In the communal hallway two Moroccans are hard at work extracting objects of value from a rucksack–they’ve got a mobile, cash, documents. I go into the flat, phone the generic emergency number, 112, and clock-watch.
A woman picks up and says hallo like she just woke up.
–Hello, I say, there are two thieves in our hallway taking stuff out of a stolen rucksack.
–Ah, she says, and thinks for a moment. Is it your rucksack?
–No, but that doesn’t matter. Can you send a car over?
–Who are the people?
–They are thieves. Do you want the address?
–How are they inside your flat?
–They’re not inside the flat. They’re inside the building. Do you want the address?
–OK, tell me it.
–It’s [an extremely well-known Barcelona street] number [whatever]
There’s a long pause.
–Can you just repeat the street name?
–No, there’s no street of that name. Are you sure you don’t mean [a vaguely similar-sounding street I’ve never heard of and which on subsequent inspection turns out not to exist in Barcelona].
–No, I don’t.
I repeat the name.
–Can you tell me which town you’re in?
–I’m in Barcelona. Are you going to send a car?
–I’m just going to put you on hold for a moment. Please don’t hang up.
Another resident, popularly known as Gollum, descends the communal stairs silently, carrying the large sharpened screwdriver he retains for such moments.
I hang up. The thieves are long gone.
The most bizarre crime resolution I’ve seen recently was a group of Bangladeshi traders beating yet another Maghrebi thief. Some woman steps up and says, Please stop, I’ll call the police and have him arrested. This fails to generate much enthusiasm among the Bangladeshis, but they stop and she starts trying to interest the police in the case. No, no, sobs the thief, not the police, please, anything but the police. After trying for a while more she says, OK, and hangs up, and the Bangladeshis continue with the task in hand.
- The mugger, mugged (3)
With a description of how thieves work Barcelona’s metro station platforms.
- More compliments
The weird and wonderful Karim says I’m bizarre, which suggests I’ve made some kind of progress from when the woodwork teacher
- The mugger mugged
Several Chinese have whispered me grossly inaccurate versions of this story, so here’s the truth, from the mouth of a horse
- Two steps forward, one step back
Chez Lenox, not to be confused in any way or to the slightest degree with Lenin, whose typically deranged pamphlet, One
- The European dissemination of Barcelona Maghrebis’ trademark mugging technique: a brief multilingual glossary
The emerging narrative seems to be that the mass sexual assaults in Cologne and other places during the New Year celebrations