A missing wallet, nakedness, email from a thief

Bob Arno and Bambi on location.
Bob Arno and Bambi on location.

Thieves find us, more. It was a big day for us, and for the whole documentary team. The lowlifers stealing Bob’s wallet, finding Marc and Andy on a bus, catching up on a few years with Andy at a café, then making plans for a big dinner.

I haven’t mentioned that somehow during the day, Bob’s wallet really did disappear, and it isn’t clear how that happened. Did Marc or Andy take it? Could it have been the third man with them, whom we didn’t recognize and lost track of in the excitement? Or was it our own film crew, who never replaced the wallet in Bob’s pocket after filming those pickup shots?

In any case, it’s gone. This upsets Bob, because he’s lost that very wallet hundreds of times in our thiefhunting exploits, and he’s always gotten it back. Now the wallet is gone.

Michele's on the floor with his sound equipment so as not to be seen in the mirrors.
Michele's on the floor with his sound equipment so as not to be seen in the mirrors.

To relax and clear his head, Bob goes for a long shower. From the bathroom he calls me. “Go get the crew. I want to share my thoughts on the day. They can film in here if they want to, I don’t mind.”

They bring the big old Red into the steamy bathroom. Director of photography, film director, and sound man all in the bathroom, shifting angles to avoid seeing themselves in the mirrors. Bob’s in the clear glass shower, water pouring off him, explaining the meaning of that damn wallet, its loss, and how a shower calms him.

This is too good. Van gets one more shot with another camera.
This is too good. Van gets one more shot with another camera.

After Bob’s shower, we sit on the bed talking a little more to the cameras. It’s late. I’ve got my computer and I check email for the last time before bed. And… there’s an email from Frank. Email from a pickpocket!

It was a long and heartfelt letter and, even with a rough google translation, we could sense the warmth and charm Frank was trying to express. I’m sure Frank won’t mind that I quote this short poetic bit:

I know perfectly well that to touch the soul you can impress both the astonishing perception that sharpens our satisfaction, even if our directions are very different. Yours can be a funny show, quite surreal. but you may feel sick from the fleeting moment of reality that is reflected in my ever infinite talent.

After a long, frustrated account of the city’s political and criminal problems, Frank writes: “I believe that here it is becoming worse. Who would not want to hold a secure job and live a life of tranquility?” Then suddenly, a sentence that had me on the floor laughing. “Dear Bob, I’m a bit pathetically away from our subject…” Frank’s main point was to confirm our restaurant plans. He was politely RSVPing.

Part one of this story. Next installment.

This is Part 15 of THE MAKING OF OUR NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTARY, PICKPOCKET KING. The film is about us, Bob Arno and Bambi Vincent. We are “thiefhunters in paradise.” The paradise we chose for the story is the warm and wild city of Naples, Italy, home to the world’s best pickpockets. The documentary premieres December 2 at 8pm ET/PT on the National Geographic Channel.

Originally posted 9/28/10 and soon thereafter password-protected at the request of the producer.

© Copyright 2008-2011 Bambi Vincent. All rights reserved.

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