Chapter 62 Macbeth Three
TL: QuantumC, Editor: IsaLee
“A car accident?” Luo Wenzhou was surprised, “Why? The traffic police team is the next room down the hall.”
Lu Youliang said: “Have you heard of Zhou Junmao before?”
“Which Zhou Junmao?” Suddenly Luo Wenzhou felt his adrenaline rushing. Even the warm twilight sun became turbulent. “You don’t mean THAT Zhou Junmao?”
Next to him, Fei Du stopped reading. He looked up silently.
Zhou Junmao was a famous overseas Chinese businessman. The seventy-three-year-old was born in the East Alley Ditch area on the outskirts of Yancheng City. He had immigrated abroad many years ago and earned his first bucket of gold in the construction business. A self-made millionaire, he built the multinational business empire, the Zhou’s, from nothing. Lately, perhaps old age had brought feelings of nostalgia towards his homeland — as the saying goes, “Leaves ultimately fall back to the roots.” The Zhou’s altered their investment strategy to focus on projects in the mainland.
Zhou Junmao wasn’t the regular kind of celebrity. He kept a low profile, lived a simple life, and was very active in philanthropy. He donated a fortune toward the development of his hometown and was responsible for at least half of the prosperity of the East Alley Ditch area. There was even a road called “Junmao Road”, the only one in Yancheng City that was named after a living man.
Just half an hour ago, Zhou Junmao was on the way from the airport back to his residence in Yancheng. Suddenly his car was rear-ended by a large truck. The back of the car was completely destroyed and squeezed inward. The old man, sitting in the back seat, lost his life immediately. His driver and the bodyguard in the passenger seat were critically wounded and were rushed to the hospital.
It was a gruesome accident. Undoubtedly once the news got out, the Zhou’s Corporation stock would go through an earthquake.
Meanwhile, the younger son of the Zhou family happened to be in Yancheng. He rushed over, then insisted that it was a murder and that the Criminal Investigation Police should be involved.
“Director Zeng already headed over with his forensics team. Let’s go to the scene first and talk to the traffic police crew, then go to Zhou’s house.” Those who went with Luo Wenzhou included Lang Qiao, who happened to be on call, Xiao Haiyang, who didn’t have the thick skin to leave early on his first day, and Fei Du, the extra. They were driving on the airport freeway: “Put your hearts back to your stomachs — we won’t be working overtime for another month — even if the crash was more than an accident, the investigation will probably be led by the Economic Crime Investigation team. We’ll at most be assisting.”
Lang Qiao turned to the backseat curiously: “Director Fei, since you know so many rich people, have you met this Zhou Junmao before?”
“Only once, and we didn’t talk much.” Fei Du could almost pass for a dorky teacher’s pet now: even in the field-work vehicle, he didn’t forget to bring a textbook, “I am more familiar with his younger son — the one that insisted on calling the criminal police.”
Lang Qiao quickly searched the internet: “Zhou Junmao has two sons. The elder one, Zhou Huaijin…Wow…an Ivy League graduate, and started handling the family business from very young. He usually stays abroad. Then the younger one Zhou Huaixin…he’s a painter? Wait, Director Fei, is this him? How did you two connect? Through the love of art?”
“Oh, no.” Fei Du answered, “It’s because we are both good-for-nothing spendthrift sons.”
Lang Qiao: “…”
The airport freeway didn’t have much traffic in the direction going out of the city. The team arrived at the scene before the night fell.
Fei Du was about to get off, but Luo Wenzhou slammed the door shut in his face. Surprised at first, Fei Du quickly realized what it was for. Then, like a weasel whose heart got ironed flat by a large chicken drumstick, he glanced at Luo Wenzhou’s back, then quietly waited in the car. Not much was shown on his face.
Luo Wenzhou quickly toured the scene and saw that the wounded were already sent away by the ambulance, and the scene had more or less cleared up. As long as one didn’t look far into the areas circled by the yellow masking tape, it was hard to see any blood. He finally waved Fei Du out of the car.
