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Mandelbaum's was a popular bar near a university campus. Stan, a languages professor, frequented Mandelbaum's after work. He likened it to a permanent floating cocktail party, rather than a "meat market". Stan was friendly with a bartender named Victor. It was here that Stan met Indira Patel, and kicked around the idea of a possible parasite that could influence human behavior in the way flatworms influenced sticklebacks to engaged in behaviors that made them vulnerable to predators.

Before this meeting, there had been a recent rash of pedestrians carelessly wandering into the path of oncoming vehicles and being killed. Stan and Indira had both seen the aftermaths of such accidents.

After dating for a brief time, Indira wandered into the path of a vehicle and was killed. Stan came on the accident scene, and quickly concluded that there was indeed some sort of parasite causing human hosts to run into traffic. He ducked into Mandelbaum's restroom to grieve and clean himself up, hoping to get rid of the parasites.

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