The Sad Sumo catering service was located four blocks East of my old apartment. Gamely hunched over a concrete stoop it leaned precariously, as if butter not mortar lay between those bricks. This was ironic, I suppose, since the establishment prided itself on health-conscious cuisine. About twice a month I’d stop by and chat a bit with Les, the owner, while grabbing an order of vegetarian chili. Les was an interesting guy. Rumour had it that he used to be in the mob, but found a new calling after one too many of his pals passed on thanks to fat and cholesterol-related injuries. Cardiovascular “accidents,” as they say. For a born-again vegetarian, Les was still a pretty imposing guy; not at all what you’d expect of an ardent carrot muncher. Whenever I came by he’d heave around the counter and pump my hand, his thick fingers leaving pale imprints for long afterwards. The day he disappeared, I found myself wondering how a guy with such substance could simply vanish. Sure, someone with a past like Les’s could be expected to disappear now and again, but there was a strange finality to this absence. Perhaps it was because the Sumo never really recovered from his exit. The entire place crumbled to the ground after only two days. It was almost as if the only thing keeping the place standing was Les’s presence at that counter; without him, the greasy bricks just slid off one another.
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