first day on the job
The first thing he notices is the pungence of elephant dung and hay and piss and sour beer, all underfoot, a whiff with every footfall. It was a long walk here, and he’s used to hard work, but his single carpet back gets heavy after the tenth mile and his joints are weary.
Just starting to creak.
Not so stiff he can't jump and run and tumble.
But stiff enough to feel the reverberation with every landing.
He is looking for a man named Scott.
He’s told he’ll know him when he sees him, and the moment he spots the rotund man in a tattered dark suit, he knows he’s found Scott. A tartan vest peaks out loudly from the suit jacket, buttons straining to contain Scott’s ample belly.
Clutching his carpet bag, he steps forward, first tentatively then giving into the confidence of age - or perhaps just no longer giving a fuck, another consequence of age - and strides quickly across the field. Others marvel at the speed for a man with such white hair.
He waits patiently until Scott has finished talking to a woman he had first thought stunning. Upon closer inspection he sees the defeat behind her eyes and the careless smear of crimson lipstick - the magician’s assistant, no doubt. Just vain enough to persist with widely drawn on lips, but cunning and knowledgeable and never to be crossed.
The man called Scott turns to him and cocks an eyebrow.
He pulls a small folded packet of papers from his inner pocket and offers them for Scott to read the note pinned to the top.