I'm cutting diagonally across the road, heading to the close mooth and two men are walking straight along the pavement. They reach the close a wee bit before me and stop in the entry.
If you were casting common thugs for a film or a play, you'd definitely pick this pair.
One is a tall, burly man, big head shaved into the wid, blunt features, a dull, unfeeling expression. He's wearing a leather jacket and drainpipe jeans with a duffel bag over his shoulder and is wheeling a bike along.
The other man is wee-er and also wears a leather jacket. He has more of the latin look, swarthy with the obligatory scar traced from jaw to corner of mouth. And, sorry to say, he's kind of manky too.
As I say, I reach the close just after them and the big one is squatting down, opening the toggles of the bag and pulling it apart to reveal a very fancy camera with long lens. The wee man isn't looking at it though, he's turning round to look at me, with a quizzical look on his face, like, who're you and whatjehinkyerdaein?
The outward me is looking down into the bag of purloined goods and looking up again and then at the wee man and then at the big man, by which time, they're both looking at me strangely. We're all only inches away from each other's faces.
The inward me is thinking, oh mammy daddy, what are you doin'? They've stolen a camera and you've walked right up to them at the very moment of exchange. And what's more, you're staring right into their swag bag.
And I just seem to go on automatic pilot and buzz Wee Raberta's. Open Sesame - I disappear through the escape hatch and ascend to safety, toot sweet.