It’s a tough life. Scummy, dilapidated pension hotels. Hard drinking. Golddigging dames. Aggressive abuelas in the mercado. And, above all, gypmeisters.

That is, meisters of the gyp.

I got swindled yet again. 15 euros for a cute Homer and Bart duo that don’t dance like they’re supposed to.

I wanted something to brighten up my fusty pension hotel room. I figured one of these little doodads would do the trick. I bought the cartoon cutouts in Plaça Catalunya. They’re supposed to do a little dance routine when you play music.

I turn my radio on. Homer and Bart don’t dance.

Not like they did on the street. Maybe they don’t like the soccer station. I roll the dial to some of that chumba chumba music the kids listen to. Homer and Bart lay there with little spaghetti legs. Not even a pirouette. Nada. Chumba chumba.

Imagine. This creep deluxe taking advantage of our innocent and playful side. Selling cute little bouncing cartoon cutouts. Cute little Simpsons characters that don’t dance. Defective. And the gypster knows it.

I pull on my near empty bottle of Mascaró. Swish the yac around the old bocarino. I put on my coat, then my hat. I cram defective Homer and Bart in my pocket and make for Plaça Catalunya.

Wild-eyed guiris on las Ramblas part before me. Yeh. I’m little hefty and large compared to my Mediterranean brethren. A little overweight even. But when I have The Rage I blow up bigger than la puta vida itself. Even the living statue crooks that line the median turn in awe. I cut my enraged swath through the clueless masses.

Just past the Hard Rock – and crowds of sauced-up chicas – is the perp. The gypmeister with his cartoon characters. There’s a little brat tugging on his dad’s sleeve. Pointing at the cute little bouncing cartoons.

The gypmeister wears knock-off raybans and ill-fitting jeans. He taps once-white sneakers.

The little boom box goes Baila morena, Baila morena … doo dooo … doo dooo…

His Homer and Bart, the good ones, do their little dance.

The brat keeps going, “Papa! Papa! Cómprame UNO!!!!!!” The gypmeister smirks.

Well, that’s the last time he suckers anyone in this town.

I toss defective Homer and Bart to the ground. They just lay there with their sad little spaghetti legs.

Hombre. Has vendido un mal Homer!” I point with my thick index finger at the inert toys. “DEFECTIVE!”

I flash my buzzer. Larry Kovaks, P.I.

“See this? Ladrón?

I stomp on dancing Homer. So hard the sidewalk rumbles. The brat sputters, then breaks into a pathetic wail. The gypmeister is rock steady.

Baila morena, Baila morena … doo dooo … doo dooo …

I scream over the music:

“Making children cry! Selling defective toys! You oughta be ashamed!”

I reach down and grab the boombox. The gypmeister steps in, tries to block me. With uncommon strength I shove him back. Little Homer and Bart dangle from fishing wire. And that’s not all … in the back of the boom box is a motor going round and round. He had it rigged so the motor spun an invinsible cord that made Homer and Bart dance. The audacity!

I spin with olympian force, like a discus thrower. Three, four times then hurl the boom box towards the street.

Baila morena, Baila morena
… and crack … it hits the top of a newsstand and bounces off. It shatters on the terrace of Fargi’s ice cream parlor. Guiris scream. The brat boo-hoos. The gypmeister is running like his ass is spitting out fireballs.

That’s right. Corre!

This is Kovaks’ town. And don’t you forget it.


  1. great story. i saw those little dancing guys yesterday. and people buying them. shame.

  2. Absolutely love this! Sooooo funny.
    This happened to us in 2007, we bought 40 euros worth, THEN had the stupidity to turn back and buy some more when we thought of other family members & friends who might find them as an amusing present.
    Good on ya for sorting him out but hey your story telling is HILARIOUS! x

  3. lol these guys are hilarious! I unfortunately fell for the scam last week and I think it was the same guy you busted!

  4. We also got “scammed” on Park Guell. Allthough I wouldn’t call it a scam, the dude wanted 4 Euros for two and I only gave him 1.5-2 Euros for 1. If I go and print it in color you can bet that it will cost at least 1 Euro, so not really a Scam, rather a pretty expensive print service, but nevertheless.

    The funny thing is, as we found out it is a scam on the next day we saw one guy standing in front of our app in El Born doing the mambo and I asked him how they worked. And sure thing he showed me, VERY FAST – we never saw the fishing line. Maybe it is because of the sun that you do not see it. But hey, maybe next time I will pull the cord on one of those scammers in public;)

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