“Hey do you have any spare change?” I turned to see an earnest young androgynous face peering out from under an overlarge hood. I muttered something about not carrying cash and began to walk away. “How about a mint?” I stopped in the midst of my escape. “A mint?” I asked.
“Yeah, see, I’m going to this interview downtown and I was told to bring a mint, some spare change, and some confetti.”
I raised a brow. “I don’t believe you,” I said peering deep into the hood. “Why would your future employer ask you to bring confetti to an interview?”
The face in the hood looked down at the sidewalk for a while, “I’m trying to be a magician,” he muttered. I must have continued looking skeptical because he came a little closer and whispered, “I feel like I’m David Copperfield reincarnated.” I didn’t object by saying David Copperfield was still very much alive. I frankly thought this young person was a little out of his mind. I decided to strike what I felt was a good balance and handed the young man some confetti in a little baggie. I was on my way to clown class and happened to have an extra bag in my pocket.
His face lit up. “Hey thanks!” he said, “No one ever has confetti these days.”
“It’s hard to come by,” I said, “use it well.”
He stared at me for a long time, too long I felt. “Why do you have this?” he said in a tone that conveyed that he trusted me about as far as he could throw me. “Listen, kid,” I said, “in times like these it is best to count your blessings and not look a gift horse in the mouth.” As soon as I used the old fashioned catch phrases I knew that if the kid was working as a free lance sniffer, he’d be onto me. There was a tense moment where we both sized each other up, but eventually the kid pocketed the bag of confetti and nodded slowly. I nodded back and he turned and walked down the street, hunched up against the cold protected by that ludicrously big coat.
As he walked away I felt a little nervous. What if I’d given my confetti to a complete stranger who was just going to squander it? Lately the Anti-Entertainment industry had been cracking down pretty hard on confetti users. It wasn’t illegal yet, but you could still face severe ostracizing if you used it in front of the wrong people. Clowning wasn’t easy. I had already lost one apartment lease over it. My landlady tried to say it was because she saw me smoking inside, but I knew better. Plus, the kid could have been an agent, and I wouldn’t even know until I was suddenly struck from behind and arrested for some trumped up charge. I could not handle that in front of my co-workers. Especially Peanuts. That guy was such a jerk.
I kicked at a puddle and immediately regretted it as the cold water seeped through my mesh tennis shoe. It was going to be a long day.