How I Foiled the Yuppie Burglar
A Ramblin' Gamblin' Willie story by Greg Swann
I got home just as the Yuppie Burglar was leaving with my TV.
Back up. I didn't know then that he was a Yuppie Burglar. What I saw was a well-dressed young man closing the door of my apartment. He had my new 13-inch Omnitron 2000 tucked under one arm.
I said: "That's my TV." It pays to be quick on your feet.
"Your what?" He looked this way and that. "Oh, do you live here?"
"That's right. And that's my television set." I pointed.
"Oh, this," he said, regarding the TV with surprise. "This is yours?! Oh, no, you must be mistaken. This set is mine."
"Yours since you picked it up in there?" I pointed toward my door.
"Then it's mine. C'mon." I grabbed him by his free arm and shoved him and the set back into my abode. "Put it back where you got it."
"I won't!" He puffed up. "It's mine!"
"You stole it! It's mine."
"I did not steal it. It's mine by conquest."
"Yours by what...?"
"By conquest." His smile looked like a cipher on a scorecard. "Where have you been?"
"I've been in the twentieth century. Where have you been, the twelfth?"
"The Purple is always worn...," he mused.
"I'm a Yuppie."
"Would you please talk sense... Besides, a Yuppie wouldn't be caught dead in purple."
He laughed. "I speak figuratively, of course. But the Purple is always worn."
"You're a Yuppie Burglar."
"Please." He dusted his lapel. "A Young Urban Professional Second Story Man."
"Same thing... Besides, what does being a Yuppie have to do with being a burglar?"
He winced, but he didn't make an issue of it. "Look at Yuppies as a group. What are they?"
"Lawyers," I said. "Doctors, accountants."
"Dentists, administrators, academics, right?" I nodded. "Where do those people get their money?"
"Now I get it..."
"Those people ought to be called Guppies, Government Professionals. The only true Yuppies are of my type."
"You're a Freelance Yuppie Burglar?"
"Free to starve." He polished his nails. "I don't depend on some wimpy government to conquer my spoils. I do it myself."
"By breaking and entering..."
"By gaining access to the ends of production."
"By theft!," I growled.
"By right of conquest."
"Oh, yeah? Well what would prevent me from gaining access to the ends of your production - if you have any - and claiming it by the right of my conquest."
He gave me a look that was part mirth, part pity. "You're not Yup..."
Snarl! "Put the television down!"
"Listen," he soothed. "I can understand your reaction. I really can. But the Purple must be worn. There's just no other way..."
I went to a drawer and picked up a pair of scissors. Turning to face him, I said, "You're pretty proud of your appearance, aren't you?"
"Why, sure," he said. "I mean, I go to a lot of trouble."
"I'll bet you do..." I snapped the scissors in my hand. "Tell me, what would it do to your career as a Yuppie to be seen with a mohawk?"
What I saw in his eyes was fear. He took measures to control his voice. "Hey, that's a good one..."
I gave the scissors two sharp snaps. "Put the television down." I pointed. "Down."
"You wouldn't do that. You wouldn't!"
"I think if I kept the scissors in my hand, we'd manage to get your hair dyed, too. Green. That'd be a first, right? A green-haired Punk Yuppie?" I laughed.
"No! No!" His face wore a cornered look.
"Put ... the television ... down!" I swung out with the scissors, narrowly missing his precious locks.
He complied. I put the scissors away and began to re-hook-up the television.
He'd regained some of his poise. He said: "I don't see why you got so excited."
Growl. "Get out of here."
"No, I mean it. You were out of control. Did you know that?"
I went back and got the scissors. His hands flew to cover his hair. I said: "You want to sell simple burglary as a virtue? Fine. Sell it to somebody else. You want to play Purple Yuppie Guppie status games? Fine. Just don't do it here. You want to walk off with my television set? Mister, there's a factor you've left out."
"Have I?" He'd recovered again. His smile was both tolerant and smug. "What would that be?"
"Call 'em Feduppies."
"And what is an 'Absolutely-Hadit'?"
I smiled, but not nicely. "That's what I'm going to be if I ever catch you in my apartment again." Snap, snap. He cowered. "And I won't stop at cutting and dyeing your hair. If you provoke me, I'll put tattoos on your knuckles!"
"No! Don't do that!"
"Get ... out ... of here!" I charged toward him with the scissors open wide.
He ran. I didn't see where he went.
And I haven't caught sight of him since. If he shows up in your neighborhood, you know what to do...