Dealing with theft
The rate of crime in my plot is always floating at an all-time high (someone once stole the communal tap), with the theft of pegs, dusters, and brooms the most reported crimes. To file a report or complaint in my plot, you don’t even need to talk to the caretaker. You only need to restrain your fury until evening when almost all your neighbours are present. Then, when it’s quietish, perhaps because most of them are eating, walk to the center of the veranda and face the general direction of the house of the neighbour you hate the most.
Without warning, and in a voice loud enough for most, if not all, to hear, start to recount how someone, or people, has/have been stealing your brooms but you’ve always let it slide. Tell them about the day someone even had the nerve to secretly return a broom they stole, after it had become worn out and useless, and you let it slide. Loudly observe how these anonymous thieves have been wrongly thinking that your silence means you’re an idiot. Changing your tone from ‘emotional’ to ‘empowered’, state that you are now tired and declare that this time you will not take it lying down, and proceed to loudly and boldly hurl obscene insults at the unknown culprit(s). With the bottled-up anger that has built up over your stay in the plot stewing inside you, scream threats in your most intimidating tone and pace back and forth while you swear that you know who took your broom, and promise to show them who you are. Continue showing off your talent for insults and reiterate your threats for a minute or two more then finish off your tirade without a solid conclusion and go back to your house.
After a few minutes of silence in the plot, get out of your house to pick your clothes from the clotheslines while loudly talking smack about the thug(s). Take unnecessarily long to unhang the clothes because you’ll be explaining to whomever cares to listen how you are going to deal with the broom stealers, and add that a broom issue is not a petty issue and you know what you’re talking about. Then take unnecessarily long to walk back to your house while you rhetorically ask what is wrong with some people, and why can’t someone just buy their own fucking broom. Even after closing your door, make sure that your neighbours can faintly hear you complain about that broom to your family members.
Buy another broom the following day then wait until evening when most of the neighbours are present, and it’s quietish, and start sweeping nothing at your doorstep. While dramatically dragging the broom on the floor in loud, exaggerated sweeps, sarcastically announce that you’ve bought a new broom so that the thief, or thieves, can steal again.
And, of course, while you’re standing up for yourself at the veranda, the neighbours are listening to you, judging you, and discussing the theft at the same time.
“Aw, for God’s sake.”
“Is that Wanja?“
“That broom wasn’t even hers.”
“That must be the guy in number 12. He looks like a thief.”
“Ours was stolen too and I know who it is.”
“I wish someone tells her to shut up.”
“Why can’t she just move out?”
“Can she really go to a witchdoctor because of a fucking broom?”
“Move aside. I want to peep too.”
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