Chapter 20: Heavy Rain
When Zhang Chi got to the garage it was still raining. He reached out the car window and felt the rain. Aside from the downpour it was also windy. Everything just right. Thinking about tonight, he took a deep breath and calmed his nerves.
Not far away he saW Gu Shi and another female colleague sharing an umbrella as they walked toward the subway station. He slowed down. He rolled down the window as he came up beside them and said to Gu Shi, “Let me give you a ride. Look, your clothes are all wet.” The taller Gu Shi had been sharing most of the umbrella with her co-worker so her left shoulder and back were wet, but she hadn’t noticed.
Gu Shi patted her shoulder indifferently, and seeing his car was not blocking traffic, turned and said to her co-worker, “Let me say a few words with him. Just a moment.” She went out in the rain and stuck her head in the passenger-side window. She was wearing a sky blue silk blouse with only the topmost button undone. Even though he couldn’t see anything when she bent down, he still couldn’t help but look.
Gu Shi noticed and glared at him. “I heard you’re going out on an assignment tonight. Are you prepared?”
“What’s there to prepare? I have my basic training from the police academy.”
Gu Shi knew he was not exaggerating. Word of his physical stamina had spread through the investigation team. He easily held records on the horizontal bars and long-distance running, which other male colleagues hesistated at. Later everyone learned he was on the army sports committee at the academy, and loved to run full marathons in his spare time. He never missed the annual competition.
She clearly had not been referring to his physical conditioning. “I don’t have any experience in catching criminals, but I know generally speaking there are two things to keep in mind: catching the suspect and protecting yourself. That’s in an ideal situation. If you can’t do both, then keeping yourself safe is number one, in my opinion.”
Zhang Chi’s original thought was to express his thanks once he saw how sincere she looked, but he unexpectedly reconsidered. “Thanks for the warning. I still remember that mother’s plea. I think I can do it myself.”
Gu Shi stepped closer and raised her voice. “You think you’re the only one who wants to avenge the victims? Yes, our work uses criminal investigation techniques and legal weapons to round up criminals. But the world doesn’t always work out the way you want it to. I still advise you to prepare yourself mentally. Sometimes things don’t go as smoothly as you think they will.”
Zhang Chi looked at her coldly. “A detective who is afraid of taking risks and worries about his safety is not a detective. Everyone has different values. You can watch me display mine on the scene. Okay, if you don’t want a ride, I’ll be on my way.” He motioned her away from the window, then stepped on the gas. Gu Shi silently watched his sports car speed away.
Hands on the steering wheel, his callous, arrogant expression gradually slackened, replaced with unbearable dejection. He felt a dull pain in his heart as he watched her figure recede in the rearview mirror. If this could let her look at him in a new light, even though it was a case of “if you don’t fight you won’t become friends”, it was better than not meeting each other at all. The situation now was nothing more than a temporary roadbump.
He turned on the radio to the traffic frequency to listen to the road condition report. He would head home, take a hot shower and conserve his strength. Tonight’s battle was the real challenge before him. He didn’t know what he might suddenly have to face. All that was certain was his determination to personally catch the man whose portrait was engraved in his mind.
Gu Shi’s warning hadn’t come out of the blue. Not long before he formally joined the crime team, a colleague had suffered a ruptured spleen from a heavy blow while apprehending a suspect. He was rushed to the hospital, barely saving his life. His family wailed pitifully and strongly urged for him to be given a long sick leave.
That danger seemed far away from them, not something that happened to everyone. But it was also very close to them. In the life of a detective, sooner or later, if it wasn’t someone else it would be yourself. Consequently, after starting a family a lot of detectives found it difficult to resist their loving family’s offensive, and applied to leave the crime team in exchange for a less dangerous post.
He turned on his computer and looked at the clock. It was now noon in Australia. His mother was likely busy preparing lunch. His father was probably getting staff together for a teleconference. He pulled back his hand that was about ready to open Skype. Forget it. There was no need to worry them, who were a thousand miles away. Even if something happened, they couldn’t do anything about it.
He would be lying if he said he wasn’t nervous. But he was even more excited, maybe even overexcited. He looked at WeChat. There was a message from Mr. Gu. It was concise and informative, but his voice was still gentle and affable. “Little Zhang, be bold, yet cautious. Safety first. Wish you a speedy success.” He didn’t know why, but listening to his message gradually calmed him down.
Once the composite sketch was dispatched and went through the investigators’ preliminary work, there was a quick response. They had a reliable lead. During the afternoon closed door arrest deployment meeting, the captain, in high spirits, explained and mobilized his men, and at the same time provided them some information. First, everyone had to memorize the composite sketch so they could grab their target. Second, the suspect was a motorcycle mechanic so they had to be prepared for him to flee. He could climb empty-handed and he was remarkably strong and had a lot of stamina. He often carried a knife.
It was the second half of the year and the unsolved and ongoing cases were accumulating. New and sudden cases were emerging one after another, so that the criminal investigation team’s cases were piling up like a mountain. Almost every experienced investigator separated the cases into categories and sorted them in order of urgency and importance. That way they’d not only have definite goals, it would also help to mitigate some of the stress brought on by working understaffed.
The most important were the urgent cases, those that had solid leads, those that were close to being solved, or cases involving nasty crimes, ones that had extensive influence and affected a lot of people, or cases assigned by higher authorities. Next were major criminal cases that had not made any progress. Last were those dealing with petty crimes.
The present cases involving robbery, murder, and arson were naturally the most important of the most important cases. Especially Zhang Chi, who had not been with them long, but who was a key figure in breaking cases, naturally could not be excluded as an important player in catching the criminal.
Now that he was calm, fatigue was setting in. He set his alarm and quickly dozed off.