It is 75°F inside, and 9°F degrees outside. It is late April, yet the ground is still covered with snow. The diner is dark, the solstice sun falling on the leather upholstered double-bench, ready to seat four. The Hotel Royal is empty though faint sounds of dishes being cleaned arise from the back. It is afternoon, but it might as well be morning. The sun’s position in the sky has barely changed—its intensity has neither increased nor diminished. It will stay that way until late evening. Further down the hallway is the elongated bar with its four gambling machines. It is even darker. As the evening descends, locals will start to arrive.