It’s amazing what a small spontaneous act can do to lift a stranger’s spirits. Last week, I was having a humdrum ordinary everyday kind of a day, and eating what was possibly the worst St-Patrick’s-Day themed hamburger I have ever had, when I spied a CRIME through the restaurant window.
A young man of about 19, pony-tailed and gangling, VISIBLY spotted the newspaper lying outside the door. I had just been wondering what a restaurant needs with newspaper deliveries when this guy ambles up and pulls one of those double takes! Walking along, glances at the paper, registers it 2 steps later, and whips back around. Like a cartoon of a red-blooded everyman spotting a dame. My curiosity: piqued!
A couple entered the establishment at that moment, and our hero stared up at an interesting nothing in the sky. As soon as the couple was in, he proceeded to LOOK over one shoulder, and LOOK over the other (he did NOT look at ME, a yard away, indoors!). Finally, he steeled himself and scooped the prize right up, eyes bright and cheeks flush.
Paper in hand, he began to stroll away, acting “natural”. Then he started to speed up a little, in spurts. At the corner, he jogged across the street, looking behind him frantically, then slowed down for a few more feet. I watched him for another block, when he flat-out ran, like one of the servers was going to step outside and put 2 and 2 together that very second.
My friend missed it entirely, with his back to the window and Plants vs Zombies to deal with. I alone witnessed this rare-and-passing flower of a scene. Should I have tried to stop the thief? Maybe. But it all happened so fast, really! And it was so delightfully unrealistic! And a newspaper is probably cheaper than the corned-beef-and-fried-egg-burger with a maple-bacon shake I had, and which left me nibbling dry toast and corn flakes for 3 days. Therefore, I accept this merry crime as compensation!
THANK YOU, NEWSPAPER THIEF!
Also I saw a possum tonight, and it was more cute than hideous, and it washed its eerie, spectre-like face with its little hands. Very satisfactory.
THANK YOU, POSSUM!
(note! if you are Local, keep in mind that overall I enjoy the establishment described; just use your–not my–judgment with specials!)
PS: I forgot the best part! After I described the event to my friend Rory, there was much speculation surrounding the crime. Did he close himself in his room and read the whole paper, before stuffing it in the recycling bin…where it rustled, a la The Telltale Heart, driving him mad with guilt? Was he terrified he would mention some local issue from an editorial and someone would say, “Heeeyy…YOU don’t have a subscription to the Hampshire Gazette!” Did he BURN the paper in the backyard? Did he call the police later and try to turn himself in? Or was this merely the first step in becoming what will turn out to be a criminal MASTERMIND?
My brother Sam suggested he was a student doing a project: “Conclusion: It is best to steal papers on Sundays because people sleep in later and also there are more funnies.”