Kamis, 12 April 2012

The Language Of Thieves

Back in the 80s I lived on Ile St. Louis with a South African model. Her husband paid the rent. He lived in the South of France, where he had a clothing factory in Biot. Vanesse had lied to her husband and said that I was gay. "I have nothing against 'gay'. Guy had fought in Algeria. "Just do not think you are my type.""I wouldn't make that mistake." He once told me that he had thrown a grenade into a locked mosque. The ex-parachuteer was better off thinking that I was harmless.His routine was one weekend in Paris with Vanesse traveling down to Cap d'Antibes the following weekend. He liked sex with her. Several other men enjoyed that privilege. The doors of the bedrooms were thin. Guy and her lovers were not loud, but I could grade their efforts by Vanesse's shrieks of pleasure. Guy beat all contenders and I was not one of his rivals, because if I wasn't her type either."You have to take care of my wife." The heavily muscled manufacturer warned me one evening, as he prepared to leave for the South of France. The flight to Nice lasted two hours. It was another country by the Mediterranean and his villa on Baie Doree vistaed the long arc on beaches to Nice."I will." I had little trouble acting 'pede', since Vanesse insisted on my wearing tight jeans and espadrilles with a beret."There are thieves in Paris." Guy was reared in Marseilles, a city renown for crime."I know." I worked at Les Bains. My main security guy ran a gang of voleurs in Les Halles. Jacques' gang of voyus specialized in snatch and run. "I make sure we always take a taxi home at night.""Not that type of thief." His expression mocked my naivete."What kind are you talking about?" A Jewish gangster from the Sentier robbed banks. We were drinking friends and Danny was very discreet. Guy couldn't have been thinking about him."Come with me." Guy lifted his valise. It was more a man bag than a suitcase. French men liked to travel light.I descended from the duplex to Rue des Deux Ponts and he pointed to a chalk scrawling on the door; a circle with an X."That means there's nothing to steal here.""Oh." There was more complicated sketching on the next portal."This place has already been robbed," Guy explained, as he waved down a taxi. "Take care of my wife.""I will."Later that evening I spoke to Danny about this secret silent language."Ah, I know it well." He drew many symbols indicating the richness of the pickings."Does they ever mention 'adultery'?""No thief cares about someone stealing someone else's wife or girlfriend.""Good." I breathed easy, because as the painter Paul Gaughin said, “In marriage, the greater cuckold of the two is the lover.”

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