And even on occasion, asshole.
He'd been called all of the above. He was used to it, but he was happy in his own skin. And every now and then, someone else's skin too.
Jim Colton smiled to himself as he thought of all these things and got out of his car on a warm April morning. He grabbed his briefcase and locked his car. He checked the handle of the drivers side door and strolled across the car park to the main door of the building.
He was definitely himself this morning. And being the empath that he was, that was a good thing.
Walking past outer reception he received a few perfunctory good mornings, which he politely returned. A couple of people smiled at him on his way through to the security check area, where he displayed his credentials, and was ushered through. A few turns of the corridor beyond and a short elevator ride later and he was inside the Behavioural Science unit, and standing at his desk.
There were roughly twenty VICAP files there, fresh that morning. Colton had been with Behavioural Science in the FBI for fifteen years, and although he knew full well how many of these types of criminal were out there, it always astounded him how many fresh files he found on his desk every day. Never mind. He'd work them all, it was what he did. He knew these people. Maybe too well.
No one really talked to him here. They didn't really like being told what they were going to do before they did it.
He sat, and cast his eye over his colleagues. He knew them all of course, more deeply than he might have liked. He was an empath. He couldn't help it.
It made him a loner, but he didn't mind. He'd been even more alone since his wife Jane had left seven years ago. Yes he'd become successful in his field, and their life was very comfortable. But he'd bring these people home to dinner, in his head. And the ensuing conversations became too much. Too frightening. She'd called an ambulance, and as it pulled away with her husband and many violent criminals inside it, she'd picked up the phone and dialled a number. A man had come to pick her up.
The next day she was gone, and the day after that the house was empty. Colton found out a month later when he'd been given a clean bill of health. Jane didn't come back. Jim threw himself into his work, and that year his sight, his blessing and a curse, had captured four of the FBI's ten Most Wanted.
In Behavioural Science, he was a superstar. To the FBI, their most prized asset. As for Colton, he'd have just had his wife back. But it wasn't going to happen.
It was going to be one of those days. He could tell. To think like a killer to catch one. It was what Jim Colton did. To get inside another persons mind, to pre-empt their thoughts, their behaviour. He never trained. It was what he was best at.
Three VICAP files were open on his desk. He stared at them a while longer, then suddenly snapped them shut, placed them back on the pile marked 'in' and rose from his chair.
'Hey Jim, everything ok?' Someone had noticed him snap the files shut and had asked the question. He thought about ignoring the woman, and was about to, but he checked himself, and replied politely, 'Yes. Thank you. I'm fine.'
'Ok, as long as you are.'
She turned and walked the few steps to her own desk, which to Coltons surprise was directly behind his. Why hadn't I noticed her before, he thought to himself. He normally saw everything.
Jim Colton slowly crossed the floor until he reached the window. He leant on the sill and took in the view of the city. It always thrilled him, the concrete jungle, the maze of streets and alleyways. He'd lived here all his life, and he knew the city well. Many a time he'd lost himself walking those alleys and streets, but never got physically lost. He always knew his way.
Turning around to face the room, the rising morning sun lit him from behind and cast his shadow long. It stopped at the nice lady who'd asked after him, and was now at her desk.
She kind of looked like her. Similar build and height, similar hair colour and style, the smile...
No, she did look like her. She was her. Wasn't she?
Yes, Jim Colton thought. This one will do nicely. Only one question remained.
Who would he be today?