We start at the end. The beginning is a dull place to start. Everyone says to start in the middle (in media res), but everyone can be wrong.

Mark got up and punched his friend in the face.

The End.

Okay, we can back up now. Maybe then, Mark’s behavior will seem more sensible. Maybe.

Mark tore a big bite out of his poboy. It was a roast beef poboy, sloppy with gravy but undeniably delicious, and it guaranteed Mark’s frequent presence at Poboy Corner.

Between slurps of soda, handfuls of sauce-dipped fries, and wads of poboy, Mark looked up to see a basketball game on a TV above him. Iona and UNC, playing a game. Mark watched with lazy interest–his interest was not in the teams but in the sport. Looking at the screen and watching the players proved distraction enough for a moment.

A voice interrupted Mark’s sports-y reverie. “Mark? Is that you, man? I didn’t know you ate here!”

Mark didn’t like to be bothered when he was eating. This was not because he didn’t like other people’s company. In fact, the opposite was true–Mark rarely felt lonelier than when he sat down to lunch.

But also, Mark had a dark secret.

Have you heard of people who, feeling the ache in their stomachs when they are hungry, become angry in their ravening for food? Laymen call this being “hangry.”

Well, Mark had the opposite of this condition. When he was satisfied, content from eating a ridiculously good meal, then he would become angry.

Because Mark knew his nature, he chose to eat alone. That is also why it was so unfortunate that Mark’s friend hailed him that day.

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