When she handed back my report to read aloud, I told her I didn’t need it and recited it word for word as she followed along. She didn’t know that I possessed a photographic memory. It was as if I was reading from the page. She was so impressed that she had me address the entire 8th grade class during an assembly. I was mortified, standing there center stage, and my buddies never let me live it down. They started calling me Moby. The name stuck.
Corey: Well, Detective, after hearing that, I feel the need to ask a question of my own. What sort of advantage does your eidetic memory give you in your work? Does it give you an edge in your investigations, or your interrogations of suspects?
Truax: There was a time, when I was young, that my photographic memory was what the kids today might call, a “mad” skill. But it wasn’t a skill at all. It was a gift. I could remember everything I was ever exposed to: dates, names, events, numbers, faces.... There were no limits. It was like a super power when it came to police work.
Corey: You speak of it in the past tense, Detective. Why is that?
Truax: Because I no longer possess it. I am nearing 60, the state’s age of mandatory retirement. Memory fades as one gets older, even a photographic one. Now I’m lucky if I can remember what I did yesterday.
Corey: I’m sorry to hear that, Detective. I expect it’s quite a loss.
Truax: To say the least.
Corey: But you must be looking forward to retirement. Do you have any plans, other than fishing?
Truax: I’d like to say I’m looking forward to retirement, but truth is I can’t afford it. Have you been paying attention to the economy, Mr. Corey? Our illustrious government has spent the state into poverty and has decimated the pensions of retirees to cover the shortfalls. Now they have their eye on those of us nearing retirement. They’re just looking for a reason to send us on our way in order to cut our pensions. They’re hiring college kids for a fraction of what they pay tenured cops, and if I screw up this investigation, my new captain will have my job.
Corey: Ah ... yes. So, we have another question here, from a Ms. Natalie Bowman. She’d like to know why is it you haven’t apprehended The Cyanide Killer yet. She says she’s afraid to leave her house and that the police have had plenty of time to catch him.
Truax: Not all homicides are cut and dried, Ms. Bowman. I can’t divulge too much, but suffice it to say that this investigation does not follow what we would call normal patterns. For example, the killer’s MO has changed since the earliest victims. Those were older women. The more recent victims are younger, prettier. But the toxin used in each homicide is identical across the board. The evidence points to a single killer, but I’m not so sure.
Corey: Sounds like you have a different theory.
Truax: I believe there is a copycat at work, but my captain has ordered me to focus on a single killer. True, the weapon is identical in all cases, but from what I see, that’s the only similarity.
Corey: An identical weapon? Isn’t that enough to go on?
Truax: Not for me. But as I said earlier, the captain is looking for a reason to unload my kind. He’s gone as far as to cozy up to the FBI—saddled me with a “partner;” I have her card right here. Special Agent Francis Vecchio. I call her Frankie. She hates it, so all the more reason to stay with it. She’s an attractive gal, and if I were 30 years younger I might have a go at her. But to my old-school way of thinking, she doesn’t know much about detective work. Keeps asking stupid questions and flashing her cleavage. I think my captain put her with me as a spy, or at the very least, a distraction. I must be careful around her.
Corey: An attractive partner? Well, Detective, I suppose there are worse ways to go. So I see the phone lines are lighting up, so how about we take a call?”
Corey: Hello caller. You’re on with Detective Truax.
Woman Caller: Detective Truax, from what I’ve heard, you sound old. Ah, ol-der. I don’t mean to be judgmental, but isn’t there someone else that could take this Cyanide case? Maybe someone younger?
Truax: Huh.... Sure there is. And I wish the captain saw fit to assign it to one of his young hotshots. The last thing I need at my age is to chase a serial killer, especially one who leaves nothing behind.
Woman Caller: But you just said you think there is a copycat out there. That means two killers, right?
Truax: Like I said ... the last thing I need.
Corey: We have another caller. You are on the line.
Male Caller: I work in the department, Detective, and I hear things.
Truax: Yeah? Like what?
Male Caller: Your Captain Atkins isn’t going to wait much longer for you to make some progress in the case. There are rumors he’s looking for a reason to replace you.
Truax: I thought I said that.
Male Caller: And when he does, what will you do then, Detective? You’re running out of time, Truax. So is your career. You’d better hurry. You’re in the way. People are waiting to step in.
Truax: Who is this?
Corey: Oh.... They hung up. You have an enemy, Detective.
Truax: More than one. That sounded like Atkins’s Golden Boy, Nichols; brown-nosing as—