It is pretty awesome to say you are doing your PhD in Psychology about the UK police. A lot of people my age tend to think it’s quite cool, like I study the techniques of the sort of detective’s that appear on TV shows, and perhaps occasionally step in to solve a crime. I have always chosen not to correct that fantasy. Girls, I quickly learnt, really liked it – though sometimes it was only because they hoped I’d be able to introduce them to a man in uniform rather than they were impressed by me in particular.
Truth was, I spent more time analysing the results of various questionnaires filled out by members of the police I had never met then I did speaking with actual officers of the law. The main question posed by my PhD was were there key differences in the personality make up of highly successful CIDs compared to those with a lower success rate – and if there was, could police use that information to make more informed decisions about where individuals were assigned within a region. I did spend a couple of weeks at a few different stations shadowing – mainly to ensure the results I got from the surveys matched the behaviour of the officers in real world situations.
An entire chapter of my thesis was being dedicated to the fact it was obvious that officers felt the need to get questions right – and had looked up what they thought the answer should be on the internet or in text books. I recognised a paragraph quoted word for word from a review article submitted to Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology. After that I got permission to run the questionnaires though the anti-plagiarism software employed by my university and found it was not the only example by far. That is the problem with police officers, they are naturally suspicious, and I think many thought I could trace their answers back to them and that this was some sort of test – despite the very clear disclaimer that was sent out with the questionnaires.
As part of my studies I obviously needed access to data on team sizes, make up and case closure rates as well as other facts such as budgets – a team with a larger budget may well be more successful simply because they have more money to throw at a case, rather than the officers work better or are more competent than colleagues elsewhere in the country. It me bloody ages to come up with a formula to use so I could compare teams like for like.
Typically, only a month before I was supposed to stop actively analysing stuff and actually write the damn thesis, I received an updated version of these statistics. I didn’t have to use them, but I couldn’t help but be curious what teams would come out on top if I were to apply my magical formula. The results surprised me, largely because I had never heard of the place. I was forced to stick “Saint Marie” into Wikipedia to learn it was a small British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean. I pulled out the team statistics again and, looking at them, convinced myself I must have applied the formula incorrectly the first time. Except when I did it again, I got exactly the same result.
So that begged the question, how was a tiny police force with practically no budget and an alarmingly high crime rate to deal with achieving a better case closure rate than some of the best funded teams in The Metropolitan Police Service?
My primary supervisor raised both of her eyebrows, leaned back in her chair, and asked, “Henry, are you just hoping for a trip to the Caribbean?”
“Of course not!” I replied, mock indignant. “Do you not think this is a genuinely interesting academic question? Surely this team should be one of the ones I survey and shadow, if they come out on the top?”
“You are supposed to be going into writing up mode,” she chose to remind me.
“I really think this is an opportunity that should not be missed,” I argued back. “And it would only be for two weeks. In addition, I already secured funding to go to that conference in Miami. Flights between Miami and Saint Marie are quite reasonable, and I am sure I can find a hostel or some other cheap accommodation to stay in. I am also confident that if I was to go to Bernard he would think this a very worthwhile pursuit.” Bernard, who I would actually prefer to call by his title of Chief Superintendent Rankin because he terrifies me, was my police supervisor. He was the one who had decided what teams I would shadow, and signed off on the sort of questions I was allowed to actually ask.
“Well, I suppose in theory I would be fine with it, this is of course a decision for Bernard though. And I will make it clear to you now your submission deadline is not changing if you choose to take on this extra work.”
“I wouldn’t have expected it to,” I said, pleased I had made it over the first hurdle.
Here is something you need to know about Chief Superintendent Bernard Rankin: the man is obsessed by budgets. Perhaps you would think that would be a hindrance to my case – wanting to outlay additional money when I had already collected enough data to complete my PhD and provide the police with a very useful (or at least I hoped they would think it useful) report into team dynamics. But Bernard was the sort of man who could also see how spending a little money could save him a lot of money. I knew that he would simply have to know how such a small, underfunded team were achieving such good results. Because if those techniques could be applied in mainland UK, the savings could be in the millions.
He scowled at the paper I handed him, “Where exactly is Saint Marie?”
“It’s in the Caribbean,” I informed him. “The force consists of locally trained individuals, some trained by the French police and others on secondment from The Met.”
“Well, it belonged to France until the seventies when they gave it back. Not sure why. At least a third of the population is French.”
He squinted at the results again. Bernard was not the sort of man who liked to admit he needed reading glasses, “Are you sure you applied that formula of yours correctly, young man?” I hated it when he called me young man. “As this result does seem, what’s the word, rather…?”
“Anomalous?” I supplied. He nodded. “Yes, and I did indeed check the application. It is the very unusual nature of the result which makes me think it deserves further study.”
“Hmmm….” I could see Bernard mentally calculating the cost-benefit. “Well, I shall call this Commissioner fellow and see if they would be willing to take you on for a couple of weeks. Be prepared to argue your case to him if he isn’t thoroughly convinced though.”
Commissioner Selwyn (yeah, I’d never heard the name before either) Patterson needed absolutely no convincing. When he called me and I instantly recognised the same schmoozing tone utilised by several Police commissioners I had met over the course of my studies. The man was simply delighted by the fact that my calculations showed that his police force was more successful than those in the UK – and that my studies into team dynamics would be a way to promote this fact.
“I assure you, Mr Gordon, my officers will be very pleased to help you with your studies. Every effort will be made to accommodate you.”
Well, what could I say to that? “Um, thank you, Commissioner. I sincerely look forward to observing your team of officers.”
“Well hopefully you won’t be slaving away all of the time! We have a very beautiful island here, Mr Gordon, quite a paradise. We’re set up very well to entertain tourists.” At this he paused, which was probably for the best as I had started day dreaming about trying out windsurfing, before he asked, “Tell me, do you think you might publish the results about the success of our small police force?”
Well, that gave me a major clue as to why Commissioner Patterson was so keen on my visit. Not wanting to disappoint the man, I decided to go for a positive spin, “Of course, publication is the aim of every PhD student and I am sure these results will be of great interest!” What I didn’t mention was that Chief Superintendent Rankin got to decide what was published, not myself or my academic supervisor Molly. I thought it was information he could live without for the moment.
“Well I am certainly happy to hear of those ambitions, Mr Gordon. People should know this is a safe place for them to enjoy their holidays.” I chose not to point out that the statistics actually didn’t show that to be the case at all – it was just that if somebody did get mugged or even murdered, the perpetrator was more likely to be caught than in London, Manchester or Cardiff.
Hopefully neither would happen to me on Saint Marie, because my trip was now happening!
Just like people won’t necessarily answer the questions on my surveys entirely honestly, people will act differently when they are being observed. It’s a fact – and unless you do some sort of crazy undercover thing, it cannot be entirely avoided. You can work so that people are comfortable around you and thus act as close to normal as possible. You can work to fade into the background and hope people forget you are even there – nearly impossible with police officers, bloody observant lot. Or you can use my favourite technique – observe them when they don’t realise they are being observed, otherwise known as spying and eavesdropping when possible. Standing just out of sight and listening in to conversations had, sadly, been an essential part of my observations. Sometimes a slightly painful one, as I would overhear some less than complementary things about myself, but then I was an outsider to these people brought in to apparently “analyse” them. I could see why that might be a little intimidating.
I started my observation in Saint Marie utilising my eavesdropping skills. The Commissioner had been rather keen to pick me up from the airport, but I wrangled my way out of it. I was quite keen to introduce myself to the officers of Honore police station, and not give the impression I was being forced on them by their boss. Sadly, as I climbed the steps to the station (who the hell puts anything at the top of a staircase in a place as hot as this?) I could recognise the dulcet tones of Commissioner Patterson, and also detect the more irate ones of an English man.
“With all due respect Sir, I think we have better things to do than play host to some PhD student!” Said the voice I was not familiar with. The protest was so vehement you would think this was the first time he had heard of my coming, but the trip had been planned for a whole month at this point.
“Inspector, that PhD student has identified Saint Marie Police Force as being more effective than some of your colleagues in the UK,” The Commissioner explained firmly.
“He has? We are?” Having done my research, I now knew the secondment from The Met, Detective Inspector Poole, must be the one who was debating (read: arguing about) the merits of my presence on the island. He seemed surprised by my findings, and quite pleased as well, but that didn’t last. “Well, sir, that might not last if my team and I are distracted by this boy’s presence. Not to mention the risk assessments we will have to do!”
