Westfield Center, 11:50 a.m., scooting through crowds of shepherded children and 'adults' with Santa caps and reindeer ears and cellphones.
Holding myself straight up, tall -- a simulacrum of Sam Elliott or like Eastwood -- craggy, male, American, a cowboy -- comically with chocolates, analepsized to a plastic modern mall.
A man with a foreign accent interrupts my 'film' and asks if I've ever heard . . . What? (I couldn't hear). The Dead Sea (he says). Yes (I say). The Dead Sea (he says again). I know it (bending toward him).
And I know him from last year, the last time I spent shopping past these store stalls and the vendor carts for stuffed dogs, calendars, sweets, and slippers, cell phone plans, and rings.
He's selling me cosmetics, having put what looks like snowcone ice in my hand and he says now Smell, and I do my best and he says Nothing lives in the Dead Sea, but it brings back life.
And, as I smile and nod and mouth what looks like a (Thank you), back into the jar I overturn my hand the stuff he scooped to rejuvenate my skin and journey far into the wet Seattle day.