If you enter Inwood Hill Park with a well trained dog and a belief that your pet should not be leashed unnecessarily, chances are your experience will be very unpleasant. Only stubborn eccentricity and bravado can inspire one to break the leash law. Most will comply simply to avoid the hassle. Besides a few cleverly positioned, lucky ones society conveniently allows no quarter to spare for any dissent outside the norm. The standard bearers in the Western world are people rationalized into utter restraint. When this populace becomes dog owners they are not able to control their pets, expediently thinking others cannot either. Thankfully, a quick, surgical intervention produces nicely behaved canines. As a result in this civilized corner of communal greenery words as innocuous as, ‘I fixed him yesterday’ can easily roll off the most timid, middle class lips and of course, vets never object.

Victor was a permanent fixture in the park, taking his dog out twice a day. He was unhappy, missing his old life, sensing that  he used to capture something essential that matters through his work. Now after not expressing himself for years he had a constant, hollow sensation that an important understanding was eluding him.  Fortunately, dog walking, an activity he would never have thought of engaging in before, having been marooned for more than a decade painting in a basement studio, enabled him to slowly get a grasp on that particular something, a point of reference from which to begin understanding the world anew.
When Victor moved from the Lower East Side uptown he found himself spending a lot of time in the neighborhood, since in addition to strolling around with his pet he also attended A.A. meetings and often pushed a baby carriage to the nearest playground. For hours on end enclosed by chain-link fences Victor watched his child play in sand pits and his dog in dog runs. He frequently rushed to get to a cafeteria in some grim, institutional building, devoid of everything but chairs, terrible acoustics, and lots of alcoholics and drug addicts. Loitering with other parents and A.A. did not take root, but meandering with his dog in the woods certainly did. Apart from offering a fresh view on the amazing behavior of those whom he witnessed for years marching off to work in the mornings these daily diversions provided a way to relax his mind, paradoxically freeing it to intensely contemplate about everything, which began to be essential for his well-being.
As soon as his puppy grew up Victor became proud to command one hundred and thirty pounds of dog flesh, mostly muscles in loose, dark brown, velvety fur with a strong sheen accentuating its curvature. Victor’s dog’s eyes emitted a yellow light of their own, shining like two life savers on the black snout. Plenty of wrinkles in between them made the beast appear displeased, while the main point to his pet’s physiognomy was underlined by a double line of gleaming teeth with sharp canines.
For Victor getting his bearings straight without the familiar comfort of a brush proved hard. Ironically, the visual aspect of dog walking and the feeling of urban melancholy that goes with it touched him enough to inspire some of his last paintings. He saw subject matter in the absurd choreography between a dog walker and a fire hydrant, to which once in a while a person can discover themselves  indirectly attached by a strip of leather, their pet and a glistening stream marking its territory. On top of it all, he did harbor a simple desire to be left alone with his harmless, unleashed companion instead of being pestered every other minute.

“Is he friendly?”
Barundi, Victor’s dog, was in a hurry to get to an empty bench.
“Is he friendly?”
Whoever came up with an idea of making benches out of cement?
Barundi was already smelling its cracked, bulky mold.
“Is he friendly?”
At that moment Victor was under a spell of one of his macho rules and its consequences, which was what he viewed as ‘accepting full responsibility for his dog’. To him, it meant always being vigilant about not endangering other people or animals because of Barundi , serving as a justification for imagining that he earned the right to not answer any idiotic questions such as, ‘Is he friendly?’ At times he could be quite provocative and one day even tried to quickly explain himself to a total stranger, but still ended up with a mouthful. It went something like this, ‘If I say he is friendly it does not necessarily mean so. Therefore, for best results just look at any dog’s behavior for yourself and make appropriate deductions.’ For his effort Victor received an angry stare and a repeat of the question, ‘Is he friendly?’
“He is not going to come up to you!” The most important thing you fellow park user should know. Now, that should do it!
But usually, it never did. The words kept on being shouted at Victor through many chain-link fences, their source obscured by a metal haze.
“Is he friendly?”
Can’t you tell, my dog is not going to pee on daffodils and then bite you!  “He is not going to come up to you!”
Victor felt like a broken record, scratched with stubborn repetition. To add to the drama Barundi began to walk in circles while sniffing profusely, commencing a ritual engraved in his genetic code he never forgot to do with care. Going around the chosen spot in deep concentration Barundi struggled with some precise system of where exactly to enhance the environment. Victor used this opportunity to demonstratively whip out plastic and eagerly attend to the business at hand.
Aside from not answering questions which he considered stupid his frustration went into adamantly disregarding the leash law, thinking of it as simply heartless stupidity. He compensated in his own pedantic ways, not only by obeying the legal requirement of picking up after his dog but also tying knots on doggie bags when filled. To a frustrated artist, a warrior without a war, the difference between the two laws meant the world. As a result, with a neatly tied bag of shit in hand Victor imagined he stood on the moral high ground.
Finally the man came into view, an echo to his own yelling. He moved sideways, back against a fence. The sunny morning and something else about the man combined with a raincoat gave him the appearance of a flasher. He was clutching an object to his chest, once again beginning to repeat the magic phrase which was supposed to alleviate all danger and required an urgent answer. “Is he friendly?” A tiny head popped out from under his coat and began barking. Victor lost all appetite to meander within fenced off areas for designated activities and of stopping by a small dog run next to the baseball field. Instead he had an urge to transport himself into a moment of release, where the sea of leaves quietly shimmers on a grassy hill and usually no one is to be found. He decided to take a longer excursion and started in the direction of the park’s interior. Even this unfortunate city dweller could not squeeze, ‘He is friendly.’ out of Victor.
The day was beautiful, the birds were singing and he was in a good mood. Barundi was far ahead of him at a barely acceptable distance,  smelling a particularly malodorous message from another canine while shaking his head from side to side as if answering somewhere in between a ‘yes’ and a ‘no’. His black, lower lip sagged at the corners exposing the burgundy inner side which disappeared under froth. The tip of his tongue flickered in and out mixing saliva with odor particles on the palate near the opening at the far end of his nasal passage, while the skin covering his jaws pulsated like a bellow. Victor increased his pace, smiling to himself as he always did whenever he saw the fact of having a companion who urinates everywhere and never appreciates the sky humorous . Barundi was again sniffing a new bush, and then another and another. Victor was walking up the hill trying to penetrate the shady depth of the park as quickly as possible to get away and stretch out on the hidden meadow he knew of.

“Would you leash your dog, please!” A second later the shout was followed by another, “Leash your dog, please!”
Twenty yards away on an adjacent path Victor saw a woman with a growling Husky showing off its supposed ferociousness. He paid her apprehension a tribute by saying definitively and loudly, “My dog is not going to come up to you!”
Barundi was not allowed to interact with dogs on leashes, not even to slow down and sniff while bypassing. The rule was enforced in puppy hood so to Victor’s great pride it did not have to be anymore. Yet, this particular dog owner was able to infect Victor with enough of her anxiety to make him say, “Barundi, heel!”, as well.
“That’s what they all say!”, she yelled back.
Suddenly his attention was diverted by a hawk, looking more like a fixed winged plane than a bird of prey piloting between branches. It swooped down on a seemingly random bush to retrieve a squirrel, only to let it go when Barundi decided that the raptor’s flight close to the ground was a hunting opportunity almost landing on top of the great bird. It flew gracefully away, a creature secure in the knowledge that there is always a pigeon for easy picking out there somewhere in the greater New York City metropolitan area. The next moment Barundi lost the only chance life will ever present him of catching a stunned and wounded squirrel. But to sink his teeth into squirming flesh in a fur coat was not his idea of fun and the inner knowledge of that weighed him down. He did however give it a chase up the tree, for the sport of it. In a few seconds all that remained were little dots of blood glistening under dappled sunlight on the pavement marking the episode.
Meanwhile, another drama was unfolding nearby. The woman’s Husky tugged with enough force to land its owner hard on the asphalt. Released, the dog ran up to Barundi and now cowered, not being experienced enough to extricate himself back to boring safety. Victor helped the woman up, handing her the leash which she tore from him with a shaking hand. To Barundi, the Husky was a distant memory. His relentless effort of marking territory kept him focused on his main objective, quickly driving him away from the action.
As they parted the woman turned back appearing completely exhausted. “You should leash your dog!”
“Are you out of your mind?” Here it is. I just can’t learn! It simply came out.
“No, you are out of your mind to walk such a large dog off the leash! What is your name? I am going to report you to the Park Department!”
“My name is Jack!”
A few moments later striding purposefully away Victor wondered why he said Jack.
And then that hawk. To tell someone. They wouldn’t believe it. Right here in Manhattan!
He decided to visit Fort Tryon choosing a long way through both parks and back which can easily stretch a couple of hours, still holding onto the mood of a daydreamer who wants to just exist  while wandering amongst the trees.

