April 17th, 2010 -- "7:13 pm on a Tuesday in Kentucky in the Summer of Stress"

Todd wrapped his half-eaten lunch in some wax paper and balled up the remains in his canvas food bag. Work for the day was hard going, and he deserved the break. God, did he deserve it. If Caleb gave him any more hell about the back vats, he'd have a conniption for certain. They'd both have conniptions. What the hell is a conniption, anyways?

Yeah, he deserved the break.

He cleaned some peanut butter off his gritty fingertips with the handkerchief in his back pocket and stumbled a bit getting up off the table bench. He regained his balance on his heels and belched as he made his way to the rubbish by the door with a picture of Ms. September draped and tattered scotch taped to the back of it.

"Todd! Todd!"

Caleb came tripping through the door, knocking over the trash and tearing his shoelaces off in his own step.

"Todd, th....To-.....oh, m.........."

"What, Caleb, what?"

Todd flicked some pickle from beneath his eye with his thumb.

Caleb's face was white and remarkable - a certain kind of strange and blank remarkable, having now, Todd thought, seemingly nothing at all to do with vats or lunch or timeclocks or efficiency or the ol' U-S-of-A even. Strange.

"Todd, you have GOT to SEE THIS..."

Nothing was ever the same, after that.


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