Chapter no 25

Anxious People

Witness Interview (Continued)

5IM: I feel stupid now.

ZARA: I don’t suppose that’s a new feeling for you.

5IM: If I’d known you ran a bank, obviously I wouldn’t have said that. Well, I mean, I shouldn’t have said it anyway. I’m not really sure what to say now.

ZARA: In that case, perhaps I can just leaveṢ

5IM: No, hold on. Look, this is all a bit embarrassing. My wife has often told me that I should just keep my mouth shut. I’ll stick to my questions from now on, okayṢ

ZARA: Let’s give it a try.

5IM: Can you describe the robberṢ Anything at all that you can remember about him, anything you think could be helpful to our investigation.

ZARA: You already seem to know the most important thing.

5IM: And that isṢ

ZARA: You said “him,” so you evidently know he was a man. That explains a lot.

5IM: I have a feeling I’m likely to regret asking this, but whyṢ

ZARA: You lot can’t even piss without missing the target. So obviously things are going to go wrong if you get hold of a pistol.

5IM: Can I interpret that as meaning you don’t remember any details about his appearanceṢ

ZARA: If someone’s wearing a mask and pointing a pistol at you, a psychologist would probably compare the trauma to almost being run down by a truck: you’d be unlikely to remember the number on the license plate.

5IM: I have to say, that’s a very insightful observation.

ZARA: That’s a relief, because what you think really matters to me.

Can I go nowṢ

5IM: Not yet, I’m afraid. Do you recognize this drawingṢ

ZARA: Is that what it isṢ It looks like someone’s knocked over a urine sample.

5IM: I’ll interpret that as a no to the question of whether or not you recognize the picture.

ZARA: Very clever of you.

5IM: Where in the apartment were you when the bank robber came inṢ

ZARA: By the balcony door.

5IM: And where were you during the rest of the hostage dramaṢ

ZARA: What difference does that makeṢ

5IM: Quite a lot of difference.

ZARA: I can’t imagine why.

5IM: Look, you’re not a suspect. Not yet, anyway.

ZARA: SorryṢ

5IM: Well, look. What I’m trying to get you to understand is that you need to try to understand that my colleague is convinced that one of the hostages helped the bank robber to escape. And it seems odd that you were there at all, to put it bluntly. To start with, you had no reason to want to buy the apartment. And you don’t appear to have been frightened when the bank robber aimed his pistol at you.

ZARA: So now you suspect that helped the bank robber to escapeṢ

5IM: No. No, not at all. Look, you’re not a suspect at all. Well, not yet, anyway. I mean, you’re not a suspect at all! But my colleague thinks

it all seems a bit odd.

ZARA: ReallyṢ Do you know what I think your colleague seems likeṢ

5IM: Can you tell me what happened in the apartment, pleaseṢ So I can record itṢ That’s my job here.

ZARA: Sure.

5IM: Great. How many prospective buyers were there in the apartmentṢ

ZARA: Define “prospective buyers.”

5IM: I mean: How many people were there who wanted to buy the apartmentṢ

ZARA: Five.

5IM: FiveṢ

ZARA: Two couples. One woman.

5IM: Plus you and the real estate agent. So seven hostages in totalṢ

ZARA: Five plus two is seven, yes. You’re very smart.

5IM: But there were eight hostagesṢ ZARA: You haven’t counted the rabbit. 5IM: The rabbitṢ

ZARA: You heard.

5IM: What rabbitṢ

ZARA: Do you want me to tell you what happened or notṢ

5IM: Sorry.

ZARA: Do you seriously think one of the hostages helped the bank robber to escapeṢ

5IM: You don’t think soṢ


5IM: Why notṢ

ZARA: They were all idiots.

5IM: And the bank robberṢ

ZARA: What about the bank robberṢ

5IM: Do you think he shot himself intentionally or by accidentṢ

ZARA: What are you talking aboutṢ

5IM: We heard a pistol shot from the apartment, after you were released. When we got inside the apartment the floor was covered in blood.

ZARA: BloodṢ WhereṢ

5IM: On the carpet and floor in the living room.

ZARA: Oh. Nowhere elseṢ

5IM: No. ZARA: Okay. 5IM: SorryṢ

ZARA: Excuse meṢ

5IM: When you said “okay,” it sounded as if you were about to say something more.

ZARA: Definitely not.

5IM: Sorry. Well, my colleague is convinced it was there in the living room that he shot himself. That was what I was going to say.

ZARA: And you still don’t know who the bank robber isṢ

5IM: No.

ZARA: Listen—if you don’t explain soon how on earth you suspect I might be involved in this, you’ll end up wishing I had called my lawyer.

5IM: No one suspects you of anything! My colleague would just like to know why you were there in the apartment, if you weren’t there to buy itṢ

ZARA: My psychologist told me I needed a hobby.

5IM: Viewing apartments is your hobbyṢ

ZARA: People like you are more interesting than you might imagine.

5IM: People like meṢ

ZARA: People in your socio-economic bracket. It’s interesting seeing how you live. How you manage to bear it. I went to a few viewings, then a few more, it’s like heroin. Have you tried heroinṢ You feel disgusted with yourself, but it’s hard to stop.

5IM: You’re telling me you’ve become addicted to viewing apartments owned by people who earn far less than youṢ

ZARA: Yes. Like when kids catch baby birds in glass jars. The same slightly forbidden attraction.

5IM: You mean insectsṢ People do that with insects.

ZARA: Sure. If that makes you feel better.

5IM: So you were at this apartment viewing because it’s your hobbyṢ

ZARA: Is that a real tattoo on your armṢ

5IM: Yes.

ZARA: Is it supposed to be an anchorṢ

5IM: Yes.

ZARA: Did you lose a bet or somethingṢ

5IM: What do you mean by thatṢ

ZARA: Was someone threatening your familyṢ Or did you do it voluntarilyṢ

5IM: Voluntarily.

ZARA: Why do people like you hate money so muchṢ

5IM: I’m not even going to comment on that. I’d just like you to tell me, so that we’ve got it on tape, why the other witnesses say you didn’t seem at all afraid when you saw the bank robber’s pistol. Did you think it wasn’t realṢ

ZARA: I understood perfectly well that it was real. That’s why I wasn’t frightened. I was surprised.

5IM: That’s an unusual reaction to a pistol.

ZARA: For you, maybe. But I’d been contemplating killing myself for quite a long time, so when I saw the pistol I was surprised.

5IM: I don’t know what to say to that. Sorry. You’d been contemplating killing yourselfṢ

ZARA: Yes. So I was surprised when I realized that I didn’t want to die. It came as a bit of a shock.

5IM: Did you start seeing your psychologist because of those suicidal thoughtsṢ

ZARA: No. I needed the psychologist because I was having trouble sleeping. Because I used to lie awake thinking that I could have killed myself if only I had enough sleeping pills.

5IM: And it was your psychologist who suggested that you needed a hobbyṢ

ZARA: Yes. That was after I told her about my cancer.

5IM: Oh. I’m very sorry to hear that. How sad.

ZARA: Okay, look…

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