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**PRINT: A GAME I ONCE ENJOYED, by Chicago's Patrick Somerville, is THE2NDHANDís 32nd broadsheet. Somerville's work previously appeared in No.24 in 2007, and this Somervilleís second broadsheet since the release of his short-story collection, Trouble, in 2006 marks the first since his novel, The Cradle, launched into the cultural imagination with coverage in the form of reviews in places as high as the New York Times Book Review. Donít let that turn you off, though; Somervilleís work is viscerally humorous and elegantly dramatic as the best out there, as evidenced in this epic story, about a chess game whose stakes might well be higher than its players know. Also in this issue: a short from Ohio scribe Daniel Gallik.

**WEB: GUNS Paul Kavanagh
FORECAST: Chapt. 8 of a serialized novel Shya Scanlon
SMOOTH Spencer Dew
LAST DAY IN BIRMINGHAM: A TWITTER ITINERARY Todd Dills
ITINERARY: ON THE ROAD WITH A PUNK BAND IN SPAIN Joanna Powers
LUNCH HOUR SHOPPING Nikolina Kulidzan
WAY AS THE WIND Joel Van Noord
NINE ITEMS FROM YOUR DISAPPEARANCE David Wirthlin
WING & FLY: DREAMS OF A THRILLER | Todd Dills
HIDEOUS BOUNTY: BLOOD BROTHERS | Andrew Davis

GUNS
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Paul Kavanagh

Paul Kavanagh lives and writes in Charlotte, N.C.

I am going to Wal-Mart to buy a gun. Last week I tried to buy pornography, but I could not find any pornography. I am going to buy a gun, a shotgun, a machine gun, something big and bad. I was shocked when I found out that I could not purchase an aesthetic or an unaesthetic picture of a naked woman. But the man at the store pointed to a fine shotgun and said, why don't you buy that instead. It can project a piece of metal with amazing alacrity and stop any big, breathing object.

The reason I want a gun is because I no longer want to be out of place, I am forever saying the most stupid statements, I hardly drink beer, I don't like hotdogs, I don't like football. You need to assimilate, said Kitty. Yes, I said. Go to the bar, eat peanuts, watch the football, said Kitty. Yes, I said.

THE LEFT HAND: Soap, Lit

I do not want a handgun; I want a gun that is bigger than me.

When I got home I showed Kitty the gun I bought. It was bigger than me. The man at the store told me that the gun could knock out an elephant. I bought the gun on credit, each month I have to send in thirty dollars.

Kitty must have let it slip about the gun for the Cosa Nostra showed up, or it could have been the Russian Mafia, Punjabi Mafia, Chechen Mafia, Yardies, Guadalajara Cartel, Mara Salvatrucha, Ulster Defence Association, Aryan Brotherhood, Triad Society, but I know it wasn't the Hells Angels, in fact it could have been all of them, because the thugs looked international. They showed up and took me and the gun for a ride. These thugs said they needed my help. Listen, just do your job and be quiet, said a rather brutish man with a scar running down the left side of his face. They took me to the edge of the city. The ride in the van was not too uncomfortable. I kind of enjoyed the experience. We are here, said an Englishman in a long leather black jacket.

They parked the van outside a splendid mansion. I was gobsmacked. Here? I asked. Ja, said a German skinhead. Questa Ť la casa, said one of the Italians. The van parked in the driveway. A taciturn Chechen helped me out. I was overwhelmed by his affability. His sociability went against all that I had heard about the Chechens. Thank you, I said, releasing his arm. His face screwed up with bafflement, I don't think he understood me. ???????, I said. He nodded.

One of the Triads rang the bell. The door was opened instantaneously. Inside the splendid mansion were two men and a sexy blond. I was in a different world. It was opulent. There was a Warhol on the wall. It hung above a lovely postcard by Ray Edward Johnson. The two men were forced to sit and the thugs quickly tied them up. If they moved, they would be shot, said a mean looking Asian in perfect English.

Please don't hurt us, cried one of the men. He looked as though the ostentatious lifestyle was too much for him. He was red in face and his gut flapped comically over his boxershorts. Prior to binding them up, they had been forced to undress. I could not take my eyes off the excess fat on both men. I was starving. With Kitty not working we were living on Ramen Noddles and frozen peas. Pork is the best flavor.

Please, please, please, pleaded the sexy blond, I'm not supposed to be here. She had lovely legs, they were long and lean. She was wearing glass, extremely high heels. She looked like a Cinderella of the streets. I couldn't believe my eyes.

Watching, hearing them gag, retch, puke was very unnerving. I'm just a student, cried the sexy blond. Some of the thugs laughed. Nobody believed her. She was fabricating, just trying to save herself. It was understandable. I'm a student, I'm only here for the money, she cried. So are we, joked a tall thin Jamaican with flowing dreadlocks. What are you studying? I had to ask. Political science, she said. They always say that, interjected a thick Northern Irish accent. Knowing it was hopeless, the blond collapsed into a mess of tears.

Somebody else must have had a gun because the fat man sitting had the side of his head removed. The sexy blond screamed and passed out. Blood splattered everywhere. It was a terrible mess. The blood was thick and when it coagulated it looked like dark chocolate. While the thugs hammered the other man to a pulp I peered down at the sexy blond's legs. When I returned home I expected to see the incident on the television.

For a long time I used to go bed early, but now that I am a man I go to bed whenever I like.

For a long time I used to go bed early and I hated going to bed early but my mother and father made me go to bed early for I had school in the morning.

For a long time I used to go bed early but I married a woman that I loved with all of my heart and we bought a house together and I moved out of the house owned by my mother and father.

For a long time I used to go bed early but now I sleep on the couch and fall asleep while watching 24-hour news.

For a long time I used to go bed early but now that I am a man I drink coffee and eat cheesecake while watching 24-hour news.

For a long time I used to go bed early with great anticipation of the dreams I was about to experience, dreams filled with anthropomorphic cows, dogs, cats, rats, dreams of me jumping over the moon, dreams of me running away with the spoon, but now I dream of imps, devils, convulsing hunchbacks.



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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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