I KNOW PEOPLE | By: ALBERT J KEY | | Category: Short Story - Mystery Bookmark and Share



After becoming very financially successful, Jack realizes that those who reach this level do so because they are able to focus on a specific thing, and they do so very well. Jack’s specialty is, knowing people. He was able to turn this art into a profession. The problem is that his passion is people, not the financial success that accompanies his ability to understand and profit from his insight into the human psychic.

In an effort to simplify his life yet still explore his passion he takes a job as a popcorn vender at a small town cinema.  As he settles in he begins to observe, get to know and analyze those who visit his stand.

There’s the Thug, who due to cultural and social differences, finds it difficult to function in a normal society. He chooses instead, cunning and violence to not only get by but to circumvent and bypass the norms of social life, like formal education and respecting the rights of others, and legal activities and instead heads down a pass of rapid finance and social respect due to fear. The end result statistically will be a clash with the authorities and a life of turmoil. There are those who have chosen this path and realized the destruction that would result and have manipulated for a favorable outcome. Jack can recognize them too, as he observes them recognize themselves when they encounter the thug.  

(Insert Thug story Example)…

Most people however are so caught up in the day to day that they never develop this level of focus. Life offers too many distractions for them to focus on one thing long enough for them to master anything. Depending on the level of focus combined with the level of natural ability and defined usually by our environment we find ourselves. We go to college because all the neighborhood kids do. We work at an early an early age out of necessity. We work a specific trade or art form because our parents did it and they did it well and we assume a similar role because it is so familiar, because it is expected or we do it out of respect for them.

Then there’s the rebel. Not always a bad thing. Sometimes we rebel against society, and or the wealth and success of our parent’s (You know that type). Then there’s the rebel who in spite of bad parental examples or maybe because of them, this rebel seeks to make good of a deck stacked against him/her and succeeds.

(Jack meets and analyses people just to pass his simplified day)…

 Jack has been able to recognize tell tale signs of most character types and there infinite combinations and can judge people.  He can tell who they are and what they are likely to do or say, this is his specialty. However nothing in his experience has prepared him to meet his equals.









In walks a very tall, well dressed man, he looks to be middle eastern or Hebrew.  This guy comes to the stand to order but he is very indecisive as to what he wants. After a few minutes of calculating at the concession stand he orders a medium sized popcorn with butter, and a coke.  Jack could not predict what this guy would order and that for Jack is a pleasant surprise. The guy expected Jack to interrupts his calculating indecisiveness and make a suggestion like he’d seen Jack do for many others before, but to the guys surprise Jack did not.  They exchange casual smiles and the guy leaves. This guy’s name is Malcolm.  During the next month Jack and Malcolm begin to observe the subtleties of each other’s behavior choice of words clothes, shoes, watches and begin to determine; not only do they fit the same physical description more or less but they are also kindred spirits.

Malcolm stops by one day just to talk to Jack, People often do this because a conversation with Jack is like looking in a mirror.

(Most people do this just to make sure that they are projecting the right image),

But not Malcolm. Malcolm is intrigued by Jack and invites him to view a movie later. Jack is also intrigued and accepts. Malcolm then explains that he must go by the jewelers first and suggest that they meet there.  Jack agrees.

When Jack walks in Malcolm is deciding between three watches all of which are very expensive. He asks Jack which watch suits him best and Jack chooses one. In an odd move Malcolm explains that he has left his wallet at home and asks Jack to pay for the watch.

Like a well calculated game of Chess Jack buys the watch and also is manipulated to paying for the movie as well. The next day Malcolm arrives at the stand with a check.  Jack accepts it and now they no longer need to pretend. Malcolm asks Jack If he was a degree student, and Jack replied no I know people. Malcolm then said “ Me I know numbers ” and from this they became friends.

The following week Jack meets a Lady. She stands out because she’s arrives in an older upscale BMW, an 850csi, It’s Helrot Red with a dent, well more like a scrape on  the side which was obviously caused by a brush with another car at high speed.  As she gets out two teens walk by her and say, nice car. She approaches the stand and orders a bottle of water. She dressed strangely her clothes are racy yet reserved; she walks calmly yet speaks nervously. After receiving the water she uses Jack as a mirror and asks without asking if it was all a little too much. Jack affirms and she leaves. The next day she arrives in a toned down brownish  911 Porsche Carrera the kind with four seats she gets out orders another water and asks’ better? Jack winks; she gets back in and speeds off. 

