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Last Sunday, as is my wont, I was in the Taco Bell. I was waiting in line behind a shirtless guy, a moderately tattooed blue-collar type of guy. A couple of kids were running around, and we were all starting to get upset by the fact that the service wasn't as quick as what we'd come to associate with fast food. The line was too long and not going anywhere. I watched a fat women in a Taco Bell uniform construct a taco like it was the first time she'd ever done it.

Pretty soon, Shirtless starts growling at the kids. They pretend to be scared, and everybody laughs. That little tension-reliever ended too quickly though, and as Fat Woman shakes her head, tosses the taco-in-progress due to some perceived error on her part, and starts again, we're pretty sure we're not going to make it. It's starting to feel like a small lifeboat, adrift at sea.

Shirtless swivels around on one leg, looking me right in the face. His eyes are blue, piercing. Calm eyes of a quiet man, a man who's finally had enough. He says, "Excuse me," in a voice filled with urban static.

There was plenty of room for him to get around me, but I realized I was standing in his desired path, so I stepped aside and he left quietly. The line still didn't move. Pretty soon my head starts to be the unwilling receiver of a host of violent images. Could Shirtless not simply have left in disgust? Could it be that his anger was running so deep that even now he was on his way to his car, to dig around the trunk, casting aside the crowbars and monkey wrenches to get to his shotgun? I'd read about such rampages in fast-food joints...could I be on the verge of participating in one?

Well, I'm a sheltered man. Getting cut to pieces by a roaring madman's gun on a greasy floor is not in my destiny. I too left, quietly, and did not return.

There was nothing about the incident in the morning papers.

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