Dear Mr/Mrs Burglar

There have been a lot of burglaries around here lately. Mostly laptops and desktop computers, and of those, mostly Macs. People do love the apple. I composed a note and left it on my desk, in anticipation of a break-in while I’m out.

Dear Mr/Mrs Burglar,

Sorry, but I've taken my laptop with me today. I needed it for work. I hope this hasn't inconvenienced you too much. We have an extensive collection of Crown Lynn plates upstairs though. Perhaps you could auction them individually on Trade Me? If you are savvy with your timing and reserve prices you may get a tidy sum. There aren’t any other high-end electronics for you to hock off, I’m afraid, but you know how the saying goes: beggars, choosers, etc.

What do you look like, I wonder? I'm not picturing you as any particular kind of person, by the way. I'm not trying to pigeonhole you or anything. I’m just curious. There's a disposable camera on the desk—why don’t you take a nice selfie? Write your email address down and I'll send any good shots to you as an attachment. Or do you have a Dropbox account? Whatever's best for you.

You should write me a note. Reciprocate. There’s paper by the desk, and some nice pens. I don't just want this to be the usual ephemeral victim-burglar relationship. That's been done. Let's do something different. We should do coffee. Do you take milk? If that’s too much, then at the very least, Facebook friends. We could start a “Making new friends under strange circumstances” page: Like!

I'm interested. Are you self-employed, or are you a member of a team? If so, what project management software does your team use? Do you have team meetings about efficient organisational processes and neighbourhood coverage? I bet you do. I’m all about that kind of stuff too.

I can tell you're organised. I bet you're wearing gloves and haven't left any fingerprints at all. Oh no… Sorry. I didn't mean to make you feel bad. You forgot gloves, didn't you? It's okay: grab a flannel out of the hot water cupboard from under the stairs, put some soapy warm water on it and wipe down where you've touched. Just retrace your steps, you'll be fine.

One thing I should say is that this is a shoes-off-in-the-house kind of place. I tried not to say it, but I couldn’t hold it in any longer. It's always awkward to ask people—some people are a bit funny about it—but I spent a lot of time in Japan and really got in the habit of no shoes inside, and, well, that's just how we run our house. If you've still got your shoes on, that's okay. Just wipe any dirt marks you've left with the warm soapy cloth. Next time take them off, okay?

So, this has turned into quite a long note, hasn't it? I'll let you go now, you've probably got a lot on. Could you lock the door on the way out? If you forced it open and it doesn't lock anymore, just pull it to. If you came in through a window and there's a bit of broken glass, would you mind? There's a brush and pan in the cupboard under the kitchen sink upstairs. Broken glass makes me a bit nervous. If there are any little bits in the carpet, you might need to get the vacuum cleaner out. It's in a cupboard next to the hot water cupboard—it's one of those new fandangled bagless numbers, so you might need to empty it out first. Cheers.

Look, I have a confession to make. I feel so bad. I have been stalling you. Don't you just hate disingenuous people? You tripped a silent alarm when you came in, and it’s likely you'll soon be caught. There’s a video camera in a waterproof case mounted on a tree outside; it records anyone who approaches the house while I’m away, and it probably captured some pretty good pictures of you. Sorry, that was sneaky of me.

I'll ask the police to treat you with respect and dignity. We were just starting to develop a relationship and I'm now I’m throwing it all away. I always do this.

This isn’t the end though. You can write to me from jail—you know the address. I’ll visit. Promise.

Bittersweet regrets,