The detective slowed down on his third lap around the crime scene. He milled around the one pane of broken glass. The window was double-paned, yet only the interior one was broken. No one had gone through here, so why break it? How was this connected to Gina Gosling’s disappearance?
"Disappear is such a strange word," he murmured to himself. The officers hung back from him, not wanting to disturb him if this was one of his fugues. Those fugues were known to solve cases, whatever fugues were.
"When you examine it, disappear is bizarre. I like to think about the way we put words together, to see what they really mean. To disappear isn't to vanish. Vanishing is to vanish. To disappear isn't even to no longer appear. That would be unappearing, something that doesn't happen, which is why we don't use that word. Un- and dis- are different prefixes. To be uninterested and disinterested are different things. To be uninterested is to simply not be interested. To be disinterested is to actively remove your interests – you willfully take no side. To disappear is not to vanish or unappear. Vanishing is the middleground between an appearance and a disappearance. To disappear is to forcefully no longer appear.”
“This can’t really solve cases,” said one junior officer, walking to the door. “Let’s go interview a witness or something.”
The detective didn’t seem to notice, but the junior’s senior did. His mustache twitched as he reproached him.
“Don’t disrespect, punk. He’s solved more homicides than you ever will.”
“Yeah. But I’ve probably looked up more things in the dictionary.”
“Good way to stay sane,” the detective said, eyes still a little misty, but clearly speaking at them. “Good way to stay sane and useless.”