In the dead of night, Chen Shi parked his car near Heping East Street where the dismembered parts had been found. Lin Dongxue and Tao Yueyue were there with him that night to perform an "experiment."
Peng Sijue could roughly identify the bags that had contained the dismembered parts through DNA. However, this wasn’t very helpful, because the garbage bags brought back from the scene were all common, black, degradable plastic bags, which were previously very common. As garbage sorting had been implemented in Long'an, supermarkets are now selling transparent plastic bags.
The three sat quietly in the car. Chen Shi fished out his mobile phone to read Xin Bai's newly updated novel. Tao Yueyue was eating potato chips, and the sound of the chips crunching echoed in the car. Lin Dongxue stared at the night scene in a daze.
"I recently read a novel. Is it true that a corpse can be completely broken down by chemical means?" Tao Yueyue said.
"Haha, was it The Deer and the Cauldron? Corpse melting water is fictitious!" Lin Dongxue responded happily since she had found a common conversational topic.
"No, it's The Picture of Dorian Gray."
"Dor..." Lin Dongxue hadn't even heard of the title of this novel. She smiled awkwardly. "Elder Sister hasn't read it before."
"Decomposing the corpse by chemical means is a problem in itself!" Chen Shi said, "According to the law of conservation of mass, when a substance reacts with another substance, a third substance will be produced. For example, if a strong acid is used to corrode the corpse, there’s bound to be a lot of foul gas generated. If you do this at home, your neighbors will call the police. You can only go to the countryside to do this. However, it’s better to burn the corpse directly if you have such a space. Burning is the most convenient and effective chemical method. This way, you won’t be tracked down by the police because you bought a large quantity of corrosive acid."
"Can't we talk about cartoons or something?" Lin Dongxue complained.
"Thinking about this in another way, as long as the corpse is turned into another substance, it's okay." Tao Yueyue said excitedly.
"Haha, this trick is feasible."
"Well, what if the body is burned to ashes and then made into diamonds?"
"You can send a private message to Xin Bai and tell him about this idea." Chen Shi smiled.
"Why didn't the people who abandoned the corpse this time burn it?" Tao Yueyue asked.
"Yes, why?" Chen Shi looked at Lin Dongxue.
"Are you asking the question like a university professor or a primary schooler?" Lin Dongxue asked.
"I’m thinking... Yueyue’s statement made sense. It must be in the criminal interest of the one who abandoned the corpse to dispose of the corpse in this manner. The dismembered parts were thrown into garbage bags. The police would definitely investigate if they were to come across them, and it’s a major case as well. Why didn't they go to the countryside to burn it?"
"Didn't you say that people who abandoned the dismembered parts aren’t the murderers? Maybe they thought that it wouldn’t matter even if the police investigated it." Lin Dongxue speculated.
"Perhaps they want the police to investigate. I heard Old Peng say that there was a rural woman who died at home with a knife in her chest. Upon examination, they found that she committed suicide by drinking pesticide. It turned out that the knife had been inserted by her son. His parents had been at odds with each other for a long time. One day, he went home and saw that his mother was dead. There were no obvious signs of trauma. His family was going to send the body to the crematorium. He was unable to accept that the death of his mother would be left unsettled like this. So he faked a criminal case and called the police so that they’d intervene and investigate."
"If you want the police to investigate, just call the police directly. This still doesn't make sense." Lin Dongxue objected.
Tao Yueyue said, "Uncle Chen, could this group of people think that the deceased is trash, and that there was no need to go to a lot of trouble to deal with it?"
"Haha, psychological interpretation. You’ve made progress! The deceased was a young woman with a slender figure whose appearance is unknown. Who would find her worthless?"
"You all think too much!" Lin Dongxue said, "I think this group of people used this method of abandoning the dismembered parts due to limitations, such as not having a car or being too busy at work."
"Or their legal knowledge is bad and they don’t know what the crime of insulting a corpse is..." Chen Shi considered.
"They’re here. Wow, there are a lot of them!" Lin Dongxue said, facing out of the window.
It was already 11:00 at the time. They saw a large group of people appearing on the street like a parade stretching from one end of the street to the other. Everyone carried a black plastic bag in their hands, looking really solemn.
The three prepared garbage bags. Of course, all of them just contained waste paper. Chen Shi said "Go" and they joined the group carrying their garbage bags.
As they got close, they heard some of them talking to one another, "Garbage sorting has caused scavengers to lose their jobs. Originally, how many scavenger families can be supported by these bottles and cans? Now the state has taken this resource away from them. This is the equivalent to forcing them into a dead end!", "Precisely. I had already paid the garbage disposal fee, but now I have to sort the garbage myself. How horribly troublesome. If that’s the case, the neighborhood committee should refund me the garbage disposal fee!"
The group of people chatted with increasing fervor, as if they had formed their own system of philosophy. Chen Shi whispered to Tao Yueyue, "You definitely mustn’t become like this when you grow up."
Lin Dongxue was observing whether there were a few people walking together. As the corpse parts had come from nine bags, this small team of corpse abandoners had nine people at most.
However, these people were in groups of twos and threes, and there wasn’t a big group of people walking together.
Everyone was looking for trash cans because neighborhood officials had taken away the trash cans at night in order to prevent people from littering.
Someone suggested, "Aiya, just throw them here. Finding a trash can every night is like a treasure hunt. It's so troublesome. I still have to go back to take a bath. The cleaner will come and clear them away tomorrow morning."
As he said this, the man threw the garbage bag on the side of the road, and a second person followed suit. Everyone else emulated them one after another. This is called the broken window effect . Soon a mountain of garbage piled up on the side of the street, which was quite a spectacle. The group clapped their hands, with smiles on their faces as though they were lucky to have earned two hundred yuan for nothing, and went back to their respective homes.
"How uncivilized!" Tao Yueyue said, "Uncle Chen, do we have to throw our garbage here too?"
"If we’re acting, we have to make it realistic." Chen Shi threw his bag of waste paper at the side.
The three returned to the car, and Lin Dongxue said, "I didn't discover any small groups. It stands to reason that if this group knows that there are people littering here every night, they must have at least one person living nearby."
"Is this area hard to manage?"
"Yes, I heard from netizens that there are a lot of residential areas on Heping East Street, no bustling downtown area around, so people come here to dump trash every night. Netizens also joked that some people aren’t really interested in dumping trash, but are participating in this 'group activity' to make friends."
Tao Yueyue said, "I just saw a man hit on Sister Lin."
"Aiya, I hate it." Lin Dongxue said disgustedly.
"Hmm, it seems that not all of these people live here, so they came from other places last night, just like us. Oh yes, let’s check the cars!" Chen Shi's eyes lit up.
1. The broken windows theory is a criminological theory that states that visible signs of crime, anti-social behavior, and civil disorder create an urban environment that encourages further crime and disorder, including serious crimes.
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