Originally Posted by rjpalmer
Concerning Barrett, one strange detail has always stuck with me. In those early heady months when he was buying return tickets to London and making the rounds among agents and publishers, he used the name ‘Williams.’
What, I ask, is in an alias? Why that particular name and not Smith? Jones? Group Commander Rupert Brooke?
Then it turned out that Peter Birchwood did some digging and found that Williams was the name of the previous owner of Barrett’s house.
Same question, revised. You can pick any alias, why, of all things, pick the name of the previous owner of your house? I certainly wouldn't have thought of it.
But, a couple of years ago I heard a story, and it struck me that I had found one possible answer.
Long around 1980 a man found himself in Costa Rica with a bag of weed, ganja, whatever you wish to call it. Being the sort of person he was, he wanted to smuggle this back home, but was too scared to take it on the airplane. For days he wracked his brain and finally came up with the following scheme. He would simply stuff it in an ordinary envelope and boldly send it to his home address. However, as a safeguard, he addressed the envelope to ‘Mr. Parker.' This, it so happens, was the name of the previous owner of his house. The scheme was safe, or at least he thought it was safe; if –instead of the package---a postal inspector or a policeman arrived on the doorstep, he would simply claim ignorance, and say, “heck, I often receive mail addressed to ‘Mr. Parker. He moved out 3 years ago.’
Which, to my mind, raises the possibility that maybe the use of ‘Mr. Williams’ was not as random and pointless as it seems. Perhaps, at some point, Mike developed the name, thinking that he might want to make certain purchases in the future that couldn't be easily traced, or, if necessary, could be denied.