Investigators by Rado Mida

September 5, 2011

When I ran down the stairs of Otowa subway station and rushed through the underpass, I saw a man and woman out of the corner of my eye. They were both sitting down on chairs in the passageway. Wondering what they were up to, I glanced over to where they were sitting. The women had a quick look over at me, but soon looked down again. She was wearing a yellow arm band which had the word ‘INVESTIGATOR’ written on it in black letters. The man was also wearing an identical arm band. I stepped through the ticket machine, turned around and looked at the two of them, but they were just sitting there doing nothing.

As I was being rocked about by the train, I wondered what the investigation which the arm band referred to was all about. If they were investigating the volume of traffic then they’d surely have one of those contraptions, what do you call them? The ones that professional baseball referees carry. Maybe it’s called a counter, maybe not. I can’t remember. Anyway whatever you call it, they usually carry a device.

Come to think of it, I can remember a pretty girl passing me a questionnaire as I got on the train once. She told me to hand it in when I got off, and when I asked her what kind of questionnaire it was, she told me that they were measuring people’s movements on the subway. That’s right, regular investigators would be carrying questionnaires or counter-like devices. So who were those two before?

Even at work, my mind occasionally wandered to the sight of the man and woman just sitting there, and my way home they were still there at Otowa station as I passed through the ticket machine. They were sitting on their chairs just like in the morning. I walked past them once and then turned back on myself.

“What sort of investigation are you doing?” I asked them.

“We’re investigating the level of indifference in the city,” explained the man, with a distinct lack of expression. “You’re the fifth person to come and talk to us today. Five people in twelve hours.”

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