Sensing Adventure, Part I.
13 September 2010 § Leave a comment
This is how the story begins.
A well-dressed man, looking about as old as he was, walked through town early in the morning on the first day of sunshine in weeks. The streets were still wet, in fact, and occasionally he made a quick sidestep to avoid being splashed by some inconsiderate person driving a car through a nearby puddle.
The pack he carried on his back looked cumbersome but he moved as if it didn’t exist at all. It was full of papers and books, actually, as well as a sleeping bag and some food, too. He appeared to be talking to himself, but if you knew him this wouldn’t strike you as odd behaviour.
The man wore a pair of elaborate spectacles too exquisite to be called mere glasses, and through these he read every posted sign he came across – signs stapled lamp posts, tied to stop signs, duct taped to picket fences. He even paid his attention to the soggy cardboard boxes containing piles of stones to keep them from moving with the wind. There were all sorts of postings indicating garage sales, a found cat with only one ear (the photo was saddening to him – it showed all the dirt and blood on the orange and white animal that seemed could possibly accumulate – did the finders show no mercy to it? he thought). Another page showed a picture of a smiling teenage girl. She’d been missing for most of the summer, and this was September.
Sometimes only glancing at the notices as if he were window shopping, he usually just kept walking, especially when the traffic lights were amenable. He was headed somewhere specific, you could be sure, like anyone strolling down the sidewalk. But this man, in his muddy shoes and blazer, had not yet found exactly where he was headed, for now and then he pulled a pen from his pants pocket to jot down a phone number, or perhaps an address, and this he would reference as he walked, looking down at his paper, up at a street sign and back again.
Soon enough, as he passed by a residential neighborhood full of duplexes and apartment buildings, he read from a wooden plank that was nailed to stacked railroad ties that formed a garden wall. In carefully crafted letters, the black marker ink said “Multiyard Family Sale” with an arrow that pointed into the sunny neighborhood. He followed the arrow, interested and hopeful.
Sitting at a yellow folding table that was quite ugly, the smiling lady politely negotiated with her customers, took their money, and provided them with proper change. She also kept a close eye on the boy in the red shirt, who was at that moment violently shaking an old music box as if it were full of candy.
He was from somewhere in the neighborhood. She’d seen him around – riding his bike, tramping around in flower beds, kicking a football around in the street. Eight or nine years old, she figured, and already a troublemaker. now the boy was tinkering with her grandmother’s spinning wheel. She’d never learned to use the thing properly, and as with most things of that nature – things she did not quite understand, that is – she hated the old contraption and often told her husband that they ought to sell it. Her sweetheart did not need to be convinced.
“Hello! Good morning, buenos dias, bonjour, Guten Tag, Konichiwa,” said a man wearing a large backpack. Is he camping? she thought, and had just enough time to picture him in the mountains of some far off country, like that crazy man on television (she told her husband that man on television was crazy – he did not need to be convinced – but what she did not tell him was that his homemaker wife masturbated to this crazy man’s television program while he was at work), before the man with the backpack continued. “I’m from Dudley’s Circus, ma’am, how are you today?” He didn’t give her an opportunity to respond, and kept on. “I saw the sign a few minutes ago, the one indicating one multiyard family sale, though I see only one yard here with priced items about, and I’m curious about the selection.” His eyes were expectant.
The smiling lady was dumbfounded and silent. “Well then,” he continued, “I’ll just tell you what I’m looking for, to make it easier, and perhaps we can see what you have. A boy, perhaps eight to ten years old, with a sense of adventure and a sharp eye, to ride elephants, dance with tigers and juggle fire.” his words were articulate and sincere, his posture good, as if he’d been raised well. And sane. His slight smile said something about his personality, but the lady that pleasured herself to survival shows saw that he was not joking.
“Oh, sorry – imagination! He must have imagination!” He shook his head quickly, to put out a distraction, or to chastise himself for forgetting such an important requirement. Still, the lady could not believe what she was hearing. Letting out a noise that you might think was between a scoff and a giggle, she began to speak when he added, slightly hushed, “And we need him pretty cheap. Attendance is down, you understand.” His smile was warm and trustworthy.