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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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Marc Baez

8AM: on the elevated train, wedged into an impatient mass of eight o'clock humanity, my eyes locate a peaceful spot between the varnished shoes of a tilting business man. And as my mind wanders through its own mortal substance with the usual vulgarity, the train's speed is doing its own monotonous thinking out loud. I am tired, want to crawl back into the Sphinx-lips of sleep. On the seat to my right, a child is wriggling in its mother's arms like a Bob Fosse dancer. She tells him to stop it and he wriggles faster, giving his bottom lip an anguished wetting with his tongue. She then spins him around and slaps his face. This causes his mouth to open wide and his body to slump, his sobs now making syncopated riffs on their own damp melodies. I wish I could push him into another woman's vagina so he could be born again.

8:45AM: It is cold outside. Everyone walking on the sidewalk appears to be in pain, their cheeks red as if made up for a melodrama starring nobodies and ice. Tied to a pole, a small mutt with deer-moist eyes is barking exclamation marks into the air. I offer to pet him, but he growls, baring his extraordinarily clean teeth at me. I shrug and walk into a coffee shop. Ahead of me in line is an elderly couple engaged in a slow-motion wrestling match of mumbles and yawns. The girl comes over and asks for their order. They mumble. She tries to decipher. After 1.5 million years it is my turn. I order a café latte. She jogs over to the machine, her black hair's cinched spirals bouncing. Why doesn't she have any help in here? I could work here. Just me and her. We'd change the place into a nightclub. We'd convert rave-party sweat into an alcoholic beverage to be served to our customers in mugs carved to resemble really lonely human hands. When she returns with my drink I ask her for an application. She gives me one, but says she doesn't think they're hiring anyone right now. Back outside I crunch the application into a ball and roll it to the mutt who picks it up with his teeth and violently shakes it.

9-5PM: I sell lumber.

6PM: I sit at a bar. Inspired by a funk song, a lady gets up, and as she dances the motion of her butt suggests a heart juggling foxy depths. I would try and converse with her. She is attractive. Her hair is ingeniously curly. But I don't know what to say. "How about we go back to my place. Just you, me, a bottle of champagne, and then who knows, maybe I'll take you through the details of all of my life's crushing defeats." That wouldn't work. I drink eleven beers.

10PM: The train contains less people now. I gaze at an advertisement-poster for one of those islands where you go to lay around, letting your body be punched by the sun's ultra-violet fist as some ocean makes a big deal out of itself a few hundreds yards away. The lady who was dancing in the bar makes sense there. So do the teenagers sitting across from me with their tongues lurking in each other's mouths. I will make sense once I lay in my bed.