The French bulldog sticks its bum in the air and growls at the broom, playfully brandished by the crouching street sweeper.
Everyone’s in on the game.
The smiling tourists.
The woman looking for business.
Another looking for pockets.
“Matilda,” chuckles the owner, giving the lead a little pull as the street sweeper gives the broom a little push, and Matilda lunges unsuccessfully and a wallet pushed into a back pocket is slipped out again by careful fingers.
A car crawls down Brewer street, sweeping past the pantomime, forcing people onto the curb, pressed together momentarily.
And suddenly the audience is no longer the audience.
The broom is no longer Matilda’s bait.
The stage is suddenly just pavement.
There will never be a curtain call.