Friday 9 July 2021

58 Patricide

Lee Taida’s expression was so incongruent with his statement. It was as if he found it very interesting that he had murdered someone. Hearing his confession, everyone was stunned. The discipline teacher who was in the room couldn’t believe his ears. He pulled Lee Taida up by his sleeves and asked, “I’m sorry, but what did you say?”

Lee Taida frowned and pushed away the teacher’s hand. “Are you people fucking deaf or what?” He then repeated in a louder voice, “I said, I murdered someone with it!” He looked around challengingly, like a boxer standing on stage, teasing us to challenge him. The person who had persuaded Gao Rui to commit suicide is this 16 years old Lee Taida? Age was never a measurement of one’s maturity or psychopathy, perhaps this teen was more unhinged than most adults. I also stood up. I stared into his eyes and asked, “Who did you murder?”

Lee Taida held my gaze and announced proudly, “Lee Xian, my father.”

We quickly drove to Lee Taida’s home. He lived in the old part of the city, the place looked aged. Lee Taida personally led the way for us. He bounced and skipped, like he was on a field trip. This caused the rest of us to frown even deeper. Just what kind of father and son relationship was at work here that the son would be so happy after killing the father? There was no sadness and melancholy, only joy and happiness. There was a school of people who claimed that your son was your nemesis from your previous life, I never believed such talk… until now.

Lee Taida hummed a little ditty as we walked up the stairs. He was excited to see his own handiwork. At the door, Lee Taida took a deep breath and then opened the door with his key. Lee Taida practically leaped through the door and then the boy froze. He seemed to have lost ability of movement, struck dumb by what he saw. I rushed forward and looked from behind Lee Taida’s shoulders. There was nothing there that warranted Lee Taida’s reaction. Lee Taida stared at the coffee table transfixed. Gu Chen and Guan Zhenglin walked over as well. They wanted to say something but were stopped by me. I waved my hands and signalled for them to check the rooms. I also took this chance to survey this house. If I had to sum up my first impression in one word, it would be… messy.

The coffee table was littered with cigarette butts, and empty beer bottles. The cigarette ashes and beer stains dirtied the ground and formed sticky patches. They looked disgusting. The throw pillows were not on the sofa but strewn haphazardly. Joining their ranks were the clothes. The television was lying on the ground and the screen was cracked. Turning to look into the kitchen, the utensils, pots and pans were dumped everywhere. It was like a thief had ransacked, no, it was more accurate to say a tornado had swept through this place.

Gu Jun and Guan Zhenglin walked out from the other rooms. Gu Chen looked at me and said, “We didn’t find any dead body but a lot of mess. Perhaps a gang of thieves has been here. Hey, kid, where’s your father? Did you lie to us?” Not getting any reaction, Gu Chen walked forward and then waved his hands before Lee Taida’s face. Then he turned to me, “What’s wrong with him? Did the shock get to his system?”

Without warning, Lee Taida broke down and cried. He cried like he had just lost the most important thing in the world. However, no one knew why he was crying.

At least I was sure that it was not because of burglary. Based on the lingering cigarette smoke and the half empty beer bottles, as well as the indentation on the sofa, this was a sign of laziness not burglary. This home lacked a caretaker.

Lee Taida cried like a broken dam and there was no sign of stopping, Guan Zhenglin tried to console him. I though looked at the few half empty beer bottles. Based on how Lee Taida acted along the way, he must have assumed his father was dead. If everything went according to plan, Lee Taida would open the door to find his dead father. In that case, there were only 2 possibilities, 1, Lee Xian was dead and his body was stolen; 2, Lee Xian was still alive.

I immediately called Xiao Liu and had him get Lee Xian’s phone number from the discipline teacher. In less than a minute, Xiao Liu came back with the number. I called the number and to my surprise, it was answered. “Is this Lee Xian? You’re not dead?” I gasped.

