(Criminal)ly Inclined [Sakana w/ Cwolf0615]

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by fol·ly·cle, Jul 14, 2016.

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  1. (Criminal)ly Inclined

    "Do you believe some crimes are necessary? Following that same logic, do you believe some criminals are forgiveable?"

    -Restell City, 1999-
    Seven escapees; one escape. A kidnapper, a thief, an arsonist. A bomber, an assassin, an employer. A copycat, and the mastermind behind it all. None of them asked to be freed, but he broke them all out just the same, wearing only a single mask. The price for their freedom? Simply that they return to their ways, and play a game with him.

    "Find me before I find you."

    They couldn't tell from beyond the mask, but he was smiling as he issued this challenge and disappeared almost as quickly as he had appeared to free them. Some of them could only look on in intrigue, while others were happy with the challenge. One smiled to himself, as though he already knew who to look for.

    Seven escapees; one escape. A kidnapper, a thief, an arsonist. A bomber, an assassin, an employer. A copycat, and the mastermind behind it all. What game is he playing, and what's the prize?

    "My name? Teal Granger."


    "Thirty-five years old. Detective."

    A single, two-seater bike came to a stop in front of an brick building from which light was leaking out of a solitary window.

    "Is it safe? Of course it's safe. She's got me."

    The male that'd been riding through the dark of night with a backpack slung over his shoulder stepped off and motioned for his younger companion to follow.

    "Isn't hard enough to get these older ones adopted? I'm offering a nice home and an exciting life."

    The figure climbed the small flight of stairs, opened the door to the building and flicked on a nearby light switch, revealing a hall with two rooms on each side.

    "Teal Granger. Put 'er there. Nice to meet you, Jocelyn Runge."

    Teal closed the door once his "daughter" was inside, and made his way over to his desk, sliding the backpack off his shoulder as he walked. He tossed the bag on a black leather couch opposite his desk, that rested in front of one of the building's front windows. "I don't have any beds in here, so you'll have to sleep there." Having said this, Teal plopped himself in the swivel chair that rested behind his desk.

    His abode was a messy one. Folders and papers were strewn all over the place, and it lacked any real organization. There was only enough open room on his desk for him to prop his feet up on it when he did whatever it was he called "sleeping". She couldn't see into the other rooms, but it was easy to tell they were probably just as disastrous. The only clean room in the house was his kitchen, thanks to him rarely using it. He wasn't home often, and ate out often as a result. There was a room devoted to filing cabinets that looked like they were merely rummaged through whenever they saw any use. From the position and look of it, it was meant to be a bedroom rather than a storage room. The last room was the bathroom, which was simple at best. A bath, a toilet, and a sink.

    "This is where I sleep anyway." The male pulled his hat over his eyes, then lifted it up and looked at the girl. "Just like this, every night." Teal placed his hat on his desk and opened one of the drawers on his right, taking out a manila folder and opening it. 'It's been just around a week,' he thought to himself, sifting through the various papers and images within the thick folder.

    "Jocelyn..." Teal said aloud, looking up at the ceiling as though he were pondering something. He smiled after a moment, signaling he'd come to a decision. "Joey it is." He looked at Jocelyn, who'd by this time seated herself on the couch. Save for his communication with her, the only sound that could be heard was the hum of the air conditioner. "That alright with you?"
    • Love Love x 1

  2. Jocelyn Runge may have spent the last nine years of her life dreaming of this moment, but now that it was here, she didn’t exactly welcome it with open arms – she stumbled through it as if in a daze. The sting of the cool night air, the smell of the city, the faint light from the window above, the sound of their footsteps as they ascended the stairs; her senses dull, the world around her swirled together in a cacophony of insignificance.

