Last night I almost caught a burglar.
It’s amazing what a bit of adrenalin does for one’s bravado. Without that adrenaline I seriously doubt if I would’ve leapt naked after the guy with a torch in our living room.
And if I’d not been naked maybe he wouldn’t have run quite so fast. If our roles were reversed I guess I’d be out of there rather quickly if somebody a good foot taller, and somewhat wider, came running out a room undressed wailing obscenities.
When you throw two dogs into the mix, bearing in mind that most Muslims are terrified of the things (why do I think he was a Muslim? I’ll get to that) it’s no wonder he ran down the hall, out the jimmied window and over the wall with such rapid acceleration.
Yesterday was a shit of a day. Actually, most of it was ok, but both Brigid and I were exhausted after she’d had to go to Yogyakarta the day before and I’d had to do the dawn airport delivery and late night pickup. At 11 pm last night we’d had a call to go to a warehouse to supervise an issue with an overfull container due to ship but fraught with problems. We’d got home at 1 am and gone to bed, to be woken, at 4 am, by the dogs: Star, our nervy Bali dog, and Chippy, the dachshund with a Napoleon complex and the sort of ears and nose that generations of hunting badgers get you.
We’re used to it – the odd night where the dogs go ballistic over a cat, water monitor, or bloody civet on the roof and run around the room and the off-suite bathroom, like obsessed wall climbing howling lunatics. It lasts five minutes and then back to sleep, pushing one or both of us off the bed as they position themselves for maximum comfort. There has to be a reason why humans accept this and manoeuvre themselves to cause the animal minimum discomfort whilst we hang off the side of the bed.
Last night was different – they were surly and aggravated – a little like the way they react to the power guy (since electricity has recently doubled in price in Indonesia, we do not discourage this). So I got up and wandered the house followed by the dogs, and found nothing.
Ironically Brigid had said earlier that night that we were getting lax with our security, and I’d locked our outside bedroom door for the first time in months.
We settled the dogs but Chippy sat on the end of the bed snarling quietly periodically for about five minutes and then leapt off barking furiously again. I got up and saw a light in the living room through a window – quite clearly a torch – so, without thinking rationally I loudly opened the door and ran into the room, following by, now, highly agitated dogs. The small guy, in a white t-shirt, took off and the screaming and barking began.
It was over in about 3 minutes. He was gone. The dogs were doing perimeter patrol and I was reflecting on how stupid I was to leap naked at a guy who may have had a machete or knife.
And I put on some clothes.
He took nothing, dropping the laptop I’m writing this on now, harmlessly it seems and within 15 minutes the police arrived. The single detective was thorough and very helpful. I’ve been critical of Indonesian police quite a few times on this blog, and with good reason, but on a one to one level like this I’ve always found them to be helpful, friendly and professional.
He asked me what the guy was wearing (we found his flipflops out the back – he’d left them in his dogs-and-naked-bulé driven rush to leave). I told him. He asked me his height. I told him. He asked me what colour his hair was. I didn’t know what to say – all Indonesians have black hair.
We talked about whom it may have been and were reminded that this is both the beginning of Galungan, one of the most important religious periods in the Balinese calendar, and a full moon. Both meant it was unlikely to be a Balinese. When you throw in the impending Ramadan period when Orang Jawa are expected to return to Jawa, to their villages – a big expense for a labourer here (most of whom are Javanese) – and this means there is, at this time every year, a huge upswing on this sort of petty crime.
And despite the fact that the prick wanted my valuable laptop, it is petty crime, so I’m a little uncomfortable with the advice a few have given us (not the cop), to run out screaming Maling! Maling! Maling! (Thief! Thief! Thief!). The local neighbourhood then comes out and takes chase, usually resulting in the death of the offender by beating or hacking. This is something I know I could not deal with. Plus, if I’d run naked into the street screaming anything at 4 am, chances are I’d be the one with a problem.
The policeman left about 6 and we finally went back to sleep, with one small dachshund determined to stay alert and on guard duty the whole time, on the end of the bed, where she never usually sits, watching the door.
We love our dogs. They had Chicken satay for breakfast.