The man scolded, “Who the fuck is this? You’ll die before I do, fuck you.” So Lee Xian was indeed alive. I explained, “I’m your son Lee Taida’s…” Lee Xian cut in, “Oh, you must be that bastard’s teacher? Did the bastard say I was dead? Regardless, I don’t care about that bastard’s business. If you need anything, go and find that bitch, his mother, the fucking prostitute. Bye.” Before I could explain myself, Lee Xian ended the call.

“Guan Zhenglin!” I ordered, “Confiscate all the beer bottles, they might be poisoned!”

We brought Lee Taida back to the interrogation room. He was quite agitated, not because he was captured but because his father was still alive. The greater the anticipation, the greater the loss, it seemed to apply to murder plan as well. Lee Taida admitted that he had been planning to murder his father. Before he asked Zhao Erming that question in the chemistry lab, he had been planting the topic of poison in his friend’s mind for weeks already. When Zhao Erming brought up the element of cyanide, Lee Taida knew he had found his way in. Zhao Erming told him the thing was incredibly toxic and a small bit of it could kill a man instantly. It could be melted in water and had no smell and taste. A normal person wouldn’t be able to discern it. Lee Taida knew then he would steal this cyanide and used his portion to kill his father.

Zhao Erming perhaps had his own enemy to kill but he experimented on a stray first. Lee Taida though was more determined than his friend was. That day when he returned home, Lee Taida had never felt so happy. Seeing the clutter, it was the first time he felt like he had returned home. He danced, sang and played in the house. He had never been so free and joyful. Lee Taida turned to the coffee table and saw the cigarette butts and several beer bottles which were open but not finished. Lee Taida’s father was an alcoholic gambler. If he was not home, Lee Xian was not out working but gambling. Lee Xian was originally the CEO of a big company but he lost everything to gambling. As the years passed, his accumulated wealth dwindled and so did his real estate.

10 gambles and 9 losses, that was simple knowledge but Lee Xian refused to believe it. He believed that he would rise up where he had fallen. Naturally, plots like that only happened in tv shows. Lee Xian only dug himself deeper into the hole of debt. His company had to announce bankruptcy and he lost all his credit. Lee Xian would come back every day to watch television, smoke cigarettes, drink beer and fall asleep. The next morning, he would wake up to go gamble. It got so bad his wife left him. The other hobby of Lee Xian, especially after he was drunk, was to beat people. When Lee Taida was still young, whenever Lee Xian was drunk, he would beat his wife. Lee Taida cried, pleaded but it was pointless. Every night, when Lee Taida saw the wounds on his mother’s body, he swore again and again he would kill his father. But he was too young, he didn’t dare. Therefore, every night the only thing he could do was to hug his mother and cry silently. They didn’t dare to make any noise lest Lee Xian wake up again. Therefore, it was quite a release for Lee Taida to be able to cry as loud as he wanted that day. But Lee Taida had a greater wish, and that was to kill his father.

Lee Taida shouted inside the interrogation room. “Why? Why is even God helping him? He should have died, he has to die, only then things can be right for my mother.” Then he cried again as if releasing all the tears that he had been holding in all these years.

Turns out Lee Xian hadn’t been home for 3 days already because he had found a new gambling den. The same person who had also not returned for 3 days was his son, Lee Taida. The night Lee Taida got the cyanide, he poured them into the unfinished beer bottle. Lee Taida knew that his father would drink any alcohol left inside the house no matter how old they were. Therefore, when his father returned, he would die. After making sure the cyanide melted, Lee Taida left. Lee Taida spent the 3 days staying with his friends, staying under the bridge. He never went home because he didn’t want to see his dead father. He didn’t want to be around him when he was alive, much less dead.

But Lee Xian had never been home since Lee Taida applied the poison. As we expected, cyanide was found inside the beers. Lee Taida thought he had finally killed his father but Lee Xian was actually having the time of his life at gambling heaven.

“This is my greatest regret. I should have stayed to watch him drink the beer in person, I should have stayed to watch him die. But I promise you this, as long as I am still alive, I will eventually kill him.” Lee Taida said seriously.

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