“Mr Gordon will not be joining you at any scenes, or be in the room with you when you question subjects. He simply wishes you to take a few of his questionnaires and tests and observe how you interact with each other within the station. I have already completed the necessary paperwork, the decision has been made.” This was delivered in a very final tone that I could use with mastering myself. Richard Poole also clearly knew when to give in.
“Fine, Sir, when is he arriving?” I swallowed nervously when I realised this literally was the first time he was hearing about me. Clearly the Commissioner had known Inspector Poole would be antagonistic about my presence and had thought the best way to deal with it was tell him at the last minute.
“Oh within the next few minutes, I believe,” The Commissioner said smoothly. I suppose you could describe the silence that followed as stunned, it is a little difficult to judge when you can’t see any faces.
“I am sure the Inspector and the rest of the team will make this, uh, student very welcome,” An accented female voice suddenly piped up. “Isn’t that right, Inspector?”
Inspector Poole eventually took the hint, “Yes, of course. Very welcome, I’m sure.”
I supposed now was as good a time as any to introduce myself.
“Hello!” I cried, feigning breathlessness as if I had just run up the steps, rather than having hung out on the balcony for the past five minutes. “My name is Henry Gordon, hopefully you are expecting me?”
“Mr Gordon! Welcome,” The Commissioner came towards me immediately, hand outstretched, and I accepted. He grip was firm, could quite possibly break my fingers, exactly what I would have predicted if asked. I was very much aware I was being rapidly analysed by the four other people in the room and tried to stand up taller and tried to look very hard like I wasn’t going to be a burden. “I hope your journey wasn’t too arduous?”
“No, it was fine,” I said, honestly. Having been in Miami for 4 days I was already over the jet lag. I smiled and nodded at everyone in the room. An older constable was regarding me somewhat suspiciously, a young sergeant gave me a friendly nod back and the Inspector looked like he was barely containing his annoyance. “I hope now is an appropriate time to arrive? I can always go back to my hostel for a while?”
The Inspector looked like he was about to send me straight back there, but another voice cut him off. For some reason, I hadn’t noticed the female detective when I was surveying the room. Or perhaps I had, and my subconscious had edited out the knowledge because it knew exactly how I would react. Sadly, it could not prevent me noticing now I was being directly spoken to.
“No, you are fine, very welcome,” said the goddess leaning against a desk. She was very beautiful, not what I had been expecting at all. And not exactly wearing what I was used to female detectives wearing either – a strappy top and rather short shorts that showed off all of her very nice legs. I couldn’t help myself, I stared. She smiled, somewhat bemusedly, back. Eventually some part of my brain reminded me of two key facts. Firstly, I was probably making her uncomfortable. Secondly, in my analysis I had found that generally male police officers fall into two categories: those that treat their female colleagues as ‘one of the boys’ and those that tended to be more protective, thinking of female colleagues like younger sisters. There was a distinct possibility I was making a very bad impression with the male officers in the room as well. I therefore forced my gaze to the floor and muttered my thanks. A quick glance showed the two uniformed officers smirking, the Commissioner gave nothing away with his look, whilst the Inspector was glaring at me. Oh well, he didn’t like me anyway.
“I will leave you in these officer’s very capable hands,” the Commissioner very nearly purred. He shot Inspector Poole a significant look that nobody in the room missed, before sweeping out. An awkward silence followed.
“Detective Sergeant Camille Bordey,” the woman I had vowed to never look at directly again eventually said, coming forward and offering her hand. I accepted, but let go very quickly aware I still needed to make up for the whole staring thing. She seemed quite amused by my sudden shyness, and it occurred to me it was probably not the first time she had accidently stunned somebody with her beauty. I also realised I should probably make an effort to stop acting like an idiot, because I clearly didn’t have a hope in hell’s chance and she probably now thought of me as some cute kid from the UK here to do a little psychology project.
“Right, yes,” I said, rousing myself. “I am Henry Gordon and I have to say I am very pleased to be allowed to come here and include your team in my studies. The results you achieve are really very impressive and I reckon there are a few lessons you could teach the police forces back in the UK!” I hoped flattery would get me everywhere.
“Hmm,” The Inspector said, though I could tell he really wanted to see the statistics. He was a man who took pride in results. I reckoned I could win him over. “So how much of a waste of police time is this going to be, exactly?” Perhaps I had been being too optimistic.
“Well there are a few, um, tests,” Dwayne grimaced at the word test – I knew I shouldn’t have used the term it sounded to official. “I mean questionnaires, really, not tests. The results aren’t going on anyone’s file or anything!”
“Let me see them,” he said brusquely. Caught off guard, I was forced to rummage desperately through my rucksack in order to find a set – I wasn’t even confident I’d bought them with me. I had though, and I handed the over a little reluctantly. Though heavily disguised, I felt sure the Inspector would be able to figure out what the various ‘questionnaires’ were designed to assess.
“Oh for God’s sake,” he muttered. To my surprise, the lovely Camille cleared her throat to gain Inspector Poole’s attention and then clicked her fingers, indicating he should follow her outside. Dwayne and Fidel exchanged a smirk, and I took a couple of steps to the left in order to observe the interaction. They had gone a little way down the steps, and it seemed like Camille was giving her boss a little bit of a lecture. The lack of a shocked reaction from the other two officers indicated this was not an unusual occurrence – well not here at least, it was in every other police station I had been in. Detective Sergeants did not normally go around scolding their superiors.
“Think that is part of the key to our success?” Dwayne asked, shooting me a grin and flicking his head towards the detectives.
“Little early to say,” I admitted. “But maybe…”
I dodged back out of sight when I saw them turn to come back in. The Inspector looked grumpy and said, in a rather grudging tone, “I suppose we will try to make the time to complete them.”
Well, at least I had one ally.
At the end of the day, after an interesting afternoon watching the Inspector shoot uneasy glances at me and wishing I spoke French so I could tell what was making Camille laugh so hard as she listened to Dwayne have various conversations on the phone, I was invited to join them for drinks which I excepted gratefully. I had thought that Miami was hot, but Saint Marie was like a whole new level of hell. The station had limited air conditioning, and I have been supplied with cold water, but I was still suffering. The weird thing was that I wanted, more than anything, a blasted cup of tea.
“It’s actually my Mother’s bar,” Camille told me as we walked over. “Just so you don’t insult the owner.” She said that last part quite loudly and with a note of teasing. I noticed the Inspector roll his eyes – clearly the comment had been directed at him. It hadn’t taken me long to figure out these two had a non-traditional professional relationship and I wasn’t entirely sure who was in charge. “She does excellent cocktails and I’ll make sure you get a discount.”
“I don’t suppose she does tea?” I asked, a hint of longing in me tone. “You know, like, normal tea – not long island ice tea?”
All four officers came to a halt and turned to stare at me. I felt like I needed to explain myself, “I, well, there was no decent tea in Miami and at the hostel where I am staying they could only dig a couple of bags out of the cupboard that I think had been there for twenty odd years. Five days is a long time to go without a cup of tea…”
The gazes all turned now to the Inspector, who they clearly expected to answer. “Yes, yes they do make tea.”
“Is it good tea?” I asked brightly.
The Inspector hesitated and was prodded verbally by Camille, “Yes, how is the tea made by my French mother?”
“It’s very good,” he eventually admitted much to Camille’s delight. “Probably the only decent cup you’ll get on the island. Mind, they don’t always have the right milk,” he added.
“UHT?” I asked with a grimace, and he nodded. “I hate UHT, it’s not proper milk.”
“No,” the Inspector said vehemently. “No, it’s not.” Well, we had tea and a hatred of UHT milk in common. I could work with that.
“So what made you want to study police psychology?” Fidel asked me, looking quite interested.
I set down my excellent cup of tea and proceeded to explain. “Well, instead of the usual Enid Blyton or similar children’s authors my mother used to read me Agatha Christie’s as a child - giving me an unhealthy interest in murder. But I am too short sighted to be in the police.” Fidel laughed, thinking it was a joke, but actually every word was true. As was the fact my Mother was perfectly content to watch all her true crime and forensics shows whilst I was in the room, despite how graphic some of the descriptions and images were. The eyesight issue really was the only reason I wasn’t in the police, I could wear contacts but I was pretty blind without them. “We had Psychology A-Level at my school, and I liked it, so I decided to do it at Uni.”
