In Prague, on a gorgeous and busy Saturday, a heavy-set man walked towards me on Charles Bridge. In his forties, he wore black pants, a white shirt and a black vest. He could have been a waiter or an ethnic (‘gypsy’) musician but, instead of an instrument, he carried a naked baby-doll in one hand. Even more bizarre, the man held the doll by one leg, so the doll swayed upside down as the man strode across the bridge. A pacifier dangled from a ribbon wrapped ’round the doll’s neck.
My only thought was of the pickpocketing scams where someone carries a toy doll in a blanket and appears to drop the ‘baby’ near an unwary tourist. When the tourist lunges to catch what they think is a real child, the tourist comes away from the encounter missing a wallet or other valuable. The guy on Charles Bridge looked unhappy, as though his scam had not been working well, and felt no need to hide the doll. Was he heading home for the day or moving to a new spot to try his luck again?