I stood at the front of the first class of the semester. The list of students was before me in braille. I called out their names and received a response for each name. All thirty students were in attendance ready to absorb all the information I had to give them. My hands were shaking. I gripped the podium for strength. I ran my right hand along the wood grain. It was rough even through my thin gloves. I adjusted my sunglasses and cleared my throat.
“Welcome everyone, to Criminology 101. I am Dr. Davies. Before we get started, does anyone have any questions about the class?”
The room grew silent.
“So there are no questions?” I asked again.
“Are you blind?” A male voice asked loudly.
“As a matter of fact, yes I am.”
“How does a blind person teach?” This time a female voice quipped.
“I speak and you listen.”
“So you can’t see anything at all?” The male from before asked.
“That is the working definition of blind isn’t it?”
“You’re the teacher.”
“Actually, I’m the Doctor. I have a PhD in Criminology. Which reminds me; that is the actual topic of this class. The next time anyone speaks, please state your name first. I will be able to pick up on your voice and begin to recognize it. Now to start with, what makes someone a criminal?”
“My name is Patricia. A criminal is someone who commits a crime and is guilty of breaking the law.”
“Good, that’s what a criminal is. However, that is not necessarily what makes someone a criminal.”
“Patricia again, would a person’s upbringing factor in?”
“Yes and no. Most people are influenced by their environment or how much they were loved as children. But, I have known criminals that came from perfectly fine non-broken homes that still commit quite heinous crimes. What is the factor here?”
“Andrew here, maybe they just like it?”
“Bingo. You got the gist of it anyway. Sometimes, just sometimes there is no motive for what people do. This is where what I like to call the bat-shit crazy factor comes into play. Textbooks usually don’t cover this. Sometimes the only logical explanation is an illogical one.”
The door to the classroom creaked open. The sound of heavy footsteps followed. They must have been boots. A hint of perfume wafted through the air.
“Dr. Alphonse Davies?” A commanding voice asked with a hint of question.
“I am Officer Brown. The Evansville Police Department requires your assistance in a case. Please come with me, you will be briefed in the car.”
“Pardon me, but this is the first day of class. Besides, I’m not going anywhere with a man that wears perfume.”
“Alphonse, what if I asked for your help?” A familiar female voice entered the conversation.
“Kate, is that you? I thought I recognized the perfume. Who will teach my class?”
“I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve already contacted someone. As for today, I didn’t think the class would mind getting out early.”
The class erupted into cheers.
“Calm down! Read chapter one for the next class. No homework. You can go.”
The class cheered again and was followed by the sound of a stampede. I wondered how many of them were rushing out of class to knowingly go commit some kind of crime thus becoming one of the criminals that they were studying to protect against. The world is full of irony after all.
“Kate, who did you say was teaching my class?”
“You know her, Mallory O’Brien.”
“My niece, are you serious?”
“Dead, she’s a good candidate. She’s far enough along in her studies. It will give her good credit towards her doctorate.”
“Whatever. Are we going for a car ride or what?”
I grabbed my folder of notes from the podium. Officer Brown’s heavy boots stomped off toward the door. Kate grabbed my arm and led me out of the classroom and through the hallways. When we got closer to the entrance I could hear phones ringing and typing on keyboards. A gust of wind hit me in the face from outside. Kate was still leading me. The smell of fresh air mixed with Kate’s perfume was intoxicating.
“That is a lovely perfume you are wearing.”
“It’s not even perfume; it’s just the shampoo I use. Why is it I get the feeling you’re undressing me with your eyes even though you can’t even see me?”
“If I can’t see you, then how am I to know if you are actually dressed or not?” I smiled.
“Shut up!” She chuckled. “Damn comedian. We’re at the car.”
I reached out my hand and felt the metal outline of the door. It was open already. I knelt down and felt for the seat. Kate helped make sure my head didn’t hit the doorframe as I sat down. Once I was all the way inside someone shut the door. The other door opened.
“I’ll be riding next to you filling you in on the situation. Officer Brown is our escort.” Kate said.
She shut her door and another door opened and closed. Officer Brown started the car and shifted into drive. The car jerked into motion.
“Ok, I’ll just come out and say it. You’re father has information we need for a case.”
“Stop the car.”
“Is that why they sent you Kate?”
“Just do it for me, Ok? I know it’s hard and you and your father don’t get along. But he has become like a Godfather to some of the inmates.”
“Great, as if dealing with my father isn’t bad enough now I have to deal with Don Davies. You’re not helping the case Kate.”
“One of your father’s men just got released from prison. He was a convicted child molester. He got let out on good behavior. New information has surfaced that he may be trying to startup a drug smuggling business for your father. A little girl came up missing in the area where he was released and he hasn’t been seen since around the time of the disappearance so he is the prime suspect. We need to know your father’s plans and if he knows where the suspect might be.”
“Damnit Kate. If I have to deal with my father for the sake of a little girl then it’s a fair trade.”