Just before the Christmas holidays, the residents selected Filippo to occupy the room vacated by Elise. Like Vera, he spent the whole holiday at home, so it is relatively quiet in the house.
‘Can you tone it down a bit?’ called Willem-Jan from the living room. Willem-Jan’s been glued to Breaking Bad since Christmas.
‘No,’ retorted Derk, ‘I can’t tone it down at all.’ With a sigh, Willem-Jan pressed the pause button.
‘Tell me, dear girl. What’s getting you down?’
‘I’ve been a student for two and a half years and this is the third bike I’ve had nicked. I am totally pissed off.’ Willem-Jan grinned and went back to his series.
‘Is that all? Just nick another one and you’re done. Can you pass me a Golden Power while you’re here?’
Grumbling, Derk went over to the fridge. ‘But if I do that I’m just as much in the wrong as the person who nicked my bike.’
‘If that bothers you, buy a new one,’ said Willem-Jan. ‘It’s quite simple really.’ Without looking up he started sipping his energy drink.
‘Imagine. Imagine I really did want to steal a bike. How would I go about it?’ Willem-Jan closed his laptop and turned to Derk.
‘Well, in that entirely hypothetical case,’ he grinned, ‘it all depends. You can cut through a cheap lock just like that with a pair of pliers. And stronger locks I get broken into.’
‘Aha,’ said Derk, with a frown.
‘You know what,’ said Willem-Jan, ‘I’ll go along with you tonight and we’ll organize a new bike for you.’
Just before midnight the two of them were skulking around on the Haarweg. Thank God most people were at home for Christmas, thought Derk. There were hardly any lights on in the rooms. Even though it was always quiet here, he felt as if there were eyes on him all around them.
‘I don’t know whether I still think this is a good idea,’ Derk began.
‘Oh come on,’ said Willem-Jan. ‘It’s child play. Here’s a bike with a glorified toy lock.’ Casually, he cut through the cable. ‘There you go.’
As they left, Derk’s thoughts were racing. Ashamed and nervous, he was convinced the police might appear around every corner. But as they got close to home, an involuntary grin spread across his face. He had had an adventure and now he had a free bike. When they got inside, Willem-Jan lost no time in opening two cans of beer. ‘Come on, here’s to Robin Hood. Stealing a bike back now and then is quite justified.’ And he launched straight into the old story about the time he pinched a yearbook in Eindhoven. Before he reached the climax of his story he was distracted by the sound of the door slamming again and in stormed a fuming Bianca.
‘Hey, where are you coming from at this time of night?’
‘I’ve walked all the way back from the Haarweg,’ said Bianca. ‘My bike’s been nicked!’