Surveillance Pelicana Chapter 4: ‘IRS Inc.’

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 Four: Tyger interviews at Marrero for an insurance

investigator’s position with Dorothy Lafleur of Information

Retrieval Services (IRS) Inc. The position is explained and Tyger

is hired. He begins his first assignment at Kenner with a

negative outcome.

 

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“IRS Inc.”

 

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Greetings dawn. How the hell is it hanging today?

Shedding the past like a snake its skin, Tyger awakens the

next morning turning his head with vivid recollections of the

night before, and a marijuana hangover quickly shaken and stirred.

Today, that day forever etched in time, could be of some

interest or even importance. Tyger looks at his alarming clock.

Great. Got a job interview and can’t be late.

Tyger handles the morning routine with aplomb: shits, shaves

and showers. The usual lame “Good Morning New Orleans” show ruins

morning television. (It is a Williams household outrage.)

Clothing selection, however, takes a turn towards the

unusual. Tyger takes out of his bedroom closet a five-year-old

suit worn just once for a family function best left indescYibably

delicious.

Whooo. It smells like a 5,000 year old dead animal instead

of formal wear. That is terrible.

Not exactly form fitting either. Tyger has put on some

weight since then. He is lugging in at 20 pounds more than the

170 listed on his drivers license. It seems a bit much for a

5’11” frame. Another testimonial to the nowhere lifestyle.

 

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Oh well, truly no choice as to selection. Tyger dons the

brown confection and pisso presto, voila’, a walking piece of shit

like the rest of work-a-day humanity.

Tyger exits the small wood frame shotgun duplex to his

neighbor’s amazement. They have never before seen him dressed

like a store mannikin.

However, nobody utters a discouraging word as befits

good neighbor protocol. Why spoil a perfect vision.

Our boy loads himself in the dented grey Toyota station

wagon without a muffler . He smoky-mokes across to Magazine Street

and Downtown.

As usual, the only time a Regional Transit Authority bus can

be spotted is when one drives behind it. Try waiting on a hot New

Orleans summer day a term that almost goes without saying —

and no bus will pass for hours.

But try being in a hurry and in a car and they fume

everywhere, bottling up traffic. Menacing drivers — female

deadlier than the male variety — snarl at passengers, sometimes

stopping and leaving the bus running while they shop for a

twinkie or cold drink at a nearby inconvenient convenience store.

Typical New Orleans charm, y’all.

In this case, Tyger has procrastinated just long enough to

be anxious about making his employment interview on time. Of

course, he is stuck behind two consecutive busses faced with a

 

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steady stream of incoming traffic on the Uptown side of Magazine

Street.

Tyger honks his horn, weaves wildly, shouts cur-ses, some

quite creative like “You bus-fuck” and “Why don’t you die RTA

faggot” all to no avail–surprise, surprise. The three mile trip

downtown takes about as long as the Pleistocene Age which it

cave folk mimics.

Past the small antique shops, furniture stores and related

businesses through deteriorating street-scum-smart neighborhoods,

the Age of Tyger finally approaches the Camp Street entrance ramp

to the Greater New Orleans Bridge spanning the Mississippi

River from East Bank to West. Tyger’s destination is the

outskirts of Yatville across the river at Marrero.

A middle class suburban New Orleans neighborhood beckons.

Tyger parks the rambling wreck and walks along a short path to

the front door of a mid-sized home.

A chubby yet attractive young woman, about 25 years old,

short black hair, casually dressed in loose fitting black slacks

and white blouse, answers the door.

“Hi, I’m Dorothy LaFleur,” she announces as a small dog runs

up barking. “And this is Poopsie.”

She cradles the pooch. “Excuse me. Poopsie gets over-excited

when she meets a stranger .” She takes the dog outside and

returns.

 

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“Tyger Williams I presume.

Have a seat on the couch. Make

yourself comfortable.

position.”

Let me tell you something about the

Tyger follows orders as Dorothy explains the job’s

requirements. Information Retrieval Services Inc. is the

company’s name. It is operated by a gentleman from Florida. They

handle insurance claims investigations.

Generally, oil, insurance companies, and attorneys pay them

to determine whether the subjects — never refer to them as

anything else are legitimately injured. Tyger nods his head

and listens intently.

The company handles a variety of other investigative

services. For example, the boss, Joe Fine, conducts fire

investigations and administers polygraph tests.

