Somehow I arrived here. Through heat and thick humidity, I made my way past the intimidating sentries. Once inside I was greeted and ushered to my place and told to whom it would be nice to talk. I found a seat at a table and soon realized that the people around me had morphed beyond recognition.

    At first glace they just seemed like people: young, old, rich and poor. They were eating sandwiches out of identical paper wrapping, each with an accompanying bag of potato chips. They took harmless little sips of complimentary soda or iced tea through narrow, black straws that hung precariously off the rim of the plastic cup.

    There I was, clearly labeled and marked. Sitting among the eating and drinking masses, inaudibly talking, contributing to the din that was the backing track to the county singer on stage.

    This is the point when suddenly I begin to comprehend. I can pick out voices and words that are woven into sentences. The words, however, are not woven with lovely prose and clever quips; they are strewn together with a string of disgust and snide condescension. Then I realize these are not people. Their eyes glow terrifyingly, and they gnash on their meals with teeth bared.

    The ringleader takes the stage and begins the rousing discussions of disgusting topics. Their pointed tongues spout biting hatred as their eyes search the souls of all the blank faces in the audience.

    With the end drawing near, one stood among the masses. He asked for a solution. But they did not want a solution. Immediately the dormant beasts sprung to their feet, and their shouts devoured the air. He was carried out of the building by the noise eruption, back out into the decrepit sunshine, slamming the sidewalk.

    There he was left, in the shadow of the building.


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