“Right,” Fidel said, nodding. “What will you do when your PhD is complete?”
I tried not to wince, it was a question continually asked of me by my Father. Truth was I wasn’t entirely sure – economy being what it was in the UK I was unlikely to find a Police Service that would have the money to take me on in any sort of capacity. I was hoping I might have better luck abroad, or I might even be able to secure a post-doc or something and carry on in academia. I was saved from having to answer Fidel by Camille, “I am sure a PhD would give Henry lots of transferable skills and he could do a lot of different things.”
The Inspector muttered something under his breath that I didn’t quite catch, but Camille shot him a look and then said firmly, “I studied psychology at university as well.”
“Oh right?” I was quite curious and so asked, “What did you do your dissertation on?”
“Patterns of IQ amongst sexual offenders,” Camille said mildly.
“You didn’t, actually, interview and test sexual offenders did you?” The Inspector (his attitude towards me meant I would always think of him as ‘The Inspector’ rather than Richard) asked Camille.
“No, I did. In prisons, it was all perfectly safe. Though I did have to break a guy’s nose once when he got loose.” Camille may or may not have realised just how much about herself she had given away with her last few statements. She was a fearless sort of woman, one who may even occasionally invite danger because she liked to prove she was capable of handling it. I’d be looking out for more signs of it, but this was a woman who liked to show she was as good as any man. I made a mental note to try to assess the reasons why that was the case, half a dozen possibilities had already occurred to me.
“Of course you did,” The Inspector said, in a resigned sort of tone. This was clearly a man who would prefer Camille not take the risks she did, but had learnt at some point that wasn’t going to happen. Fidel also had a slightly horrified look on his face whereas Dwayne seemed far more at ease – the older officer was clearly confident in his Sergeants ability to look after herself. I was willing to bet if he needed help in a fight, he’d pick Camille over the Inspector. Based on my current assessment, I would too.
I decided not to launch into the questionnaires the next morning, which was a risk because it seemed to be reasonably quiet to me and thus an ideal opportunity for them to fill them in. But I really wanted to get a full day of observation in, especially now they had spent an evening with me and were hopefully a little more comfortable in my company. I had noticed, in a corner, a whiteboard with various bits of evidence, photographs and notes put up on it. I asked casually, “You use this for team briefings?”
“We use it for everything,” The Inspector said. “Team briefings, cross referencing statements, checking off alibis…”
“You don’t have access to HOLMES2?” I asked, surprised.
“No we do, we just choose to use the whiteboard,” he said, perfectly seriously.
“Really?” I said, genuinely interested. “You find it fits in better with your working style, as a team?”
He just levelled me with a stare. Camille said from across the room, “He was being sarcastic.” I was a bit ashamed I hadn’t realised. “We don’t have access to Homes whatever you call it.”
“HOLMES2,” The Inspector and I said simultaneously.
“Yes, that, and all our forensics gets sent to another island.”
“Ah, that I knew.” At least I had checked some facts.
“Except the forensics the Chief does in his kitchen,” Dwayne piped up.
Camille smiled fondly at the Inspector, “Yeah, which does save us quite a lot of time.”
This was not a fact I could just let slip by. I turned to the Inspector and asked in amazement, “You perform forensics tests in your kitchen?”
“On occasion,” he admitted. He didn’t seem too keen to talk about it.
“So they just send you out the equipment and let you get on with it?”
“Oh no, it’s even better than that,” Fidel said sounding quite proud of his boss. “A lot of the time he is able to do it with just random stuff he buys on the island.” If that was the case, it was no doubt from his own money as well – the man was clearly cared deeply about catching criminals. Or really liked science experiments. Possibly both. I had no idea how he got such tests through court but perhaps it wasn’t something I should question too deeply.
“All to avoid having to wait for results from Guadeloupe?” I asked for confirmation.
He nodded, but Camille felt the need to add, “And because he likes showing off.”
“I do not do them to show off,” he snapped – telling me that he probably didn’t, but it was an added benefit. “I do them to provide us with vital evidence required to catch murderers.”
“And because you think they’re fun,” Camille continued to tease him. “And you love to tell us all about them.”
“I think it is interesting,” he stressed. “And I only tell you about them when you ask!” He was a bit ruffled and it seemed obvious to me he hadn’t quite picked up on the fact he was being teased in a friendly manner, and not criticised. Camille smiled at him, a proper full on bright smile that did funny things to my insides because even though I knew I wasn’t in with a chance, she was still a beautiful woman. Richard saw it and relaxed a little – I jotted down a note to see if he often needed clear cues to decipher people’s emotions.
“That is pretty awesome,” I said, mostly to distract him from the fact I was writing notes – the Inspector had looked distinctly nervous when I pulled out by little notebook. “Did you study science at university?”
“Um, no, history,” he said. “But I liked science at school, so, you know…” I didn’t really know. Usually the sorts of people who studied history and the sorts of people who did science weren’t the same.
“There aren’t many subjects Richard doesn’t know about,” Camille interjected. I got the feeling that those he didn’t know about, he knew nothing about. Another note went down into the book and another suspicious look was sent my way by the Inspector.
By the end of that day, I did not need Inspector Poole or Sergeant Bordey to sit a Myers-Briggs personality type test to know where they fell on the scales. An argument they had concerning an old case due for appeal in court soon taught me a hell of a lot about the pair of them. I even reckoned I could make good guesses about where Dwayne and Fidel would fall on the scale, even though they spent most of the afternoon in silence except occasionally stepping in to tactfully diffuse the situation when it became a little too tense. Their reaction to the interactions between the pair of Detectives told me this was perfectly normal behaviour, and thus highly relevant to my assessment of the teams interactions.
In many ways, they were practical parodies of their personality types – the extreme opposites of each other in so many ways I wondered why they had not killed each other yet. Camille so obviously an extrovert – thriving off interactions with other people, and highly social, with the Inspector seemingly exhausted by her near constant playfulness and chatty nature. The argument had concerned exactly how the case had been solved.
“I told you from the start she was having an affair with him!” Camille was teasing the Inspector. “My intuition told me, but you insisted we had to find evidence of that affair rather than just bringing them in and questioning them!”
“Camille you can’t just go around accusing people of sleeping together because you have ‘a feeling’,” he protested loudly. “They’d just end up angry and defensive!”
“Well, Richard, some of us know how to be tactful. Questioning a suspect doesn’t have to be an accusation you know,” she pointed out. “Plus I was right, did you actually ever even acknowledge that?”
“You were right, yes, but that doesn’t mean the method you wanted to use was!” He snapped. Camille didn’t seem to care about that, she was just happy to hear him admit she was right. She kicked back behind the desk and gave him a smug little smile, which infuriated the Inspector. I saw Dwayne and Fidel exchange a little smirk. “If you aren’t methodical Camille things can get missed!”
“And if you don’t follow your instincts, Sir, chances can slip away,” she argued back. “And one day you might lose a really important chance because you didn’t act sooner.” That comment led to a bit of a staring match between the two of them, and then tension ratcheted up several knots. I thought Fidel might be holding his breath, waiting for an explosion, and I found myself leaning forward expectantly. But then Camille looked away, choosing to pursue a different argument, “You always get bogged down looking at the little things and never step back to look at the big picture!”
“Those little things are often the key to solving the case!”
“Not if you’ve no idea where they actually fit in to the case!”
“I think it might have been a combination of being faced with our knowledge of their affair, and the trace evidence the Inspector found at the crime scene that proved Ms Blunt has been there that triggered the confession,” Fidel said casually. It was a clever tactic, avoiding a full blown argument between his superiors by drawing attention to the fact their partnership that was what had finally won the day. They both look reasonably chastised.
“Yes, well, you were very useful helping me process that evidence, Fidel,” Inspector Poole said. “And Dwayne your detailed questioning of those who inhabit the bars of Saint Marie gave us plenty of witnesses to their relationship so, you know, it was a team effort.”
With that, the argument came to an end. There was still a bit of tension in the room, Camille kept shooting glances at her boss but for some reason he wouldn’t meet her gaze. I wasn’t sure all the tension was entirely related to the subject of the argument. In my notes I wrote ‘CB – ESFP’ and ‘RP – ISTJ’, incomprehensible for those unfamiliar with Myers Briggs but very useful for my own purposes. I was starting to see why this somewhat odd team was so successful. I looked up to find the Inspector had been watching me, though he quickly went back to his paperwork.
