It’s hard to chat up a nurse, no matter how attractive she may be, when she doesn’t understand a word you say and when she’s waiting for you to finish pissing into a bottle. Walking outside and finally free after the only conversations I had were one sided while taking a leak is like heaven. Fran came back at some point to collect the papers, his similar work had been as productive as mine. Nothing, though I did find out I spent seven days in hospital.
The line-out had proved a disaster, Savage agreed to it, even wore the Leinster Shirt and the hat, but the lounge girl couldn’t say it was anyone out of the whole line up. The lab looked at the envelope and it was all negative, no prints and no DNA. To make sure they checked at Savage’s house and he had no printer or computer, it didn’t matter as this time he had an alibi for each moment of the evening of the letter being delivered. Turns out the second receptionist at the bank quite liked his outlaw status and he was in bed with her. We both agreed Savage had all the stylings of a very sharp stick being dragged against the bottom of a well drained barrel.
If we admit it, we’re stumped, Delaney has an alibi and even Sheridan doesn’t think there’s much in Lyons, but wants him closely watched. Just not by me. We’re now at a point now where unless something drastic happens, we’re never going to solve this unless another body turns up to give us something else to work on.
Another factor I’d heard of from the papers, but found out more on a return to the office involved Enfield. I tried to sniff around, for some obvious reasons, but Roche has the case. I’ve no chance of getting anything out of him.
From what we can tell it probably went something like this:
Solo traveller boards the Bus Éireann number twenty to Galway at Busáras Dublin. The bus is almost full, mainly old women and students, but also couple of other men on their own. He sits at the back while everyone else takes the other seats and the journey sets off as normal. Sometime after the stop at Maynooth terminus one of the few other solo travellers makes his way to the toilet. As the the guy comes out from the toilet, he turns to the loan traveller at the back and shoots him in the face. Twice. It takes a while for anyone to really realise what has happened and by that time the guy has walked past all of them to the front of the bus told the driver to pull over and he gets out. The driver thinks he heard a car taking off at speed very soon afterwards from nearby. Nobody remembers a thing about the shooter and we couldn’t get a consistent description of him, though there are certain features that lead me to suspect who it might be.
The victim has little face or teeth to identify from so his fingerprints are all we have and a multitude of fake ID in his bag. Soon after these details went into the system Roche had a call from the Specialist Detective Unit, the victim was flagged up on their system as a runner. The guy floats via public transport from town to town until called upon to do a job by powers that be in the North. His last job must have been in Dublin. Sometimes despite what you might think snap judgements can result in two and two equalling four. The shooter, despite the inconstancies in the statements, there’s too many similarities to Danny Dent. The victim is identified as being a known paramilitary associate from the North. Current SDU thinking is that this is likely a gangland thing and that the killer is probably another runner who we’ll never find. Current thinking from Roche is to give me a hard time.
“Feeling better?” He corners me at the urinals. Talk about vulnerable. I’m just about used to not pissing lying down and he breaks the unwritten rule of no complicated chat at the urinals. Eyes forward fixed on an imaginary spot on the wall or straight down at the jet stream, conversation sports and girls only.
“To be honest, not much. They did a good job on me.”
“True. We should have a had a book on it.”
“I’d have just gone and got myself beaten up early so you’d have lost money.”
“We’d have rules. If you did it deliberately, no bets. Either work related or no bets.”
“How’s the shooting going.”
“Why do you ask?”
“Because it’s big news and the investigating officer is stood next to me.” He’s at the hand drier and I’m waiting for him to finish.
“It’s a dead end. Though the runner, he’s a potential associate of Cunningham.”
“Yeah. Interesting that there’s a strong chance he’s one of the ones that put you in hospital.”
“Sure, all works out great. And then there’s the shooter.”
“Looks like Danny Dent I heard.”
“Well witnesses are sketchy, but I’d say a reasonable likeness from descriptions.”
“So arrest him.”