Fei Du followed him and spoke softly by his ear: “Captain Luo, how considerate. I’m so flattered that it scares me.”
“Already?” Luo Wenzhou glanced at him placidly, “What a turbulent emotional world full of ups and downs that you have — Lao Qiu, over here!”
The traffic police in charge of this accident was Officer Qiu, another friend of Luo Wenzhou’s. Our Captain Luo’s friends were spread all over the world and spun across every profession.
Through Fei Du’s passive observation, he thought Luo Wenzhou was the kind of person that grew up in a very open-minded and laid-back environment. When he was young, he must have enjoyed conditionless love and attention, which allowed him to keep loving the world even after experiencing the frost and the wind later in life. He had seen the darkside of humanity, and he had grown to be shrewd and wary because of his profession, but deep down he still welcomed the world with open arms.
Sometimes, standing on the streets, what you see are the men, the women, the old, and the young, all wearing similar shirts and pants. The retired old man taking a walk and the exotic-looking foreigner might be wearing the same brand of sneakers. It almost creates the illusion of “one world, one dream”.
But those that live under the sun cannot imagine what unescapable, almost habitual torture the buddy next to him is enduring; those deeply depressed cannot understand how the lively passerbys really aren’t faking their smiles.
Like right now, he was standing right next to Luo Wenzhou. It almost seemed like they came from the same world.
Sometimes the skin covered up the truth and hid it so well.
“As for whether there is some hidden story behind this, I’ll leave it to you guys. But if you ask me, this is clearly an accident with the rear truck’s full responsibility.” Traffic police officer Lao Qiu waved them over to look at the monitor, “The Bentley is Zhou Junmao’s car. They drove out of the airport, and everything was normal. The driver drove very carefully. The truck got on from the “North Yuan Bridge” entrance. If we number the traffic cameras from the North Yan Bridge entrance as number one—”
Lao Qiu rearranged the footage from various traffic cams according to their distance to the entrance, and showed them one after another: “In this direction, at the time, the traffic wasn’t bad. From camera number four, the truck entered the same lane as the Bentley. A couple other cars were between them, but they gradually passed the Bentley one by one. By camera number sixteen, there were no more cars between them. But the distance in between was still safe. Then look—”
When the truck drove past camera number eighteen, its distance from the front car started to shrink. Looking closer, the truck was accelerating at a consistent rate, as if the driver had placed his foot on the gas pedal and forgotten to remove it.
When it went past camera number twenty, the speed detector showed that the truck was going 140 kmph, way above the speed limit. Then, like the driver had gone blind, the truck slammed into the Bentley’s rear end. Camera number twenty-one captured the whole collision. It was such a brutal crush that even though the watchers were mentally prepared, they still lost a heartbeat.
Luo Wenzhou asked: “Where is the truck driver now?”
“Dead. Didn’t make it to the hospital.” Lao Qiu said, “The dashboard camera showed that he had been driving the truck non-stop for ten hours — textbook fatigue driving. It seemed quite clear to me — if not for the family insisting otherwise so firmly — that the driver fell asleep because of fatigue and left his foot on the gas. The truck accelerated, then, boom — all doomed.”
Luo Wenzhou asked: “Who is the driver? Did he have a record for misconduct?”
“The driver’s name is Dong Qian, forty-nine years old, a truck driver in a transportation company. Just now his colleague came to identify the body. He said Dong Qian was an honest man — he had traveled this road for close to 10 years and never had an accident. C’mon, are there really so many malicious criminals running around each day? Not to mention that this Dong doesn’t look like someone who’d have any relationship with a Bentley…more like a Xiali(1).” Lao Qiu took the cigarette that Luo Wenzhou passed over, “Captain Luo, how trustworthy is this family member? Could it be another attention-seeking trick of the rich celebs?”
Luo Wenzhou didn’t agree hastily. But when he saw Zhou Huaixin with his own eyes, he quickly realized that he might be a piece of work.
