I don’t know why I agreed. Maybe it was because the police won’t think of looking in a respectable white lady’s house for a thief. Maybe it was because I told her I am a thief and she didn’t turn away from me, like Stella did. Maybe it was because she asked for my help.
But now I am not so sure it was a good idea. I am trapped. I can’t get out. What if the Police spoke to her on Wednesday and she said she’d bring me to them if she saw me again? Maybe she is driving to the police station now. Maybe her house is one of those we robbed?
Pictures of all the rich people’s houses I had been in passed through my mind like bits of movie before the main movie. Some houses had been so unfriendly. They were the big one with lots of rooms. Sometimes they had two rooms with couches and comfortable chairs. They always smelt of flowery furniture polish.
Some houses had been smaller and seemed friendly. They weren’t so tidy – especially if I could see children lived there. I didn’t like taking things from them but Duke and Shorty explained to me that rich people always had insurance so if their computer got stolen, the insurance would pay them and they could buy a newer one so really, we were helping them.
When we get to a big automatic gate I breathe more easily. I didn’t realise my neck was so tight until it relaxes a bit. It is not a police station. I’ve never seen this house before.
The lady pushes a remote button and the gate slides open with a creaking, shuddering noise. A big brown dog with a square face comes running to meet the car but seems to know not to get in the way of the wheels.
The first time I saw a big dog was on my third job for Duke and Shorty. They couldn’t get the automatic door off the rails so they told me we would have to climb the wall. I stood on Duke’s shoulders and clambered up carefully on to the high wall, being careful to avoid the spikes. Then they said I must jump down. The wall was higher than I had thought and when I landed I lost my balance and fell over. A big black dog came padding silently up to me like a hawk’s shadow before it attacks. I froze. I thought I was dead. The dog licked my face and then put his nose under my arm. I think he thought I was hurt and he was trying to get me on my feet again. Perhaps he lived with children or perhaps I didn’t look like a threat to his house. I put my hand on his head and he wagged his tail. When I got up he bounced around me and then dashed off to bring me a stick. I threw it for him and he brought it back. Shorty asked, “What’s taking so long? Jahela!”
The dog started barking loudly and jumping up and down at the gate. I rushed to the house looking for a slightly open window that I could slip through and then look for the button to press that would open the gate like Duke had showed me at the last house.
After that I realised that most dogs are friendly, especially if you are little.
“What’s his name?” I ask the lady. I wait for the dog to go to her side of the car before I open the door.
“Jasper,” she says. She moves him aside while she opens the door.
“Hello Jasper,” I say. I put out my hand for him to smell. He takes my hand in his mouth and leads me along the grass towards a door. I think if he did that to Duke or Shorty, they would die of fright. Especially Duke. He’s afraid of dogs. Twice he’s been bitten by a dog. Once when he was running away and once when he was carrying a computer and two cell phones and he couldn’t use his hands to defend himself.
The garden looks very neat. The driveway is made of bricks next to each other. After that is a lot of grass, looking like a carpet. Although it is only just after winter it lo...