A few days later she is at the stand talking with Jack apparently they have become friends. Jack has come to know that she is an expert risk taker. After her father died she turned his business into an empire by dangerously risking large assets and gaining profits. While they are sharing a smoke and a conversation Malcolm passes by. He works nearby and when he sees the two together and waves independently to them both.

Sarah (her name), say’s “oh you know Malcolm?” Jack nods. She asks “how well?” Jack explains there shallow relationship. Sarah warns him to be careful. She says that Malcolm became bored with calculating numbers and when he met Sarah he started calculating dangerous risks. They shared this passion until one day it nearly cost them their lives. They stopped seeing each other but Sarah was aware that Malcolm had taken up gambling in order regain that risk sensation. He was good at it too, but after a while that also began to bore him. He needed to raise the stakes from money to personal challenge or even personal danger.

She warned him to be cautious when dealing with Malcolm.

After about a month or so had passed Malcolm goes to the stand to talk with Jack.

When he arrives there’s a line. They make eye contact and Malcolm waits. When Malcolm reaches the stand he explains to Jack that he needs a partner. Malcolm has agreed to a race in which two men raft down a manmade tunneled out river way with dangerous obstacles. The competition is a scientist and an athlete who are also expert risk takers. The stakes are very high, a million dollar buy in winners take all plus there are physical dangers. Each person also gets to add a physical hazard that only he knows about, four life threatening hazards in all but each participant is the only one who knows his introduced hazard. Ten minutes to earn one million dollars or potentially get injured or lose one’s life.  Jack is intrigued he has never experienced individuals who have everything and risk it all simply for the thrill of competition, calculated risk, and danger!

When they arrive at the contest site there are 357 people there ranging from Doctors, to Lawyers, to Actors, and Athletes, Businessmen, Criminals, Politian’s and others who are otherwise independently wealthy.

Each has made a wager on the outcome based on what they know about the participants. Over 40 million wagered. The winners will receive half of that as well, but at what risk? At what cost?

The racing raft is designed so that one must navigate while the other propels and guides the raft with an oar.  Each participant must choose between a bottle of water or a vile of gasoline, a rock or a block of wood, and a flashlight or a match. The course is downhill so the raft will reach great speeds. The tunnel narrows and chokes and at any given point they may encounter the hazards introduced by the contestants. The athlete has introduced a wall 10’ high which the contestants must get out of the raft and cross then get back into the raft in order to complete the course. The other three challenges are mysteries but Malcolm has a fondness for Salt water crocodiles and to introduce them would be typical of his stereotype Jack has deduced. The final leg of the race is to transverse a maze on foot. Each maze was designed by one of the other contestants inside of which there specialty will make it difficult for the others to pass. Although they begin as a team there will only be one winner. No weapons are allowed but the contestants may bring any survival equipment that they might deem necessary to complete the course.  The first to immerge from the mazes and reach the alter, must light three candles. The contestant that lights the third candle is the winner.











Wikipedia outlines intelligence in parts.  It describes the abilities for abstract thought, understanding, communication, reasoning, learning, planning, emotional intelligence (involving compassion empathy. sympathy, conscience, and vengeance), and problem solving. As humans we apply our intelligence by gaining knowledge. We then try to use that knowledge wisely to achieve our objectives. Those who can are considered to be wise.

 We, now are going to focus on knowledge. An example: at an early age you learned that folding a piece of paper several times before ripping it would result in a neater edge. You apply that knowledge during your daily activities and it improves you life. Someone who did not have that knowledge would not be able to apply it daily like you can, a kid for example. Once the kid gained that knowledge he can apply it wisely.

That knowledge alone is insignificant, but combine it with the knowledge that can be gained in one’s life time and wow! Now Imagine that within books there is stored the knowledge of generations of people. Now think about the amount of books stored within a library. Now imagine how many library’s and data bases are stored within computers.  Now multiply that number, by how many computers are connected to the worldwide web. You now begin to see that there is infinite knowledge.