The company also locates persons, interviews potential

witnesses of all types and handles miscellaneous assignments. But

generally, IRS Inc. deals with insurance investigations.

(This is January 1988, so keep in mind that the Louisiana

oil patch has gone bust along with the official OPEC pack of

jackals. Workers are being laid off en masse as the Louisiana

economy hits rock bottom.

Therefore, an early retirement courtesy of fraudulent injury

claims are very attractive to a certain underclass of miscreants.

What’s more, unscrupulous attorneys and physicians conspire to

 

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defraud the insurance companies which, also due to the recession

and the natural inclination to protect assets, are quite

reluctant to pay any claims, much less bogus ones.)

Work for the private IRS Inc. has been booming, Dorothy

continues. “I have been wor-king with Joe for nearly four years,

but I just found out I’m pregnant.” “Congratulations.” “Thank

you, and we feel like we can add someone while I assume a

supervisory role.

“Basically, we need someone with video experience to conduct

video sur-veillance of claimants and operate Joe’s unique video

sur-veillance system.

“Now,” she says, turning discussion to the applicant. I

have your resume here and it looks quite impressive. Anything you

wish to add?”

When a person has had as many positions as Tyger-, dear- boy,

he becomes expert at the ar-t of job inter-viewing tactics. Of

course, on the debit side it is somewhat difficult to land

when a cat has had so many lives.

a job

Tyger

himself in

degrees in

occupations:

begins the usual applicant balancing act painting himself in

an agreeable light. He explains education, various degrees in

literature and history, as well as previous occupations

writer for only the most awful,

er awesome,

publications, and academic researcher.

Moving right along, Tyger discusses

his considerable

 

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independent video experience. He emphasizes video production

skills, talents at videography, editing and the like, and his

desire to work the detective job to earn enough money to keep

afloat

and buy editing equipment.

Dorothy listens carefully from a comfy cloth chair as Tyger

rambles on the couch. Occasionally, Poopsie barks in the

background.

“I am curious abut one thing,” Dorothy notes. “Tyger with

an ‘Y.’ What’s up with that?” Tyger laughs. “Everybody asks

“Everybody asks

me that.

Thee was a class called General Languages that we had to

take in First Form — that’s 7th Grade to y’all — in the private

school I attended. We sampled French, German, Russian, Spanish,

Latin to see which language we wanted to learn later.

I was so ferocious when it came to conjugating Latin verbs

that one day the teacher said I was like a tiger.

The name stuck. I changed the ‘i’ to ‘y’ to be special.”

Tyger stopes speaking and searches for some sort of approving

sign. Dorothy disappears into the bedroom and places a

telephone call while Tyger fidgets on the couch.

At last, dear Dorothy returns from OZ. “I just spoke with

Joe and he gives t a go. We’ll give you a shot at $10 an hour,

Twenty cents a mile plus all expenses.

We furnish the video surveillance system. You file reports

 

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on this format.” She hands him a form. “We cut you a check once

the report is filed.

” I will be available for consultation whenever you are on

assignment. We don’t leave anyone out in the field alone.

Otherwise, Joe has an 1-800 answering service number that he

checks and you can call, You’ll meet him when he comes to town.

“The objective is to determine whether the subject is

actually injured. We have had cases where guys with bad backs

have done roofing jobs; the blind have played softball; and the

allegedly lame have run in marathons.”

Dorothy explains that she doesn’t have the system at her

house, but will in

being repaired.

the near future. It is currently in the shop

IRS Inc. has a backlog of cases that can be investigated

using standard video practices. Tyger is to find a good spot for

surveillance and shoot any possible video of the subject along

with 35mm still shots. Special emphasis should be placed on the

subject·s ability to move around as well as all relevant

details of his injury related lofe-style and activities.

So, it begins. Let’s roll.

“Great. No more suits and ties Tyger unless you have to

testify in court. We’re a down and dirty operation. Blue jeans

 

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are fine.” “Great. I’m a blue jeans type of guy.”

Dorothy issues the necessary equipment

to initiate

operations. Standard issue VHS video recorder with battery;

camera with 8-1 zoom lenses; check. Video car chord, check. Video

cassettes, six hour sp mode, check. Still camera, check. Dorothy

then provides the details of the debut investigation.

Subject: Frank Davis. 432 Wishbone Lane, Kenner, Louisiana.

Phone number: 876-9087. Married with three children,

white male. Date of Birth: 9/21/57.

