Xiao Dawei refused, "No, I’ll wait till I’m in prison to say anything."
"Can't you talk now?" asked Xiaotao.
Xiao Dawei pointed to the ten words on the wall behind us–Leniency to those who confess, severity to those who resist. "This phrase is used to deceive. How much leniency can I actually receive? I might get the death penalty. I’d like to stay in prison and slowly tell my story. That way the prison guards will take care of me."
"You’re a smart guy!" chuckled Xiaotao.
"That's true,” boasted Xiao Dawei. “Do you know how many friends of the trade I’ve made? If criminals could receive academic qualifications for skills of the trade, I would have gotten a doctorate."
Xiaotao tapped the table thrice–the secret code we agreed upon earlier that meant leaving the room. I turned to Xiao Dawei, "Are you hungry? Can we get you something to eat?"
Xiao Dawei nodded, "Yes, and bring a pack of cigarettes."
We left the interrogation room for the time being to discuss measures. "He must have a lot of information about his own crimes and the crimes of other criminals,” Xiaotao remarked. “We should ask him about the others first. I think he’s bound to share his crimes sooner or later."
I shook my head, "But that’s not the same! The acquaintances he has are from all over the country so any credit goes to the police of the other provinces. If he talks about himself, the credit is all yours."
“What’s there to worry about?” laughed Xiaotao. “With you around, opportunities to render meritorious service are a dime a dozen. In fact, I think I’m rising too quickly by the ranks. I’ll go prepare a little incentive for him to speak."
"I'll get him something to eat then,” I replied.
After half an hour, we returned to the interrogation room. I purchased some beef rice, a pack of Hongtashan and a bottle of mineral water for Xiao Dawei.
He seemed pleased, "Nice job, young man! Apologies for my offence the other night!"
Xiaotao and I sat opposite of Xiao Dawei, watching him wolf down his food. "Aren’t you two going to eat?" he asked.
"We’ll eat after the interrogation," answered Xiaotao.
"Looks like being an officer isn’t easy!" commented Xiao Dawei. Then, he lowered his head and continued shoveling rice into his mouth.
When he was satiated, Xiaotao took out two documents with photos of two different prisons. Picking up the left one, she said, "This is the oldest prison in the province, Xiaoshan Prison. Management is backward and conditions aren’t very good. Those held there are serious felons who often make trouble and kill other inmates. I heard a lot of them are homosexuals and inmates are required to work 12 hours a day. Food is also terrible, the worst among all the prisons."
Xiao Dawei arched an eyebrow and waited for Xiaotao to pick up the one on the right. "This is the newly-built Tongshan Prison, an experimental prison with fully automated management. There are cells for two people and even single cells. The food is pretty good and the cooks are all hired from restaurants. You get at least one meat dish and fruit every day. There’s also a basketball court, a gym, and a library. Inmates with good performance can even take a vocational course, and families are allowed to send inmates male masturbators."
Xiaotao placed two sheets of paper in front of him and said, "Think about it! You’ll have to stay in prison for a long time. Whether you live comfortably or not depends on your attitude."
Xiao Dawei gulped, "I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you everything!"
"We want to hear stories about your friends first!" Xiaotao smiled triumphantly.
All throughout the afternoon, Xiao Dawei never stopped talking about the criminals he knew. He gladly betrayed his friends, not sparing any details. His confession could help us arrest at least five or six major criminals in the province.
After the interrogation ended in the evening, Xiaotao and I were completely exhausted but ecstatic with our findings. Xiaotao immediately phoned the provinces and cities where the criminals were located and gave them the information we obtained to solve the cases.
A month later, more than a dozen major cases in the province were solved. Xiaotao received several thank-you letters from the other provinces’ public security bureaus.
After Xiao Dawei was handed over to legal proceedings, there was still an unresolved problem on our end, that is, the ghost bus. Xiaotao gathered everyone together to brainstorm a solution.
I was inspired after our discussion. We could create a fake bus and add a little simulation so Su Junting could sit in the driver’s seat and enjoy himself. That way, he wouldn’t have to come out every night and scare the public.
Talking about the plan was easy but actually coming up with the bus was another thing altogether. "Why make things so difficult? We’re in the 21st century. Don't you guys know VR technology?"
Lao Yao said he could take a video of the entire road and write an interactive program. Then, all we had to do was create a bus control panel and get Su Junting to sit and wear VR glasses to simulate driving.
In order to make the experience even more realistic, a vibration device could be installed under the seat, giving the sensation of a bumpy road when driving.
"That's a good idea. Let's do it!” exclaimed Xiaotao. “Lao Yao, I’m putting you in charge of this. Write an application form and I’ll get the bureau to allocate some research and development funds for you."
Lao Yao shook his head, "I can't do it alone. I need a partner."
When he looked around the room, all the male officers panicked. Finally, his gaze landed on my face. "I don't want anyone else. I only want Song Yang, otherwise I won't do it!"
I tried my best to wink at Xiaotao but she turned a blind eye. "Song Yang, you’ll have to sacrifice yourself for the security of Nanjiang City."
With a heavy sigh, I hung my head and remained in this dejected pose for a long time while the sound of relieved sighs filled the room.
Due to the interesting nature of the project, Dali volunteered to participate and brought Luo Youyou along. The two were like conjoined twins, stuck at the hip wherever they went. Thanks to their presence, I suffered less of Lao Yao’s harassment.
It took us half a month to get the project from the drawing block to Su Junting's home. After we installed it, we explained the instructions to Su Junting’s father. It looked ridiculous, like the children’s toy ride at the entrance of every supermarket. At first, Su Junting refused to get inside, and only tried it after considerable coaxing from his old man.
Unsurprisingly, Su Junting fell in love with it after his first try and refused to get down. Since then, Nanjiang City never saw the ghost bus again.
Dali suggested we write an article on this and post it on the Internet with the title, “The Rumor Terminator–The Truth Of The Ghost Bus!"
I waved my hand, "You write it if you want to. I’m so exhausted I’ll need two full days of rest."
"You’re so bad at this!” Dali rebuked. “If you were willing to put in a little effort, you’d be Internet famous!"
"Seeing how an internet celebrity just died before us, I have no interest whatsoever to follow in his footsteps. You can do it if you want to!"
I stayed in the store for two days when Bingxin came to remind me to buy her a dress. The bet had long slipped my mind, and truth be told, neither of us could be considered right. Although the ghost bus appeared, I proved it was fake so technically, it didn’t exist.
There was no point in arguing. Standing behind the counter, Luo Youyou laughed, "Why continue arguing? You might as well end it with a kiss."
"Nonsense, we’re just..." I trailed off.
Just as I turned to Luo Youyou, I felt a soft touch on my cheek. I turned around at once, only to see Bingxin grinning widely, "This time, you win! I’m leaving!"
Watching her run off, my cheeks burned and my heart wouldn’t stop racing.Previous Chapter Next Chapter