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**CURRENT PRINT: THE PEOPLE!: "All viz" are the watchwords for our 26th broadsheet, featuring a print by Birmingham's Charles Buchanan, comics by longtime Antipurpose Driven Lifer Andrew Davis. It's all tied together by the Sandburg-inspired illustrations by our resident, Rob Funderburk.

**WEB: SCHAUMBURG, ILLINOIS: A TRAVELER'S TALE Kate Duva
IN CRAWLING PLACE Jill Summers
JEFF AND JEFF KOONS Ling Ma
I, MISERABLE, YOU, I DON'T KNOW Chris Bower
THE STUPIDIST MANIFESTO Pitchfork Battalion
THE ANTIPURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE: JOHNNY THE HEAD | Andrew Davis
SHOW ME Lauren Pretnar
WING AND FLY: MEMORIAL, TWO | Todd Dills

SCHAUMBURG, ILLINOIS: A TRAVELER'S TALE
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Kate Duva

Kate Duva, Chicago resident, takes on the mystical northwest suburb with a verve appropriate for the place Friedrich Nietzsche once thought of as a great place to "greet the local high school's star quarterback and ask him how his arm was feeling for the upcoming season". Find Duva on Flashquake and in Fugue, as a finalist in the 2007 Winning Writers War Poetry contest, and in her private diaries at kateduva.blogspot.com.

I curse the suburbs of Chicago for many reasons:

The bumhole six-dollar wage slaves who "can't" give us change for the tollway; the long winding roads that take us far into no man's land before we realize we're headed in the wrong direction; and the dull sadness of wide open spaces ruined by telephone poles and storage warehouses, like useless thoughts that invade when you're trying to clear your mind.

THE LEFT HAND: Soap, Lit

I do see a sort of impromptu marsh beside a road, formed from melted snow. A brilliant green-headed duck glides by.

I realize that I'm a weird wife, a spastic simpleton. I scarf down my food in Thai Garden, a restaurant in the strip mall, and our dishes become macrocosms in our hunger, but I pause once every course or so and tell him, "Mmm, baby! You're the best!" Then I snap at him when he drives dopily, and I share sentiments such as "Fuck your grandma in the ass til shit comes out of her nipples!"

He laughs, "I've never heard that before," and I'm proud to be dirtier than the boys.

I sit and read at the woodcraft store for 45 minutes while Stipo browses, gears and pulleys and lathes whirring in his head. The clerks here seem bewildered when you ask a question, as if they can't handle life outside of wood, as if you caught them in a dream in their shop.

Retail is a strange fate for a human being.

I catch limp, fishy middle-aged men staring at my ass. "If only they knew how poisonous my ass is!" I say to Stipo between SBDs.

Our cashier is a diminutive, eraserish small-chinned man named Mark; while he rings us up I grab some handy little clamps on the counter, impulse buys, and say to my husband, in our language, "for nipples?"

PetWorld brings me cheer. The aquariums are world class.

Looking at the bizarre saltwater creatures, I am overcome with love for God, and I hug my honey to express that. I am happy that English verbs don't need gender modifiers -- I can say, "It's amazing what God made," whereas when I say it in my other language, I must trap God in the male or female gender.

It is dark in the fish hall, but each blue and green marine mini-world is lit up. A girl is holding hands with her boyfriend. Her pants are assaulted by a million buckles, her shoes are outstandingly ugly, and a roll of belly peeks from under her rebellious black jacket. Her boyfriend is scar-faced, a hard rock hatter. They are making important decisions about fish, and I am happy they have that love.

There are insane goldfish with gigantic, rumply brains, and electric blue minnows, and a whole shelf of aggressive betta fish, each in their own tiny bowls. They swim as if in molasses, their fanciful tails faded and limp.

"Y'all look depressed," I say.

Tiny water worms burrow under the sand, heads peeking out, faces cool and reptilian.

There is a fatass fish, plump and deluxe, spotted like a Dalmatian, with metallic blue eyes. It looks starkly, shockingly beautiful, lethal as a razor.

I drink in the hush of colors -- not the colors themselves so much as how they blend, bleed, shade and grain together on a single fish.

"Why bother making all this erotic, ridiculous beauty?" I ask God.

A lionfish appears, a tough-looking motherfucker with a poisonous spine and brown stripes and 24 fins in all directions, each as flittery and light as the skin on cooked milk.

"Why, God?" I say. "Why!"

The first why is a question. The second why is a prayer.

I discover an eel, your standard sick green variety. It slithers from behind a rock, beady-eyed and needle-teethed, opening and closing its jaws in slow, cruel rhythm, its neck wrinkling and puffing like a rotten apple.

"Exquisite!"

I stoop down, and I imitate the eel, who looks like he is putting on a performance, his ugliness so frivolous and radiant and bombastic I can't stand it.

Next we take a stroll down Puppy Lane. I squeal at the Chihuahuas, and then I leave the sickly shitheads. Their eyes hint corrupt breeding.

Just past the reptile kingdom, which is closed for remodeling, I see the "Community Room." A birthday party is being held. I feel lucky to be in the presence of such ripe life. Pretzels and pizza puffs lay abandoned. There must have been petting fun, but it's over now, and everyone is watching the birthday child open presents as if she is the star of a show. A tiny child with the face of Down's syndrome is sitting at a table above all the other children on the floor. Their blank faces pucker into "ooh!" at each unwrapping. Mom is tall as a tree. She has an imposing nest of canary yellow hair and messes of costume jewelry, and she's taking notes, already thinking of thank-you cards.

I won't touch a bird. Birds creep me out. Their sharp beaks could peck you to death, their dry black tongues and pockled claws belong on another planet, and the sudden spazz of their wings bombs my nerves.

So I stand in front of the cockatoo cage and I just blow on the cockatoo. I watch the feathers wave, and his crown pops up, then wilts again. He whistles at me like a man and I giggle, "Thank you! I'm pushing fifty but I still look good."

My honey wants to know how much the parrot costs.

"Twenty-two hundred dollars," says Bill, the clerk, a sturdy, decent looking young man. He watches Stipo's eyebrows jump as his spirits droop. Bill still says, "Wanna check 'im out?" Without waiting for an answer, he pops out from behind the enclosure of his register.

The bird perches on Bill's arm, his long alien claws grasping Bill's shirtsleeve. A small crowd gathers. An old man tells us about his lovebird, whom he frees daily and who always returns to him.

Bill urges me to pet this parrot, who can't talk, who has some banal human name. Bob or Brian. His feathers are insane, flamboyant primary colors, and one of his tail feathers is two feet long. I look at its core, the white straw if it. It looks unreal, God.

"No, don't go for my button! You already got one!" says Bill. The parrot opens his beak and cracks the little marbled brown button, and now Bill's burgundy shirt is half undone. He slaps the parrot, soft and swift.

"Don't swallow it!" Bill says. He puts his fingers in the parrot's mouth and coaxes the button out. He slips it into his breast pocket. We thank him, but he could just as well thank us for our interest. The bird is his love.

CONSTRUCTION WORKER'S WIFE

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