ATM

59. 11pm. Top deck, on the left near the front.

The young woman behind me was speaking on her mobile phone. She was telling someone the sad but entertaining story of how she had been robbed at a cash machine. She had a wonderful storyteller’s voice, and I found myself drawn in…

‘There were three men altogether. One man came up behind me just as I’d put in my PIN and asked me, “Did you drop that £20 note?” I bent down to pick it up, and when I stood up again the card was gone and so were the men. They must have watched me put in my PIN and now they’ve actually stolen quite a lot of money…

‘Lloyds Bank…

‘It’s really annoying. I cancelled my card like ten minutes after they stole it and they’d already taken £300. They’re very clever. It was a sort of L-shaped building, so they must’ve gone round the corner, straight to another cash machine, and taken out the money…

‘Literally ten minutes. Anyway, I have to go to Lloyds every day to get my money, with my passport and everything. It’s quite a hassle…

‘Yes, that’s how I have to get the money, it’s how it works…

‘No it’s fine, and anyway there was an insurance or something on the card. I just can’t believe it was so… easy for them. It’s just annoying. I have to go to the police to identify them on Monday…

‘Well, on Saturday me and Dave are going to just chill out, and then on Sunday we’ll probably go and chill out with Sasha and that lot…’

Ah, clearly there is no hardship in this world that cannot be eased with a bit of chilling out. My interest began to drift – and it seemed the person on the other end of the line had also heard enough.

‘Oh, OK, well, speak to you tomorrow maybe. Yup. Bye then…

‘Hi Dad.’

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