Defocused Temporal Perception

Defocused Temporal Perception

A Story by Chopstix

Three cops discuss a recent arrest just before real trouble starts.

Defocused temporal perception*,” Detective Marshall Haslip said.

“Section 8,” Detective Lawrence Drogovich countered.

“Subsidized housing?” Sergeant Sergeant Caltrap challenged.

“Military Section 8,” Marshall interceded, “Larry thinks our boy is crazy.”

“Insanity defense?” Sergeant never could keep up with detectives rapid fire assessments of suspects. Sixteen year old Daniel Kravitz confessed to killing Billy-Bud, recently awarded Best-in-Breed American Staffordshire Terrier at the Madison Dog Show, and Missy, a rabid Australian Shepherd/Black Lab mix. Sergeant watched Kravitz pace his holding cell on the surveillance monitor.

“I doubt it,” Marshall commented. “His lawyer just lined up another witness. Miss Amy Winters swears Kravitz showed up just in the right place the night four frat brothers hid in her car. He illuminated the passenger compartment with a flash light after she dropped her keys.”

Marshall tapped his computer keyboard, positioned his mouse and left clicked. He mulled the results.

“How is lawyer doing this?” Sergeant asked. “He hasn’t used his phone call yet, and we confiscated his cell.”

“Let’s see.” Larry consulted his little black notebook. “He called his lawyer twenty minutes before the incident. Said he’ll need testimony of prior good deeds.”

“Sounds like defocused whatever you call it to me,” Sergeant said.

“We have forty-seven reports where Kravitz interfered with one crime or another,” Marshall anounced.

“Do you think he’s a police wanna-be or …” Sergeant pondered.

“Section 8,” Larry completed.

“Let’s look at his confession,” Marshall commanded.

“Again?” Larry complained.

“Yeah, again!” Sergeant slapped a Xeroxed copy of Kravitz’s confession on Larry’s chest.

Marshall read:

I call it “Defocused Temporal Perception.” It’s like those advanced elevator systems programmed to send an elevator to such and such a floor before anyone ever presses a button. They don’t know who’s waiting; they don’t know what button will be pressed next, but they’re usually right there when they're needed. So am I. Just ask Mrs. Jenkins about the night her husband beat her and was about to kill her. If only I knew how to pick locks, she might not have even been beaten. This thing, it all started when I was about thirteen.

“The beginning of puberty and masturbation,” Larry snarked.

I got these powerful feelings I had to be somewhere, be somewhere for something important. You see that’s the problem. I know where to go, I just don’t know what’s going to happen. I get a vague idea that I need something like a flashlight or a towel.

“Or a ten inch kitchen knife.”

“I’m doing the reading, Larry.”

So, I knew I needed to bring a knife to the four hundred block of Sycamore around 8:30 this evening. I saw this woman in a tight, leather skirt walking her Pomeranian. Then I saw this big white pit-bull straining against his leash to get them. I figured the pit-bull was the danger, so I leapt into action.

“And killed a ten thousand dollar show dog.”

How was I to know this other dog in the bushes was the real problem. While it tore into the pit-bull, I stabbed it too. I probably saved the woman and her little dog.

“The Good Samaritan defense?” Sergeant proffered.

“Section 8,” Larry countered.

“Leave that to the DA to figure out,” Marshall instructed.

“You’re not going to believe this.” Sergeant stared at the surveillance monitor. “He just ducked under the bunk and curled up into a ball.”

Before Larry could reiterate, “Section 8,” they all heard a explosion and felt its shock wave reverberate through Curtiss County's Hall of Justice.

“What was that?” Marshall demanded.

“The holding cell next to Kravitz!” Sergeant yelled.

“Fingers?” Marshall and Larry chorused.

“The crazy a*s mob is trying to spring Fingers Malone?” Larry followed.

“Let’s get’em!” Marshall commanded.

Sergeant and Marshall bolted out of the room and took a direct path out a side door and around the building. Larry hesitated. He navigated mazelike hallways and approached the holding cells. All of the guards already poured into Fingers cell and through a gaping hole in cell 2C. Larry grabbed a set of keys and strode to cell 2D. He unlocked Kravitz’s cell, stepped in and relocked it.

“You need to crawl out that hole there,” Larry stated. “The only question is: Do you want to leave with your defocused temporal perception or without it?”

“What do you mean?” Kravitz responded.

“Look, you see what trouble your gift can get you in to. I’m surprised you haven’t gotten into more trouble. Interfering in other people’s affairs is a dangerous business, no?”

“I’ve done alright until today,” Kravitz replied. “I just made one small mistake.”

“Wouldn’t your life be easier if it weren’t interrupted by sudden urges to be somewhere else? You’re a bright kid, but doesn’t all these nighttime heroics take away from your homework, lower your GPA?”


“Not so bright, eh,” Larry mocked. “Let’s put it this way, you finally get a date with the girl of your dreams. Things are going well. Suddenly you feel a need to take a can opener to the corner of Third and Main. What do you do? Make time with your girl and dread reading headlines in the morning, or lose the girl and put yourself in danger just to be a hero for a fleeting moment?”

