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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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Lady & Boy

a Lady and a Boy spent a magnificently lazy day among many, together. Nearing the end of it, apprehending the impending doom of its demise, the two of them determined that the only thing to be done was to write itineraries of said Lazy Day to each other. Both Lady and Boy were quite excited by this idea, as were we. Below is the result, dearhearts. Do enjoy yourselves.


11:15: end morning session with surprising lack of evidence...at least discernable to you. Boy says: It's on my leg. I can smell it. You wonder...

11:58: o Breakfast! Prepare fine and easy meal of eggs, chicken sausage, toast, and smoothie. And coffee, sweet coffee. Eat up while regaled with more Rat Tales from Boy. You wish, almost, for a new war, a return of rodentia to Boy's basement apartment, so you can watch from the sidelines in horror. Naw...maybe not. The stories will suffice. You are glad he did not get bit.

12:14: first thought of missing computer (missing since early last evening) flickers through mind. Call the high school (site of certain last sighting of laptop) and hear the sweet office-lady tell you no, no, it doesn't appear to be here. She says: We'll check with the teacher in the room you were in. Call us back later. Hang up;feel total woe. But quickly determine to not let this trouble foul your entire day. Determine that due fretting can be postponed until Boy is out of your presence.

12:37: stomachs full, sweetly tangled limbs on couch, much idle caressing, chatter.

1:10: slide to floor. Boy demonstrates a 4-lock, or something like that, on you. It vaguely reminds you of yoga. He's been talking WWF and Ric Flair. Contemplate your legs in shape of numeral 4. Wiggle free, but do not leave floor immediately. Your head is next to the speaker. An annoying song is on and on and on. Aim an imaginary remote, though the real thing is just a stretch-reach away. The song will end soon enough. In due time, things always happen. Desire to be back in bed; desire to be reading; desire to make reading more of a partner sport.

1:23: return to bed, but only to be even more lazy, cozy under the comforter, the two of you spooned with book by B. Hannah in hand; return to 'Return to Return' while Boy reads over your shoulder. Phrases elicited out loud, occasionally, in appreciation, by the both of you. Boy then reads you 'Constant Pain in Tuscaloosa,' making you laugh. Nowhere else you need to be. You have attained a small success.

1:46: vote for more food made; a unanimous decision in favor of Mexican and margaritas. How can you two be hungry again? You are; that is all. The sun beckons.

2:13: the taqueria patio is yours and his alone, sun-soaked. No you don't want the umbrella. No you don't want the umbrella. No you don't& Order black bean soup, corn tortillas, and the large margarita, on rocks, with salt. Feel like being careless with money. Know that you have no business doing so. Boy orders Michelob;he is less careless.

2:56: Boy becomes equally careless; orders his own large limey drink. This pleases. You run a finger along the rim of your empty one, chasing stray salt, wanting more.

3:34: second, smaller margarita kicking in. Think: I could easily down four more of these fuckers. Giggle with abandon. Wish for less fabric covering arms. It's warm, warmer than you thought! Bask. Scrape at taqueria exterior with boot for no good reason. Like a child, you cannot sit still. Begin pressuring Boy to blow off imminent work, which of course means that you will complete no work of any sort, either. Do not think too long and hard about this. Think instead: I may be getting some tan, here. Gaze at eagle mural in the distance, and point it out. "There's a hippo, too," Boy observes. Wish for torchlight, for volcanic islands visible from LSD, as dreamed up here by mural artist. Oh, Logan Square and its denizens' dreams of home...

4:02: Boy borrows your cell phone; the deal is done. You have succeeded in winning his company for the duration of the time being. Hurrah! The Day, it appears, will now be officially, unabashedly, Lazy. Buy Pacificos for him and yourself. Push away thoughts of probably forever-gone laptop.

4:37: purchase six-pack at store next to taqueria, after careful brand deliberation. Drinking must continue to continue. That is all you can know for sure.

4:42: drive. In a well-meaning effort to avoid slow collision with young Black/Latino man in some kind of largish auto, you sideswipe parked beater car on Schubert. The sound is agony, though not agony enough to halt your progress. Two polyurethane hulls nudging up against one another, emitting groans, is all. Surely it sounds worse than it looks... Catch young Black/Latino man's wide-eyed stare, and then you are past; whatever damage is done, is done. Boy is clearly appalled, in his way. His Lady cannot rightly pilot her vehicle; it appears to be true. Proceed down streets. Whatever.

