Writing Prompt: (character) has telepathic abilities. Trouble is they can’t turn it off so have to hear people’s thoughts all the time. Good detective though. (source)
…. this coffee’s a little bitter, I should add some cream….
…. I’m getting tired of my beat; I need to speak to the captain… . …the psycho’s back I see…
…where did I leave my keys….
Thoughts echoed across the precinct, coming and going, phasing in and out of third ear shot. By this point I had become a mainstay at the forty-sixth, I had been given my own special little badge as well.
Another day, another case as a consulting mentalist. Mentalist being a very loose term for my gift, but it was more believable than what I really was.
“Hey Rain,” Sargent Holzer said walking up to me. * I should really ask her out today. No, no, that’s not professional, keep the case.* Sargent Holzer thought. Every time I was near him, he thought that, and to this date he hadn’t offered me anything more than a cup of coffee.
“Norman called me in today,” I asked the Sargent.
He scratched his neck, professional, he thought. “Could I get you some coffee?”
“Thanks, but no thanks. I already had a cup before I arrived. Can you point me to where I can find Norman?”
“He’s in integration room B,” he pointed down the hall towards where the carpet turned to dark lifeless concrete. “Can I get you anything else?”
“Water’s fine. Will you be joining us today?” I asked.
She asked if I was joining her today. She wants me with her! Sometimes he could be so naive.
“I will be. The Detective asked for me to be your escort. Do you want to wait here, or should I meet you at the gate?”
“I’ll meet you at the gate,” I said.
“One water coming right up, I’ll see you at the gate,” he said. Damn he thought.
The Sargent took off towards the breakroom, his thoughts fading into the distance like an an ambulance passing by. You did the right thing Cooper, you kept it pro-.
I continued down the hallways towards the holding interrogation rooms, the usual spot for my summons. In the dozens of times I had been at the precinct I think I’ve only sat in Norman’s office no more than three times. Thoughts of the officers faded into an out of my head while I strolled through the office.
Thoughts were thoughts in my head, there were no voices associated with them like you’d hear in TV shows or movies where the psychic character heard people’s inner monologues as if they were their own narrators. Some people don’t even have an inner narrator, but I could still read their minds loud and clear. Instead thoughts were always like intuitions, feelings of those around me. They echoed in and out of existence depending on the thinker’s proximity and the emotional strength behind them.
…was it at 7745 Chattanooga, or 7747 Chattanooga….
…gotta go take a piss…
…Rain’s hair looks nice today….
…man, my back hurts like a bitch… A thought faded into my head. Must be Charlie, the poor soul had been having back issues since he had gotten himself into a shoot out a few years before I started consulting. He had been ridden to desk work. That I knew because he had told me. I also knew that he had a dependency on prescription pain medication, that he kept silent about. That he did not tell me. “Hey Charlie,” I said when I rounded the corner.
“Rain!” Charlie said, he stood up off the metal chair, behind Charlie and the chair iron bars hung down from the ceiling all the way to the floor. He waddled over to me; his arms outstretched. I reciprocated with a hug. Charlie, ever the hugger. “Detective Sherwood told me you’d be in today. He says he finally got his guy. Needed you to help with the clean up.”
…. fuck this hurts …. Charlie thought. Another thing about Charlie, if he wasn’t on meds, he liked to hide is pain.
“How about you take a seat,” I said.
“Nonsense, I’m fine,” Charlie retaliated.
She’s right, I’m gonna keel over if I don’t get some support. Charlie thought.
I guided the wounded man back to the chair he had been at.
“There, that’s better,” I said as he took a seat. “They got you on guard duty today?”
“Yes mam,” Charlie said. “I needed the break; my eyes were getting tired of looking at the screens all day. Do you have an escort today?”
“Yeah, Sargent Holzer is my escort. He’ll be here soon.”
“While we wait how about we play one of your games?” Charlie asked. He loved doing this.
“Sure, what’s the challenge today?”
