the tamam shud test
1 December 1948, the beach, copper in attendance is PC Moss. People everywhere, gawking. Lyons amongst them, talkative, telling everyone what he saw last night.
‘Right there he was,’ Lyons said, pointing where the dead man lay, ‘having a smoke.’
PC Moss started his routine: the three external coat pockets first, then those inside. The trouser pockets, one each side and one at the back. Then the watch pocket, expecting coins.
Moss didn’t find the Tamam Shud slip that morning, swore to it at the inquest.
Prof. Cleland chanced upon in four months later, swore to it at the inquest.
Questions have been raised, rumours of conspiracy, political interventions, collegiate jealousies, foreign agencies at work. Spies.
After pushing the slip in as deep as possible, I walked into the kitchen and asked my wife to see if she could find anything in the fob pocket. She complained about the state of my gardening trousers, I said it was the only pair I owned with a fob pocket.
Then she dipped her finger inside and poked around for a little while, expecting coins.