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I see her well before she notices me. There was I, sitting plush in an AC car with Gun & Roses blaring out in the background; there she was out in the sweltering heat hobbling around the car in front of me. Slowly she turns towards me, and our eyes meet. I notice a slight flicker in her eyes as she acknowledges the impact of me looking at her – it could just make the deal for her.

After all, her biggest ally was the emotion of pity; to be precise – her gaining my pity on her deplorable condition. A few moments later and she’s knocking at my window, pleading at me to give her some money. She’s well aware that I won’t be able to hear her behind the closed windows, but that doesn’t deter her. She continues to mumble her well-rehearsed script like an veteran actor who’s been doing that act all his life.

And she wins. I lower the window, just enough for me to pass on a few bucks to her. A miserly sum, the smallest denominations that I can find in my purse. She doesn’t argue, nor does she try to negotiate more money out of me. She understands her situation extremely well – it is not in her advantage to spend more effort on me; there are other cars behind me, the traffic signal can turn green at any moment now.

Soon the light turns green, she sighs and moves back to the footpath, clearly at a more faster pace that doesn’t match with her dire image; giving away her game to anyone who’s observing her. But it doesn’t matter – there are other fish to fry. Soon the signal will turn red again, and she’ll be back in the game.

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