Surveillance Pelicana Chapter 1: ‘Good Morning, New Orleans’

SURVEILLANCE PELICANA

BY

DAN WEISMAN

(The entire book appears at this link with chapters added after appearing online: https://www.escondidograpevine.com/surveillance-pelicana-full-book-chapters-added-as-they-appear-online/.)

Chapter One Synopsis: On Christmas Day 1987, Tyger Williams, video

artist, discovers a classified ad for an insurance investigator

which he answers. On New Year’s Day, he burns the “box of

troubles” at the abandoned 1984 World’s Fair site Downtown New Orleans.

Later, he attends a New Year’s party at an Uptown club.

 

CHAPTER ONE

Christmas Day, 1987. Tyger Williams sleeps on a lumpy

mattress on a hard wood floor. His head is in the clouds.

Silly rabbit: he leaps off and into a new horizon.

First assignment–newspaper retrieval detail. Check. It lies

below the front stoop.

Tyger, who has been sleeping in his clothes, cascades like a

brook down five steps; hops, skips, and jumps across freshly laid

dog shit. Thanks for nothing beasty boy.

It seems like the typically fun day already, especially

for Christmas. Temperature is in the mid-so·s, and due to rise

near 70 degrees. Wind wafts from the

approximately 10 miles per hour.

south-southwest at

A quick surveillance of the scene reveals business as

unusual. For example, not one vehicle clogs usually slow as

molasses Magazine Street.

No neighbors are out and about either.

small favors. A quiet gentle haze lingers.

perfume permeates through languid air.

Tyger prepares the first morning chore.

Thank·goodness for

Sweet honeysuckle

This consists of

scooping two spoonfuls of PJ’s coffee into a coffee-maker

 

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followed by two cups of bottled water. The percolating spirit

brews. Check.

Tyger continues his daily ritual by opening the Times-

Picayune newspaper to the classified section. Not only is this

the most amusing section of the stupefying wood pulp product that

passes for informational rag, but also a semi-essential part of

rising and shining for the po’ boy.

Tyger — you see, comrades — has been resting for quite a

while in his natural vegetative state, a proud member of the not so

gainful army of the unemployed. It’s looking a lot like jobhunting

time again. Merry Christmas, y’all.

Tyger can do this regardless of employment status. He

rolls a thick one. Ah, sweet reefer. Living the life.

Looking through the help wanted section is one sorry sham

after another; one minimum wage job after another, and

another and … Fuck this shit.

Zut and ehe’, some thing like a brown moth alights. Hmm.

Surprise surprise, it doesn’t sound half-bad as well. Maybe

this, this thing might turn, turn, turn into a brilliantly colored

butterfly.

“Insurance Investigations–Video Experience Preferred.”

Said classified lists a West Bank post office bo><.

And so, dear comrades, Tyger the lame is about to leap like a deer

 

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into the wonderful world of private eyeing courtesy of that

seemingly innocent Christmas Day calling.

Tyger post-toasties his resume, carefully enveloping it in

white envelope seeking approval. He departs the blue -with-white

trim shotgun residence assuming a morning walk.

Hello dawn, your yellow yawns. Golden burnt green lawns

invite immediately pooping pooches. Those damn dogs are shitting

all over Uptown New Orleans. No respect, Rodney Dangerfields of the

spirits, for anyone or anything.

You know, Tyger ponders as he wanders, balking here and thar

he blows. You know, that is something he thinks he can, he thinks

he can, he thinks he can do. He could really and truly dare.

Following persons around with a video camera might even be

amusing. He already does that anyway, for fun. They give you money

for that? What a racket.

Around and around the oblong formed by the Audubon Park

walking track yielding incantations incandescent. Tyger picks

up the pace almost bowling over a middle aged matron

ridiculously blocking his all-consuming hurricane of a path.

Tyger pauses when he reaches a small lake punctuated by cute

little duckies following their mother. He picks a likely rock and

throws it at a nearby oak tree spreading. A mystic force guides

 

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that rock to a wood targit affirmation.

Whack! Tyger still has it, sports fans. He strikes the

cosmic object. Yes!

Oh happy delusions for a well struck sacred day.

Back back back through retraced steps Tyger hops hopefully.

Sneakers smoking, big feet joking, and after three miles finally

comes to an automatic stop.

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Back home at the ranch, time to craft a bed of Liberty Valance legends

veering towards facts.

