Chapter 3 – Julien Two
TL: cici, Editor: Lady Blue, QC: Noa
Synopsis: I have been observing him for the past seven years.
First Published on Ainushi.
The area around Nanping Drive was the hardest area for commuting; the busy hours lasted from 6am to 10pm.
The white collars going to the Eastern District always ran into moped riders running around; if a slow bus also joined, together they could hold a “No one will be able to escape” party.
The road condition of Western District was particularly complicated. The wide roads and narrow ones interlocked with each other.
Building private construction without authorization had become a common practice among the local residents, and thus the man-made dead ends were everywhere. Motor vehicles that encountered them were like bugs caught on a spider’s web- they had to struggle to move in all directions to bring themselves to the light again.
Luo Wenzhou poked his head out the car window, rang the sirens once, and called out: “Hey Mr Handsome, we are performing our duties, and not able to go through now. Could you move that BMW by the door?”
An old man came out from the yard of a small cottage besides them, as a response to what he said. The old man glanced at him with a crumpled mouth, and pushed his elderly mobility scooter back to the yard trembling.
On the left side of the elderly mobility scooter, a piece of paper was stuck with the words “dedicated for picking up grandson”, while on the right side was another piece of paper which said “Urging will only make me slower. I am kick-ass!” As the old man walked away, the police heard a bark. Luo Wenzhou lifted up the sunglasses on his nose in surprise. He lowered his head and saw a big yellow dog dart out from behind the mobility scooter.
The big yellow dog strolled to the police car. The dog and Luo Wenzhou looked at each other, and the dog raised its back legs towards one of the wheels blatantly.
Luo Wenzhou whistled at it, said kindly: “Little baby, if you do your business there, I will cut off your penis and make a pancake from it.”
This kind of food was really outside the mainstream, the big yellow dog had never heard about it. It was frightened by the experienced hoodlum smell of Officer Luo, so it barked and ran away with its tail between its legs.
Lang Qiao used a tablet to block her face: “Chief Luo, have you noticed that there is an unmarried young woman in the backseat? The Sub Bureau has sent all available information to us.”
“Then I will ask this woman comrade to briefly talk about the objective information.” Luo Wenzhou drove the police car out of the cleared narrow alley slowly. “Ignore all subjective assumption. Wang Hongliang, that bastard only knows kowtowing. When those above behave wrongly, the ones below will follow. The Huashi Sub Bureau is full of good-for-nothings.”
“Oh, the dead man’s name was He Zhongyi, male, 18 years old, a non-native worker, a delivery boy in a chain cafe. The groove on his neck points to the cause of death as suffocation … Or alternatively, strangulation. According to initial speculation, the lethal weapon is something like a ribbon of cloth. The time of death was probably around 8 to 11 o’clock last night, we still need to wait for more details from the legal medical experts- Oh, yeah, the corpse was found somewhere behind but not far away from the place he had rented, therefore his identity was verified immediately.”
Luo Wenzhou was a skillful driver. He managed to move in the narrow alley that was only a few millimeters wider than the police car, and was still able to interrupt her and ask: “From where did the rumors of robbing and garroting gangs start?”
“They said that it was because the belongings of the dead were all robbed. His phone is gone, and his wallet was emptied and left beside him, but it is not concluded if those belongings were taken away by the murderer.” Lang Qiao quickly glanced over the mail. “Oh yeah, the reporter said that there was a piece of paper left on the corpse’s face, and it was stuck on his hair by tape, the side facing inside read ‘Money’.”
Tao Ran turned off the navigation: “Take a right turn here and we will be there.”
“Got it.” Luo Wenzhou drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. “This is Sub Bureau’s case, and has not been transferred to Bureau. Do you know what we’re supposed to do here?”
Lang Qiao replied tentatively: “Guidance and supervision?”
Luo Wenzhou: “Do you know who generally used to do the job of ‘Guidance and supervision’ in the past?”
Lang Qiao suddenly understood: “Eunuchs!”
Sitting in the front passenger seat, Tao Ran turned back and stared at her.
“This is what young women in your village think about all day long?” Luo Wenzhou grinned as if he had a toothache. “Putting this aside. I am serious- there are only few years left before Director Zhang retires, and all the deputy directors are just a few years younger than him. All other people in our bureau either lack experience, or soak themselves in tech and don’t bother to speak to anyone like Head Zeng. Therefore, it is highly probable that some people from the Sub Bureaus will get promoted.”
Luo Wenzhou avoided hitting a pile of rubbish at the roadside, and lowered his voice: “Our old director wants to get rid of people like Wang Hongliang, so that we won’t have a son of a rum puncheon as our leader in the future- Now, do you know what our main task is?”
He had just finished his sentence, the police car had already turned at the crossing.