Before exiting Inwood Hill, Victor found a young woman in a running outfit lying with one arm under her head and the other outstretched, clasping the ground. For a second his brain refused to perceive her horizontal placement as an actuality, conditioned to joggers jogging not  theatrically sprawled in the middle of a park’s path. Her lips were blue with a bit of saliva at the corners. Following an instant of disbelief which dissolved into reality he flipped open his cell and dialed 911.
“See if she responds.”
Victor knelt next to the woman. “Are you ok?”
Obviously not!  The three of them thought.
His perception of time slowed everything down to almost a standstill. Victor was amused that he had an eternity to reflect on the stupidity of his own everyday speech.
“She is not responding! She had some kind of a seizure but not an epileptic one.”
“You have to see to it that her head is not below her legs.”
He was also instructed to make sure that nothing obstructed her breathing and to wait for the medics to get there. Prior to grasping the jogger’s ankles to shift her into a position in which her entire body would be leveled it took Victor a moment of hesitation to drive over the social road bump of touching somebody without permission even in an emergency like this. As soon as the woman was moved she became conscious.
“Can you hear me?”
Her lips gained some color.
“Where … is Lucky?”
After pulsating back and forth beneath the eyelids her eyes were now wide open and blank.
“Lucky is here. He is doing fine!”
Her Irish Setter was nearby, scratching at the ground. Barundi was graciously letting him be, sniffing an old can of cat food, fully aware that the dog was anxious for his owner and should be left alone. The woman got up and like a tin soldier coming to life with jerky, robotic movements proceeded to stumble up the path in the opposite direction to the exit, about to smash her head on a rock at any moment.

Shortly after Victor had Lucky on a leash and the jogger’s upper arm firmly held as he walked them out of the park. He found an ambulance and a police car parked by the entrance, with paramedics and cops  milling around their vehicles. A moment later she was sitting down, coming more to herself, able to answer questions from a medic equipped with a clipboard.
As a consequence of helping the woman in such drastic need he was rewarded with warm satisfaction. Victor felt that his was a job well done, a nice, little segment to add to his memories. He turned to one of the paramedics, a squat, balding guy looking very efficient, busy with a monitor in front of him. “It feels great to do something like this …and you do it during work hours!”
“Yes.” The man nodded, half smiling. “Yes, it’s a rewarding occupation.”
Emergency workers’ special mix of humility and pride expressed itself in a little head shake which said, ‘We do heroic things daily,  and we do not consider it a big deal!’
Victor noticed that the two  cops  were staring at patient Barundi obediently waiting for his master, leaning on their patrol car,  grinning. Realizing that he was still holding Lucky, Victor offered to bring the dog to the owner’s house.
“No need for that. Her boyfriend will be here in fifteen minutes.”
Victor handed the leash to one of the police officers and told Barundi to stay next to him, celebrating the moment by departing with his off the leash dog while the cops followed him with their stares, he imagined in awe of the control he had over his companion. Victor crossed Dyckman Street, happily sauntering towards Fort Tryon.


Every half an hour a Circle Line boat full of bedazzled tourists gaping at all the unexpected vegetation rounds the northernmost tip of Manhattan. Floating past territory which is mostly uncharted on tourist maps some wonder if such a chunk of woodland is dangerous or not. Inwood Hill Park, the name somehow sounds so un-Manhattan-like. The part of the city where Victor lived consists of grim apartment blocks sandwiched by the park to the west and subway yards to the east. Broadway slices the residential sliver diagonally, dividing it into two distinct neighborhoods. The west side is populated by the remnants of a blue collar, Irish community in the process of giving way to the middle class, as it had to Hispanics on the east side.

Following a fifteen year absence Victor was back, loving the close proximity of his home to the surprisingly wild Inwood Hill Park, the bulk of it not planted or planned, just nature sectioned off. It was his park to be enjoyed. Of course for him it meant endless walks with his dog, while losing himself in wonderment about the world, forever captivated by vast views of the melancholic, urban sprawl offered by the area’s hilly terrain. In winter when dark the scenery becomes especially magical with distant lights piercing through the gaps in naked branches, which when swaying  make the golden dots twinkle.
That day began exactly as any other. As soon as Victor finished work his central, nervous system was ready for the evening stroll. Striding through an open field Victor felt like he was the main game for park rangers, armed to the teeth with tickets. He only managed to progress a dozen yards in the direction of thickly forested higher ground before noticing a black sedan rolling on the grass toward him. After quickly leashing his dog Victor observed a detective in the driver seat with curiosity. Relieved that the vehicle was not a green SUV belonging to park rangers he foolishly welcomed a moment out of the routine. The unlikely dispenser of tickets pulled up next to him.
“Can we ask you a couple of questions?”
Staring at Victor was a face, affable and yet somehow, so insensible. The detective appeared unaware that his one eye was squinting in a cunning way. His official looking mug was full of concentration, effecting Victor at that moment to somehow consider it appropriate for authority to be a little rude.
“By the way, my name is Steve.” The man showed his badge. “And this is my partner, Ricardo.” Next to him sat a pudgy man stuffed in a suit, eyes bulging.
“My name is Victor.” Victor shook hands with Steve through the window.
“We are asking a lot of people for help … , if they know any information that can be helpful to us in the investigation into Tara Wolfe’s murder.”
Victor had nothing to say. He was proud of his disinterest in sensationalized local news even to the exclusion of major events in his own park.
“Do you know this park well?”
Now that, put a spark into the conversation.
“I know this park inside out!”
Indeed, he could crisscross the park without taking the same path twice for hours on end. Victor’s humorous excuse, which at times he believed himself, was for Barundi to mark his territory as systematically and extensively as creation would allow. Of course the real reason was his love to endlessly meander, lost in thoughts.
He dropped the leash and told Barundi to sit, experiencing the confidence of a dog handler showing off a well behaved canine even if he knew they did not give a damn whether the leather strap was in his hand or lying on the grass. Still, to him they were all clumped into the entirety of the law enforcement entity, along with the lowliest, polyester clad park rangers, giving Victor a little unfounded thrill as if the authority finally understood that there is no reason for any physical restraints when a man like him steps onto the scene!
“Are there a lot of bums in the park?”
“No, there are hardly any.” Victor paused, gazing at the trees. The park is certainly free of bums, except for … “There is this one Asian guy, carries plastic bags with him. He sleeps in the Parkway’s underpass.”  Noticing the detectives raised eyebrows he hurriedly concluded, “But I haven’t seen him lately.” God forbid something happens to the guy because of me!
“You know, we are interested in any suspicious people you’ve seen in this park.”
“Nope, no one comes to mind.”
“Nobody comes to mind!” The cop was squinting again.
“I walk here after dark as well. And believe me, this park is absolutely empty even at night.”
Now, the eyebrows were really raised.
“You told us you know this park like the back of your hand?”
“I certainly do!”
“Then, why do you think the murder happened there?”
Steve pointed at the spot where the Henry Hudson Bridge connecting Manhattan to Bronx was protruding from the canopy.
Victor turned  in that direction but his attention was diverted by the man’s ring, which to him looked as silly as  a piece from a toy set. It was large and golden, decorated with a stunning, blue glass. What an ostentatious  police academy …, or is it a high school graduation ring? Why would a man wear such an oversize thing on a swollen, hairy finger? I can’t fathom! I guess, it’s the same as when homophobic guys slap each other’s butts in sports.
He must have appeared pretty astounded gaping at that finger, so the prudent detective decided to make sure Victor was all there by again gesturing at where the structure gracefully projected out of dense foliage like a metal rainbow connecting both boroughs. Now he took extra time poking into the distance, so Victor did not just appreciate his digit. “You know, we are talking about Tara Wolfe’s murder, a young jogger?”
After Victor focused at where he was directed a part inside of him began to stir activated by that particular area. “Interesting!”
“Why do you think it happened there?”
It almost meant something, the location, but Victor could not understand what. It escaped him and yet he had this strange intuition that whatever he felt was somehow relevant.
“Near the bridge the path turns a lot. It’s hard to see too far ahead and with the deafening noise coming from the construction on the bridge it’s easy to see why it happened there.”
Victor had the strangest sensation of latching onto a pertinent segment of reality which was out there, in the depth of the park.  Something was clicking. He was transfixed, staring somewhere in the direction of the bridge,  fingering his chin.
“Why didn’t the murder happen at night?”
His facial muscles formed a question mark. What would a jogger want in the park at night? He sensed his dog’s need to continue on his walk, suddenly becoming impatient to move on himself . “Didn’t I mention to you! There isn’t anybody in the park at night.”
“What about that Asian guy you were talking about?”
“No, no, not that guy! He appears absolutely harmless!”
Steve glanced at Ricardo. I’ve got to get this guy into the precinct!
This is our man for the day!  Ricardo nodded, sharing his partner’s thoughts.
Steve spoke. “You know, a lot of people are helping us with this investigation!”
Then Ricardo chimed in, tag-teaming, as if Steve was too overcome by the emotional outburst to continue. “Can you come with us to the precinct, where we can really talk and show you maps?”
Barundi made a pleading sound. Victor seemed doubtful at best. He regarded Barundi, definitively concluding that his pet is in dire need of  trotting about for at least an hour and a half starting now.
“So many people from around the neighborhood came and helped us. Everybody is so pissed off about it that people are coming to help all the time!”
Beads of sweat moistened Steve’s forehead. The two of them did succeed in planting a picture in Victor’s head of multitudes queuing outside the precinct to offer their assistance, but he was still not convinced.  “I have to take my dog for his evening walk. See!”
With that he turned to picture perfect Barundi who was waiting patiently in his dignified way, the best behaved, furry angel in the entire world. For a second to Victor his dog’s long tongue appeared as a red tie dripping saliva. But the cop found his disheveled hair and unshaven physiognomy way more intriguing. Impressed by Victor’s  peculiar mix of pride and assertiveness the detectives detected otherness about Victor they could not easily place, perhaps a law being broken?
“It’ll only take half an hour at most!”
“We’ll drive you there!”
“Do us a favor, we would really appreciate it!”

