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Querido person who stole my iPhone outside of a kebab restaurant in Barcelona at 4 a.m. and the prostitute who molested me immediately after:

I just wanted to get the Canadian girls’ email address and some fourth meal, not an unexpected $749 Verizon purchase upon return to the States and an aggravated right nut.

Shifty Thief, you’re a heartless motherfucker. Can’t you find a way to target individuals who actually listened when the Verizon associate told them getting the insurance is a good idea? But, Shifty Thief, I must be honest: Easy target aside, you are good at what you do. I don’t even know when you got me or what you look like, and I had even sobered up. I either placed it on the counter at the kebab restaurant and you swiped it, or I didn’t get it all the way back into my pocket and you picked it when I was molar-deep in some rolled-up European tastiness. I never thought I’d like any combination of food that included cabbage, but I was wrong, and no matter what you might have lifted from me, Shifty Thief, I’ll always have my cabbage epiphany.

Disheveled Prostitute, I must be honest: You are disgusting. Do some sit-ups. No one wants that. The phrase Do a better job of selling yourself applies to all in sales, but especially you. Improve your product and your pitch. You found me in a vulnerable state—I had essentially struck out with the Canadians—and I still didn’t want that. Stray from La Rambla and Rambla del Raval—there’s so much more to see! —and go for a jog down on that beautiful beachfront of yours. Just wear something supportive. Under something baggy. Okay, maybe just start with a nice long walk. In the dark. And for the love of Christ, be gentle with prospective clientele. Do you think Mary Magdalene was that aggressive with Jesus? If you want to be cleansed of your seven demons, you have to tone it down. There’s no way He would have responded favorably to that kind of grip.

But tempers have cooled, swelling has subsided, and I have a solution that will please all parties:

1. Three blindfolds—one for each of us.

2. An extra blindfold for me so there’s absolutely no chance of me seeing you, Disheveled Prostitute. And don’t even think about it, Shifty Thief, I’m buttoning my pockets.

3. One hundred Euros made payable from robbed kebab patron Kevin Chroust to unnamed shifty iPhone thief in exchange for one white 32GB iPhone 4S with my pictures from Milan and Cinque Terre still on the camera roll and my as-of-yet uncracked touch screen still intact. It has to be intact because—well—you already know about my insurance problems.

4. One hundred Euros made payable from unnamed molesting disheveled prostitute to molested kebab patron Kevin Chroust in exchange for one last—significantly gentler—grab.

5. Total amnesty for all.

This way I get my phone back and am financially even. You, Shifty Thief, get compensated for your top-notch thievery, and you, Disheveled Prostitute, get to relive the glory of the grab you so enjoyed and compensate me accordingly. Surely you, of all people, would not expect my services to be free.

Let’s make it happen. And if not, Shifty Thief, can you at least send me my pictures from Cinque Terre? There was a great panorama on there from that wonderful 360 app I had just downloaded.

In the time we’ve had to reflect on our rendezvous, I must say, one question has been unavoidable and recurrent in my mind: Are you the same person? I know this is improbable, maybe entirely unlikely given your contrary approaches to manual dexterity, and more of a conspiracy theorist question Oliver Stone and Michael Moore might collaborate on and try to legitimize behind a camera, but still, I wonder. My phone was long gone and I was already well aware of it when you, Disheveled Prostitute, came thunderously into my life. But maybe, just maybe, it was you who swiped it from the restaurant—you clearly frequent such places—and reappeared later to also rob me of any residual innocence that made it through these twenty-eight prostitute-free years.

This is my final offer. I’ll move on after this plea. But know there is another impacted by your actions.

I’m so sorry, Siri. Someone somewhere has you, and I can only hope Barcelona is being gentler with your fragile parts than it was with mine. I didn’t want it to end like this, Siri. But maybe you’ll be a winner in all this. Maybe you’ll understand Catalan better than you understood English.

Adios,

Kevin

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Kevin Chroust KEVIN CHROUST lives in Chicago and is a 2005 graduate of Colorado State University. The Morning News published his first-person narrative on running with the bulls in July 2012, a related piece was aired on American Public Media’s The Story, and it was later selected by Elizabeth Gilbert to appear in The Best American Travel Writing 2013. He covered Barry Bonds for one of Japan’s largest dailies and has written for many other newspapers. After a strange weekend in San Francisco in 2006, he and Albert Pujols are no longer on speaking terms. And of course he too has written a book. He contributes to Yahoo! Sports, but his sports journalism career is treading water while he attempts to publish a recently completed memoir of codependency, addiction and disorder. You could be a trendsetter and follow him on Twitter @kevinchroust.

One Response to “A letter to the person who stole my iPhone outside of a kebab restaurant in Barcelona at 4 a.m. and the prostitute who molested me immediately after”

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