There’s an unbelievable amount of lousiness in Barcelona. So many small timing yellow-bellied bastards it’s a wonder the tourists keep coming. If they get wise, one day great capitalist bastions like Easyjet and Ryanair will sink like lead pelotas. I’ve had it with lousiness.
Yeh I know this city like Sara Montiel’s curvy bosom. Doesn’t mean I don’t get conned. Yeh. The birds even got to me. Let me tell you about my false friends and their box of dirt.
The other day I’m walking on Aragó when, from my side, I hear:
“Eh. Amigo … amigo.”
I turn and see two individuals in a battered white Seat with a racing spoiler. These guys ooze shadiness with their Levantine looks. Brilliantined black curls. Sharp suits, wrinkled. It’s a bad scene through and through.
The clown in the passenger seat, closest to me, nods his head towards his lap. From an open cardboard box I see the unmistakable form of a new digital camera. On the box I make out the brand. Panasonic.
“Tsss. Amigo. Dossiento uro.”
“Two uhnndrid uro.”
I need one of those babies for my investigative work. After getting handled by the metro crook last week I’m short on the calés. No way I could buy at retail. This guy’s obviously thick with the local scum, but this camera isn’t going back to its owner. Let’s be realistic Larry. I can use it to investigate him and his disreputable ilk.
“One hundred euros, pal.”
He grimaces and growls under his foul breath.
“One uhnndrid fitty.”
“One hundred twenty five.”
He lets out a long groan and says something in Arabic to the driver. As they drive off I see him closing the box.
I yell after them. One fifty it is. My wallet sure is going to be a lot thinner.
Their jalopy screeches to a halt about twenty feet up.
“I’ll take it for one fifty.”
“OK amigo. A-OK.”
He pulls out a plastic garbage bag from under his seat and places the box in it. He starts winding the bag up real tight.
“Venga pal. I didn’t ask for gift wrapping.”
I thrust out wrinkled bills.
He winds the bag even tighter, hands the package to me as he paws back the payment. He grins a little too eagerly and nods to his partner in slime. They barely beat it through the yellow light leaving me in their stinky exhaust.
I couldn’t figure out why that guy wound that bag up so tight until I got to a trash can and pried the plastic loose.
Inside was the box for a beautiful Panasonic snapper, all right. But inside that was a bag of dirt and a couple stones. One fifty gone for good and nothing but a lousy bag of dirt. The deft switcharoo was made when I thought they were angrily driving off. He feigned irritation so he could foist his luxury dirt on me.
Gypmeisters everywhere. Kovaks is on to you.