    She’d desperately wanted a change, longed for it with every fiber of her being, but this was not quite what she’d had in mind. Countless hours had been spent arguing with the other children over who would have the prettiest mom and the richest dad. Hundreds of depictions of her future home had been drawn. Lesson after lesson had been ignored as she instead obsessed over how she would one day decorate her very own room. No, sleeping on a couch in the cluttered living room of a middle-aged bachelor who called himself a detective definitely hadn’t been included in any of her daydreams.

    There was no point thinking of things that could have been, though. Jocelyn had always very much preferred to focus on what could be. Had she done otherwise, she would have long ago been consumed by grief over the explosion that stole her childhood and her family in one fell swoop. While her fearful nature urged her to do otherwise, now, as she sat on this man’s couch, she made it her determination to give him a chance. After all, he might not be that bad.

    She gave a slight nod as he explained his own sleeping arrangements, though she wasn’t really paying attention. Eyes roving around the room, she took in her surroundings for a second time, trying to view them in a more positive light. Not cluttered, lived in. Not strange, exciting. Her eyes landed on the TV last, and she noticed for the first time what was on, and more importantly what was being spoke of: arson. Her reaction was immediate, and noticeable, as her body instinctively shrunk away from the mere mention of her fear. Her hands gripped at the couch cushions, and her eyes squeezed shut, as she took a moment to calm herself. It was difficult not to take it as a bad omen, but she quietly reminded herself of her earlier decision.
    “It might not be that bad. I might even like it here.”

    With a deep breath, she opened her eyes again, and returned her attention to her new caretaker. She smiled at him – a bright, sincere smile, despite her worries.

    “Yeah, that’s cool. I save Jocelyn for people I don’t like, anyways. Can’t be sure about you yet, but I figure I should at least try and give you the benefit of the doubt. I mean, we're probably gonna be spending a lot of time together, ya know?"
    • Love Love x 1
  3. Teal smiled at hearing Joey's response. "Glad to hear that I'm already someone you'd consider yourself as liking. Saves us the trouble of getting on the same page, doesn't it?" He noted her behaviors upon looking at her and looked at the television in his peripheral vision. "That's bothering you, eh? Fear of fire?" The male picked up the nearby remote and changed the channel to a classical music station. "It's not important to the case right now. That chick's been at it since the day she escaped." He and Joey shared a short moment of silent eye contact, when Teal realized that she probably had no clue what he was talking about.

    "The arsonist they mentioned on the television. She and six other criminals broke out of prison a little over a week ago. It hasn't even been that long and she's already at it again. Troublesome girl..." Though he made it seem like he was annoyed, he was actually glad to have work in. "Not much helping it. I hate to admit it, but I'm glad to be given work."

    Placing the manila folder back in the drawer, the detective almost face palmed himself when he realized he forgot again. "I'm always forgetting to take this damn thing off at night." He was referring, of course, to the beige trench coat he was wearing. He somehow didn't even notice how unusually hot he was from having ridden home on a bike while wearing it. After removing it and tossing it on a coat rack, making it appear as though this single possession was the only thing he treated with any sense of organization, he pointed towards the television. "This music," he spoke up. "A lot of the best criminals listen to it."

    The male looked at Joey, who seemed to be staring at the television screen, almost as if lost in thought over something. Teal gave a snap of his fingers and seated himself once more, leaning back in his chair. "That being said..." he started, pausing to light a cigarette. "...do you think some crime is necessary, Joey?"
    • Love Love x 1
  4. Jocelyn's smile weakened.

    The channel being changed was a relief, and while she was certainly grateful, this gratitude could not fully prevent the resentment that bubbled up inside of her every time someone realized her fear. It wasn't as if she'd expected Teal not to learn of it; It was always nothing more than a matter of time. Her fear was much too intense to keep hidden for long. On a bad day, the mere utterance of the dreaded word could be enough to make her breath catch within her throat. No, she knew he would find out sooner or later. She'd simply hoped it had been later. She was not keen on giving away one of her biggest weaknesses to someone she barely knew, even if that was what she almost always inevitably ended up doing.

