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It was an hour into The Road when I, along with 200 other people, first heard the hacking man. The coughs were the kind that make you clear your own throat involuntarily, all the while wondering when –not if- vomit is going to happen. Each cough -and they came every minute or so- sounded worse, creating a sort of sick shepard tone, the conclusion of which could only be this guy keeling the fuck over behind us.
After 15 minutes or thereabouts, the general tone of the crowd moved from awkward concern to frustration- each time he’d hack up a new chunk of lung, the multiple murmurs of “really?” got louder. While I was admittedly thinking to myself “Come on guy, cancer elsewhere…” it was the gentleman in front of me who chose to yell,
“Get out of here you fat piece of shit!”
There was nothing about the noises that indicated to me the man was obese rather than old and lung-betrayed, but the vocal gent seemed sure, and the comment worked. Silence followed. In my unique position though, I was the lone individual able to enjoy the irony that the silencer was a fat fucking piece of shit.