Jacquie Bullard

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Las Ramblas

My current WIP is broken up into 6 parts, each with an intro. Here is one of those intros and it gives a peek into the ambience of Barcelona. I don't mean to overly magnify the problem of petty theft it that Catalan capital, but it does get featured throughout the book as part of the plot. Really, the idea is to glimpse how lively the streets of Barcelona are, so here is a little homage to our dear Man in Gold that, if you've been to Barcelona and walked on Las Ramblas, you've probably seen him:)

A small crowd formed on one side of Las Ramblas; some people took pictures, one man lifted up a toddler to see over curious heads. The focal point of that small audience perched frozen in time and space: a man painted gold dressed in tattered slacks and overcoat, his hair congealed into a freeze-frame moment that showed he was either hurrying along or the wind was blowing just enough to ruffle it. The other clue of his hurried pace were his arms and legs that opened out in a long, energetic gait. Their paused state gave a feeling of settled action, the way a yoga posture might. All around him, gravity demonstrated its existence in the movement of countless other things: occasional leaves falling off trees along the rambla, a few pieces of trash blowing in the breeze, and Pakistani street vendors tossing their glowing blue souvenirs up into the air to float softly back down into their hands.

Even though the gold guy stood as solid and immoveable as Gaudi’s curvy La Pedrera, he offered a flirtatious hint now and then that he was actually as sensitive to whim as anyone else by looking momentarily to one side or the other. In those moments, the whites of his eyes could be seen, as well as the gleam of life and personality that lived inside that costume. Otherwise, he had a remarkable ability to refrain from blinking.

One tourist stood chatting with his friend, taking a few photos of the gold man. Meanwhile, another person slowly approached the tourist, slow and steady the way a stalking cat would, and slipped a hand into the tourist’s gaping pants pocket. Out came a wadded-up tissue and a slim wallet. The thief quickly put the wallet away in his messenger bag and walked slowly along as if his stride was never broken by that moment.