In which Tony has his head measured by a physician with a passion for the theatre.
Captain Pantling, the advocates' clerk, insisted I undergo a physical examination with the faculty medic prior to journeying into deepest Westerchester.
"It's dangerous territory," he said. "It has been known to corrupt many a fine mind, and even yours could be affected."
The faculty quack was a peculiar old duffer with more than a hint of the Third Reich about him. It wasn’t so much his interrogation technique, which was rather amiable, but the fact that he was wearing an SS uniform.
“Faculty am-dram,” he explained. “I’ve been in regalia for days.”
“Is that Puccini?” I asked.
“Where Eagles Dare. It’s a minor role but I intend to shine in it. You know the theatre?”
“I know of the theatre,” I said.
“It’s obviously gone downhill since the invention of the mobile phone. I imagine Chekhov never foresaw a day when the audience had more lines than the actors. But who am I to stand in the way of progress?”
“It’s quite a costume,” I said. “Those Nazis really knew how to dress.”
“The bad guys always have the best uniforms,” he replied, producing a set of callipers and advancing towards my cranium. “Do you mind?”
“Go right ahead,” I replied.
“So we’re sending you to Westerchester,” he said, measuring my skull’s diameter. “A queer place. Many go, few return. Are you quite sure you’re up to it?”
“What do you mean?” I said. He eyed the soft stubble on my chin.
“I see you have light and somewhat sporadic facial growth. How often do you shave?”
“Face or back?” I said.