There’s a man who lives on our street who has very good water in his taps. It’s better than any of the water that comes out of any of the taps on the rest of the close. It’s particularly good for making things wet.
So he runs a thick hose from one of his taps all the way along the pavement, and anyone can plug their own hose into it and use his high grade water to make their plants wet.
This is all well and good, except in his garden this man keeps another man in a cage, and every day, without fail, he pokes his caged prisoner with sticks. It’s been going on now for months, and while we quite like having wet gardens, it’s a bit much that he hurts this poor bloke.
So, everyone got together and resolved that something needed to be done. Mrs Bryce said that we should all stop taking food and medicine to the caged man, because the hose-pipe brute was stealing it all anyway. In essence, we were ourselves enabling the imprisonment.
So that’s what we did.
It sort of worked but it wasn’t as effective as our counter-offensive against the brute’s naughty incursion into someone else’s garden. That was ages ago, and we successfully stopped him annexing a cabbage patch that he had no right to.
We sort of blame ourselves for all this, because we helped him move in. Mr Smith even lifted his sofa in through the window. And Mr Galbraith feels bad because the stick he uses to poke the caged prisoner is from his pear tree.
Anyway, while it’s true the brute was losing weight and looking a bit gaunt, so was the prisoner; more so in fact. This couldn’t really go on, and everyone got even more angry when the brute stood on the hose and their gardens weren’t getting wet anymore.
So we made a deal. We’d give the brute some food and medicine, in exchange for some of his lovely wet water. Mr Galbraith’s pear tree positively flourished, even though the prisoner didn’t. And the brute got really fat again.
This went on for a while, and it became increasingly clear this wasn’t good. We resolved to do something else, but some people accused us of only caring about our lovely wet water and moist gardens, and didn’t really hear us mention the caged man at all.
Lots of arguing and wrangling later, someone came up with the suggestion that the brute might have a really big stick in his house which he could use to poke Mr Galbraith. Some of us didn’t buy it, but it convinced others that maybe it was time to have the brute move house.
Mr Galbraith went over and physically kicked him out of the street, and let the caged man out to live in the house. Admittedly, Mr Galbraith has been a bit of a dick, insisting that he be allowed to plant some of his own pear trees in the brute’s old garden, but the freed man (he’s called Keith) says that’s fine for a while.
Every day, some old friends of the brute come round and throw rocks at Keith, but we all think that’s a perfectly reasonable response to Mr Galbraith’s sprouting saplings. And they’re entitled to throw rocks at Keith, so long as none of them hit us. Keith is doing okay, not great. But he says life is better in the house than being in the cage ever was.
We all hate Mr Galbraith.