Close to the heart of most eccentric individuals is the desire for approval from general society. Unknowingly seeking it is one of the major pitfalls for countless colorful personalities. The air was full of evening’s fragrance emanating from the park, mixed with an overwhelming odor of cologne from the generously doused law enforcement officers. No one cared whether Victor unleashed Barundi or not, and the cops  were almost pleading.
“Are you guys gonna give me a lift back?”
Victor  brought Barundi home and told his wife, Jane, where he was going, reassuring her that everything will be fine. As he closed the door fumbling with the keys outside, she felt something sink inside her.
In the  car Victor had a vision of his dog sitting at home, disappointed. Poor Barundi, I will make it up to you!


Victor had painted himself into a corner, dipping his brush into the stagnant pool of ‘lost’ weeks spent in Home Depot, which is a gigantic  chain store for building material where to find anything is a job in itself, and listening to his father’s well intentioned lectures. The heady combination had months to work its way into the depth of his being and now left him reeling. No creative energy could escape the black hole of his predicament. There was no nexus. The connections from the past to the future were broken. Besides the renovation of the apartments Victor had to rent out he could not marshal his forces around anything, stoically denying any other activity except for obligatory dog walking, thinking that this state of affairs could drag on until the completion of the project.

Now Victor, an unworkable amalgam ready to fall apart upon meeting reality and recombine into someone who will make  sense to himself and eventually to the world at large, registered that he is unexpectedly becoming acquainted with an interrogation room. It took a couple of minutes for the space to begin feeling too small to be confined in. They pointed at a chair for him to wait to help under a watchful, glass rectangle, an inverted pupil positioned in the middle of a cement wall. On the table lay a map of Inwood Hill Park. He could hardly see the park’s outlines on the stillborn creation of an overworked copy machine. Studying familiar shapes he was surprised to discover some of the paths official names. They probably run out of ink. I can hardly pick out anything I recognize.
He got up and began to pace, paying attention to walls which were thickly buttered with Battleship Gray. The detectives returned and collapsed onto chairs. Their faces were sagging from overwork, suits creased in a thousand places,  smelling of melted deodorant.
“So, Victor! It is so good you came here to help us! So many people sat right here with us and told us as much as they know that could be useful in resolving this case, which is a real big help to us. Now you said before in the park you understand something about why the bastard who killed the poor girl chose that spot?”
Victor peered at the map and nodded. “Obviously he is somebody who knows the park well.”
“What do you mean, ‘knows the park well’?”
What does he mean, by not understanding, ‘knows the park well’? “Somebody who goes to the park a lot. Perhaps works on the bridge.”
“Like a dog walker? Somebody that you might have seen?”
“Like somebody who knows his way in the park and must have definitely chosen the spot carefully.”
“What do you mean, ‘chose the spot carefully’?”
Victor bent over the xerox copy, focusing on an area next to the base of the bridge. He envisioned a man hiding in the bushes  growing along the path which in that section hugs the curvature of the northernmost, walkable part of the park. There, he thought the murderer must have planned to grab a woman and roll into the bushes to instantly disappear with his victim. Exactly! Gravity played a role in the murderer’s plan! Victor was remembering the slope below the path where shrubbery and  fallen tree trunks take a steep plunge down, cascading towards the Spuyten Duyvil Creek until the  tangle meets boulders at the water’s edge. “You see, the trail over there is bendy consisting of short, isolated stretches.”
Victor being an archetype of a dutiful citizen was pouring over the map, giving himself wholeheartedly to the task. “Also, I am sure it happened right next to the bridge because there the noise level  since the construction has been deafening.  So nobody could hear the screams.”

