Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Portraits Of The City 3

The sound was electric. A kind of whirring. The silver faced man with top hat and black jump suit had elbow and knee pads. He moved mechanically in fits and starts. The crowd swayed as the wind blew on a cold fall day. The performer was jacket less. All exposed skin was painted metallic. His face stood still like a mask and betrayed his bodily movements.

Michael Jackson's thriller blared in the background. A meager holiday season, passer buys were more interested in the live entertainment then the big box store that was being ignored in the background.

A small hat sat to the side and a thin man without a coat waited on a bucket turned over. He held the radio close to his body. He watched his counterpart stand on a brick ledge. He kept an eye on the stray quarter or dollar bill that found its way into the meek surroundings of felt and fabric.

A large clerk exploded out of the store. He pushed through the crowd to the front. His arms bare underneath the logoed short sleeve shirt he was no doubt forced to wear. As he emerged the thin man sitting on the bucket jumped up and placed himself between the performer and the clerk.

Even in the cold the clerk had sweat running down his side burns. Heated arguments ensued. The clerk trying to move the crowd away from blocking the store entrance. The performer's keeper fighting for a few inches of turf in this industrialized, consumer jungle.

And the man with the silver face continued to move with mechanical accuracy. The radio drowned out the sounds of the characters arguing. And another Michael Jackson song began to play:

They told him don't you ever come around here
Don't want to see your face, you better disappear
The fire's in their eyes and their words are really clear
So beat it, just beat it

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