The woman asks him if he is ok and bites down on her burger, spindly fingers indenting the potato bun as if it were playdough. Blood drips. He flinches, then coughs. The waiter says honey the nice girl just asked you a question and tops off his coffee. Channel 9 predicts a hurricane and discusses the nesting habits of wood thrushes. Fluorescent light glints off the bleached countertops, burrowing into his brain like a pulsating earthworm. He swears he’s seen a wood thrush before, but he’s not quite sure how they differ from hermit thrushes. His leg shakes. Laminate sticks under his fingernails. The woman asks if he needs help and does he want her napkin. He grabs a fry off her plate, dunks it into ketchup, and says no one understands. They eat the rest of the meal in silence. The waiter deducts the cost of the fries.

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