As I thought back over their little argument, my brain suddenly provided me with three words: Castle and Beckett. This was followed by another three: Booth and Brennan. The pattern continued: Mulder and Scully, Sara and Grishom, Tony and Ziva. From this, I was able to conclude two things. First of all, I watched far too many American crime dramas. And secondly, that was no normal argument, oh no the tension in the room was of the unresolved sexual kind.
I had found myself a pair of detectives in love.
They took me to the bar again that evening, which I thought was very nice of them. I quickly realised this spending time together outside of work was a pretty regular occurrence. I suspected they only succeeded in getting the Inspector there nearly every day though because it was the only place he could get a decent post-work cup of tea. Both nights he hadn’t stayed as long as the others, and that evening he even sat a little bit apart from them – with Camille, Fidel and Dwayne all having to make a special effort to try to get him to join in. He seemed quite resistant though, and eventually they gave in, rolling their eyes at each other which told me that there were some days he just wasn’t willing to be social. Personally, I would have guessed something was worrying Inspector Poole, but perhaps I was being generous – maybe he was nearly always grumpy. I would be if I was wearing a bloody suit in this sort of heat.
The fact it was quiet the next day was a mixed blessing. It meant that I could start getting the team to fill out some of my questionnaires, but it also meant I wasn’t going to have a chance to watch their interactions on a case. “I don’t have time to fill all of these out!” The Inspector snapped when I handed him a pile of paper. I hadn’t intended anybody to have to do the whole lot today, I was hoping they’d be able to get through them over the next few days. I explained as such and he muttered something in acknowledgement.
“Even if you just get one done it would be really useful,” I said sincerely. “This is a really key chapter of my thesis,” I hoped to appeal to the fellow academic that I suspected was lurking inside of the Inspector, and it seemed to work as with an aggressive sigh he selected a pen and pulled one of the questionnaires towards him.
“It’s time for the lunchtime patrol,” Dwayne said brightly around midday. “Come on Fidel, and you should come out with us as well Henry.”
I looked up sharply and Fidel paused, surprised by the fact his partner extended an invitation to me, and shooting at nervous look at the Inspector who said quickly and firmly, “He is not insured to go out on patrol.” I felt a surge of disappointment, it would have been nice to get out for a while.
“Well, is he allowed to go for a walk around the market on his lunch hour?” Dwayne questioned.
Richard shrugged, “He can do whatever he wants then.”
“So he might choose to happen to wonder alongside some police officers,” Dwayne offered. This was a man who knew how to bend the rules. “Come on Chief, he can’t stay in the station all day, how much is he going to learn about policing doing that? Besides the fresh air will do him good.”
“I am sure Henry knows not to interfere in the unlikely event of any incident, Sir,” Fidel added after Dwayne gave him a significant look.
“I have been allowed to observe a community policing situation before,” I said, omitting the fact that it was a trip to a primary school and thus posed no danger whatsoever. Though some of those reception kids had looked a little shifty. If I honestly thought going out on patrol at lunch posed a danger, I probably would have stayed in the station like a good boy, especially since I had seen the islands crime rates. I hoped the Inspector would concede, as I dearly wished for the chance to buy an ice cream and question Fidel and Dwayne a little.
“Fine but if you get shot your heirs aren’t suing me,” the Inspector said, waving a hand dismissively. Camille rolled her eyes. I tried to keep the skip out of my step as I exited.
As soon as we were a suitable distance away from the station, it became apparent that Fidel and Dwayne were just as keen to question me as I was interested in questioning them. Dwayne wasn’t subtle about it either, “So, what is your analysis telling you?”
Fidel gave a little wince at his lack of tact and protested, “Dwayne, I am sure he can’t reveal any results at this stage – it could have a significant influence on the way we answer the questionnaires!”
That was actually right, but a better point was that I hadn’t done any analysis yet. Well, not the kind that leads to statistically significant results, so that is what I told them. Dwayne wasn’t willing to settle for that though. “Oh come on,” he wielded. “Maybe we haven’t filled out those tests or whatever for you but I’ve seen you observing us! Bet you’ve drawn a few conclusions already.”
Now that wasn’t something I could outright deny. “Well actually, an important part of my studies involves asking you why you think the team works well together – if you do that is?” I dodged the question with a question of my own.
Dwayne looked like he was about to call me out on it, but before he could he was interrupted by Fidel. “I think it is because our team has the correct structure based on our individual skills and strengths, and that we are united by a shared objective, making us an effective team.” It sounded like something straight out of a textbook and I wasn’t surprised, Fidel seemed like the type who liked to get things right. Dwayne looked horrified.
“Boy, have you been reading up?” He asked accusingly.
“I may have gotten a few texts out of the library,” Fidel admitted. “I wanted to make sure I understood everything.”
“Well, good, you can tell me the right answers to all the questions then!” Dwayne said, punching Fidel companionably on the shoulder.
“Uh guys,” I began nervously. “Just so you know, there are no right or wrong answers. You should just answer them honestly, that is the most useful thing you could do.”
“Oh you psychology types always say that!” Dwayne protested mildly. Here we go again, I thought to myself. “But I bet you’ve snuck some test in there to check if any of us our psychopaths!”
“There is no test for psychopathy in there!” I could say that honestly, because in psychology there was no formal definition for psychopaths. There was however some questions in there that would enable me to identify any narcissists, sociopaths or those that otherwise lack empathy. I didn’t want to tell them that in case it made them nervous.
“Really!” I said sincerely. “And I know all psychologists say it, but there really are no right answers in this instance.” Dwayne still didn’t look like he believed me, but I decided not to push the matter any further. “Anyway, why do you think the team achieves such impressive results?” I asked him.
“Well, good teamwork,” he said, vaguely. “To be fair, the Chief is a bit of a genius.”
“Mmm,” Fidel agreed. “He always spots the missing piece of the puzzle!”
“So you’d say he’s an effective leader?” I asked. “A good boss.” There was an awkward pause.
“He can sometimes have an interesting management style,” Fidel said diplomatically. I raised an eyebrow.
“What Fidel means is that sometimes the Inspector can be a right pain in the neck.” Dwayne was much more direct. “He’s a real stickler for the rules, he can be as grumpy and uptight as hell and cannot take a hint to save his life.”
“But he is brilliant,” Fidel added on to the end.
“And a hell of a lot better than when he first got here,” Dwayne admitted. “And Camille knows how to keep him in line,” he added, with a cheeky grin.
“She’s a lot better at the whole interpersonal skills thing than the Inspector,” Fidel explained. “Spots the stuff in interviews that would go right over the top of his head.”
“They do seem to complement each other,” I said, sort of fishing.
“Yeah, when they aren’t arguing,” Dwayne scoffed. “I sometimes think those two need their heads bashed together!”
“Dwayne!” Fidel protested, giving the older officer a hard stare.
“What?” He said, suddenly acting all innocent. “They do fight all the time.”
“They bicker,” Fidel said, turning to me. “It is serious fighting. They don’t hate each other or anything,” he explained hurriedly.
“I didn’t say they hate each other, in fact…” He didn’t finish that sentence, because Fidel was glaring at him. Clearly the sergeant felt that was not the sort of information I should be made privy to. But I didn’t need Dwayne to finish the sentence, it was pretty obvious what he was going to say. I’d already made my own conclusions on that front.
At the end of the day, I was handed back an assortment of the questionnaires. Feeling enthused and energised by my observations over the past two days, I excused myself from the bar early and went back to the hostel to do some actual analysis. The Inspector had only filled in the one form – a rather poorly disguised IQ test. I’d gotten a few more back from the others. I was a little surprised by the results of the Inspector’s test though - from the way his colleagues spoke of him, and what I had learned so far, I had expected something in the upper ranges, but it came out as 117. Higher than the average of a 100, sure, but nothing to write home about. Camille’s empathy quotient tests was far more impressive and interesting.
Something didn’t quite add up.
The next morning, Fidel handed me over the rest of the questionnaires, all completed. I flicked through, surprised, and noted that for some of the ones where free text was required for answers he had continued on to additional sheets. “I stayed up late to finish them,” he told me. “I hope they prove useful!”
His eagerness would be something I would be making a note of shortly. “Well thank you, but you didn’t need to do them all at once!”
