Mugged for his wallet.
The mugger took the wallet, and stood there in the sun counting the few limp and well-used notes that it contained. The mugee, recovering from his surprise, lashed out at the mugger, kicking him painfully on his shin.
The mugger took out a club and beat the muggee with it until the muggee was unconscious.
A small crowd gathered, including the wife and children of the man lying on the grounnd.
Pretty soon he regained consciousness.
Weakened, and groaning, he kicked the shin of the mugger.
Again the mugger lashed out with his club until the muggee relasped into unconsciousness.
Only this time he beat also on the wife and children of the muggee.
Before long a policeman arrived.
"What's all this then?" asked the Policeman.
"He kicked me" said the mugger.
"He took my dad's wal-" said the oldest child of the man lying on the ground, a boy of 10, who was nursing a bruised forearm. "-Stop kicking him", interrupted the Policeman to the man on the floor.
And he did stop kicking, for a bit. He lay there still as a rock in the sun, on the hot dusty pavement, just concentrating on getting his breath.
It was very quiet and hot. The Policeman stood next to the mugger, who was watching the muggee's foot. The man lay on the ground, still. Everyone in the crowd stood around wondering what would happen next.
Suddenly he kicked out, and the beating started again, both for the muggee and his wife and children, while the Policeman watched.
Then it stopped. Then it started again.
This went on for quite a while.
A few people in the crowd were getting restless, but most of them werre well-behaved and said nothing, and a few were finding it a bit boring.
Eventually a small girl stepped forward. She was thin but determined, looked about five or six, but could have been eight or nine, given the poor state of nutrition of the children in that town.
She looked right up at the policeman and asked him "Why don't you stop him?"
"Stop who?" asked the Policeman, startled by the unexpected question.
"Him" said the little girl, pointing to the mugger.
"Because Mr Hems" said the policeman confidently, pointing to the muggee, "Keeps kicking poor Mr Ben". By which he meant the mugger.
"Ben doesn't look poor", said the little girl.
"Only because I do this", said the Policeman, slipping a ten-dollar note into the back pocket of Mr Ben the Mugger. "He would be poor if I didn't".
The little girl went over to Mr Hems, who was lying on the dusty white pavingstones, blood all over him.
She looked at him.
"Why do you kick?" she asked.
"He took my wallet" said Mr Hems.
"But every time you kick him", she said, "he hurts you and your family".
"Not to kick would be like giving in," said Mr Hems. "The beating does hurt, yes, but kicking him gives me a moment of pleasure".
The little girl looked down at Mr Hems, then she looked up at Mr Ben and the Policeman.
And she looked round at the crowd, and at the broken houses up and down the shimmering street.
And she looked up at the blue sky, and down the street towards the beach where the boys had died.
She looked for quite a few long moments.
Then she picked up a handful of dust.
"Let me show you something", she said.
[continued in the page above this one]