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The Short Con: Chap. 14 "Bumping into Clementine"

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“The secret to bumping into people,” Bam explained to Clementine, “is to make it look as natural as you can. You do that by getting in front of someone and act like you’re pre-occupied with something!”

“Pre-occupied?” Clementine wondered, “pre-occupied by what?”

“Oh, say you suddenly stop right in front of someone to get something out of your purse, or answer your cell phone,” Bam explained, “or maybe you quickly stop to check on something you saw in a store window or to check on a flight schedule at an airport.

My mom and me and a couple of other guys once worked LAX in California. My mom was the stall! All day long, she would suddenly stop in front of people to check on the arrival times on the airport monitors. We must of made a couple grand that day just working in front of the Oceanic Airlines and Ajira Airways ticket counters!”

“Cool beans!” Clementine said, “so show me!”

“Okay, start walking!” Bam commanded. So Clementine walked.

As she strolled along, Bam quickly passed her by. He wasn’t walking fast, just a little bit faster than Clementine’s pace. She figured he was going to get a ways ahead of her, slow up slightly to allow her to catch up, then “bump” into her!

However, Bam suddenly stopped and slightly turned right in front of her! She instinctively put on her brakes, but it was too late! She “bumped” right into the back of him!

He quickly turned and apologized.

“I’m so sorry, ma’am!” he said, then he walked on!

Clementine smiled.

Bam turned around and came back.

“That was a ‘basic bump’!” he said.

“Okay,” Clementine replied, “seemed easy!”

“Oh, by the way,” Bam said, “here’s your bracelet!”

Clementine looked at the silver bracelet Bam was now holding in his hand. The same one that seconds before had been on her right wrist!

“Oh My God!” Clementine squealed with delight, “how’d you do that! I didn’t feel a thing!”

“Because you were distracted!” Bam replied, as he handed back her bracelet, “now you try one!”

“Okay,” Clementine said, putting her bracelet back on, “start walking!”

“Not me!” Bam replied, “pick someone in the park. Pick your mark! I want to see how you do!”

Clementine gulped, “but I….”

“No excuses,” Bam said, “learn by experience. Remember, we’re not trying to take anything right now, you’re just bumping into people. I took your bracelet just to show you how its done!”

“You took my bracelet just to show off!” Clementine said, smiling.

“That too!” Bam replied, “now pick your mark!”

Clementine scanned the park. There were so many potential marks. She decided on a young guy, who appeared to have just stopped jogging, and was pacing himself. He was walking along the path just ahead of them.

“Him!” Clementine said.

“Go for it!” Bam replied.

So Clementine took off. She quickly caught up to the walker! She kept pace with him for a few seconds, then picked up her own pace a bit to pass him by. As she was just a few steps ahead of him, she quickly stopped and turned!

The walker didn’t see Clementine, who was now directly in front of him, as he was too busy checking the pulse monitor on his watch. He suddenly went flying over Clementine and tumbled, head over heels, onto the grass! Clementine, herself, was knocked down!

“Are you all right?!” the walker said, getting up and quickly coming over to help Clementine back onto her feet.

“Yeah, I’m okay, thanks!” she replied.

“I’m so sorry,” the man said, “I didn’t even see you! You sure you’re alright? Are you injured? Do you need me to call an ambulance?”

“No! No! I’m fine!” Clementine, now embarrassed replied, while noticing Bam, further down the path, trying to keep from laughing, “I’ll be okay! Thank you!”

“Okay, again I’m so sorry!” the walker said, who then went on his way.

Bam walked up.

“Nice one, Clem!” he laughed, “the key is not to attract too much attention! But you had the right idea. Its just you’ve got to be sure that your mark is paying attention to where they’re going!”

“Obviously,” Clementine replied.

“C’mon,” Bam said, “I’ll show you some more techniques. You’ll catch on!”

Clementine nodded, she now realized that gracefully bumping into people was not as easy as it appeared!

Next: Chap. 15 “Training Day”

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