Electric catfish

After the thing with my neighbor and his dog I slept in my office again. I was tired, and after the thing with my neighbor’s dog it seemed like a good idea.

I was tired, but as soon as I lay down on the sofa in my office, a switch went on and I couldn’t sleep. Electricity; it was like some chemical thing; I don’t know. My heart was racing. That rarely happened. I felt like one of the bottom-feeders Professor K kept in his aquarium, hyperkinetic expensive brown spotted tropical catfish he kept to clean the aquarium walls. They were nervous fish constantly on the lookout for something. Even when they were hiding out under a rock, they twitched and jerked. I totally knew how they felt. I tried to read something and gave up. I went into Professor K.’s office to watch his big aquarium for a while. That sometimes had a calming effect. Maybe I could transfer my electricity to those fish.

The office, an office building after everyone else goes home is a creepy place if you’re into getting the creeps. I don’t happen to be, but I could imagine someone getting a little unnerved by it. The staff, caretakers, cleaning ladies, they had all gone home; we didn’t make much use of them anyway, K had too many secrets and didn’t like them roaming the building unless someone else was there, at least Clark the orderly, although K preferred to be there himself, or Ike or Ng, one of his trusted people. He didn’t trust me, I knew that, he was merely being realistic, why risk anything? And he didn’t seem to trust Veronica either.

This all went through my head as I watched his fish. His business dealings, his cryptic telephone conversations. The aquarium was six feet long and three feet high, and the lights in its hood were the only lights on in the entire building except for the green emergency exit signs. A bottom feeder wriggled up and down the glass on the left side of the tank, pausing briefly to chase away another, smaller but otherwise identical bottom feeder until he was alone again.

As a certified sociopath, the first thing I did was calculate the risks to myself. What was the likelihood of getting caught, I wondered in any given situation. I was alone – I’d roamed the entire building. The automatic doors made enough noise that I’d hear anyone entering the building, especially since they’d have to unlock them. There were no surveillance cameras on this floor, only down in the lobby.

K. office was cool for the night. The air smelled fresh, no particular odor, no dust. He had a picture of a woman and two children on his desk. I’d seen the picture previously. He lived alone at his condo, so the picture was one of two things – ex-wife, or a fake to make him seem more human to customers, or merely to satisfy his need for obfuscation. They looked happy in the picture, so I couldn’t imagine they actually had anything to do with K. who was so twisted he made a pretzel look straight.

He’d forgotten his attach

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