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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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Todd Dills

1115: remove hair from face using sharpened metal and new, funny-smelling lotion.

1200: bus w/ A. from Clapton, through Hackney, through Hackney, through Hackney--"it never ends, never ends..." Think to YOURself of Self's "North London Book of the Dead." Comprehend briefly (and to be repeated t/o your stay) why people would be moved here after their deaths and how Chicagoans would probably be moved to Logan Square or, rather, some little weird amalgam of neighborhoods jammed between Humboldt Park and Logan Square: Logan Park? Humboldt Square? Humgan Squark? Logboldt Pear?

1230: disembark at Angel, rebound through Financial Dist. to London Bridge, North side.

1245: disembark, once more...Stroll across Thames--londonbridgeisfallingdownfallingdown--marveling at how very warm it is. Forget somehow for a quick half-minute that different locales have of necessity different climates. "This IS March, enit?" Suddenly comprehend your own flippant stupidity by way of the look A. will give you, wide-eyed, smirklips. Think mental density, dum-dum.

1301: Tate Modern, powerstation refurbed and -modeled, whose architectural digs will make for more spectacular viewing than much of the things-on-pedestals inside--Century City London, New York, Bombay (spectacular video/film the narratives among which will include one particular scene featuring a contemporary kind of visionary-guy w/ beard sitting crosslegged and pushing a product which he tells [in Hindi, of course] the circle of Indian men around him will strengthen their 'lower weapons' ['Do you find that your semen becomes runny? Do you have trouble doing your thing w/ your wives and mistresses? Try just a little dab of our special...']), Tokyo, Rio D--, Lagos (yes Lagos...in which there will be less art-object/thing-on-pedestal than old family portrait, snapshot-collages of 80s90s African men and women and children), Vienna...

1506: IRA-bomb-in-trash discussion: listen intently as A. explains away the absence of trashcans in tube, on street, anywhere near a building (you will need to discard the torn wrapper from your mint-chocolate-flavored Nutty-Butty impersonation ["Nutty-Butty?" A. will ask. "Hmm...an American thing with nuts."] and when finally you locate a can, sighted from your spot on tarmaclike-material-covered benches outside of powerstation-Tate, and drop the wrapper into it, you will see a strangely tubular, plastic container in can and tromp back to A. on this particular tarmaclike-material-covered bench with a wideyed expression...imagining headlines, 'Young American Ape and resident German Perish in Blast'...)

1700: on the way to beer--Notting Hill (Madonna lives here? Really? Where? [Visions here of, well...]). Walk at length in search of pub, A.'s old haunts: pass dive called the Earl Percy in favor of French restaurant around the corner. Beer yourself and A. while you wait for dinner/serving-time to roll around. Talk Chicago buses and trains and people and horrible jobs, always, proprietors milling around doing funnysilly parodies of chi-chi patrons ordering particular wines, then:

1905: at last, order Duck while A. contemplates Venison and/or, umm, Venison it will be. Bottle of some sort of Burgundy please and thankyou, properly. You will be hungry, A. will be hungry and hungry and so durn hungry and talking about being hungry and your mouths slathering and foaming and the wine will come and the both of you will begin to drink it like you might as well be picking up the bottle and turning that thing up cause it's thirst, too, that will drive you, Orange Fanta and raw Whiskey and some weird grape drink A. had in a carton like [what's that stuff?] and blended Whisky and single-malt Scotch and Coffee and Beer and Orange juice and this Burgundy wine and the Margaritas no one seems to know about, here, and you will stop talking eventually and just stare at each other and continue to drink and the food will come and--there will be things that will rend you, things that will take your ribcage like in fists and pull and pull until your breastbone breaks and your guts go spilling over the table in certain indistinct and highly emotive phraseology, but not today, not now, for you will be swimming in glory in a little tiny corner restaurant waiting for reallyreally nice and good food and A. will smile and pour herself another glass of wine and raise it high, but not before your version of same, raising that full thing and just looking stupidly and happily there, watching those eyes, depthful mabye if not undermined by bad lighting or something typical, this eve...you will raise that and A. will and you will smile and nothing will be said and there will be shortly a sound as of two cheap plastic ink pens being tapped together and you will stand in back of yourself and feel quite nicely warm, wrapped in pipe smoke as the both of you pull of full-, then less so-, then almost empty again- glasses and just sit there, staringthinkingsmiling, thinking...

1942: fucking exquisite food, but of course...mammammumu...yumyum...

2030: look on as sky falls out just outside the big glass front of the restaurant, wind whipping wet sheets against this glass front. Curt flapping sounds. "So typical," A. will say. London daze and look for break in downpour, find it, pay, rush out and two blocks over to check for Friends w/ Sauna, which could be the title for a funny photo or painting or something. Not home**. Rain will begin to pour. Thunder will clap.

2045: duck into Earl Percy pub, soaked. Duck into its small half as other, wider half is full of old English men w/ large stomachs. Remark to A.: "We must be in the loser side of the bar." "Shh," she will reply, index finger moving to closed lips, eyes darting to crazy man w/ cellphone. A small door-opening the approximate height of a dwarf will separate the two sides. There will be two others this side besides yourselves, one of whom--a skinny, well-dressed English man talking into a cellphone--will sit on your right. Listen pretending not to be listening as he lays into the person on the other line: "How fucking dare you fucking speak to me in such a manner. You fucking cunt. You bloody stupid cunt..." etc. Laugh w/ A. Gawk w/ A. Purchase Golden Virginia rolling tobacco, two beers. Drink them. Smoke it.

2136: rush out of Earl Percy after witnessing dwarf in three-piece suit (red w/ silver pinstripes) come barreling through that little opening, scaring you sober.

2205: board bus, Portobello, King's Cross, some other place you've absolutely no idea, all little streets and buildings crowded together, falling over each other...change in, yes, yes, know where you are...Hoxton after excretion in blind alley. Remind A. to remind you, next bar you leave, to visit the restroom before departure. Roll cigarette in rain on way to bus stop, then, struggling w/ wet, sticky paper, sticky paper. "Hey come on!" Here she will come, the bus. Runrunrun, lighting smoke, toking once, then jump, grasp handle at rear bus entry as she pulls off, flinging you around in a circle like some wayward fireman, slamming left-shoulder hard into side. "Ouch." "You okay?" "Yep." Cigarette plopping in sewer, bus dieseling away.

*to be continued...
**later in week look on as voice-mail is received notifying A. that one of said Friends has finally done what he said he would for so long, namely pick up and pack up everything (which is not so much, admittedly) and get on a plane w/ the intention of relocating to Montevideo, of all places...what is that? Uruguay? Maybe. Has he ever even been to Montevideo? No. Get very angry with this Friend you have never even met. Do people just do that? They don't. Do they just call their friends and leave voicemail messages telling, Oh, hey, btw, I'm moving to Montevideo today... NO. NO. Absolutely fucking NO. If my friend did that to me, I'd...pour whiskey for A. Drink it yourself, in quick gulps.

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