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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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Joe Jarvis

9:15AM: climb atop lover. Wet tip of left index finger with tongue. Screw out flakes of dried mucus from the corners of lover's eyes. Deliver kisses to eyelids and about the face while being called "Dragon Breath" amid giggles.

9:16: lover repeatedly jabs syringe into crook of arm. With each stab there is a boom and a rising of red concentric circles, which bulge through skin and swirl about, finally clustering beneath left corner of jaw, where they form a basketball-sized pimple and pulse erractically, in sync with heartbeat. See self from perspective of lover. Entire head swelling. Note boniness of my/his ass against my/her thighs.

9:17: jugular explodes.

9:18: mourn the fact that I'm bleeding to death and hope Mama will be OK, clutching to lover and praying samsara will give us another chance. Listen to lingering booming.

9:19: curse workmen in adjacent alley for once again invading dreams with jackhammers, then the fact I'm not bleeding to death. Pull lips from case of large feather pillow.

9:20: dismount large feather pillow.

9:21: attempt to rationalize entire last four months. Smoke four cigarettes, lighting each with the last. Decide to be more like Christ.

10:07: shower while planning day's events: call financial aid advisor; circle several classified jobs I'm not qualified for; make appointment for $41 haircut.

10:30: make appointment for $41 haircut. Smoke a few cigarettes and wonder if Christ also prefers a fade.

10:45: walk towards El. Tell man on street "Gold and silver have I none, but what I have I freely give unto you." Search for something to say while he looks on expectantly. Offer cigarette, which he takes. Bask in altruistic bliss while he walks off, muttering "faggot ass whacko."

10:51: call friend's voice mail from train platform to tell him I've decided to be more like Christ. Wish I lived on the Blue Line so I could examine the backwash of filth between the tracks while waiting, instead of pretending not to notice those around me.

11:37: board train. Nancy with beret reads Kafka. Trump by prominently displaying my copy of Kierkegaard's Diary of a Seducer. Stare at spaces between words and entertain maudlin memories of Janet. The way she waved to friends with four fingers, thumb tucked under strap of backpack. Her legs crossed, sprawled across half the couch, left elbow pinned against back cushions, left hand twisting at her plats. Right hand waving cigarette for emphasis. A California Puma sneaker resting on her left toes, heel slipped off. Foot gently kicking at air, the way we're taught to imagine people do when sitting on the edges of docks. Her lips wet and moving in the way that forced me to rush to the bathroom after every conversation to cry, explaining it as a weak bladder. Meanwhile, I just nod and try to hang onto the words.

NOON: arrive at Fullerton. Get off and wander. Think about Christ. Christ was god, let's say. God is love. God loves everyone, regardless of what she or he does. More than anything, God wants love. God is like me magnified 5 billion times: insecure and attention-starved, wanting everyone's love. Dostoevsky pointed out God could have jumped from the mountaintop and had angels save him, but then we all would recognize him as the messiah and worship him. There's proof and with proof no choice and without choice, no love. Wonder how Christ's miracles fit into this. Decide not to worry about it. So, I must love everyone, even the fucker who pulled the gun on me. Decide I can handle this task. Get a double iced mocha from Starbuck's and bask in altruistic bliss. Head back towards El, carefully concealing Starbuck's logo on plastic cup with fingers.

12:45PM: decide best place to test my love for everyone is the Alley.

1:04: go to Alley.

1:15: decide to be more like Marquis de Sade.

1:20: head out on Clark. Decide I am to have a "Closer Walk with Sade." Shriek with pleasure for clever turn of phrase. Decide, like every good Christian, I'll pick and choose which parts of Sadism to adhere to. De-virginizing society's elite sounds good, could make me a better person certainly. Will probably skip activities such as forcing girl to eat my shit and then forcing her to vomit and then forcing her to eat the vomit. Convince myself it's a noble pursuit. All paths of salvation go to the same place: Christianity, Islam, Rastafari, Hinduism, Buddhism, Church of the Subgenius, Church of Euthanasia. God gave Indians Krishna and Shiva and Vishnu and the five hundred other guys. The First Nations got The Great Spirit. God created us differently or with the capacity to become different, and so gave each people an avatar with whom they could relate. I got de Sade.

1:27: remember "A Closer Walk with Sade" is the chapter of a book I've read, or skimmed. Curse repeatedly under my breath.

1:50: arrive at salon. Sit on a vinyl teal chair that doubtless costs more than my rent. Pick up gentlemen's magazine and read cunnilingus tip article. Tip#1 "You don't really eat the vagina, you just kind of lick it." Slap forehead with palm, chuckling over youthful folly.

2:25: hairdresser positions me for hair-washing/sensual scalp massage, the latter being completely unexpected.

2:40: cough slightly and lightly tug at leg of jeans, so as to not betray significant erection resultant from sensual scalp massage.

2:45: wonder if sensual scalp massage is standard. Probably not, I conclude, and so invite hairdresser to upcoming reading.

3:00: while paying, gather courage to ask if sensual scalp massage is standard.

3:05: leave salon and realize Sadism will never work without the slightest charm or least shred of good looks.

3:20: board train.

3:35: get off in Uptown. Sidetracked, wander east down Lawrence.

3:40: scurry westward.

4:00: on friend's roof, drink beer and again contemplate Christianity and friend's roommate's cat scaling gutters. Decide cat is a tortured soul that wants to die. Pretend my parents are hard-core Buddhists that understand I am a tortured soul. Feel much better about suicide. Stare over ledge and think how easy it is. Sit back down and drink more. Decide I am a bodhisattva, sent to show the world how not to act. WWJD bracelets really mean, "What Wouldn't Joey Do?" Whatever I wouldn't do, the world should do and whatever I do is absolutely the stupidest thing one could ever attempt. Resolve to get an agent to push me as the antithesis of good taste and humanity.

8:37: arrive at dive bar. Play several games of pool with someone named Sam. Decide Sam is indeed a woman.

9: realize how little it means either way.

10:47: head home, listening to Discman. Regret The Afghan Whigs and Bright Eyes are the only folks alive who understand my life. Pause at corner store for cigarettes. Realize that cigarettes will only give me a reason to stay awake, and that a lack of cigarettes in the morning will give me a reason for getting out of bed.

11:07: nightmares.