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In The New York Times this morning, you will meet 22-year-old Gloria Castillo, who is "married, a mother of two, a Latina from the rough side of Dallas [and] on the low side of making it." Castillo is profiled for the paper's "American Album" section, and her snapshot is intended to represent the failed dreams that land you a shit gig taking orders in the drive-through window at a fast food restaurant--in this case, a Burger King on Loop 12 in West Dallas, where life sounds fairly miserable for those working there and those eating there.

"There's a lot of hate," says the daughter of an illegal immigrant "who came to America from Honduras by bus 22 years ago, with Ms. Castillo gestating inside her," as Charlie LeDuff (over)writes in his profile of life in the drive-through lane.

It's sort of a miniature version of Richard Linklater's movie Fast Food Nation, itself an adaptation of Eric Schlosser's book. Consider this from LeDuff's story:

"The customers are rude tonight, drunk and bellicose. One guy doesn't want to pay for his food, figuring it ought to be free. If he had wanted to rob the place, Ms. Castillo says with a tight smile, it would have been easy enough; the window doesn't lock here like it does at the McDonald's...

But consider the life inside that window on Loop 12 in West Dallas. There is a woman with children and no health insurance, undereducated, a foot soldier in the army of the working poor. The fry cook sneezes on the meat patties. Cigarettes go half smoked. Cameras spy on the employees. Customers throw their fries and soft drinks sometimes because they think it's funny."

Enjoy your Croissan'wich� with Egg & Cheese. --Robert Wilonsky

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