Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lie to Me


Got called in on Saturday to administer a polygraph examination to a suspect on some bank jobs going on up and down the coast.

It's one of the things they pay me for.


I find the whole thing very curious. I really enjoy interview and interrogation. I don't know if I'm any good at it. The whole time there is a tremendous amount of information whanging around in the room. There's what I know, what the suspect knows, what I don't know, what they don't know, what they want to conceal, what I want to have revealed. There's facts galore. There is a lot of lying. A tremendous amount. Probably eighty percent of what gets said is truthful, though. Or a kind of truthful. Lots and lots of information that the suspect thinks shows him in a good light, or at least not too bad. Most of the lies are in the form of omission, minimizing, and concealing. Of course, there are plenty of outright lies, too.

And there is everywhere treacherous ground. Lots of times there are facts I think I understand but they get undermined in the room by new information that I may or may not be able to trust, or to prove up. Lots of times the bad guy has the same experience. He doesn't know for sure he can stick to this story or that one, and my job is to play up that uncertainty, and downplay my own.

It can be like herding cats. There is lots of time exploring dead ends. There is constant circling back over previously covered ground. You hope every time to decrease the diameter of the circle, drawing him in to the ultimate point. You think you have everything tied up tight, then he bolts off in a new direction and you have to start all over. And your opponent is desperate to prevail, or at least not lose ground. Lots of times a guy will get in the box just to find out how much you know about what he's been up to.

You have to watch out for him.

Most of the time, I don't get what I'm after. I fight 'em to the ground and take away all their lies and evasions and bullshit and look into their eyes and they know they're caught and they know I'm not buying their sad shit, and they get right there where they're broken, they are going to spill, and then their eyes glaze over and they say it again:

"I didn't do nothing."


I wish I did better. I tell myself that there's just some people who won't confess no matter what kind of facts you have to confront them with. You could be standing there with them, they've got the guys severed head in their lunchbox, and they'll just keep eating their sandwich and saying they don't know what I'm talking about.

I can't help it, though. I know that every time I fail to get the confession, I failed. It belongs to me, not somebody else.


In other news, when I left the house today to do some shopping at the Cookie Crock, my wife looks at me and says

"You look like a hit man."



Blogger Radish King said...

My Dear Hitman, the thing is you have that built-in bullshit detector and I don't think it's because you're a cop I think it's because you are an evolved being. I have the same thing and it's pretty much 100% good but it's because I was raised by car salesmen. And badgers. And I'm kind of you know crazy the kind of crazy that it's hard to trick. And I wonder how that works when you know in your gut that a thing is True or Not True and there is nothing you can do but let the facts speak for themselves. I wonder if there is a pull there and how you deal with it. I think it would make me itchy. This is a terrific post fascinating to me.


2:24 PM  
Blogger melissashook said...

Oh, my, this is just the sort of challenge that I would truly like. The only time I got close to trying to figure interesting stuff out was working in a homeless shelter...but I gotta say, that in my personal life, I just don't get it right...I sort of know, but then I let go of my instincts..
truly interesting.
thank you...

3:12 PM  
Blogger 21k said...

ahahahh that's just the best funniest thing I've heard in a long time.

lie to me.


so glad you exist, you.

you make my day.


6:59 PM  

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