Avid Readers, you will remember I was last seen being frogmarched into the security officer’s lair. I won’t go into the details. Suffice it to say that after a very rigorous search of the bags and an all-embracing search of my person the phantom bottle was not found.

The security man scratched his head.

“This has never happened before. My head is beginning to hurt. Perhaps the scanners have gone wrong? I’ll have to get to the bottom of this.”

I mumbled, “I’m sensing a theme here.” Luckily he didn’t hear me.

We returned to the self-scanning section. He ordered it to be closed down until the problem had been solved.

“OK Sir, which was the machine you used?”

I pointed it out.

He examined it very thoroughly.

He rescanned all my items.


“Did anything unusual happen whilst scanning, Sir?”

I explained I’d sneezed on the glass but that’d I’d cleaned it up.

I felt another sneeze coming on and managed to reconstruct the incident. The security man cleaned it up and re-rescanned the items.


He looked very perplexed.
I noticed he’d missed a bit of sneeze, so while he was cogitating I leaned forward to wipe it off.


The scanner had detected something!

The security man pressed a code into the machine and a receipt slowly emerged.

Taliskar Classic Malt Whisky: £55.07p

He scrutinised me for a long moment and I could almost see a light bulb behind his eyes.

“Lean over the scanner again please, Sir.”


Another receipt rolled out of the machine.

Taliskar Classic Malt Whisky: £55.07p

“Aaaah.” he said and rummaged in his back pocket.

He produced a comb.

“Your wet hair is plastered all over your forehead Sir. Would you like to comb it?”

“Thank you. How very kind.”

I combed my fringe and returned the comb.

“OK Sir, let’s try it again.”

I leant over the scanner and pretended to clean it.


A receipt emerged.

Plastic Blow-up Sheep: £8.35p.

Why hadn’t I thought of using this excuse all those months ago!!!?!