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