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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

1000: wake to sound of ringing phone, A. intoning an advertisement: "Do you ever feel you aren't pestered enough by your family, friends or partner?.. try a Mobile Phone!" searching down among the clothespile on the floor for the ringing mechanism. "Hello?"

1103: breakfast of Eggs and Toast, Orange slices.

1205: newspaper headline: real-IRA targeting bridges. Read comic about I-can't-believe-it's-not-IRA bombs and heightened security around city center, reduction of security around Millennium Dome, ho-hum, ho-hum....

1210: Hackney bus jam--catch railway to Tube to Oxford Circus.

1300: marvel at volume of shoeshops--velcrovelcrovelcro--end up w/ wanky faux-bowling shoes purchased for far too much money. Discuss w/ A. aspects of Brianism in your own dress, outlook, etc....stand outside of shop and, after realization that you might just be typecasting yourself in a drama involving carefully tousled hair and the assumption of downcast expressions, stand w/ microphone surreptitiously active and recording the hackneyed expressions of an Irish woman talking to her friend about a man she feels is the kind of weakling one commonly associates with having been born in that States. Hmm?

1330: purchase denim jacket--what?--suffer further encroaching fear of likewise encroaching Chicago coffee-shop dishevelment when A. looks you up and down at your back in the Viewing Mirror and says just a single word, tousles your hair for you..."Brian." Damn.

1510: coffee w/ A. in second-level shop. No smoking. mmrrarrrrrrrghhhhhhss. Leaf through TIME OUT looking for FALL show; find Greyhound Races, Romford Stadium Northwest suburbs, find 'Will Self talks w/ Lord Melvin Bragg at Royal International Hotel--Jewish Book Week Festival...'. Goodlordy...draft quick two-day itinerary w/ A. as intermediary: 1700: bus to Russell Square, Jewish Book F./R.Intl.H., pick tix for tomorrow. Flee to Grocery, lasagnalasagna. 1800: home, cook, eat. 1900: train train bus to Romford races. 2000: arrive in time for dogs. Bet. Win, yes, will win. 0000: home, sleep. (rush to next day) 1900: rescue A.'s friend for movie party, bus back to Russell Square. Will Self: commence work for the time, give the man a copy of your little zine, laugh when he laughs at you, look real stupid, be taken for irresolute fanboy of heretofore unseen dimensions...tis perfecto, unbeatable, NO? A. will think so.

1710: purchase ticket from baffled Jew--"Will who?" Beer in pub: leave copy of THE2NDHAND #4 on bar.

1730: catch train--smash your body against rush-hour Irish-looking woman, hot-headed kid at her side.

1800: disembark only to catch bus when you blast up out of the tunnel--smash through bodies there, catch seat next to large black man with mohawk.

1830: purchase spinach, yellow pepper, onion, mushroom, zucchini for fabulous veg-lasagna.

1845: bumping fat, skinny, normal-sized people again on bus w/o discrimination.

1900: chop spinach, yellow pepper, onion, mushroom, zucchini after purchasing drei Kronenburg 1664 18oz tallboy can, grocery bag in hand.

1954: drop spinach-slime crumb on floor from piled-over fork; wince at pain in your packed stomach when you bend to wrest the crumb from carpet.

2025: depart for wayward London suburb--Romford.

2045: catch free ride on Silverlink Rail at Hackney Central, very sleepy and full and sluggish and pains in your side when you have to run up stairs to catch last train at transfer point.

2100: try to interview A. w/ tiny microphone: "So A...." She's not into it. Fall asleep on her shoulder.

2115: get penalty-10q fine for not having proper ticket. Regret free ride.

2130: Romford stadium looming via a curious lightening of the sky way in back of dim, curiously jammed carpark. Aha! Greyhounds zooming around track chasing plastic-looking rabbit, old men by betting stalls laughing and computing, erasing, rewriting odds. How will this work?

2145: Place fiver apiece on Hilltop Rebel and Elegant Princess, respectively. Lose. Watch instead Toothill Toby coming to a grandiose victory (only after Hilltop Rebel, yes, your dog, zooms ahead a 6-dog length only to give out in a full forward grind-and-trample into the dirt on the final turn of the final lap--damn) Spend the remaining three races in a contest of wills w/ A. Who will have the instinct? A.'s final pick, a winsome white-coat w/ brown spots name of Elmcrown James, comes to a nose-grabbing victory. Grab A.'s nose and twist it jealously.

2300: wait 30min for bus to train Station.

2330: bus.

2345: free train ride to transfer at Stratford, trains having stopped running at this point. Elude penalty-ticket-givers by telling the truth about the lack of attendants at previous station--ha!--attempt bus-catch at huge terminal outside of train station. Hackney 276 at point L. A-B-C-D, no L. Find L block and ½ away after much circuitous tramping. Need Loo, need Loo.

2355: need Loo. Ride empty bus through North London zigzagging through crumbling blocks. A: "This place IS dead, literally." Need Loo, need Loo.

0030: "we made it!" Visit Loo. Greyhound-team conversation: "Brians R Us"--Pinballqueen V., Heyheyhey T., Hot T., Sensory Deprivation R., Angie, always winners, always....

0130: can't sleep, can't sleep, can't sleep. Pour whiskey. Write itinerary for morning. Write a short bit about a guy smoking cigarette butts in his apartment by himself.

0145: whiskey. Write short bit about Greyhound Trainer whose idea of heaven is a politically-sanctioned marriage to his old champion, Simpering Sarah.

0200: whiskey.

0230: whiskey.

*to be continued...

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