That was an empty space among old tube-shaped apartments and small rough casas. It was very desolate, and built on the side of an area of privately built small warehouses. Weeds grew here and there, but people didn’t frequently visit here. There was water under the corner of the wall. There was a resilient, awful smell in the air.
The police had already cordoned the scene. The legal medical experts were busy surveying the scene.
In order to meet Luo Wenzhou and his companions, the leader of Huashi District Sub Bureau, Wang Hongliang, was waiting at the scene.
He was a middle aged man who was losing his hair, even his depressed eyebrows were so sparse and unclear. Sweating, he walked over to Luo Wenzhou, and shook his hand three times: “I am so sorry to intrude on the leaders in Bureau, and make you come here.”
Luo Wenzhou smiled with a pleasant demeanor: “Old bro, why do you persist in thinking of me as an outsider?”
Wang Hongliang was proficient in establishing relationships, though he was poor at his work. Hearing what Luo Wenzhou said, he immediately followed the idea, and called Luo Wenzhou his bro, and immediately spouted his complains to his new “younger bro”.
Luo Wenzhou pulled out a pack of cigarettes, lit one and gave it to Wang Hongliang. At the same time he tipped Tao Ran a wink, letting him and Lang Qiao check the scene first.
“The murderer must be someone the dead knew.” Wang Hongliang kept talking about nonsense with Luo Wenzhou until he finished that cigarette, then started to talk business. His tiny eyeballs kept moving around. “Look at this place, it’s so complicated, outsiders couldn’t even figure out which direction is north. And people live so close to each other, if you fart at home, the neighbors can tell what you ate for lunch. How dare outsiders commit crimes here? Younger bro Luo, you are an expert, do you agree with this?”
At this sensitive time, the last thing Wang Hongliang wanted to see was a thieving murderer moving around in an area under his jurisdiction. Therefore, he wanted to make the case a “killed by acquaintance due to personal grudge” one desperately.
Luo Wenzhou didn’t answer him. He took off his sunglasses, clipped it to his collar, and squinted at the busy legal medical experts, then he answered casually: “I am just an official who only wants to get meals to eat. How could I dare to call myself an expert in front of you?”
“Only wants to get meals to eat? Who is not like that?” Wang Hongliang spread his hands out with a sigh and groaned. “Let’s go take a look as well.”
The newly formed “only wants to get meals to eat two people team” entered the scene together and saw a spectacled young man with a crewcut, foaming at the mouth, briefing Tao Ran and Lang Qiao.
The young man was tall and his face was filled with pimples. Standing with a straight and stiff gesture, like a human shaped piece of coffin plank. His speed of speaking was amazingly fast.
“This is our new hire Xiao, Xiao Haiyang.” Wang Hongliang stretched out a finger, pointed, and introduced him. “He was a top student, and ranked first in writing tests of our entrance exams. Xiao, this is Captain Luo from our Bureau.”
Xiao Haiyang raised his hand without thinking, and adjusted his gesture of standing like he was following someone’s order. He looked at Luo Wenzhou and with his jaw tightening, greeted him with only the necessary words: “Captain Luo.”
“Don’t be too polite,” Luo Wenzhou smiled at him. “Go on.”
It seemed that the just now quiet Xiao Haiyang was turned on by this sentence, words came out from his mouth like a heavy downpour of rain, drowning the people talking to him: “There are no bruises caused by struggles on the body, but there are traces of being hit by a blunt object on the back of his head. According to the preliminary inspection, he was first knocked out by a blow to the back of the head and then strangled with a strip of soft cloth. After he died, his belongings were taken away, and his forehead was covered by a piece of paper. Since the dead was strangled when he was unconscious, there are no traces of struggling on the scene. Neither the soft cloth, which strangled the dead, nor the weapon used to hit the dead on the back of the head was found. There is no conclusive evidence showing that this place is the crime scene at present. Report completed.”
Everything was fine at the beginning, but as soon as he finished the last sentence, Wang Hongliang’s face turned green: “Why are you talking nonsense without evidence? If this is not the crime scene, then where is? Are you suspecting this is a body dumping case? Why did the criminal choose here to dump the body? What good can this do? Don’t make wild guesses to create confusion!”
Xiao Haiyang looked at him blankly: “I am just saying it is probable…”
Wang Hongliang wanted to say something again, but Luo Wenzhou stretched out a hand to stop him: “The newly graduated generally have many opinions, it is interesting to hear them sometimes.”
He raised his head to look around and checked the environment. The whole Huashi Western District gave people an impression of grey. There were many chaotic electric wires above them, dividing the rare blue sky of Yancheng into pieces. The whole environment was depressing.
“Ask the people around here, perhaps someone heard something.” said Luo Wenzhou. “Besides, I think Director Wang’s general idea is correct. Let’s not think about extreme cases for now, try to investigate the case under the assumption that the criminal is an acquaintance. Old bro, what’s your opinion?”
