There was an article in The Times newspaper last week about the increase in theft from hotels, and how guests were becoming more daring with their exploits. Forget pocketing a mini shampoo bottle or a sewing kit – we’re talking V-Spring mattresses and grand pianos going walkabout. It was only when the weekend pianist turned up that bar staff even noticed the latter had gone. Well let’s just say we’ve had our own spate of things going missing at The Spanish Onion Cafe, so I’ve been put on high alert. And no one is above suspicion.
It all started with the cushions and pillows in the booths. 4 went missing in 2 days. Salt shakers and pepper pots and glass sugar bowls have also been swiped. The vintage chalked “specials” stand outside was even pinched. A bag of cheese scones from the counter top and a cold quiche from the chiller also vanished Tuesday afternoon. It’s what I’d call daylight robbery.
“Perhaps one of our customers has taken on the mantle of a modern day Robin Hood?” I said to Guido who was icing a doughnut at the time, “robbing the rich to feed the poor.” Naturally my thoughts salaciously turned to Guido wearing a pair of green tights whilst squeezing a piping bag.
“Well we’re not rich,” said Guido. “It’s more like Fagin’s rascals from Oliver Twist. The pillows I can live with – but HOMEMADE CHEESE SCONES!”
Well I suppose we all have red lines to cross but can I just point out to readers that those cushions were from Abigail Ahern, nor were they on sale. These thieves had taste.
I decided to set up position at a corner table during lunch service. It afforded me a perfect view of the place – plus I could simultaneously eat a hot salt beef sandwich with American mustard. Catching thieves is hungry work. I eyed the clientele.
Candidate 1. Woman with frizzy perm staring at foam on cappuccino. No eye movement or blinking. Could be brain dead. Maybe just been dumped by her secret lover and in urgent need of a cheese scone. Ruled out.
Candidate 2. Crazed business woman with shoulder pads harpooning frankfurter with a fork. Anyone who loves a sausage I obviously warm to. Ruled out.
Candidate 3. Man studying iPhone whilst eating cheese toast. Every time he raised the sandwich to his mouth he paused, then put the bread back on his plate without taking a bite. Ruled out on the basis that we could have been there all day.
Candidate 4. Groucho Marx lookalike. Possibly wearing false glasses, nose, and moustache. No food or drink. Appeared to be having a conversation with himself. Definitely had kleptomaniac potential.
I told our waitress, Barbarella, what I was up to.
She surveyed the room.
“I used to be in the Israeli army – I can break a man’s neck with my bare hands,” she said flexing a bicep. She’s such a liar.
“Okay, but I want to catch a thief, not get banged up for first degree murder,” I said.
After the cafe closed I counted the cutlery. I’m staying vigilant and, just to warn customers in advance, I may be introducing random bag searches followed by a quick pat down.
Though an in-depth body search will be mandatory for any men wearing muscle shirts or those with appealing beards. Needs must.