Spontoon Island
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14 May 2008
by Mauricio Tavares
A cautionary tale of tourism and crime:

by Mauricio Tavares

"So, how did it go?"


"Come on, spit it out.  Did you get the loot?"

"Yes, boss. I got the money from those tourists, But..."

The boss rolled his eyes, "but what?"

"You see, boss. I singled them out -- a couple in their fifties -- as usual and started following them.  You know, usual procedure."

"Go on."

"Well, they got into an alley. There was no constables around, so I made my move. I pulled in front of them, pulled out my knife, and demanded their belongings. Well..."

"Well what?"

"Instead of being frightened they were delighted!"


"I mean it, boss! I swear! In fact, the woman hugged me -- I had to hold my knife hand away so she would not get hurt -- while the man said something like, 'They think on everything! How quaint!' After they gave me the money they asked me if I could meet with them tomorrow... in front of their hotel of all places! And, they stressed I had to be dressed like I was. 'In character,' they explained.  So, I walked there a bit worried because as you know that hotel usually is well protected.  But, before a doorman could kick me out or call for a constable, they showed up, shooed the hotel guy and threw me into a cab they had waiting. I was between them, being squished; those two were not what you would call light weight.

"The entire trip, where to I did not know, they kept talking non-stop.  They asked me so many questions I felt like I was surrounded by beehives. When we reached out destination, I realized it was that really exclusive, tourist-only club. The security guard at the gate tried to get me out, but the couple would have none of that. So, there I was being dragged through gates and manicured lawns until we reached the pool area. And what huge pool they had! My hut would disappear in it easily.

"Anyway, by the pool there were easily 50 people there. I was scared, but it turned out the other tourists seemed to have been waiting on me: as soon as they saw me I was surrounded. I bet the old couple spent the entire night on the phone setting this up.

"They all shook hands with me, some had pictures taken with me, and a few of the ladies whispered a few invitations in my ears, making a point to tell which rooms they would be at. Then, it began. First I had to explain them how mugging takes place.  Quite a few of the guests volunteered to be mugged while others took pictures of them. So, I mugged them while they were walking, standing, or sitting by the pool.  Then, I was forced to rob a few with a knife, actually slashing their hundred dollars suits. 'To keep as a souvenir,' they explained after demanding me to sign the clothes. A few even pleaded me to actually beat them up -- not very hard, they explained, but just enough to look good in a picture -- while others flashed their Leicas.

"In the end of the day, they slipped me a $50.  I tried to refuse because I had already taken a lot of loot already but they insisted, 'to pay for your services,' they said. What I got I should take as tips. After that I asked if anybody wanted anything back. Besides a few watches and jewelry, the rest of the stuff they said I should keep.  Then, they asked me to give them a price list for my services, from basic mugging to kidnapping, where they expect to be taken to some exotic secret hideout and get to keep the ransom letter as souvenir. Also, one of the younger guys wanted to hire me to mug this girl he is seeing so he could go and fight with me -- no real punches -- and impress her.

"They made me promise to see them next week because some of their friends are arriving in the Clipper from America and they want me to mug their friends while they take pictures for their scrapbook. They also want me to give a schedule of when he can go meet them at the club, maybe bringing one or two more ruffians with me so nobody feels left out.

"So, boss, yes, I made out with more than $1000 in the bag. But, boss, am I a tourist attraction now?"