Larry read confusion on Kravitz’s face.

“Okay, try this one out. You win the girl, get married and have a baby. The baby is sick. As you’re driving it to the hospital, you get a feeling you are really needed at 123 Whatever Street. What do you do? Take care of your sick baby or follow this power of yours?”

“So, I haven’t thought this out. It’s my life! It’s my gift! What can I do about it anyways?”

“I can help.”


“A have a gift too. It started when I was thirteen. I wasn’t particularly good at anything. I envied anyone who was. Jeremy Johnson was the first. He could slam dunk. One day he challenged me to a game of one-on-one. While we were playing, I wished I could play like him. I concentrated really hard. Suddenly, Jeremy sucked, and I played like a god." 

“You’re kidding”

“Don Compton played guitar like nobody's business. He was in a band, and girls flocked to him after every gig. I bought a guitar and practiced. I asked him to come to my house and jam. Man I wanted to play like him. Actually, I wanted all the girls. A little concentration, and he sucked. I can really shred everything from Purple Haze to Purple Rain. You should really hear me play.”

“Dude …” Kravitz attempted to interrupt Larry’s reverie.

“Gordon James at Marine boot camp could plug a nickel two thousand meters away. I asked him to tutor me. The trick you see is capturing their skills while they use them. It has to be just you and them. No witnesses. People might get upset if they see you take someone’s talent. After the tutoring session, he barely passed rifle training. I went on to sniper school.”

“Dude, I think I should be somewhere else.”

“Good.” Larry’s right upper lip curled into a sinister sneer. His pearl bright canine shone under harsh fluorescent lights. 

A cold, white halo formed around Larry and filled the room. The halo concentrated on Kravitz, turned light green, and the shade deepened until almost black. Kravitz struggled against the halo, comically looking like an existential game of tug of war. The halo won and rushed back into Larry.

“You’re a rare case, kid. Your talent is special. There was this old mystic in Iraq. He claimed he could move objects with his mind. I paid him one hundred dollars to show me. There were others, of course.”

“But why?”

“Just like you kid,” Larry explained. “Because I can.”

Kravitz pressed his back against the wall, quivering. He looked toward a Saint Bernard size hole in the left corner of the cell. Larry followed his gaze, shrugged and ushered Kravitz towards it. Kravitz relaxed enough to walk. After two steps, Kravitz managed a smile.

“Why are you going there, kid? Must be too good a story to keep to yourself.”

Larry threw Kravitz against the cell door. He aimed both his palms at rubble from the explosion. Three shards of sharp concrete flew towards Kravitz: one pierced his lung just above the heart; one entered his left eye and obliterated his brain and the third smashed into the door just right of his ear.

“Guess you almost saw that coming,” Larry remarked to himself. His face transformed from satisfied self contentment to concern. “Why do I need to be there?”

Larry ran through hallways and corridors arriving at the evidence room. Through the open door, he heard his own voice. Sergeant sat before a monitor replaying surveillance from cell 2D. He looked up.

“What? What are you?”


“It’s nice to back in our old digs,” Marshall said. “I can’t believe it’s been eight months.”

“The second bomb did a lot of damage,” Larry added.

“I still find it hard to believe they got into the evidence room. Must have been all the confusion.”

“I think they planted the bomb well beforehand. Remember the weapons bust the day after bunko picked up Fingers Malone. There was a half kilo of C4”

"Maybe, but I sure miss Sergeant Sarge. He was a good cop.”

“Good at asking the obvious questions, I guess.”

“Good at asking necessary obvious questions. I always felt stupid asking those questions, but Sarge was methodical. He asked the questions, tracked down evidence, spent hour after hour going over any surveillance. He was a good cop.”

“Yep,” Larry acquiesced, “just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“Ironic don’t you think?”

“How so?”

“His last case was Danny Kravitz, that kid who claimed he knew the right place and the right time.”

“Section 8. If he really knew where to be, he would have avoided all that shrapnel. The kid was crazy. That’s all.”

“He was by the door,” Marshall pondered. “Perhaps he was just trying to get out.”

“Then he was just stupid. He must have known the thing was locked.”

“Well, enough of the past. Where to tonight, partner? You’ve been on such a hot streak. Maybe we'll get lucky and catch that guy whose been sneaking into merchants safes.”

“I don’t know. I’m getting sick of it all. I think I might file my papers and resign.”

“Come on. Retire? Now? You’ve only got five more years before the twenty year of service pension kicks in. No way you should pass on a plushy pension. You can get a security job afterwards and really rake in the dough.”

“It’ll be OK. I got a feeling things will work out just fine."

*Defocused Temporal Perception is a concept found in Douglas Adam’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The concept is meant to enable elevators to see far enough into the future to arrive at a floor before a potential passenger realizes they wanted a lift, thus saving them from having to wait around and make friends like they would have to do normally.

© 2017 Chopstix

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Added on February 4, 2017
Last Updated on February 4, 2017
Tags: Crime, paranormal, powers



Los Angeles, CA

In high school, I wrote lyrics. I started college writing poems and switched to short stories. After college, I discovered I could write computer programs, but I could not finish a novel (kept editi.. more..