When they picked Little Jo up at the Sears department store, in the home appliances department, the main thing sergeant Vega wanted to establish was whether or not Little Jo was connected somehow to the crime scene at the ice-cream factory.
Back in the office, Little Jo had woken up a little, now showing signs that he was cognizant of his surroundings in fairly precise detail, i.e. he knew whose body it was that his consciousness was now inhabiting.
Sgt. Vega reviewed her (long) list of questions she had to ask Little Jo. “Hey there Little Jo. My name is Sergeant Vega, and I’m with the NYPD, ok? I’m gonna have to ask you a loada questions. Do you understand that?”
Little Jo nodded. “Yes,” he mumbled, “yes I got it.”
Ok. First question was “Do you have any ID?”
There was a pause, and then Little Jo shook his head. “No,” he said, “I don’t have any.”
“Do you know why is that?” said Sgt. Vega.
This is what always happens. For some reason, the suspects never have any ID. This one, Little Jo, acted all confused, like he had no idea why he didn’t have any ID. He just shrugged. “I–uh–I honestly don’t know.”
Sgt. Vega moved expertly onto the next question. “So you have no idea why a store clerk finds your ID just lying around in the home appliances section of a nearby Sears, the morning *after* an as yet unidentified corpse is found frozen in a shell of chocolate dip, an internal layer of vanilla ice-cream surrounding it, within an industrial freezing appliance at an ice-cream factory?”
It was too much exposition for Little Joe, and he just shook his head once, then stared blankly at the sergeant.
“And after finding your ID, police soon also find you sitting inside a display fridge unit nearby.”
“You’re shiverin’, except it’s just a display unit. The electricity was not even turned on, it was probably hotter in there rather than cold.” She put her notebook on the table, now in stride, and said “What we want to know is why in the world you were shivering, Little Jo?”
A look of realization slid onto Little Jo’s face. The identification, the refrigerator, the body in the freezer; all of this had to have something to do with a small taste he’d taken a few weeks ago from a strip of paper that had been left fluttering in wind near a local Taco Bell.
“Magic paper,” said Little Jo, suddenly.
Sgt. Vega took her notebook back, and pulled a pen from her breast pocket. This was going to be good.
“I was strolling,” began Little Jo.
“Strolling? You’re just strolling? Just randomly like that?”
“Yes,” continued Little Jo, “just very randomly strolling. Looking for avenues, and streets–traffic signals, that kinda thang. And I was on my cellphone.”
Sgt. Vega prepared her pen. “Who were you on the cellphone with, Little Jo? Who were you talking to?”
“But wait,” said the sergeant, expertly, “before you answer that, can you tell me if you remember if there was a name on your cellphone. Cos a lot of people put their names into the phone–that way they can remember their name, in case they forgot or something.”
“Yeah,” said Little Jo. It was all clearing up now, and he was getting more interested in the conversation. “I remember the name now. It was Sagat, Bison.”
Vega dropped her notepad and looked at the criminal. “Oh. Sagat Bison,” she said. “Kind of an unusual name, don’t you think? Weird arrangement. Sagat is not a very good first name.”
Little Jo smiled a fresh smile back at her. “It’s actually Bison Sagat. I just like to put the last name first, with a comma–it makes it sound more official.”
At least, she really, really wanted this guy to be the criminal. “Ha. Now you’re name-calling a homicide detective. You don’t think I’ve heard that before? Little kids who think they’re gods at Street Fighter making fun of my last name?”
“Okay, it was just a joke,” said Bison Sagat, “Don’t take it that seriously.”
“So who were you talking on the cellphone with, Bison?” asked Sgt. Vega.
“Two people,” said Sagat. “My momz, and my ex-girlfriend. Both at the same time.”
This was getting really weird. “Oh, so you’re on the phone at the same time with your mom and gf. Was it a conference call, Bison?”
“No,” said Sagat. “I was using the ‘hold call’ trick that they have, speaking to my mother in one moment, and then speaking to my ex-girlfriend the other. They both called me up out of the blue, trying to find out what I was up to at that particular moment.”
“Where are your mother and ex-girlfriend right now, Roger?” asked Sgt. Vega, then. “Can we give them a call, maybe? See how they’re doing? Maybe they’re feeling a little…left out in the cold, you know?”
Bison looked up. “Who’s Roger?” he asked.
“You’re Roger,” said Sgt. Vega. “Remember, we found your ID just a few feet away from the display refrigerator you were sitting inside.”
“How would you know that that is my real ID?”
Sometimes it pays to try the longshot. “Well,” said Sgt. Vega, “we know it’s yours because the barcode imprinted in it corresponds to the chip that was embedded in your neck when you were born.”
“Oh…” said Roger. “But they could have just transplanted the chip,” he said.
“Why would anyone do that?”
Roger looked down at the small desk. He kept looking for a good twenty-thirty seconds. Only when Sgt. Vega shook her head, ready to pursue a new tree of investigation, did he look up again. “Maybe…” he said, and he seemed very uncertain of this. “Well…they always sometimes dim the lights on me.”
“Like sometimes, I’m fine as a feather,” said Roger, “and all of a sudden it’s like someone ‘dimmed’ the lights in the room for just one second or so.”
Sgt. Vega stabbed repeatedly at her notepad with her pen. “They just dim the lights?” she asked. “And what do they do after they dim the lights in the room?”
“I don’t…know,” said Roger. “It’s too fast. It only happens for, like, one second. And then it’s over.”
“Over? Just like that?”
“Yeah,” nodded Roger. “And even more, it happens even regardless of whether there is a room or not. Sometimes it even happens in the streets to me.”
“Yeah, I’m just walking around, in the streets, all of a sudden I experience this feeling like…like as though my battery life just dipped for one moment. Except it’s not a battery for my phone, or if I’m driving, a battery for my car, but more like…more like my own battery. My own personal human battery.”