Paris : Simon Cutts & Erica Van Horn
13 February Friday
The vendors near all of the city’s tourist attractions have things to sell spread out on small blankets. There are tumbled piles of tiny Eiffel Towers and there are little wooden trains with a single letter on each car of the train. The small trains spell out a word or a name along the edge of the blanket. A customer can spell out a word of choice and buy that many carriages for their train. The engine car comes free with the word. There are bracelets on some blankets and handbags on other blankets. . Each blanket has only one kind of item for sale upon it. Every one of the blankets has a rope sort of woven into several sides of it. The young men who stand beside each blanket are almost always black. They are black and they are thin. None of these young men are fat and none of them are old. Each of the vendors are looking in different directions all the time. There is a nervous energy surrounding them. They need to look out for customers but they need to look out for the police too. Sometimes there is one fellow up on a wall or on something elevated and each vendor looks up toward him often. If the fellow up high makes a signal or if there is a whistle, all of the blankets are whipped off the ground with a tug on the ropes. Suddenly there is no longer anything on the ground to sell, there are only young men walking rapidly in different directions each with a dark bundle hanging from his arm.