I should ask her to pick a number I’m thinking about. Nah, I did that last week. I’ll ask he if she can name the last three things I ate. Now let’s see, I had a turkey burger for lunch, a ham and cheese croissant for breakfast, and what was for dinner last night? Lasagna? No that was earlier this week. Oh yeah, Chicken Parmesan.
“Oh right, I got it!” Charlie snapped his fingers. “Here’s a challenge for you. I want you to name the last three things I ate.” I lightly snorted. You get used to pretending to be surprised when you’ve lived like this as long as you could remember. “Well that’s a new one. Alright,” I said squatting down to Charlie’s level.
“Should I exhale for you?” he asked.
“No,” I shook my head, “you can breathe normally. I don’t want your stinky breath on me.”
“Hey, I brushed my teeth after lunch,” he said.
“Did you really?” I looked him in the eyes.
No, I didn’t. He thought.
“No, I didn’t,” he admitted. “Alright, do your best.”
I sat in silence for a moment. I didn’t search for answers, I searched for explanations. The hardest part of this job was looking for visible clues to explain away everything I had already known. Retro-mentalism I called it. Charlie’s amusement over my gift had become a routine exercise to sharpen my observation skills.
Charlie wore a white button down tucked into black khakis. The creases of his collar were stained a light yellow. He must have worn that shirt yesterday as well. I spotted a small red stain sitting on the flap of his collar. Alright that’s the chicken parmesan I thought, or a fry with his burger. It didn’t matter, I had an explanation. I continued looking around his torso for other clues.
I must have really stumped her, Charlie thought. She never takes this long.
Report, check. Coffee. Check Water bottle. Check. A thought faded into my head, distracting me for a moment.
“Hey Charlie, hey Rain,” Sargent Holzer’s voice said. “What’s going on here?”
I held out a finger in the direction of the Sargent’s voice.
“Is this one of your games Charlie?” The Sargent asked.
“Shhh….” Charlie said.
Here I am trying to be all professional, and Charlie’s off lollygagging again with Rain, again. the Sargent thought.
I kept looking for other clues, crumbs or flakes or something. I shifted my gaze to his face. He had a little stubble today, might find some clues in there. Nothing. I carried on, shifting my gaze lower to his khakis.
Within the fibers of his khakis sat a few flecks of something, could be anything, but it was enough for me to go with. Two out of three down.
“You know the detective doesn’t like it when you two this,” Sargent Holzer said.
I sighed and stood up.
“Man, you really got me this time,” I said.
“Take a guess,” Charlie said.
“Let’s see,” I closed my eyes pretending to think. “You had a croissant for breakfast, a hamburger for lunch, and I’m stumped on last night’s dinner. Am I right?”
Wow she’s good, Charlie thought.
The detective is going to murder me, the Sargent thought.
“Common guess, I’ll tell you once you guess.”
I opened my eyes and sighed. “I don’t know, Lasagna.” I lied.
“Oh, so close!” Charlie snapped. “It was chicken parmesan.”
“Hey, you gotta give me points for guessing Italian!” I said.
“Alright, how did you know?”
“You have a small red stain near your collar, typical of eating fries with ketchup, so you had to have had a burger. And your pants have small croissant flakes on them. Making me guess three was unfair, I can’t guess your dinner last night if there aren’t any stains your clothes,” I said.
“Ready to go?” Holzer asked.
“I am,” I faced the Sargent. He held out the bottle of water, I took it. “Would you do us the honor and let us through?” I asked Charlie.
“Sure, thing mam,” he produced a key from his pocket and opened the gates. The chair and him were close enough to the gate so that the poor man wouldn’t have to stand up. The Sargent went through first, I followed behind.
“Rain,” Charlie said through the bars. “I had lasagna earlier this week.”
“I know,” I winked at him. I followed the Sargent down the hallway towards the interrogation rooms.
How does she do it? I heard Charlie think to himself.