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The Journal of Literary Satire | Hastily Written & Slopilly Edited
Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Now That I'm an International Jewel Thief

by Ralph Gamelli

Greetings from the French Riviera.

That’s right. The postmark is real. I’ve gone ahead and done it. I’ve become an international jewel thief, just as I said I would.

Remember how you roared with delight the first time I admitted this secret desire of mine? (I’m sending a copy of this letter to each and every one of you who scoffed, even if I have to steal another diamond or two to pay for all the postage.) You insisted it was just a midlife crisis, the bored daydreams of an overweight insurance salesman. Bored, yes, but I hardly think fifteen extra pounds qualifies as overweight. Pudgy, at most.

You laughed when I began studying French. You laughed when I started doing daily calisthenics to prepare myself for the physical demands of scaling buildings and scampering across rooftops. (Believe it or not, the scampering is more difficult than the scaling. I wasn’t expecting that, but I’m still relatively new to this and I expect to be up to full scamper before long.) You even laughed when I bought a new wardrobe consisting entirely of black pants and turtlenecks.

And you probably don’t believe me even now. Maybe you’re thinking I used the small fortune I inherited from my great uncle to retire from the insurance game, go off to France and simply pretend to be an international jewel thief. That’s why I’ve included a picture of myself dressed in full thief wardrobe, taken right before going out on one of my late-night adventures.

The French papers and police have no idea I’m a foreigner, so I don’t blame them for calling me a cat burglar. (It may not sound as sophisticated as international jewel thief, but it still has a nice ring to it.) I probably should include a news clipping with this letter, but none of you speak French, so what would be the point?

I’ll set them straight later tonight on my next heist. After I’ve climbed onto the balcony of a ritzy apartment and cracked some dowager’s wall safe, I’ll leave a subtle clue to my background—a U.S. dollar bill, maybe, or the first verse of “America the Beautiful” written in lipstick on the nearest mirror.

Anyway, now that I’m an international jewel thief (I love the way that sounds) and leading a life of excitement and glamour that you people can only dream of, you’re undoubtedly jealous and thinking about contacting Interpol or the French embassy or whoever you think you can get me in trouble with. Don’t bother. I’ve already pulled off fourteen jobs over here and bedded twenty-two French women (they really go for the suave, turtleneck-wearing type). By the time you read this, I’ll have moved on to another exotic location—say, Venice or the Swiss Alps—where the pickings, and women, are fresh. Or maybe I’ll just retire from international jewel thievery, lay low and be content with what I already have.

No, strike that. For a moment there, that sounded like the old me talking. The insurance guy who liked to play it safe, to cover his bases. The guy who went from one monotonous day to the next, never having the courage to change. The guy who lived such a dull, uneventful and pathetic existence.

Like you!

Ralph Gamelli has been published in MonkeyBicycle, Raging Face, Science Creative Quarterly, and McSweeney's. He's the kind of person who, if he hears you utter the word "cashew," would quickly say "gesundheit" in response and then brush it off as a stupid joke. But secretly he thinks it's hilarious.