‘The state of him…’

Felipe Mandalay ignored the gang of five thugs staring him down. He focused on the ‘glass wall’ that separated him from their words…and their pit-bull. His hands glided across the imaginary barrier between him and his baying audience.

‘Come on then you mug, give us a song then,’ shouted the boldest chav, his veins showing under his fake Burberry cap.

A good mime never broke character, not even in the face of intimidation. Felipe kept up his pretence, performing to a street full of people who chose to ignore him.

The pit-bull snarled.

‘Erm Danny, I don’t think he can sing bruv. He’s a mime you see,’ squeaked the smallest chav.

‘What? What the fuck you on about?’ snapped Danny.

‘A mime,’ the smallest chav coughed, clearing his throat of the stale taste of cheap lager and cigarettes. ‘It’s the theatrical technique of suggesting action, character, or emotion without words, using only gesture, expression, and movement…’

He circled around Felipe, looking at his white face paint, the beret perched delicately on his head and his black and white clothes. He stopped in front of Felipe, contemplating the artiste before him.

‘…hmmm, yeah, he’s definitely a mime,’ the shortest chav said triumphantly.

He looked back at his track-suited companions for recognition. They looked back, jaws open. Finally, Danny shook off the look of bewilderment.

‘He’s a pussy, that’s what he is,’ grumbled Danny. ‘Come on troops, let’s leave this mime to his arty shit.’

Danny and his squad turned to walk up the street dragging the pit-bull alongside them, but the shortest chav hung back for a fleeting moment, captivated by the man trying to defeat an imaginary object. He dug around in his Berghaus jacket pockets, before pulling out a pound coin. He tossed it into the hat that lay on the ground containing a smattering of loose change, the fruit of Felipe’s labours. It was the largest tip he had received all day.

‘I’ve always appreciated the performing arts bruv,’ chirped the smallest chav with a wink, before bouncing off to catch up with Danny and the rest of the crew.

A single tear rolled down Felipe’s left cheek. He was changing the perceptions of mime artists one disenchanted youth at a time.

‘The show must go on,’ muttered Felipe, breaking character, before he smashed through the imaginary glass wall.