30 year old

He was working on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and

claims to have slipped on a wet deck and injured his back so that

he has great difficulty moving and can’t work. His social

security number is 098-56-8901.

“Get there about 6 a.m.,” Dorothy continues, “and determine

what vehicle or vehicles he has. Get the license plate numbers

which we will run at a local Department of Motor Vehicles Office.

“Note any and all activities. Stick with him until 11 a.m.

if he isn’t doing anything. Stick with him as long as possible if

there is activity, shooting as much video as you can.”

Ollie North’s Iran-Contra secret subversive legions have

nothing on the new improved Tyger as he leaves Dorothy’s house

with a new job. He is ready to rock and roll on a new mission in

life.

“I think I can. I think I can,” he tells the bomb sans

 

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muffler that answers back, “You know it Sam, you am.”

(So speaks Tyger’s mother the car.)

“What the hey hey hey, I’m an insurance investigator now,”

Tyger says. “You better not break down again.”

Tad gets married again on “All My Children” or Erica gets

fucked as daytime soaps inevitably pass towards nighttime lies.

Tyger’s story moves along time’s fine lines, a few nanoseconds,

maybe eons passing by.

That evening, Tyger tells Armor’s and a couple of other fellow travelers

about his new engagement. They seem impressed.

He checks a Champion map of the New Orleans Metropolitan Area.

Wishbone Lane is down Williams Boulevard

between the International Airport and Jefferson Downs Race Track.

Tyger also looks up Davis, Frank in the phone book: 432 Wishbone Lane, Kenner, Louisiana.

Phone number: 876-9087. Check.

He practices some with the video camera taking pictures

of the small badly carpeted living room and omnipresent turned on television

before sleepy eyed Susans whisk him to bed. Check, check, and double check. O.K., baby, ready to stroll.

“Hey good looking. What you got coking. W

hy don’t you … ” Whaaaaaaat!!!”

Tyger fairly falls off his floor mattress and whacks the clock radio alarm.

“Why don’t you … ”

He misses. Whack. Off.

What the hell? It’s 5 a.m.

 

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Tyger prepares the automatic drip-dry coffee-maker with

P.J.’s French Roast and moves as myth along the ancient wake-up

ritual practiced beyond time’s memory. Of course, the early

morning hour makes this exercise more arduous than usual.

Persevering Tyger shits, shaves, and showers. He finishes

important coffee presentation exercises and samples same. Tastes

almost as if his taste-buds were awake.

Final shaman chants of morning. It is dark, yes, but

prospects of dawn beckon. A silver Toyota wagon without a muffler

is loaded with more useful objects like video equipment. Another

cup of java and off into the future exploring.

WTUL-FM, the progressive college station, has temporarily

gone off the air, again. The only other stations are playing

commercials, classical. or pop sham music.

What is that–Mozart, Brahms, Dylan? Thomas? Who knows. It

seems a stirring melody for a stoic detective investigating a

becoming orange dawn. Quite a silly sight.

Tyger floats along Nashville Avenue, over and under the

secret shortcuts slicing diagonally away from the river towards

Interstate-10. A newspaper delivery here, strange dark jogger

there, birds chirping.

Shut up. Tyger is tired and cranky, nervous about doing well

the first time out of the gate.

He listens to the lame radio in a world concealed by fogged

 

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up car windows — the usual

residue of humidity mixed with

anxiety — and flashing traffic lights. Over and over and over he

goes to Interstate-10 with headlights aglowing.

A few minutes before the appointed hour, Tyger glides his

mother the car to a stop. Voila, subject’s boudoir yonder

beckons.

It is still a bit too dark to read vehicle license plates,

so Tyger drives around the block casing the neighborhood. A

standard middle class suburban grid with small wood houses, green

well-manicured yards and a mixture of car, truck, and van

vehicles.

Tyger pulls his weight over to an empty church parking lot

diagonally across another street from the subject’s abode. He

prepares the video equipment for shooting and waits until

orange has become yellow and dawn is almost past tense.

Then he drives by, scribbling on a four-corner folded piece

of yellow legal paper the license numbers of the car parked in

the Davis driveway and a truck parked on the front curb. Like

taking candy from a baby, baby. This is too easy.

Swallows and pigeons always returning, Tyger resumes his

church lot sentry post. He posts up high near a brick ·wal 1.

Direct evidence reveals hard-working residents of Wishbone

Lane preparing for their lovely jobs. Except one. Lights out at

the Davis household. A newspaper waits patiently on the Davis

 

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front lawn.

