I returned to the police station Saturday morning to wring a confession from my young suspect.
Ruben Amato, was playing his part to the hilt.
“Let me out! Let me OUT, you fascist pigs!” he yelled, rattling his cell door.
“Keep the act up, Ruben,” I whispered as I unlocked his cell. “We have to go through some motions while I figure out how to fix this.”
“Why should I trust you,” he asked as I led him from his cell.
“Because … you don’t have a choice?” I suggested.
So I led him through the requisite animations.
“Is that a turkey baster in your pocket, or are you just – “
“Oh … never mind.” I said, my timing completely off. “Just turn around here. It’s time to get your picture.”
Ruben turned and broke down sobbing.
“What’s going to happen to me?” he asked.
There’s so little visible difference between Teens and Young Adults it’s easy to forget that, well, Teens are just kids.
Look: I know in the real world, crime is a real thing, a real problem with real, tragic consequences.
And I know that dynamic could be explored in a life simulator or RPG, or even some first-person shooter. For all I know, there’s a really good one out there.
But The Sims 4 isn’t it, I thought as I led Ruben to the interrogation room.
Instead, crime here is just an excuse for a series of comic animations, culminating in a “confession” from a “suspect” who seems to have been generated to fit the evidence, after the “crime” was committed.
If you think of Townies as disposable background NPCs, like the people you run over in GTA, then maybe that’s fine, but that’s not how they think about Townies around here.
Around here, my sworn duty to protect and serve extends to the Townies. They’re Sims too.
I drummed my fingers as Ruben’s confession animation played out.
I knew what I had to do. Or at least how to get started.
First, I had to have a doughnut break!
I led Ruben back to his cell and headed upstairs to the breakroom.
“Local legends speak of a chocolate-covered, crème filled doughnut,” I said as I approached the cooler.
Sadly, there were no custom doughnuts, but there was pastry. And it was chocolate.
I zapped it in the microwave and carried it down to the chief’s office. It was Saturday morning and the chief had weekends off.
But she was at her desk when I walked in.
“What is it, Officer Van High?” she asked.
“Sorry, Chief. I thought you were off duty today,” I said between mouthfuls.
“I was,” Chief Pike said, “but I thought I’d put in some overtime in case you need to click the Talk To Chief interaction.”
“Well, I wanted to talk to you anyway,” I realized. “I want to start a club. It’ll be like the Upper Crusts, but it will be better.”
“You’ll be in it?” I kinda asked.
Chief Pike chuckled.
“Well, you and any other cops,” I said. “I want to set up a sort of police benevolent association.”
“What gave you that idea?”
“I want to make sure we can all stay in touch even if I stop … um, coming to work.”
“You’re quitting already?” Chief Pike asked.
“Not quitting, necessarily,” I said. “Maybe just quitting the active part of the Detective Career Track.”
“Well, you still have a few hours left in you last shift,” Chief Pike said. “I need you work while you’re here”
“OK, then,” I said. “See you tonight?”
“I think club gatherings are mandatory.”
Not wanting to get embroiled in another investigation, then went out on patrol and gabbed with a group of Teens loitering in Quad Manor …
… and then I dashed back to the stationhouse just before shift-change to tell the other would-be detectives about my idea for a club.
I set up the club as soon as I got home and called them together at the Old Quarter bar in Windenburg. I spun out of my uniform …
… and walked over to greet the chief.
“Glad you could make it, Chief,” I said.
“Nice pick for a club hangout,” she said, admiring the establishment. “What’s Cassandra Goth doing here?”
“I made the club open to Teens with part-time jobs and Sims on the Culinary Career Track,” I said. “It’s part of my experiment in community-based policing.”
“And the Culinary Career Track is there in case you change career tracks?” Chief Pike asked.
“Exactly!” I said. “I want to stay in touch with you guys.”
The junior officers already had the gathering in full swing by the time the Chief and I walked in.
Well, Assistant Moishe Martinez just kinda lurked there, but Receptionist Yuki Behr played Don’t Wake the Llama with some citizens at one table while Officer Nicole Brady tried warming up to my nemesis, Paolo Rocco.
I knew it shouldn’t bother me – it wasn’t Paolo’s fault the game randomly picked him to be an Angry pedestrian while I walked the beat in Willow Brook – but it did bother me.
I invited him over for a game of darts, hoping we could clear the air …
… but he didn’t make it all the way to throwing line.
I tried not to let that bother me either. I went upstairs to relieve my Bladder Meter …
… and when I came back downstairs I saw one of my best friends was making a scene.
“Yo! Can I get a drink?” Josie Tyler was shouting, too loud. “Or is this a private party for Debbie’s new friends?”
I moved in …
… and sat beside her at the bar.
“Everything OK?” I asked.
“What could be wrong?” she asked. “I went by your place to see if you needed any more help, but you had gone out!
“So I thought, ‘Great! Maybe I’ll go out too! I haven’t seen Windenburg yet!’” she said. “So I come here and it’s beautiful! Then I think ‘Maybe I’ll have a drink at the Old Quarter’, and what do I see –“
“—I see my best friend has started your own club and didn’t invite me!” she said. “What could be wrong!?!”
“Josie, it’s not like that,” I said. “I just wanted a way to stay on touch with my co-workers after … um, after … “
“After what?” Josie asked, shrugging.
“After I-don’t-know-what,” I said. “I’m just about to the middle of an outline of a plan, but I promised you, and I promised Ruben and I promised myself I was going to fix things; I just need to figure out how.”
“But you’re almost out of time,” Josie said. “Your turn ends tomorrow morning.”
“My turn ends when I say it ends.”