Sometimes my mind is so cluttered with the day's events, and the apprehension of the day's upcoming events, I do things without thinking. I break the cardinal rule; I don't feel like smoking, but I light up in broad daylight anyway. The first hit adequately fills my lungs. The second drag does nothing for me so I take a short hit, and then flick the cigarette to the ground.
The most alert and athletic beggar launches himself from the horde of vagrants and snatches the cigarette in mid air, only inches from the pavement. He's a pro all right; bobbing, weaving, flailing his elbows like a roller derby star, and knocking down everyone in his path before zipping around the corner. As soon as he's out of sight, the group returns their attention to me.
"Sorry, that was my last one," I make sure I keep my hand away from the pocket harboring the pack of smokes.
The group studies me with disbelieving glares; some being threatening when they scrunch their noses and grit their rotted teeth. When they see I'm not budging, they disperse one by one; each moocher standing across the street so as not to lose sight of me.