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popped into my field of awareness. Certain people scared me, however, taking on the appearance of snakes or wolves. These I steered clear of, and avoided looking at them.

Alex was a monkey, which matched up perfectly with his skinny, uncoordinated, gangly body, his jerky gait, his general clownish manner. I laughed at him, but not too long, because he was a very annoying monkey. He was still singing his little song about the microdots, and I still couldn't enjoy myself fully due to my fear of being found out. "Shut up, man. People can hear you," I told him.

"Aw, what are you worried about? Nobody knows what I'm talking about," he said.

All at once I noticed that I was ravenously hungry. I got in the line to get a couple of hamburgers. Alex got in line too; I don't think he wanted anything to eat, he just wanted to bother me. He only got one hamburger, while I got four, and a coke. Gripping my tray tightly since I didn't trust myself not to spill it, I dove back into the pack of stupid looking animals.

We found an empty spot at a table and I sat down my plate of hamburgers. Right as I was pulling out the chair and getting ready to sit down, Coach Abbot popped up out of nowhere, appearing right beside me and scaring the shit out of me. "Hello there, Harrington!" he bellowed, giving me a big hug around the shoulders. "Feeling good today!?" He was a huge, strong man, and he squeezed me tightly and nearly lifted me off my feet.

"Uh, yeah, fine!" I blurted out, petrified. I was smiling, an idiotic grin locked on my face. I think I must have had that grin on my face all along, and been looking around in amazement--that was probably why he had accosted me.

Abbot was grinning like a moron too, but a malicious moron. "I'm glad to hear that, boy!" he roared, his face in mine. "And you know what? I could tell!" He tightened his grip and shook me a bit. I didn't say anything.

"Feeling really good!" Abbot continued. "Really, really, really good! On top of the world!"

He looked like a huge fat bear, or a lion. I couldn't decide which, and that was part of what disconcerted me.

"You have a real good day now, boy! Really, really good!" the moron bellowed. He shook me again for emphasis, then released me and walked away.

"What an asshole," Alex said matter-of-factly, from his seat at the table. But the encounter had terrorized me: "Oh my God! He knows I'm on acid! Let's get out of here!"

"You're overreacting," Alex said.

I grabbed up my hamburgers in a stack, and my coke in the other hand, leaving the plate and tray on the table, and made my way through the damn horde of animals and out through the door.

The smoking patio offered some respite, but I was still jumpy as hell. After that episode with Abbot, my appetite had completely vanished; I couldn't eat my hamburgers, so I gave them away to somebody and lit up a cigarette. I was looking all around, hopping back and forth nervously, apprehensively, expecting Abbot to jump around the corner and apprehend me at any time. I sucked frantically on my cigarette; I couldn't even enjoy it. I drained my coke in three of four big gulps.

Alex had followed me out. "He just thought you were high, man. He doesn't suspect anything. If he suspected you were on acid he would have taken you down to the office right away," Alex said.


   
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