One evening when the sun was about to set, my mother asked me to go and buy some onions and salt from the nearby sundry shop. The shop is run by Samy, a jovial middle-age Indian man with a huge pot-belly. His wife and two young children, a boy and a girl, help him run the shop.
It was almost completely dark when I reached the shop. Samy had switched on the lights in his small but adequately stocked shop. He was alone at the time and I was the only customer. Samy greeted me with a huge smile. I always wanted to ask him how he kept his teeth so sparkling white but I was afraid to ask. Anyway I told him what I wanted to buy and he went about getting the things for me.
Next door to Samy’s shop is a coffee shop run by another Indian man. It was still open at the time. From the coffee shop emerged two men. They came into Samy’s shop and I could smell the overpowering smell of beer coming from these two men. Both of them were young but from the way they half-walked half-staggered into the shop it was obvious they had a bit too much to drink. I kept a safe distance from these men. It is never a good idea to be near drunks. One never knows what they will do next.
True enough, my caution was justified, for the next moment, without any warning, one of the men swept a pile of tinned goods from a table onto the floor. In a second the neat rows were reduced to utter chaos. The man who did it roared out in laughter. I could see Samy’s anger rising. He raised his voice. As if in reply to his retort, the two men started shouting obscenities at him. Then suddenly a knife appeared in one of the men’s hand. The man that held the knife was small and wiry and judging from the muscles in his hand I had no doubt he was very strong.
The knife-man lunged and in a flash he had the point of his knife at Samy’s throat. Samy froze and his face paled.
I was so overwhelmed by the suddenness of events that the next thing I knew I could not...