    She pushed the issue aside in her mind, doing her best to focus on him as he spoke. Though she found the mere idea somewhat ridiculous, he was her new caretaker, her new "father". That fact alone required her to place more trust in him than she had placed on anyone in a long time. He already had the capability to do a great deal of damage if he pleased, to endow him with a bit more ammunition wouldn't change much.

    He finished filling her in - albeit briefly - on the current criminal situation, to which she gave nothing but a nod. His comment on his jacket garnered a slight eye roll. A detective who constantly wore a trench-coat? How cliche.
    "Somebody's trying too hard."

    At the mention of the music, she turned her attention to the TV. She hated to admit it, but she was getting tired of this conversation. The constant cycle of dread and reassurance that went on within her mind anytime she talked with someone new could be quite exhausting. Though, she did find the statement somewhat intriguing, if not particularly surprising. If she had to guess, she'd think there was more of a correlation between successful criminals and intelligence than successful criminals and classical music. After all, wasn't the stereotype that smart people listened to that stuff...?

    "...do you think some crime is necessary, Joey?"

    She quickly snapped her head over towards Teal. The question had caught her off guard. "Oh... um..."
    She glared down at the floor for a moment, any remains of her smile crumbling away, as her expression furrowed into that of a frown.

    Throughout her life, she'd asked herself many times why people committed crimes. Never once, though, had she asked herself if crimes were necessary. The thought had never so much as crossed her mind.

    "...Well I... I mean, I... guess so, maybe..."
    She stumbled over her words, hands clawing at each other as she wrung them together.

    "I'd never really thought about it? But... I... guess sometimes people need to commit them... and... maybe it's the old... there can't be light without dark thing? I guess, what I'm trying to say is..."

    She trailed off for a moment, letting out a sigh, and averting her eyes.

    "Some people probably have their reasons, you know? Maybe they're good reasons. Maybe the good outweighs the bad. Maybe it doesn't, but they thought it did. Maybe it serves a purpose. Seems like a lot of times all anybody cares about is hurting other people though... and that's not ever necessary, if you ask me."

    • Love Love x 1
  5. Teal smiled in hearing the girl's response. 'That the good outweighs the bad... A common answer, but a good one nonetheless.' His attention directed towards the television, he took some time to think to himself. "I think, for this question, that..." he began, smiling to himself as though self-pleased. "...the right answer is that there is no right answer." Though he'd said something so profound, he didn't plan on giving any explanation. "Not everyone will hold the same viewpoint, but being in the detective game as long as I have does something to you." His voice put emphasis on the phrase "detective game" as though that's what it really was - a "game".

    The television's song finished, it eased into the next classical tune, that being Beethoven's Funeral March. "You come off to me as the type of person that does more thinking than they'd like to admit. Do you think a lot, Joey?" the detective asked her. After giving her time to respond, he continued speaking of his own mind. "Thinking is important. It's what separates us from other beings." He'd done a lot of talking by now, but it wasn't something he put any thought into. Talking, after all, was a great way to relay information. For a lot of his purposes, however, it wasn't the greatest.

    "I can tell that you're not really into this sort of stuff. That being said, I'll cut right to the chase." Teal stood from his seat, making sure to grab the manila folder with all the files within as he rose. "Since you're going to be living here now, it's going to be just like any other home. You can eat what little I have available in my fridge, and you can nap when you please. You will, however, have a job. For that, I give you two options."

    Teal approached Joey and seated himself on the side of the couch opposite her, near the television, which he'd assumed she moved away from because of the content previously being displayed. "You can be the house keeper. Cleaning, running errands, and a varied assortment of other mundane activities. Or..." The male smiled and held out the folder he'd carried over with him. "...you can become my detective's assistant, and work my cases with me. I'll pay you, of course."