The bridge was being painted section by section. Every time before bypassing it Victor stopped in fascination to observe the progress. Most of the work was done underneath giant pieces of cloth connected together out of smaller strips. The air pressure inside made the material puff up like an enormous balloon at a carnival, with tubes protruding everywhere sucking and blowing. Inside, the paint was blasted away and sprayed anew. This utilitarian use of fabric never failed to remind Victor of a well known artist who also wrapped big objects, only in the name of art. He invariably spent a few minutes ruminating on the concept, finding it hard to stomach theses kinds of pretensions. Usually, after standing there for a bit longer gazing at the work being done he would allow himself to forget all about ‘conceptual art’ and become hypnotized by the process of men in hard hats exposing fresh paint while removing canvas and scaffolding  to start all over again on a different part of the structure. Before moving on he played a game making bets against himself of how long it will take for specific areas to be finished.
Steve was visualizing the writing  on the blackboard at the prep meeting, ‘The scene of the crime is likely premeditated.’ “So, do you think the sick fuck is a local guy?”
“It is a possibility.”
They talked in this manner for a few minutes. Steve was scrutinizing Victor on a lookout for the signs of being nervous, sweaty and fake while displaying them all himself. He said he only likes to watch world news. Let’s cut to the chase!
Victor could not contain himself on his seat and was up, gesticulating. He could vividly see the familiar path, but something other than just good understanding of the area’s topography was pulling him into the park. His knowledge of the locality assisted him in visualizing a figure hiding in the undergrowth, crouching, ready to leap on a jogger.  Everywhere along the path the pavement was cracked. On the sides uneven chunks of asphalt were breaking off, mixing with rocks and twigs. The bridge loomed somewhere above.
“He probably sprang up from the bushes and grabbed her in a chokehold.” Victor proceeded to reenact the vision, showing the hold over the imagined victim. Then tightening his arm he gave it a twist. “And if he is careful, he’d want to move right out of sight. So, he probably rolled with her into the shrubs next to the road.”
“And? What happened next?”
“I keep on thinking he is really scared of getting caught, so perhaps he also hit her in the ribs to quickly silence her.”
“Did he break her ribs?”
“As a matter of fact, …I think he could have!” Victor was looking in slow motion at a fist slamming into a woman’s rib cage and then experienced sharp pain from the punch! “He probably did!”
Steve’s face went red. He could not believe his luck. Victor was transported to the murder site, suspended from above, observing the nightmare unfolding below. Staring at Tara Wolfe hovering over the crime scene in anger and disbelief was even stranger. Life was so quickly knocked out of her body that she had not yet fully comprehended what had happened. He shared every emotion she was feeling while simultaneously witnessing the murderer doing something over her corpse. The only thing Victor could recognize in the man was fear! Of what? Fear of being caught for the despicably weird things that he is busy with down there, in the bushes!
Thankfully a mechanism to spare Victor from seeing the entire dreadful process of changes inflicted on Tara’s flesh blurred the worst. He did not want to know what the ‘sick fuck’ was doing.  There was no need for it! Gaping at the creature who by now switched to a pure survival mode Victor sensed himself standing at the entrance to the darkest room imaginable, beyond which threshold lies every mental disease belonging to this world leading to sadism.  The murderer became a crouching, gorilla-like shape, abruptly moving his head this way or that, making a quick getaway while trying to melt into the thicket.
Steve was going through an incredible spike in the variety and intensity of emotions. It was his day after all! Now no matter how exhausted he could just roll with it. Bang! I almost got’em! He had to suppress the surge of what he felt and get back to work. “Do you think he fucked her?”
The word  was used to gain Victor’s trust by sparking up camaraderie between sick minds, taking advantage of the suspect’s supposed twisted perceptions. The sudden vulgarity with which the question was posed threw Victor off. For a few seconds he merely fluttered his eyelids staring at Steve figuring something out, then an altered state again descended over him with the entire world turning dark. The only objects that appeared in front of Victor’s sight were a few articles of sportswear neatly folded into an orderly pile. On top of the clothes every crease radiated from a tampon placed in the center of the stack.  Soaked with blood  it made a deep depression in the fabric, and a vivid impression in Victor’s mind.
“Did he fuck’er?”
“I don’t think so.” Victor heard his own voice sound exhausted.
“Why not?”
“Perhaps, she had a period.”
He is definitely the one! Steve jumped up from his chair and glanced at Ricardo who was rubbing his hands together, smiling. Then devouring Victor alive with his visual organs he continued in an insinuating tone. “Do you know, that you are the only one besides the police department and the victim’s relatives who knows this information?”
“What exactly?”
Steve began to grin as well.  “A  broken rib! …  And, a period!”
“She did have a broken rib?”
“She did!”
“She had a period?”
“She did!”
I was correct! Victor was really proud that he was so much on point and rather stupidly beamed back. But he was not feeling his usual self at all. Neither did he fully comprehend the meaning of what Steve said,  experiencing an intense sense of deja vu, unexpectedly stunned by a distinct remembrance of being exposed to the nightmarish visions for the second time! A recent incident interjected itself in a flash, forcing his mind to taste what it is to be a stranger in its own bone box.

Some days before the mutilated corpse was found by a volunteer from a search party Victor had been strolling up the slope on that same path, unknowingly approaching the crime scene. He increased his pace quickly leaving behind cement bases supporting the bridge, when in an instant he witnessed the horror of what had happened during the murder which he was seeing now at the precinct! A detail that  stuck out most prominently from that moment was of  his  jaw twisting to the side. Victor took a few more steps with an expression of absolute revulsion. But the really amazing aspect of the episode was that in an instant he had pushed this information into subconsciousness until seconds ago.
It is perplexing to imagine what else I might have become cognizant of during my lifetime to forget about in a jiffy! One Mississippi, two Mississippi and my conscious mind is wiped clean!
Unrelated images from Victor’s own life appeared in front of him without the usual limitations of his average memory, to quickly involve into short, holographic movies. He was able to simultaneously observe not only light reflecting off matter but emotions and thoughts belonging to each participant as well.
Steve’s voice reached Victor’s consciousness. “So, how come you know so much?”
Minutes ago leaning over the map Victor was no more than a helpful citizen who had an exceptionally good understanding of the park’s layout, a fact that he was very proud of especially because it led to another actuality, of him being a good dog owner who walks his pet a lot, which of course counted as one more justification for not obeying the hated leash law. Now Victor was looking into Steve’s blue eyes trying to comprehend, to connect it all, still feeling  apart from the proceedings which in his mind were simply going to be something to talk about later. Suddenly his mother came to the rescue. She always maintained of being in possession of psychic abilities. He recalled how years ago his mother telephoned from San Francisco insisting that he was smoking again, telling him correctly where a pack of Camels was kept. She begged him to throw them out straight away. Once again Victor saw the cigarettes spiral down the toilet.
He managed to remain mired in the dark ages of not getting what was happening, yet was able to realize that there was no return ticket out of this kind of a predicament.  He had to immediately abandon every assumption and ideology that people hold dear just to keep up with what was activating the reality around him to unravel. It was as if Victor had finally discovered that the earth is not flat. In the coming hours he was to find out that the dangerous edge of the ‘flat’ earth still remained, beckoning the unwary to tumble into its abyss.
“Victor! So, please enlighten us how come you are so well informed?”
Victor had hardly ever paid attention to the subject but knew enough to be aware that psychics work for police the world over. Finally everything made wonderful sense! “What can I say! I must be psychic!”
A who? A psychic suspect!  Concerned at the unexpected turn of events  Steve sat down slumping behind the table. He thought of a cup of coffee and a smoke while having to quickly adjust to the shift in the situation, hopeful that Victor referring to himself as a psychic was sort of an admission to being a psycho. All it is is a couple of letters! That’s my gut feeling! However, it’s an obvious complication. The bastard is attempting to wriggle out of this one! It’s a shame that as of this moment Mr. Sheinman can simply walk out of here if he so wishes. Be patient! Concentrate! He must be eased into revealing his guilt, since that’s what the freak really wants! He was staring at Victor with disgust, forgetting to make any effort to hide it.
“What do you mean psychic, Victor?”
“You know, my mother is psychic! She called me one night telling me where I kept my smokes! Can you believe it?! She told me to go to my office, open the third, metal shelf from the top and throw them out. Kept me off the damn things for a month or so!”
Steve’s craving for nicotine was peaking fast. I need a cigarette break!  “Can you … are you sure?”
“If you are a psychic, then tell us who killed Tara Wolfe?” That was Ricardo pointedly interjecting his comment in the background, who of course shared Steve’s thoughts, just not the ones having to do with his partner’s bad habit.
“Well, I never …I was …”  Certain incidents throughout his life did jump out. “You see, there are instances when I ‘feel it’, especially during small talk with taxi drivers. Then I tell them pretty accurately the number of children they have and other things of that nature. It’s the funniest thing! I guess I never had much interest in it!”  Victor could not help but become uneasy about the weird content and the gist of what was being said. He gazed at Steve who was up again, one leg on the seat of a chair, an elbow on a knee, two fingers supporting his chin, evaluating his countenance.
“I had a Tarot card reading recently … at one of those places, in the Village!” Ricardo tried to speak  in the most matter-of- fact tone he could muster, like it is a normal activity for an officer of law after a hard day’s work, momentarily stealing the limelight from Steve.
New York City is sprinkled with tiny stores situated on bottom floors of dinky, tenement buildings. In hundreds of them behind windows the curious can observe fortune tellers creating a mysterious atmosphere by filing their nails and taking care of young children. Also on display are large, dusty, crystal balls, bleached out maps of the palm divided into numbered sections and signs with the service fee for ‘a regular reading’, which somehow stayed the same as long as Victor could remember, immutable to inflation, five bucks a reading.
“A few days ago.”, Ricardo added grinning, afterwards composing a very serious face. And why the fuck not? Can’t be that wrong!
Victor was also smiling, finding it amusing to picture the pudgy detective having his cards read, or in front of a crystal ball. Soon the team was called backstage.

