At this moment, Mario noticed the metal against the back of his head and stood very still. “Now turn around slowly” – Mario believed to know himself in real danger. The most terrible thing about fear is uncertainty. So he feigned not understanding English. Then the perp pointed the gun at his head and spoke to him in Spanish. “Contra el coche” (Against the car). Could this be a coincidence? “Easy, easy” said Mario closing his eyes. “I’m still”.
Mario remembered a stupid joke about 3 Argentines about to enter a nightclub abroad. How could his brain remember a stupid joke at such time? His brain was actually offering a way out of his imminent death, although he did not know it yet. “Español? Said the perp. Dame la guita, el dinero”. (Gimme the money) “Yes, cool. I understand “guita”. I’m from Argentina”.
The perp’s expression changed completely. He still looked as if he had brain damage, but he lowered the gun a little and looked amused. He smiled, still pointing the gun to Mario’s shoulder blade. His brain had been trying to give him a clue. “Where are you from?” Mario asked, and his heart started beating again. “Let’s go to an ATM and I’ll tell you all about it”, answered the perp. Then Mario understood. The kid was not brain damaged. He was just a Rollinga, which is a subculture from Buenos Aires that has taken their image after the Rolling Stones’ look from the 60s.
The perp had a complicated past; he had stolen his brother’s motorcycle, sold it and bought a ticket to London. They got 500GBP from the ATM and went to a pub to drink beer, which the perp insisted to pay for. They talked about football, music and cocaine. The perp had very serious addiction problems. He could not find work, so he would go out and rob people. When they left the bar, Mario’s head was spinning. The perp asked him if he wanted a few Pounds for breakfast. Mario answered “No. A robbery is a robbery.” and they parted with a hug.