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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: 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
THE PICKPOCKET Michael Peck
TWO MATURE WOMEN GABBING OVER COFFEE Daniel Gallik
HISTORY WAS ALWAYS A DULL SUBJECT AT KENMORE Daniel Gallik
WHEEL Paul Lask
FORK AND SPOON Lisa Burke
19 WAYS OF SAYING NO TO ASSFUCKING Greg Gerke
HIDEOUS BOUNTY: BLOOD BROTHERS | Andrew Davis

I SING FOR SONNY'S FISH
---
Heather Palmer

Chicago writer Palmer will be reading at THE2NDHAND's Monday, July 13, event at the Hungry Brain on Belmont with Jill Summers, Paul Lask and others. See the EVENTS page for details.

I sing for Sonny's fish. I deal in trade -- red for grape -- Sonny one of plenty with full pockets ready to trade songs for sweets. But like all great woman against something big I hit a wall. Wall's named Eleanor. She got problems with my grape-stained hands before dinner, teeth all purple and hands smudged on Sunday dress. I say I'll wash clean tonight. I want to eat now, I say I can get cleaner. Eleanor nods asking what I been up to. Haven't been up to nothing. Don't lie to me, child. She say with half a forkful of peas, snap peas I picked while singing an oldie with her, vinyl record in the background, milk jar so long let on the kitchen table it turned warm, while we two split snap peas. She's eats and questions rise. Singing? Just singing. Singing for anyone else or yourself? Myself. She grabs my hands, sees the grape. Looks over my stains. Plops soap in my hand and points to the washroom. You know what to do.

Columbia College Fiction Writing Department

Sonny says trading songs for fish ain't natural I should want more. Eleanor say I shouldn't want nothing. Sonny say to that, Girsh she paranoid. I say leave her alone she burns. Now what you wanna hear I want some fish. Only red today. Only red every day where's the grape slacker? Hard to stash enough for your want. No song then, Sonny.

He tried to get me singing lounge-bar. I say no way not for nothing. But why not he say his feet shuffle in work pants, him in the newspaper factory, a loader. I says to his dirty face, ink-splotched nose, Because that's your want. Not doing.

Late nights I can't sleep I watch Sonny throw bundled bags of papers into the truck. Doing that for hours before break, spent seeing me, down the street. Asks What can I hear for five fish? Not much. He pulls the grape from his pockets my eyes saucer I want those fish and Eleanor would say Ain't no such thing as gifts Solange, earn taste. So's I say what you wanna hear? I want an answer today, why's you always sing blues?

Why's I sing blues? Cause I can why care? My songs. Eleanor's records in the kitchen making toffee from sugar and syrup. Eleanor and me blues in the background. Don't it make sense? He don't get it. Head shakes black curls stick to sweat-faced skin, real smooth, I can tell cause Eleanor don't have that skin. So it's like this. We listen to the music, Eleanor does. Puts it on the record. Then we stir the sweets. The sweets and the music sticky in my head see?

Sonny still shaking his head gives up gives fish. I feel greedy. I've taken. Grape in closed hands I think back on blues. Eleanor's blues.

Eleanor, why you listen to blues? I sing blues well sang blues. You sang blues? A while ago then I stopped. Because of me? No. I sang 'til you were five. You don't remember? No. What's that on your hands?

I told her. Purple fish I needed I sing for. She say sing me something you sing I want to hear what's worth. A trade, just a trade, I tell. She says, I ain't buying but I imagine it hard selling -- blues for purple fish -- it is purple -- not red? Right. I don't like the red. Why not? Don't taste the same, too, um, bright. Too bright? Solange, that's ridiculous, a taste can't be too bright. Can I just sing now?

I sing easy out and Eleanor sits at kitchen table, her legs between the legs of the table, steady through the song. Her hands on the table, she picks from a flower in the centerpiece. I stop the song mid-way. She looks up.

So?

Eleanor leaves the table. She goes to Pinky's corner store. Everyone calls him Porky for real though cause he's fat. I sit at the table with the picked centerpiece and rip apart petals fallen from the tulip. My pockets empty and I know I'll have to see Sonny soon. Eleanor comes back, purple fish in hand, a plastic bag dangling from other hand. She shovels a handful into her mouth, mouth filled purple.

These are good. I know. Why don't you just buy them? I'd rather sing. Solange, singing ain't for fish.

But blues sing need. What need be.

Eleanor silenced by child-mother and I stare scared. She plops fish on the table wakes me to her walking out. But turns back. Grabs another fistful.

Must tell Sonny. Sweet burns through like Eleanor's dislike, not wanting her want: the trade: her blues turn purple. I'm confounded. Sugar in the throat worth fire.

But if Sonny says, I sing.

SIDES

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