“You have a visitor, Andrew.”

“Yeah…” came the voice. Gregson walked in, and Andrew came back to life.

“So, this is where you work,” Gregson said. He looked around, in the same way that children stare in horror at a nursing home. Gregson had bypassed slavery by going into business for himself, and his heart was stronger for it.

“Do you have time to talk?” Gregson asked.

“Yeah. I was just going to call you. I have a hunch about your profile based on some new information I gathered from Detective Talbert. There was pocket change scattered about each victim, and they all had library cards.”

“Sure,” Gregson said.

“Well, I don’t know if you’ve read Sherlock Holmes, but often, the most important clue is the one that’s missing.”

“Come again…”

“It’s the evidence that should be there, that isn’t. They call it, negative capability—being able to see what’s missing.”

“Like what?” Gregson asked.

“They were all patrons of the Maple Valley Library with outstanding library fines, and over 50 books checked out in their names, with several people waiting on items for months. That’s inconsiderate—like the boob who parks in a handicap zone, or the teenager who drives one of those power carts in the grocery store.”

“Okay, so are you telling me that our killer is polite?” Gregson asked.

“Extremely polite. We are looking for a neurotically pleasant person who always says and does the right thing,” Andrew said.

“So, what was missing?”

“Their library cards. The killer didn’t take any credit cards—so, money wasn’t the motive. You know that serial killers always take trophies from their victims.”

“Yes—that’s what was bothering me. There were no missing fingers… How did you get this information from Detective Talbert, anyway?”

“I coach his son’s basketball team. You know I have an interest in serial murder.”

“Yes, but it’s probably good not to advertise—people will think you are strange—or worse, a serial killer.”

“It’s okay—I’m a psychologist. People expect me to be a little weird, and it’s only natural for me to be interested in deviance.”

“Are you sure that’s not like perverts who become priests?”

“Maybe? Oh, well. It gives me an excuse to do what I do.”

“And that is?”

“Know the mind of a murderer. Let’s go to the Maple Valley Library, and load your revolver.

Gregson pulled it out of his jacket and started to load.

“Not here, you idiot—this is a gun-free zone.”

“Oh.” Gregson absentmindedly put the bullets back into his pocket. He looked at the knickknacks on the table and the artwork on the walls. It made him nauseous. No wonder people went insane.

4 thoughts on “Chapter 9 Negative Capability and the Missing Library Cards

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