A little snippet, an out-take that appears absolutely no-where in the book, and never did. An extremely short short. A short short among shorts. Very short.
Deeceeaye Fourfourfive was a policeman in crisis. Mechanically, he was in perfect order but mentally? In mental terms he was a gibbering wreck, so much so that he’d decided to spend three thousand six hundred billion nanoseconds in the offices of a backstreet psychiatrist. For the sake of professional discretion he’d announced himself to the receptionist as Mr John Smith. This in itself was a problem, since his social circuits didn’t respond when Dr Haynes-Maintenance invited “Mr Smith” to lie down on the couch and then offered the usual cliche of ‘So, tell me about your maternal production engineer’.
‘John – may I call you John? What do you feel that the problem is?’
‘Oh, the problem’s not mine, Doc – I’m here on behalf of a friend.’
Dr Haynes-Maintenance began a whole new doodle in his notebook; a yacht with triangular sails, crossing a spectacular sunset.
‘Your friend’s problem then…’
‘My friend’s a detective, but things just aren’t working out. He’s just not getting the results that he should.’
‘A poor arrest rate?’ The good doctor added dolphins to the scene, and a topless bosun’s mate on deck.
‘And this bothers your friend?’
Deeceeaye looked across at the doctor and knitted his eyebrows in a frown.
‘He’s about to be fired and lose his pension, Doc – everything. He’s a laughing-stock at the station.’
‘And why do you think he’s a laughing-stock?’
Deeceeaye Fourfourfive wondered if the doctor was actually switched on, and checked around for a loose mains lead. Not finding one he concluded that the doctor was probably organic or running on batteries.
‘Because people are laughing at him. No-one takes him seriously.’
The doctor added a couple of topless deckhands to his sketch, and he recrossed his legs, showing mismatched socks.
‘Why do you think that your friend’s arrest rate is so poor?’
‘Criminals – he just can’t judge when criminals are lying to him. He can build up a multi-dimensional model of a crime scene and can cross-match every sequence of movements before and after a crime, but unless there’s a mechanical discrepancy in the model he just can’t tell if people are lying. Criminals lie a lot. Humans can think one thing and say quite another. It’s most disconcerting. Only last week I came across a chap standing over a non-functional body. He was holding a smoking gun. I asked him if he’d just committed murder.’
‘What did he say?’
‘He assured me that he hadn’t, so logically I had to let him go.’
‘Was that a problem for you? I mean, a problem for your friend?’
‘The man stole my patrol car and shot four more people that morning including the Chief Constable. How do you do it, Doc? How do humans tell if someone is lying?’
‘Instinct, mostly. That and the little signs that trip people up. I can tell that you’re lying right now.’
‘Me, Doc? What am I lying about?’
‘Your name. You booked in as John Smith, and I know you’re not. I also know that you’re getting bullied at work.’
‘See? That’s what I mean! How can you do that? It’s incredible. I’m a professional, experienced, fully-trained iDetective iChief iInspector who can process eighteen trillion calculations a second, Doc, and yet you’ve caught me out in just fifty minutes of questioning. How? How do you know?’
‘Well, you’ve got “Robot DCI 445” stencilled across your forehead, and there’s a “Kick me” sign Sellotaped to your back.’
Deeceeaye Fourfourfive paid for his session and then popped his Trilby back on his head and turned up the collar of his mackintosh. Dr Haynes-Maintenance sketched in a few seagulls and named his yacht “Retirement”.
‘So, Mr Smith, I hope our session has been of some use to you.’
‘You’ve been great, Doc, but I can’t stay here jabbering on – I have a graffiti artist to track down and a Sellotape dispenser to arrest. If I can just catch those two then maybe I won’t look like such an idiot.’