On good typewriter- electric; on Rude-Dolph, on Wolf-

Blitzen. Tyger embellishes experience.

Watching Cable News Network blues with one eye and the

sparrow with the other; Tyger- types some stinking hype,

type, type, types some more, and flashes tripe. A series of

lucid non-moments, presto pismatic pr-imo-pimpo, and he has

himself a hell of a past and a heaven of a future. (Perhaps.)

A few days like those sturdy small bids zoom from coffee

house to garden patio. They are seamlessly timeless grand

vectors sweeping across visionary fields chirpingly fast.

Tyger, along with most of New Or-leans, is swept away by the

football Saints rousing success as they, miracle cf miracles,

have finally qualified for the National Football League playoffs

after nearly two decades of frustration. Bless you boys.

On a fine day before the New Year, a postman drunk with

holiday cheer-, drops off the Thursday mail. Tyger expects

 

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something, but retrieves his booty disappointed. It’s

a Shakespearean day: “There is nothing either

good or bad but thinking makes it so.” Nothing,

but bills lacking birds to wear.

Not nearly enough to meet ends. Tyger needs a job– Maynard

G. Krebs style, he yelps, ·W-O-R-K, WORK’.’.’.. gulp.

Tyger resumes the normal routine although all is not well

nor well-ended. Smokes some rope, observes TV, exercise, and then

more nothing. Tyger pouts for a few hours and goes for an afternoon

delight iced coffee at a sympathetic serving spoon– this one or that

depending on his mood.

Cardinal, bluebird, black crow, across the small backyard

linger, then flash in dawn·s easy light. Later than usual as usual,

Smoke more reefer, watch more TV, then over to the post office.

Expecting something? Yeah, right. Back across the usual

avenues of desire, then, through the unusual troth of time like

sands through the hourglass having memorized the rest of the

lines.

Feeling a mixture of boredom, exaltation,

 

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despair, and delight. What do other people worry about? Must

everybody worry alike?

Sheer joy of having nothing special to do saves the day for

a spell. The rabid delight in manic moments and lovely

fermentation that bubbles over mankind’s giant primordial

lifestyle soup. Eat it already! Afternoon delight.

So what, so what, so what follows each day turns to night and

evening prime-time schedule a dulling sameness: eat, smoke dope,

watch television, a couple of telephone calls.

Hey poker face: four days pass and five, a royal

flush. Trash,

That is the bottom-line, comrades. It is all he has. Life

is a boring shaft through which Tyger plunges.

But, this day, this next blessed day is a news day

as birds call louder, swimming in golden tones. Up sits Tyger

pricked by a ringing telephone.

Sometimes Tyger doesn’t even bother to answer. It is always

an ethnic voice spewing “Ahhhh, ahhhh, awww … ,”

 

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But today is different. A female voice inquires politely.

“Is there a — pregnant pause — Tyger Williams at home?”

Tyger fesses up in his best out-of-body, out-of-mind voice

returning service. “Yo. Present.”

II I would like to speak to you about a job we advertised in

the newspaper.” Wah, dat, diddy, snap, crackle, pop.

“Are you interested in talking about an insurance

investigator’s position?” “Uhh, yeah. Very interested in fact.”

The woman — what was her name, Tyger can’t remember, rats

– tells him to be at a Marrero, Louisiana address next year on

Wednesday January 6, 1988. ” I think that can be arranged,”

replies a suddenly rejuvenated job applicant.

So ends the Year of our Lord, 1987. Good riddance to bad

rubbish. Auburn Tiger fans can be heard whooping and hollering in

the French Quarter. Something about a Sugar Bowl.

AIDS, crack, hidden savings and loan scandals. Age of Reagan

ending with a whimper, of course, no bang. You were expecting

something apocalyptic? No way, bdbe, every mediocre story has d

mediocre ending.

But for the likes of Tyger Tyger burning in bloom of late

youth bright, 30 years old,

hairs, brown eyes; the days

solstice.

single, 6’1″, 225 pounds, brown

lengthen past yet another winter

Tyger grasps for this particular infinitely small now elongating

 

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moment. He occupies a space within the spatial plate like

water expanding. His mind stretches beyond set limits, snaps a

distant shore, and brushes back.

Wave follows wave. His brain floods over the sea wall. Each

thought so exquisite in passing instantly seems past

noting. Each moment fol lows in an orderly procession that,

when examined, dissected, rotated on its plane, and analyzed upon

further review reverses the official’s call thereby befuddling

sports fans.

