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Four years ago I was working in Paris on a contract for IBM.

The project was based in the old Septentrion IBM Tower in La Defense. I had rented an apartment in L’Isle St Louis and had bought a black KTM Duke for commuting to work.

I loved living in Paris. It is a beautiful city and the summer sights were even better. After several sessions of sitting in a café at Place de la Republique watching the world go the boys finally decided that:- French girls are more elegant than English ones, are more attractive and have bigger tits. This was no instant assessment. It took many hours and many beers to reach this weighty conclusion.

I had booked a week’s holiday and was going to stay at a friend’s house near Cordes-sur-Ciel. I flew to London on Friday and drove back in my car on Monday so I could drive down to Cordes at the end of the week.

When I drove into the IBM underground car park on the Monday morning I had a strange feeling as I went past the bike park but thought nothing of it.

After work I put on my leathers and went down to get my bike. I always parked my bike on the fourth level underground, but when I got there I couldn’t see my bike. I checked I was on the correct floor and had another look.

No, it definitely wasn’t there. I went back upstairs and told Francois the project manager. He suggested I check the other floors, so I went back down and checked the third and fifth floor bike parks.

Still no bike.

It had been stolen so I went with Francois to the Head of Security. He showed me into the Control Room where there were banks of television monitors scanning every part of the building inside and outside. He flicked a few switches and showed me the bike park. He explained that he’d been there for eight years and they’d never had any car or bike stolen.

‘There’s always a first time’, I thought. I explained I’d checked the other floors and it had definitely gone. Francois accompanied me to the Police Station where I filled in the forms I needed to make a claim on my insurance.

It was really frustrating not having a bike. I hated the Metro and loved the excitement of the daily battle with the traffic. I needed another bike.

My old one never started from cold using the electric starter, so I bought the new improved KTM the next week. I also filled in my UK insurance claim form and sent it off.

The following weekend I drove down to Cordes as planned. When I arrived back in Paris I remembered that it was another bank holiday weekend and that I’d have to leave my car in the other IBM tower a few hundred metres away from the one in which I worked.

I drove down the ramp and started looking for an empty space. As I turned down one of the rows of cars I noticed a line of bikes. As I drove slowly past looking for a space for my car I recognised a KTM.

‘That’s the same colour as my old bike’ I thought.

‘Wow, it’s even got a similar number plate’.

‘It’s the same number plate’.

‘It’s my bike’.

‘What a stupid thief to steal it from one building and park it in another belonging to the same company’.

I stopped the car and got out to have a closer look.

It had a disc lock on it.

Just like mine did.

I had my bike keys in my pocket and thought I’d see if it fitted. It slipped straight in and I turned the key. The shackle loosened and I took the lock off the bike.

The fog slowly cleared as the truth started to dawn on me.

‘Oh shit’.

This was indeed my bike and was exactly where I’d left it.

I’d completely forgotten I’d parked it in the other building.

Oops.

I parked the car and went off to find Francois.

Feeling slightly embarrassed I explained I’d just found my bike. He looked slightly incredulous and then started laughing.

‘I knew it hadn’t been stolen’, he said, ‘Nothing ever has been from here’.

He took me to go and see the Head of Security where I duly grovelled. He was not amused. He said I’d now have to go to the Police to tell them what had happened and cancel my report. I was kept waiting for an hour until I could explain to the same officer that it hadn’t been stolen at all. I’d just forgotten where I‘d parked it.

‘It could have happened to anyone’, I added. He laughed.

I now had two KTM Dukes in Paris. One black 1997 and a new yellow and black 1999 model. I sold the ’97 one as the new one was much better - the electric start actually worked when the engine was cold.

A few days later I called up my insurer to cancel my theft claim.

‘Why do you want to cancel it?’ she asked.

‘It’s been recovered’ I said.

‘Is it damaged?’

‘Luckily no, it’s fine so I don’t want to make a claim. Please can you cancel it’.

'Yes, of course'.

Phew.

A few weeks later I was back at home having Sunday lunch with my family. They were having hysterics.

‘How many other cars and bikes have you bought and promptly forgotten about?’

‘Can I have all your car park receipts so I can go and look for your ‘lost’ vehicles?’

‘Can I have all your house keys that don’t fit any locks?’

It was clearly just a passing phase. I haven’t had any bikes stolen or lost since then.


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