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The room was large and sparsely decorated, brown walls with peeling paint and safety posters. On a TV in the corner Ted DiBiase was doing a pre-bout interview, expressing doubt about his ability to defeat the Junkyard Dog. Anderson glanced over at it, then looked back at the two security men in front of him. After half an hour, he had reached the front of the queue. The one with the clipboard looked up at him. “Your name, please.”
“I, uh, I have it right here,” Sanderson said putting his hand in his inside pocket. There was nothing there. He started searching the other pockets of his jacket, and his trousers. He still couldn’t find it.
“No, sir,” clipboard said. “I just need your name.” Henderson nodded and smiled weakly, but inside he was panicking. The skin around his head suddenly felt like it was shrinking, and he could feel himself perspiring. Clipboard looked over at his colleague, eyebrows arched in confusion. “Hey Frank. This guy doesn’t know his name.”
“Of course I know my name,” Gunderson said, trying to sound like a calm and reasonable person. It didn’t work. The other security man, the one called Frank, looked over at him. Previously his attention had been fixed on the TV screen, where Bob Roop was expressing his opinion that there was no way DiBiase could beat the Junkyard Dog.
“Are you alright, sir?” said Frank. There was a look of genuine concern on his face, but Manderson couldn’t shake the sudden thought that the man was inwardly preparing to attack him. He could feel his whole body tensing up and seemed to be having some trouble moving. He tried to nod his head, but succeeded only in twitching violently.
“You’d better call a doctor,” clipboard said, showing the same concern as Frank, and in no way displaying any kind of sadistic enjoyment of the torment and anguish the man before him was suffering. Alderson opened his mouth, and inside his head he could hear the words, ‘no really, I’m fine,’ but the looks on the security guards’ faces suggested that they were hearing something else.
Alexanderson dropped to his knees and clutched his chest. He was having a heart attack! Or a stroke! Or indigestion! Or maybe he was just hungry. He also felt a sudden need to evacuate, and hoped he wouldn’t do it right there in front of everyone.
“I’m gonna call an ambulance,” said clipboard, as Alverson finally gave up on his attempt to not lie down on the floor.
Outside in the street an old homeless man was using rolling papers and dog ends to try and fashion a cigarette. He accidentally tore through the paper he was using, spilling the salvaged tobacco into his lap. It was the kind of banal and meaningless event that somehow seems profound when placed at the end of an unrelated short story.