“Everyone here is on radar now! I don’t have to reiterate!”
Under a low, dropped ceiling the atmosphere was compressed and pungent with smells of moldering paper in metal cabinets and someone’s dirty socks meeting stagnant air for the first time subsequent to a night shift. For a speck of eternity a sense of institutional tranquility descended on the tired men. The only sounds that could be heard were of officers slurping coffee.
“We got to do somethin’ more classy than plain jerkology. He is a real looney! Wants to play games with the police! He is a prime, textbook example of the criminally insane trying hard to implicate himself. We just godda nudge him forward in a gentle way and then sock it to ’em!”
An obese lieutenant took it upon himself to vocalize all of this, heavily breathing between words.
To what end? Am I at a debriefing already?
Someone was droning in a monotone. “Alright, we got to have more traction, godda get concrete statements ouda him.”
Steve squashed the cigarette butt into an ashtray and stood up.
“Doin’ a quality job, Steve.”
Someone’s voice was bursting with excitement. “Great alibi hey, a psychic! Saying what he was saying, he might as well own up to it!”
“Ricardo! Ricardo! I know you frequent the establishments, but the gypsy girls!”
Laughter. Ricardo merrily joined in at his own expense.
Before going back to the interrogation room Steve hungrily dragged on a newly lit cigarette. It tasted extra good like after sex or a meal, even though his stomach was growling. He looked at Ricardo. The guy is a fucking psychopath! We can crack the whole case right now!
Ricardo turned to Steve,  “Let’s go get’em!”

 “So as you were saying, you are a psychic? Very unusual! Would you then, be able to tell us who did it?”
“Gee whiz! I don’t know. I can try!”
“But you are telling us you are a psychic?”
Steve stared at Victor as if one of them fell from the moon.
“Psychic detectives work for the police department.”, declared Victor brimming with unease. Why am I so apprehensive?  “Why don’t you get a practiced, psychic detective to come here and help us? But I never knew before that I am. I’ll do my best though. Steve has to keep asking me questions.”
Victor was correct. NYPD does consult psychics on a regular basis.  Steve  automatically undid his shirt cuffs realizing they were in for the long haul. He glared at Victor with an eyeful of that tension which sets in when a person is in close proximity to a ‘sick fuck’ who is not caught yet, sitting right next to you, making himself out to be a psychic! To gather his strength Steve reminded himself of how luck would have it that he was on the verge of resolving a well publicized case. He stifled a yawn. His pupils were dilated, neck and palms sweaty and itchy, and hands so swollen his marriage ring could not have been pried off  for any blond. Concentrate!
As Steve gathered himself into shape Ricardo engaged the suspect. “Sure, we can find psychics who work for us, but we need time and we need your help now in case it happens soon!”
Caught up in the moment Victor went for it.  Once more his field of vision became crowded with images and short, three dimensional movies of the events that had taken place on the fateful day when Tara Wolfe was murdered. Managing to remain clueless to the reality about him he continued going in and out of a trance immediately taking to the feeling.
“Is the sick fuck gonna kill soon?” That was Steve regaining his inspiration after the repose. Victor slowly nodded his head, the detectives were sure pretending to be hypnotized.
“When? When do you figure the bastard will do it?”
For an instant Victor had an impression of the light in the room and everything else with it switched off, seeing number two flash for a couple of seconds in front of him. “Two.”
“Two what?”
“What do you mean two? Two days?”
“I saw number two!” Victor tried to refocus but nothing else in connection came to him. Still, he supposed it must have meant years not days. He also came to another quick conclusion that the murderer would be too weary of committing another crime,  for now restraining himself, likely preparing to strike in the future.
Ricardo switched to sounding pissed off.  “I know a psychic who works with police and he can usually tell a lot more!”
“I gather, it probably means two years.”
“Two years! Why so?”
“Because I bet the murderer is on his guard and would stop himself for at least a bit planning an attack.”
Ricardo and Steve exchanged glances with each other and the rectangular pupil of a one way mirror. “Can you show us what you showed us before?How did you say it happened? With a punch and a chokehold?”
“Sure.” In a state of somnambulism Victor proceeded with the demonstration again.
“Interesting! Tell us more how he did it!”
Victor did not have to concentrate. The visions were right there, ready to be retrieved at a moment’s notice. The gates were now flung open. He entered deeper into an altered state, sensing that in no time he could slide even further down the slippery slope.
Somehow ‘further’ felt very unsympathetic to his own self! Barely half an hour ago he had staggered into an unexpectant actuality of being clairvoyant. In the situation he was in, with skeptics all around  making a mockery of his efforts, sneering at him behind the reflective glass, it seemed that the only path forward was to immediately practice it.
The bravest were putting out fires and the finest were doing the thinking, while New York City with its dramatic motto’s for the fire and police departments rumbled on. Victor gathered himself and went to work. First thing he did was to request a better two-dimensional representation of the park. After a long wait the cops rolled in an old, rusting stand with a dangling, cylindrical sleeve attached to its top housing a map. But when they unrolled it he was impressed. The map was at least four by four feet, brightly colored and printed on thickly coated fabric.
Now we are talking! Right away Victor lost himself in its texture, which came alive with human activity performed by glimmering, partially transparent figures. He started to receive a strong vibration from one of them; a Hispanic man, in his late twenties dashing to and fro hiding something. He has so much business in the woods, picking under this shrub or that. Now he is retrieving another item near the area where the murder happened …. A bag! He is walking  fast. He is hiding it in the bushes. A beige, canvas bag!  The man hurriedly covered it with loose twigs and leaves. Later he appeared in some dingy apartment divulging everything about it to a teenager who was not much older than thirteen. Victor described what he saw to detectives in a tone of childish excitement, elated by the possibility of catching the murderer due to his new-found ability.
“Tell us more!”
He mumbled something  to the effect that he is a total novice and of lacking any experience to know whether or not the mental, observable phenomenon he was experiencing really pertained to the murder, or not.
“Just tell us more of whatever you see!”
As a result of having intense visions and relating them to detectives Victor’s mind was tired and scattered.
Maybe he should ask me questions which are more specific. I need them to ask me smarter questions which would help me go more into it!” Ask me questions. I am absolutely sure that when I am seriously asked, it brings the stuff out of me!”
Meantime because of the exhilaration and exhaustion the coffee in Steve’s otherwise empty stomach bubbled up and became part of a combination of factors which produced painful jabs in spaces between his  ribs. Got to be extra slick with this character. Got to pull myself together!  “Ok, tell us more about the bastard who did it!”
“Okay, ask me something. You got to try harder!”
Steve turned red with rage.  A suspect, a perp for fucks sake, is telling me how to do my job! Does he think he can just say he is  psychic and make a fool oudda me? It will be a pleasure to cuff his ass!  “What does the motherfucker look like?”
“Hispanic, good, …handsome, in his twenties, slightly taller than you and I.”
Victor tried to answer as best he could being drawn back into the images in the park. The actions of the man he was tracking were easy to pick up. They contrasted sharply against other events unraveling on the surface of the map and the superimposed, dark nature. Victor again saw his suspect dig  into the soil with bare hands, hastily toss the bag into the depression and shove a bunch of twigs on top. Any kind of determined prodding by the detectives prompted additional information to emerge. To his own astonishment Victor noticed new certainty in his voice. He began to fancy himself a future psychic detective until Steve looked him straight in the eye and like it was no big deal, as if this was just another step in their cozy relationship, announced, “I think you did it!”
Shocked, Victor felt his predicament to be so absurd that he was hearing the words without fully registering their meaning.  One of the major events in his life was in progress, that much he knew! Snapping out of an altered state, stupefied, he stared at Steve’s face. Ricardo stayed mostly in the background, since all including him realized he was less palatable to Victor than Steve. But at this important moment the detective had to pull his weight as well, adding, “Yes, we think so!”
Victor could not believe it! But not to worry, there has to be some misunderstanding! It should not be too difficult to resolve. After the floor had disappeared from under his feet Victor did manage to surprise everyone by how stunned he was. Feeling dread he was becoming aware of how it is to be a murder suspect within these walls.
Isn’t there a quick way to clear up all of this nonsense? The murderer must have left DNA, fingerprints, blood, something! I know they got his DNA! They are going to ask for mine. A perfect method to end this nightmare!  Victor tried to put on a silly smile which seemed to belong to another era. “Are you kidding!?”
“No we are not kidd’n. We think you did it!”
The words came out of Steve’s mouth like snake bites.
Once experiencing utter disgust Victor dwelt on the fact that a high percentage of regular citizens when drafted as soldiers rape given an opportunity. He  envisioned being in such a situation, questioning himself of whether or not he would attempt to stop fifty of his comrades from raping.  A hundred?  He was sure that he would. There was simply no other way.
“I am not a murderer! On the contrary!  I am the kind of a guy …”
“Would you volunteer for a DNA test?”
“Gladly! I was thinking of exactly that!”
“We will also ask you to volunteer a blood sample, fingerprints and we’ll take a couple of pictures.”
“I am only too happy to oblige! Thank God for technology!”
“You don’t watch local news”, Steve appeared genuinely concerned. “Why not?”
“Why should I watch local news? Frankly, do I care if John kills David, or David kills John?”
The statement which was meant to be self explanatory was Victor’s favorite way of illustrating why he hated local news and was supposed to be understood as a result of his revulsion with the media for sensationalizing horror.
What a freak!  The conclusion was collective.
“Do you watch sports?” That was Ricardo, working for his paycheck.
A cop on desk duty entered with a swab in a plastic ziploc bag, a camera and other paraphernalia. Victor was asked to undress, politely but maliciously. To his surprise the young officer was mostly photographing mosquito bites on his arm. Victor smiled awkwardly. “Only mosquito bites.”
“I know, I know.”
The newly minted cop was in his early twenties, jolly and friendly, just doing his job. Soft stubble was growing over his chubby, reddish cheeks. “We must document every wound.”
“But these are from mosquitoes!”
“I know. Inflicted by a mosquito.” The camera kept on snapping. “Few more. If you move a little, perfect, right there, …yep, like that. You don’t have to suck in that stomach! Ha, ha! There ain’t any ladies here!”
It’s ridiculous! What guarantee do I have that a woman is not behind that glass rectangle, or will never look at the shots later, even if I did care?
When men are insecure enough in the first place to take up weightlifting, only to periodically get out of shape, it hurts! Victor did not release his abdominal muscles, instead he tensed up further, stubbornly flexing various, unrelated muscle groups as well. He was not about to let go his manhood, relaxing his stomach into a shapeless form. What am I, a caged hamster in underwear!  “Come on man, I am gettin’ cold!”
“Ha, ha, ha!” The young cop continued to softly laugh.