5:12: arrive on Boy's roof. It is not so warm as your previous spot, here; a disappointment, a miscalculation. A wishful think. But oh to kiss and drink above treeline! Shiver some, and stare absently at lovely centerpiece of cigarette butts nested in dead candle. Wonder if they are Boy's. So likely.

6:12: trade roof for couch, inside, where warmth is greater. Smoke first and only cigarette of the day.

6:18: bite Boy's stomach. Lovingly, mind you.

6:30: Seinfeld. Man-hands episode. You feel like you've both seen and not-seen it. By the end, Boy will be asleep, and you will think: Here I Am, in a basement apartment with empty beer bottles, with Sleeping Boy; my laptop is most likely in someone else's ownership now; Here I Am.

6:59: nudge Boy. Wake up. Time for chicken.

7:24: stand in line at Popeye's, a place you've never ever been, behind largish, oldish woman wearing brown 'Racial Awareness Wear' pullover. Boy will treat you to a 2pc. Meal, wing n' breast, Spicy, with mashed potatoes and gravy and biscuit, served up on a little paper compartmentalized plate, For Here. Does it get any better than this? The whole thing, for the present, is oddly charming.

7:32: dine, happily, greasily, with view of the lesser-end of Milwaukee Avenue in one direction and haggard clump of fake-silk roses in the other. Read 'History of the Po-Boy' on back of Boy's waxed-paper cup of too-sweet sweet tea. Boy's never eaten in here; as a rule he takes his chicken out. You've never eaten here, period. You want the Boy to run off to New Orleans with you, hunt down Nutria meat and real damn good Po-Boys and etoufee and fast-talkers and slow-talkers and voodoo priestesses and all that other stuff. You want lots of things. Fried chicken on a paper plate will do for now.

7:39: prepare to exit Popeye's. Boy makes you laugh, voicing the thought that surely the two of you will open the sad little chicken joint's door and run squarely into someone you know. Yes, we were eating chicken in there. For Here.

7:44: drop Boy off at bike, left last night near bar. He will work soon and thus cease to be Lazy. You will continue to be Lazy, because you can. End.


9:06AM: "Awake. Shake dreams from your hair, my pretty child, my sweet one. Choose the day...", sun angling in through blinds and dream sifting through subconscious of dumbo Jim Morrison, no less, speaking to you through the head of a chicken, beak and all. Become aware next of spike in rear of head and morning whiskey breath. Squeeze hip of Lady, awake, by your side, smiling, and smile. Do not resolve, just yet, that today will be unequivocally lazy.

9:08: groan at rising pain in head. Smack lips in attempt to resolve cottonmouth. Squeeze Lady again and giggle, burying nose in her armpit.

9:41: post in-and-out-of wakingsleepingwakingsqueezing, rise to talk of breakfast eggs, quickly morphing (as you tramp around Lady's magnificently clean apartment with a bummed cigarette and a proferred coffee attempting to pet Lady's moody cat, who whines and sqeals and purrs and runs away alternately with each stroke) into talk of breakfast eggs and toast and chicken sausage and fruit smoothies -- oh lovely woman! you are the very thing, miLady, yes...

10:22: to anonymous whining of guitar on stereo, eat. Talk of rats, your absolutely grand victories over them, all the while staring into Lady's dark eyes, marveling at things like serendipity, a certain uncanny quality lent to your existence of late in spite of things like creditors and rent and broken luggage racks and Lady's lost laptop (oh no! you exclaim, for 'tis sad, indeed), flat tires and their cartoon replacements. Bask in morning buzz, in spite of headache, aglow in the new day, chomping down on tube of chicken sausage and receiving hair-ruffle from Lady.

11:06: begin long, slow lounge on couch, talking particularly of potential trips, old flames, drunken nights (such as last: "We were very, very bad," she says -- and you: "Yes, yes, yes, well I remember that quite well, but what about..."), her moody cat who sits purring atop her lap (whose snout, every time your own hand approaches, opens, baring sharpened feline chompers and hissing menacingly), vendor of frozen pops with cart across Lady's street who whimsically tosses fistfuls of dry spring leaves high into the wind. Resolve, finally: today will be luxuriantly lazy. Resolve: sit on this couch until she kicks you out.