Tyger sits on a psychic beach, stretching on soft sand in

front of a television set before which he has sunk a zillion

times previously. An epoch ends to be cooked by another in short

order.

Sir Knight prepares to slay worrisome dragons, drags on a

reefer as consciousness expands and hairline recedes.

Then, Tyger flips his lid. Another beer, another foaming

moment. CNN reviews that far-out 1987 withdrawing into time-space

recollected–a year in which everything crumbled but nothing

fell, the glorious parabolic prelude, in the mists of memory

receding, coinciding with Tyger’s universe like a red-nosed

bloody clown falling falling into a black hole.

Symmetry of consciousness does the old audience wave big

wheels rolling rolling rolling into the future rawhide. Tyger

 

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neglects making any New· Year·s plans, save one,

shortly witness, comrades.

that you will

First, pay your last respects to that infinite year of

nothingness withdrawing.

along.

O.K. little dogies, now we must move

Dusk sweeps quickly across the hands of Thursday December

31st, last day of the nothingness known as 1987. Lights twinkle

throughout New Orleans metropolitan area as

respectable humanity heads home along Interstateless-10 into a

burnt orange offering bathing the year in coming darkness.

Tyger walks a last ceremonial lap along Magazine Street

passing small antique shops and porch-punctuated houses–there,

just past Jefferson Avenue where Lee Harvey Oswald lived. So on

and so forth by a smelly downtown bus crawling as it spews ozone

depleting fumes skyward.

Back home, Tyger takes for a spin his beat-up old grey

Toyota station wagon. Dark birds silhouetted in perfect harmony

with a darkening blue sky sing of symmetry on electrical power

transformer lines. Hallowed be their resting state.

Farther along past grace, Tyger turns the engine roaring

carriage — no muffler — past seedy used furniture shops in

dark neighborhoods strange and scary. He skirts the visible

housing projects that expel semi-wretched poor now lingering

by check cashing liquor stores. A humbler race runs there.

 

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A strange companion rests next to intrepid Tyger on a grey

upholstered seat. That cardboard object is a very significant

relic dubbed the “box of troubles” by someone.

Tyger has accumulated in this container

refuse of a very poor calendar year. He has

the receipts and

letters from his

insane mother, employment application rejections, a losing Unfair

Grounds horse race autotote ticket, or rather, many; and other

painful and perverse reminders of a mediocre, at best, year about

to reel into space time.

Here lies a disgraceful brown box begging to be immolated.

The good Tyger believes theoretically that he can escape his

previous troubles by burning the offending contents of

the bad box.

One never knows–it might work. At least, that’s

Tyger·s story and he is sticking to it.

Fo,-, now, the sacred ceremonial spotlight burns along the

Mississippi River waterfront beneath the Greater New Orleans

Bridge near the dark and silenced Robin Street Wharf. A former

asbestos and hazardous materials storage site as yet

 

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unacknowledged by local ·authorities — also sits tight along the

riverfront by Downtown.

Tyger wings his chariot along the pot-holed Tchopitoulas

Street corridor that spans near distance industrial. He swerves

erratically to avoid being swallowed by the killer fault-lines.

No argument here that asteroids strike the earth for

evidence exists in plain view that something must have caused

these hellish fissures at land’s end. No man could have wreaked

such havoc currently posing stranger than fictional obstacles to

safe and sane driving.

A Schwegmann’s once super store stands frightfully

abandoned leads to a nother bombed out buildi a small group of ragged

African-Americans leaning over a cracked crack pipe, then one-bystinking-

one into orbit, stumbling through space ejected like sad

meteorites gone mad with self-horror.

A couple of dark youths suddenly roll in front of Tyger’s

vehicle. He angles into a pot-hole — kerplunk — barely avoiding

their sad rock cocaine high. Tyger honks the horn as one would at

a dog or cat to prod the creatures more quickly ·in the opposite

direction. Then, he flicks on the car·s bright lights.

 

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Towards the far orbs that span the Greater New Orleans

Bridge blinking in wide space, planet Tyger slides off the road

coming to a temporary rest in a jagged asphalt parking lot. The

long yard is blank, blinking off past regrets with an obscene

gesture.