After the photo session and DNA extraction the questions changed. “Where are you employed?” “How do you spell the name of so and so you mentioned before?” “What was your previous address?”
Victor felt obliged to assist in his interrogation. Right now what they know are bits and pieces pertaining to how little they can see, which might not make sense to these simpletons. Me not being interested in sports is a good example. But if I can help them understand me more! If they will see me for who I am, surely they would stop suspecting me of such a crime!
“Because of what’s going on, I have to mention to you guys that I saved a jogger in the park approximately two weeks ago!”
“Found her lying on the path unconscious, called for an ambulance, then walked her out of the park. They were hanging around outside the entrance and did not seem to be in any hurry to find us.”
“She regained some of her consciousness and I helped her to the exit. She was stumbling. Without help she would have broken her neck! There were two paramedics and two cops basically not moving from their vehicles, at Payson and Dyckman.”
“About two weeks ago, give or take a couple of days.”
“You were saying that you painted with many artists. What are their names?” Steve dropped all talk regarding the jogger, hinting that it deserved no further attention just like the names of studio mates Victor had not seen in years, also jotted down in his soiled notebook which he kept on sticking into his pocket to pull out every other minute.
Victor became agitated not comprehending why the matter was considered unworthy of any additional notice. “It’s no big deal, I know! I am only mentioning the incident now because of this situation!”
“Don’t worry, cops don’t make mistakes!”
Cops don’t make mistakes! Why is he saying this? Do I sound worried? I am!  “What do you mean?”
Steve appeared sly and irritated, repeating, “Cops don’t make mistakes!”
There was such conviction in his voice, as if it was an absolute, gospel truth. Then he went on asking Victor follow up questions concerning the right spelling of someone’s name.  Victor continued in vain exerting himself to show them that to do something unspeakably weird and terrible as what happened to Tara Wolfe would be the most foreign thing to his being, and what he really wanted to do in the park was to stroll with his obedient dog and to be left alone!

