The sky was blue, the clouds white and marking the afternoon with their patterned trails. The young man trudged purposefully along the road edge, pausing occasionally to pull up his baggy shorts before they fell all the way down. His t-shirt flaunted a clever caption; his sneakers had white laces; his hair was meticulously ruffled and ears stuffed with the latest tracks from his iPhone. He wore the costume of every teenager with the addition of a cotton bag slung across one shoulder.
When he reached the intersection, Sam looked in all directions, crossed the road, entered the park grounds and headed towards the booming bass that he could feel-hear even through his headphones. Dozens of people milled about or sat on the grass to enjoy the entertainment. A couple of them nodded at Sam and smiled as they put money in the performers’ hat.
Sam kept walking past the Country Rock Band but paused again when he got to the market stalls to take them in, and also to pull up his pants. Having found what he was looking for, he made a beeline for the music table. He laboriously browsed boxes of old records and CDs, putting some aside for more deliberation. It was then that he noticed the books on theory, instruction and biography and was drawn over to those. After much study, he chose a tattered history of Led Zeppelin, made the purchase and placed the book in his bag.
The clouds seemed wispier now; some of the stalls had slashed their prices. As Sam passed the local growers produce, he became suddenly aware of his hunger. He bought a couple of apples – one to eat, the other he threw in his bag. He watched a group of skaters doing tricks while finishing his snack. They rode off on their little boards but one of them left behind a hat. Sam picked it up and put it in his bag.
Vans and cars belonging to the stall-holders started to appear between the tables. There were last-minute sales and much bustle. One stall had a sign, ‘Free’ stuck on boxes of cucumbers and lemons. Thinking his parents would be pleased, Sam grabbed half a dozen of each and tumbled them into his bag.
Wondering if he was onto something, Sam wandered the maze of tables and people looking for more treasures. There also now seemed to be vehicles everywhere. Amongst a commotion of live chooks, a girl said hi to Sam then continued helping her father pack up. She appeared a moment later, looking slightly flushed and held out a cardboard carton.
Duck eggs, she said. They’re for you. Thanks, grinned Sam. He took the proffered box, placed it in his bag and called out, Bye Lena – see ya at school tomorrow.
Feeling pretty pleased with himself, Sam ambled dreamily back to the corner of the gardens. He sat down for a minute to rest and smile to himself, then stood up and pulled up his pants.
As he reached the intersection, a frightened Chihuahua came running at his ankles, snapping madly, then changed directions and ran out onto the road. Sam acted fast. With one perfectly timed motion he took a large step, reached down, scooped up the dog and put it in his bag.
© Spiral 17/11/2010