Chapter Seventeen: A Lesson in Life
I can’t believe it’s been a year since that day. It feels like so little time has passed… or rather, that we were always together. It seems ridiculous to think we ever had difficulty with expressing our feelings for each other; they were always so natural and right, for both of us. And now nothing in the world seems more right than that we love each other.
We’re still in LA, of course, and still keeping the business going. Actually, we’re something of a success here, and we’ve started to work more closely with the local police. Whenever there’s a crime they can’t solve, they turn to us, just like they used to with L. We still use our old codenames, of course, just in case; but at home we’re Mihael and Mail. I’ve never felt closer to him.
We’re involved in a case at the moment, actually. Three armed robbers broke into a jewellery store and took over ten thousand dollars’ worth of goods; the peculiar thing is that the CCTV simply shows an empty store. No one can comprehend it. The tapes don’t appear to have been fiddled with; the only prints on them are those of the shop owner, and no one could get into the recorder without the key, which was still on the ring belonging, once again, to the owner.
So, of course, they rang Kriminalist HQ, and asked us to help. Well, we’ve spoken to a few people already; Mello’s done a good few interviews, and I’ve been poking around the shop itself, working out how they could have hacked the video system.
Mello reckons he’s solved it, but in typical Mells style, he won’t tell me what he’s worked out. He’s waiting for some kind of Poirot-style big reveal. I guess he’ll tell all when the time comes, all this drama is just kind of his style. I’m used to it by now.
Anyway, so, he called us to some kind of meeting in about half an hour; I woke up late this morning so I’m going straight there from home. He took the motorbike with him, so I’m in the car. I can’t wait to see if he’s solved it.
Haha, I’m a genius. I really am. With the data Matt gathered yesterday, and the interviews I took earlier, I’ve got this case wrapped up, evidence and everything. I guess the guys who did it won’t really appreciate me showing them they didn’t get away with it after all, but hell, that’s what I’m here for. What we’re here for, me and Matt.
The meeting is almost ready to begin. I’m just waiting for Matt; everyone else is here - the policemen who were investigating, the owner of the shop, the assistant who was there when she shop was robbed. And me, of course. When Matt enters the room, nodding an apology to me and taking his seat, I know it is time to begin.
“So.” I say. “Matt and I have done a lot of work over the last few days, investigating the case thoroughly; at first, I thought it was strange, all the little details the original investigation missed. Why did no one think to check the CCTV at the end of the road, knowing it was the only way in or out? Why did no one notice the glaringly obvious lack of CCTV footage there? Why didn’t anyone get a tech expert in to help?”
One of the more senior policeman opens his mouth to speak, but I lift a gloved hand to stop him, before continuing.
“As we continued to probe the holes in the investigation, all the threads around them began to unravel. Who had access to the keys? Who had access to the CCTV? Where could I get the technology or the skills to replace the footage and wipe out the evidence? These were the questions I had to answer to gather the keys to the case; and it turns out, the further I investigated, the closer to the investigation team itself the answers brought me.”
“Now just a moment.” The same man splutters. “What are you trying to say?”
“I’m trying to solve this case for you. Isn’t that what you asked for?” I challenge. He doesn’t reply, so I carry on. “I soon found that, yes, only one person had access to the keys. And only one person had access to the CCTV cameras. This means that it had to be done technologically, with the help of a program that Matt successfully traced and tracked down; we couldn’t get a source, because we needed the computer it came from. So we found the computer.”
At a sign from me, a young PC brings in a laptop and lays it on the desk in front of me. One of the other policemen in the room recognises it, and his face goes white.
“Your laptop; Yes, I know.” I cut him off. “Once we found it, it was only a matter of hours for Matt to uncover the original footage, despite the fact you thought it had been deleted. And once we found the footage, we could find and track the perpetrators. Once we had found the perpetrators, it was only a matter of time to getting the truth out of them. And of course, we know what the truth is… don’t we, Johnson?”
The senior guy, Johnson, leaps to his feet. He’s practically purple with rage.
“No need to say anything, Johnson. Your colleagues here will take care of things from now.” I tell him, as several other policemen enter the room and begin the process of arresting Johnson and his partners in crime.
While the offenders are being led away, I go over to Mells and grin at him.
“You did it again.” I say.
“Yeah…” He drawls, then grins. “Couldn’t have done it without your tech smarts, though.”
“Aww, you’re so modest.” I reply, faux-sweet, taking hold of his hand.
“Shut up.” He growls, pulling me into a bearhug and laughing.
When he lets go, there’s another policeman, a good one, coming up to us with a smile.
“I don’t know how you guys do it.” He says, clapping Mello on the shoulder. “You’re such a great team. How do you work so well together?”
“Simple.” Mello grins, and ruffles my hair affectionately. “We’re perfect halves of a perfect whole. How could any simple criminal ever get the better of us?”
So that’s our life now. Fighting crime instead of each other. And I couldn’t feel any happier if I tried.