By his own account, his drinking continues, as does his pot smoking — medical marijuana offering physical relief from the headaches and pain he says he has suffered since the beating.
He describes his most recent nightmare, which was only a few weeks ago: He saw the faces of all four LAPD officers accused of striking him.
On the street, the sight of a police officer fills him with anxiety. This is why, he says, his pulse rate climbed during the Moreno Valley arrest.
"My God," he says, "it ain't ever going to go away."
On a recent day, during lunch at a local restaurant, he carries in a flask and takes a sip. Apple cider and champagne, he confides.
Then he tells this story:
"It was like three months ago. I was on a Metrolink, coming home from L.A." A young sheriff's deputy walked in. "He was just doing his job...."
As King recounts the incident, his eyes narrow, his right hand shakes.
"My mind is flashing back to the incident in '91," he says. "Because I see the uniform, so immediately I am thinking back to that beating."
It was a struggle, he says, to not dwell on "bad thoughts."
"Kick some ass. Revenge. I mean, all kinds of things. Your mind will drift off so you gotta hold on for yourself. You find yourself in a bad way if you let your mind drift too long, you know."
As King retells it, the deputy turned toward him and said, "I thought that was you, Rodney! How you doing, man? How is everything going? Good? All right, you take care of yourself."
"Wow," King says. "So you sit, and you think, 'Oh, times have changed.' "
His words hang there. "Times. Have. Changed."
Rodney King tilts back his flask and takes another sip.
He is grinning.
One in a series of stories about the 1992 riots and how they reshaped Southern California.