It was the end of another late summer day. My wife was in the kitchen. I was working on my computer. And I heard somebody call.
No knock. Just a call.
Couldn’t locate the sound. I went into the hallway to discover a large gentleman with his head through the back door, apparently on his way into the house. We’d been going in and out earlier, it wasn’t locked.
I confronted him at the door. At 182 cm I’m not short – but he was at least 10-12 cm taller than me, complete with shaved head and massive build to go with his height – 120 kg at least. Not someone to mess with. And I’d caught him trying to enter my house.
He looked at me.
‘Do you use that car?’ he said without preamble, pointing to my car. ‘Do you use it?’
‘I don’t know who you are,’ I replied.
‘I buy cars for others.’ No name, of course.
My car’s 23 years old and obscured from the street by a high gate, which this guy had opened, whereas my wife’s vehicle was in full view in the drive. And I’d stopped him coming in.
I knew what he was really up to. He knew I knew, too.
People get hurt in these moments – the intruder doesn’t care. I’ve had training in hand-to-hand combat – which told me the chances of stopping someone this big if he attacked me were low. But my wife was in the house. So I stood my ground and applied Lesson No. 1 – talk politely and play the game.
‘Car’s not for sale,’ I said. And asked him to leave, politely. I wasn’t sure it would work, but after some tense words, he turned and left, abusing me as he departed.
By the time I got to the street the light truck he’d parked part-obstructing our drive was half way down the road. I couldn’t get the number.
The police arrived within 90 seconds of my call. It was then I discovered I wasn’t able to give a detail description of the interloper’s clothes. I realised I’d been too busy looking at his face – the eyes betray intent.
All this happened in full daylight, around 5.30 pm, in a quiet residential street.
I could ask, rhetorically, what society is coming to – but I already know. And it’s sad.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2013