Inspector Maria Sanchez of the Policia Nacional was interviewing the passengers of the bus in the Praza do 8 de Marzo at the time of the Tren Turistico incident. Sanchez was twenty-seven years old and ambitious to get on in the police service. She had done well so far in this world dominated by machismo.
Sanchez wore black jeans and a blue top with a silver crucifix around her neck. She had short brown hair and hazel eyes that looked quizzically at each of the first six passengers, whom it seemed had seen nothing useful but had heard a short burst from what most of them understood was a firecracker.
They were all sitting on the left-hand side of the bus listening to music or playing one of those time-wasting games on their phones where you go around shooting people in a made-up world. How ironic this was, thought Sanchez, when real people were being shot in the real world, if you could have been bothered to witness it. But you wouldn’t have received any points in the game for seeing a real killing, would you? she thought, staring at the backs of the so-called witnesses as they left the interview room. She felt jaded already as witness seven shuffled into the grey room and sat down at the shiny metal desk.
Witness seven was a man in his late forties, with shifty eyes who seemed unable to make eye contact with Sanchez. He looked around and patted down what remained of his unruly hair.
“This is the interview room for the people from the bus who witnessed the shooting?” he asked, looking bewildered.
“It is,” said Sanchez, “you’re in the right place, don’t worry.”
“Where is the interviewer then,” he replied. “Has he just popped out of the room?”
Sanchez wondered about slapping the man around the face, as she could do without this kind of sexism when she was pursuing her line of enquiry. Instead, she chose sarcasm, something she was carefully nurturing by watching British TV comedies, without the subtitles.
“Well, the interviewer took one look at you and decided he had better things to do, so he left you to me, Inspector Sanchez of the Policia Nacional.”
“Well that’s all right, I didn’t mean any offence by my question.”
“None taken,” lied Sanchez through her gleaming white teeth. “Anyway, you said witnesses to the shooting, but sadly none of your fellow passengers on the bus witnessed anything worth reporting, so how are you different from them?”
The man smiled and sat up straight in the metal chair. “I saw everything,” he said proudly, “and it’s not what they’re saying on the TV news. They’ve got it wrong as usual, but I am glad I can be of help to everyone and set the record straight.”
Inspector Maria Sanchez looked hard at the man before pressing the record button on the recorder. “The testimony of witness seven from the bus regarding the Tren Turistico incident, today the 21st August. Please proceed, witness seven…”