“Well, I heard you tell the Inspector this would be a really important part of your thesis. I didn’t want to delay you in the analysis.”
“Oh well, yes, this is brilliant. Really, thank you!” He went back to his desk, looking pleased.
“I finished them all as well,” Dwayne said. Everyone in the room looked at him in disbelief as he handed them over.
I glanced down at the first page and frowned. After a few minutes of reading through I was forced to ask, “Dwayne, for the MCQ’s did you just pick answers at random?”
“Why would you say that?” He asked defensively. I noted the fact he didn’t deny it.
“Well, I can sort of tell from the pattern of answers you gave.”
“You said there were no right or wrong answers!”
“Yeah but you have selected answers that are polar opposites. It’s like it was filled in by somebody with multiple personality disorder.” I paused, then asked “You don’t have dissociative personality disorder, do you?”
“He does seem to forget he’s a police officer sometimes,” The Inspector quipped across the room, causing Camille to smile. Dwayne looked like he was sulking.
“I believe Officer Myers would like some clean copies of your research questionnaires,” Camille said. Dwayne gave a heavy sigh and nodded, so I retrieved them and handed them over.
I wasn’t quite sure how we got on to the topic, but that afternoon Camille started to talk about some disastrous blind date she had been on recently to Dwayne and Fidel. The Inspector remained resolutely writing some report – but it was obvious to anyway who spared him more than just a brief glance that he was paying very close attention to the conversation. In fact, I thought he might even be taking mental notes about where Camille’s poor date had gone so very wrong.
I could still remember that horrid awkwardness of the teenage years when you realise you like a girl but you know there is no way you will approach her about it, because you simply aren’t that brave. I am pretty certain I will remember that feeling for the rest of my life – I had certainly channelled my teenage self the day I met Detective Sergeant Bordey. When I looked at Richard Poole, pretending to type whilst desperately trying to overhear the conversation and trying not to look too pleased when Camille stated resolutely that she would prefer a man who could do basic mental arithmetic over one with muscles, it was an ungainly teenager who came to mind. I felt a rush of sympathy as I realised that I had definitely been right about his feelings for her - the Inspector was not immune to Camille’s charms. But he was highly unlikely to ever do anything about it.
Just another variation on that classic tale.
It was the weekend the next day, and I had arranged not to have to work then. A guy has got to have some time for sightseeing, right? After an exhausting morning of hiking in the jungle to look at the many and splendid waterfalls to be found there, I decided to meander over to Catherine’s bar for a cup of tea. I had also arranged to meet a lovely girl also staying in the hostel for cocktails later that afternoon.
Catherine greeted me warmly. “Richard is out on the patio having some tea as well,” she said conversationally. I was surprised, I wouldn’t have expected him to frequent this place willingly during his time off, not from what I had seen of him so far.
“By himself?” I asked.
“Yes, though Camille does normally pop in around now as well.”
“Ah,” I said, suddenly it all made so much more sense. Catherine gave me a rather knowing smile. If the Inspector was under the delusion nobody had noticed the fact he was harbouring feelings towards his Detective Sergeant, he was very much mistaken.
“Oh, here is comes now,” said Catherine, pointing.
The Inspector didn’t quite manage to hide his own shock at my appearance. I was probably the last person he wanted to see. Well, there was probably only one person he wanted to see really. “Good afternoon, Inspector!” I said brightly. “How are you?”
“I’m fine, Mr Gordon, and how are you?”
“Oh Richard,” Catherine cried, a little note of frustration evident in her voice. “I am sure you could call him Henry.”
“Yes, I’m sure I could,” he said dryly.
Catherine didn’t pick up on the sarcasm – or perhaps she just chose to ignore it, either way she said breezily, “Good, you English, always so formal. There is no need for it! It is Saturday as well!” She turned away and began to fiddle with the television behind the bar. It was a bit awkward for both of us, and she had failed to take our order.
“Stop!” I shouted suddenly, causing her to jump. “Sorry, I thought I saw Countdown. I bloody love Countdown.” Catherine gave me a bemused smile, but turned back a channel. I quickly realised all was not quite as it seemed.
“It’s the French version,” Richard said, with an air of dismissal. “You can’t get the English version here sadly.”
“Damn,” I said, squinting up at the screen. It looked like it was nearing the end of the episode. “I love playing along. Looks like they are about to do the conundrum but I’m not exactly likely to get it if it is in French.”
“The conundrum?” Catherine asked, though I suspected more out of politeness than interest.
“Where they muddle up the letters of a long word – an anagram basically. In the English version it is nine letters - not sure about the French, and you have 30 seconds to figure out what it is.”
It came up on screen and I decided to give it a go, but after only 2 seconds the Inspector said, “Cylindrage.” I turned to him in surprise, and Catherine very nearly dropped the glass she was putting away. “What?” He asked at our surprised stares. A quick glance back up at the screen confirmed he was in fact correct.
“I didn’t know you spoke French, Inspector,” I said.
“I don’t,” he said flatly. “I’ve no clue what it means. Though I might guess cylinder.”
“Rolling, actually,” Catherine supplied.
“There you go, told you I didn’t speak French.” He shrugged, as if it was perfectly normal that somebody who didn’t speak the language would still be able to solve a conundrum in it. There was no way I could let this pass without further investigation.
I decided for the direct approach, thinking it was likely to be the most successful. “How did you do that?” I asked, unable to keep the amazement out of my tone.
“Oh, um,” he shifted a little. “Well you know at least one third of the island is actually French and most of them speak it so I see words every day on signs and news print or when I’m flicking through channels. I can remember how to spell them just not what they mean.”
“Do you speak any other languages Inspector Poole?” I asked, curious.
“Um, Mandarin Chinese and Latin, though I think the Mandarin is getting rusty from lack of use.”
“You still use the Latin?”
“Well, I prefer to read the Roman philosopher’s in the original Latin, sometimes translators completely miss some nuances in the text, you know?”
“Oh absolutely,” I said, though I had never read a word of Latin in my life. But I had been pretty fluent in Elvish in a geeky stage during my teenage years and used to spend hours in forums arguing over the true meaning of a phrase – I imagined it was pretty similar to what the Inspector was describing. The key thing I had learnt though was that it seemed more of a case of the Inspector refusing to speak French, rather than an inability too – with a background in Latin he probably wouldn’t have any difficulty picking it up if he tried. “You know,” I began, trying to sound casual we both accepted tea from Catherine. “It’s not an official app or anything, but I have a thing on my phone that generates conundrums and does the numbers round as well.”
“Oh?” He said, trying not to look too keen. He clearly loved solving puzzles, I’d noticed a complete crossword puzzle book in the bin at the station and knew the only person it could reasonably belong to was him.
“Yeah, we could have a go if you like.”
“I suppose it would pass the time,” he said with a small shrug.
The “conundrum” app gave me two very good opportunities. Firstly, it let me start establishing a less antagonistic relationship with the Inspector – a mutual love of tea and countdown was giving us something to bond over. Not that I thought the Inspector was the sort to really bond with anybody. It also let me assess his IQ again.
“Ignorance!” He cried, not in celebration at my stupidity (though he was making me feel very, very stupid) but because that was the answer to the conundrum. So far the longest any had taken him was 5 seconds, and he was looking pretty damn smug. I decided I might have to cut him off soon in case he became unbearable, but he clearly really liked the fact he was beating him by a mile. Mind I had a disadvantage, I was trying to perform psychological analysis and play countdown.
“Beautiful,” he said nearly the instant the next one came on the screen.
“Why thank you.” We both jumped, Camille had appeared at the table, drink in hand. “And to think I wasn’t going to come out because I couldn’t get my hair to behave…”
“Oh no, no,” Richard said, slightly panicked. “I wasn’t talking about you!” Camille raised a single eyebrow in a delightfully French gesture that had Richard squirming in his seat. “Not that I’m saying you aren’t, or that you are, it’s just what I said wasn’t directly in reference to you but that doesn’t mean the descriptor isn’t necessarily applicable…”
“What are you up to?” Camille asked, interrupting his rambling and thus excusing him from the hole he had been digging for himself. He didn’t quite seem able to answer so I stepped in to help him
“Oh the Inspector here is proving he is an absolute genius at anagrams,” I told her. “He has gotten everyone I’ve thrown at him.” Though I still called him the Inspector, I realised mentally I had started to feel able to refer to him as Richard. We’d made some real progress.
