Chapter 4: Assumption of Guilt

When they returned to the car, Chen Shi stretched and then pulled out a cigarette and asked, “Miss Police Officer, can I have one of these?”

“Do as you please!” Lin Dongxue said stiffly, “Oh yeah, I’ll pay you back right now.”

Chen Shi took out his phone and handed it over to her. On it was a QR code. Lin Dongxue was about to swipe over it to accept the money request when she noticed that the QR code was to add a new friend. She frowned, “What’s with this QR code? Who would want to add someone like you as a friend on WeChat?!”

Chen Shi smiled and inquired, “It’s just adding me as a friend on WeChat. What's the issue?”

“Who would want to add you on WeChat? You’re a murder suspect, so don’t play this game with me!” After a pause, Lin Dongxue asked, “What exactly is your motive?”

“What do you mean, ‘What’s my motive?’ I don’t have a motive.”

“You know full well what you’ve done! Besides, you’ve been scheming to get me to add you from the beginning. First, you pretended not to care about me being a police officer. Then, you tried to act like a nice person in front of me, and also tried to bait me with a free pair of shoes. Don’t think these can win me over! My colleagues have already investigated your background thoroughly.” 

Chen Shi smiled bitterly, “I truly don’t know what I’ve done. Why don’t you enlighten me?”

“What were you doing on the night of September 10th?”

“I worked, ate with a few of my fellow driving buddies, then went home to take a shower and go to sleep.”

Lin Dongxue sneered, “Don’t think that I’ll believe you so easily. What else did you do?”

“You think the life of a driver like myself is rich and exciting? How about this, why don’t you remind me and help me recall whatever it is that I’ve supposedly done?”

“Enough with the act. You’re just trying to act all innocent. You can’t fool me!”

Chen Shi pressed the cigarette onto the ashtray and pointed at his face: “Look at this handsome face. Is this the face of a suspect?”

“Whether someone is a bad guy or not isn’t written on their faces!”

“That’s not necessarily true. It may not be explicitly written on one’s face, but there are ‘words’ requiring a keen eye to reveal if one is a bad character or not. For example, I could tell at a glance that the thief who grabbed the lady’s bag just now was very wary and flustered, unlike a regular citizen.”

The phone rang, and Lin Dongxue saw that her brother had sent a few messages in the time that they had left the car, asking why she wasn’t there yet.

Lin Dongxue instructed Chen Shi, asking, “Start the car already.”

She pushed the door open, sat in the passenger seat, and grabbed Chen Shi’s right hand. His hand was white and slender, not fitting someone who’d been working a blue-collar job for a long time. Chen Shi smiled and asked, “What’s wrong? You know how to read palms?”

Answering him was a click as a pair of handcuffs was placed on his right wrist. Lin Dongxue was about to put the other end on her own wrist when Chen Shi pointedly stated,  “Stupid, how am I meant to drive like this? Put the left side of the handcuff on the steering wheel!” 

Lin Dongxue narrowed her eyes at him, and Chen Shi explained, “I have to change gears with my right hand, and I have to hold the steering wheel with my left. Have you driven a car before?”

“Shut up! I want less nonsense from you!”

Lin Dongxue uncuffed him and reached over his body to cuff his left hand to the steering wheel. Chen Shi looked at her severely flawed actions and began thinking. Even if I were to knock her out right now and take her keys, it would go without a hitch. 

At the same time, something crossed his mind. Hey, this girl has an exceptional figure!

After starting the car up again, Chen Shi lightly smiled and asked, “What’s your name?”

“I am so not going to make useless small talk with a murder suspect!”

Chen Shi shook his head a little, “You keep saying that I’m a murder suspect. It sounds so horrible. What if, on the off chance, I’m not the perpetrator?”

Lin Dongxue’s eyes wavered upon seeing his righteous gaze. This person indeed seems a bit different from every other murderer, but if you think about it, his background is just so awful. How could it not be him?

“That’s impossible!”

“I said ‘on the off chance’! Why don’t we make a bet?”

“What are we betting on?”

“If I can prove that I’m innocent in the end, you need to treat me to a free meal.”

“There’s no chance in hell that I’m doing that!”

“Miss, look here. I’m just a driver that doesn’t even know what’s going on, and I’m getting invited to ‘have tea’[1] with you guys. To you, it might be a small thing, but it’s a big deal for me. What would my colleagues and family think? Moreover, I lost tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of orders today. Are you guys going to reimburse me for it?”

“Tens of thousands of dollars? Are you going to pretend that your car is embedded with diamonds?”

“Maybe. For all I know, I might have had to drive a pregnant rich lady to the hospital to deliver her child. If she were pleased, she might have given me a big red envelope![2]

“You’re a real smooth talker, aren’t ya?” Lin Dongxue was disgusted. She hated this kind of man the most; she despised Chen Shi even more than Xu Xiaodong, who wouldn’t leave her alone. 

Chen Shi had no self-awareness at all and kept nudging her with his elbow, “How about it, you don’t lose out or anything!”

