When they and two of their friends asked me to join them for some treats, I jumped at the chance. Our nearest duka (shop) was in Lavington Green, about a mile or two from our home.
The five of us walked around the shop for a few minutes and to my dismay, everyone walked out without purchasing anything. We hadn’t gone far when the owner stepped out and started to shout at us. At this point, the group thrusted chocolates into my hands and told me to put them behind my back.
I was standing against a wall while the shopkeeper was making accusations against my older and ‘innocent’ companions whose hands were clean. Not being used to holding so many chocolate bars, one fell to the ground. The game was up; this little boy would be for the high jump. Luckily, the shopkeeper was wise enough to see what had happened. He gave us all a warning, threatened to tell our parents and then let us go. To this day, I am not sure if I had any of those chocolates.
My own experience as a master shoplifter was short-lived. A friend and I went into Nairobi and wandered around a toyshop. I saw a ‘Match Box’ toy car and pocketed it; we left the shop shaking and then ran. Feeling extremely guilty, we returned to the shop and I left my ill-gotten gain on the shop’s window ledge. I knew I was not suited for a life of crime.
Toni, on the other hand, was a past master and she had a collection of ornate flick knives to prove it.