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Golden rays spilled across the bleached pavement, super heating it into a white plane of death, becoming a blinding pane of opaque glass. Clumps of middle-schoolers wandered across it, sneakers coming down on the white trail of cement. Autumn’s leaves scattered under our feet, pushed along by the whistling hand of the wind, before being crushed under the shoes of the adolescents, who were talking and joking as we walked onward. A long string of people walked by, focused in gatherings of chatting friends. The day so far had been fleeting, the goofy movies we’d spent our time on before, abandoned for our journey.

The science teacher, Mrs. Pless, lead the column as we made our way across the crosswalk of the busy street just before our destination. Ranks of cars surveyed us as we walked by, energetic kids waved at stone-faced drivers, cheerfulness ending at the commuter’s windshields. As we made our way down-hill, geese honked from the near golf course and the stoplight unleashed waves of humming automobiles in our wake.

Mrs.Pless had gotten permission to let all of us who had achieved proficient or advanced on our Tech Project Presentations to spend a day on a constructive workshop for video-making. What had followed was an afternoon of chaos, where groups gathered to create the most random, insane movies ever imagined by mankind. The other students and I had just let up from our productions to walk from the school to a nearby KFC for lunch, and there we were.

After a brisk walk we made it into the small parking lot of Kentucky Fried Chicken, the leading students broke into a run, sneaker’s rubber burning black on the asphalt. As we pushed open the doors of the fast food place, the guy at the counter looked up in horror at the clouds of teenagers that swept in from outside, like descending locusts upon crops. This was not his lucky day. As we filed into line, occupying the vacant restaurant with chatter, we looked up at the opaque white of the food signs, considering what we would eat.

My parent’s money sat heavily in my pocket. Twelve dollars, definitely enough for a meal of fast-food. I browsed the menu, it was pretty much what one would expect from Kentucky Fried Chicken, a couple chicken sandwiches, wings and big cups of chicken nuggets. I glanced over the counter at the traditional Children’s Hospital collection box; maybe I’d throw in the rest of my money once I was done.

I looked up and considered the drinks and wondered how important A and W was anyway. Along with the regular drinks they were also selling big ½ gallon kegs- super size- along with full gallon milk containers for eight dollars or so. I ordered a large box of spicy wings and a large root beer from KFC’s big sponsor, A and W at the time, (there was even another tap just for root beer) and settled down at a table with my friends Michael and Jeffrey to wait for the chicken. Jeff had ordered the super sized drink and it dwarfed even my large, a colossus of a drink the size of my head.

As our food arrived we talked and joked, disappointed that the rest of our friends couldn’t have come, and pointing out the faults in the tech project grading system. I, myself had barely got a B, after two judges had conflicting verdicts on opposite sides of the grading spectrum, and a lot of those left behind had had much better presentations. Approximately half of the way through our meal as we joked about one thing or another, I laughed and as I came to put my head on the table I found that the space was occupied, by my drink.

Time slowed as I watched the drink spin and fall, too slow to save it, to keep it from coming down, it was as if I was swimming through Molasses, the cup hit the table with a soft vibration of cushioned impact and Jeff looked at me with wide eyes. It was too late. Root beer fountained outward, a maelstrom of carbonated death. The liquid rained down, dowsing the table and spilling right into my two friends. Not only did KFC have root beer coming from their sinks, now it decorated their seats.Fleeing the carnage the detonation had caused, and wiping root beer off their sweat shirts Michael and Jeffrey stood. A custodian came by and I tried to help clean up, he waved me off, bringing his mop to bear on the acidic liquid that stained the seat.

The rest of the day went smoothly after that, we walked back to school with full stomachs and ready to continue our crazy video production. Unfortunately, I didn’t remember to use the rest of the money for the collection box, but I did have a good time.

I will always remember that moment, and for some reason its bizarre beauty is stuck, filed away in the the un-erasable cabinet at the back of my mind, in a folder labeled: the Root Beer Explosion of KFC.





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