Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The man that could part two

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. .....

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Man that Could part one

"I'm telling you kid, you're not like these other idiots here. You need to get outta here are you kidding me? Go out and take a loan or do something and get your car and then leave, but don't let yourself slave away for this shit piece of money. YOU can do better than this. "

My coworker said before his screen popped up, and he turned away to his calls.I nod, taking in his words before I return to my calls. I don't really consider this to be slave work. $11 an hour just to read from a script to shareholders is one of the easiest jobs I ever had. I just wish I had a way to get management to allow us to have reading material on the floor. The staff has complained about the noise level with people having side conversations but what did they expect people to do when they have nothing else to do? It's very rare to even get a person to stay on the phone for over a minute. I must've had 20 people hang up on me already because they were convinced I was trying to sell them something. Oh well, they can't complain in the future if their mutual funds aren't handled the way they wanted. They gave that up the moment they refused to cooperate. In the meantime I guess ill just daydream...being out on the field......trying to discover the facts. It comes to me every now and then. The thought of being back in the P.I gig. Then the depression of being let go creeps in and I wonder if I was ever good enough to begin with. Maybe that's why I accepted my mentor's advice to earn my claim's adjuster's so I can make good money while I do something related to investigating. Maybe....... Oh the calls stopped. I look up to see my supervisor ask my full row to head into the conference room. Looking at the time I grab the lunch I had delivered to the office and take it with me into the conference room where a representative of the mutual investment company greets us the moment we enter.... whoopsie!!. We fill the conference room table. I keep my lunch on the floor within arms reach. Looking around the table I recognize most of the faces. I see a woman in a bright red suit. She appears to be brimming with energy along with other different faces. They must be the morning crew. The representative spent the next few minutes thanking us for our hard work and then proceeded to tell us why their company was amazing. I noticed the red suited female spoke a lot, often complimenting our representative. I hope this is her regular personality because it did seem a lot like brown nosing. The representative ended our meeting with a video of the company.....I try not to fall asleep given that we were all required to watch this video during orientation. At the end of the movie I see the red suit lady clapping........."Thank you so much for that wonderful presentation" Instead of looking at her, I scan the room to examine the faces of everyone else. If looks can kill.............

I remain silent as the people in my row mourn and speculate the reason for their good friend being fired. In my opinion there doesn't have to be a reason. We even signed a contract that stated so. This job was only meant to be good for a month and a few weeks. We originally started as a 1 to 9 shift and then was transferred to 3 to 11 with everyone else. The same day that happens, everyone hours begin to get cut. This campaign is pretty much over already. I may have said it aloud once but I think people are starting to realize it now.  That doesn't soften the blow though. I know many people were hoping this would last a little longer so it feels as if the rug is being pulled from under them and I can tell that some do not have jobs lined up. I feel bad for them. Shit I feel bad for myself. I need to find something as well so I can get my career going. On a bright side, I'm currently a candidate for a huge P.I firm i've had my eye on for the past couple of months.  I find myself daydreaming at work working for the company and moving on with life. Sigh...... that would be great. I carry on with my calls and receive my evaluation scores that are still in the 100% range.  I get off work and decide to reward myself with cheesecake from Juniors. I get home and receive an email from my temp agency telling me to not go to work on monday because I was pulled off the case. Oh wells, I rather have that than work 6 days a week and still not work full time hours.

I struggle to keep my vision as I jog 5 miles through a heavy thunderstorm.  I may have lost my job but I still have to keep my health into account. The spartan race is only a month and few weeks away. The pain was there but I couldn't stop. Had to suck it up. Be tough. I get home and shower and check my emails to see an email from the company I was interested in........no wait, A job offer? I examine the email and see a job offer with several paperwork I had to submit and tasks to complete before heading down to North Carolina for training..........Wow I got it? I could feel relief all through my body, and then fear. I need a car.  In addition to that, i'm extremely broke. Haven't been behind a wheel consistently since I got my driver's license. LP helped me with the process and I managed to get my first car and a flight to North Carolina with his help. While he helped me deal with the external factors, I tried to help myself deal with the internal issues. My fears and doubts. The flashbacks of me giving my all at my first P.I firm and having it fall apart in front of me. The lack of gratitude, and uncertainty of even being welcomed there only bolstered that fear but I can't let that experience affect how I approach this company. There was a fundamental difference between this one and the last. I had a funny vibe in the beginning from that firm during my first encounter and a very good vibe from this one. Despite new beginnings I have to be brave. A fact I keep reminding myself as I board the plane for the 2nd time, and alone for the  first time to head down to North Carolina for training.

A few hours later I reach North Carolina and take in the sunny warm weather. It was pretty breezy in NYC but very warm here. All the trees look fully bloomed, and training has begun.  I reach my hotel and see the television on. My roommate is already here. I enter the door and greet him. Little did I know he would become one of my many new friends I was about to make, and little did I know, that I was gonna awaken something within me that's been dormant for far too long............