“I wanted to speak to you first.”
“You need my help?”
“You’ve not heard?”
“Sheridan’s putting you on the case as well.”
As we stand, in my absence both Sarah and Lyons are doing fine. Sarah and Eileen obviously have lives to lead. Eileen went back to her boyfriend, she was probably never in danger anyway. Sarah went back to being on her own at her apartment. Time had passed and no incidents had occurred. Guards were called off at Sarah’s request.
The media had also been quiet on Kelly, seems his fifteen minutes were up, and about time too. Though Healy ran his story on psychics and my involvement in the case. Sheridan laughed, like he does at anything in that rag.
I was moving easier, though with a pronounced limp. Work decided that it would be best if I were office based, so myself and Fran swapped roles if needs be, though at the moment it was irrelevant as there was little to call any of us out the office. I still wanted to speak to Kelly, I wanted to see what his angle was and to let him know that I’d done my own research and know of his past.
Wasting time at work proved only slightly less a chore than sitting in a hospital. Those people who long for jobs with nothing to do must be mad, even if it’s typing in numbers all day, it has to be better than sitting there trying to look busy.
Fran and myself use the brief time together to work on our thoughts and to eliminate as many of the red herrings as we can. It wasn’t breaking any rules, considering I wasn’t officially on the case in the first place, what harm could it do to keep on giving Fran an unofficial hand? Despite both our reservations we decide that we’ll take on board the chance that Lyons’ experiences are fact, though we won’t tell anyone and only because it gives us an avenue to bring the letter in.
Fran didn’t seem to see what my problem was with the picture, he agreed it wasn’t Aisling and doesn’t understand how I ever thought it was and when it came to trying to explain why the face didn’t fit, he wasn’t with me, so the picture was put to one side.
With Savage now out of the picture there was no one to focus our investigation on. Without any witnesses coming forward to give a hint as to the appearance of the man who was with Aisling in Myos, we were really at a stalemate, unless of course he struck again. As is sometimes the case, our best route to catching the guy responsible may only come with another young girl losing her life. We never say it, but we all think it, but then do everything to put that thought out of our minds.
Nothing was happening so I made my excuses and went back to my desk, I had some paperwork from before Aisling that needed sorting and sitting around with Fran knowing we were stuck wasn’t helping things.
In a fit of nothing better to do I decided to see if there was any information on Kelly’s main detractor, Dr Allen. I searched for Dr Allen and University of California. Unfortunately the thing came up with over two thousand results so it proved a laborious task to work through them all to find the information I needed. Eventually it came up with what I was looking for, his email address.
I wrote down the address and proceeded to send off an email to Dr Allen. I presumed the he would be smart so I tried to be as formal as I could in the mail, mainly by just sticking to the facts. Them being that Dr Kelly is over here and is in some way not only making a nuisance of himself, but seems to have got himself involved in a murder case, I then asked if it would be possible for Dr Allen to take time out of his schedule to contact me and to possibly talk about Kelly’s past. It was sent and I went off for lunch. A long lunch.
I grab a sandwich, what would have previously been described as chicken, lettuce and mayonaise now has becomes unrecognisable in it's description and form. Plain ingredients went sometime ago, now everything has to have the distinct taste of where they came from. Lettuce was too dull, so the green stuff has to come from beside a canal and taste of canal. Cheese slices are passé, now it must be goats cheese and taste of goat. My taste buds recede from the taste onslaught and call me a ponce.
I finish the sandwich and head to Grafton Street. There, as arranged, in the noisiest, busiest music shop possible is Danny Dent waiting at the DVD section. It’s not even small talk time. Instead I leave a note at one of the titles behind him, which, as arranged, he picks up as I head off. It’s only a small note. A note that explains the information and times he needs to have an alibi for regarding his whereabouts when the Enfield murder took place. I’ve noted the programmes that were on at the time as well as instruction on where to get DVD copies so that he can swot up on what episodes were played and what precisely he should say about what he was doing the day before, the day of the murder and the day after and what we have so far and what he needs to get answers for.
