Portrait of an older man, distinguished, same as you might see in any coffee palace, part of the Bar-room Portraits collection.

His white-grey hair and broad mustache induce an aging, atrophying aura that once lit rooms. His hair's combed straight back, with the same conquering flourish he'd had before his age had passed. His new self-groomed mustache conceals his wizened face and tough cheeks. He stands tall, with a straight back, a firm chest, and a forward-thinking gaze.

He walks into the corner coffee shop. He queues up to the register, waiting silently. He has a lofty, steady focus that occupies him until he reaches the counter. Waiting for recognition, his feet are firmly planted a shoulder's width apart. He'll not be moved against his will. By subtle neck rotations as he talks, he shows himself ready for a bloody task--but one faded, that he's working to give up on. His presence once called men to introduce themselves.

The cashier looks at him. Now, with a tiny head tilt, this old king has abdicated. He slinks from the counter because he was met with a curt look--and made to wait. He waits to deliver his simple order with an uncustomary shiftiness. He's uncomfortable. He doesn't know what to do when others rule.

Our king is struggling to let go of kingly privileges. When he's finally recognized, after the cashier's chit-chat with a clerk, his eyes demand full attention. But his roaring order's now for espresso, nothing more. He tips well, buys in quality, but the slight nod from a dollar's a pale comparison to the knowing glance of a fellow.

After finishing his order and throwing down two dollars--he never asks for change--he grabs his cup and scans the room for seats. He strides towards the corner to sit down, but as he does the low, wood seat betrays him. It's nothing like a throne. His huge frame can barely squeeze between the chair and table. His knees touch the table-bottom, raised above his waist. His broad forearms and huge hands dwarf the coffee-cup he's carrying.

He sips his drink and stares into it. Sipping drinks and contemplating action is as close to his old kingdom as he can get. He fathoms fortunes long gone. His memory serves him too well now. He smirks from the bitter end of his espresso, gets up, throws his cup away.

He walks out the door as if he'd owned the place. He shivers from the cold outside--he's regal, but alone--and walks fast, away from the past.

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