Early in the night, late in the workday, Alfred Murphy wore tweed with a tie and sat down in the farthest table at McDonald’s. The office had been relentless — call after call after contract after coffee break after meeting, an endless onslaught of bureaucracy and monotony. Weary, the yellow-faced man sunk into the wall. Alfred loosened his tie, unbuttoned the top of his dress shirt, sighed, and let the oxfords dangle from his propped feet, drunk in the tired mustard and grease that hovered in the air. His daily unwind had only just begun.

Good minutes passed just like that, drowsy intoxicated idle, and Alfred nearly fell asleep before a voice jolted him conscious: the cashier boy, “Order number 465!” He rose up, as if resurrected, and loafed to the counter in that aimless amble.

“Thank you,” he mumbled. He approached the soda machine.

It was an old, slightly malfunctional creature, dusty and graying. It took some time to fill a large size cup. The sputtering, sluggish stream of coke left Alfred to his thoughts. On that particular day, he leaned against the countertop and thought wearily about his mother’s latest attempts to find him a wife.

The coke ran. He was contemplating her recent invitational plea to a blind date (“But she’s such a sweet girl! Oh, Alfred, won’t you just this once?”), when the cup began to overflow.

He walked back to his seat, buried his face in his suit.

And like that, his evenings passed.

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