You Never Know
The thing about writing novels, they are – ‘must be’ – based on fact. You see something on TV, or the movies and you say, “I wouldn’t have done that.” Or “I wouldn’t have acted that way.” Thus, when you create a situation in a novel, you make the character react as you think he should, based on your own knowledge, or what you think is true. If in reality you have been through these situations you have a better and more realistic understanding of what would or might happen.
Of course, it is reasonable that different people would react in different ways. How would you react? I lived in a luxury 6 apartment building which was situated in a large, wooded piece of land that had lawns at the front and a large parking area. The building was in an elite area of Nairobi on State House Road. Quite countryish for a major city. One morning around three o’clock I was awakened by the sound of the doorbell ringing, and a few moments later I heard another doorbell. Obviously some drunk or prankster at work. Sometime later I heard unusual noises. I climbed from my bed and quietly exited our front door, there I stood silently in the shadows listening. Sure enough, there was activity in the corridor above. I remained quiet and, in the shadows, unseen. After some time, the noises ceased, and I assumed all was well and returned to my bed. Only minutes after laying down I heard more unusual noises, this time outside. Quietly and gingerly I eased the curtain aside and peered out of the window. I saw two men carrying of all things a hi-fi cabinet. Piled on top of the hi-fi were lots of other things, making the trip difficult for the thieves. Without doubt these ‘gentlemen’ were absconding with someone’s private property. What would you have done? What I did, in after thought is quite humorous. Making as little noise as possible I walked to the kitchen and took the largest knife I could find – a bread knife. Then in pajamas and slippers I eased my way out through the front door of the building. Outside I could see the thieves still struggling with their load. By now they were at least a hundred paces away and heading for the main road. I screamed at the top of my voice and ran at them waving the knife.
They must have thought it was some fearful demon from hell. They dropped their ill-gotten gains and fled. One ran for the main road, and one ran toward the back of the gardens. Not a swift move. At the rear of the grounds was an old pit dug for rocks to make the apartment building’s foundations. It had become filled with garden rubbish and thorn bushes. I heard the man scream as he descended into the dark hole. Although I saved the day, I received no thanks, but I did have the satisfaction of knowing these particular crooks would think twice before trying it again.