THE AMERICAN TOURIST CON

I’d seen fighting cocks rip each other to shreds in Manila. Drank the blood of a cobra in Patpong. Fended off ferocious frauleins in St Pauli. I’d seen some of the best gypmeisting there ever was.

I really thought I was something.

But these crooks. Their variant of the shell game. They were pretty damn good. They looked like fellow compatriots. Folks from Romeville to be exact, across the big puddle. Americans.

It all happened on the Ramblas. In front of the Champions grocery store.

I couldn’t figure out what the hell the gypmeister was saying.

Einzweidrei … weeeesvall?

He was a swart individual with a greased back hairdoo. About my height, half my width. Silver lycra sport jersey clung to him like cellophane.

A square red mat, frayed at the edges. Three little white cups. The kind you get with your machine-made coffee. And a small foam ball.

The operator laid a cup over the foam ball and began shuffling. His two mitts a blur. Concentric circles. Figure eights. Retraced the figure eight. Switched.

I followed the cup with the ball easily. A lot of superfluous moves. To trained eyes the con is obvious. Don’t follow the fancy shapes.

So I saw some shmuck place a bet. He was the typical tourist. Or so I thought. Yellow T-shirt with I Love California printed on it. Blue jeans. Fanny pack. White Reeboks. He went:

“How much?”

Of course, another American. I looked around me and there were at least four more of them. American tourists, I mean. I thought, their tour bus must have dropped ‘em off for a nice stroll down scam central. The Ramblas, that is.

***

Read the rest of this story in Larry Kovaks’ book, City of Crime, available now in print or in e-book format. You can also preview the book here.

72 Responses to “THE AMERICAN TOURIST CON”


  • Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet
    my newest twitter updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like
    this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would
    have some experience with something like this.
    Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new
    updates.

  • I don’t leave a response, however after browsing a few of
    the remarks on THE AMERICAN TOURIST CON | LARRY KOVAKS, P.I.
    - Barcelona’s Premier Tourist Detective LARRY KOVAKS, P.I.
    - Barcelona

  • My spouse and I stumbled over here coming from
    a different web address and thought I might as well check things out.
    I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to finding out about your web page repeatedly.

  • It is important to have your marketing goals.
    Studies have also effectively targetedthree niches search engine optimization and uses this tag for the web.
    If you are new to you. I have listed some search engine
    optimization and link building, definitely use the anchor text, you get confused in this article elsewhere, have come
    to fruition.

  • It’s awesome in favor of me to have a web site,
    which is good for my experience. thanks admin

  • Companies understand well this dynamic of the current education economy, and a good local resume and personal
    references can go a long way in helping secure a position using
    a Chicago information technology certificate. Poor nutrition can also impact day-to-day life by affecting concentration and work
    performance. Online calendars are considered as a
    good option and an ideal way to organize and schedule your events and plans.

  • This is why they do not have regular periods and typically have difficulty
    conceiving. The WHO information also revealed quite a few existing trends
    amongst National Wellness Service provider and user to adopt option medicine.

    In another one third of cases, infertility is due to the
    man (male factors).

  • Timing you have to have to make positive that you are doing the test in accordance with
    time. It also means you can continue to enjoy any of these massage modalities after you give birth to ensure your continued wellbeing in Rocky
    Point NY. Enlargement and tenderness in the breasts is another early sign of pregnancy.

  • 2)An ultrasound imaging during pregnancy allows doctors to be aware of
    the position of the organs. The massage bed and the position of the pregnant woman during the
    massage therapy session should also be given attention. there might be advances
    in science for women with endometriosis, so I’ll never say never.

  • Hello, the whole thing iss going perfectly hewre and ofcourse every one is sharing facts,
    that’s actually excellent, keep up writing.

    Feel free to surf to my web-site; SEO Polperro

  • Right now it seems like Movable Type is the best blogging platform out there right now.
    (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

  • What’s up mates, its fantastic paragraph concerning teachingand fully explained, keep it
    up all the time.

  • * Keep for Chrome does not allow users to share notes
    with others. ve advertiser you should be aware of the competition you are facing and thereby understand and launch
    the campaign. 519Studio is an independent, full service, digital creative agency.

  • Hey There. I discovered your weblog the usage of msn. That is an extremely neatly written article.
    I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your helpful information.
    Thank you for the post. I’ll certainly return.

  • The fact that the structure comes equipped with user-friendly software makes it simple for a person to
    operate it. The two of these are membrane layers containing
    conductive traces. For example, if there is a breach in the security or your system is malfunctioning there
    will be a message displayed to let you know.
    Ringtones that cause a positive emotional response are the
    most popular.

    My web-site … cute

  • I don’t know if it’s just me or if everyone else encountering issues with your site.

    It appears as if some of the written text within your content are
    running off the screen. Can someone else please provide feedback and let me know if this
    is happening to them as well? This could be a issue with my web browser
    because I’ve had this happen before. Thank you

  • Magnificent goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and
    you’re just too great. I actually like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you are
    stating and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care
    of to keep it sensible. I can’t wait to read much more from you.
    This is really a terrific web site.

    Feel free to surf to my site: Article Builder

  • I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the structure of your website?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it
    better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only
    having 1 or 2 images. Maybe you could space it out better?

    my web-site; webmeeting att

  • Wow, awesome weblog layout! How lengthy have you
    been blogging for? you make running a blog look easy.
    The overall glance of your web site is magnificent,
    as neatly as the content material!

  • You should be a part of a contest for one of the greatest
    sites on the web. I will highly recommend this blog!

  • Exceptionally well written!
    I’ll right away take hold of your rss as I can’t in finding your
    email subscription link or newsletter service.
    Do you’ve any? Please permit me realize so that I could subscribe.

Leave a Reply