Although Younger Bro Luo came with hostility, Wang Hongliang liked his way of talking and working. They reached a consensus quickly, and saved a lot of effort on communication.
After that was endless investigation and interviews. These were the tasks of the criminal police of Sub Bureau, and had nothing to do with “technical guidance”. Their main task was to go back to Sub Bureau, sit down, drink tea, monitor the progress, and look for any mistakes made by Wang Hongliang.
Tao Ran, nevertheless, said to Luo Wenzhou in a low voice: “Leader, you go first, I still want to investigate more here with them.”
Tao Ran had a quiet graceful name and a pretty appearance, he had never quarreled with anybody, and had never used bad language either. He treated both comrades and enemies nicely, and looked very affable. But Luo Wenzhou had been his partner ever since they graduated together. He knew him.
Tao Ran was very serious and persistent, which was incompatible with this era. He didn’t care much about anything else, Luo Wenzhou would take care of everything even if the sky was falling. In terms of the crime cases, however, as long as there was one doubtful point, he would not stop investigating- regardless of whether he was in charge of that case or not.
Luo Wenzhou: “The dead was knocked out from the back. If it was robbing, the robbers didn’t need to strangle him. It is highly probable that this is a personal grudge. Wang Hongliang’s basic judgement is correct- What questions do you have?”
The body had already been put inside a body bag and carried away by the legal medical experts. Tao Ran quietly said: “It is his shoes- Nobody does cleaning here, and you get mud under your shoes easily. But just now I opened the body bag and checked the corpse. That child’s shoes are very clean.”
Luo Wenzhou lifted his eyebrows slightly.
“Of course, it is probable that the dead lived near here, and was very familiar with the environment.” said Tao Ran. “However, I still have a feeling that that small glasses guy of Sub Bureau was correct. We cannot rule out the possibility of here not being the first scene. Besides, the paper stuck to the head of the dead was strange as well. Wenzhou, in any case this is not as simple as it seems like. I am afraid that Director Wang just wants to close the case quickly to avoid digging into it.”
“Afraid?” sighed Luo Wenzhou. “Obviously he wants to close the case quickly.”
As long as one suspect appears, Wang Hongliang could immediately announce to the public that this was a case caused by personal grudge, and not some ‘garroting killer’ as people talked about online. Without public stunts, people would forget about this case in days. After people stop talking about this case, they can again say that “Huashi District Sub Bureau have made great contribution for the city’s success in holding XX meeting.”
As for the case, they would send a few criminal police to investigate. If they find the murderer they will catch him/her, if not, they will just hold the case. After a while, the case could be closed without conclusion.
This was what Wang Hongliang had always done, otherwise Director Zhang would not be against him.
Tao Ran said: “Anyway, a child came all the way here, died in this city far from home. We should be conscientious on his case.”
Luo Wenzhou gave him a sidelong glance which lasted for two seconds.
Tao Ran added quickly: “I am just a bit concerned so I want to go with them. I won’t create extra branches on the tree.”
Luo Wenzhou smiled: “All right, anyway all these years the extra branches created by you were always taken care of by me, but still you haven’t pay me back with your body.”
Tao Ran did not care, he jokingly cursed: “Go away.”
Finishing this sentence, he was about to go. Luo Wenzhou stopped him: “Wait. Is Fei Du the one who sent you flowers in the morning?”
Tao Ran didn’t care much about that, and said: “Who else would do that?”
Luo Wenzhou put his two hands into his pocket, glanced at his tiptoe as if he was looking for something to say: “If I say to you ‘Keep yourself away from that fellow’, does that sound like a dog chasing mouses? (1)”
“Are you serious?”, laughed Tao Ran. “He always does this. This is a joke to him. He’s not my type, even if I were as curved as a ball…”
Luo Wenzhou cut him off in a low voice: “If you were curved, that kid wouldn’t even get a chance.”
Tao Ran’s brain was blank after hearing this. But before he could consume the information in the words, Luo Wenzhou said: “I am not saying that he keeps racketing around, or he is not accountable… Not that level. I always have a bad feeling about Fei Du, do you understand what I am saying?”
“I understand,” nodded Tao Ran. He was thin and frail-looking, seemed to be one of those guys who don’t dare to fight for himself when being bullied. Therefore, he always wore uniforms at work. The sunlight in the morning penetrating the parapet and moss, gave him a fine edge. “I have been observing him for the past seven years. Fei Du is a good child, you don’t need to be alarmed- although he is indeed a bit overcorrected now. He is too vivacious.”
Luo Wenzhou didn’t answer.
Tao Ran changed the topic: “And, there was an unknown someone, who was so shy that he didn’t even give his name when sending a gift. I recall that he had spent great efforts to get a game machine from some foreign country, but asked me to…”
“Go away.”, Luo Wenzhou cut him off with a cold face. “Do your work. Don’t keep talking about nonsense!”
(1) a dog chasing mouses: Meaning mind others business