A mystery man has me wondering about spies...

Jeremy Smith

Jeremy Smith

First published in

You know how deja vu can sometimes catch you off-guard, leaving both a sense of disorientation and enjoyable frisson? Well, it happened last Wednesday in, of all places, Las Iguanas in Park End Street.

Of course, any Latin-American themed restaurant should boast an element of other-wordliness and mystery but this incident completely stumped me. It was lunchtime and I was letting time fly when I noticed a rather corpulent man in his late 40s ask a waitress if she’d mind watching over his briefcase as he went to the loo.

Naturally, we all need to go the bathroom, but what made me blink and blink again was the thin strip of fur in his hand. It was brown, about 6cm long, pinched between his forefinger and thumb, yet as he wandered into the washrooms I noted he was clean-shaven.

Upon his return however a few minutes later, he was sporting a less than bona fide moustache. A brown moustache in fact, and uncannily like the band of fur he’d so fiercely held in his hands only minutes before.

At first, I thought it was meant as a joke; it was a nasty little ‘tache, but praise where it’s due, it worked for him. Still, intrigued, I watched him pick up his briefcase, don his pork-pie hat and walk out into the street. One minute he’d been an overweight businessman, the next he looked like he’d stepped out of a Poirot novel.

It was astonishing and for the rest of the afternoon I couldn’t help but puzzle but why? But I guess I’ll never know. He didn’t look like MI5 or CIA or in fact the slightest bit intriguing.

A salesman of workplace toilet accessories maybe but why would the fake moustache prove so important?

Still, it reminded me of when I visited a small seaside coastal resort in Germany called Flensburg seven years ago.

There was – and I believe still is – nothing particularly interesting about this town. It’s quaint and at the time, a new girlfriend of mine lived there, so I deemed it fair game to visit (at somebody else’s expense of course).

But I was troubled; having secured four days there, I wondered what I was going to write about to justify my stay. Thankfully, God intervened...

Unknown to me, Flensburg had been chosen to host the first ever European Identical Twins Convention and when I arrived on the Friday, the first of the 500 competitors had arrived.

Walking through the town centre that evening then was unsettling since everyone not only looked identical, they dressed identically too.

A fact I only fully realised after complaining over a 2-4-1 deal in a restaurant where I was charged full price.

“But where’s your other half?” said the waiter in typically impeccable english.

“Here,” I said pointing.

“No, no, your twin,” he replied, shaking his head.

Needless to say, it made a great and utterly unexpected story. If only I could say the same about the mysteriously moustached diner....

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Comments (1)

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11:03am Tue 22 Jul 14

mytaxes says...

I wish I had not read this article as can't get the moustached man out of my head. Hope someone will offer an explanation.
I wish I had not read this article as can't get the moustached man out of my head. Hope someone will offer an explanation. mytaxes
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