“Would ju like a sandwich?”
A soggy sandwich arrived, like a swaddled baby wrapped in cellophane as tightly as possible. A kind of intermission followed. Victor held a paper cup decorated with a Greek motif, studying the figure throwing a disc. The cup’s familiar image and waxy texture had a soothing effect. Coffee regular. What a comforting thought! Cops don’t make mistakes. Imagine! Who do they take me for? And why say such nonsense?
Victor exited the interrogation room to go to the restroom. It was hard not to get a sense of the general, gay atmosphere which the officers loafing about were hard at restraining. He glimpsed glances, attempting to walk as nonchalantly as possible, but the apprehension made him queasy. His steps felt laden with self consciousness. In the restroom he was obliged to scrutinize a beast he never met before; a toilet and a sink morphed together into a utilitarian nightmare of form and function. It was manufactured out of gleaming, stainless steel, waiting for Victor who had to make a closer acquaintance. Whadda flush!
When he came back the tiny space was over occupied by an obese lieutenant who somehow managed to transport himself without assistance of a wheelchair from his previous spot behind the one way mirror. He sat at the table looking deathly pale, as if the journey took the last breath of life out of this law enforcing but rapidly deteriorating pile of fat.
Steve produced a grave expression as he introduced the lieutenant, dressing up in importance  the superior’s presence.  “Lieutenant Morralis.”
As the lieutenant spoke he focused his stare on Victor until wrinkles covered his entire forehead.
“You have to help me find the bastard who did it!”
“Sure, of course!” Gazing at the man’s tired, bulging orbs Victor tried to reckon why he should put in more of an effort for this particular officer.
“The whole community is outraged! You must help me!”
“I’m doing my best.” The hybrid toilet-sink kept on invading Victor’s mind. It has to do with …? Oh yes!  He remembered a similar object in a recent, architectural magazine, only that one had wooden handles not buttons.
From Victor’s perspective all of these grueling hours spent in this sweaty, claustrophobic room did not bring them further from where they had begun. The lieutenant got up with a sigh, wobbled to the door, said something in a low voice to Steve, and squeezed passed him on the way back to his post.
“You know, we found a brand new CD player, around there.” Steve stuck his finger to the area on the map where Tara Wolfe’s body was found. “Is there any chance it might belong to you?”
“No. I have never lost any CD players.”
“Is there any chance, any chance in the world, that you might have been with your dog there, saw it, picked it up and maybe dropped it again?”
I can’t wait for the test results to put an end to this idiocy! Victor looked Steve in the eye and with the pride of the innocent did his utmost to pronounce each word very clearly, “Not a chance.” And then, how peculiar! A sight of a large, thumbprint on that CD player hovered in front of his face for a second. That day many visions emerged seemingly out of nowhere in his mind, two were confirmed, why would this one not be true? “I see a fat, thumbprint right in the middle of the CD player!”
Steve turned to Victor with a smile. Victor even thought that he could spot a flicker of anticipation in the collective, rectangular pupil.
“So! You did come in contact with it?”
“No, no! I had a mental picture of a large, obnoxious thumbprint on a CD player. I don’t know whose it is!”
“Why obnoxious?”
“Because, it does not belong to the murderer!”
Steve gave Victor a puzzled look. We’ll lock you up and throw away the key! And let’s hope you’re a faggot!
By this time Victor had a bad feeling about his strategy of laying himself fully open in order to facilitate detectives judgment of him. Still, Victor decided it obvious that when they finally see him for who he is this entire misunderstanding will be over with. As of yet, the fact that they considered him to be a murderer was too horrendous to seriously ponder. From old friends to his routes in the neighborhood he had been asked dozens of questions and withheld nothing. There was nothing to it, he had nothing to hide. But opening up to them, going to their level, explaining himself in ways he never imagined he would  have to to anyone, led nowhere. Steve’s inquiry began to irritate him. He redoubled his clairvoyant efforts. Whatever is happening to me is so fantastical that perhaps I can discover who the murderer is right here and now! Although if we keep on talking like this we will not progress anywhere that fast! How does one explain that you are not a regular guy, but have a regular sexuality, and that a thought to do a sadistic murder could have no possibility of ever crossing your mind!
“Do you like flowers?”
“I sure do.”
“You said you are an artist, right?”
“Do you sometimes paint flowers?”
“What do you paint?”
“My subject matter is politicians, war, or just endless banality, like pigeons and cigarette butts. I do not paint things that are lovely, naked women and flowers included!”
The detective’s eyes widened.
“Why not?”
“They don’t make me fired up. I need a strong emotion to paint!”
Ricardo allowed himself a healthy chuckle. “Pigeons and cigarette butts do?”
“Can we see your paintings?”
“You are welcome to.”
“Why do you suppose the killer left flower petals around the body?”
“Flower petals?”
“We are sure that the sick fuck came back and left flower petals around her body!”
“Hmmm, strange! So far I haven’t noticed any flowers  in my visions.” Victor shrugged his shoulders, thinking that it is not very probable for the murderer to expose himself for the second time in order to disperse  petals at the crime scene.
“Are you sure?” Steve pointed to the exact spot on the map where the corpse was found, which surprised Victor who had visualized the location to be below the paved path, when he watched the murderer put his victim into a headlock smashing her ribs with a fist, then twisting her body into a roll down the slope, letting gravity be his culprit. It means that the murderer had to drag her back up the steep slope! And, why would he also risk crossing the road?
“She went jogging at about five only to end her life in the park! Victor, what happened?”
I forgot it happened during the day. How strange. The entirety of what I’ve been perceiving so far is dipped in an inky darkness!
“Victor, are you sure you didn’t purchase any flowers recently, maybe to start painting them?”
Ricardo succeeded in snapping him into the ghastly, little room for all intents and purposes. At that second he truly realized that the way the questions were posed either distracted or aided him to remain in a trance and hopefully on target. How can one not notice this simple methodology? If not for the present circumstances he would have jumped with the joy of an explorer!
“You say, he didn’t fuck her. OK, why did the motherfucker kill her?’
When serious people question they get serious answers, but what kind of a question is this?
“Try to ask me properly, and we might get somewhere!”
At moments of clarity, the police mind busy facilitating a dialogue with a psychopath appeared pathetically plebeian. Anything other than the crudeness of the protocol seemed beyond their reach. To cheer up he kept on reminding himself that they were detectives in the most metropolitan area on earth and therefore ought to somehow have some inkling of what their jobs are! The belief in the indisputable magnificence of his city gave him that reassurance.
Why do murderers murder? Victor made an effort not to witness the gruesome worst, leaving a lot in the haze. Something inside him refused to know everything. But again and again he saw her eyes protesting. She had no mouth to scream with, just her eyes, enraged, yelling ‘No!’ Once more he looked on as her soul rose and stayed above her body, observing the crime in disbelief and horror. Her singular thought which kept on ringing through Victor was, ‘Is this it? I am so young!’  The murderer was busy over her corpse. Doing what?

Steve was called to the office for the second time. For now he was the lead man, well aware that today was his only chance. If there is to be another interrogation they will dispatch a big shot from downtown. Besides going for the prize, which of course was an admission of guilt, the responsibility of dispassionately getting as much out of the suspect as possible lay almost entirely on his shoulders.
“He is becomin’ irritable!”
“If he ain’t giving it up then we must do somethin’ soon. You can get anyone to talk!”
The hour count on an old,  municipal wheel horse  entered single digits. The night was smothering ‘the city that never sleeps’ in its drowsy embrace.  Dark shadows darkened. Patrol cops returning from night shift had shuffled out of the precinct hours ago. The lieutenant was munching on a bagel, saying that the guys were ready to go. A mustached white shirt patted Steve on the shoulder. “Whatever you’re doin’ is working, Steve. The suspect is actually insisting on you asking him questions!”
Having smoked as many cigarettes as he could Steve walked into the interrogation room red eyed and  dizzy. “It’s the most important thing in the world, to find who killed the poor girl! Victor, you, must try harder!”
His intention to annoy Victor hit the mark. All these people watch, is local news! These folks have no sense of proportion! Victor’s agitation began to activate his dormant defense mechanism against extortion. Finally, he seriously considered his reliance on the mercy of a pulsating, neon tube above. “No, it’s not the most important thing in the world!”
“Then what is?” The retort was mechanically thrown back by Steve. Why? Maybe we finally got him!
“I’ll tell you what’s more important! Often I witness, psychically, that in the future American troops will be entering ….. ……!” Victor saw animal corpses mummified by the scorching sun scattered at the edge of a protective perimeter established by the US military. This reoccurring vision, which he had experienced dozens of times before but never paid any attention to, was now in front of him as real as the gaping detectives. Suddenly he concluded that these images  are another manifestation of his clairvoyant abilities, certain that this course of events will  come to pass in the future.  “The main force will roll in from the …… border”, continued Victor with growing fervor. “Before that paratroopers will secure military bases and everything which has to do with the production and distribution of oil.  Drones will be flying the length of every pipeline, shooting anything that moves in their vicinity.” He paused, taking a look around, keen to observe what the shock of his statement had produced in his captive audience. Each cop was duly impressed. The proceedings turned out to be so tedious. Why not flaunt in the face of mediocrity who in the last few hours he had become, an omniscient, psychic wizard! “And what do you suppose is going to happen over there? Don’t you agree it is more important?”
The close proximity of authority prompts some unbalanced individuals to unnecessarily divulge a great deal of information, but this was something new for everyone involved! Precinct Thirty-Four held its collective breath. The silence which ensued lasted for at least a minute. It ended with somebody’s comment that Victor was an EDP*, (footnote* an emotionally disturbed person) ripe for a plea bargain of insanity.
The vein on Steve’s left temple started to pulsate to his heart’s erratic beat. Here in front of me is a sick fuck who probably does not even understand the seriousness of what’s going on here! Is he acting over the top on purpose?  Steve glanced at Ricardo. One of those moments!  No matter what transpires now both detectives will have to methodically work through piles of paperwork. How many stale coffees will it take? Everybody stared at Victor without saying a word. He appeared like an odd, exotic bird which landed here on it’s own accord, feathers disheveled, eyes gleaming. Concealed by the reflective spying device besides a burp the obese lieutenant offered his expert opinion. “I becha the sado fuck did it and doesn’t even know about it!”
“No, it’s not the most important thing!”, Victor reiterated.
Ricardo got up from his seat. His buttocks felt wet. “We think you did it!”
Victor considered Ricardo with a frown. Should I simply walk ouda here? They can wait for their DNA tests! “I had enough! You guys either arrest me now, or I am going home!”
“Whoa, whoa, just relax! You’re too sensitive! Please!” Ricardo extended his arms forward to reinforce the calming effect of his  instantly changed persona. The lieutenant pressed the button to break up for another meeting. Steve smiled at Victor. “I have an idea! We might just be able to put all this behind us. Hold on, wait for a second. We’ll be right back!”

