Ian paced around his living room anxiously until the world would open. Then he jumped on his bike and fled towards a police station in a nearby district. Which made him even more nervous. Because, for some reason unknown to him, police officers scared the crap out of Ian. They always had. Sure, once that had been with good reason, since he’d been wrapped up in so many illegal activities. But now… He wasn’t doing anything illegal and the Dutch police aren’t prone to using excessive force. Ian knew he had nothing to fear, but yet…
The men in blue were looking at him with sideways glances. Ian was sure they were wondering what to arrest him for. He could just feel their eyes looking for the slightest mishap. One wrong move and they’d throw him in jail. Stop doing that mind, you aren’t doing anything wrong. They don’t know anything about you…
The woman at the desk was filing her nails when he walked up to her. She glanced him up and down, but made no attempt at a friendly smile, nor did she verbally acknowledge his existence.
“I’m here to see Captain Franssen.”
The woman rolled her eyes at him. “Right… do you have an appointment?”
Ian hated the woman already. “No, but he’ll want to talk to me.” He said with all the confidence he could muster without his usual synthetic boost.
“You can make an appointment by calling the station number.”
“Which you then will answer?” Ian had to ask. This lady was clearly not doing her job.
“Call the station number if you want to make an appointment.” She repeated then turned her gaze back on her nails.
Fuck this. This wasn’t going anywhere. A young woman in uniform carrying a huge stack of paper was fumbling with her keycard to enter the precinct and Ian took his chance. He walked up to her, said he’d help, and took her keycard to press it against the pad. The woman pushed the door open and smiled at him as he put the white-and-blue plastic card on top of the stack of paper. Then trailed behind her and closed the door.
“Hey! You’re not supposed to…” the high-pitched voice of the lady at the desk was cut off by the door closing. Okay, now he needed to hurry. Ian walked as fast as he could without actually bursting into a trot. All the while trying not to freak out over the fact that he had just broken INTO a police station. I’m such an idiot, they’re gonna lock me up for sure, it’s not gonna be alright, they will beat me to death for resisting arrest. Wait, am I resisting arrest?
“Hey you. What are you doing here?” A tall officer said, barricading his path. There we go. They're gonna lock me up and torture me. PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER!
“I’m looking for Captain Franssen.” Ian said, looking up at the man, completely void of the little confidence he had when he walked in.
“Alright, you just wait in this room, and I’ll go get him. Who can I tell him it is?”
Ian got himself manoeuvred in a small room without windows, well except the one in the door. An interrogation room, he was sure of it. Oh god, this was it. He was gonna die in a cell.
“Tell him it’s um… Perignon. I’m here about the paperwork.”
“What paperwork?” the officer asked.
There was obviously no paperwork involved, but paperwork just happened to be Inspector Gadget’s safeword. Ian sure hope it worked… “Don’t ask, just tell him.”
“Are you some kind of informant?” the officer said, one eyebrow raised. Why can people DO that!?
“Um, maybe?” Ian had no idea what to say anymore, but it seemed the answer was acceptable, as the tall officer nodded and left the room. He closed the door but didn’t lock it. He could still run. Ian didn’t though. He had been through all this, and he wasn’t gonna leave before he talked to the captain. Also, his legs were numb.
After what seemed like an hour (but probably wasn’t) the door opened, and the greying captain walked in. Face white as a sheet, but dark eyes fierce and forehead so contracted in frown, you could hide stuff between his wrinkles. He said nothing until he had locked the door behind him and drawn the blinds shut.
“How dare you show up here.” The man hissed. “I should’ve known you were a blackmailing bunch, but showing up at my station, where I WORK…”
“I’m sorry, I’m not here to blackmail you. It’s just. I need a favour and I don’t know anyone else I could ask.”
“Have you gotten yourself in trouble?” the man’s expression softened a bit, but his lips were still tensed.
“No. Well, I don’t know. It’s about my neighbour.”
“What?” the captain seemed confused. It was an interesting expression Ian had never seen on the man before. Thick eyebrows raised, creases between them deep like a canyon.
“I am afraid he’s a serial killer.”
“Holy shit. Why? What has he done?” There was genuine enthusiasm, interest and a little worry visible in the captain’s face. This look Ian did know. It said: bring it.
