Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Paris: Day Six

So, a big day ahead. We're trucking on down to Montmartre again, on our own this time. Our mission: Scour the stalls near that breast-like church for art gifts, and check out the Satie museum.

I'm determined to avoid arguments, hassle and lostness so I've loaded Mapquest on my iPhone. Really love that thing.

We navigate the streets, one tells my ass where to go, the dome is in sight. The question now: How to get there. We gott go up  steep-ass hill to get there. There's quick way. And a long way.

The long way home: go way the hell around. Short way: The stairs.

French stairs.
Yep, there's a steep stairway going up. Buildings on either side, a rail in the middle. Sorta resembles the stairway in The Exorcist.
Su thinks we should go around and take the long way up. I'm determined to prove I'm not an old fart, so I stride on up. Su follows.

Two young guys behind us, closing the distance. Street-savvy Su notices. Gives me the high sign.

We stop at the landing. The two dudes stop, look confused, then continue. They walk in front of us. I'm gripping my trusty iPhone in my sweaty American hand when they do. Like an idiot, I chose that exact moment to put it back in my pocket.

I release it -- and the second my fingers drop the thing, I feel no weight at all. Like it vanished. Teleported into nothingness. Just not there anymore.

My brain takes half a second to process this. Then my mouth startings hollering

"Where's my phone? Where's my !@#$ phone."

It can't be gone. It can't ...

Pat, pat. Nothing in my pockets.

Quick look on the landing below. Left, right, front, back.

Ain't there.

"Somebody stole my !@#$ phone!"

Bellowing like a bull.

"I want my !@@#$ phone!"

The dudes are still heading up the stairs. Not running or anything. But they're already about 20 feet ahead.
"Give me back my @#$%$$% phone!"

I run up after them. Two steps at a time, roaring like an animal.


They don't speed up. But they don't stop.


Not like me, as anybody who knows me knows. I avoid conflict, turn the other cheek, blah-bah. But my blood is boiling. For a few brief seconds, I'm hulking out.

Now they're almost out of sight.

They reach the top of the stairs, turn the corner to my left.

Now I can't see 'em.

I emerge a few seconds later.

Turn the corner. look left.

They're walking away.


I run, close the distance, catch up with them.

"I want my phone! Give me my phone -- now."

They stop, turn around, look at me. Calm looks on their faces, with a slight hint of who's this weird American hollering his head off? Yep, just two young guys in their early 20s. No bandanas or gold earrings. Dark hair and skin, sure, but nothing screams Gypsy. Nice haircuts, yuppy clothing, one wearing red converse tennis shoes. Two cleancut young men here, just as cool as can be.

I holler and gesture.

These two fine fellows empty their pockets, take out various crap, their own two tiny phones, keys. They shrug innocently. See? We don't have your phone.

I actually pat them down.

No. They don't have my phone.

Must've ditched it on the other side of the wall, the second they were out of sight. A hand-off to a cute kid. A hidey hole in the wall. Something. But the phone's not on 'em now.

We figure that out later, natch. Right now, I still have a dim hope.

Su catches up.

Flicker of fear in her eyes.

She realizes what I didn't. We're standing behind a truck. The wall's on one side, the truck's on the other, our little conversation group is in the narrow space in between. That big old truck blocks the view, folks. Nobody can see us from the street. The dudes could perforate us with a stiletto like Jack Cray at the end of "legend." Stab, stab, stab, stab ... done. Nobody'd see. They could stroll away. A tourist with a Eiffel tower in a bag would find our bodies and hour or two later. We'd be dead. They'd still have my iPhone.

Su gives them the Larry David stinkeye. She says something like, "This is serious business. We know what you look like. We will report this."

They nod politely. And calmly walk away.

The next few hours are a frantic hassle contacting Apple et al and changing passwords. It's sleepytime in Seattle, so this is all through robots, no human help. A nice lady in an art store let's us use her wi-fi. Su buys a painting.

And tht's the end of our !@# tour of Monmartre.

No more photos. No souvenirs. No trip to the Satie Museum. We're done.

We turn around and head back to the flat.

And it starts to rain.

We duck into  restaurant about a block away. Su relates our sob story to an old guy at the next table. Just a wine glass in front of him, no food. Passing waitress looks at him, rolls her eyes. Figure he just comes here and parks his ass, they put up with him, don't have to like it. Colorful character, no job, hangs out here.

"You're Americans?"

"Guilty as charged," I tell him.

"No. Not guilty. What is there to feel guilty about? America is great," he says. "You saved us at the Normandy beaches. You saved our whole country, you saved France. we will never forget."

The guy stands up. And salutes us.


"Thank you," he says. Then he sits back down.

"When I see Americans, I always say thank you. I am very sorry for what happened to you."

Another angel, whispers Su.

Guess we needed one.

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