The Thief

Livingstone. Zambia-Zimbabwe border. Morning has broken. I wake up lazily. Ray stands up in front of me. His left hand holds the tree branch. "Wake up, you, sleepy head!" I yawn once again. "Look at the trucks over there. They have already come." I look at the street some meters before our eyes. There is a line of cars and trucks there, queueing for the border check.

"Quick, Haile! Or we will get nothing this morning again!" Ray shouts at me. It is like he blames me for what happened yesterday when another group took our breakfast away. I murmur, "It was not my mistake. It was my tounge's." Ray looks at me impatiently. He grabs my hand and pulls me. "Come on!" "Aw, okay, okay!" I scream. "I do not care whether it was you or your tongue who abandoned us yesterday. It was your way of thinking!" Ray lets my hand go. I sigh. "Alright. You are right. I just could not stop speaking." "If you can not control your tongue again this morning, you will have your belly empty for the whole day!"

#

I was in a truck yesterday morning. I saw a lot of canned food inside it. I could not stop laughing happily while I grabbed the cans. The driver caught me red handed and kicked me away from the truck after he took back the cans from my hand. Right after that another group like me came and took whatever they could.

People call us 'thieves'. I call ourselves 'food seekers'. We take fruits, veggies, eggs and even canned food from those trucks for our living. We are quick learners. We smell, sneak and pick.

#

Another small truck approaches the line. "I smell something delicious, Ray," I whisper to Ray. We climb down the tree. "See the back of the truck, Haile? You open the cover while I watch for the other groups over there." Ray points his finger to another side of the street. "Quick! Before they see you. And ... ssshhh ...," Ray puts his pointer finger in front of his mouth. I show Ray my thumb up. "Okay!"

I walk as quick as I can. I pay attention to my surrounding before I jump into the back of the truck. Ray walks towards the driver carefully. I grin. Ray is going to pull the driver's attention so I can take food easily.

"Wow... Watermelons! Bananas! Papayas!" I shout astonishingly. "Our breakfast will be very yummy!" I grab the watermelon first. It is round and heavy. I jump out of the truck and shout to Ray, "There are watermelons, bananas and papayas. Which one should I choose?" Ray shocks to see me. "Pick whichever you can!!" "But they are heavy! Can you help me?" "No, I can't!" Ray shouts back angrily. I jump in the truck again and pick one big watermelon while the truck driver shouts at me, "Thief!" I jump out quickly and run. I never thought that he will see me stealing his goods. Ray follows me climbing up the tree. The truck driver runs towards us. "You will pay for that! You will pay for that, you, baboon!!"

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