And on the blank wall, Tyger Williams, graffiti artist of

his soul, dips a psychic psychedelic paintbrush in order to

explore the awful dismantling of evil that has come to be

represented in a stupid brown cardboard foot-square box filled

beyond it’s karmic brim with last year’s troubles.

Laughing lights on bridge-top mumble. Tyger takes a hit of

purple plastic. Hahaha: Mr. Bridge you laughing shambles.

Turning up the radio, followed by the roaring Doors, “Let it

fa 11 , baby fall. Let it fall all night long.” And burn, you

Rosemary’s baby. Let it burn, baby, burn.

Ah, sweet smell of burning cardboard ripe from the joy

of cooking. Great kudos from the whistle section.

Even sportscaster Buddy D. has been rendered mute on the

adjoining radio station. But how long can that last?

“What about dem Who Dat fans,” he chants. “Have yourself a

very Who Dat New Year.” The fools don’t even suspect what is in

store for them.

Burn burn, yearn away a smoke-filled night. Time smokes. A

Polaroid SX-70 madly flashes, injecting shots into fetid

 

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atmosphere collecting. Bang. Bang. Reload. Bang. Gotcha,

Splitting cardboard box in pieces smashed, ghosts flying

into blinding darkness. They laugh.

them all the fucking past.

They slash. They take with

“Now Buddy,” avers a distantly disembodied throaty voice. “I

think that this is really the Saints year . After all, Pope John

II blessed them boys last August.”

“Thank YO\J Larry,” emulsions of psychedelic colors blurring,

Buddy D. with a giant frog in his voice — ahem, ahem — “And how

about Dave from Harvey.”

“We 11 Buddy, I think that this is the Saints year at

last … ” blah blah blah talk radio.

Tyger ends radio torture, concentrating on a higher calling,

i.e. ridding the Big Easy of all sin. Somebody has got to do it.

And that, dear comrades, seems a very tall order .

The box of troubles recoils like a fireworks snake,

thankfully burning on asphalt by Tyger·s car. Ballerina graceful

atoms smash and splash down near Thalia Street Wharf, A long

honking sound cuts through descending river fog as lookee lookee

over there the bridge of sighs tumbles, then explodes.

The little baby bullshit Jesus is at this moment being

fitted for his New Year’s drop at Jax Fake Development Brewery.

He smirks in typical bare-assed half-naked fashion. Duck and ever

cover comrades brzzzzzzzz-cachooie sound of incoming

 

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fashion.

Tyger cowers behind the dashboard. He considers how he got

there. Fuck if he knows. (Good answer.)

Leaving smoldering ashes of last year’s model collapsed in a

charcoal heap can be an exhilarating treat. Comfy cool sweater

weather sanctification; shaman driver brain spins like a dredl.

Hey pops: the old get older as the future likewise spins

around the corner like one of the crack in the wall gang youthtops

spinning.

Tyger has a good feeling about the Saints reaching the

Super bow 1. He mentions that to a blank Buddy D. radio show

staring back in silence. What time is it? Not yet midnight?

Tyger got where how?

Shtick it in reverse Uptown. He springs into traffic circle,

ejecting emulsions uptown to a Willow Street tavern where Tyger stops

to tell good buddy and eminence grise Mr. Milty the non-discouraging

word about this latest conflagration.

“Yeah, but suppose the box burning has an opposite effect,”

Mr. Milty, song-writer creative leader of the rock group New

Neanderthals, counterpoises Tyger on break. “Suppose by burning

the box you have released troubles that were bottled up

successfully already?”

“Hmmm.” ponders a suddenly confused Tyger. “I hadn’ t thought that.’

 

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With that, Mr. Milty returns to the group that serenades in

1988, playing laid back until they are dead pseudo-rock as a

small platoon of camp followers stumble towards morning. As usual,

the New Neanderthals are sloppy as shit. So far, New Year or not,

nothing in particular has changed.

Then again, no one is throwing bottles at them… yet. So,

the New Neanderthals are ahead of last year’s pace.

Shit, have another hit. Noisemakers and officially ignorant

greetings are exchanged concerning the possibilities for coming

disorder rung in by a dropping baby Jesus near Jackson Square.

The New Neanderthals neo-rock on with yet another cover ripoff–”

Teenage Head.” Smoke curls from everyone’s platypus bills

except for Tyger and his friend Armor’s who has appeared like

puff the magic dragon roaring.

