I ate a Portuguese tart at the farmers market. The custard was cold, had the texture of craft paste and tasted like water-based sealant. The pie man stepped from foot to foot behind the pie counter: he wanted to be somewhere else.
A girl busked a violin with a tinsel-covered case on the ground in front of her and a tone of fake melancholy, like the corny soundtrack from a Chuck Jones cartoon. She could play, but she needed a more beautiful instrument.
A table of young mothers shared stories of late-night projectile vomiting babies, laughing and amazed, as if it weren’t their own children they were talking about, and the stunned fathers dandled the babies.
An elderly woman fingered brown pears and asked the pear man, Do you know the Country Women’s Cookbook? It has a recipe for pear chutney.
I’m illiterate, he said. I can’t read.
Presumably you can count, the elderly woman said.
Beurre Bosc would be good, he said. They have lots of sugar and they keep their texture when cooked. He knew his pears.
A man sold bunches of cartoon carrots. A dog made a noise like a pig, and looked as much like a pig as a dog could look.