After meeting Zhang Donglai and Zhou Huaixin and the sort, Luo Wenzhou had to admit that among the locally-grown spendthrift sons, Fei Du was a normal.
Zhou Huaixin was overly slender for a grown man. To be honest, he was nothing more than a walking hemp stick. The way that his cheeks sunk almost made the professionals on site suspect that he had a drug problem.
He wore a graffiti T-shirt with an oversized suit vest that dragged all the way to his knees. The sides of the vest were ripped up to the waist, so it looked like two pieces of hanging fart curtains. His right ear had seven or eight piercings crowded by metal studs. Tears had turned his thick eyeliner into two giant black eyes.
Behind him, one of his oil paintings hung on the wall. It was more than three meters long. The color tone was very gloomy.
Luo Wenzhou did not have an eye for art pieces. His taste still stayed at the level of, “The more lifelike, the better.” Nevertheless, even he could feel the inexplicable but strong sense of suffocation when looking at the painting. The lines were messy and the colors were dreary. At first sight, it seemed to depict a thunderstorm. However, a closer look revealed that there was a sun hanging on the upper left corner, and those rusty lines weren’t rain but sunshine.
Under the bloodshot sun there was a large field of reeds. All the plants were slouching and lifeless. A couple faceless skeletons were interspersed in between.
Staring at the painting for a long time would be sickening.
“It’s hard to keep up with the trends of you young folks these days.” Luo Wenzhou asked Fei Du secretly, “What is Young Master Zhou trying to express in this ’masterpiece‘?”
Fei Du glanced at the painting. Perhaps the color of the contour resembled blood too much. He quickly turned his eyes away: “If I remember correctly, he painted this one by the sea. It was at his seaside cottage. Some supermodels lay in the sand to pose for him.”
Luo Wenzhou: “…”
It turned out the theme of this painting was, “Beauty is death, form is emptiness.”
“His style is edgy and unpleasant indeed. I don’t know about the others, but I only bought his paintings for the sake of his father.” Fei Du finished explaining quietly. Meanwhile, he saw Zhou Huaixin walking down the stairs like a shaky skeleton, weeping.
Fei Du raised his voice to call out: “Brother Zhou, are you alright?”
Zhou Huaixin was relieved to see an old acquaintance. Grievance flooded his eyes. He called out in a trembling voice: “Fei!” Then he threw himself into Fei Du’s arms like an oversized baby swallow rushing to its forest.
The smell of baby powdery perfume attacked Luo Wenzhou’s nose. He turned to the side and sneezed.
Fei Du was pushed back a step by his eager pounce. He then rebalanced and stood steadily to offer him his shoulder, but didn’t go beyond a gentleman’s hug. He consoled Zhou Huaixin with a gentle voice, then offered him an arm and guided him to the sofa to sit down.
Zhou Huaixin sobbed: “What brought you here?”
It was hard to explain, so Fei Du simplified it: “I went back to school again, and I just got an internship at the Bureau.”
That was when Zhou Huaixin finally noticed the rest of the team. He leaned over to take a tissue from the tissue box on the table and sobbed: “You…you guys are the police? Master Fei, your t…taste is so peculiar…oh no, my heart hurts so bad, can I borrow your shoulder…”
As he spoke, he slouched in Fei Du’s arms like a boneless mollusk. Luo Wenzhou’s dog nose was quite bothered by the smell of “baby powder” so he didn’t see eye to eye with Zhou Huaixin. He replied coldly: “You insisted that Mr. Zhou senior’s car crash was not an accident. What led you to believe it?”
Zhou Huaixin struggled to lift his thick and heavy eyelids: “My father exercised every day. He even competed in a marathon this Spring. There is no way that he would suddenly leave us like this. Someone must be behind it!”
On the side taking notes, Lang Qiao was awed speechless by his logic. She put down the notebook and interjected, “Mr. Zhou, I understand that you are having a hard time processing all of these emotionally. But Mr. Zhou senior was killed in a crash. Let alone the marathon…even if he trained for the triathlon, he can’t be immune to car accidents.”