“Hello bar scene from Star Wars,” he observes, slapping

Tyger ouch, too hard on the back. “It is getting like very ugly

around here.”

“That’s cause you are here asshole,” Tyger says. “I can take

it. I can take it. I can take it,” Armor·s chorus continues. “Just

keep saying that, Tyger .”

II I can take it,” Tyger answers. (Franz Biberkopf for

brains. )

Tyger stumbles briefly, falling ever so gracefully into the

 

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waiting arms of a “Lost In Space” pinball machine. Smash! No one

notices.

The New Neanderthals are genetically programmed to rock on

no matter how few persons are listening. None appear to be doing

so in this case.

iyger takes another bottle and long necks backwards into a

desert throat dry. Best beer he ever queered.

Quaff quaff little ducky dives into sloppy choppy bar

waters. A red haired girl saunters gracefully by. Bye-bye.

“Happy new beers,” according to Tyger. “Do I know you?”

“Guess not,” Bye-bye, creep.

“Oh, that’s Crissy Crist,” Armor’s recognizes. “How is the

weather, baby?” “Do I know you?” The girl replies. “Ahh, you

ain’t so hot,” Armor’s pissed. Bye-bye.

Blare glare, in evening wear, clunk; so, the band of fools

finish. What? What? Da-what? Conversation, true, but not much

exchanged by way of communication.

Armor’s, the zen master, leads a Bill Cosby jello meltdown. “Hey

baby, I think you look great.” “Thanks, but no thanks,” replies Crissy Crist

bitch deluxe, as Armor’s bemoans his fate. Tyger hands him a

Dixie long-neck in which to cry.

Further words gymnast tumble towards curved ears concerninQ

said burning of the box of troubles, and arriving late to

the club etc. Armor’s eyes still focus on a nearby Crissy

Crist. Therefore, he nods with half-intensity at Tyger·s

conversation.

 

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Tyger remands himself to immediate fate. It is New Year·s

and he has not a spare cent to spend. On the other hand, he has

just torched the evil box, although Mr. Milty believes this might

result in mixed smoke signals. And now, of all indignities yet

suffered, dry scratch throat afflicts him.

Finally, a tactic works. Crissy overhears these pathetic

remarks. She pulls a rather large bill out of her hat. “You are

in luck tonight after all honey,” she soothes, “because it looks

like my turn to buy.”

Buy buy, and buy she does, champagne for everyone, even

Armor’s, well into the night. So all karma isn·t lost after all.

Mr. Milty is wrong. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time.

A reefer smoking party sponsored by New Neanderthal butthead

fans backstage now is officially in progress. The musicians

are not even good for that, instead relying on the kindness of

strangers who have never seen them before and never will again.

The Tyger-Armor’s connection soar higher than any bird ever

imagined above the band. Crissy disappears with an

ugly fellow traveler never to return. Bon Voyage darling, but

thanks for the crazy karma.

Images soar and dive with bird-like facility as Tyger cranes

his neck to catch a better view. Turning, burning yearning

boats slip off the main stage, veering beyond consciousness.

 

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An enraptured Tyger becomes unglued, but fortunately the

acid flattens out by 2:00 a.m. He walks through the open door to

a more magical dimension, where Armor·s &miles like Tony Curtis

falling off the bar stool. Funny boy pratfall stumble expert

laughs his ass off as he reclaims the perch.

Party-time, party line: 1988 sure is great. Toasts all

around until everyone is burnt like toast, too. Blurry eyed fools

dissolve into a sea of blank faces.

“lt’s okay.

3:00 a.m. “Today

You·re okay,” Armor’s is slurring his speech by

I’m nobody. Who’s in charge? Ahh, ahhh. Must

make sense to someone. How about them Saints””

The band of New Neanderthal fools finally conclude their,

shall we say, set. No one listens. No one cares.

The New Neanderthals play regardless. Good for them since

they are not being paid.

Hallelujah. Flowing lines. The next day loud Auburn fans are

destined to kiss their siblings in a Sugar Bow1 tie with

traditional arch-rival Syracuse University.

Plus written in stone the following events of Tyger’s world

impinging. Oh baby baby bulldog dikes, stick your finger in the

future.

 

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Motion sickness timely night and on a story boarding. When

Tyger awakes it is that eagerly anticipated new beginning. He is

young, relatively, and it is very very sunpower bright New Year’s

Day. Oh yeah ….

 

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