I decide to get some air, visit some informants. I'm drowning in the stale air of the office again: the streets welcome me, cobblestones whispering their stories as I pass over them.
I find Arbon and Amoe doing a routine near the jewellers. These guys are artists. Arbon sits on an upturned milk pallet, strumming away on a bass guitar. I stand and watch from the corner. A small crowd has gathered round - it's a nice day, and Arbon is putting on a good show. I spy Amoe creeping round the crowds. If you didn't know what to look for, you'd never notice him pinching wallets and phones from pockets. Today's his lucky day: a girl takes out her white earbuds to listen in. Quick as a flash, Amoe unplugs the headphones and swipes the iPod from her pocket. I wonder how long it takes people to realise they've been swindled.
I prefer the 'free hug' scam, myself. They'll stand in Churchill square with big poster signs and warm, fuzzy hats. As giggly school girls and lonely parents are coaxed into a hug, the boys swipe whatever they can get from rear pockets and handbags.
Arbon finishes up the song, and I walk over. These two know the streets better than anyone. They give me some background information about the Eigonvector Gang. Not much - their turf, typical activities. No names, but it's a start. The boys are good to me, I barely even have to coax the information out of them.
Amoe and Arbon are always good to me. Ever since I helped them out with a police officer who got wise to one of their games. It was easy enough to do, but it bought their loyalty. Maybe even their friendship. All it took was a hooker, a video camera, and a jar of vaseline. The case was dropped the next afternoon.
Arbon packs up and heads off. Amoe waves, turns and walks off. I call to his back, politely asking for my wallet back. He grins wolfishly and hands it over. I know that the twenty pound note inside will have vanished. Service rendered, service paid.
The boys are good to me.