I class knowledge in three category’s Social as designed and accepted by society, Practical as experienced in life and Inspired.

Social knowledge is achieved in degrees. It is the most accept form because it is controlled and can be measured. It is structured and anyone with intelligence and resources can acquire and apply it. Since there can only be 360 degrees in a circle that knowledge is finite. Those with the most intelligence and or the most resources can acquire the most knowledge of this type.

Practical knowledge comes from experience. Those who are exposed to varied lifestyles, those who can travel the world, and experience generations of cultures and people can acquire the most practical knowledge. It is limited however to ones capacity, and it is not socially recognized. It really is only powerful when focused like a beam of light. We call those who can focus practical knowledge experts. They are powerful, but they are limited to that focus and few can focus on more than one discipline at a time.

Inspired Knowledge is extremely powerful you might say it’s supernatural. It can be achieved in many ways. Natural talent has given rise to genius. It cannot be explained nor contained. It is beyond normal consciousness, it is not bound within a circle of degrees nor can it be practically acquired by experiencing or witnessing those who posses it’s power. It may be temporary like a (Eureka!!), moment of inspiration for example. It may be drug induced like many musicians’ genius, or a tribal shaman or witch doctor. It may come from dreams or other subconscious states; trances and hypnotism for example ect… It may even have Divine inspiration. Because of its illusiveness it is often discounted. Its power explained away or even banned. It is not recognized nor accredited because it is not understood, however throughout history there have been many examples of this type of power.

Malcolm’s abilities like the scientist he is scheduled to compete against, are the result of Social Knowledge. Studied Mathematics, and studied Science can yield powerful knowledge and when applied within a society can aid one to excel.

Jack’s ability is practical, he is able to focus his attention on human behavior to a level that few can. The result of this focus is profound insight. The more he travels, and experience the more focused and powerful he becomes. Just like the athlete that he’s been pitted against. His physical conditioning is far beyond the norm. He might be considered, super human the more he exercises and trains the stronger and more effective he will be.

The third and most powerful example we have not yet met. This race is very intriguing. Lot’s of money, high stakes which could even be life threatening, high society spectators, and high ability contestants, but who is sponsoring the race?  


Priscilla is a psychic. Her specialty is to be able see bits and pieces of future events. She enhances that ability by drinking Absinthe;( a drink banned in most country’s due to its opium content) which gives her physical strength as well.  Ironically Priscilla can see bits of other people’s future but she cannot see her own.

Priscilla has been working with Irvine county police department, and the FBI In order to solve a cereal of murders. The killer has eluded the police for a few years. Mostly due to a varied Method of Operations, (MO) and an evidently wealthy purse which allows him to calculated the police’s every move and to cover his tracks.

 Do you believe that people can see the future? Isn’t it more likely that Priscilla is imagining these events and then acting them out? Isn’t it more likely that the reason she cannot see her own future is because she is unconsciously causing these events to happen?

Priscilla has foreseen the killer’s next attack she has perceived that the killer will strike next during a contest of this type. She has privately sponsored this competition in order to flush out and identify the killer. She has seen glimpses of a murder event. She believes that one of the four contestants is the killer. Based on her ability to see future events she can recall moments in time and grasp certain details. In this case a deep green colored leather watchband and shoes that match, a shocking attack, a victims face frozen in surprise, and then a period of silent blood flow.  The FBI has determined that the killers is of above average strength and height, he is very intelligent and has a wealth of resources at his disposal allowing him to make a clean get away every time. They had no clue how to track the killer down, so they were awaiting a phone call from Priscilla.

Prior to the day of the contest Priscilla met with each contestant separately. Her excuse was so that she could incorporate there type of hazard into the race course.   Her true motive, however was to have physical hand to hand contact with the killer and possibly ID him before the race were to begin. She met with the Scientist first.

