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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 91 | volume XVI | July-August, 2013



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 91July-August, 2013
Prose

The Colour of a Dog Running Away

(an excerpt)


/14
p. 1
Richard Gwyn

1. A Postcard

One evening in May as I was walking home, I witnessed a mugging, and did nothing to prevent it. I could see what was going to happen. It was in the Gothic quarter of the city, just off the Ramblas. Ornate lamps lined the street, reminders of a more grandiose era, and narrow lanes led off into labyrinths unvisited by daylight. As I passed the entrance to one such lane, I noticed a pale young man standing there, reptile eyes scanning the human traffic. I slowed my pace.
    I had gone barely ten strides when I heard a woman’s voice, shouting a single word in shrill English. The man had pounced, and was trying to wrest the shoulder bag from an ash- blonde, sunburned woman who wore a short pink dress. The bag’s strap had become twisted around the woman’s arm. The thief kept pulling, the woman stumbled, and as she fell into the road, the bag slipped free. The thief ran back across the street and up the alley, clutching his prize tight against his chest.
    This all happened in an instant. I couldn’t move.
    The woman stayed in the gutter for a few seconds, the pink dress up around her hips. Lying there, half on the sidewalk, half in the road, she looked sad and vulnerable. She was heavily built and her legs were red. Clumsily, she got to her feet, shouting: “Stop the bastard!”
    She was looking straight at me.
    Fortunately, there was a helpful citizen nearby, quite close to the alleyway. He was youngish, dressed in a lightweight blue suit. He turned and gave chase, disappearing into the darkness, before returning a few seconds later, his arms spread in the Latin gesture of hopeless endeavour. He commiserated briefly with the woman, who understood nothing he said, then shrugged and went on his way.
    The woman dusted off her dress with a few angry brushes of the hand. She looked as though she were about to cry. I still hadn’t moved. Several other people, who had stopped briefly at the time of the theft in the hope of some excitement, had begun to move on. I was wondering, among other things, what might have been in the bag.
    “You could have stopped him. Bastard!”
    She spewed out the first vowel of that word, as though gagging on a lump of gristle.
    It was clear that she was addressing me, but I was unwilling to


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