The Stranger

The Stranger

A Story by The_Dreamer


            Rays of the morning sun streamed through the thin window curtains and right into my eyes. Forced to wake up, I clambered out of the cozy comfort of my bed. My rumbling tummy told me that it was breakfast time. I always eat in the coffeeshop every weekend. That time was no exception.

            The short walk to the coffeeshop took me past the carpark. That carpark was always deserted in the morning, but fully occupied in the hot afternoon. This was because there were many tall trees which provide the much needed shade (in the afternoon), but appealed to roosting birds at night. If a car was parked there overnight, by morning it surely would have been the target of some bird dropping. The few cars that were parked here usually have some sort of canvas covering them to prevent them from being soiled. Naturally, I was curious when is saw one without a canvas sheet over it.

            A man was sitting inside the driver’s seat of the car and was ruffling up the compartments inside. I stopped to look. Perhaps he noticed me. He stepped out of the silver car, crossed his arms angrily, and kicked the car a number of times.

            “He doesn’t know how ridiculous he looks,” I thought. The man turned around, as if he had heard my thoughts. On seeing me, he rushed over, elated.

            “Excuse me, my car has broken down, and I have left my handphone at home. I am unable to call for tow. May I borrow yours please?” he asked.

            I eyed him suspiciously. I had read in the newspapers of people getting tricked by thieves who asked for help. These thieves work in groups. Usually, one person will distract the victim, while another picks their pocket. This man could easily be one of those thieves. There could be a whole group of people hiding behind the nearby cars on lookout. Besides, this man could go home to make the phone call.  However, something stopped my train of thoughts in that direction. This person seemed well-to-do. I assumed that the car he was in belonged to him. Since he could afford a car, I believed he would not do such a lowly thing such as steal a handphone. Perhaps he was just lazy to walk back home to make a phone call.

            I handed over my handphone, and the man thankfully received it. He made a call and started talking. As I waited, a group of about five rowdy kids ran along the path where I stood. A girl tripped and almost fell at my feet had I not caught hold of her. She was about five years old. I set her back on her feet, told her to be careful, and watched her run off along the path to rejoin her group of friends. She chatted excitedly, and I managed to catch the word “careless” in her quickly diminishing voice. 

            Then the stranger returned me my handphone. He thanked me and turned to go back to his car. At that moment, I caught a glimpse of a bundle of lock picking tools sticking out of his back pocket. He had reached the car, but did not go into it. Instead, he ran out of the carpark and disappeared. I stood there, open-mouthed.

            “The car does not belong to that stranger. That stranger was a burglar. He had borrowed my handphone to ‘call’ for tow. But why had he not taken off with my handphone?” I thought, and decided that I should lodge a police report.

            I made the call to the police and reported my suspicions. Then, I continued my already interrupted walk to the coffeeshop. As I walked, I felt that my pocket was much lighter than before. I put my hand into my pocket. To my horror, my wallet and the other items that I always kept in my pocket were no longer there! My pocket was empty! I numbed at the thought that I had just been the victim of a daylight robbery, with my pocket picked under my very nose!

            I quickly searched around the surrounding area for signs of my pink and white striped wallet with the hope that I might have dropped it, but to no avail. I had talked to a stranger and lent him my handphone. He had returned it. When he left, my wallet disappeared with him.

            I tried to put these facts together to find a common thread where they all lie:

The stranger was searching for something inside the car when I arrived. I noticed that he had some lock picking tools sticking out of his pocket when he turned to leave. I felt sure that he was a car burglar. That would explain why he had the tools, and why he was digging for something inside the car.

When he spotted me looking at him ruffling things, he must have felt what every burglar feels when they think they are caught red-handed. Yet, he must have been able to calm himself down enough to investigate if I knew he was burgling cars. He had invented a good cover story of ‘his’ car breaking down and had deceived me until now.

            As for my wallet, I tried to console myself that he was a very greedy person. Just after burgling a car, he picked somebody’s pocket. I did not want to make another call to the police for fear that they may think I kept changing my reports. Anyway, I do not have any facts to support this claim, and people do not usually report pickpockets. Unhappily I returned home. 

            A few days later, an article appeared in the headlines about a group of thieves being caught. There were six people in the gang. What stood out to me was that five of them were kids, the youngest being only five years old, as said in the article. The other member of the gang was a man who is an expert at lock picking. I recgonised the man in the picture to be the stranger who borrowed my handphone in the carpark! 



© 2009 The_Dreamer

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Wow. The details are just perfect

Posted 10 Years Ago

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Added on November 16, 2009




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