vs. a peculiar man

A slight man drowning beneath his ill fitting- consignment looking suit moves again to another seat at the cafe.

It was his third seat in a different location of the same cafe in less ten minutes.

As he settles in, he clasps his pale hands tightly on top of his lap, seven large and shiny rings gracing slender fingers. He uncrosses his legs as he bends down to fiddle with the newer looking briefcase  on the floor next to his feet.  He pulls a newspaper out of the case and a pair of tortoise shell reading glasses and slides them up his nose.  The lenses, cloudy. He notices, but the lack of clarity doesn’t prevent him from peering intently through them at the newspaper.

Despite being indoors, he wears a floppy black felt fedora with an aspen green strip of fabric running around and fastening together at a pin and mustard yellow feather.  Straggly black hair fall around his face beneath the hat. Black, too big cowboy boots with silver chains around the ankle clank, as he again un-crosses and re-crosses his legs.  He alternates between glancing down at the paper and staring steadily out the window as pedestrians, bikers, and dogs float past smiling and enjoying the sunny sidewalk.

Uncomfortable, he shifts to check behind his left shoulder, in the direction of the entrance.  Unsatisfied, he moves his energy back to the paper.  Beneath his left elbow, a yellow broach is visible on the collar of his too-large jacket.

He perks up as if a bolt of electricity has run straight through his body.  He swiftly stands and reaches for his suitcase. Gliding quickly past the bar and to the landing that overlooks the indoor market.  He paces. He watches. He shivers in the balmy twenty-eight degree weather.

Dipping his hat to shade his face, he quickly ducks into the single bathroom just a few steps away, closing the door quietly behind him.

A loud crash, as if a cement block has fallen through the ceiling cuts through the dull café murmurs.

Only a single onlooker appeared attentive to the noise. She had been watching him.  He appeared so out of place, how could she have been the only one to notice the quirky old man.  She looked around.

“Had nobody else heard that?” she thought to herself.

To not attract any attention herself, she quickly shifted her head and attention back down. Keeping her nose to the floor, she took a sip of her empty coffee cup, and peered out of the side of her eyes in the direction of the bathroom.  She heard more scuffling.

“Loud enough that the people right next to the bathroom ought to have heard”, she considered.  She felt herself being watched, so quickly pulled her attention back to her computer screen.  She went back to typing, as she had been before his strange presence alerted her.

The lack of his return accompanied by the suspicious noise from the bathroom and his eccentric demeanor nagged at her conscience.  She wondered if she ought to check on him- or more realistically request a staff member to do so.  She didn’t know him. Why was she so bothered by the strangers disappearance.

Five minutes pass.

Where is he.


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