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Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Write about what you know - 'despicable you'

Ever been burgled or robbed?  It isn’t pleasant. It’s a gut-wrenching, traumatic experience. A sense of being defiled. Some victims can’t ‘move on’ without actually moving house.
Wikipedia commons

Reformed jewel thief Bill Mason admits, late in the day, that he never appreciated the ‘depressing and disturbing feeling of violation on the part of the victims’. See my review of his book Nine Lives here

Some years ago we were burgled, and some family heirloom jewellery stolen, among other precious things. Another time, our suitcases were stolen from the fourteenth floor of a hotel in Calgary - at the beginning of our holiday. And about six years ago our daughter and son-in-law were burgled by men who kicked in the door, knowing she was out at work. Fortunately, her neighbour spotted them and made a note of their getaway vehicle’s registration number. Today (the wheels of justice grind slowly!) I accompanied our daughter to the Spanish court where one of the culprits was arraigned before the judge. He wouldn’t maintain eye-contact. It was a distressing time, especially as it brought back terrible memories, for example he or his pals hurt the family dogs while breaking in.

There are words to describe these arrogant people who would rather steal than work for a living: despicable, scum and lowlife are three printable options. I know there are others.

Here’s an excerpt from Sudden Vengeance, a novel I wrote to vent some of the anger at these individuals:

Paul pulled his attention from the window and the seagulls, and watched Sue White, one of the civilian staff, as she inserted a blank Incident Log form – quadruple carbon-impregnated paper – into the electronic typewriter.

Three of his reports down, one to go, he mused ruefully.

The day had been typical: four burglaries, taking down statements, completing the Property Taken form (in duplicate), feeling anger at the sight of the wanton destruction left in the wake of the culprits. Prized possessions trampled underfoot, carpets fouled, drawers and cupboards damaged; the list was endless. And insurance was little compensation. At each crime scene, he kept getting flashes of Gran, of her flat...

Of the four reported break-ins he attended, only one seemed to be professional. They took the DVD player, two televisions, and a hallmarked silver cutlery set, but left everything else untouched.

While inwardly he boiled to think these people believed they had the right to steal, he found himself agreeing with the aggrieved pensioners that “at least they didn’t do any damage”!

What have we come to, he wondered, when we feel grateful for being robbed by tidy burglars?

- Sudden Vengeance by Nik Morton, published by Crooked Cat

Amazon UK here

Amazon COM here

The ‘despicable you’, the lowlife in court today pleaded guilty and was given a prison sentence of one year, suspended.


Jack Owen said...

Regretfully I can empathize with your daughter's situation. Gratefully, my dog was at my old book shop with me (playing guard-dog for shoplifters) when my house was B&E'd - broad daylight. The festive spread for my birthday party, after work, was unharmed - but cupboards, chests, drawers etc were ransacked and clothing rummaged through and removed. I do think a coal-black Haitian wearing an Old School blazer - might have stood out though. They had a change of heart and dumped the clothes! I too, cannot WILLnot, repeat my verbal responses at the time ;^(

Nik said...

Not the best of birthdays, then, Jack. Thanks for that glimpse. I'm sure there are thousands like us who would dearly love to see these lowlifes suffer as we have. Burgle the burglers!

Richard Sutton said...

Nik; I feel some/most of your pain. We've been hit a few times, too. Once our car was smashed into and a pair of binoculars stolen from the flagship hotel parking lot in Halifax. We drove our own car in, and it had NY plates on it, which we were told, "probably attracted the wrong element." We felt squashed and sad at the beginning of a vacation. It's happened here as well, as the feeling of violation lasts much longer than you ever expect it to. I'm glad you got a little bit of justice, but how do we get justice from the times we've been burgled by bankers?

Nik said...

Thanks for responding, Richard. I appreciate it. Yes, justice hasn't nailed those bankers, though I plan to give a few a comeuppance or two in my fiction!