Michael stood out at this market. People shuffling by in their traditional Central Asian garments. He had on a suit and tie, and also, no one could tell you for what reason, a fedora. You would think that in this desert weather he would droop around in a languid manner, but on the contrary he stopped at every other station and talked to each Uzbeki salesman garrulously. At one of the booths there was a man named Paco selling Soviet memorabilia. Michael talked to this man with an ornery tone. Pointing to one of the old photos, “A disgusting picture of Lenin,” he would say. Paco shrugged his shoulders indifferently and named a price. This was no imbroglio. Despite his ornery tone, Paco actually liked Michael, for he too, secretly of course, thought that it was a disgusting picture of Lenin. The photo of Trotsky, two down to the left, next to the pickaxe key-chain, was much more appealing.
Across this booth sat a little ragamuffin. A scrawny Afghan girl with her arms stretched out and her head tilted down, her eyes were staring at the sand. Her red t-shirt was ripped and dirtied. Michael was starting to feel uncomfortable with the situation. He looked around in all directions, discerning what the quickest exit might be, and as soon as he could he made a run for it. When he did this, he had to hold down his fedora with one hand so it wouldn’t fly off in the dry desert air.