There was something so strangely fitting that I was standing in Burger King, waiting on a Whopper, when the Casey Anthony verdict came down Tuesday afternoon.
Fast food justice, methinks.
Granted, I knew the case had gone to the jury, but I really had no intention of tuning in live to see justice served up like a stale baloney sandwich. If revenge is a dish best served cold, suffice it to say a miscarriage of justice is best served by Oscar Mayer.
That I should be at the Greencastle Burger King at this precise moment Tuesday was nothing short of fate. I could have gone to Taco Bell or Arby's or McDonald's or the Sonic drive-through (none has a TV in the dining area) and never would have known what was going down at that precise moment.
The TV at Burger King is always tuned to Headline News, making for a pleasant little diversion most days as you manhandle your Whopper to a backdrop of stories about cats with their heads stuck in bottles, pandas mating (or not) in China or the latest laughing baby You Tube sensation.
Tuesday it was different. Across the bottom of the screen the crawl screamed: "The verdict is in."
The BK clientele had stopped, some mid-bite, straining to hear the courtroom decision. The girls from behind the counter even ventured out to the dining area -- under the pretense of wiping off tables -- to watch the verdict for themselves.
You could hear a pickle drop as the jury foreman read the verdicts -- starting with the not guilties for the major charges (murder, manslaughter, child abuse).
As the foreman descended into reading guilty verdicts for lying to authorities, failing to return library books and ripping tags off her jail mattress, the BK dining room turned hostile.
The woman to the right of me stood up, walked toward the TV shaking her index finger at the screen and declaring Casey Anthony a slut and the mother of a litter of puppies.
The ladies seated in the booth to my left, sat shaking their heads, and then silently arose, carried their trays to the trash receptacle without taking their eyes off the TV and dumped the remains of their meal. It was like they were throwing up -- but without all the socially nasty nuances.
I tried to be the voice of reason.
"You know," I dared to begin, "there was really no physical evidence ..."
The women were having none of it.
"Everyone knows she killed that little girl," one virtually hissed. "What a crock!"
"She did it," sneered another, "but look at her, now she's laughing."
This seemed all too reminiscent of watching the O.J. verdict in the BG newsroom. Every guy in the room that day thought he was guilty. Every woman in the room presumed he was innocent.
My concentration was broken by the customer carrying a tray full of onion rings and sandwiches behind me.
"I can't wait to hear what Nancy Grace has to say about this," she offered.
Happy to oblige ...
"As the defense sits by and has their champagne toast after that not-guilty verdict," Grace said Tuesday, "somewhere out there, the devil is dancing tonight."
Just glad he wasn't at Burger King.