Dear Mr Key, writes Olivia Funnel, Perhaps I am thick. Or perhaps, by dint of my airy-fairy upbringing on a hippy commune, I do not possess a criminal’s imagination. Whatever the reason, I am utterly in the dark regarding the way in which otters in a laundry basket could prove a pivotal element in a heist. I must confess I have not seen the film Snakes On A Plane, which may put me at a disadvantage, but I did see, more than once, Krzysztof Kieślowski’s A Short Film About Killing Snakes On A Plane, upon which I understand the box office hit was based. In fact, after reading your piece, I watched the Kieślowski again on DVD, hoping to understand a little more about the fourth bungled heist. I am none the wiser, although I did get a mild frisson from watching a DVD starring the man after whom the technology is named, Dick Van Dyke. Were you aware, incidentally, that the veteran chim-chim-cheroo singer receives a royalty payment for every DVD sold, even pirated ones foisted on you by street corner urchins? Anyway, as I say, even watching the film again I was unable to grasp the role of a laundry basket full of otters in a criminal enterprise. Could you perhaps enlighten me, and those others of your readers who grew up on hippy communes and thus do not have a criminal bone in their bodies?
Dear Ms Funnel, replies Mr Key, First of all I wish to take issue with your assertion that children raised on hippy communes lack any instinct for rascality and crime. Just because you spent your childhood talking to elves and fairies and communing with tree spirits does not mean that in adulthood you are incapable of committing heinous and unforgivable crimes. Always remember that there is a notorious serial killer called Sunflower Buttercup. Secondly, while you might enjoy the grim eurotosh of Kieślowski films, the great Dick Van Dyke is probably seen to better effect in an unashamedly populist entertainment such as Tod Baxter’s Three Colours : Beige, the kind of film you probably sneer at. And finally, were you half way literate and had read the Sherlock Holmes story The Strange Affair Of The Weasels In A Laundry Hamper, you would know precisely what the plan was for the fourth bungled heist, and would not need to write foolish letters to Hooting Yard.