The Scientist was an older guy tall handsome well built. He obviously lived a life of wealth and affluence for quite some time. Although athletic in his youth it now seemed as though he spent his leisure time seeking the finer pleasures in life, like nice cars watches clothes and adventures. He told Priscilla that he wanted to introduce a nerve agent into the atmosphere near the end of the race. The effect would be a numbing and slowing of physical reflexes for those who encounter it like the dreams we have that we want to run but we cannot. This slow motion gas would dissipate within 10 minutes. The first to cross a wire hidden just beneath the surface of the water would trigger the gas. It could be counter acted simply by drinking water. Priscilla agreed. Next Priscilla met with Jack.

Jack was slim yet muscular very light skinned black guy with very average features his brownish red hair was cropped short. He could pass for a white man. With no distinct features, he could get lost in any crowd.  Jack explained that he wanted to misdirect the competitors. He knew that each would rely on their particular ability’s to win the race. His plan was to input loud prerecorded noises: Shouting, screams, explosions, sirens ect…  His Idea was to disorientate his rivals so that they could not focus on there ability’s. A distraction like this might give him a slight advantage. Priscilla accepted.

Next she met with a confident looking guy, a stately built well dressed lady’s man type. You could tell that Malcolm was also a smart man a thinker. You knew just by looking into his eyes that his brain was constantly calculating. When she touched his hand in greeting she was shocked! A race of images flashed in her mind. She saw crocodiles, blood and death. She also saw that due to his precise calculations Malcolm would win the race,  two distinct visions. After Malcolm stated that he wanted to put live crocs in the water. Priscilla was uncertain but she agreed to the dangerous crocodiles because Malcolm assured her that as long as the contestants remained in the rafts, there would be no danger. Priscilla then had a final vision. The vision was an inspiration to tell Malcolm “ what you will loose on the day of the race would be far greater than what you will win”. Because of this vision she was convinced by this that Malcolm was the killer For her this vision implied that Malcolm would be caught and loose his freedom.

She had met earlier with the athlete. The athlete was a professional NBA hall of fame basketball player, A good looking rich and flashy guy, even his sun glasses cost over $5000.00.  He had already explained to Priscilla about the 10’ wall and its construction was already underway. The day of the race was at hand. The spectators arrived first. Sarah was one of the first to have purchased a ticket $10,000.00 just to witness the event.

After about twenty minutes of meeting and greeting of the spectators, the contestants arrived one by one. The 1st to arrive was Jack who showed up in a Volvo, nothing special just a large back pack, rugged and sportswear and construction gloves. Next there was the athlete who arrived by limo his chauffer open the Maybach door and out he walked wearing his very expensive eyewear looking like Jim Kelly from a 70’s karate movie.

Next a arrived a bright red Ferrari convertible with PERNICOUS on the California plates It was the Scientist. The car was stunning. It drew everyone’s attention so that no one actually saw when Malcolm arrived. He was just seen walking up wearing the new watch which Jack had helped him to select. The watch had a crocodile band, and Malcolm wore casual looking crocodile shoes to match it.

The scene was set. The spectators were waiting and betting, the contestants were preparing for the race, and the Police and FBI were only a phone call away. Priscilla had done everything to prepare for what was to come, so why did she feel so uneasy? She felt an anxiety she had never felt before. Was she about to catch a killer, witness a murder or reveal the killer within?














Sarah was strange but sexy. A real woman the kind that makes you pause just to watch her walk. She was also the type however that would probably stumble a little while you were watching. It would make you chuckle but it still did not distract from her good looks. Sarah was watching and thinking about Malcolm.

She was remembering when they met. (Love scene) The passion and excitement of their first encounter was enough for her to follow him everywhere he went. She would invest large amounts of money on Malcolm’s whims which in turn had earned her a small fortune. She was betting on Malcolm to win. The contestants were ready and the race began. They were set up outside but the waterway immediately entered a dark tunnel. There were three areas where the contestants could be viewed along the route so that the spectators could observe the progress and ultimately see the winner. The Athlete and the scientist pulled out in front Just as they entered the tunnel way the sirens and loud noises added by Jack began to sound. The confusion was enough distraction for Jack and Malcolm to take the lead.



I'm just trying my hand at writing.  I will post the rest if there is an intrest... Thanks!!

A.J. Key

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