At the start of each week nine boxes of fruit are delivered to our workplace. These oranges, pears and bananas aren’t to be sorted into the sphere, ovoid and crescent trays, but to be eaten.  By employees.  To make us healthier and less likely to contract rickets or scurvy.  Sadly, the boxes of fruit arrive at eight on Monday morning, and by ten they are all but empty, save for the odd bruised apple or unsettling purple banana.  People are taking more fruit than they’re entitled to.  Yes, there are fruit thieves amongst us.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for stealing at work. I’m all for strutting out at home time with a knapsack full of binders, ink cartridges and waste paper bins.  But then the only victim is the company.  The greedy corporate gobble-monster.  I draw the line at fruit that’s meant for me and my fellow bottom-feeders.  That’s – like the vending machine up the corner of the canteen – largely out of order.

So who are the fruit thieves? Who are the plum pilferers and the lemon larcenists?  There are plenty of suspects.  Pasty Face.  Miss Piggy.  Scabs.  Scabies.  Weird Yellow Eyeballs.  Mr Odd Smell…  Trouble is, as their nicknames suggest, they don’t look the sort to eat a lot of fruit.  Certainly not the quantity vanishing each Monday morning.  Unless they’re taking it for other reasons.  To throw at paedophiles at the local court.  Or to work on their forgery of Adrian van Utrecht’s The Pantry (which would explain why the boxes of crabs, monkeys and dead birds are also raided at the start of each week).

Perhaps we need to start looking at the unusual suspects? At people who look beyond reproach. The too-good-to-be-trues.  Squeaky Clean Pete.  Barbarella.  Gym Jim.  Sir Lord Saintly.  And let’s not rule out the managers: Naked Ego, Gay Stereotype, Please Like Me and Chocolate Spoon could all be citrus bandits, laughing their way to the vitamin C bank.

Then again, I managed to get to the fruit early this week and… I didn’t fancy any. There were fingerprints on two peaches.  The rind on a Clementine looked like it had been punctured by a thumbnail.  And what was that covering the grapes?  Tears?  Spittle?  Jism?  Yeah, maybe I’ll just bring my own fruit.

THE END

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