I was robbed

by Michael

On Saturday lunchtime, I forgot the single most important rule for those of us living in the big conurbation: if something weird is happening, someone is trying to rob you.

Having realised in the queue for the barber that I had only £5 in my wallet, I dashed out to a nearby cashpoint. Having entered my PIN, a woman came up and – I have a bad memory, so details are sketchy – started saying that it wasn’t working. She thrust two newspapers in front of me and was saying “Look, look” but I couldn’t work out what she was asking me to look at. I asked her to go away. She said I didn’t understand and that it wasn’t working.

My card popped out of the machine and I took it. She was still there, newspapers in front of me and she was basically between me and the cashpoint. I was pissed off because I needed to get cash for my haircut. Iwas shouting at her but she would not move. Then she went, shrugging her shoulders as if I was an idiot for not understanding her (she had an accent; I would hazard eastern European).

Of course, as I was putting my card in again and entering my PIN and opting to withdraw £30, I realised she had, at the first approach, pushed the button for cash while shouting at me that the machine wasn’t working. Then she simply distracted me with the papers and the obscene situation of incomprehension when someone is being an arse. Then when I took my card, the money followed but hidden by her newspapers and she filched it.

At some level, my brain was noticing this but not processing it. I saw her push the button (I guess it was for £100) but the screen was obscured by the newspapers so maybe that’s why my brain didn’t click. I saw something come out of the machine after I had taken my card but my brain decided it was a receipt or a paper message, not my beautiful cash.

Having got my £30, I looked for her but of course to no avail. I went back to the barber where they told me they take credit cards….

Crap. So I feel like a right chump – it was so easy for her to bamboozle me when I should have known what was going on. Because if something weird starts happening, someone is trying to rob you.

Caveat: I would, at some point, like to make a piece of ‘illegitimate’ street theatre. That would be weird for onlookers. I would not be trying to rob them. Not everything that is weird is sinister and I hate the people who make me think that way. More for making me think that way than for robbing me, perhaps.

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