Excerpt from "Market People"
He is burdened under a headdress of animal balloons, his cheeks transformed into red lollipops. His loose bulk sags beneath layers of ragtag apparel: a crocheted neck scarf, a layered hodgepodge of shirts and sweaters, baggy pants thick enough for downturns in the weather. His boat-size lips turn down in ill humor; he is the orneriest clown he knows. And yet he enchants passersby. Children stop, rapt, as he twists latex sausages into dogs. Whales and giraffes. The children squeal. They bounce in place, their palms pumping in pitter-patter applause. The animal balloon maker squawks in counterfeit delight, hands over an orange sea otter to an awed little boy. Coins clang in an aluminum coffee can. When his hour is up, he gathers his haul and lumbers to the next musical note on the pavement, cursing Halliburton.