The door was slightly ajar. The muffled hum was being penetrated by phones constant ringing. Victor tried but could not discern a single word. After returning the detective’s sat down, determined and businesslike. Steve began with a pleading look. “Victor we would really appreciate it if you help us a little more! If you can ‘see’ where the bastard hid the bag, let’s go there right now and find it!”
The cops irritated Victor by their constant reference to the murderer in derogatory terms, which egged on the same thought to cross his mind for the tenth time. Isn’t it understood that the murderer is all of that, anyway? The intimidating intent behind the vulgar speech was refused conscious recognition by the unconsciously aware and terrified mind of an adult child that in so many ways each one of us is.
“Now that will show us a lot! Victor, we are really relying on your help!”
Ricardo clasped his hands. The only thing which was obviously needed at this point was merely a little favor of showing the nice detectives that he really is psychic, so they can be buddies again.
What if I really do stumble on that bag and they’ll think it was me who put it there in the first place?  Na. It would have fingerprints, or at least DNA of the killer. People shed!
As they were leaving the interrogation room Victor stopped and turned to Steve. “Did I tell you that I did not find Tara Wolfe’s body because of a silly coincidence?”
My Goodness! This is way better than the oil pipe line!  “How so?”
“Talking about stuff in the woods! I just realized something!”
Approximately eleven hours from when police had informed him of where the search party had run into the corpse to now was necessary for the connections to form and click together. Victor suddenly grasped that only a bare circumstance prevented him from the grisly discovery which police never located and took days for hundreds of volunteers from a search party to chance on.  At the northern tip of Manhattan’s west side, tucked away between boulders and a cyclone fence is a tiny, secluded beach on which a few weeks ago Victor came across a dog’s carcass. Its last pieces of mummified and torn flesh still stubbornly clung to bones. What stood out in his memory was his decision to shield Barundi from it. He later wondered whether he was too squeamish to not let his pet smell death up close.
A day or so before the cadaver was found, during a family outing, Jane and Victor passed the bridge and in a few minutes abruptly strolled into an area enveloped by a putrid stench. It was overpowering, making them want to run holding their breath, conjuring  pictures of millions of busy maggots.
A bit earlier they walked by a steep, narrow passage leading to the hidden stretch of sand below which reminded Victor of his recent, gruesome find. He recalled saying to Jane that it must be a big mammal decaying, assuming it was another departed canine. Otherwise Victor was sure he would have followed the smell with the ghastly expectation of uncovering its source which he would have then expected to be rotting, human remains, probably covered by some loose twigs. He had always been very particular towards his civic duties: do not touch it and report it. The order of responsible action was drilled in from childhood. The parents hastened their pace, their daughter peacefully asleep in the stroller.
While detectives listened to the account of what had prevented the suspect from incriminating himself further Victor could feel their detestation grow.
How in the world did the cops miss the body? Later Victor decided that perhaps the dead dog did him a favor, hearing from someone that just for searching in the greenery, which volunteers from a search party canvassing a section of a park are supposed to do, the unfortunate man who was successful at this sad task ended up in the same interrogation room, for many hours  paying in time and mental health for his help.

To exit the building into the precinct’s parking lot they had to travel the entire length of the structure, navigating its tight corners which were congested with departmental accumulations like large, plastic bags with Styrofoam cups, red traffic cones and fire extinguishers decorated with giant dust bunnies. After being confined in the small, dreary room for what seemed an eternity Victor took great interest in his little journey. Everything was cramped to the melding point, but the walls were in a league of their own. On them even light switches had to fight for available space with commemorative plaques, mug shots of the most wanted and posters proclaiming rewards for information on cop killers. The officers Victor walked past pretended to be uninterested in him, continuing to do whatever they were doing, only more vehemently. He met their blank eyes which  registered the whole of him without shifting an eyeball. But his back was enduring the full measure of the burning, dart-like stares of their curiosity and loathing. Outside, engines woke up and wipers began swishing away the rain. Three more plainclothes detectives in raincoats and mustache’s accompanied them in another car. As they hopped into an unmarked sedan Ricardo turned around and glanced at Victor’s face, which at that moment looked absolutely insane.
“Where should we drive to?”
Soon, submerged in nature’s elements during a stormy night the six of them were treading on treacherous terrain of slippery, old leaves and invisible sticks. Caught in a heavy downpour the detectives’ situation was rapidly becoming desperate. Their flat, Italian shoes were not made for charging into wet undergrowth and were getting ruined. One guy immediately ripped his pants, which envenomed the man’s already sour mood. Just yesterday his mortuary garb was purchased at ‘Everything The Tall Man Needs’. Experiencing deep remorse for attempting to jump over a shrub he swore.
“It’s a write off Larry. Fuhgeddaboudit!”
Larry’s partner was only slightly better off.  The man’s head ached with the knowledge that he was catching a cold. Larry removed his finger from the hole in his pants. “What da fuck!” Meanwhile, Victor was marching right through the thicket seemingly unfazed, rain streaming down his face.  What am I to retrieve from the bushes? A bag, that a shady, thirty year old, Hispanic man has concealed somewhere in this park. My Goodness! The tempestuous weather redoubled its efforts. Some of the raindrops were finding their way into everyone’s ears.  How peculiar that an earlobe is not designed to keep the rain out. What if I am wrong? What if he is not the guy and it’s somebody else who did it?
“Where did this fuck, you say, bury the bag?”
An image of a man quickly striding underneath dark canopy with a picture of a hiding place in his mind for what he held in his hands, appeared in front of Victor’s eyes. He also did something under the bridge!
“I don’t know exactly. I guess it’s here somewhere.”
The search party purposefully stomped around a few more tree trunks and then decided to call it quits. As they trudged to their cars cold and soaked the torrents of rain suddenly stopped.  Did anybody seriously expect to find anything? Ricardo and Steve helped by wishful thinking hoped that Victor would pull out a bag full of Tara Wolfe’s clothes, smeared in her blood and dusted with his DNA.  The rest, including Victor, did not give it much consideration. What all the detectives expected was for Victor to serve a long jail term, especially for getting them drenched!

“We have to go to the Thirty-Fourth for only ten minutes to wrap it up. Only paperwork, really!”
Soon they dripped back to the interrogation room, looking like grave robbers. There, once again he was greeted by the unblinking, rectangular pupil of the one way mirror. Victor glared at it flopping on a chair, exhausted. Reminds me of goats. “Can I go home? I am sure I’ve done all I can.”
While saying it his heart skipped a bit, for he felt as though the precinct’s walls themselves shared the combined will of the police department in not wanting to let him go. Steve stared at Victor as if his prize possession was about to slip away. “Victor, just for the record, could ja write down what you told us of whactha’ve seen?”
“Ok, why not.”
As before he was  left  alone in the stuffy confines of a poky, little space, this time with paper and a pen. He gazed at the glass rectangle and imagined cops behind it, mere atoms in the macrocosm of the NYPD’s brain. When  Victor was by himself  the door for some reason always stayed ajar. Outside people were joking and laughing. “I had to piss and missed the whole show!” Somebody chuckled. A loud voice was speaking on the cell. “The suspect remains cooperative and totally weird!”
The birds outside had already finished their morning chirping. Patrol cops were entering the premises after night shift, chatting and basking in camaraderie.
“Get a load of this guy! Half the shit he says is so off the wall!”
“I’ve spent fifteen years on the force and never heard of such a nut case!”
“Wassap Patrick!”
To Victor who could not make out any separate words it sounded awfully monotonous smelling of Mickey D’s breakfast special and disgusting coffee. He carefully initialed everything he so easily committed to written word, having become afraid that they might add a statement, …or something. All he wanted now was to return to his own life!