Bates files: The restaurant mystery
But dad,” Jonathan says as he protests. “You know I like Chinese food.”
“I don’t like Chinese food, you know that,” Alfred Bates, the famous detective tells his son as he enters the fast food restaurant. “I promise it will be a learning experience.”
“Only for you, dad!” Jon replies. “What is the learning experience?”
“Sit here and I will show you,” Bates says as the two sit at a table in the centre of the restaurant.
“Okay, what now?” Jon asks his father as soon as he is settled in.
“What can you tell me about the man on your left?” Bates says as he begins his class.
“He is a man… what else?” Jon replies.
“Observe and tell,” Bates instructs his son. “Don’t stare, just observe.”
“He is rich because he is eating an expensive burger,” the kid makes his first deduction.
“It’s a start, but focus,” Bates says as he commends his son. “No staring!”
“Dad, I am just a kid, I can’t be like you!” Jonathan surrenders to his father.
“I was like you once,” Bates disagrees with his son. “My dad made me go through this very drill and I took a liking to it. Want me to demonstrate?”
“Yes, please,” Jon says as he waits for his father to start talking.
“The man has recently gained weight, he has a wife who is considerably younger, he is waiting for a friend, works nearby and lives far away.”
“How?” is all Jon could utter back.
“The trousers he is wearing are tight on his waist,” Bates explains to his son. “That means when he bought them, he was not fat. Since it is not an old pair, it means that he recently gained weight!”
“What about his age and young wife?” Jon begins his question spree.
“He dyes his hair in order to hide his age, possibly because he has a young wife,” Bates answers.
“Lame!” Jon dismisses the deduction as unconvincing.
Bates continues. “And the clothes he is wearing are trendy and of the current fashion. Had his wife been as old as him, he would have worn clothes of the fashion that suits a man of his age. Happy?”
“How do you know he is waiting for a friend and works nearby?” Jon sends down another question.
“The dirt on his shoes suggests he has come to this place on foot, meaning he was in the vicinity. Since it’s noon, he couldn’t have been at home, hence he was in his office,” Bates replies. “He is repeatedly looking at his watch, meaning he is waiting for someone. And since this is a ‘preferably-guys’ hangout, therefore he is waiting for a friend.”
“And how do you know he lives afar?” the kid asks again.
“Observe Jon, observe,” the father in Alfred Bates tells the youngster. “He has ordered a take away as well — preferably for his wife. Had he lived nearby, his wife could have placed an order via home delivery.”
“Have you seen a rider outside the restaurant?” Bates asks a question for a change.
“That shows that the restaurant delivers in nearby places,” Bates says. “That’s why he has come out of his way to take away whatever his wife asked him to. Now what do you have to say?”
“Only that I am hungry, can we order now?” Jon tells his father.
“If only you tell me about the woman on the right?” Bates invites his son for another challenge.
“She is a woman who is either engaged or married, is short of cash and doesn’t like what she is eating,” Jon delivers as per his father’s expectation.
“Excellent,” Bates congratulates his son. “How did you deduce that?”
“She is wearing a ring, meaning she is either married or engaged,” Jon replies. “She is eating a doughnut in this restaurant which is the least expensive thing on the menu, meaning she is here to pass her time rather than eat. Had she liked it, she would have finished it by now, which is not the case.”
“Very impressive! You can order anything you like now,” Bates tells his son.
“Even Chinese?” Jon asks his father.
“Nope. Anything but that, you can have Chinese when you take your kid out for this drill,” Alfred Bates says as he winks and picks up the menu.