If they were going to be like that, then I just wished they hadn't actually been German. It was too easy. Too obvious. It was like coming across an Irishman who actually was stupid, a mother-in-law who actually was fat, or an American businessman who actually did have a middle initial and smoked a cigar. You feel as if you are unwillingly performing in a music-hall sketch and wishing you could rewrite the script. If Helmut and Kurt had been Brazilian or Chinese or Latvian or anything else at all, they could then have behaved in exactly the same way and it would have been surprising and intriguing and, more to the point from my perspective, much easier to write about. Writers should not be in the business of propping up stereotypes. I wondered what to do about it, decided that they could simply be Latvians if I wanted, and then at last drifted off peacefully to worrying about my boots.