Monday, 28 April 2008

in that hat? I don't think so

Here's a tale involving a hat, though not this hat.

I'm still friends with one of my college tutors, whom I shall call Dr Chaucer. And with his wife, whom I shall call, well, Mrs Chaucer. Mrs Chaucer was reading through "Becoming Drusilla" and came to an incident involving Dr Chaucer and me, which she hadn't heard of and he'd forgotten. It's only lightly dealt with, and the full story is worth an outing. It's when I'm (briefly) a murder suspect.

Back in the day, I was lodging with someone whom I shall call Nigel, because that's his name. One afternoon, we were both in the house (I was applying advanced avoidance techniques to an essay, he had a day off work) when there was a knock on the door.

It was two plain clothes policemen.

They wanted to question me. Nigel was in the room too. They asked me if I ever went to some pubs which they named. The names meant nothing to me, being a relative newcomer to Bristol. Nigel looked a bit askance though, as he knew that they are (or were) gay pubs.

They asked if I could recall what I had been doing on a particular date.

"I'll just get my diary," I said; "That'll say"

Unfortunately, there was no entry for the date in question.

Presumably they decided that, had I been the murderer, I'd have put something in the diary like "Went on a nice day out to Weston Super Mare. Stood on pier. Watched a seagull. Then watched another seagull".

So I heard nothing more.

Nigel got a bit funny after this incident. Apparently , in his student days, two of his flatmates came out as gay together. If Nigel has any issues, I am not going to conjecture here. And lord knows what he made of finding out that I was trans, when the time came...

I was a bit mystified by the visit. How did they come to choose me?

The next day I was in college, and Dr Chaucer met me in the corridor.

"Did you get a... visit from the police?" he asked, rather sheepishly.

He explained that the detectives had gone around the university with an artist's impression of the murder suspect, asking the staff if they recognised a similarity with any of their students. And he'd seen a resemblance to me.

So that solved the mystery for me, and all was well again. For me and Dr Chaucer, anyway. I don't know if they ever caught the murderer.

My friend Brendagh, to whom I told this story, remarked that she'd seen a similarity there, too. But she thought that I'd never allow myself to be seen in a striped bobble hat, such as the suspect was wearing.

And she was right. I mean.....