Bonkers Alibis

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If you are suspected of having committed a crime, and are placed under arrest by law enforcement officers, never provide an alibi which is bonkers. This advice holds true whether you are innocent or guilty, or even in that grey area between the two, like a Kafka character.

Let us assume, for the purposes of our argument, that you were indeed the shady, limping figure eye-witnesses recalled seeing emerging from the pastry shop clutching a handful of banknotes fresh from the opened till over which is now slumped the grievously but not fatally wounded pastry shop proprietor. The pastry shop is a couple of miles north of Bodger’s Spinney, in that little arcade known as the One-Time Haunt Of Flappers. You motored away in the sidecar of your accomplice’s getaway motorbike, and just twenty minutes later you were sat in the snug of the Cow & Pins squandering your dishonestly-obtained banknotes on bottled stout.

When the police come to arrest you, whether it be that very day or weeks, months, or years hence, do not say: “At the time of the pastry shop robbery I was clambering up a mountainside in the Himalayas carrying a crate of exotic perfumes in preparation for a long-overdue performance of Scriabin’s unfinished Mysterium, officer”. This is what we call a bonkers alibi, in that it is needlessly embroidered, easily disproved, and demonstrably untrue. Also many tavern-goers will have seen you swilling stout in the Cow & Pins within half an hour of the pastry shop robbery, and you could not have been in the Himalayan mountain range at that time unless you had access to an exciting space-age mode of transport which does not yet exist. I know that we were all promised our own personal booster-jet backpacks by about 1967, but it didn’t happen.

Equally, you should beware of using a bonkers alibi if you are accused of a crime of which you are wholly innocent. In these cases, telling the truth is by far the best option. Imagine you are sitting at home one day, feet up, reading Celebrity Pap! to find out the latest doings of Stig and Fulgencio and Agamemnon and Nobo, or perhaps other, lesser-known celebrities, ones with besmirched careers or no careers at all. Suddenly, smashing their way through your window comes a heavily-armed SWAT team descending on rope ladders from a sinister black helicopter. A hood is pulled over your head, and by the time it is removed you are tied to a chair in a basement you know not where, being interrogated about your participation in the slaying of President John F Kennedy in Dallas on 22 November 1963. Now remember, you were not there. At the time of the shooting, almost half a century ago, you were paddling in the brackish water of Fiendish Inky-Black Pond with other tots from the orphanage. So it would be completely bonkers for your alibi to be: “I was standing in Dealey Plaza next to Umbrella Man, or perhaps Marymoon Man, and then I strolled over to the white picket fence where I shook the gunpowder-stained hand of Badge Man, and then I walked off towards the triple underpass and Stemmons Freeway to do a spot of birdwatching, officer.” Quick as a flash, your interrogators will arrange for a screening of the Zapruder footage, find out that you have been lying through your teeth, and charge you with being part of a huge conspiracy and cover-up. And all this because you gave a bonkers alibi.

Next week : Madcap Eleventh-Hour Plea Bargains

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About Author Profile: Frank Key

Frank Key is a London-based writer, blogger and broadcaster best known for his Hooting Yard blog, short-story collections and his long-running radio series Hooting Yard on the Air, which has been broadcast weekly on Resonance FM since April 2004. By Aerostat to Hooting Yard - A Frank Key Reader, an ideal introduction to his fiction, is published for Kindle by Dabbler Editions. Mr Key's Shorter Potted Brief, Brief Lives was published in October 2015 by Constable and is available to buy online and in all good bookshops.

8 thoughts on “Bonkers Alibis

    April 15, 2011 at 09:53

    Never have the doing’s, ins, outs and plastic torts of the legal system been so comprehensively explained. A parasite, oops I mean a lawyer would charge £250 for that information,
    Perhaps Scriabin’s piano was nicked before he finished, as they are all a bunch of thieves the alibi would simply be “I’m Russian”

  2. Gaw
    April 15, 2011 at 09:57

    On the other hand the truth can be one’s undoing, such as when two friends of mine were stopped by the police on the way home one night carrying a pub umbrella ‘because it was raining”. All taken in good part by the rozzers. However, further truth-telling proved their undoing: they were arrested having given their (genuine) names of Jimmy Hill and Moses Fernandez.

    • Brit
      April 15, 2011 at 10:10

      I wonder if Fairfax Hall gets that sort of thing a lot?

        April 15, 2011 at 10:20

        Maybe Brit, Radclyffe Hall certainly did.

  3. Brit
    April 15, 2011 at 10:02

    Probably worth printing this one and keeping it on your person, in case of emergencies.

    Talking of the Cow and Pins, I yesterday read the story “Chucking Out Time at the Cow and Pins” from Frank’s latest collection Impugned by a Peasant and found it very amusing indeed.

    Anyone with an ounce of sense should buy a copy.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:08

    malty, I *did* charge the Dabbler £250 for this information. Unfortunately, at the very moment the banknotes were about to be handed to me, they were snatched by a shady, limping figure, last seen in the snug of the Cow & Pins wetting his whistle with bottled stout.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:16

    Statements made after the event must give plod endless amusement, Frau Malty, stopped at traffic lights was rear ended by a bloke, luckily, and rarely, plod was at hand and almost unbelievably took statements. The rear enders went…” when I looked up the car in front had stopped” Frau Malty’s response is unprintable.

  6. Worm
    April 15, 2011 at 11:18

    The Dabbler made me do it

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