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The Thief, the Passport and the Cat


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I had been in Tokyo but now I was in a coastal town in Algeria when I noticed my bag was missing. The guy with us said, ‘The hairy man took it.’ Of course he did. What a fool I’d been. My passport and wallet were in the bag and I was booked on a flight that was leaving soon.

I started frantically searching for him along narrow lanes and behind buildings. I knew it was dangerous but I NEEDED that passport. I was hurrying along a wide balcony where some Japanese tourists were drinking beer when I spotted the hairy man. He’d had a shower and his hair was flat to his head. He was wearing a suit and carrying a serviette (French-style briefcase).

I threw myself at him, kung fu style, and wrestled the briefcase out of his hands. He protested as I ripped it open and tipped the contents out, wildly searching through the passports and papers he’d stolen. Mine was not there!

Desperate now, I grabbed the damp, hairy man. Claws lashed at my face. Something thrashed beside me.

I woke up confused with adrenaline boiling inside me. My forehead was wet. My fingers came away covered with blood. I stumbled out of bed trying not to drip on anything and looked in the mirror. Three scratches and a deep puncture wound above my left eye.

My cat Hazelnut gave me a dirty look when I found her in the kitchen. She’d been sleeping on a pillow alongside me when I’d grappled with my opponent. My arms had been around her because she likes to sleep with her head on the pillow next to mine. She thinks we’re married.

I’ve been following her around this morning, apologizing and giving her cat biscuits but she’s fine. She emerged from the melee completely unscathed.

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