Every time the young stick-up man tugged at my companion's purse with his left hand, she would pull back, causing the muzzle of the pistol he held in his right hand to swing back and forth. Its line of fire each time was directed across my chest and if he accidentally or deliberately squeezed the trigger this piece might never have been written.
"Give him your purse!" I insisted, meaning that hanging on to it wasn't worth our lives. Still, she refused and the tug-of-war in the parking lot of my apartment building continued.
"Here!" I said to the gunman, pitching my wallet to him, "take this!" He caught the wallet, turned and fled across a wide, deserted ballpark. Even in the darkness, we could follow him running for a long way, silhouetted in the lights of the U.S. Capitol, lit up at night ahead of him like a giant white cake.
A few days later I received a call from a Maryland department store inquiring if I had sent a young man to buy a TV set on my credit card. A store detective arrested the youth and I dutifully showed up in court on the day of the trial only to learn he had skipped.