Or, rather, overseen.
Walking along the street, in a fairly quiet neighbourhood, but not so dead that there’s nobody in sight. A man pulls up in a fairly battered 20-year-old car. He stops it, gets out, and pops into a shop – leaving the car unlocked with the keys inside and the engine ticking over.
Either this man is some sort of well-known local underworld bigwig, or he’s so blasé he doesn’t care. Or, possibly, he was hoping it would disappear when he returned. Maybe its starter was so dodgy, he didn’t dare risk turning the thing off. I had turned the street before he returned, but nobody looked likely to try jumping inside and driving it away.
I am not a hero. I had always suspected as much, but now I know it’s true.
I popped round to the corner shop, just to pick up a few things, and noticed some dodgy-looking men hanging around outside. Nothing surprising there, really. I tried not to pay them any attention. You don’t, do you.
As I was pottering around at the back of the shop choosing the longest-dated bottle of milk, one of them comes in. Late 20s but looks older, scraggly beard, dirty jacket. Looks like he should be dragging a dog on a string behind him. Purposefully, he strides to the dairy fridges at the back of the shop, and starts grabbing packets of cheese off the shelf. Two at a time, stuffing them into a carrier bag he’d brought with him. One of his friends followed, jacket over his arm; he plucked something off a shelf and slipped it under his jacket.
Should I do something? Should I say anything? The cheese man eyed me up, as I put a yoghurt in my basket. As he looked sideways, he didn’t stop grabbing cheese and dropping it into his bag.
I did nothing. Nothing at all. “He might have had a knife,” I rationalised to myself. “He might have punched me.” Or he might just have ran. As it was, they walked out of the shop, as quickly as they’d came, with £20, £30 or more of cheese in the carrier bag. Is there a market now for black-market dairy produce? Has someone worked out how to get a legal high from mild cheddar? My logical mind says: it was the far corner of the shop, furthest from the tills, furthest from any of the staff, in a straight line to the door, and one of the most valuable products per kilogram in that part of the shop. The rest of me says: maybe he just liked a lot of cheese?