On Lin Dongxue’s side, everyone went to visit the people present and racing with the boy on the day of his “accident”.
These young people were all from families who were once wealthy, but had lost all their wealth. Otherwise, they were from families where the parents had divorced. Everyone formed a group to warm themselves up. Basically, none of them held honest jobs. They would just aimlessly pass their days. They often raced on empty roads with the cars they built out of second-hand parts.
Lin Dongxue and Chen Shi found the head of this small gang, Zhang Jinlei, the oldest boy of them all. When they found his place of residence, he had just fallen asleep. He wasn’t dressed properly and his hair was a mess when he answered the door. Lin Dongxue showed her badge to him. “We’ve come to ask a few questions.”
"Again? Why won’t the questions end? Didn’t I say so before? Little Lu died in an accident!”
"Please cooperate with the investigation."
Zhang Jinlei pouted impatiently. He scratched his neck with his long nails and the dirt on his skin fell down, causing Lin Dongxue to feel nauseated. He laughed, “I haven’t even eaten yet. If you treat me to a meal, I’ll cooperate with the investigation.”
Twenty minutes later, the three sat in a nearby Chinese restaurant. Zhang Jinlei ordered a whole table of dishes. He gobbled it down as if he hadn’t eaten in days. Lin Dongxue secretly wondered how a small body like that actually didn’t gain any weight even though he was taking in so many calories.
Chen Shi said, "It’s three o'clock in the afternoon. Does this meal count as breakfast, lunch, or dinner to you?"
"Haha, I’m eating all three of them together!"
"Can you tell us about the situation at the time in detail? Tell us where you guys were and what you guys were doing.”
"You police can be really annoying!" Zhang Jinlei grabbed a rib with his hand and ate it with gusto.
"Aiya. You’ve already finished your meal. Can you tell us now?” Lin Dongxue knocked at the table and grumbled.
"Beautiful sister, don't kick up a fuss. I’ll talk..." He said with his mouth stuffed with food. After finishing the ribs, he sucked his fingers clean before recounting, “At seven o’clock, we went to the Chinese Redbud Restaurant at Zhongqing Road to eat. We stayed there until sometime after nine o’clock and went north towards Changqing Road. At eleven o’clock, Little Lu was killed by a truck when he was at an intersection. We didn’t go anywhere after that.”
Chen Shi contradicted, "No, the accident occurred at the intersection between Changqing Road and Jinqiao Street. It’s to the south. You couldn’t have been there since it was so far away.”
"Oh shit uncle, nice one! Are you familiar with the roads?
"Don't change the subject. Where exactly did you guys go?”
"We raced cars, so obviously our routes are a bit out of the way.”
Zhang Jinlei’s explanation seemed to be reasonable, but Chen Shi still noticed a trace of unnaturalness in his expression. Zhang Jinlei pulled out an e-cigarette and Chen Shi asked, "What is this?"
"Really uncle? You don’t even know what this is? It’s a vape.”
"You’ve always smoked that?"
"Yeah, I originally bought it to quit smoking. Later, I found it interesting, so I picked up the habit. I’ve been playing with it for a few years. Why don’t you buy one to try, uncle?" Zhang Jinlei exhaled a cloud of smoke in Chen Shi’s face. It wasn’t pungent but it wasn’t very pleasant to have it blown in the face either.
"This e-cigarette looks very luxurious. How can you afford something like that?"
"What do you mean? I can’t use this just because I don’t work?”
"Let’s change the topic. Did the deceased also smoke this?”
"He smoked normal cigarettes... You don’t need anything else from me, right? I’ve told you everything that I know. Let me tell you now, you guys are working in vain. The death of Little Lu was purely an accident. There’s nothing to find, so it’ll just be a waste of us tax-payer’s money!”
"You’re a tax-payer?" Lin Dongxue queried.
“I smoke and drink. Isn’t that equal to paying taxes?”
Chen Shi stood up. "Thank you for your cooperation. We’ll take our leave now."
"I won’t see you off then." Zhang Jinlei continued to bury his head in the food.
Lin Dongxue thought that Chen Shi was actually going to leave. However, when she went outside, Chen Shi pulled her back. They hid close to the wall by the entrance. Lin Dongxue asked, "You’re using this trick again?"
"It hasn’t failed once!" Chen Shi smiled, took out his phone, and turned on the video function. He then poked the camera just past the wall so that they could monitor Zhang Jinlei's every move.
They saw Zhang Jinlei wipe his mouth a few times and then immediately take out his phone to make a call. He called four people consecutively and only briefly said a short sentence to each before hanging up. Chen Shi tried to read his lips. “Police… Looking for me… Leak? Don’t leak anything!”
"You can read lips as well?"
"When I was in school, I made a bet with a buddy of mine, so I ended up learning a little."
"This kid is reporting to his companions. There’s indeed a problem!” Lin Dongxue wanted to call and inform the other police officers. However, after thinking about it, she decided that it would be faster to just send it to the task force’s group chat. "Zhang Jinlei said they were eating a meal at Zhongqing Road around 7:00 that night. They left at 9:00, went to Changqing Road, and the accident occurred at 11:00. He immediately reported to his companions about the situation after our questioning. If the information is the exact same during your questioning, then there’s a problem. Please respond upon receipt of this message.”
The four police officers replied in turn, "Received!"
Chen Shi stopped the video function on his phone and said, "We should go to the restaurant to expose their lies.”
Two hours later, the two went to the Chinese Redbud Restaurant on Zhongqing Road and asked the boss if there were five young people driving cars that ate there on the evening of December 10th. The boss immediately nodded. "Yes, yes. They left a deep impression on me."
Lin Dongxue questioned, "Why do you remember them so clearly? What did they do?"
"What did they do?" The boss raised his volume. "Because of them, I lost all the money I made that day! They ordered a big table of food. After they finished half of it, they suddenly said that there was a dead mouse in the soup. They made me pay them for the mental damage I had caused them. They even smashed my chairs and teacups. My staff members are all white-eyed wolves. They didn’t come and help even though we ran into a problem like that. They stood around as bystanders and even joked about the situation! I could only stand around like an idiot and apologize by making them exempt from the bill… The whole table of food cost about 700! Then, I thought about it and felt like they had come just to scam me. I heard from a few peers in the industry that they often do this kind of thing and then flee. Do you police handle things like this?”
"We are currently investigating them."
"That’s great! You must catch these uncultured guys and punish them!” The boss said through gritted teeth.
"When did they leave your restaurant?"
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. I was up to my head in rage and closed my doors to guests at around eight.”
After leaving the restaurant, Chen Shi said, "He was indeed lying."
"Why would they lie? Do they not want us to know about this?”
"I don't think so. In their consciousness, dining and dashing might not be a problem, so they told us about this restaurant without lying. They must be hiding something else.” Chen Shi stood at the door and looked at the passing vehicles. "The place where the accident occurred is on the south side of Changqing Road. The end point doesn’t change. If I wanted to get there, I would have definitely taken Xinglian Road.”
"We should make a trip over there now and see if there are any leads we can pick up on the way."
The two drove the car and slowly rolled on the road. However, they couldn’t find any clues in the daylight. It was almost six o'clock in the evening when Chen Shi asked, "Should we get off work now?"
Lin Dongxue smiled and said, "I am the leader of the team. I have to lead by example. How can I get off work so early?"
"I have a proposal. Let’s go to the local police station nearby to see if there have been any vicious incidents that have happened recently.”