HOME | BROADSHEETS | ARCHIVE | ITINERARIES | MIXTAPE | EVENTS | FAQ | RSS | LINKS
Advertise | Newsletter | About/Subscribe | Submissions | Art Walk | Books | THE2NDHAND Writers Fund

**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: 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
I SING FOR SONNY'S FISH Heather Palmer
THE TRAGICAL HISTORY OF DR. KIMBELL Margaret Patton Chapman
HIDEOUS BOUNTY: BLOOD BROTHERS | Andrew Davis

SMOOTH
---
Spencer Dew

Dew was the last writer standing in the Opium magazine Literary Death Match at the annual Chicago Printers Ball Friday, Jan. 31, 2009, representing none other than THE2NDHAND. It wasn't his first literary treatment associated with the Ball: check out his fictional account of the disastrous police intervention at the event in 2007 here. Catch Dew at our event Aug. 13 at Quimby's, a release party for our latest issue. Details here: EVENTS.

It got to where I was going through three a day disposable, triple-blade, blue with deeper blue easy-grip rubber inlay handles and slimy aloe soothing strips, though, still, my skin prickled, itched, bloomed in little patches of bumps.

To shave so much is counterproductive, but addictive -- I'd spend half my waking hours enveloped in shower steam and smelled, all summer, buttery sweet with cow udder lotion.

THE LEFT HAND: Soap, Lit

This was after my junior year. I went down to New Orleans to tend bar and fail to process the loss of a girl who cited my lack of interest in applying to business school and said, quote, "You're so Ikea; I'm so Pottery Barn," by way of breaking up.

Marcel, the palm- and card-reading third-generation psychic who worked afternoons behind a beaded curtain at the back of the occult supply boutique adjoining my vaguely undead-themed bar, described this ex of mine as a synthetic girl, which I took as some sort of psychic shorthand for her spray-tanned, strip-waxed, bottle-scented, machine-shaped body, her head full of touch-screen spreadsheet dreams.

Marcel sucked on the rim of his pentacle necklace and laid out a Tower, inverted, a series of staves sprouting shaggy leaves. She's not really your type, he told me, and I thought both that psychics sold the obvious at a hell of a markup and that, more than anything, I wanted to be her type, make that glossy posh evolution beyond the mammalian, which is, of course, how the whole process of hair-removal began.

The trickier parts are the outer edges of the hands, around the knobs of the ankles, the armpits with their cross-hatched growth patterns, then the scrotum, obviously, but also those few coarse hairs toward the veiny base of the shaft and, harder still, the flat hairs along the fold between the groin and the top joints of the thighs...

Despite the rush of self-confidence when hitching my leg on the tub rim, spreading my ass cheeks to plane across them with a plastic safety razor, it was a cheap fix, temporary perfection. I always ended up as fallible as before, and as bashful.

By August, for instance, I totally crushed on Luna, this cute local witch who did occasional black onyx scryings at the occult place but mainly just looked bored and nothing like my ex, picking at her thick tendrils of dreads or the metal rings through her lower lip. She dressed in black slip dresses and boots with fascist accents, but it was all her hair that hooked me, those mounds of coiled dreads and the bushes in her armpits.

The witches and psychics and their friend the fish taco bike delivery guy would all come over for cigarette breaks to my bar, and I spent weeks working up the nerve to eventually gesture toward something like flirting with her, which in the end just involved me telling her that, yes, I was on chemo, attempting a hard recovery. She gave me a bean-sized green crystal, for healing, and a sympathetic kiss where my eyebrows used to be. I could smell nutmeg between her breasts.

Marcel, rolling his eyes back, told me I was a coward, which hadn't come out in the card reading. He said I now deserved cancer, which seemed excessive, though a few nights later I felt cursed enough, at a Laundromat bar, when Luna showed up, dancing to the rhythm of the washing machines and telling everyone that she was high on herbal ecstasy.

At some point she started making out with the bartender, a shirtless guy named Dog, who had a dog face tattooed over his human one, and I, nursing a fiery prickle up my limbs, crotch, and lower belly, went home and splayed out naked in bed, fingertips scanning for unruly, organic traces, the sandy rise of stubble or the stray, unmowed strand.

Later, reborn raw and gleaming from the blades, I masturbated to the furry notion of her, imagining us as opposites, odd twins, spooned together, all her hair pressed back against my streamlined, Teflon flesh, the surface of my fresh and, so I wanted to believe, ever-improving, perfecting skin.

DON'T GO BACK TO BRIDGEPORT

**SUBSCRIBE TO THE2NDHAND if you like reading our our respective broadsheet and online series -- any donation above $30 gets you a LIFETIME SUBSCRIPTION to THE2NDHAND's quarterly broadsheet. See this page or send a payment through PayPal here:


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.

**BOOKS BY THE2NDHAND CONTRIBUTORS at Amazon

Google




080709