Zhou Huaixin sobbed loudly as if he was about to pass out. He stared at Lang Qiao like she was a big-eyed witch who bullied innocent princesses.
Fei Du waved a hand at her, then lowered his head and spoke softly: “Brother Zhou, this cannot be used as evidence.”
Zhou Huaixin burst into tears: “Even you won’t believe me? My sixth sense is always accurate. Dad always drove that big SUV with the anti-bullet windows. Today he switched to a weaker car, and that’s when the accident happened? This cannot be a coincidence. Last week he just had his seventy-third birthday. In the celebration he said that he was ready to retire, and was going to write a will to leave some of the stocks to my brother and me. He just got back this week and then…”
Zhou Huaixin suddenly stopped, as if he just realized he had slipped something he shouldn’t have. He buried his head in Fei Du’s chest like he couldn’t bear even the slightest blow of the wind. Rubbing his own chest, he kept his mouth shut.
“Mr. Zhou senior only has two sons. Even without a will, his heritage will be passed on to you and your brother.” Luo Wenzhou’s eyes darted at Zhou Huaixin, “Why do you think that this might be the cause of his death? Mr. Zhou, I know that you’re very upset right now. But since you have called the police, please treat it like a serious matter. Can you sit up to answer my question?”
“I don’t know. I paint, and that’s all I do. I don’t know anything about the family business. You’ll need to talk to my big brother. I already called him and he will be here tomorrow morning.” Zhou Huaixin put his face in his palms to avoid Luo Wenzhou’s eyes, “Cars are such big weapons. They’re more efficient than knives and guns. Everywhere on the street there are men with this legal ‘weapon’. When they kill, all they have to say is ‘I didn’t mean it,’ and it can be excused as an accident? What is the use in having you?”
The speaker might not mean it, but the listeners all got an underlying message. The worries on Fei Du’s face seemed to have fainted a little.
Luo Wenzhou gruffly pulled Zhou Huaixin off of Fei Du: “The truck driver has died, Mr. Zhou junior. Are you implying that someone wanted your father dead so badly that they would trade their own lives for it?”
Through his smoky dark circles, Zhou Huaixin looked at him and asked ghostly: “Officer, do you not believe that money can buy lives?”
Luo Wenzhou and the team wasted almost an hour with Zhou Huaixin. They weren’t sure whether he was truly retarded or just acting. Sometimes they could clearly tell that he was withholding something, something he wanted to share but couldn’t. Only when they were about to leave did Zhou Huaixin grab Fei Du and asked, mysteriously: “Have you heard? About the rumors?”
Fei Du gave Luo Wenzhou a look, then turned to pat Zhou Huaixin’s shoulder: “Don’t mind it.”
Zhou Huaixin didn’t want to let go. He asked, “Could you keep me company until my brother comes?”
Before Fei Du spoke, Luo Wenzhou answered for him: “Quit the dawdling. You still have a report to submit this evening — ‘intern’.”
Fei Du shrugged at Zhou Huaixin regrettably. In the next second, Luo Wenzhou thrusted him out of the room: “Hurry.”
Fei Du staggered, but he didn’t mind it at all. Instead, he looked down and smiled. Luo Wenzhou shooed him back into the car.
Her eyes wide open with curiosity, Lang Qiao whispered a question to Fei Du: “Director Fei, did that serpent, Zhou something, have a crush on you?”
“Nope.” Fei Du replied in an equally low voice, “He was just bored and lonely.”
Lang Qiao exclaimed: “You lot are rotten!”
Luo Wenzhou slammed the door shut. He pulled the two apart and pointed at Lang Qiao: “If only you had that much estrogen, you wouldn’t be worrying about finding a husband — Fei Du, what was it that Zhou Huaixin hesitated to say?”
“Rumor has it,” Fei Du sat up straight and answered, “that the moral and respectable Mr. Zhou senior has an illegitimate son.”
- Xiali: A local economy car model