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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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Penelope Memoli

6:00PM: Simpsons. Roommate Al wants to know why the heat is cranked up to a whopping seventy degrees. "I can't get warm," I answer pleadingly.

6:22: the familiar soreness in the back of my throat from earlier in the day is gaining intensity. Denial. I don't get sick anymore. Take vitamins. Put on two fleece shirts, an extra pair of pants, scarf and snow beret. Still feel cold.

7:54: commence lying down beside telly like a lazy couch person wrapped cocoon-like in a blue blanket falling in and out of a demented sleep filled with visions of what I think is on TV mixed with dreams of being late for school.

10:37: awaken to 3rd Rock From the Sun, disappointed I slept through the 10:00 Simpsons. Willingly shut my eyes because there's just no point.

11:32: awaken to Frasier, which gives me the strength to move my sorry self into bed, before drawing one final glass of Brita water from the pitcher.

11:35: notice faint smell of old drool on pillow. Head is heavy. Can't turn pillow over. Learn to enjoy it.

3:34AM: scarf chokes me in sleep. I do not die.

3:35: think of a funny way pompous indoor scarf types could die. Wonder if I am one of them.6:30: alarm says: GET UP, BITCH! Would rather stay home.

6:32: wonder why pee is neon green. Brush teeth. Still feel like shit. Dress casually.

6:57 Call in sick, cuz I can, cuz I am, and I swear I ain't lyin'.

10:00: Martha Stewart and a phat doob for the pain. Martha was condescending to the chubby southern belle she was cooking "Country" ham with. Martha was also greedy because she had a special giant ham and she was like, "This is MY ham! We're not cooking this today, we have another one." She wouldn't use her good ham to cook during the ham segment, she had a moldy ham soaking in the sink, and you would think Martha Stewart of all people would be against moldy meats, but that woman said mold was OK and she just cut it off with a knife while Martha looked on approvingly. Then Martha interrupted the woman during her recipe, "Can I jut say something about the ham. This is a very fine textured ham." It was the bitchiest I'd ever seen Martha. Maybe it was because halfway through the segment Martha realized that she and the belle were wearing the exact same baggy, gut-hiding lavender button-down shirt. In the next segment the belle had changed into a peach shirt while Martha remained lavender. When the already cooked ham came out of the oven Martha was very excited and proclaimed that she was ready to start crunching on the skin. "I won't let you do that!" scolded the belle, who went on to say that you have to eat ham only a little at a time as it is very rich. They had made tiny biscuits to house a tiny slice of ham. Martha used her hands to open a biscuit while the belle reminded us of her ham principals. "Now, just a little piece of ham," and every time she said the word ham she added an extra syllable. Martha picked off a tiny flake of ham, as instructed and put it in the biscuit. She handed it over and politely said, "That one's for you, now I'm going to make one for myself." Martha gave herself two large slices that stuck out the edge of the biscuit, and ate it before the camera could get a good close up.

10:58: stick Q-tip in television to turn it off before The Family Feud with the obnoxious and ugly Louis Anderson ruins the serene note Martha's closing credits have left me with. Remember the old host, not the old old one, but the middle one, Ray something. He committed suicide; I think he hanged himself. Examine throat in bathroom mirror. There are large white spots as big as peas on tonsils swollen to the size of baby fists. Wonder if I should see a doctor; decide I will get better without one.

11:23: yes, I must be getting better because now I am too warm. Remove layers, lower the heat.

12:16PM: cold again. Add layers. Two pairs of plush wintry socks, the aforementioned fleeces, one dirty hoodie (find Now and Laters in the pocket), tights, pants, pants, skirt, aforementioned murderous scarf, snow hat with pom pom.

12:20: cough up skin. Examine the little piece of tissue between my fingers, smells like used dental floss, note the resemblance to an embryo. Wrap it in a napkin and throw it away. Hear it call Mama! from the trash can. Wonder if I am decaying from the inside out.

12:34: search through phone book for help. What? No doctors? Party, Pest, Pizza (woops, too far), Physicians.

12:38: look at all the plastic surgeon ads before and after photos, contemplate a new me, cough up more skin. Make 2:00 appointment, operator has trouble understanding me, my voice in a bubble unable to get past my giant tonsils.

1:00: leave house in what I think is bitter cold, bitter feelings towards people in spring jackets, bitter that I am using my legs. Contemplate collapsing in the street for sympathy and a ride to the doctor. Cough up and spit phlegm globber with skin on the sidewalk, uncaring of manners, hoping someone, anyone, will see how ill I am and feel sorry for me and drive me to the doctor.

1:09: arrive at L stop, wait in cold, spitting, coughing, listening to Blur made tragic and ugly by almost-dead batteries.

1:18: search for light at the end of the tunnel. Where's that stupid train?

1:19: train arrives. Enter hacking loudly while sucking a Now and Later. No one sits near me.

1:46: arrive at doctor's office. Sign in and read smoothie recipes in a two month old Family Circle.

2:23: after a twenty-minute sit on cracking butcher paper a strange doctor with funny glasses looks in my mouth and prescribes penicillin for strep throat.

2:35: fat Pharmacy man takes forever causing me to make unnecessary purchases of fancy cruelty-free toothpaste and snobby rose hip tea. Contemplate a throat spray medicine or lozenge, but they're all for minor sore throat pain; I consider my pain major. Decide to forgo any over-the-counter medicine. Get prescription and hope for immediate results.

2:43: stop at dollar store for Pony-Os, and batteries.

3:21: crank heat. Try to eat bread as a blanket for the following vitamin bombardment: B complex with vitamin C, a calcium, magnesium, and zinc supplement, a 1000-milligram horse pill of vitamin C, three echinacea, a Centrum, vitamin E and two aspirins for the pain.

3:22: attempt futile. Wrap self in blanket, attempting to watch The Bird Cage because I haven't seen it. Remember that I have seen it and that I hate Nathan Lane, but I will watch it anyway because I don't want to leave my warm spot.

6:56: attempt futile. Awaken to blue screen. Recall that Boston Public, David E. Kelly's edgy new show about more snobs in Boston, is on at seven. Fall asleep dreaming of how good TV is.

3:19AM: Al's shut off the lights, left the telly on. A commercial for a fat-reducing, money-saving hair growing removal product. Stick Q-tip in TV to make it go away then make a cup of bedside tea and sleep beside it.

6:30: GET UP BITCH!!!

7:00: dress for success in tweed, the most literary of fabrics, as stated by Vogue magazine.

8:14: decide I'm glad I'm sick and that I will use this illness to be a better, more health-conscious me altogether. Take vitamins, drink tea and water, not smoke, every day.

8:15: listen to Britney Spears's Stronger. Feel stronger.

8:18: song ends. Hit repeat.

9:15: walk to work, see coughing homeless man, think he is faking it.