“Well you know,” he said, still looking uncomfortable. “Camille doesn’t want to hear about that.”
“Oh no, show me!” She said brightly, leaning in to look at the screen of my phone.
“No, really, I think we’ve done enough,” Richard said, suddenly reluctant despite happily playing along for the last fifteen minutes. “You wouldn’t enjoy it anyway.”
“Why, do you think I’m not smart enough?” Camille asked, surprisingly aggressive. It was a bit of an extreme conclusion to leap to from his statement. She really was a little obsessed with proving herself.
“I didn’t say that! I just thought…that it wouldn’t be fair because English isn’t your first language.” I thought he made that last bit up, and there was something else going on, and it was Camille who figured it out.
“Oh, this is because I tell him off for showing off,” Camille said, turning to me. “It’s okay, you can play your game. I’m happy enough with my drink.” Richard scowled at her, clearly about to deny attempting to please her had anything to do with his choice even though it had everything to do with it, but I decided to intervene.
“We could do the maths challenge if we could get a pen and some paper,” I pointed out. Richard seemed about to decline, but then hesitated. Perhaps he, like I, remembered Camille’s comment about wanting a man who could do mental arithmetic the day before. I really wanted the chance to test his numerical skills, as I was even more suspicious about the results of the IQ test he had submitted now.
“Ok,” he agreed, pulling a couple of pens from his inside pocket and tearing off some sheets of paper from his notebook.
It didn’t surprise me when he performed equally well at the maths challenge. Camille gamely joined in and she did manage to get well over half, and was normally only a number or two out for the others. I had always sucked at the maths part of Countdown, and was thus in a very definitive third place when we finally stopped playing. I also couldn’t ignore the facts I was being presented with for any longer.
“Inspector,” I began solemnly. “I am going to ask you a question and I would like you to answer it honestly.”
“Ok,” he said, looking a bit nervous at the formal tone I had adopted.
“Did you deliberately get answers wrong on your IQ test?” Of course, none of the participants were supposed to know it was an IQ test but if my suspicions were correct he would have quickly figured it out.
“Um…” he began.
“Oh Richard!” Camille interrupted, clearly needing no further words from him to realise that was exactly what he had done. “Why would you do that? It could ruin his project!”
“I, um, well…” He trailed off, and no further explanation seemed forthcoming. In fact he seemed pretty miserable.
Camille’s features softened. She asked, “Have you done an IQ test before now?”
“Uh, yes, once. When I started at boarding school.”
“And did you get a very good result?” She continued to probe gently.
“Um, yes, actually it was, you know, best in the year.” He said. “Actually best in the history of the school,” he clarified.
“And did the other boys make fun of you because of that?”
“Yes,” he admitted, reluctantly. I was bloody impressed by Camille deducing all of this, though perhaps she had already known he had had a difficult time at school. It was a great insight for me though.
“Oh Richard,” she said, fondly but with a note of frustration. “How many times do we have to go over this? You’re not at school anymore! We aren’t going to disown you or make fun of you because you have an IQ of 140 or something!”
I felt the need to step in and contribute here, “Actually I’m currently estimating it at somewhere around 180.”
“180!?” She half shouted, clearly thrown by the number. Of course, she had done IQ as part of her dissertation, she would be aware of how significantly high that score was. “Isn’t mine about 120?”
“Yes, 121 on the test you submitted to me.” I confirmed. “I mean, still quite a bit above average,” I added, when she looked a little stricken.
“I’m only two thirds as intelligent as he is,” she said.
Richard looked like he was going to give her a more precise fraction but, but recognising DS Bordey was feeling a little insecure by the revelation of her bosses IQ, I decided to stop that from happening. “Well IQ is only one facet of somebodies personality, Camille. And as you said, you wouldn’t treat anybody differently just because you know their IQ.”
“No,” she said faintly. But then she continued more firmly, “No of course not. So don’t lie on IQ tests again!” This last part was of course addressed to Richard. I couldn’t help but get the feeling she was still a little shaken and Richard seemed to pick up on it as well. They both suddenly stood at the same time, talking over each other.
“I should be going…”
“I think I might just leave and…”
They stopped and shared a look, just for a moment, and I really thought they might have forgotten I was there. “Anyway, Bye for now!” Camille said, before grabbing her bag and hurrying from the bar.
“Yes, um, I’ll see you on Monday, Henry,” Richard said. I caught him briefly glancing in the direction Camille had gone in, before he turned and stalked away.
“Hmm,” I said to myself, pulling out my notepad. I wrote down three words: fear of rejection. “Very interesting.”
I received an updated version of the IQ test from Inspector Poole when I came in on Monday, along with most of the other questionnaires. In fact only one was missing, which I figured I would get before I left. My calculations came out at 182 and I was pretty impressed by my own ability to estimate IQ. I’d never actually sat one of the tests myself, fearful the answer would be quite mediocre. Richard and Camille then left, called to the Marina by Border Force about some fake passports. Of course, being an active investigation, there was no way I would be able to go with them. Which was a shame, because after Saturday’s incident, I was keen to observe how they were interacting with each other today. Fidel also left to deal with a break in at some bar on the beach.
Dwayne then, somewhat sheepishly, handed over his forms. “I was on duty mostly babysitting drunks in the cells all weekend,” he said, as if he didn’t want to seem overly keen by having completed everything.
I decided to take the opportunity to start writing up some notes and finishing analysis. After a while Dwayne asked me, sounding nonchalant, “Could I get my results when you are done?”
“Hmm?” I said, looking up from Richard’s concise answers he had given on chosen policing style. I had thought I had recognised near word for word quotes from some of the policing manuals – and I got the feeling he hadn’t need to consult them in order to do that.
“You know, of the IQ and, and what was the other one – EQ? The results of those tests anyway.” I managed to hold in a sigh.
“Well I suppose,” I said, sorting through the papers to find his. “Though you aren’t even supposed to know what kind of tests they are!”
“Oh, Camille told me,” Dwayne informed me. “I saw her yesterday and she said the Chief got some sort of record breaking score on the IQ test but we shouldn’t mention it ‘cause we’d make him uncomfortable. Though usually in my experience the Chief doesn’t mind a bit of praise.” I would have thought the best way to avoid the officers discussing the results would to have not told them in the first place. “Oh! She also mentioned something about Myers, um, bridge? I can remember the Myers…Started going on about introverts and extroverts. I think she’s bit hitting her psychology text books again as well.”
“Myers-Briggs personality type. Sure thing, right you want to know now?” He nodded enthusiastically, “Ok, so, for Myers-Briggs you basically get these four letters and then you can look up what that means. You got, let me see, ESTP. According to my notes that makes you outgoing and spontaneous, a realist, versatile and, um, apparently a skilled negotiator.”
“Well, I am the one who runs most of the informants around here,” he said, a note of pride in his voice. That was a useful bit of information, so I made a note of it.
“IQ is, ah, 102,” I told him.
Dwayne frowned, “What is the average?”
“Oh, good, I’m above average then!” He said brightly. I decided not to ruin his positive attitude to the result by telling him the margin of error involved in the test. Besides, I had meant it when I said IQ was only one facet of somebodies personality.
“And your EQ scores are very impressive,” I said honestly.
Dwayne glanced over his shoulder before leaning forward and asking, “What exactly is an EQ score?”
“Oh, Empathy Quotient. It is a measure of how much we are able to empathise with other people, you know, be able to tell how they are actually feeling about a situation.” He nodded to indicate he understood. “You got a 50 out of 80, which is really quite high. In general women score higher than men, the average male score is 41 and female 47.”
Dwayne thought about this for a second before asking, “Are you saying I’m feminine?”
That blindsided me a little, “No, not at all. Your scores are just closer to the average for women than for men.”
“So you’re saying I feel like a woman?”
“NO!” How was I explaining this so badly? “Your empathy score doesn’t necessarily say if you are more masculine or feminine…”
“But, feelings and stuff are generally associated with women, so…” I really hoped I wasn’t going to end up heading back to the UK leaving behind a police team now self-conscious about themselves. I formally dismissed the idea of pursuing a career in clinical psychology.
“No, look, all it means is you are better at spotting peoples true feelings. That is a key skill for a police officer, as it includes being able to tell when somebody is lying.” I then recalled Dwayne’s behaviour in the bar on the evenings I had joined them. “Also explains your success with the ladies, Dwayne, I bet you always know exactly what to tell them!”
