by JOHN BLAIR
The Usual Suspects by ap. | Flickr
Four scruffy men shuffled into the room behind the glass through which they could see neither me nor the police officer sitting next to moi.
“Now, Mr. Dillinger,” the detective asked me. “What do you think?”
“Well, the tall one in the middle is kind of hot.”
The officer turned his face to the ceiling and rolled his eyes; I followed suit, but I couldn’t spot a spider or a fly up there—nothing.
“Good to know,” he said quietly, “but irrelevant.” (Stupid cop didn’t clue in that there is no middle man in a line of four.) “Do any of these men resemble the man whom you saw rob the bank?”
“Oh, I wouldn’t know.”
He seemed shocked and a bit irritated. “You walked into this police station ten minutes ago and told us you could ID the man who robbed the bank yesterday because you were there at the time.”
“Yes, but you see, he was wearing a mask.”
The officer put his hand on one side of his head and sighed. “If all these men were wearing masks, would you be able to recognize the robber?”
I folded my hands against my stomach and thought about this. “Actually, no.”
“Well, I forgot to mention that the man who robbed the bank yesterday is bald. As you can see, all four of these men are fully follicled.”
The officer nodded slowly. “I guess we better let them go, then.”
“May I suggest you check each one for toupees?”
“Naturally,” the officer said, but he paused as if the idea hadn’t crossed his mind prior to my mentioning it. “By the way, what color mask was the robber wearing?”
“I’m afraid that’s all I’ve got.”
“Thank you, Mr. Dillinger. You’ve been of…some help.”
As I walked out of the police station, I smiled. It had been fun. And my conscience was clear. After all, I had given the cop more than a few hints. I was going to get away with it.
My hand rubbed my head. I was bald beyond suspicion.
John Blair is a fiction writer from Toronto, Canada where he sometimes teaches high school English. He is a past-president of the Canadian Authors Association (Toronto Branch), and was shortlisted for the annual CBC Literary Awards in 2010. John recently completed writing his second young adult novel, Hockey Camp Summer.