Friday, June 27, 2014

Sticky Fingers

Guests will try to steal from us. Try. And if they don't get away with the prizes, they may try to steal directly from employees.

It happens twice in a single day: May 18, 1991.

In the first incident, a guest walks up to "Fool The Guesser" and lifts two Jack Daniels' wall hangings. The stand is not technically part of the Games section, but an independently-run operation that employs people to guess guests' age and weight within a given range, using a standard list of spiels over a microphone for all to hear -- "Let's see if that extra Coke did it." People usually fool the guy on the microphone, but one woman decides she'll improve her odds.

"Ma'am, Ma'am!"

The voice booms all over Britannia. An assistant moves in and grabs the pilfered prizes but cuts the thief loose. Minutes later, four Security people are all over the scene. I don't know if they went back after the guest.

About 100 feet away at "Queens' Dairy," your humble Games host is confronted by a pack of girls looking for trouble, with one of them eyeing my wrist.

"Can I see your watch?"

I hold out my arm, and instantly she's pawing my Rolex. My fake Rolex. The gift from Grandfather Francis, who bought it in New York City for $40 off a street hustler, along with some other knock-off watches for himself and others. It actually keeps good time, but it won't for much longer if I don't shove my hand back in my pocket.

"Do you have the time?" a colleague in the stand asks.

"I had to take off my watch to keep it away from HER!"

And still, she keeps asking to see it. I would call Security on her if she's not so young, not older than 13. I think of a variant on that line uttered by Ray Charles in The Blues Brothers: "Breaks my heart to see a girl that young, going bad."

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