Cro Raka,
Times Staff

A young boy walked in a crowd without realizing why he was there, still he paced forward until he saw a slim-looking fiend hushing him over, "pshhh, boy, you’re gonna wanna see this.

“Huh? no, no, man. I'm in a hurry.”

“No hurry at all, none, zero, come look at this.”

He approached and a shop materialized behind that fiend: smile crooked and eyes as many as could be. The vendor was selling cicadas of all kinds: fried, on a stick, as pets, as clocks, alive, mummified, pre-mummified— the man (if he can be called that) had quite a collection! And it only grew as he named them all. The insects never stopped singing, inside the ones alive flew and crashed against one another with unquestionable madness. Their screeching had a flavour of vinegar.

“What are you trying to sell me this for?”

“Ooh? Never did I know such a rude provocateur! Out, out of my shop!” And the vendor began to screech with the cicadas, louder and louder until the boy stepped back into that crowded rat exchange, vermin retail, flea market (many names for the same thing).

He paced ambiguously like a pigeon lost alone.

The road was crowded with scents, sights, and textures of strangers with no identity; phantoms of the psyche. One pointed at him and said, “hey, you.” The boy had always had curious eyes. “Interested in buying a soul?”

He walked into a rusty corner, every corner made of the same bronze brass. “There she is,” and a foggy image made the shape of a woman with a bald head and thick purple lipstick hiding her lips. She smoked; smoke poured out of her blue eyes.

“Yes, there she is, a trustworthy one. Not yours of course, but pretty fancy, eh?”

The door creaked slightly and in walked an odd looking fellow with a bag-pipe in his back pocket and hair sticking out of his ears. All four sets of eyes (the souls, the shop masters, a baboon secretary that was not mentioned, and the boy) rapidly switched their attention to him as he attempted to inconspicuously sly past unnoticed into a drawer, locate and remove a certain ceramic and walk out. Instead he stumbled over a chair, struggled to open the brass drawer. Lightly he said, “ooh, open baby, open,” while they all stared. Walking out he hit the same chair, said “oh, how ungodly,” and finally the door closed behind him. "How destructive,” the final note of the same voice went.

“Well, as we were,” the shop master continued, “You interested?”

“Why, who wouldn’t be?”

“Many a fool. Many. Many. Guaranteed.” He looked around paranoid, then continued, “go on if you must.”

Now the boy stood face to face with the tall purple lipped woman whose size had grown and appeared more stoic than before.

“No questions, child?” that bald soul asked the boy.

“I believe I have found my own, but will it ever return with me?”

“You need not worry about that issue. Back in the boat, it will all turn into poetry eventually.” She folded her arms behind her neck and continued, “return now, there is no reason to be here.”

“But will she return?”

She nodded. “Eventually.”