April 7th, 1969
My grandfather had once explained to me the concept involved, in playing chess, that is the required approach essential for beating your opponent.
‘Chess is a game of strategy where you need to be able to think a few moves ahead of your opponent. The more moves ahead that you are able to think, the greater your advantage.’
The statement is, of course, undeniably true!
Of course, a good strategist is one that can use that very same principle in the greatest match of all – the game of life!
I have done just that in the case of the cat and mouse game that Detective Inspector Tallis was playing today at our school.
I had anticipated the very move that he made, and had already prepared myself for the counter attack – or in this case (As circumstances force me to play the mouse), a subtle deceptive move that would gain me a strengthened position on the board. I will, in this case, settle for a draw – a stalemate, if you will!
After recess today, the entire male contingent of our school was called down to the large hall for a special assembly.
I was probably the only student in the entire group who knew what the whole strange foray had been all about.
All the doors except one were closed, and we had to file out of that single exit in a slow orderly fashion.
As I neared the doorway, I could see exactly what I had been expecting – Kowalski was carefully scrutinizing each student’s face as they passed by him. Tallis was waiting patiently at his back in the hope that a positive identification would be shortly forthcoming.
Yep, this whole thing was nothing more than a mass juvenile police lineup! It hadn’t taken Tallis long to figure out that if Kowalski had been telling the truth, then the child perpetrator that he had told him about, would surely be from one of the nearby, local schools.
There was no way I could have run away and hidden without the possibility of bringing attention to myself.
And if discovered it would have been an obvious and screaming admission of guilt. I had therefore decided to throw some calculated caution to the wind – hiding in plain sight seemed like a far more logical approach to the problem.
As I neared the doorway, I removed a comb from my pocket and hastily changed my usual side path into a middle one. Then, just before stepping through the door I donned the Harry spectacles and pushed my tongue under my top lip to create a false overbite. I wanted to appear as bookish and timid as possible. I needed to remove all traces of the confident, brazen character that had found it necessary to trip a one-legged man in order to gain his prize and make an unhindered getaway.
I knew also that if I tried to turn my gaze away from that of Kowalski’s, that it would also be a blaring indication of guilt.
I frowned and stared him straight in the eyes and thought, ‘Who is this one-legged bum, and why the hell is he eyeballing me in that way?’ That, after all, must have been the thought of each and every kid passing him by. Maybe not in the exact same words, but certainly of the same basic connotation.
I had smiled inwardly as his gaze had lingered on my face far less than most of the other kids.
Safely past his and Tallis’ scanning eyes, I quickly returned the spectacles to my pocket before any of the kids could notice my sudden need for ocular accessories. I didn’t need their curiosity to spoil my well-planned subterfuge after it had been so well executed.
Back in class I managed to breathe a long sigh of relief.
I later saw Tallis and Kowalski, through the classroom window, heading towards the parking area. They both seemed dejected.
I smiled again – this time on the outside.
I had always thought it silly and ridiculous that Superman could disguise himself by a slight change of hairstyle and the donning of a pair of spectacles. I guess I’ve been proved wrong – and happily so too.
Eat your heart out, Clark Kent!