Gypsies crowd in on all sides. I’ve got one hand over the pocket with the coins, another in the air, poised to strike. My wallet, thankfully, is safely tucked in a pouch under several layers of clothing, but I’d rather the predatory groping not start (maybe if they looked like last night’s cabbie…). What I haven’t been able to stop is the pressing-in, the rapacious closeness that’s intended to precede the actual theft.
Finally, I’ve had enough. I start shoving. Hard. “Get away from me,” I hiss, pulling my hand back once again and balling it into a fist. But it’s no use. They’ve seen this act before, and they outnumber me.