They say that an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind. We can only presume that whoever was in charge of early proverb making didn’t have time to consider seafood as well as sight. As a recent case from Florida proves, maybe they should have extended the metaphor.
Last Saturday, 42-year-old Kimberly Gabel was eating at her local outlet of infamously average shellfish chain “Red Lobster”. The meal had seemed to pass by without much incident. Then, without any explanation, Gabel began to behave erratically. According to the alarmed restaurant manager, she started to become “loud and cause a scene” at the eatery, disturbing the other diners. After a few minutes of awkward shouting, Gabel was calmly asked to leave by restaurant staff. It was then that the situation spiralled out of hand.
According to an arrest affidavit transcribed in the immediate aftermath of the incident, Gabel “began cursing and walked to the front door”. All seemed normal, if admittedly a little awkward. Suddenly, the evicted customer “proceeded to reach into a tank of water containing live lobster, grabbed a lobster and ran out of the restaurant,” much to the surprise of stunned staff members. The police were contacted immediately, in an attempt to reclaim the captured crustacean.
After responding to the call, a sheriff’s deputy began patrolling the area, on the lookout for any angry women holding what would presumably be an equally angry arthropod. As the arrest affidavit reveals, the deputy in question found Gabel at 1:44 PM - around half an hour after she had made her daring getaway.
The booking officer, S. Doherty, reported that Gabel was “slurring her words and had a distinct odour of an alcoholic beverage emitting from her person”. There was no sign of the missing lobster. After a few minutes of questioning, Gabel “continued cursing, stating that she does not know what she did with the lobster because she is ‘black-out drunk’ and she did not care ‘because she did not do anything wrong (sic)’”. Citing grounds of disorderly intoxication, Gabel was booked by the presumably bemused officer, and bond was set at $100.
Though this situation may have been unusual, it was far from the first time that Gabel has had a run in with the law. According to reporters at “The Smoking Gun”, “Gabel’s lengthy rap sheet includes arrests for trespass; theft, drug possession; loitering; burglary; carrying an open container of alcohol; exposure of sexual organs; violating probation; domestic battery; defrauding an innkeeper; disorderly intoxication; drunk driving; and resisting an officer.” They always say that once you’ve defrauded an innkeeper, it’s a slippery slope towards lobster larceny.
For the public, there are key questions that remain unanswered. There’s been no word on any increased security at Floridian Red Lobsters, nor whether Gabel herself has made it out of custody. But perhaps the biggest issue of all concerns the player at the centre of this drama - the lobster itself. Is it alive? Did it eventually make it back to the ocean, reporting back to its lobster brethren about the drunken antics of Florida’s women? If one thing is clear, it’s that no Red Lobster in history has thrown up so many mysteries.