Saturday, July 28, 2012
George, Meet George!
George turned back. Susan would not yet be in bed, and she did not want to get out to the tent without a torch.
Oddly enough, as she was watching Susan's house across the square, in went a man who had a key.
"Susan never told me she had an acquaintance like that." And she did not find it very likely that Susan was hiding anything from her. So, probably this man had got the key in a wrongful way - unless it was merely a janitor. But was that likely when Susan rented the house?
Fortunately the balcony window was still open. George climbed up into the tree - not caring if people saw it or even preferring they did, since she was not the burglar - and let herself fall onto the balcony.
"Are you there Su? Are you all right?"
"There is a man who has a key, he entered here."
Susan came out of the bedroom. She was across the dining room.
"Where is he?"
"Have you got my torch?"
"I have. Here."
She lighted, but there was no man to be seen.
"Let's search the house together!"
They went downstairs, and found the staircase empty. Had they heard something? Nothing there either. Down the cellar? Well, there was one man huddling down there. "Sorry, I'm homeless!" he said in a muffled voice.
"How did you get into the cellar?" asked Susan.
"Door was open."
"You lie. I checked it just before George went away."
An advantage of living in detached houses is that every one knows it is his or her responsibility to check the cellar door, at least there are no neighbours who could do it as well as you can. And if you want to let some homeless guy in, you can do that too, since you need ask no neighbour for permission, you are the only one taking a risk, and you estimate if it is safe for you or not. In a case someone clearly lies, it is not.
"George? You have a man there?"
"He's got a gun too. Lie down, face to floor."
And the man lay down. "George, sit on him, we'll tie him up."
George preferred putting a foot on the neck. Susan got out and checked for ropes. She was not long, some electric cables not used would do well around his hands and feet. The torch was placed on the floor. She approached and thought there was something familiar with him. Once she had tied his hands and feet together she said: "George, you may take your foot off his neck."
She did so, they rolled him over and the surprise was double.
"Why, you're a girl! I'd have freed myself if I had known!"
"But you didn't know."
Meanwhile Susan was gasping too. "Mr ... White, right?"
He answered nothing.
"George, this is the man who would have raped me on that island in the Thames!"
People were ringing the bell furiously above. As grimly as George looked on the man, that was his luck.
"Alright, I'll open, neighbours!" And before going to fetch the key she asked: "What's your name, by the way?"
"My name is George."
Guffaw. Susan thought it odd her best friend alive and one of her worst enemies should have the same name. And George thought it odd she had the same name as this dishonest and despicable man.
"I have the extra key in the right pocket."
George digged it out of there, handed it to Susan, and she went up and opened to a worried crowd of Irish neighbours.
"It's alright, folks. We just caught a burglar."
They came down and witnessed the catch. The Gárda was called. They told the girls: "Well done, young ladies, now we take care of him."