His place at the table

He smelled of deli smock — an amalgam of lunch meat, pork and musty dairy. Small brown puddles on the lid of his McDonald’s coffee cup shook precariously when he set it down inches from my elbow. He had thick-rimmed glasses on, and his eyes were hunkered down somewhere distant beneath his frontal bone. He made a humming sound when I spoke — a nervous tick? — and even in repose, his nose wheezed like a dog’s old chew toy.

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