13 May, Seinan Satō

文字数 4,083文字

The Mouth is the Source of All Evil


Just ask me anything you like. It wasn’t me, said Nishino, jutting out his square chin.
  He was sitting on a chair, thrusting out his chest, arms folded, his legs spread wide apart. In terms of behavioral psychology, jutting out the chin signified readiness to attack; folded arms indicated defensiveness; sitting with his chest puffed up and legs spread out, a typical demonstrative behavior, revealed that he was trying to make himself look bigger.
  What a perfect display of confrontation, thought Ema Tateoka. She had known Nishino for years, but she could hardly recall her junior colleague demonstrating such adamant denial.
  Hey, what kind of attitude is that? Tsutsui tried to approach his suspect, his face red with frustration, but Nishino pointed sharply at his boss’s feet. Not too close! he snapped.
  I’m saying it wasn’t me because it wasn’t. I wish you’d stop blaming everything on me.
  But who else would do such a thing?! demanded Tsutsui, pointing to his own desk.
  Since the moment he came back into the office from his break, he’d been fussing about the anko-dama missing from his desk. These were sweet bean-paste balls from Funawa’s, a traditional Japanese confectionary store. Apparently, he’d saved one as a treat for later, but it had disappeared.
  How should I know? said Nishino. I can’t keep an eye on every move of my colleagues, can I?
  Tateoka! Interrogate this guy, right now! roared Tsutsui.
  Nishino frowned with contempt.
  Since when do you trust her interrogations? You keep saying her analyses are phony, just mumbo-jumbo.
  Shut up! You can’t fool her eyes! Now, out with it!
  It won’t be easy in this situation, not even for her. How are you supposed to read subtle facial expressions when half of it is covered with a face mask?

And

keeping a distance of at least two meters from your subject? It’s impossible, even for an investigator who specializes in detecting lies through bodily gestures.
  The three faced one another in their office at the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, First Investigation Division. Crime never takes a day off. Neither can police work, even during a pandemic. So, every police officer was at work, wearing a face mask, and maintaining social distance to reduce the risk of infection.
  Is that true, what he’s saying? Tsutsui asked Ema.
  Without answering the question, she fixed her gaze on Nishino.
  He drew back, somewhat daunted by her eyes.
  What? What do you . . . ? I’m telling you it really wasn’t me.
  Tateoka, your eyes reveal . . . that it

was

Nishino who ate my ‘anko-dama,’ wasn’t it?
  I said I didn’t eat it!
  I’m not asking you! I’m trying to get answers from the limbic system in your brain!
  After yelling at Nishino, Tsutsui turned to Ema.
  Say something, Tateoka!
  Ema looked up at Tsutsui and reassured him with a nod.
  She then stood face to face with Nishino, saying, Alright then, let’s get on with the interrogation, and swallowed the bean-paste that was still in her mouth.


Translated by Kei Kamoshida/Arranged by TranNet KK

Seinan Satō
Born in Nagasaki Prefecture, 1975. Made his literary debut in 2011 with

Aru

shōjo

ni

matsuwaru

satsujin

no

kokuhaku

(A confession of murder concerning a certain girl), for which he won the 9th KONOMYS (This mystery novel is amazing!) Award. His novel

Sairento

voisu:

Kōdō

shinri

sōsa-kan

Tateoka

Ema

(Silent voice: Behavioral psychology investigator Ema Tateoka) was adapted into TV drama to critical acclaim. His recent works include

Hanzai

shinri

bunseki

han

Yagi

Koharu:

Harowin

no

hana

(Criminal psychology analyst squad’s Koharu Yagi: The Halloween flower),

Tsuin

sōru:

Kōdō

shinri

sōsa-kan

Tateoka

Ema

(Twin soul: Behavioral psychology investigator Ema Tateoka),

Shirobai

gāru:

Bakusō!

Gorin

dai

sakusen

(White-bike girl: Reckless driving! The grand Olympics operation), among others.

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