The Pickpocket’s Defence

It’s time to get to the bottom of who was really to blame for a theft in Prague.

Dark Corners of Prague is a series of short stories written by an Englishman who has lived in this Central European metropol.


‘So, what happened?’

‘Well, I was in Namesti Bratri Synku…’

‘Namesti Bratri Synku? Terrible place. What were you doing there??’

‘Well, I’d just come from a party.’

‘A party? So it was late?’

‘About five in the morning, I think.’

‘You were in Namesti Bratri Synku at five in the morning?? Who were you with?’

‘No-one.’

‘No-one?? You were in Namesti Bratri Synku at five in the morning by yourself??’

‘Well, yes. It was a party.’

‘How much had you had to drink?’

‘I’m not sure.’

‘You’re not sure? How much did you spend at the bar?’

‘Nothing.’

‘Nothing?? So who was buying you all these drinks?’

‘It was a free bar.’

‘A free bar?? So the party was at someone’s flat?’

‘No, a school.’

‘A school?? With a free bar?? What kind of school is this??’

‘A private language school.’

‘A private language school with a free bar??’

‘It was a Christmas party for the teachers.’

‘And how much did you have to drink exactly?’

‘I really couldn’t say.’

‘You really couldn’t say. So it was a lot?’

‘Well, it is Christmas.’

‘So you get totally drunk, for free, and you leave by yourself, at five in the morning, in Namesti Bratri Synku?’

‘So you get totally drunk, for free, and you leave by yourself, at five in the morning, in Namesti Bratri Synku?’

‘Yes.’

‘And what happened then?’

‘Well, I wanted to see if there was a tram to the centre.’

‘And is there a tram from there at five in the morning??’

‘I don’t know.’

‘You don’t know?? You went to a tram stop, totally drunk, at five in the morning, in Namesti Bratri Synku, and you didn’t even know if there was a tram going from there at that time??’

‘No. I was going to find out.’

‘And what happened then?’

‘Well, some people came toward me.’

‘How many people?’

‘I don’t know. Five or six, maybe.’

‘Five or six? You don’t even know how many of them there were?’

‘I was drunk.’

‘You must have been really drunk. So what happened then?’

‘Well, one of them talked to me.’

‘What did he say?’

‘I can’t remember.’

‘You can’t even remember what he said?? I can’t even listen to this. And what happened next?’

‘I’m not sure, but I think he was touching me.’

‘Touching you where?’

‘Well, definitely my arm, at least.’

‘This isn’t possible. Were they Czechs?’

‘I don’t know. I guess.’

‘Well, did they speak Czech?’

‘Yes, they definitely spoke Czech.’

‘You can remember that, at least. So what did they look like?’

‘Well, I’m not sure, really. They were Romanies, I remember that.’

‘Romanies? You mean gypsies??’

‘Yes.’

‘Jesus Christ. And you just stood there??’

‘Well, what was I supposed to do?’

‘Run! You see gypsies at five in the morning and you’re by yourself, you run!’

‘Why?’

Why?? Why are we having this conversation??’

‘I wasn’t able to run, anyway. I was drunk.’

‘You were too drunk even to run from gypsies??’

‘Look, I couldn’t even walk that well.’

‘I can’t believe I’m hearing this. So, what did they take, exactly?’

‘My phone.’

‘Your phone? Where was your phone?’

‘In my pocket, it must have been.’

‘Which pocket?’

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‘I don’t know. Maybe this one.’

‘You don’t even know which pocket you had your phone in? What else did they take?’

‘Some money.’

‘How much money?’

‘I don’t know.’

‘What do you mean, you don’t know? How much did you have in your pocket to begin with?’

‘I don’t know. I hardly ever know how much money I’ve got in my pocket.’

‘You don’t know how much money is in your pocket?’

‘No, I don’t know how much money I’ve got in my pockets.’

‘So, let’s get this straight. It was five in the morning…maybe. You were in Namesti Bratri Synku. You were by yourself. You had just come from a party where you had got totally drunk, for free. You were so drunk you couldn’t even walk properly. You were approached by a gang of gypsies who you didn’t even try to get away from. You let them talk to you. You let them touch you. You lost your phone. And you lost some money. And you don’t even know how much money you lost. Am I right?’

‘Well, basically, yes.’

‘That settles it, then.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘It was all your own fault.’


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Tired of reading. Listen to the series Undertaker of Mokvas narrated by Dale Bruton.

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