Amtrak had been a mistake. It was cheaper than the plane, but I hadn't anticipated the lurching. When I got to the Hilton where the conference was being held, the shooting pains in my legs had been replaced by terrifying numbness.

I lay down beside the locked door of the room where our panel was going to be held and opened the brown paper bag.

I stuck the bag of frozen peas down my back,
opened the can of Millers Genuine Draft Beer,
took a hefty swig.
Then I unwrapped the pastrami sandwich.
Shredded lettuce and onions hung over the side of the dark rye bread.
I took a large bite.
Almost immediately I felt better.

I lay on the floor drinking beer, feeling the cold peas numb my spinal cord, eating the pastrami sandwich
while I watched English professors
mill around the locked door.



 
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