Tell me what else I’m supposed to do?
As I get into the office my mobile phone rings, it’s a private number that on an ordinary occasion I would ignore and let them leave a message, in the middle of an investigation though it could the call that means the world.
“Hi, is that Detective James Byrne?” An American accent comes through a particularly bad line.
“Yes, who’s this?”
“Hi, sorry the line’s bad I can barely hear you. This is Dr Allen, I just got your email.”
“Dr Allen, wow that was quick. Listen, can you call me back on my at my office line I’ll be there in five minutes.” I gave him the number again for good measure, though it needed several repeats and made my way back.
Rather than give him my office number I’d given him one of the meeting room numbers and hopefully it was free. It would easier to speak frankly with Dr Allen without the distraction of having others listening in. By others I mean Fran.
“It is, thanks for calling Doctor, I’ve only just realised the time it must be there.”
“Ah, well it’s not as bad as you may think, I’m actually in New York and was checking my emails over breakfast, it’s only just gone nine here. I have to admit, I am intrigued by you note, I haven’t heard a mention of Dr Kelly in a long time now, I was hoping he’d disappear.”
“Unfortunately not Doctor, he’s trying to make a name for himself over here now.”
“How so?” So I filled him in on what had occurred to date with Dr Kelly. “Interesting.” He said. “Very interesting. It’s like the man, typical of him. He always published papers and addressed conferences before he even had a scrap of evidence, unfortunately at that stage the damage is already done. The media rarely read actual scientific papers and just pick up on his sound bites and general pseudo-science nonsense and repeat it as if it’s fact.”
“And the general population is left talking in pubs how science has proven such and such even though they only read it in the tabloids, it seems to be the same everywhere Doctor.”
“You wouldn’t believe the harm it really does to science Detective.”
“So you’d say he was a fraud?”
“Not exactly, his credentials are genuine and he started off with some interesting studies into the criminal mind.”
“In a nutshell, yes Detective. It's a fascinating field and sorely in need of as much good research as we can get.”
“And Dr Kelly was doing good research?”
“Yes. Initially he did some very good research into psychopathy behaviour. We would ordinarily say that psychopaths are incapable of many feelings, more famously empathy. How and why isn’t always obvious. The only thing we do know is that it’s only in extreme cases where sociopathic behaviour leads to murder. Extremely rare.”
Interesting though this is, I didn’t contact the doctor to get a refresher on the psychology training Templemore. “So where did Dr Kelly start to deviate from good research?”
“In his conclusions. Like all good science he made observations and then based hypotheses on these. Unfortunately he didn’t seem that keen on waiting for the results to back these up and started producing numerous papers and articles on his ideas that psychopathic behaviour was normal.”
“And this is where it gets silly?”
“Not specifically, it was his application of evolution to his theories.”
“His belief that sociopaths were the next shift in the evolutionary process?”
“Yes, that. Detective, it’s hard enough sometimes to promote evolution over here. In short detective, I can categorically say this theory is best left for comic books or Philip K Dick.”
“So it’s not evolution?”
“Not even remotely. Detective, we’re all mutants ever since the first spark of life we’ve been mutants. It’s ongoing, slowly as we perceive it, but ongoing. This doesn’t mean that each random mutation is the next step in evolution. I could have been born with four legs, which might on the face of it give me some competitive edge over all other bipeds. Unfortunately until the female of the species identified the extra two legs as a trait they’d like to see in their offspring, I’d simply remain a “freak” or circus act.”
“Doctor, why exactly did you take such an exception to him and his work? If it was so obviously unscientific, why worry?”
“Lack of supporting evidence for one, he presented them as fact in all his papers and even falsified data in some cases to support this. The whole idea was preposterous and it became very clear that he was starting to actually envy the sociopaths he was working with.”
