I'd like to report a crime. On Tuesday of last week, I was proceeding in a northerly direction in our Dubai compound, posting flyers for a yard sale we were having that weekend. The following morning, at precisely 8:13am, I noticed that similar flyers had been put up beside ours, for a yard sale in the same compound on the same morning. My suspicions were initially aroused by the similarity of language used ("Great stuff!"), and were confirmed by the fact that our neighbours' sale was set to commence a full hour before our own, a common ploy in schemes of this sort. I deduced that we had fallen victim to yard-sale sabotage.
Immediately, I commenced surveillance of the suspects' domicile, which entailed walking past the front door a number of times, shaking my head and muttering "unbelievable". It soon became clear that the perp was absent, however, so I followed up by going home and watching EastEnders in an aggrieved manner. I subsequently conducted detailed enquiries in the vicinity, asking my wife on three separate occasions if she knew who the idiots in Villa XX were. Her response ("No") suggested I was dealing with a secretive and possibly dangerous criminal gang.
At 4:19pm the following day, I asked the compound's security guard similar questions, but all he did was smile and wave (note: was that fear I saw in his eyes?) From here, I employed an ongoing strategy of peering at any neighbours I encountered through narrowed eyes, which caused many of them to move away in a hasty and, in my view, shifty fashion. Finally, I turned to the forensic evidence, ripping a couple of the rival posters down and removing them to my living-room table. The suspects claimed to be selling DVDs, knick-knacks and assorted items of clothing. From this information I was able to deduce they were a couple aged between early-30s and mid-70s.
Also, where our flyers had employed multi-coloured fonts and numerous exclamation marks, these ones were flat, black and uniformly unexpressive. It seemed clear that the suspects were also very dull. Though I couldn't say for sure, my gut told me that at least one of them had a squint. Using this composite profile, I was able to postulate a number of scenarios, most of which involved the words "bus", "hit" and "hope".
When the morning of our yard sale arrived, I didn't pay the saboteurs a surprise visit, as I'd planned. Instead, I sat in the back garden, drinking coffee and looking at our stuff. A few hours later, most of it was gone. I did conduct a final brief survey of Villa XX that afternoon - but, again, the house appeared to be empty. This fact didn't surprise me. The perps were probably far away by that point, sitting on an airplane somewhere, their carry-on baggage bulging with five-dirham notes.