He's been to quite a lot of auctions. This one's unexceptional; the servitors are scantily dressed, the lighting just low enough to flatter the merchandise, the steady background chatter of old acquaintances exchanging niceties interrupted by the crack of whips or the thud of paddles.
A young woman, dressed in very little except the most profoundly uncomfortable-looking shoes he's ever seen, drifts up to Jean's elbow to silently offer him a champagne flute, which he accepts and politely sips while he browses. As she fades into the background, an excessively jovial dealer attempts to convince Jean that two tall over-tanned fake-breasted women on a stand together are twins; Jean walks past him without breaking stride, but stops to linger when an old friend hails him down.
She knows his tastes. The dark slender man she's hawking is one of the more covered slaves in the room, in his bedlah, but the kohl around his eyes is tasteful, and the dance he's demonstrating is a beautifully controlled classic Egyptian raqs baladi. The documents on the nearby podium say he's recently finished out his first six-month contract; Jean wouldn't have to go through the tedium of teaching him the Marketplace basics, but a month of intense finishing work could easily double or triple his value. It would be a delight of an investment.
But not, alas, what Jean is looking for today. Jean demurs, regretful, and wanders on. He pauses, occasionally: exchanges a few words with a gray-haired woman, chained and blindfolded, when she reaches the end of her violin piece; slaps a tattooed boy to watch his skin color under the ink. Pretty, but still not right.
He keeps looking.