Dear Sir, Madam, or otherwise gendered person who stole my car,
I am writing to inform you that you’ve really blundered here. I am willing to assume this was an honest accident, but I cannot understate the enormity of your error. I will have you know that I am a magnanimous, forgiving, and tenderhearted person, but absolutely did not deserve to have my car (a humble 2007 Volvo XC70) snatched away from me, especially with my neighbor’s brand new Prius on flagrant display right next door.
Are you familiar with the Italian neorealist drama The Bicycle Thief? Perhaps you needed a car in order to commute and support your family, and couldn’t afford one yourself. If that is the case, you have my deepest sympathies.
But have you considered: stealing is wrong? I’m sure if you had taken this into account, we could have avoided this debacle, but here we are. I’ll forgive you for this oversight (as is my nature) because you likely didn’t know any better. However, if you stole my car while cognizant of the immorality of theft, I must say that I’m deeply disappointed in you.
Perhaps your need for a vehicle was so great that you simply couldn’t resist the immoral urge to abscond with my car. I understand. But realize that you could have, instead, committed a more moral theft of somebody else’s car. Presumably, you believe that the happiness you gained from stealing my car outweighs the sorrow I feel from its absence, thereby raising the overall amount of joy present in the world; however, I am quite sorrowful. Consider that if you had stolen a different car (like my neighbor’s Prius, as an arbitrary example) and left mine unharmed, we could add my relief into the equation—which would produce a modest (but not insignificant!) increase in global happiness.
If you are a kind soul (like myself), I am confident you’ll reconsider your mistake and return my Volvo. If you are still in desperate need of transportation, I will reiterate, my neighbor’s spotless Prius is sitting, unloved, right next door.
In fact, you may find that returning my Volvo and pilfering my neighbor’s Prius is the most moral option available to you. Allow me to explain my hypothesis. For one, my neighbor really didn’t need a new Prius. Sure, his previous car was showing its age, but that’s simply because he didn’t take better care of it—if I recall, it was an even newer model than my Volvo, which I took (and, if you’d be so kind, will continue to take) excellent care of. This proves that he simply isn’t fit to own his Prius; the overall value of a new car is wasted on him. He’d be far more suited to a used car, or even no car at all.
Second, I’m fairly certain my neighbor’s wife is having an affair. I am not surprised, given his inadequacies in the realm of automotive care, but it’s a shame nonetheless. If you were to return my Volvo and steal his Prius, which I assume is his only way to get to work, he’d be forced to stay home with his lonely wife.
Imagine: two dwindling flames, flickering out of sync, rekindling their marriage all because of you… Wouldn’t that be nice? You’d be atoning for your mistake, you’d be mending a holy union, and you’d be in possession of a shiny new Prius. As you can see, the evidence is overwhelming, and I’m positive you're already driving my car back to its rightful home.
Third and lastly, you should return my Volvo (and take my neighbor’s Prius instead) because if you don’t, I’ll kill myself. Doesn’t feel great, does it? That’s right. I’ll kill myself, and it will be all your fault.
Really makes you think, huh?
Surely you’d rather return the Volvo than have my soul on your conscience. While I don’t know your identity, I know you. You’re a thief—not a murderer. You’re heavy with so much guilt already. Don’t you feel it? Weighing you down? You and I both know you wouldn’t be able to handle any more.
Don’t torment yourself. Don’t let me die. Return the Volvo (and, instead, take my neighbor’s Prius), and all that guilt goes away.
I trust that this letter will find its way to you, and that you’ll do the right thing. I eagerly await a reunion with my sixteen-year-old Volvo—and if you don’t return it, I hope the windshield (which I just spent $400 replacing!) shatters on the highway and insects hurtle into your thieving mouth until you choke and fucking die.
You know where I live