increase nausea, think about girls going to NYC to realize their individual (interning) potential.

5:23: strip and begin scraping skin with fresh vials to collect sweat, or, once bottled: "Superior Atkins Diet Acceleration Potion for Those Living in States (IL, NY) Having Banned Whichever Xenadrine-like Formulas They did in Fact Ban." (SADAPTLSILNYHBWX-likeFTFB)

6:13: cap vials and Solo containers, kiss mahogany-framed mail-order MBA diploma, repeat, "Fuckin' yeah, baby. Now what's up? Yup. SADAPTLSILNYHBWX-likeFTFB¹s up."

6:14: throw air punches, suck in cheeks, mug left, mug right.

6:15: flex bicep in mirror.

6:16: watch "Sportscenter."

7:39: watch "Sex and the City" on DVD.

8:02: adjust flat screen on wall.

9:46: read "Turn of the Screw," Henry James.

11:19: throw book down, realize have product to sell. Yell, "Fuck. Fuck, fuckin' A. Why am I wasting my time like a fuckin' broad?"

11:20: count vials, call Eddie at "Sky Mall." Of sixty, promise him fifteen. That Eddie sells all my best shit. Slip him some product for his lil' missus, he'll position my page next to Brookstone, or sometimes near that hot Renaissance Faire supply-house page.

11:30: think, who's rich? Who needs SADAPTLSILNYHBWX-likeFTFB? Think: headz at East Bank Club, kids at Diesel store, quality-control headz down at Blommer.

11:56: realize I haven't eaten. Eat cold pizza, sugar-free nonfat strawberry cheesecake yogurt; drink Crystal Light, four glasses Beaujolais. Burp, run Phytoplage Phytomer through Rdo. Lick sole of foot and inner elbow (krelbow) for SADAPTLSILNYHBWX-likeFTFB effect.

1:30: weigh self, notice have lost four pounds. SADAPTLSILNYHBWX-likeFTFB is amazing.

1:41: throw vials into briefcase, dress, head out door chanting, "Business- business- business."

1:42: claim empathy to be non-existent ant.

1:47: stop at Cheers Shot Bar to prime pump. Beaujolais never stays with a man.

1:53: drink Buttery Nipple.

1:58: drink Pink Tutu.

2:01: drink Pink Lady.

2:11: drink double raspberry Stoli with ginger ale.

2:24: drink Kir Royale.

2:29: drink Red Bull and Malibu.

2:45: drink three "Coffee with Whiskey in it."

2:50: see four twins Bush; give one vial to each Barbara, two to each Jenna. Drink one myself.

3:03: get in car, drive to Police Station to have myself arrested for drunken driving.

3:23: queue behind cast of millions at station. Burp. Realize that I'd forgotten to go to work that day. Yell, "Fucking Communist Police Fucking Commie Fascist Bastards." Run out.

3:25: hail cab. Driver says, "You're looking mighty thin. Looking to go to OLD CoUNTry BUFFet?" Tell him to take me to work.

3:41: arrive at work, sit down at desk. Vomit pink goo in recycling bin.

3:45: look up to see Boss coming over, complete with that I'm-gonna-make-you-tell-me-in-your-own-words-how-you-fucked-up look on his face. Wince. Realize pants falling off.

3:46: Boss: "You¹re reeling drunk! This is fully unacceptable--I can smell you from here! Your mouth is dyed pink! You're emaciated!"

3:47: thinking fast.

3:59: reach down to grab a vial for the boss. He could stand to shed a few hundred stone, and SADAPTLSILNYHBWX-likeFTFB was really the only thing that could help him.

4:00: hand touches floor. Briefcase isn't there. Left it at the police station. Sober up quickly when realization that my job and my claim to fame have just escaped dawns.

4:01: slip between Boss's sausage-truck legs, spirit through half-open window. Walk home. Cry meager tears.

4:39: notice, while turning on flat-screen, that he and I share a similarity in physiognomy. Float to couch to watch TV.

6:00: evening news begins. Catch a flicker of glossed lip and tightly coiffed hair.

6:10: feature story airs about Ron Popeil having found a briefcase full of vials of weight-loss potion at a local police station, and about how everyone was excited beyond belief. Jumping out of their skin to get a bit. He is planning on calling it In-the-VialSADAPTLSILNYHBWX-likeFTFBWeight-Loser and selling over the internet. With this announcement, Ron pushes the USA's population web-access density past South Korea's.

6:17: implode, but it isn't spectacular. It is gentle, as I'm hardly a wisp of a being by that point. The world goes on, and not too many people have trouble, even though they split among them the new In-the-VialSADAPTLSILNYHBWX-likeFTFBWeight-Loser. I'm not sure why I had such trouble with it. The Bush twins are hardy, and remain the sturdy things they are. But me, I disappear.

Next time you feel a breeze caress your armpit and carry away your sweat in the summer, remember me and the magical powers of sweat produced by an intern eating eggs, seaweed salad, fish cake, pickled herring, and one tater tot. I'm stealing yours to see what it does.