Ian tried to unravel the clutter of thoughts in his mind into a coherent statement and ended up with: “Well, he hasn’t done anything suspicious really. It’s about what he said. He said everyone that was ever his lover had died. And I know his husband died only 8 weeks ago and he doesn’t want to talk about it, and then last week there was a guy, and I don’t know. He calls himself mantis too. Like, praying mantis? The locust that beheads their mates?”
“Well, I just wanted to know if he was like, a suspect in open cases or something. Like, should I be worried?”
The captain sighed. “Mister… I don’t even know your real name.”
“Do you have to?”
“No, maybe I don’t. But you know I can’t tell you anything right? And if you don’t have anything concrete on the guy, I really don’t see what you’re doing here. Has he actually confessed to something? Or shown any suspicious activity?”
“No... But I’m afraid. And I figured, if he’s on your radar, maybe I could help. Right? So could you run his name through the system and then either tell me if I should be worried?”
“No. Officially, I could not.” The captain stated firmly. It annoyed Ian. The guy should be doing as he was asked, that was how their relationship worked. He had even asked nicely.
Wait a minute…
“Well I could always just walk all the way out here singing the Inspector Gadget theme song and making suggestive moves at you. That would at least get you some awkward questions, right? I could even tell them all my name and tell them to look me up. Then the entire station will be interested in knowing what you’ve been doing here with me, with the door locked and the blinds closed.”
“Watch me.” Ian started humming.
“Fuck you.” The captain said, but he sounded more unsure of himself. Good.
“Language Inspector, or do you I need to punish you?” Ian said sternly.
The look in the captain’s eye said a thousand words. Well if this was the play, then Ian’d play it. He stood up and leaned over the table towards the captain. Then looked down coldly and said: “You’re going to do exactly as I say and check your records for one Dylan de Jonge, then you’re going to return to me and tell me what they say.” He paused for dramatic effect, then sat back down. “Right now, Inspector.”
“Yes Master.” He was still frowning, but his eyes were smiling. The captain got up and walked out. What an idiot. How could they make a turd like that chief of police?
It did take ages for his slave to come back. Ian was already preparing a thorough scolding when the inspector came in. He looked sad. Why was he looking sad?
Ian waited until the captain had closed the door again, then leaned back in his chair and continued the act. “That took you long enough. Should I punish you for not making haste for your master?”
This didn’t have the intended reaction. The captain seemed off. He looked down as he took the chair opposite to Ian, then looked at him apologetically.
“Ian. I seriously doubt your neighbour is a serial killer, but I have some clue as to what he was talking about. He had some serious bad luck in his love life before, and his husband’s death was definitely a suicide. I cannot tell you more, so you should just ask him about it.”
Holy shit, suicide? Really? “Tell me.” Ian demanded.
The captain sighed and scribbled something on a piece of paper. “Google that.” He said, placing the scrap in Ian’s hand. “Now, I’ve said too much already, please get out and don’t ever show up here again.”
The last part sounded really final so Ian got up, thanked the captain, who had clearly reverted back to his normal persona, and got out as fast as he could without being suspicious.
Ian couldn’t wait. As soon as he got out of the police station, he sat down on a bench looking out on the canals and read the note. It said: Niels K. shooting in Nijmegen, 2011. Ian typed those exact terms into his search bar and found a shitload of articles.
He read them all. Then he read some again.
Niels K. (they never write down the entire last name of a criminal) had been a con artist. He had been dating wealthy men and women under various aliases, tricking them into giving them their money. Then he left them poor, in some cases nearly bankrupt, and moved on to the next one.
His last victim, an heir of some sort, had committed suicide as Niels had walked away with his money AND his boyfriend. According to the different articles, there was no agreement in the press whether or not the boyfriend had actually known about the fraud, or that he was being played as well.
What they did agree on was that the guy had called the police after receiving his ex’ suicide note. As the cops were banging in his door, Niels had apparently shot his new boyfriend in the chest and then himself in the head. The boyfriend had miraculously survived the shooting. After his release from the hospital he was arrested and tried, but released soon after he was found not guilty.
His name was listed as Dylan J.