Tuesday 15 July 2014


By: Michael Carta

“It is sadly funny… How blind these people are to what surrounds them? It is just their nature, their instinct.”

“What are you going on about now?”

“Take that homeless man for example; he sits on the corner during rush hour holding a sign and just two blocks over that pizza place is hiring.”

“Yeah, so?”

“So, the people who help see him as a victim and have pity. They do not see that by giving him money, they then become the victim of his manipulation.”

“Oh. Okay, so the old homeless man is really a criminal master mind conning innocent people out of their hard earned money?”

“Not exactly, what I mean is this: his survival depends on his ability to appeal to a person’s conscience enough so that they feel the need to help the poor old man. He has to make himself appear weaker, more helpless, and more in need of your money than you are.”

“Alright, so you are implying that he is not homeless?”

“Perhaps he is, or perhaps not. The important thing is there is a significant margin of doubt. You cannot trust the man; especially since he is unable to obtain, or even maintain any form of actual employment.”

“So there are no real homeless people? They choose to sleep on the park benches and eat from trash cans?”

“There are homeless people truly in need of assistance. The problem is there are too many fake homeless that feed from taking advantage of charity. So much so that by donating to them, you are fueling the opportunity for more imposters. When I was overseas, I saw a blind, armless man strategically positioned in a high traffic area. At first, I was shocked that so many people ignored him as they chatted away on their cell phones, so I gave him my change.”

“That is a good deed; you probably fed his family too.”

“Actually, I doubt it. As it turns out, the poor man was planted there by a group of con men who use him to collect money from generous people. They then divide his earnings amongst themselves and go drinking. Though, I should mention they do give him just enough food to survive another day of work.”

“That’s horrible.”

“That’s life. Humans are predictable and most of them have the same instincts. This allows the others to exploit that kindness as a weakness.” 

“Well aren’t you just a rain cloud today.”

“I am not trying to be being cynical, just realistic.”

“Whatever, what time is it?”

“Do not worry, we are on schedule.”

“I am glad you know what is going on, but you have not told me anything since lunch! Are we going to a movie, or not? We have been sitting at this bus stop for nearly an hour now. I think I will just go home, it was nice to meet you, Parker.”

“Relax, it is almost game time. See the armored car pulling around the corner?”
“Yeah, why?”

“Well, it is going to stop right in front of us to make the weekly transfer from the bank across the street.”

“You are telling me this why?”

“There will be an explosion and chaos will erupt all around you. Focus now, what I need you to do is take the bag that I give to you and run as fast as you can to the bridge around a few blocks South.”

“Oh my God Parker, you cannot be serious!”

“Listen! It’s almost here. You take the bag and run to the bridge. Once you get there, remove your shoes and jump into the river. “

“Oh my God, you are serious? I can’t, I just can’t!”

“There will be a boat under the bridge to pick you up. I will meet you tonight, don’t worry the driver knows the details. Be strong, I am counting on you. Remember, if you fail me Susan dies.”

Like waking from a dream, she found herself now conscious of the detectives sitting in front of her.

“Who is Susan?”

“My mom, she’s in hospice. “

“What happened next?”

“I did what he told me to do. Exactly what he told me to do. If he knew my mom’s name, he probably knows where she is.“

“You have no further information? He did not tell you where you would be meeting? Did he mention an address, a number, anything?”

“I am telling you everything, every damn word! Please let me know, I don’t know where he is I swear! Why would I be lying now, you caught me already.” 

“Sorry ma’am, please calm down. There is just not much to work with here. It looks bad that you fled the scene of a bank robbery with a large bag and jumped into the river. It is a good thing that the bag was filled with paper, but that does not explain the missing five million, or the fact that you had lunch with the main suspect right before it all went down.”

“He tricked me! That’s what he does! He reads you and then determines how to use you. Can’t you see? He obviously gave me the empty bag and told me to run. It was for cover, I bet he went the opposite direction and is counting the cash as we speak.”

“So, was it a date? How did you meet? What can you remember about him?"

“Yes, it was a date. Okay? He bumped into me on the subway earlier and we just started talking. I told the sketching lady everything already. He was average height, in shape and had dark hair. His eyes were silver and deep. He was interesting, not the most handsome, but there was a mysterious side to him. He was very charismatic and engaging until we sat on the bench and started talking about the homeless people. He’s too smart; you guys don’t have a chance. He views the world like a game of chess and he is always many moves ahead. “

“Alright, we thank you very much for your cooperation miss. Sergeant James will see you out. Remember to contact us if you think of anything else.”

The woman said nothing in response as she was lead out of the interrogation room. Two detectives remained in the silence. 

“So, you think it’s our guy?”

“Without a shred of doubt. The girl is innocent, he played her for the advantage.”

“How can you be sure? It could be a copycat.”

“He left his call card. In the bag he gave her, all of the papers said had the word ‘instinct’ hand written on them. Hundreds of pages with that word written like a signature… Must have taken hours”

“Ah, those details were never disclosed to the press. He must be getting bored and wanted a new level of excitement by recruiting a bystander. “

“Nah, he was proving a point.”

“What point?”

“That he knows up better than we know ourselves.”

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