by Jerod Duris

I am sitting in Taco bell, trying to eat and read La Casa Verde by Mario Vargas Llosa. Suddenly I am startled by a fever-pitched voice coming from behind me.

“Don’t tell me what I did or didn’t do! I said I didn’t fart. It just smells like shit over there!”
As I said, I am trying to eat, and eating, I do not want to think about the possibility of it smelling like shit over there. The voice is that of an enraged female, and I turn to see to whom it belongs, knowing that my glare would not deter her. She is small, however, so if it came to defending myself, the odds could be in my favor. As expected, she takes no notice of my glance and continues.
“Now what did you do with the sixty dollars? You said you spent it on me. If you don’t know, just say you don’t know.” (For the sake of brevity, I will include this exchange only once, whereas in actuality, it was repeated several times, ad nauseam.)
“I already told you that,” the helpless male defended himself.
Someone told me once that in order for proper digestion to occur, one should be calm while eating. Now I am neither able to read nor process my food. Hatred had won. I give up and decide to concentrate on their quarrel with the hope of trying to reproduce it later.
The male must have mentioned what he spent some of the money on because She returns with, “That’s only eleven dollars. Where’s the other fifty?” and adds sarcastically, “Excuse me. Forty-nine.”
He makes a feeble and incoherent answer to which she ends the conversation: “Just so you know, I’m gonna be robbin’ from your ass for the next ninety years.”
I felt for the poor bastard. Luckily, their food is up, but She remains unpleased.
“You haven’t even gotten your soda yet? I’m gonna be in the car.”
To which I add to myself, “Good,” just audible enough for others to hear. They don’t. A small triumph is mine.