He sat back, looking smug, “Now that is true. And if you ever need any tips young man you just come ask Uncle Dwayne, he’ll put you right.”
I was sure he would.
For the rest of the morning, Dwayne shared stories of the teams various exploits. “It is sort of a shame you can’t see the Chief in action,” he said. “It’s pretty impressive.”
“How so?” I asked, pen poised over my notebook.
“He always does this Poirot thing when it is time to arrest the killer. You know, gathers them all in a room and eliminates them one by one and then goes in for the big reveal! Sometimes he doesn’t even tell me and Fidel who it is beforehand, though Camille normally wields it out of him.”
“Really?” I was a little surprised, it was hardly standard policing and not the sort of behaviour I would have predicted from somebody who was a bit of an introvert. In the social situations I had seen him in he seemed to dread being the centre of attention.
“Oh yeah, he gets well into it,” Dwayne said enthusiastically. “Let me tell you about the time with the secret tunnel…” I took copious notes.
Camille and Richard returned that afternoon. Things seemed a little awkward between them, but there was no way to tell if this was left over from Saturday when they had both freaked out for no reason over Richard’s IQ results, or if Richard had simply put his foot in it again that morning. I got the feeling he might say the wrong thing a lot. Camille was acting overly respectful compared to her previous behaviour, whereas before she had seemed quite at ease with her boss and perfectly willing to tease him or call him out when he was wrong. But this wasn’t the sort of ‘I am mad with you so I am going to act really formally’ respectful, it was more like somebody who was a bit down and having to act their way through it. Fidel and Dwayne seemed to pick up on it as well, but didn’t seem too concerned.
There wasn’t much I could do about it, so I tried to push the matter out of my mind and instead returned to the challenge of writing up my notes. Several unique aspects of this team had become obvious to me over the past few days, and I knew I would have to word my final analysis very carefully, but for my own private notes I decided to just write things down honestly. This note taking behaviour seemed to make the lot of them far more nervous than any of the tests had. Every time Richard said something he glanced at me as if he was checking to see if I’d found it interesting. I have to admit I was a little amused by how panicked he briefly looked when I caught him staring at Camille.
The next day, I totally broke the team. I was due to finish the next morning so I decided to casually remind the Inspector that there was one questionnaire left to fill in. It would have been a shame, after all, to leave without it.
“I gave you everything,” he said firmly, in response to my reminder.
“Uh, no, there is one missing. I’m terribly sorry, perhaps I never gave it to you in the first place.” I dug it out – it was the EQ test – and handed it over. “I’d really appreciate it to complete my analysis.”
He gave it an uneasy glance, “Well I don’t think I am going to have time to fill this one out.” He pushed it back towards me. “I have to interview somebody later on.”
“I can do that,” Camille offered. “We don’t want to send Henry home with incomplete results, do we Sir? I don’t think he or the Commissioner would be very happy.” Camille’s tone was firm, and I fully expected the Inspector to give in quite quickly under her stare. But instead he did the opposite.
“I’m not filling that one in,” he said stubbornly.
Camille and I both looked at him in surprise. I cleared my throat, “Um, do you object for any particular reason?” I asked. “It is, of course, entirely voluntary but it would be useful for me to know.”
“Well if it is voluntary you don’t need to know,” he said, staring resolutely at his computer screen.
“Richard,” Camille said, a warning note in her tone. “What is it this time?” When her boss annoyed her, it seemed Camille’s assertive side came out.
He glared at her, but briefly, before returning to staring at his screen and eventually admitting, “I’ll fail it.”
“Oh you can’t fail these, Inspector,” I hurried to explain. Did I mention how often during the study I had had to explain this? “There are no right or wrong answers,” I said for what felt for the millionth time.
“There is for this one,” he grumbled. “I know what it is, an EQ test, and if I sit it I’ll fail it.”
“No, honestly you can’t fail…” I tried to argue back, but he interrupted me.
“You can if you get under 30!” I thought about this for a moment. People on the autism scale tended to score under thirty, the Inspector must have known this and was worried he would come out. Even if it did it wouldn’t matter, unless he worried it would affect his career.
“I don’t think you would get under 30, Inspector,” I said, a bit frustrated. “The results aren’t linked to specific names either. And you know what? It really doesn’t matter what you score because Detective Seargent Bordey scores off the bloody scale!”
“I do?” She said, sounding surprised.
“Yes,” I said, turning to her. “You have somehow gotten 81 even though the maximum score is 80…I may have to go back and remark.” I turned back to the Inspector, who was eyeing up Camille warily. “So you see, it doesn’t really matter what you score, because it is pretty obvious that DS Bordey would make up for any inefficiencies. She can probably tell what people are thinking and feeling 99% of the time.”
“She can?” Richard asked, looking decidedly uncomfortable with the idea. It was, of course, an exaggeration – but I went with it because I thought it might make him more likely to complete the test.
“Oh yes,” I confirmed. “It is really quite fascinating. You two are complete opposites in nearly all of your test results, ones skills are the others weakness, it makes for an extremely effective working team. Psychologists dream of getting individuals such as yourselves in a successful working relationship. It normally never works though, because your personality types tend to be just too different.”
“Complete opposites?” Camille repeated, seeking confirmation.
I gave a small shrug, “Pretty much.”
There then followed what is known in psychological circles as a tense and awkward silence. Actually, I think it might be known by that name in pretty much all circles. Richard retrieved the EQ test without saying another word and Camille suddenly became very involved in investigating the bottom on her coffee cup. I had been aiming to strengthen their partnership and reassure the Inspector about the EQ test, but I had ended up making the pair of them miserable and I had no clue why.
And so the day continued without either saying more than half a dozen words to each other, and never, once, meeting each other’s gaze. Eventually Richard left to do his interviewing, dropping the EQ test on my desk first which I now didn’t have the heart to process. The phone went off and Dwayne address Camille, “Sarge, it is Vanessa Barker about that fraud case, she says she remembered some more details.”
“Put her through to me.” Camille spoke briefly and then hung up. “Right, uh, I think it would be better done in person. Can you, uh, you know…”
“I’ll tell the Chief where you’ve gone,” Dwayne offered kindly. Camille gave him a relieved smile and then bustled off. Almost the instant she was out of the door, I looked up to find both he and Fidel standing in front of my desks arms crossed and faces grim.
“I know!” I cried. “But at the same time I don’t know! How did I break them?”
Dwayne frowned at me, “What did you get on that EQ test exactly?”
“Actually, I’ve never done one,” I admitted.
“Perhaps you should,” Fidel said seriously. I resolved to do it later that night. It came out as a 41, by the way, perfectly average. For a man.
“Well, let’s see if you have actually managed to pick up on a few key things about the relationship between the Chief and Camille,” Dwayne began. “You see, the Chief, he doesn’t exactly have only professional feelings towards Camille.”
“No, of course not,” I said – any idiot could see that, I didn’t need Dwayne to explain. “Though he likes to pretend he isn’t in love with her, and that nobody has any clue that he might have feelings for Camille.”
“Exactly,” Fidel and Dwayne said at the same time before giving me a significant look. This was, apparently, the moment I was supposed to realise something. I wracked my brains and eventually the penny dropped. “Oh damn.”
“Yup,” Dwayne said. “Good work.”
“I told him Camille could tell what anybody was feeling. Now he is sure that she knows that he is in love with her…” I groaned, putting my face into my hands and wondering how the hell I could fix this. “Hang on, I also upset Camille and I am sure it isn’t because of that.”
“Well, what thing do Camille and the Chief have in common?” Fidel prompted me.
I mentally review my notes, “Well they both seem to fear rejection. Camille was upset about the Inspector’s IQ at first probably because she was worried she wouldn’t be smart enough for him.”
“And then I told her that they were opposite in nearly every way. And that normally people with their personality types struggle to get on, thus increasing her fear that any sort of personal relationship between them would be doomed to fail?” They both nodded. “Don’t suppose you two also know how I might fix this?” I asked hopefully. They fixed me with a stare in reply.
Looked like I was on my own.
I chose to deal with the Inspector first. Why would I pick the more difficult subject first? Well, simply because I needed time to talk to both of them. Camille, being more impulsive, might well have acted on any discussion I had with her before I could reach Richard and talk to him individually. I knew that was never going to be the case with the Inspector. I had been kindly supplied with his home address by Dwayne. Richard was, of course, very surprised to see me.
