The King is Dead


They told me the King of Mayfair had died,
I thought for a while,
And then I just cried

I tagged this street person who frequented my neighborhood the King of Mayfair, out of respect for his perseverance to keep on keeping on. He came every now and then on an old bike and parked in front of an abandoned building where, at one time, the Mayfair Coffee Company stood in business. Now all that remains of the coffee store is the building and the weathered sign that reads ‘the Mayfair Coffee Company’.  He would chain his bike to the stop sign that stands next to the building and make camp for the evening. Often I saw him writing in a journal and at some point before the sun went down he would curl up in the small doorway of the abandoned coffee shop and fall asleep.
I almost asked him once what he wrote about but never did; I suppose I felt like I would be invading his personal space or something to that effect. I did get a chance to say a few words to him once and gave him some money. I could tell he was not one to partake of extreme alcohol binges or battling with mental illness; he seemed rather normal for the most part, but damn what a strong guy he had to be. Imagine being in the heart of some neighborhood where hookers and drug dealers and gang banger wanna-bes plague the evening…now imagine this is your bedroom. I would never get any sleep but he did; the King could turn his back to the street and be out before sunset and up before sunrise – and no one ever took advantage of him.
Like an outside cat, he could be missing for some days before turning up again on his designated spot and I constantly kept watch for an opportune moment to sit with him – catch him before he went to bed or rode off to some other location in town. I wanted to know more about his history, what he wrote in that journal, what I could do for him. Other people in the neighborhood would leave money in the crack of a baseboard at the Mayfair coffee shop or pamphlets on where he could get assistance from local churches and so many of us wished more in life for the King. Just as soon as you got into a frame of mind thinking he had found the help he needed to get off the street, the King would show up in his kingdom and chain up his bike for the night.
I found out from Jerome that the King had died in a hospital downtown. Jerome is an old retired black man that wears a Panama hat and spends his days in the local Burger King dishing out wisdom and gossip. Jerome’s word is pretty good and I haven’t seen the King for some time now, so I have to assume Jerome is probably right…the King is dead. With so many street people near my home, so many people down on their luck, I can’t help but ache for their hardships. I try to give what support I can by being on the streets out there to talk to them, shell out a buck now and then for some coffee or food but the King always seemed to stand alone. He asked for no help and made his way through what had to be a very hard life…and now and then we all have a hard life so help those you know, help those you don’t know and humble yourself enough to accept help when you need it.
The King is dead…long live the King.


2 Responses to “The King is Dead”

  1. 1 Jennifer Bradley
    09/08/2014 at 2:07 am


    • 09/08/2014 at 4:32 am

      Either I left you speechless, Jennifer, or some nefarious tech-bot deemed your comment unconstitutional. Either way, thanks for the thought.

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