The Crocodile

The Crocodile by Maurizio de Giovanni Read Free Book Online

Book: The Crocodile by Maurizio de Giovanni Read Free Book Online
Authors: Maurizio de Giovanni
Tags: Fiction, Mystery & Detective, Police Procedural
dressed and made up.
    “To tell the truth, we had in fact just arrived, dottoressa. We haven’t even had time to talk to the two women over there, who must have close ties to the victim.”
    Piras nodded. “Sicilian, eh? A new arrival. Well then, if you don’t have any information for us, please follow the station captain’s orders and head back to the station.”
    Di Vincenzo couldn’t wait to confirm the order. “That’s right, Lojacono. Back to the station.”
    Without taking his eyes off Piras’s face, Lojacono held out the tissue to Di Vincenzo. “At your orders, Captain. In any case, this is the cartridge that was found close to the corpse, over by that nook next to the street door. A .22, if I’m not mistaken. There’s only one bullet hole, in the back of the boy’s head. I’d guess the shot was fired at point blank range, while the victim was padlocking the chain around the scooter, the one that’s lying still open on the vehicle’s rear wheel.”
    Di Vincenzo had an unhealthy looking red splotch on his neck. “If we need any further information we’ll be glad to ask you to step in to do the job of the medical examiner and forensics, thank you, Lojacono. Now if you’d be so kind as to get out of my crime scene, you’d be doing me a favor.”
    The inspector turned on his heel and moved off without saying goodbye. Then he murmured, audibly, “And don’t forget about the tissues.”
    He started walking again, but he hadn’t gone a yard before Piras said, in a loud voice, “Just one minute! What do you mean by ‘the tissues?’”
    Lojacono stopped and without turning around said, “In the nook by the door, you can see it from here, there’s a little pile of trash, drenched with rain. On top of the pile there are three used tissues, clearly deposited more recently than the junk underneath. It seems evident to me that the murderer dropped them there, because that’s where I found the shell and because that’s the only direction you could fire from if you wanted to kill someone who was parking their scooter right there. Now if you’ll forgive me, dottoressa, I’ve been ordered out of here.”
    And, with his hands in his pockets, he walked away from the scene of the crime.
    Behind him, in the silence, the hiss that came from Mirko’s mother’s voiceless scream.

    Donato shuts his book; he can’t seem to concentrate. Might as well put on some music, stretch out on the bed, and let the mind go where it will.
    This isn’t normal, for him. Generally speaking, he’s the kind of guy who doesn’t give up, especially when a final exam is impending. He’s methodical, precise, attends classes, attends extra seminars, reads the textbook cover to cover, goes over it again with highlighters, cultured pencils, and a cross-referenced extended study session with his class notes. Outcome: the highest possible score—30, or 30
cum laude
    Method, Donato muses, can stand in for passion. Passion, as Papa has always told him, isn’t anywhere near as fundamental as people like to say when it comes to work. Work is work. Work is hard labor. It’s a string of daily tasks, repeating themselves endlessly, interlocking one with another like the links of a chain. What matters is precision, commitment, and, of course, success. Passion, Donato my boy, should be relegated to other compartments of your life.
    That’s why he’s never had the slightest doubt about what courses to take, what department to choose, what major and specialty to focus on. Once passion has been excluded from the criteria to be considered, everything else can absolutely be planned out and optimized. With the father that he has—moreover, a father who can guide him, direct him, aid him, and even, in the end, place him—it would have been ridiculous to think of any other choice.
    For instance, Donato liked to draw. And he even had a certain talent for it: he was good at capturing color and light and shapes and transferring them,

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