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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

1220: after lounging around all morning seriously think about rising. Raise head from pillow, car alarm down below open window suddenly wailing, AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

1230: make coffee. Sit on bed w/ A. and drink it, smoking three cigarettes in quick succession while searching for day's provisional itinerary, trying to remember what you were supposed to do, what you did last night. "Was I that drunk?" "Well..." "Oh yes, Hilltop Rebel lost..." boohoo and AHA! Jewish Book Week, Royal Intl. Hotel...don Brian costume, including new shoes and denim jacket, THE2NDHAND T-shirt and very carefully tousled hair.

0130: cafe breakfast, full English (you guys got "Full Dead?"): Ham--Bean--Mushroom--Tomato--Egg (Sunny Side)--Brown Sauce.

I just wanted to say the number '7' to you.

1730: after walking for hours on end...God knows where you are...rush hour tube body-jam. Overhear man on cellphone: "I just wanted to say the number '7' to you." Hold on tight as train hitches and stops. Listen intently to British-accented, automated conductor-voice come crackling over the intercom: "Mind the gap. Please use all available doors. Please stack up on top of each other to allow for more room. Stack according to departure point." What would happen if you licked the hand of the Pakistani gripping the pole just inches from your mouth?

1740: lick hand of Pakistani gripping the pole just inches from your mouth. Watch in awe as hand remains perfectly still, gripping the pole just inches from your mouth.

1800: meet A.'s friend in A.'s old hood at video shop down the street from the Earl Percy (visions of dwarves in bright red, silver-pinstriped suits [see DAY 2]) to assist in prep for tomorrow night's party, which will include the renting of a dozen or so films to be projected on the massive wall of Hackney church-cum-club where party will take place.

1815: nod and smile repeatedly when friend arrives. Decide that you like her.

1820: stand outside alone but for your Brian costume, watching folks pass by because you're here, simply. Smoke two cigarettes in quick succession. Think about drinking a beer. Enter video store.

1830: rush out of video store, A.'s friend freaking cause A.'s membership to super-cool video store is no good. Trundle along behind the two thinking about future itineraries in which you are not yourself, but a Dead version of yourself in a Brian costume. Inspect your jacket for video-store lint. Arrive somehow at bar somewhere full of people who look exactly like you. Remember a misguided, long-forgotten mission: drop THE2NDHAND postcards w/ the funny bit about the cat and the dumb guy who used the pretense of the outrageously-mangy pet cat to get a girl into his apartment. Stare at guy at table adjacent in denim jacket and w/ carefully tousled hair, red T-shirt. Avert eyes when he looks up. Nudge A. "Hey, check it out..." w/ a little head-jerk his way.

1930: board bus--knowing you will be late--w/ long ride ahead to Russell Square, Jewish B.W: more collapsible buildings shot in cracked-streetlight relief, traffic jams, man w/ wide-open mouth aimed upward and screaming to the sky.

1949: "We're gonna be late."
        "We'll make it all right."
        "We're gonna be late, I tell you."
        "We'll make it. Everything starts late."
        "We're gonna be late."
        "We're gonna be late."

1956: pass King's Cross. "Hey that's King's Cross, yeh?" "Mm-hmm." Feel very upstanding and informed and... "We're gonna be late." "Shut up."

2015: arrive late, but just in time for the scattered musings of the Lord Melvin Bragg, a man in whom you will note a characteristic definitively something, say English, say Upper Class whackoffish, say maybe it's just the title of Lord** but this man will chatter at length to no specific end. Laugh when W. Self finally cuts in wideyed and gangly and maniacally direct in presentation--carefully measured syllables to the effect that, okay, I'm going to read this now.

2030: listen to section of HOW THE DEAD LIVE, live-dead Lily Bloom's cancerous chest and exaggerated ramblings as she's moved by daughters from hospital to hospital to home, back to hospital, now that of the 'Royal Ear'.

2052: Jerry-Springer moment at Jewish Book Week, question aimed at Self regarding family and fathering and... "Do you think it's necessary to go through a 'rocky time' in your life in order to make it all worthwhile?" "Well, well, this must be the Jerry-Springer moment...".

2055: "Men who it seems take quite a lot of time finding themselves usually make good web designers."

2109: "Have any of you actually read NOVA EXPRESS?"

2112: "When I was working on GREAT APES I actually learned how to pant-hoot, spent a lot of time going around on all fours."

2115: woman will stand up for question regarding the WWW and which morphs into a blatant sales-pitch for a book she's written on www-as-tool-for-child-rearing kind of subject. Much audience groaning and guffawing.

2135: grab copy of HTDL from Lord Melvin at one of those long card-table sorts of things they typically have in small-town South church fellowship halls. Remember misguided and long-forgotten mission for the second time in one day and pass pre-eminent Author of literary and hallucinogenic satire a copy of THE2NDHAND #4, after trundling up to the signing table acutely aware among middle-aged Jewish people and writers of www-as-tool-for-child-rearing-type books of your Brian-fanboy costume. "Yeh, I'll check it out...and..." Author's exceedingly long, chimplike hands reaching out w/ book just scribbled on 'To T--, London, 8-3-01...' eyes going wide and in voice of say drugged-out maniac or maybe Frankenstein, "ENJOY..." "Allright, thanks," high sense of bumbling stupidity, trundling away...damndamndamn. And where's A.? Oh yes, here. "Hey, let's go." "Don't you have to pay for that?" looking down at book in hands, passing sales-counter, "Oh yeh."

2150: board bus to Hoxton, toward Mother Bar and after quick fish/chips & kebab in super take-away shop w/ many neon-floures- lights and little skimpy counters. Mmmumumm...

2230: lounge on little faux-bed w/ A. and full double scotch by window overlooking 6-point intersection vaguely recalling Damen/North/Milwaukee. "Hey A., what's up?" Spot Mother-Queen-of-all Brians strolling through security checkpoint at entry door, female w/ carefully-tousled hair and tight T-shirt, ratty jeans. Nudge A. "Hey, check it out..."

2240: upon further inspection, realize simultaneously (you and A.) that Mother-Queen-of-all Brians is actually more a King.

2345: bus home.

0045: spot A.'s flatmate, but for a second. "Hey." "HA-LLOWWW". Read aloud from past day's itineraries. Laugh a good deal more than necessary.

0130: sleep, humming.

*to be continued.
**and at a party a night or two following inquire to no end about this character and get report continually that Mr. Bragg is something of shifty fellow, his Lordship, yes, mm-hmm, well, a real Labour-party guy, arts commentator, but who didn't blanche at all when they (who?.. yes THEY) offered him his oh-so honorary title, no, didn't blanche (yourself, you, hearing this particular word in conversation w/ a Scottish fellow about your age or maybe a little older who seems to know all about it...). And you will make a vague connection between the Lord himself and, say, the U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond, the other conversing party continually screwing up their eyes and laughing a bit, good little joke. Decide, in the end, that you personally think it sucks quite horribly.

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