“Hello, I’m ________ from Major League Baseball, and I’d like to ask you a few questions about your neighbor, __________. It’s just a simple background check, and I want you to be sure that anything you tell us will be strictly confidential. We’re just doing this as part of our routine surveillance on the umpires to make sure they’re not at risk for any behaviors that might imperil the integrity of the game.
First of all, does he have any outstanding gambling debts?
(If Yes) Which members of his family did he use as collateral?
(If No) Why not? Is he some kind of religious nut?
(If Unsure) Are you covering for him because you owe him money?
Do you know if he owns any firearms of any sort?
(If Yes) Last Halloween, did you witness him firing at trick-or-treaters?
(If No) Are you at all concerned that he has a pipe bomb factory in his basement?
(If Unsure) You’re saying you don’t know if his guns are legal or not?
Did you know whether or not he’s been producing homemade pornography and distributing it via the internet?
(If Yes) What size bat does he swing, if you get my drift?
(If No) Would you expect him to make high-quality or low-quality pornography?
(If Unsure) So you can’t be certain he’s not taking video of you on the toilet and posting it on pottyhotty.com?
Can you tell us of any group affiliations he might have in the community?
(If Yes) This is some kind of racist group bent on world domination?
(If No) So you think he’s only a member of secretive, subversive organizations with bizarre entry rituals, like the Stonecutters?
(If Unsure) Think hard about places you may have seen him on the local news: KKK marches, Communist Party rallies, gay pride parades, that sort of thing.
Have you personally witnessed unsavory characters coming and going from his house at all hours of the night?
(If Yes) What’ll you give me to not tell Johnny Onethumb you called him unsavory?
(If No) So you think hookers and lowlife junkies are fine neighbors?
(If Unsure) So they come in the middle of the day also?
In your opinion, do he and his family live within their means?
(If Yes) Why are you covering for him? He told us this was a crackhouse.
(If No) You realize that not everybody likes to live in squalor like you do?
(If Unsure) So you don’t go through his mail often enough to find out?
Have you witnessed anything that might compromise his objectivity as an MLB umpire?
(If Yes) Please speak distinctly into this tape recorder.
(If No or Unsure) Let me go through the questions again, and this time you concentrate…