    Before she could take it, Teal withdrew the extended folder and retreated back to his desk. "Not that there's any pressure. I'd prefer you do whatever would make you more comfortable. Detective work can get dangerous at times... I do promise you, though, that you'll rarely suffer from boredom."
  6. "Do you think a lot Joey?"

    Jocelyn glanced back over at Teal, directing a quizzical look his way.
    "Not more than anyone else, I assume."

    That wasn't entirely the truth; Jocelyn knew this, even as she uttered the words. She thought quite a lot. In fact, she thought almost constantly. All this thinking had led her to the conclusion that people could not possibly experience the world in the same way. For that reason, she had no clue just how much other people must think.

    "That being said, I'll cut right to the chase."
    Teal said, finally.

    Jocelyn immediately sat straighter, listening more aptly than she had during the entire conversation.
    Housekeeper or detective's assistant? It wasn't exactly a hard decision.

    Her smile returned, and she responded without a moment of hesitation.
    "Detective work sounds pretty interesting."
    • Love Love x 1
  7. "Alright then. It's settled!" Teal smiled and pulled a small manila folder out of his drawer, replacing it with the one he'd been carrying around earlier. "In that case, no pun intended, we'll start right away on this small fry here." He motioned for her to come over and take the folder from him, which she took back to the couch with her. Within the folder was a picture of a male who looked unkempt, roughly in his 30s. His hair and eyes were a dirty brown, and his face had a messy trim. There were also records of places he'd hit up and robbed at gunpoint. All of them were small chain stores, and the alarm wasn't set off until after he was done robbing each place.

    "We don't normally take small cases like this, but I think it'll be good practice for a detective-in-training." Still bearing that eternal smile on his face, he pulled out a carton of cigarettes and lit one, taking a single puff before placing it in a nearby ashtray. "Will Hughes. Had a job as a regional store manager for E-Tronics until he got fired for mistreating his fellow employees. Ever since then, he's been hitting up small stores. In all cases, none of the alarms were triggered until after the robbery was over. All police have is this face and a name. Do you think it's just a simple robbery chain, or something more?" He took another puff from his cigarette, waiting for Joey's response.
    • Love Love x 1
  8. Jocelyn stood, and took the folder, before returning to the couch. She pulled her legs up under herself, and began flipping through the information contained within it. She gave the occasional nod as he spoke, to indicate she was paying attention, eyes trained intently on the case details before herself.

    "Well, I'm certainly going to need a lot."
    She mumbled, after his remark on the case being good practice.

    Her response to his final question was given after a few moments of silence. When she finally spoke, she sounded hesitant, seemingly afraid to say something wrong.

    "Well... it doesn't really sound like much at first... I mean... a bunch of small robberies like this? You see that all the time. Kids not that much older than me pull off this sort of junk."

    She shook her head.

    "But at the same time... the stuff he's stealing doesn't make any sense, you know? What's the point? He can't be making very much money off of it. And what else is he going to use it for? I can't think of why anyone who would steal this sort of stuff. I certainly wouldn't. Feels kind of fishy."

    She placed the folder on her lap.

    "Don't know what sort of 'sinister master plot' would require a person to act this way, though."
    She raised her hands, signing quotation marks as she spoke.

    "I don't know. Maybe he's just really dumb. Or feels like lashing out at a bunch of innocent store owners."
    • Love Love x 1
  9. "It's very possible that he is just a small time criminal, lashing out in frustration. That's where the inconsistencies show themselves, though." Teal placed his cigarette in the ash tray upon his desk. There was a string dangling from behind where he sat, which he pulled down to reveal a projector screen. He pushed himself to the side of the desk, so as not to obstruct Joey's view, and pushed a button on a small clicker. A machine near Joey whirred on, and within seconds, a map of the local area displayed itself on the screen. Several spots were marked in red, and they were spaced out in a circular shape. "These are all the places he's been reported as having robbed. The first problem with the 'Idiot Hypothesis' is that there's no reason for him to lash out at smaller stores. Why wouldn't he target the one he was fired from?

