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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 a 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: ROBOBROTHER Lydia Ship
WING & FLY: C.T. BALLENTINE RETURNS TO CHICAGO | Todd Dills
RABBIT Irene Westcott
OUT Greggory Moore
AMERICAN SOILING FEES John M. Flaherty
CHEMTRAILS FOR ELIOT Doug Milam
TAXICAB HORROR STORIES #351 Greggory Moore
THE CROW'S NEST Peter Richter
THE SUMMER OF KRISTA MENDEZ Chuckie Campbell
HIDEOUS BOUNTY: THE BOUNTY | Andrew Davis

ROBOBROTHER
---
Lydia Ship

Atlanta-based Ship teaches lit at GPC and is a contributing editor to the Chattahoochee Review; her work has appeared in numerous other journals as well, including Neon, A Capella Zoo, Pedestal, Night Train, New South and others.

We programmed him. We propped him up and told him softly -- yes, even when he was tinny-cooing and tiny-squeaking, shiny and metal-plump and baby-buzzing -- we were firm: This is your standard, and these are the rules. He was like a cherished doll to me, and when I was allowed to give him his bottle, I sang him the rules that had been sung to me. Then, one by one, he broke the rules. No matter his six-foot-two stature at eighteen, his piercing human-like blue eyes, he grew into a robot nobody would take seriously, a robot outside of the rules. The general reaction to him went something like, That guy's one short of a -- then the condescension, the brush-off -- nobody listened to him. We didn't, either, and that's how he lied and was never caught. After high school he moved around, stopping at Burning Man and communal living spots, arts festivals and drum circles and anywhere else long enough to have a place to sleep and eat, not long enough to be held responsible: he with stainless steel burnished to a hipster dinginess, he with pot-ravaged, yawning tone when he spoke, he with easy-going demeanor -- my brother, the hippie robot. The kindness of strangers, that's what he took, wherever he went, but we didn't see it. We said, Oh, you're doing that now? And we didn't wonder what was so fascinating about these festivals and communes. Only, consider the scarcity of food or water or shelter or sanitation, the second-rate entertainment, if any. We didn't ask ourselves what could possibly be the appeal if it wasn't drugs, nor did we notice he went everywhere the druggies went. We forgot where he was going, where he'd been. I told him, Good job, RoboBrother, or, Sounds cool, RoboBrother, no matter what he did, or I half-listened and gave him advice on the phone, glancing at my email or putting on makeup -- his sister, the young professional, acquisitive and full of dead curiosity: Is the portfolio tucked in for the night?, Better get off the phone or I'll miss Survivor. The last time I saw him in person, his long steel fingers tugged his shirt up to show me his tattoos, thick and thin sweeps and criss-crossings of Chinese characters, and of course now I can't remember what they mean. He changed his name to Robainbow. He always needed money, necessitating a flurry of baffled involvement on our parts. Then, glutted in over-involvement, all parted. Each time worse. First he needed money for bills and food (drugs, he later admitted, tearful, so we gave him money, this time for bills, really); then for a trip to the doctor (he'd become a glorified prostitute, so we gave him money); for a move to the next new town that would make all his dreams come true; for a domestic situation... Each time, our memories glazed over and blurred and disintegrated from the careless indices of our hearts -- how many truly want to remember the past? So we forgot, and we've always paid, and we keep paying. He always says he's changed. Speaking of which...we reach into our pockets. RoboBrother, such a beautiful machine, made to complete us, controls us, and we control him. I turn on the radio and listen to songs about love but I hear no songs about love that are songs about family.

Bohemian Pupil Press, Chicago publishers of the South Side Trilogy



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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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