“Case closed,” O’Reilly said. He dumped a pair of printouts on my desk and walked out again. I looked over them, and could hardly make out what they meant. Each sheet was a collection of short, disjointed sentences that seemed to connect only vaguely with each other.
The sheet on top was had the word ‘Gilliland’ scrawled on the header in green magic marker. It was a name I knew, the subject of one of my cases. Elsa Gilliland had turned up dead couple of days ago. The other sheet was, predictably, labeled ‘Montoya’. Her boyfriend, and our prime suspect. I read the sheet with his name on it first.
7:43 AM Woke up. Still cloudy, what a dismal week.
7:56 AM Elsa isn’t in the house. She must be mad at me about yesterday.
8:37 AM Found a note. It’s bad, Elsa’s gone for good. There must be another guy.
9:05 AM At the hardware store. Taking them forever to verify my credit card.
10:30 AM Over at Elsa’s office. The manager says she took a sick day.
1:15 PM I wish I knew where Elsa went. She’s not answering her phone. I’m going back home.
3:45 PM She twittered something about the park. I might catch her if I hurry.
8:15 PM Off to bed. Looks like sunshine tomorrow.
I shook my head. The sheet was obviously composed of Max Montoya’s Twitters for the day, but I didn’t see any relevance other than the fact that he was looking for Elsa on the day of her murder. But then, we already knew that from his cell phone records. I picked up the sheet with her name on it.
3:42 AM The rain has stopped. Finally! Max is asleep. Too drunk.
7:02 AM What a glorious day. It feels like the weight of the world is lifting off my shoulders.
8:13 AM I just called in sick. It’s my first day of freedom. The first day of the rest of my life. I want to enjoy it.
11:04 AM What a day!
12:54 PM I just spent the entire morning wandering around the city. I’d never realized how beautiful Richmond is before.
2:55 PM Lunch. Is there anything better than Italian on a sidewalk cafe?
2:59 PM Still cloudy, but no rain. The park is probably beautiful today.
4:26 PM ZOMG! Thought I saw Max. Good thing he didn’t see me. I would hate to run into him today.
I stared at the pages. This placed our main suspect at the scene of the crime moments before the murder. But what kind of an idiot would use his computer to tell the world that he was stalking a woman he was about to kill? I also suspected that we’d find that the purchase he made at the hardware store would turn out to be a hammer very similar to the one used in the killing.
You’d have to be completely insane to do something like that, wouldn’t you?
But then I reread his last entry.
It answered every question about what this monster felt towards his fellow man, and that poor young woman in the body bag. I’d never been so angry in my life.
Everyone smiled as I walked back towards my desk. The system might not approve of what I did, but my coworkers certainly did. They knew how hard the walk back after a suspension could be, and gave me space to remember where everything was. I’d been gone for a month, after all.
A full month without pay, as they ran me through every psychological test known to man. Did I have a violent nature? Was I a menace to society? Did the subject really resist arrest before I used what they called “completely unnecessary force” on him?
In the end, they’d had to concede that Montoya really had been resisting. That, combined with my spotless record for fifteen years and the fact that only two bones in his body had been broken in the incident, had saved my job, and I’d gotten off with a reprimand and a suspension.
When I reached my desk, I found a single printout taped to my monitor. It looked just like the page of tweets that had set me off a month ago, except there was only one message on it. A large block of text in O’Reilly’s childish scrawl said: I thought you’d want to see this one.
The message on the sheet had been written by Montoya. It was the first after our little run-in and composed just before the judge set no bail and they took his phone away for a good, long time. It made me smile.
3:30 PM Dmn. Its haard to rite with brnken thumbs.
Gustavo Bondoni is an Argentine writer whose writing spans everything from literary fiction to silly comic fantasy to creative nonfiction. His day job keeps him too busy to write novels, but, even so, he has recently finished writing one.