Car 1

Mr Douglas Higbee

Outward appearance

Blandly British, about thirty, plump, moustache, no chin. Black trousers, huge winter coat, blue shirt collar. A large overnight case. Appears to be asleep, except that one eye is open.

Inside information

Mr Higbee is the bar piano player on a cross-Channel ferry. His bag contains a change of underwear, a top hat, and home-produced cassettes which he offers for sale on the top of his piano. No one ever buys them. Like Superman, his costume, a tuxedo, is under the ordinary coat.

What he is doing or thinking

He is trying to avoid having to talk to the ship's magician, Passenger 18 , who is also in the same carriage. Douglas has nothing against the magician. They just have to spend a lot of time in the same bar and cabin being professionally pleasant to each other. You hardly want to be pleasant all the way from Waterloo to Dover as well. Douglas finds it difficult to be pleasant.

It's all right for the magician. He's pretending to be riveted by a newspaper. Douglas has no such luxury. He left in a terrible rush this morning. Forgot his book, sponge bag, sheet music. He could always have pretended to read his underpants or his own cassette covers, like he forgot the running order of the tracks.

Instead Douglas is pretending to be asleep, but only with the right hand side of his face, the one turned towards his colleague. His left eye is reading the ads in safety.

The underwear in the bag are in fact a pair of his girlfriend's frilly knickers.

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