“Evening Inspector!” I said brightly. He just gave me a wary stare. “Sir, I feel there are a few things I need to discuss with you.”
“Like what you are going to put in your report? And how I can probably expect a transfer order to somewhere even more remote than here shortly?” He snapped. A took half a step back, a little overwhelmed by his anger, and he sighed, “You know, a transfer might actually be for the best anyway.”
I frowned, “I am not sure what you think I am going to put in my report…”
“Oh please, I’ve read your notes!” I stared at him wide eyed. I had of course been aware he had been watching me take them, but I had no idea he would dare pick up my notebook. I winced, wishing I had used some sort of code. “Those things you wrote about me: ‘obviously in love’ and ‘fear of rejection’. You’ve got me figured out, don’t you? I’m betting the results of the EQ test will be the final nail in my coffin.”
With a jolt I realised he had interpreted the notes I had written that actually applied to both Camille and Richard as only applying to himself – I hadn’t bothered to write names. “It’s a tiny team,” he continued. “Doesn’t matter if you don’t link the results with names – it won’t take them long to figure out what applies to whom.”
I took a deep, steadying breath, “What I plan to write in my report is that a strong comradeship exists within the team that, along with the fine balance of skills amongst its members, leads to a cohesive unit that works extremely successfully together.”
That gave him pause. “Nothing else?” He asked.
“I don’t think they need to know anything else,” I said seriously.
“Right,” he said, arms clasped behind his back and staring out at the ocean. “I suppose that is one thing. Doesn’t solve my other issues.”
“Yeah, about that, um, earlier I sort of exaggerated. Camille can’t actually tell what everyone is thinking and feeling that would be, you know, a bit sci-fi.”
He shot me a hopeful sort of look, but it didn’t last long, “Oh please, you know so of course she does. I was stupid not to imagine it was the case before.”
“Why do you think she never said anything?” I asked.
“I think that is obvious,” he said, a little disgusted. “Of course she wouldn’t want to acknowledge it. Why would she be interested in me?”
“I, um, I think you are reaching the wrong conclusions,” I said nervously. “There are other reasons why she might not have broached the subject before.”
“Like what?” Oh God, I was either going to get this right or mess it up further.
“Did you see your name next to the fear of rejection note?” I asked casually. He frowned, and waited for me to continue. “Perhaps other members of the team have had things happen in their past to cause them to develop such a fear…”
“You mean like if their father abandoned them as a child?” He asked, surprising me.
“Did that happen to Camille?” It would certainly explain a few things.
“You didn’t know that?” He said, alarmed.
“Well don’t tell her I told you!” He cried, wide eyed. “She’d kill me. She always goes on about how it didn’t affect her.”
“A sure sign it did,” I said conversationally.
“I know, right?” He said earnestly. “Even I knew that.” I smiled a little at how proud he was of his little deduction. “Anyway, I am really not sure what you are trying to say.”
“What I am trying to say,” I said with an air of finality. “Is that I wouldn’t assume that she is unhappy with your, uh, feelings towards her. And that maybe this is an opportunity.”
“You think I should tell her how I feel, even though according to you she knows how I feel?” He guessed.
“Inspector, she needs to hear it from you,” I said sincerely, before leaving a thoughtful Richard Poole alone on his porch.
“Hey!” I said as soon as Camille opened her door. “I thought we could talk about the results some more.” She looked at me like I was a bit mental, probably because of how frantic I sounded.
“What exactly is there to talk about?” She said. I feared she was going to leave me standing on her doorstep for the whole conversation, but after a moment stood inside and allowed me into the house. “Your analysis was sound,” she continued, throwing herself somewhat dramatically down on to the sofa. “We are complete opposites. He’s all about the academic intelligence and I am better at emotional intelligence. He makes all his decisions based on cold logical reason and I make mine more impulsively, based on my gut feeling. I’m an extrovert, I thrive off being around people and he, he is an introvert who finds the company of others draining. Who finds me draining. Stupid old me.”
“Ah, now, you are wrong about that last part!” I told her confidently.
“Come on, the man is a classic introvert,” she argued back.
“Oh the face of it, yes, most people would place him in that category,” I acknowledged. “But having analysed his behaviour in more depth I am forced to conclude that he is, in fact, an extrovert. Just a really shy one – the two aren’t mutually exclusive you know.”
“You really think he’s an extrovert?” She asked me, looking doubtful.
“Dwayne told me about how he likes to arrest people. Does that seem like the behaviour of an introvert to you?” She frowned slightly and then shook her head. “It is the only situation where he acts as an extrovert because it is the only situation he feels comfortable in. I think what he really needs to become, um, more effective is by having somebody close to him, uh, you know, teach him the rules of social situations. Make him feel more comfortable. You know, I actually think that you might have been making some progress in that area already.”
“Yeah,” she said. “We are very effective colleagues.” Camille emphasised the final word.
“And friends,” I added.
“And friends,” she conceded. I wanted to follow this up with ‘and perhaps even more’ but frankly felt too awkward to do so. But Camille decided to open up to me, perhaps because I was a fabulous psychologist, or maybe because I would be leaving the island forever tomorrow. “But never more than that.”
“Why would you say that?”
“He has an IQ of 180 odd! I’m practically a moron compared to him. That, in combination of all the other things we don’t have in common, how could I ever make him happy?”
“Camille,” I began, feeling brave. “He loves you already, I think you know that and you’ve been ignoring it because you are so worried about it not working out. I don’t know when he fell in love with you, but his IQ was likely to have been the same then as it is now. And all those other differences have been differences for quite some time now.”
She looked down at her coffee table, and said quietly, “I just…do you really think it could work?”
“I don’t know, how could I?” I said honestly. “But I think this does present an opportunity to find out.” I told her, echoing my advice to Richard. “Camille, you know he…” I wasn’t sure what I was trying to say. You know he won’t reject you. You know he won’t ever make the first move. You know he won’t ever love anyone like he does you. You know he wouldn’t want me to tell you any of those things.
“Yeah,” she said. “Yeah, I do know.”
I left her alone then and prayed I had said the right thing.
I couldn’t say I was entirely happy with how either of the conversations have gone. I just had to hope one or the other would make the first move. I couldn’t go into the station the next morning, I needed to pack, but I had arranged to see them all at Catherine’s place before I left for the airport. Dwayne and Fidel sidled up to me at the bar.
“Psst,” Dwayne said. “Over there.” He flicked his head out towards the patio and I leaned back, instantly spotting what he was talking about. Richard and Camille were sitting out there together and they looked very…cosy. The body language between the two of them had changed entirely. She was leaning in towards him, touching him frequently, and he was smiling at her nearly constantly.
“Now, does Uncle Dwayne need to explain to you what that means?”
I laughed. “No, I think anybody could surmise their relationship had progressed.”
“Oh good Lord they finally slept together,” Catherine said and she appeared and spotted the couple, nicely proving my point. “I thought we were going to have to arrange to trap them somewhere isolated for at least a week before that happened.” I sort of felt quite proud of the part I had played.
“Yeah, we said we would bring you and the drinks out to the patio, largely just because we needed a bit of a break from all the long intense glances,” Fidel explained.
“I wonder who made the first move?” Catherine asked thoughtfully.
“Yeah, I would have liked to have seen that,” I admitted. Everyone turned to stare at me and I realised how what I had said sounded. “Not in a pervy way! I just meant the, uh, conversation would have been interesting from a, um, psychological standpoint – I wouldn’t have wanted to see anything else! Dear God, can we please forget I ever made the comment?”
“Sure thing, psychology boy,” Dwayne said playfully. “Sure thing.” I hoped the nickname was a sign of acceptance rather than mockery. We all shamelessly watched the pair of them for a few more moments, Camille giggling at some joke Richard must have made. It left me with the sort of warm fuzzy feeling you get whilst watching a rom-com that you don’t really want to admit to as a bloke.
“So,” Fidel began. “Since you are our resident psychology expert, you tell us – think it’ll last?”
“God no!” I said loudly. “I mean, they’ll have really great sex for a while and then one of them will kill the other. My money would be on Camille doing the killing.” All three gave me a look of abject horror. “I’m joking!” I said.
After all, there was probably only a…11% chance of that happening.