The telephone pole was covered with flyers for pets—lost, found, and disposable—get rich schemes, used textbooks, and prophecies. The man with the sandy brown stubble stapled his flyer on the pole. He used his to cover one of the schemes.
He paused a moment to look nervously over the other flyers, on the ground, over the grass, and in the bushes. He walked away. Every few feet, he looked suspiciously in one direction or another.
His worn out shoes sounded smooth against the sidewalk. His downward gaze as he walked gave the impression he was eyeing his shoes.
A little boy with big eyes ran up to him. “Hey, mister. Can I help you?”
He muttered something and then said, “I’ve lost something. Something dear to me. Have you seen it?”
The boy said, “What’d you lose?”
The man handed him a flyer and looked away.
An impression pocked the surface of the flyer where tears had dried. The little tear-off tags were haphazard.
The flyer showed a happy man, a joyful man. A clean-shaven and well-groomed man. The same man—could he really be the same man?—holding a book. Brave New World.
“Mister, I—” the boy looked up. The worn out man had disappeared. His flyers covered every pole the boy could see.