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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Story (5)

The next day was a Saturday. I got up early and went to the police station. Captain McLeod looked like a middle-aged accountant with receding hairline and bags under his eyes. With no uniform on, he was in shirt-sleeves with a loosened tie. Coffee mug in hand, he greeted me and sat me down in a small office with glass windows.

I was a little nervous and then worried about appearing nervous. I hadn't done anything illegal, but one could hardly be expected to be at ease in a detective's office. A computer and a printer sat on his desk. A file cabinet against the wall. The chair was unexpected comfortable. I remembered the couch in Robbie's office.

McLeod asked me a few questions about my relationship with Robbie and my personal information such as my employer, home and work addresses, and telephone number, and the last time I saw him. I answered truthfully but briefly without volunteering any information---based on my extensive reading of mystery novels, I was prepared to blurt out "I want to call my lawyer" at the first hint of being suspected of any wrongdoing. However, the captain did not even ask me where I was at a certain time yesterday. He glanced at my identification absently and wrote down the number in his notebook, then looked up and said, "All right. Thanks for coming in. You may go."

"That's it?" I asked with surprise.

"Yes, that's it," he said. "I'm sorry for your loss."

"What about the investigation?"

"What investigation?"

"Uh..." I wondered whether it was wise for me to even bring this up. "Robbie's death. Is the case closed already?" His eyes on me were not suspicious but curious. By then I was growing more comfortable with speaking to him. It helped that he did not look like a stereotypical policeman and had soft brown eyes.

"Almost. It's really pretty routine," he said. I flinched at the word "routine." He noticed and apologized. "I'm sorry. It's not very sensitive of me to say that."

I nodded and tried to smile.

"It was a pretty straightforward suicide," he intentionally softened his voice. "We have talked to Dr. Wood's colleagues yesterday. Apparently Dr. Wood had a nervous breakdown a few days ago and had not been able to work."

"Nervous breakdown?" I had not told Captain McLeod about Robbie's strange behaviors during our final date, but merely said that he looked distracted at the time.

"Well, by all account, Dr. Wood was 'not quite himself' a few days before the incident, and called in sick on Monday morning. He never went back to the hospital the entire week," the captain said. "It seems pretty clear. A colleague of his at the hospital said Dr. Wood had consulted with him a few times before that in confidence but was reluctant to start treatment because concerns for his reputation at the hospital."

My brain was churning quickly as I remain expressionless. If this was true, Robbie certainly showed no indication of problems when I saw him. Was I so blind that I was unable to pick up on any change? He seemed a bit more distracted and quiet lately, perhaps, but I could recall no signs of depression or distress.

"Can you tell me ... What exactly happened?" I asked.

McLeod hesitated for a moment, perhaps weighing how much to tell me. "Apparently he jumped out of his building between 3 and 5 am yesterday morning. No one heard it. He was discovered only when a neighbor went to work after 6."

I chewed my nails. "What is going to happen to his ... uh ... body?"

"He had no relatives locally," McLeod said. "His sister told us she was flying in on Wednesday to pick up his body."

I thanked him and left.



Barney was in the kitchen cooking some foul smelling stuff when I got home --- "A new recipe from his boss," he exclaimed proudly.

"I thought you were going home today?" I asked.

"Nope. The contractor said he's only half way through the project. It may take another week." He said happily. I groaned.

"Don't be glum," he said. "I'm not so bad, am I? Maybe I'll find out for you who killed your boyfriend."

"Nobody killed him," I said tiredly. I lay down on the couch. Barney brought out a grayish eggplant dish, but I had no appetite. I told him about my trip to the police station. "It's suicide. That's it. Plain and simple." The eggplant and its strange fishy smell made me want to weep again.

"Maybe," Barney said thoughtfully. "But then why would he delete all of his patient records and notes before killing himself?"

"What?" I stared at him.

Barney nodded. "Every last bit. It's as if he had never seen a patient."

****************

这个故事写完之后可能要做一些大改动,有点太草率了,还没想好整体结构,只是抓住了关键的概念就下手了。Mystery 真是不好写啊。

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