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**PRINT: LIFE ON THE FRONTIER, by Chicago resident and native Kate Duva, is THE2NDHANDís 33rd broadsheet. Duva's been plying the brains of THE2NDHAND readers for several years now, and her characteristic stylistic mix of arch-weird and arch-real in story makes for an explosively brittle manifestation of reality in this the longest story she's published in these halls, about a young woman's sojourn at what she sees as the edges of American civilization, Albuquerque, N.M., where she works as a nurse in state group homes for aging mentally disabled people. Catch Duva Feb. 8, 2010, at Whistler in Chicago at the second installment of our new reading series, So You Think You Have Nerves of Steel? This issue also features a short by THE2NDHAND coeditor C.T. Ballentine.

**WEB: BASEBALL Alec Niedenthal
WING & FLY: NERVES OF STEEL / WORK IN PROGRESS | Todd Dills
HIDEOUS BOUNTY: LIFEBOAT | Andrew Davis
FIRE AND RAIN: A TEN-MINUTE PLAY C.L. Bledsoe
UNBEARABLE LIKENESS Christopher Fullerton
ROBOBROTHER Lydia Ship
RABBIT Irene Westcott
OUT Greggory Moore
AMERICAN SOILING FEES John M. Flaherty
CHEMTRAILS FOR ELIOT Doug Milam

BASEBALL
---
Alec Niedenthal

I stopped my dad in the kitchen. I moved a wicker chair in front of him.

"Stop," I said.

"Is mom going crazy?" I said.

THE LEFT HAND: Soap, Lit

***
I and my dad were in the car. Felipe drove us here and there. Felipe's small height filled the backseat with legroom.

"Where's mom going?" I said.

Her life was in boxes when we had left to go see baseball.

"She's leaving you," he said.

"Why?" I said.

"She wants a son who will treat her right," he said. He squeezed the meat of my thigh in his hand.

At baseball I almost caught a foul ball. Dad swatted it out of my hand.

"No," he said.

***
One night this summer my dad confused me for my mom, I guess. I was drawing the things in my grandmother's room from before her face got halved last spring in a stroke. I was crawled under the satin topsheet of her bed. I had just broken up with my first girlfriend.

Dad came in and started ringing his fingers in my long hair.

"What're you doing?" he said.

"Drawing," I said.

"Cool," he said.

He kissed the back of my head and smoothed my arms in his hands. He found my hands and twisted them around my back. He clasped them with one hand, and with the other he bent my head forward. His fingers got wandering in my mouth. He accused me of bad breath.

"Fucking stop crying," he said.

He said mom's name repeatedly. He slipped into bed. He stopped before anything really happened, and fell asleep.

***
When mom came home it had been a few months. She came equipped with groceries.

"Chips," I said, feeling around bags. "Where's the chips?" My hands are like tentacles when it comes to groceries.

"Look harder," she said. She hugged around my head.

There weren't any chips.

***
When mom came home she came with one less finger. Her ring finger, right hand.

"What happened there?" dad said at dinner.

"Nothing," mom said. "Accident."

A few weeks later dad did the same deal to his finger. He roamed around the house waving the stiff stub in room after room.

"For love!" he said. "Fuck all of you!"

Mom quickly finished the job, sealed the deal. She cut out parts of him in his sleep. I didn't tell anyone. I guess I might've helped.

***
Mom's eulogy for dad was short and sweet.

She bent into the microphone, grinned like it was her birthday.

"Fuck all of you!" she said.

VERY SMALL CURES

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OUR FRIENDS AT The Left Hand make great soap, salves, balms and other natural hygiene-type stuff, in addition to publishing a zine and running a book swap, a performance series and more from their Tuscaloosa, AL, homebase. When they offered to make something for us, we jumped. We introduce THE2NDHAND soap, an olive oil soap with a quadruple dose of Bergamot, "for the readers we've sullied..." Price is $6, ppd.

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