Also found near Haft e Tir, strange luck around that place.
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I gathered that he might have seen me walk my friend home and opportunistically presented a Basij front to try and extort money from me. "Ah yes, that was my friend", I confidently asserted, letting him know I was not intimidated. "Ah, your friend was it?!", he responded in cocky aggressive manner. I let out an tired laugh, turned around and carried on about my business, unperturbed. With my first step I felt my sleeve being grabbed as I was pulled back towards him, I struggled a little to shrug him off but he managed to rapidly turn me to face him again.
The very moment I felt me sleeve tighten around my arm I realised things were going to be different – shit – I thought. My suspicion was confirmed, I was in the process of being mugged and upon facing him again a rapid succession of thoughts raced through my mind, complimenting the arrival of an adrenaline rush. I sized us up (he had the advantage), noting every detail on his person and curious as to whether weapons were being held, yet maybe my first error was found here I later thought. I'd excepted that a physical confrontation seemed likely and instead of paying attention to that around me – ways of escape or people to help – I indulged the moment he'd forced upon me.
It was then that I called upon a helpful technique for evading problems like these – a technique so far proven successful with persons of authority. "I'm sorry, can I help you? Did you say you were lost? Is there a problem?", question after question in the finest of my Queen's English – I turned it around maybe. Again he asked me, louder still, "I'm sorry I don't understand you, can you talk English?". "Where are you from?", he asked angrily, "Are you lost? Do you speak English?", "Where are you from?", he aggressively repeated in frustration.
"Ah, you're from England! Hello, hello, very pleased to meet you, my name is Ali, I am your friend – we're friends!", he said in Farsi, and sometimes it happens like this, but I wasn't taking my chances. In my confusion of pretending to not understand him I walked the usual, shorter route to my destination – down a dark ally. He grabbed my arm and threw me up against the wall, "Give me your money!" – my new friend was in need, yet oddly enough I let out a little laugh, the sort found leaving poker games prematurely.
I'd limited my options quite considerably leading to me having to revise the maths – working out what I was holding, what he thought I might be holding, what I might relinquish to avoid a scuffle and at what point I would consider a scuffle. It seemed we'd settled on a couple of day's wages yet thankfully my mobile and bag containing a hard drive went unnoticed – maybe.
Just as he'd plucked the money from my wallet, popping it into his pocket, I saw two seniors appear from behind him, passing by. I stared at them and they at me, we all carried on with our business. I'd missed a moment and so did my friend Ali who'd made a sharp exit showing the courtesy of shouting goodbye – in English – from a distance.