In her eyes, he could see what he imagined was a smart trace of the happiness there is in escaping all sorts of disillusionment. But, contrary to his intuition about her, the woman before him acted very much like someone who had been cruelly disillusioned by life, both in general and specifically in his contexts. His father's business had been ruined by her insinuations of it as immature about that she and her smart-thief friends - half of whom seemed to be related to her. Even so, she was the one to accuse him, instead of the other way around.
It crossed his mind that they might be gypsies, but since they didn't much look like it, he felt that he had to dismiss that thought as not too safe to uphold, being something that might fairly easily later be labeled as prejudice, and thus make him vulnerable for blackmail from either them or possibly some other enemies. On the other hand, he figured, to the extent they actually were for example gypsies, they might have many more relatives or something that could come out of the darkness and blackmail him either way. If so, he would be rather defenseless, perhaps, if he did not defend himself by using exactly prejudice against their kind.
With this dilemma in mind he looked again at the shoplifter before him and said. “I don't have any way to judge you as being as innocent as you seem to think you are! We can't but ruin your so pathetic life by having the police take you into custody!”
She looked him in the eyes and said: “I don't feel you are trying to find out what kind of misery I'm in because of you! They can see the way we work on having the torments society causes us be rendered defenseless against our attempts to make use of the emphasize that the kinds of vanities that there are in society for even the poor people's sake.”
“I see that you're trying to say - again,” he told her, “that you're the ones I should pity, and thereby perhaps also be vulnerable for your attempts to same me into misery! But you and the likes of you are thieves and robbers, who should definitely be nailed by the police! .... Or actually, perhaps you do prefer that we use some other method against you?”
She looked at him with a somewhat sophisticated air of astonishment, which he felt reluctantly that he couldn't resist as a reason for feeling - strangely, he thought - fairly much pity for her - although he knew she could be the one to deserve such feelings form him. It was he who was threatened by her and her family, not the other way around. His father had been here with the shop he was working in since fairly long before she and her people settled near it. It was simply smart and sophisticated acting in her; he knew that! But, even so, he could not help but feeling the pity that would destroy his fathers old business.
Meanwhile, his wife did call the police, who came there and arrested the lady. After they left, he his wife and their fourteen-year-old son discussed the thieves who had settled near their shop. His wife said that they were not gypsies, thought some of them were. “Probably,” she added, “they are both that and for example Italian, because some of them seem that kind of self-assured that only someone with something of southern Italian in them can, I think. ... Even so, honey, we can't actually, I think, be trapped by their possible mafia connections, since they probably are discarded as misfits by even them. But I don't feel totally safe about them, just the same!”
“Damned!” her husband answered.
After a while their son asked: “Is there a mafia connection in every Italian or so?”
His parents both smiled at this, but said they could not say to themselves that it was safe to assume with many of them that they were no such connections!
“Then how come,” their son asked, “do they beg for a living? I mean wouldn't be better off working as mafia bosses or something?”
His parents both giggled at him. “Obviously,” his mother replied, “they cannot take themselves as the bosses of their business, but if their business is to pretend to be oppressed by us honest people, then, perhaps they can be part of that top gangster's syndicate, even though they live in what one can consider a slum!”
His father added that “Their business isn't usually legit in any case, so I guess they can feel something like Why not exercise our rights to seem innocent, and then have them, meaning us, pay for their, meaning our, seeming innocence. By pretending in such a way, they will make themselves, and thereby their bosses, seem innocent!”
“Then how come the mafia bosses are seemingly guilty?! I mean they seem much more guilty than, say, the gypsies, although they're thieves just as much as the Italians it seems! Really dad and mom, there should be something to protect the people who ruin their business by pretending the gypsies are innocent, and then perhaps we could all be employed by that kind of syndicate instead of running this business that they complain about?!”
Now both his parents laughed a little at him. “Are you serious?” they asked.
“No!” he answered. “But I am serious about making this a business that we can rely on to be smart enough to survive both the gypsies and the Italians, which I think we can do, just as long as we have it the gypsies are respectable in that they can, almost like the Italians, seem innocent by being able to complain about honest people, and thus turning good and evil into each other!”
It was not innocent of him to think so, his parents said. But since the people he spoke of were not too innocent themselves, they added, perhaps he could make his point, even in the media, they said.