His jaw was crammed full of partly chewed apple when the waitress swept over and queried, “How’s everything tasting, hun?”

Half-gagging, he reflected on how much he loathed this new tendency of waitstaff to shove inside the dome of personal sensory experience. Forcing down the mouthful, he jerked out, “Fine,” and watched her move on to spill coffee into cups the next table over.

Coils of steam listed from the pot, kicking off a memory of smoke, and he dragged his gaze back down to the plate of sad fruit salad. Having already culled the best bits, chunks of apple and ripe cantelope, he now nudged halfheartedly through a silt of deteriorating orange and granular watermelon.

A perennial cowl of fryer grease wrapped the back wall in dinge of spore and dust. He tilted his head and squinted to read the clock. Through a hole in the blinds the moon gleamed a spoke of cold light peripherally. He nodded. Nearly time.

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