The Next Day Part 12

June 1st, 2012 by Wordsman

Renewing observation.  Must discover secret behind suspect’s remarkable ability to resist arrest.  Have consulted with lab technicians, local science teachers, and radio psychics, but they refuse to take me seriously.  The only solution is constant vigilance.  Everyone slips up eventually.  Even me.

Officer Tang had no choice but to admit that she had not merely “slipped up” but very nearly jeopardized the whole operation.  She had underestimated her opponent.  The woman’s disguise was good, she had to give her that; what officer wouldn’t think that arresting a fragile old woman would be no more than an afterthought?  And therein lay the beauty of it.  Officer Tang had spent so much time deciding why she would be arresting the suspect that she hadn’t been able to spare a moment to figure out how.  But she would not be making that mistake again.

Actually, Officer Tang was not supposed to be there, either.  After the judge had refused to dignify her suggestion to dispatch the National Guard—along with various other more ridiculous requests—with a response, the captain had called her aside and told her in no uncertain terms to take Saturday off.  But she had not taken a day off of anything (work, school, crossing guard duty) since Reagan was president.  The concept was entirely foreign to her, like the details of the Hawley-Smoot Tariff, or the words “inadmissible evidence.”  She was not about to start now.

Like Peter, Tang had spent a lot of time thinking since the previous day.  Unlike Peter, she had spent very little time sleeping.

11:13:42 AM: contact made.  Conspirator is tall, blond, mid-twenties, clean-shaven, hatless.  Offers suspect a bag containing some variety of baked good (cupcake?  cookie?  Is this relevant?).  In previous observations, have seen passersby give suspect advice, money, garbage, pamphlets, political campaign buttons, pieces of paper containing the words “Here, you throw this away.”  Cannot recall suspect ever before receiving food.  Need to consult past notes.  Is this evidence of a more significant connection?

She wished she could hear their conversation, but she was standing considerably farther back than she had on her previous investigations.  By showing herself to the suspect before she had adequately prepared to make the arrest, Officer Tang had tipped her hand.  This time around she would be playing things much closer to the vest, which in her case meant that she would probably be playing inside her vest.

Now, to be fair, Officer Tang had been very focused on the old woman on Friday, and for every day before that.  She had developed extreme tunnel vision, to the point where she could see only the suspect and those who came into direct contact with her—and even those she could only make out vaguely.  So it’s probably forgivable that it took her ten whole minutes to recognize Peter as the man who had gotten slapped the day before.

And then everything clicked.  She knew what she had to do.

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