People watching

30. october 2013 at 18:10 | Thalia Contostavlos
......I've started reading up on body language and similar stuff because of my dream to become a detective (and every good investigator has to be good at reading people). Lately I've been practicing on people around me and on one of these occasions, I've written a very short narrative ....
Warnings: none
Disclaimer: I don't own any recognizable characters


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.....I've taken up a new hobby recently. Whenever I find myself in a situation that requires me being still and quiet for a longer period of time, waiting for something to happen (usually for some cop to decide between giving me a kiss and arresting me), I used to count things. It didn't matter whether they were stains on a carpet, spots on a wall, people on the street or women with short skirts, I always counted them and then I formed a conclusion based on my observations (police director Humbert's office had more stains on its carpet than Cramer's, while it had less spots on its walls than Rowcliffe's and women wear more short skirts in spring than in fall).
......Yesterday, when I was waiting for Purley Stebbins in a pitiful diner on E 29th Street, I ran out of things to count though. It has never happened to me before but I was waiting for thirty-four minutes and everything that could've been counted was counted. I found myself sitting there staring into space and wondering what to do, when an idea came to me: I could watch people and try to deduce what they're thinking or what do they do for a living.
......My first subject of observation was an older gentleman reading his paper and drinking a lukewarm coffee at the table next to mine. He was leaning back in his chair, his legs stretched out in front of him and his overall posture was relaxed. He had his Times' financial section opened on page that had stock market information on it and even though he wasn't smirking, he could've just as well been, because it was completely obvious he had just made a very good decision on the market. So a stock broker then, I thought and made a mental note to ask him about it in case I run out of people to observe.
......My second victim was a young couple sitting in a booth to my right. He was leaning forward and smiling toothily at the object of his affections, while she was crossing her legs under their table and smiling with her lips closed tightly. She seemed pleasant enough but she obviously wasn't interested in the poor fellow and was hoping to leave, this I'd deduced from the way she kept looking at the door hopefully as if to make it come closer to her. I decided to ask her to go to Flamingo with me if given the chance and went on to observe someone else.
......The next person who'd undergone my scrutiny was a middle-aged man in a business suit and an expensive-looking watch on his wrist. He was looking positively smug on the outside but he was constantly running a hand through his hair in a self-conscious gesture. That intrigued me, so I started looking more closely. He was looking at his watch every two minutes and rightening his necktie every now and then, which told me he was feeling a bit antsy and the smug expression on his face was just a mask. I went on making up different theories on why he felt the need to look pleased with himself despite the fact he wasn't but I'm not going to write them down, mainly because I'm not proud of my imagination.
......I've just decided to seek my next target, when I saw Purley walking in the diner. I automatically started looking for any pertinent body language but stopped myself before I could deduce something incriminating. I rose from my seat to welcome him and trying to shake off the feeling that knowing what he thought of me might seriously hurt my ego ...
 

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