Posted in Copenhagen, funny, Greece, humor, Solo Travel, Stockholm, travel writing, wanderlust

To Catch A Thief

Oh, no! My passport’s been stolen!

I had just arrived in Copenhagen. I was hot and sweaty, and had flung off my fleece vest onto the hotel bed. That’s when I noticed that the zipper to my shirt’s secret pocket was open. The pocket was empty. My passport was gone.

I would have to call the Danish police, the U.S. Embassy. My stay in Copenhagen would be ruined by endless bureaucracy.

I did have a copy, but it was only a copy. Would I be allowed on the plane back to the U.S., or would I be detained at the airport and miss my flight?

How could this have happened, when I had been so careful to store my passport in the hidden pocket? In addition to having a zipper, it had added security–when I bent my left arm by my side, the sturdy, slim book touched my elbow, constantly reassuring me of its presence.

Of course, there were times when I removed my passport–whenever I boarded a plane or checked into a hotel. Then I simply slid it back into the pocket and zipped it shut.

In this way, I successfully navigated through Stockholm, where signs everywhere warned “Beware Of Pickpockets”; Lesvos, which in low season was sparsely populated, but I wasn’t letting my guard down; and Athens, where my guidebook, a friend who had lived there, and a kind shopkeeper cautioned that the city was teeming with pickpockets waiting to pounce on me.

I had kept my wits about me. What had gone wrong?

I retraced my recent steps in my mind: I had stood in a long line, ready to leave Athens and board my flight to Copenhagen. I handed my passport to the ticket agent, then crowded behind passengers onto the shuttle that would take us to our plane. Is that when it happened–when I was smooshed in close, inhaling everyone’s sweat? Or was it when we swarmed up the makeshift staircase to the plane–had someone reached over, snatching my passport? Perhaps it was when I was seated, fast asleep. Or maybe on the Metro, zooming toward Copenhagen’s downtown. Could it have occurred on the bus, going to my hotel? I had sat near the front, opposite a man with brownish hair and beard, headphones, tattooed arms. As far as I knew, he had kept his hands to himself. What if he took my passport in the blink of an eye? But I was wearing my fleece vest; although the front hung open, the left side covered my shirt’s left pocket. Extra protection.

Speaking of my vest, I now noticed that its chest pocket, which had remained open during my travels, was closed. Had I accidentally put my passport inside, in my haste to board the shuttle? I did have a tendency to misplace things.

I unzipped the pocket. I reached inside. Relief rippled through me.

Nothing like thinking I’ve been pickpocketed, only to discover I was, in fact, the pickpocket.



I am a rather obscure 14th C. poet, whose work has been translated into over thirty dialects of gibberish. I now spend my days translating from the gibberish into English and back again, as need be.

4 thoughts on “To Catch A Thief

  1. Whew! Am so glad you had all those extra zips and secured pockets. It is the absolute worst feeling ever to think one had lost one’s passport but ever so nice todiscover it was just in another zipped and secured place 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a scare! I can imagine the rush of concerns, and frantic search with zippers and pockets galore to explore. What bad warnings in Europe–the refined cultures there in contrast to the thieves in the U.S. Tsk, Tsk–the American to wag a finger at. All’s well that ends well,.


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