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A writing exercize

A man came to claim the empty seat at the table. That he was Latin American was evident, though of what flavor I couldn't tell. He had a very handsome face, with a trim mustache and goatee—not Van Dyke, like mine, but actual goatee. If you don't know the difference, look it up. He wore thick-rimmed but stylish glasses that gave him a scholarly air. His short white hair was perfectly styled. He didn't seem very old, but neither did he seem very young, so the white hair could have been either natural or an affectation. But if it was the latter, it had been recently and very neatly done, for there was no trace of black at the roots.

He wore a white three-piece suit with subtle gray pin-striping. His shirt was charcoal gray, and the tie was diagonally striped in black, gray, and white. The white pocket square completed the ensemble. The only color on him was his bronze skin—

—and the plethora of gold rings he wore. The one on his left index finger even had a large, square ruby. And that's when it hit me. This man had grown up poor, or at least working class. And I could tell because he obviously retained some part of that sense of ostentation that anyone born into money, or raised around it, would avoid, but that the less-than-rich, having become wealthy through skill or chance, found hard to resist indulging.

Of course, that didn't mean the man wasn't dangerous. In fact, I thought, watching him glide smoothly into his seat, it probably meant he was very dangerous indeed.

"Welcome to the table," the banker said. "How much?"

The man smiled, nodded, and produced a marker from his jacket pocket. The banker took it, looked at it, then up at the man, then back at the marker, his face going blank.

"Okay," said the banker, too calmly. "Two million it is."

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