“Can you tell me anything about the man?” asked the policeman.
“Well,” said Mr Johnson looking at his wife, “he was a little nondescript.”
“So no noticeable features, then.” The policeman made a note on his pad, or seemed to. “He wasn’t bald, perhaps? Or had close-cropped hair?”
“You know, Horace,” said Mrs Johnson grabbing her husband by the forearm, “I think the policeman’s right. I think he was bald, officer.”
This time the policeman really did make a note. “What about his clothes? Anything you remember about them.”
“I think he was wearing a tracksuit or something.” Mr Johnson’s voice trailed off a little and he frowned as he tried to recall the details.
“He wasn’t wearing a bright red tie, was he?”
“That’s right! So he was.”
“I told you he had a tie, just like the one Albert’s got,” said Mrs Johnson. They had had a brief quarrel over whether the tie in question resembled one belonging to Mrs Johnson’s brother, Albert, who was something in the City and therefore prone to wearing loud ties.
“Is there anything else you can recall about the man?” The policeman asked as he made another note in his book. “Any distinguishing marks such as tattoos?”
“I suppose there was that bar code tattooed on the back of his head.”
“I thought it was a birthmark,” said Mr Johnson partly to his wife and partly to the policeman who was once again making a note of the information.
“Let me see if I’ve got all the details right,” said the policeman firmly enough to draw their attention back to him. “He was bald or had close-cropped hair; he had a bright red tie; and he had a barcode tattooed on the back of his neck. Is that right?”
“I think so.” Mr Johnson glanced at his wife again.
“You think so?” The officer was restraining his left eyebrow from assuming an incredulous aspect.
“Well,” said Mrs Johnson, “he was a little nondescript.”
Constable Thomlinson could still not fathom how the world’s most obvious assassins could pass through the world with such anonymity.
“I think you’re right,” said the film’s director. “Send this guy to the cutting room floor. Last thing we need is a character pointing out the shortcomings in the story.”