“Fine!” Lin Dongxue caved in with an annoyed attitude, “Since you can’t prove your innocence anyway!”

“Nothing in this world is impossible,” Chen Shi looked at her and smiled slightly. 

Chen Shi was driving earnestly for some time until he reached an intersection. At the red light, he lowered his head and began playing on his phone. Suddenly, Lin Dongxue’s phone got a notification. On WeChat, it indicated that there was someone called “Big Grey Wolf” with a Wu Yanzu[3] icon who had added her as a friend. 

“So it turns out that your mobile number is your WeChat number!” Chen Shi laughed. 

Lin Dongxue glared at him while Chen Shi urged, “Accept my friend request already. Otherwise, how are you going to contact me when you have to give me my free meal?”

Lin Dongxue had never met someone so thick-skinned. She clicked the accept button to add Chen Shi as a friend while making sure that the other party couldn’t see her circle of friends and moments[4] on the app. 

As the pair were arriving at the precinct, Lin Dongxue saw that Lin Qiupu and others were all standing outside, almost like they were welcoming a red-carpet celebrity. The police officers came towards them one after another, praising Lin Dongxue for her explosively good luck, saying that she was very fortunate to be able to escort the murder suspect back almost as soon as she went out. 

Lin Qiupu declared with a professional tone, “Dongxue, if this case is solved, we will remember your meritorious service towards this case.”

At this time, the door opened, and Chen Shi smiled as he waved his hand at everyone. “Hello everyone, my name is Chen Shi. It’s almost noon! Is there lunch?”

Everyone was dumbfounded. The group had never seen a suspect that acted as if he was so familiar with them. Lin Dongxue whispered, “This guy is very sly. Don’t be fooled by him!”

Lin Qiupu called out to two officers, saying, “Xiao Hai, Xiao Wang, take him to the interrogation room!”

Two hours later, the door to the interrogation room suddenly slammed open. Two police officers rushed out, “I can’t take it anymore. This guy is ridiculously reasonable, logical, and meticulous with his arguments. We can’t figure him out at all. Captain, you’ll have to interrogate him personally!”

Lin Qiupu set his teacup down, “I will have a little talk with him!”

Lin Dongxue grabbed her jacket, “I’ll go too!” It would be a pity not to see my brother’s troubled expression with my own eyes. 

When the two walked into the interrogation room, Chen Shi complained, “This chair is so uncomfortable. My hemorrhoids are going to flare up again. Would it be possible to get a cushion?”

Lin Qiupu set the case’s information down and snorted, “When you chose to violate the law, you were destined to get this treatment. If you wanted to be comfortable, you should have lived an honest life at home!”

Chen Shi reminded, “I will once again remind you that I am not a criminal. At present, I am only a suspect. To treat me with the attitude that you treat criminals with, I believe, is you misjudging friend from foe, as there’s currently just an assumption of guilt. You’ve confused innocent until proven guilty with guilty until proven innocent. Put nicely, it’s a negligence of your current duties. When not put so kindly, it’s a huge problem from your standpoint!”

Lin Qiupu angrily slammed his hand on the table, “Don’t play these language games with me. I’m not going to beat around the bush with you. On the night of September 10th, what were you doing? Confess in full detail!”[5]

“Then, I will answer you directly!” Chen Shi began to recall with his fingers, “From 6:00 to 7:30, I was eating at the food stalls[6] with a few driving buddies. I had been doing my rounds, getting orders, and chauffeuring passengers from 7:30 till two in the morning. You can investigate my records. At 2:30 in the morning, I went home to shower and sleep.”

The record keeper whispered, “He said the same thing earlier as well!” 

 

1. Go to the police station for an interrogation. 

2. In Chinese culture, red envelopes/red packets are given out during special occasions such as Chinese New Year, birthdays, weddings, births, etc. These envelopes hold various sums of money, dependent on the person who gives them out. It is believed that the envelopes also hold the blessings of the person giving them out. There are immeasurable amounts of designs, but are most often red and generally have gold writing, like the following images: https://jljcelebrations.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/redenvelopes2.jpg?w=376&h=251 and https://cdn01.pinkoi.com/product/6vC99mzi/0/1/800x0.jpg. Modern ones even have cartoons or celebrities printed on them. However, most designs still contain a blessed phrase. 

3. An actor called Daniel Wu who looks like this: https://i.mydramalist.com/mOWE3c.jpg 

4. The same as blocking people from seeing your Facebook and Instagram posts, stories and mutual friends section. 

5. In Chinese, there is a common idiom that people use to demand a systematic narration in full detail. If it were to be directly translated, it asks people to count by fives and tens 

6. They aren’t actually food stalls. Rather they are food stores where the seating is laid out all on the street, as if the store itself is just a food stall. Think plastic chairs and tables that are bustling with people like the night markets with all the food stalls. A photo representation: https://d22ir9aoo7cbf6.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2017/08/Hong-Kong-restaurant-guide-The-best-cafes-and-restaurants-in-Yau-Ma-Tei-Kowloon-Tong-Tai-e1502100954481.jpgYou can search “da pai dang” if you would like more photos. 

 


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