On yet another slow evening, after a tedious shift that lasted much too long, I find on the floor of the coat check a small gold bracelet. Hearts, inset with diamonds, a pricey little bauble, I have an idea who it belongs to, the drunken last table, they'll be back for it...

Tuck it in a drawer, think nothing of it, the next day they pick it up.

A*****, he tells the nephew about it. And his face drops, he can't believe I returned it, he's frothing at the mouth, spitting, he coins a new nickname for me:

"Rodding Hood - Steals from the poor and gives to the rich..." 

He's strongly of the mind that it's finders-keepers. That we could all have denied finding it, she could have lost it anywhere, we could have all pawned it and split the money, and for the rest of the week I'm treated to absurd sketches of how we should all band together to give our tips to our richest of customers, help them to buy better luxury cars, newer model Ferrari's and Lamborghini's, "Mother Teresa...Santo Dio..."

I argue from moral absolutes, it's the right thing to do, he'd have done the same I'm sure, but the continued comedy has begun to have me doubting...

We've a late table, another one that doesn't understand when exactly we close, and makes an afternoon of a "business lunch". The one, an elderly Italian, the other, a strapping, blousy tart, coworker of the Italian.

The owner discovers them, he's in a rare temper today, swinging between extremes, sits down, begins to work on the tart...

He tells her of his hunting, he's bagged a trophy whitetail deer. I can hear the conversation from where I stand watching the table, trying not to eavesdrop, but they're the only table in the restaurant...this is true.

When she goes the bathroom he confirms with the guest that she's not his lover...doesn't want to be too forward...indiscreet...

He's shot a couple of elk, they've gotten away...true. "Coyote Food" is how he describes them to me, they won't live, but somehow they eluded his stalking...

But the story's just gotten a whole lot better, he's drawing in the blousy tart...

"I tracked it for 4 hours through the snow, following the blood, I was amazed it lived, and then I discovered the scent had been picked up by a grizzly bear...it charged me...what was I to do? I didn't want to shoot it, although it was charging me, so I fired into the air..." 

And we've crossed the line here into complete and utter bollocks, but if she buys it, well, good for him...

The regulars all ask, and I try to explain..."The owner...and him...they decided it was time for him to go out into the world...the owner said to him...'here., my son,..take my Maserati...I filled it with gas for you...take my credit card...spend the money as you see fit...I have written the Pope, and received this dispensation for you...return whenever you are able or so inclined..."

Me and A*****, we are both weeping wishing it was us, leaving the family hearth to go into the world and find our fortunes...

The customers, wisely, laughing, they know, don't care, they know the story, they've seen or heard it time and time again...still they'll come back, the suffering and death of fools is their dinner...

Standing outside for a cigarette, the roomate has noticed a small light flickering in the bushes over by the neighbors.

He's noticed it a few times, always comments, he's curious as to what it is...

...finishes his cigarette, goes back inside. 

So it is with most people, curious, but never so curious that they'd think to walk across the street and investigate.