‘We just want you to know, it wasn’t us. We’re not like them.’
A friend of mine told me this story. She was visiting her neice who had recently given birth to a beautiful baby boy. She had only been inside the house a few minutes when she heard the sound of breaking glass. She saw the back window of her car, smashed. They’d taken her laptop from under the passenger seat, gone.
Net curtains twitched as people looked out, unseen, through their windows. She called the police, who were there inside five minutes. They took details, said they’d come back the next day to check for prints and left.
Out of nowhere, three youths on bikes, wearing hoods, appeared. Two of them dismounted and one came over, stopping inches from her face.’We don’t like you here. Get out!’
He was grunting, growling. She could smell his breath. His hand was in his pocket. The one on the bike, hissed, ‘Don’t waste a bullet! Don’t waste a bullet!’.
‘Why are you calling me names, threatening me? What have I done to you?’
‘Grunt, grunt, f****ing grunt,’ his answer came back.
She held her ground, eye to eye, trying to stay calm. The youth was getting agitated. Suddenly, he moved away from her. With a final shout, ‘Get out of here. You are not wanted here. We’ll be back for you if you don’t get out!’, the three of them mounted their bikes and took off.
An old man came out from his back garden at that moment. ‘Bastards!’, he called them. ‘I hate them bastards…’ My friend was too shocked to answer.
Four small boys came across. She had noticed them watching her earlier and was suspicious. ‘We just want you to know, it wasn’t us. We’re not like them’, said one of them. My friend didn’t know what to say. She was new to this neighbourhood. Is it always like this, she wondered?
She returned to the house. She’d brought with her some food to cook a meal for her neice and husband when he came home from work. Since they’d moved in a few weeks earlier, the neice hadn’t felt able to leave the house for fear of insult or injury. Her aunt is trying to get them rehoused.’They’re an incident waiting to happen. The little shits…’, she said.
I wonder about those young men in hoods on the bikes.They are still children. And the neighbours? They need something too.