11:09: Sink down into couch, under Lady, wrapping legs around her back. Close eyes and sigh.

11:32: Lady reads Hannah in bed. Smoke on opposite side of wall, cold here in your ragged grey underwear by the open window. Vendor continues, just outside, to toss leaves into the air. "It's all about the verbs with him," you say, Lady quoting lines from behind the wall. The Who's "Sellout" album reaches its apex with 'Sparks,' at which point: extinguish half-smoked smoke and laugh and run around wall and dive over Lady to far side of bed. "I got this side now." Aha! Lady is happy about this fact. Gaze on, head at the edge of pillow, around her head, just by her ear (at which you nibble affectionately), at text while she reads, spotting the quite frequent knockout line.

11:45: finish 'Return to Return' and read 'Constant Pain in Tuscaloosa' to Lady as she looks on, laughing and smiling at all the right moments. "He squared around and came out with something yellow from his hip. It was a banana...."

NOON: reader: queue birdsong belltower and catsmeow for magnificently sweaty sexy interlude.

1:11PM: what to do next?...so lazy daze goes, runs, flies forward to more food in the mood for margaritas and burritos and black beans and...Exeunt! stage center, sifting into Lady's silver Toyota, (wanting to be drunk, southern and insulting, nicely all the same) to old hood taqueria, the most wonderful place in the world today on account of all of your being there; drinks sweet sour strong and beer is a buck 7 5 right price for the day Lady let us have another please here on the patio in the sun she is bright and smiling without makeup today her face utterly genuine, beautiful, smile to step out into traffic for, urging you to forgo the coming work and your quick compliance surprising you but bringing a fast succession of handclaps from Lady and a whoop and whatyouhopetobesunny smile from yourself, though you need a teeth-cleaning, you're sure, haven't been to the dentist in damned near forever (she will later admonish you not to follow her own example, five or six cavities after the age of 25, which you've already reached but just barely; figure to yourself it's likely too late to save your own either, though resolve to brush your teeth soon as humanly possible/probable wonder if your breath stinks) and smile to Lady again because you cannot really help yourself anymore and read from surreal rock criticism about the money that never goes and what's wrong with the world with geniuses like poor fat Frank Black and the author and yourself and the Lady across from you have to work at bars and liquor stores and as substitute teachers in substandard American high schools when what you should be doing is being geniuses and absolutely spectacular as you are just now, just now, in the sun on the patio, you and herself and you and herself on a Tuesday afternoon in new spring warmth and...

2:56: receive onslaught of teasing about your pretensions to knowledge about things sundry (wonder for a moment what she is talking about: you: knowledge?) and tease back by lightly pinching the skin on her stomach, though she is at an advantage with her black shades. Where are your aviators, dear boy? she asks, nonplussed at your neglect of the fine, 3 buck shades...tease tease laugh lovely love to kiss and laugh in the sun on the boulevard in the heat.

4:35: pulling away in the silver Toyota, Lady angles car through oncoming traffic on left and parked cars on right, a space far too small for said Toyota. Look on, eyes wide, as right side of Toyota grinds into similarly attired, parked auto, side-view mirrors kissing and bouncing away.

5:01: work forgone, retire to roof with Lady and 6 Canadian beers, kissing, beautifully drunk in the sun, Chicago a brilliant monstrosity at our backs, sun in face.

5:55: back inside, receive tough but quite nice bite of your stomach from Lady.

6:45: snooze on Lady's shoulder while Kramer gets fired from job he doesn't have. "Hey mister, you need to a nap," she says, but do not listen. You need fried chicken.

7:15: it's a date of the sort you might see cooked up in a user's manual for the life of a new-south dandy--the both of you laugh your tiny ways through some wonderful (of course it's good, being fried) chicken & biscuits & mashed taters & gravy on paper plates in a place in which you wouldn't be caught either alive or dead, normally...oh wonderful life! oh Lady....

9: you are the doorman. Scribble in pad and verify ages for five hours.

2:32AM: send selections from itinerary to Lady for her perusal: wonder if she will think you mad, crazy mad. Laugh to yourself. Blow a kiss herward, and begin the quick but necessary machinations in preparation to sleep the wondrous sleep of the blessed, for you are, you've decided, just this.