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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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Brandon Brown

6:15PM: I walk to the train after my Craft of Poetry class with D. and tell him my plan to chronicle the evening. As we're walking, this girl who I've convinced myself I'm in love with and have only had one brief and insufficient, stammering conversation with -- named Marya -- walks by. I spot her yards away, realize that I don't have the courage to even say hi so pretend I don't see her, that I'm in rapt attention to what D. is talking about and Marya slithers by, and D. sees her and says, "Hi, Marya" and Marya says, "Hi David" and we keep walking and I hear her say, "And Hi, Brandon!" to which I turn and feign a southern accent and say, "Hah, MarYah" and keep walking, a little ashamed.

6:24: the train comes.

6:40: I'm waiting for a bus to take me home. D. gets to take the train all the way home and I'm not that lucky. I have a ritual at this transfer point in which I always stop and smoke and worry about how much of my life is drained by waiting for buses and trains. But this time an ancient couple is occupying the small covert where I smoke. Which palpably ruins my experience, because it's windy. Smoke.

6:42: bus appears, as if the driver had been waiting for the cigarette to catch fire and tease me. I curse.

7:04: I walk into my apartment and St. Matthew, Michael, and Steve are there. We are all restless. I am thinking that my grandfather reminds me of Ezra Pound but if I tried to explain it, the result would be a mess of convoluted vagaries. I decide to stay silent, and smoke again. I know that my grandfather wouldn't have pretended not to see Marya and would not have made some feeble joke, but would probably have already wooed her senseless by now. Everyone is restless and we decide that tonight we should have an adventure.

7:13: we catch a bus to Market street. On the bus, we decide to play our favorite game, which is unofficially called 'Public Dada.' A sampling:

Steve: Hey Brandon, have you ever ridden BART?
Brandon: No. But I went to the airport, once. In Los Angeles.
Michael: How'd you get there?
Brandon: On BART. I drive BART for a living.
St. Matthew: But have you ever been to Los Angeles?
Brandon: No. Well, once, but I was unconscious.

The game persists on the recurrent themes of BART, Los Angeles, the ocean, luggage, and being unconscious. I wonder if anyone is listening.

7:38: as we get off the bus, a large black man says to us, 'I think ya'll are unconscious.'

7:39: we're still laughing about this.

7:42: I buy a pint of Early Times from a corner store and realize that pints of Early Times are 40-50% more expensive in North Beach.

7:59: we loiter, smoke, and drink Early Times. I'm wondering if this can be semantically understood as 'adventure.' Michael kills a cockroach and smears its corpse into unidentifiable portions. Another cockroach crawls out from the gutter and is wandering around and we're all looking at it, and then it gets very near the spot where the previous cockroach had given up its ghost and we all yell in disbelief and then the cockroach goes up to a bit of the previous cockroach and just rests on top of it. I say, "It's eating the other one." St. Matthew thinks that trespasses cardinal cockroach ethics. Michael drinks and laughs. Steve loiters.

8:11: a group of girls walks by. I say, "Hello." They laugh.

8:45: we give up and go to Vesuvio and drink. There is a beautiful girl at the corner table and she's alone. We drink and I curse myself for cowardice.

9:20: we're leaving, and I find courage, so I go up to the girl who reveals herself to be truly more stunning than I thought. I say, "Do you know who Dylan Thomas is?" She says, "No." She has an English accent, which somehow disheartens me. I say, "He was a great poet. You see those stairs?" and I point to the steep, foreboding, circular staircase which leads to the bottom floor and the door. She says, "Yes." I say, "Well, he fell down them once. Every time I come here I think about that." She laughs. I leave.

9:23: Michael says to me, "That failed miserably." I nod. I smoke.

9:45: we get on the bus, in silence. We're all drunk and ashamed of ourselves for not having an adventure. I know that my grandfather would have succeeded in obtaining at least a good story from the evening.

10:30: we get home. We put on a Richard Buckner record and chainsmoke and barely talk. I think about the girl in the bar and Marya. I contemplate going back out and looking for adventure again, alone. But know how it will end.

MIDNIGHT: too drunk. Smoke.

1AM: take a Vicodin and fall asleep. Have bad dreams.