Major Case Squad

Pencil drawing of a woman walking down a hall
Eduardo Suré; Woman in Hall, 2018; Graphite

There is a large brown square building in New York that looks like a waffle. It is a somewhat dark brown as if it had been toasted too long. The sunken windows and their reflection make it appear as if every square is full of syrup. Inside one of those windows, there is an office where a man is speaking to a woman sitting behind her desk.

“So what’s the strangest case you’ve ever had?” Detective Alexander Hall asks his sergeant. He unbuttons his suit coat, leans back in his chair, and crosses his legs by placing his right ankle over his knee.

“Come on, Detective, I have work to do,” Sergeant Christine Walker replies as she leans back herself. She is older than the detective, but not much more.

“You asked me if I had any questions, so that’s my question,” the detective says with a friendly smile.

“About the job,” the sergeant replies. She wonders if his lack of deference is due to their small difference in age or to her being a woman.

“It is about the job.” He continues to smile.

“All right.” Sergeant Walker can tell the new detective is going to test her patience, but she could use a friend. “A few months ago, when I was in your position, I got a call about a first degree burglary. It was here in Manhattan – in one of the richer buildings – but still, it’s New York. The resident, some Wall Street alpha woman named Samantha Allen, woke up after she heard the familiar snap of a faulty drawer in one of the antique pieces in her living room. She lived alone. Instead of picking up her phone and calling security, she went to the living room herself.”

“Was she expecting a boyfriend or something?” the sergeant asks.

“I don’t know, but that might explain why she walked down her hall without caution or turning on the lights. When she got to the living room, she reached out for the light switch. But instead of feeling the wall, she said she felt a body.”

“She didn’t see someone standing there?”

“Surprisingly, no. Now, her living room was not completely dark because there was light coming in from the street through the windows. So, she said she felt a body she could not see.” The sergeant watches the detectives face for disbelief, but he remains interested. “What was worse, she said, was that she felt it recoil from her touch.”

“Did she run?” the sergeant asks.

“She should have. She said she saw the door leading out of her apartment opening and, without conscious thought, grabbed for the person. Whatever wrestling or martial arts move she had learned at the gym, she used to wrestle and pin the unseen person down. She said she had him, but then didn’t know what to do after that.”

“That’s some hallucination. She said it was a male?”

“She said it felt like one, especially when the invisible person fought back. She said he struck her face twice: the first time in the chin and the second on the nose. The pain made her let go. She said she’d never been struck outside of whatever class she said she took. She was stunned when she felt the pain; but she pulled herself together, ran to her room, locked herself in, and called the police.”

“Were her injuries consistent with her story?”

“They were, but an invisible man?”

“What did you do?”

“We took notes and offered her security advice, but we didn’t take fingerprints or DNA for an invisible man.”

“She was good with that?”

“No, she really wanted us to believe her. What could we do? We spoke to her neighbors to see if they had heard or seen anything, but you know how the story usually ends.”

“The burglar gets away. Anything taken?”

“Funny that you should ask.” The sergeant leans forward and picks up a folder from the top of her desk. She offers it to the detective.

“What is this?” the detective asks after taking the folder.

“Bank robberies. All the same. All very, very clean,” the sergeant says as she leans back in her chair.

“As they would be done by someone who’s invisible?”

“Welcome to the Major Case Squad,” the sergeant says with a smile.


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