Three Guards........ I mumbled to myself. They appear to be pretty observant as I watch them inspect another vehicle in the parking lot. I guess I can't blame them. It's only 7AM and the workers compensation building don't open until 8. I lean further back into my seat, preparing to maneuver to the rear seats in case they come this way. Tinted windows may be a bitch to drive with at night but they're extremely valuable for stealth. After a brief inspection, the men walked back into the building. My main purpose for today was to identify my subject. The only thing I knew for sure was the truck he allegedly drove. If everything works out, i'll be seeing him in a hour or two and then I can find out what he's up to......
(2 months earlier, training in North Carolina)
I woke up at 6AM. My roommate came out the bathroom and told me it was mine. I walked into the bathroom and took of my clothes before jumping in the shower. It occurred to me that I gained weight and didn't really feel in shape at all. That's what happens when you have two cheesecakes from the cheesecake factory in one sitting with other fattening food without exercising . I showered, got dressed and left the hotel room with the roommate and walked to the elevator. On the way we noticed our other coworkers were up and peaked through their window to see one of them on their laptop typing fast. Someone didn't do their homework last night. We laughed as we rode the elevator downstairs to the lobby where they were serving free breakfast. We made the mistake of eating light during our first day and paid for it during lunch so now we're gonna clean house. What the hell? It's free and the food is good. Time to pig out. Our team members slowly trickled in, and we talked about training and other stuff before we hopped in the company car and drove to the company. We reached headquarters and greeted the receptionist and entered the training room. Our seats were located by name tags and we sat down and talked until our training manager walked in, and then we were focused.......
(REAL TIME) I allow myself to snack on half of a nature valley bar at 8:30. Still sugar but i'm not a health nut. Just being more responsible with my food choices and so far it's been working in my favor. I see more and more cars slowly fill up the parking lot but I still don't see the subjects vehicle. The other guards are in the building probably to be present in the actual hearing rooms. I only see one guard. Everyone who walked up to him so far has presented a paper to him. I'm guessing that was the appointment paper. I consider my options. I could either wait here for the car to enter and ID the guy then and there and then wait for him to leave to follow him...........or I could try to get inside and wait for him and hope someone calls his name and then follow him after to see what car he's driving for sure.Tough call but I can't waste time going back and forth. I get out my car and head towards the entrance. With more people entering, I would lose my vantage spot anyways. I approach the security guard and peg him as an ex cop. I don't want to test my deceit against his bullshit detector so I pull out my license and tell him i'm waiting for someone. He smiles at me, and let's me in without a word. Great, now i'm inside. I scan the room and see a few people that could match the description of my subject but I didn't get any vibes from them. I find an open seat and wait. Different attorney's called out names. I ignore them since they didn't mention my subject's name. More people enter, some leave, and I sit patiently playing with my phone.
"John Doe?!" I turn my head to the sound and see the attorney who called that name. "John Doe?!" He asks a second time. Good. I found my link.
(In north carolina)
I couldn't help but laugh. Our training manager was a combination of hilarious, insightful, and very knowledgeable about detective work. We practiced different scenario's from cold phone calls, random interviews and even broke into teams and did a scene investigation a few blocks away from headquarters and although the work we were doing was serious they made sure we enjoyed ourselves and were comfortable. I guess the point was to not make it harder for ourselves knowing we'll eventually have to work on our own. Keep our morale high. During the rides back to the hotel I thought back to my time at the first firm. The way I was kicked to the curb after all my efforts, despite my loyalty. Would things truly be different this time? Would I be able to do surveillance well? I never volunteered to drive the company car and to be honest I was afraid to try. I didn't want to mess up and show my weaknesses in front of the whole squad. Instead I watched everyone as they drove and took notes from making turns and changing lanes. Eventually I'd get there..
(REAL TIME)I continue scanning the area and then my eyes locked on a big man as he entered the building. A little over 6 ft and nearly 300lbs with a bit of muscle. I broke eye contact and watched him through my peripheral as he greeted the attorney who called him by his name. Awesome. I wait a minute and leave out behind a random pair of people as I walk back to my car and then I notice the truck. He parked two spots away from me. What are the odds? I get back into my car and watch the entrance. An hour passes, and then I see him leaving out. I quickly pull out my camcorder and record his movements as he approaches the car. I make a note of his walk, and lean back further in my seat as he enters his vehicle and drives away. I count to five and then pull out behind him. I hang back a bit and allow one car to get between us before closing the gap. We make left turns, right, and also rush through a few flashing yellows. Am I the only guy patient enough to slow down at yellow? He eventually returns to his block and i'm disappointed. An earlier canvass showed me he lived on a private road and a sign was visible that warned people like me to keep out. Give me a hand man. Why don't you go out to get lunch? We just got started. Peeved at the lack of vantage areas I pull out into the grass knowing I was going to get more attention than I ever wanted.. I ignore the staring drivers as I call the precinct in advance to let them know of my presence there. I could barely see the egress point. I reach into my cooler and grab a sandwich. I didn't realize it's been 7 hours already. I was hungry. Hungry and bored. Reading is out of the option though. I can't take my eyes off that spot. Instead I turn on an audio book as it plays softly in the background. More drivers stare and I wonder how many people lived in this area when I see a man leave his home. He starts walking up the trail and walks pass my car without looking in my direction. Suspicious. I can't rationalize but his faux oblivious demeanor was more than enough for my instincts to detect a confrontation. I slowly lower my audio book and wait for him to approach me.
"Who are you and what are you doing here"? He says. Not bothering with a hello. Somebody wants to be a tough guy
"Private investigator, working a case"? I respond. Two can play that game.
"Show me your license! I'm a cop" I show him. He is not pleased.
"What the fuck is this? Anyone could've made this. I don't believe you're telling the truth".
I dont need your approval. That was the first thought that crossed my mind. Instead I meet his gaze and in my firmest tone I said " I called your precinct already and notified them of my presence here. You can call them or my agency"
After a moment his tone softens and he asks for specific details about my case. I tell him he doesn't need to know that and he should know the importance of confidentiality. He laughs and walks away. I resume my audio book as if I wasn't interrupted. Another hour pass and I decide to break off. I check off the list of information gathered, and pull away pleased transitioning from the lone abandoned car to one of many in a sea of traffic. Traffic should be annoying but I love the anonymity it gives me. I can put on and take off my fedora at any moment and almost no one would know. Life doesn't get more exciting than that. .....