“In how they were, for one thing they were incapable of making emotional attachments, but they didn’t miss not loving anyone or being loved, they simply didn’t need it. I think he found that attractive.”
“Would there be any background to why he felt that?”
“Detective, I don’t like to speculate and will state that in all my work debunking Dr Kelly’s ideas I never moved beyond a professional look at his work, I never made it personal, unlike him. However, to my knowledge Dr Kelly has never been married and was never really identified with a partner no matter what sex or however temporary.”
“So he couldn’t get laid?”
“I loathe to be so crass, but yes.”
“And in you’re professional opinion could that explain why he associated so much with that trait of sociopaths?”
“I couldn’t say Detective, I have no first hand experience of Dr Kelly’s personal life, I regret mentioning it now seeing as it was all based upon hearsay really.”
“I understand. One thing though Doctor is that Kelly is now purporting an interest in areas of a more paranormal nature. Was there any indication of this in his previous work?”
“You mentioned precognition in your email, and yes he certainly was. He was working with a few sociopaths that did go on to murder and in some cases serial murders. In his research he also looked into some of those who claimed to have seen the murders in visions or dreams. The accounts of precognition varied, in some cases the person said they were remote from the murder, third party say, some were empathising with the victim and some the murderer himself. It was the latter he was interested in more. For him it was of great interest having someone of let’s say “normal” moral feelings being put into a situation where they felt the same removal of emotions as the sociopath. He felt this was worthy of research as it gave a better understanding of what could possibly be going on inside the minds of the sociopaths as opposed to them trying to describe their condition themselves.”
“What difference did it make?”
“To the sociopath their feelings are normal, so it can be hard to really grasp what they mean and for them to put into words what they feel. For example, could you explain the emotion of love? It’s a normal and sometimes common emotion for you and I, yet we take it for granted. The concept would be similar to putting someone who has never felt, experienced or has a concept of love into a situation where they suddenly experience it and then get them to describe it. Their expressions and details would be far greater than anything that even Shakespeare could possibly give. His idea was of interest, that a “normal” person put into the mind of a sociopath could give a greater insight, but it relied on the huge logical leap that precognition actually occurred.”
“So he set out to prove it.”
“He tried, but he just replicated the numerous tests that had been done before and really just came up with the statistically insignificant results that they did.”
“Not one test showed that precognition exists?”
“I’d be lying if I said no. There have been some, but the results of those are still hotly debated as to their merits, the results haven’t been replicated and the statistical significance of the positive findings is pretty weak at best. In short we’re still none the wiser. It’s an area many would like to see more research, but it can be very difficult to raise the funding for this.”
“Is Dr Kelly dangerous though?”
“I couldn’t honestly say Detective, he worried me considerably and there was a time I thought that he might be a danger.”
“You mean he’s a psychopath?”
“No, far from it, he doesn’t display any of the real profile of a one. I was worried because I felt that he wished he was. He was probably just the shy kid at school who was more interested in study than sports and girlfriends, it’s pure speculation but I got the impression that he envied the them, mainly for their control and influence. I think he wished he was a sociopath in order to explain his more personal failings.”
“But of course you wouldn’t really know him that well personally?”
“Alas no, so apart from hearsay my own theory has little basis in demonstrable fact. I’m sorry Detective, but I really do have to go soon, I’m here in New York for a conference and I’d really like to attend the morning session at least. I know I can’t really offer much more other than what you’ve probably gleaned off my reports on his work, but your email sparked off old feelings and I was curious as to what Dr Kelly was up to now.”
“You’ve been a great help doctor, I appreciate you being so prompt in calling me. Enjoy the conference.”
One thing in my favour is that Dr Allen couldn’t afford to use hearsay and personal supposition as a basis for rash actions or conclusions, but I can. Time to start digging a little deeper into the Kelly’s private life. Starting with what he may have been doing on Saturday afternoon. Time to get a fresh pointy stick into that drained barrel.