    "Secondly, he's stealing things of almost no value. What's the point? He could just be angry, but why put yourself out there as a criminal over something so trivial. If I were to commit a crime, no matter the reason, I'd want to make it worthwhile." Teal clicked the remote, switching to a slide that seemed to be from camera footage. "Then there's this." The image was that of a masked man stuffing items into a bag with one hand, and pointing a gun at the store clerk with the other. "He's wearing the same clothes that he was wearing when he committed the first crime, but why the sudden decision to wear a mask? It doesn't make much sense if you ask me."

    With another click of the remote, another slide was brought up, revealing a close up image of the gun. "And this is what I find most intriguing. It's hard for an untrained eye to tell, but the safety of his weapon is on. It's obvious that he had no intent on killing his 'victim', even if he tried something. If the alarm was pulled, he'd only have enough time to flee the scene." The detective was sure that everything he was saying seemed to make sense, even if his ideas were a bit over the place.

    "Another question." Teal returned to his place in front of his desk, after clicking for the machine to turn off and replacing the screen behind him. "What do you think the possibility is that these small crimes are just practice for a bigger hit? That these stores aren't his actual targets, but merely training for what he really wants to do, as well as decoys to deceive the police?"
    • Love Love x 1
  10. Jocelyn didn't like saying the wrong thing. But then, who did? It put her on edge, but it wasn't as if she could be expected to get good at this within the span of a few minutes. She certainly hadn't spent her life training in anticipation of this moment. It was silly to feel nervous; She knew that, but it didn't necessarily do much to calm her nerves. Surely it had to have taken Teal quite some time to get so good at coming to these sorts of conclusions, hadn't it? Practice makes perfect, after all. Or, well... at least, less horrible.

    She leaned forward, to get a better view of the images projected on the screen. "Well... yeah, I guess that might make sense!"

    As before, she sounded somewhat hesitant to begin with, but she picked up momentum as she spoke, her voice slowly sounding more clear and even something akin to confident.

    "That would give reason to what otherwise seems to be an irrational pattern of thefts. If all he's doing is practicing, than it doesn't really matter what he steals. For him it would be all about how he steals it, so of course he wouldn't feel compelled to pick up anything that he could actually use or sell. The fact that the gun isn't ready to shoot just backs that up. Actually stealing things wasn't ever his motive, and he's obviously not just taking frustration out. If he was this probably would have ended more violently, or at least... you know, had an actual potential for violence."

    She glanced down, picking at the end of one of her sleeves.

    "Plus it obviously works pretty well as a decoy. Sure fooled me. Though I'm not very good at this."

    She allowed her eyes to wander back up towards Teal.

    "Not that that's super important right now. I guess the real thing that needs figured out now is what he's actually planning. You know, if that theory is correct."

    • Love Love x 1
  11. Teal smiled, noting the girl's increasing confidence as she pondered his inquiry. "You catch on quicker than you lead people to believe," he told her, proud that she was able to keep up. "Yes, I'm convinced that there's more to all of this than simply stealing knickknacks from small stores."

    Opening a drawer, Teal removed another folder and laid it down upon his desk. The detective sprawled the contents out for Joey to see. What she would see, exactly, was a bunch of employee records, afforded to him by the police. "This is where things become really interesting..." A smile was plastered on his face as though he'd discovered something groundbreaking. Such was the look he always donned when a moment of eureka struck him.

    "According to the employee records of those running the register during the time of the burglaries, they were all former employees of E-Tronics. I find it hard to believe this to be a coincidence." After allowing her a peek at them, he returned the files to the drawer and locked it tightly. "Upon receiving permission from the police, I did some investigating of my own, looking into the records of all the employees that work in small stores in the local area where the burglaries took place. From what I've found, he already burglarized all the stores possessing former employees of E-Tronics. Care to hazard a guess as to what that means?"
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