As I processed clues from the guerilla art attack at the Willow Brook Archives, something unexpected took place.
My week on the Detective Career Track had been marked by a complete inability to Focus at work.
Uncomfortable and Embarrassed? Ditto and ditto.
Bored? Most of the time.
I don’t know if it was because I took the time to actually analyze more of evidence that I’d gathered, or just because this was my case, but I finally began to Focus on my job for the first time in four days.
Four days? That’s like four years to a Sim at Normal Life Span.
A more detailed description of the suspect emerged. Not only was it someone who was the same height as everyone else, but the perpetrator wears a short-sleeved shirt and jeans.
That was enough to unlock the Issue APB interaction on the Crime Map!
But as I entered the squad room and approached the Crime Map, I x’ed out the interaction.
A Sim of exactly average height in a short-sleeved shirt and jeans?
That’s a fairly common Everyday outfit in this and every World.
There still was lots of corkboard showing on my Crime Map Thingy, and I had the option to Add Clue.
I stood back and examined the board.
“So the perpetrator wearing a short-sleeved shirt and jeans is male,” I said. “Hmm … That’s still fairly common, isn’t it?”
“Well, there should be something else you can deduce from the available clues,” a voice behind me said.
“Oh, hi!” I said as I turned around. “You’re new here too?”
“Deidre Skelton,” the red-haired detective said. “I was spawned to help take some of the caseload off Det. Blain, but somebody beat me to it.”
“Well, I couldn’t turn my back on my first chance to take a case, now could I?” I said.
“No worries,” Deidre said. “I like to ease into a new beat; I’m in no hurry.”
“So what did you mean?”
“Well, how do you know the perp is a male?” she asked. “Did you see him naked?”
“No, it was the fingerprints.” I said.
“There’s no such thing as male fingerprints,” Deidre said.
“No, but one of the sets of prints I found was on all four of the damaged computers and the backs of the chairs facing them,” I said. “And I lifted a matching set of prints from the flushy-handle thingy on the men’s room toilet.”
“Exactly. There is no hard evidence that the perpetrator is male,” Deidre said. “You deduced that from available evidence.”
“I see,” I said, turning back to my Crime Map thingy. “What else? What else have I overlooked?”
“Um, your mandatory meeting with the chief?” Yuki the New Receptionist said from the middle of the squad room.
“I’m hot on the trail of a serial vandal, Yuki,” I said. “This isn’t the time for office politics.”
“No, it’s five minutes passed time for office politics,” Yuki said.
“Alright, alright,” I said begrudgingly.
It was a long walk back to the chief’s office.
It felt a little ominous when the office door swung open before me; the chief’s greeting more ominous still.
“Officer Van High,” the chief said. “So sorry we have to meet under these circumstances.”
“Me too,” I said, hovering just within the door frame and just to one side of the frame.
“Please, come all the way inside, and close the door.”
The door closed itself as I eased along the office window and stood at attention in front of the chief’s desk.
“Please sit down, Officer Van High,” the chief said while I got a good look at her for the first time.
“Wait a second! I know you!” I said. “You’re the violinist who played at Allison and Bryon Heck’s wedding!”
“Oh, you remembered!” the chief said, blushing a little. “I didn’t think anyone was listening but that Insane Sim who stood next to me muttering all night.”
“Oh, we all heard you; it was lovely,” I said. “I did not catch your name, however.”
“Ava,” the chief said. “Ave Pike. But listen, before this turns into a Pleasant Conversation, we have some business to get out of the way.”
“I understand I’ve been abusing the help,” I said.
“This isn’t a good time for sarcasm,” Chief Pike said. “The transcript isn’t really going to reflect your tone and body language.”
“Well, I don’t know what Macie told you, but I wasn’t Trait-shaming her, I just called her Macie the Evil Receptionist,” I said.
“Wouldn’t you mind if someone called you Debbie the Glutton?”
“No. Well. I guess it would depend on their intent,” I said, “and I intended no offense. I had just noticed she was Evil because she was laughing maniacally about something and, I guess, it just tumbled out.”
“Debbie,” Chief Pike said, and I took it as a good sign she addressed me by my first name. “Debbie, you need to be more careful about what tumbles out.”
“I try! Believe me! I try.”
“You represent the department when you interact with the NPCs,” Chief Pike said. “Even when you’re off-duty.”
“I want nothing more in this World than to be a credit to the force,” I said.
“Well, it would help if you didn’t think out loud when other Sims are around,” Chief Pike said. “So what about this workplace injury I’m paying for while Macie regains feeling in her right hand? Did you assault her?”
“What? What did she say?”
“Why don’t you just tell me what happened, in your own words,” Chief Pike said, moving her mouse and clicking it.
“I’ll show you what happened! It was a day much like today. I was waiting around for a workstation to open up so I could access the crime database,” I said. “Macie was hogging the computer in the crime lab, and we got to talking, and I was telling her about the Upper Crusts Club.”
“You’re a member of the Upper Crusts?”
“Yes! I just bought a sweet secret club handshake and offered to show it to Macie –“
“It wouldn’t be much of a secret then,” Chief Pike said.
“That’s what Macie said!” I said. “So I said something like ‘It would still be a club secret if you joined us,’ and she jumped at the chance.
“So I walk over and – pretend you’re her – and she gets up and I say ‘So, stick out you’re right hand –’
“But you weren’t really inviting her to join?” Chief Pike asked.
“Of course not!” I said. “I just needed her to get up long enough for me to sit down and type up my report!”
“And she fell for it?” Chief Pike asked.
“Plunk,” I said. “So I say, ‘Stick out your right hand’ and she does and – he hehe he! – and I take her hand and …
“Zap her with the joy buzzer, like this!” I said.
“Oh, that’s a good one,” Chief Pike said, grinning like an idiot.
“I know! Right? I learned it off another SimSelf,” I said. “And while Macie stood there grinning like an … uh, like that, I stepped around her and logged into the workstation, so I could work on my case … uh, …
“… kinda like this,” I said.
“I don’t know why we don’t have enough workstations for everyone,” Chief Pike said, “but that is a good work-around.”
“Right! I mean, I’m trying to track down a culprit whose deeds have escalated from guerilla art to property damage,” I said. “I don’t have time to sit around while Macie trolls teh Forums.”
“Well, I appreciate your dedication to the job, but there’s still a small problem,” Chief Pike said.
“What’s that,” I asked, taking out another lemon to take the edge of my Hunger Meter.
“That’s my desk.”
“Oh,” I said, lowering my lemon. “I just wanted to enter more clues.”
“You’ve already processed enough data to issue an all-points bulletin,” Chief Pike said. “Just save your remaining clues for the next case.”
“I can do that?” I asked.
“Of course you can.”
“Well, that seems kinda fakey.”
“No it’s not,” Chief Pike said. “Just pretend you were working on two cases at once, or that the two cases are related.”
“Thanks, Chief,” I said. “I should have thought of that.”