I tend to read people fairly quickly. You have to be able to size others up in my line of work—to separate the real victims from the liars. But I’ve been sizing up people’s actions since I was small child. When you’re abused as a kid, you learn that you better assess people and their possible actions quickly because if you don’t, you’re going to be on the receiving end of one helluva punch. So I became what some therapists call hyper-vigilant. Sometimes, I had to judge a violent situation within seconds of its erupting. So I spend a lot of time stepping back and observing people. I’m always on guard; always waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop. That’s probably why I smoke. I think the nicotine takes the edge off but allows me to still focus.
One way I learned to read people was through their body language and voice tones. People’s mannerisms and subtle voice alterations are massive “tells” in determining whether someone is being truthful with me. My dad, Dale Perry, taught me all about body language, and he was damn good at it. That is about the only good thing I can say about him because he also taught me how to be a great drunk, how to fear, how to hurt, how to hate, how to see life as continual struggle and how to never feel that I’m good enough. Jesus, now I sound like a damn victim and that’s the last thing I want to be. I despise victims. Not victims of crimes…victims of life. People who can’t build a bridge and get over their inner turmoil. I’m actually particularly drawn to people who’ve had to walk the harder path and come out better or worse on the other end. Survivors. Yeah, that’s who I champion. Maybe that’s because I see myself in them. I have great empathy for the survivors of this world because I know what it takes to climb out of severe trauma and reach deep within your heart and soul and resurrect yourself into a new reality.
My road to resurrection has been a long and strange one. During that trip, I’ve encountered some—how can I say this without sounding crazy?—otherworldly phenomena that I can’t explain but that have operated within my life and the lives of those around me. Mostly, it’s the bizarre synchronicities—coincidences—that defy logic. Sometimes, I’ve experienced prophetic dreams or feelings that have materialized in the waking world. The first few times it happened, it scared the shit out of me. I attributed it to too much booze. While the booze may have loosened me up to make me open to the phenomenon, there was something else operating outside of the bottle. I no longer fight it, because in many ways, I’ve always allowed my intuition to guide me, even on hard-to-solve homicide cases. So these days, when I encounter the odd person or the odder circumstance that borders on the unexplainable, I don’t fight it. I don’t try to explain it, and I try to work with it instead of against it.