The little elf is dressed in a floppy cap and he has a big rosy nose and flaring white eyebrows with short legs and a jaunty step, though sometimes he glides across an invisible pond with a bonfire glow on his cheeks: it is northern Europe in the nineteenth century and people are strolling around Copenhagen in the late afternoon, mostly townspeople on their way somewhere, perhaps to an early collation of smoked fish, rye bread, and cheese, washed down with a dark beer: ha ha, I have eaten this excellent meal and now I will smoke a little bit and sit back and stare down at the golden gleam of my watch fob against the coarse dark wool of my vest, and I will smile with a hideous contentment, because I am an evil man, and tonight I will do something evil in this city!
From You Never Know by Ron Padgett. Copyright © 2001 by Ron Padgett. Published by Coffee House Press. Used by permission of the publisher.