Pedestrian and vehicular traffic picks up. Tyger listens to

the radio, while drinking coffee. Video equipment rests in state

on the passenger seat covered by a Kool-Aid Kids beach towel.

Too bad. Nothing shaking. Tyger drives a few blocks to a

Time-Saver convenience store.

(Why do they call it that anyway? The clerks are so

diffident that no one “saves” time.)

He purchases a Slimes-Picayune newspaper with the usual

outrageous news fakes from nowhere interesting. How nice.

The news is no muse: Auburn fans leave New Orleans vowing

they will return. Great–don’t let the door slam you on the way

out. Die tie mongers. Had a lousy Sugar Bowl for breakfast.

Also purchased: a package of cashew nuts and diet coke for

therapeutic caffeine purposes only.

Tyger drives back to the church and waits for another

private eye-full, alternating between Slimes

the Davis house. Negative activity.

lies and glances at

Otherwise, the immediate area exhibits the usual early

morning shenanigans. Vehicles drive by towards

Boulevard. Mothers escort children to school bus stops.

Williams

An occasional jogger or old man totters along. Teenagers on

skateboards whiz towards truancy. Exciting stuff.

Back like a slinky bending to position Tyger slides–safe!

 

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He settles in at Her Lady of Immaculate Conception or whatever

the darn church is called. Occasionally he wipes dew from inside

and outside the car window.

Yellow turns the sky bright into day. Blackbirds fill a

Humidity wipes Tyger’s forehead like

grass. Negative activity by the

block of air to the west.

mist on the green green suburban

subject continues.

A loud wheezing noise.

vanishes from the airwaves.

Oh shit, the mighty WTUL-box again

Tyger switches to WWOZ. “Sonufa gun

gonna have unfun on de bayou.” The song is ending.

“Yes my children, Cajun Louis ‘Lala’ Lalonde here. Let the

good times roll be’bes.” Click. Don’t need that shit, Tyger

swears.

Detective detecting continues with negative activity. Hey,

that car has been around here before. What is it? Those birds

look nice. Anyone coming to the church?

Tyger can’t figure it out. A natural

span deficits as paranoia and good

intermingle, date, mate, marry, and

following sunrise.

position for attention

investigative sense

warily watch the day

Then a siren as a Kenner Police car drives up into the

church. Out jumps the old smoky cop. Sir, sir, etc. etc.

The officer takes Tyger’s driver’s license. “Have you ever

been arrested? Are you sure? Sure?”

 

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The cop gives the license a quick once over.

He looks around Tyger’s tired covered wagon. “Hmmm.

Break tags expired. Seat belt.” Blah blah blah.

“What were you doing here?”

“I was having car trouble and

waiting for a friend..”

crackle (snapple-pop.) The cop’s patrol

radio squawks.

“Just a second sir. Nothing?” The cop shop notes with

disappointment into the accursed transmitter.

“Are you sure?”

Darn, no easy mark to bust today, the cop nonetheless

wants to determine what the neighborhood watch has been bitching about

all morning long.

Look, officer,” Tyger explains the assignment.

What the heck. He is tired of being hassled.

”You know you really shouldn’t lie especially to a policemen,” the cop concludes,

returning Tyger’s license. A brief

painless lecture ensues from a police presence

who is not entirely regulation either.

He sports a sloppy open shirt collar that

reveals a white T-shirt underneath

Complementing red beard

stubble on red face.

“Aright. You have a right to be here. I hope I didn’t spoil

anything,” Officer Santy Claus concludes.

He is, after all,

late for donuts and coffee at the Williams Boulevard Denny’s.

 

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“No. I was just leaving anyway,” Tyger replies. “No

problem.” “But I might be back tomorrow.”

leaving

“0.K. I’ll tell my

partner. Good luck.” The cop drives into obscurity.

Approximately 9:30 a.m. with negative activity by th

subject. Tyger returns to said convenience store and telephones

Dorothy LaFleur explaining the current situation.

“O.K. You can break it off,” she says. “We· 11 check with our

client, maybe go back on this guy. I have another case for you to

do anyway.”

“O.K. Sorry I didn’t come up with anything.” “Don’t worry

about it. If they don’t move, they don’t move. No problem.”

One last pass-by and off into the secret spaces beyond Frank

Davis’s universe roars the Big Bang theory named Tyger Williams.

Have no fear comrades in observation, Tyger’s time will surely

come.

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