The pub was dim with smoke and the noise of the disaffected releasing their collective stress.

We had secured a corner booth and sat next to each other where the benches met, the case notes spread out on the table. It was a perfect wedge of investigation. Our drinks and food sat forgotten.

“How is he able to do these things in broad daylight, in such crowded places?” she asked.

“Self-interest,” I said.

“Excuse me?”

“People tend to pay the most attention to whatever it is that they’re doing. It takes real discipline to give a shit about your surroundings. If a criminal is behaving appropriately, they’ll give no one any cause for alarm. Couple that with efficiency and you have any number of scenarios. This one, for example.” I pointed to a photo of a person face-down in a dark pool of blood. “Stabbed in the middle of the central train station, during the crush of rush hour. No one noticed until the blood started getting on their shoes. You gotta wonder how many people stepped over a dying man.”

Her face darkened. “It’s sad.”

“Is it?” I asked. “Perhaps in a long-dead primordial past we were more attuned to these things, for survival’s sake. Today, we need to go through extensive training to detect when things are ‘off’, and even then, the success rate is dependent on too many factors to make the ability reliable. No, the reality of it is that we’re at risk of predation in this modern world of ours, and if someone has the will and the means they can get away with murder. Our job boils down to waiting until someone wants to get caught and starts making mistakes.” I watched her face while she considered this, then said, “I bet those fries are stone cold.”

2014.12.18 – 2023.07.20

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