A YOUNG WOMAN, stumbles into a clearing of trees in a recessed part of a park. The sun shines through the trees onto a patch of grass where three benches face one another. A garbage can sits in the middle as THREE MEN, haggard, sweating, and covered in soot stand around the can and watch thick black smoke furl from the can. It is noon. The smell of burning flesh clings to the air. The men look up at her, alarmed. They begin to move toward her. She, frightened by the smell and threatened by their presence, holds her hands out as if to brace their approach and smiles innocently.
Hi guys, sorry. I’m looking for my friend. I met him yesterday at the flea market.
(The men take another step toward her)
My tent was next to the kettle corn cart. I love the smell of that stuff, the sweet butter and oil, the heat of the kettle, the sound of the kernels popping, like small explosions. I was selling my scarves. He was tall, taller than anyone I had ever seen, and wore a shirt with huge red and white stripes. He had a hat to match and thick black-rimmed glasses that dissected his long face into a thin skinny triangle with a rectangle on top. His smile, maybe it was more of a grin, lived on his face, never left his mouth. His cheeks kind of formed themselves around it.
He was from all over; he said he’d been traveling for years and stumbled upon the flea market while waiting for another train. He said he couldn’t stay in one place for longer than a week. He kept looking around at everything outside of the tent–the families, parents scolding their children, vendors heckling customers. He wanted to know if I had any extra yarn I didn’t want; he wanted to make his own hat and gloves for colder climates. There was something intriguing about him, peculiar, like the muted hurry in his voice, almost panic. He stepped out of the tent and within two seconds he was gone. I couldn’t find those red and white stripes anywhere.
He told me to meet him here today. But by the looks of his this place, I might have gotten my directions wrong. I’ll just go. I’m sorry to interrupt you. Oh wait, I think that’s his shirt over there, and his glasses (a beat). What’s going on here? He said he had people looking for him. I thought he meant that he lost his friends and needed to find them before he left the market. Does he owe you money or something? Who are you guys? Do you have him? Waldo? Where are you?