Surveillance Pelicana Chapter 5: ‘People Behaving Badly’

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 Five:

Tyger works a case at Avondale. This chapter

contrasts the official details of investigation with actual

impressions. The Subject has a car accident while under

observation. Tyger also works Hassan Ibn Ben Hassan in a burned

out part of New Orleans’ Seventh Ward, the Smiths of Algiers

Point, and Sammy Nestor in Marrero. Tyger meets R.C. at Barataria

Mall who dispenses observations about karma.

 

CHAPTER FIVE

“People Behaving Badly”

 

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“Second verse just like the verse … ” Ugggh! “I’m Enery the

Eighth I yam, Henery the Eighth I yam I yam. I got married to the

widow next door.” Whack! Ouch.

Swing! And a miss. “She’s been married seven times before.”

Whack. Silence. Gaaads. Second verse just like the first. Which

is worse?

Up up and away fleshy Tyger face balloon, striped by messy

sleeping habits and a bad case of bed-head engendered by the

early morning hour . The usual wake-up routine as immortalized.

Getting down to business. Same classical music on WTUL . Same

incredibly beautiful orange red dawn light flashing.

The new subject: Pat Verkuil. This time Tyger’s mother of

a 11 cars grooves across the Huey P. Long Bridge to nearby

Avondale, Louisiana.

Scenic Highway 90 extends south through the bayous from

these salty headwaters. Fast food restaurants and the usual

shopping opportunities loom just past the bridge.

Surveillance fans–in this corner of town: middle class

white homes. And across the highway and railroad tracks in the

 

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Retail opportunities are like sandwiches spread cheesily

between the houses. Not much of a town, really, but it will have

to do.

Pat Verkuil was working on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico

when he said he slipped on a deck and injured his right knee. He

claims he no longer can work and has suffered loss of income.

The subject was born 5/21/63. Social security number .

Telephone number. Old address at LaPlace. Married. Two children,

and so forth and so on it goes.

Oh, look: 6′ 5″ 250 lbs., long brown hair in a ponytail. Mr.

Verkuil shouldn’t be too hard to miss.

Some additional disinformation finishes off Verkuil’s file.

He should be wearing a heavy knee brace. Obtain a description of

vehicles and activity. The agent is authorized to work from 6

a.m. to 2 p.m.

Check, double check, and triple threat. Off with the mighty

video box into the dawn like a gunslinger with the sun at Tyger·s

back. Another day, another $10 an hour. Tyger gulps down black

An empty

wood with blue

field across

coffee, straight no chaser. But oh so sweet.

Rolling across the narrow claustrophobia that is the Huey P.

Long Bridge, Tyger descends into Verkuil world. No activity.

Looking good.

the street watches Verkuil’s white

trim single family dwelling. A red Chevy truck,

 

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Louisiana License BOO 453 lies in curbside state fronting

house. A family van rests in a driveway by a small carport.

A large backyard with a swing-set and doghouse is visible

from the street. Tyger takes stock of the scene, sells short,

sits back, and relaxes.

What follows are the details of investigation as filed by

Tyger Williams on Friday January 8, 1988:

At 5:30 a.m. the agent departed New Orleans and proceeded to

the subject’s reported residence. Where upon his arrival at 6

a.m. the agent located the Subject’s residence which is a single

family white wood dwelling with blue trim. The dwelling also has

some brick and a large backyard and faces east on the street.

Parked in the subject’s driveway was a black Chevy Astrovan

bearing Louisiana License plate 823X341. Parked directly in

front of the subject’s yard was a red The agent moved a safe distance

from the area and began his surveillance.

A white female emerged from the residence about 7:30 a.m.

and drove the Astrovan on to S. Jamie Blvd. and then on Highway

90 towards New Orleans. A video recording was made of the

activity.

The agent maintained a rolling surveillance until 9:30 a.m.

 

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periodically checking on the subject’s activities. There was

negative activity.

The agent moved a safe distance from the area and began his

surveillance.

Back to reality rush. Tyger resumes his position across the

street by the empty field. The usual street activity and

pedestrian traffic streaming like bream towards a nearby high

school. The little people are getting high while going by there .

Bless them every one.

Tyger reads the Slimes-Picayune picking like the trash-man

through the daily outrages–murder, crime, corruption. News

porn.

Too bad. Checking the sports section. Saints players bemoan

blow-out loss in playoffs.

nothing, mister .

Just like Mardi Gras. Thanks for

About 9:30 a.m., a Jefferson Parish Deputy comes by to

discuss Tyger’s positioning. The nascent investigator doesn’t

even bother lying this time. Why mess with it?

The deputy cochon cochineal drives off with meddlesome soul

satisfied. It is merely a function of the usual authority trip.

More wild roving blackbirds circle above Tyger·s anointed

head. What a square baseball cap he is sitting there.

 

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Tyger takes a mental picture of the scene. Those damn

blackbirds. He’s seen them before. Harbingers of bad sad luck.

Perhaps, the evil spell breaks today.

Continuity of lines. Short attention span. Scanning the

block, houses, field, sky. Tyger’s head rotates like a cartoon

clown looking ahead, then behind his tail.

Oh well, what the hell. Tyger relaxes, drinks more coffee —

goes to McDonald’s to piss, not on the report — back to the

field. He climbs cautiously out of the surveillance vehicle,

walks back and forth for a while, returns to the car, and checks

the video equipment.

All systems go. Now, where is that darn nowhere man? Tyger

finds a nearby telephone and calls his new good buddy Patty Pie

Verkuil.

A blurry voice answers the phone. “Ahh, is Phil there?”

Tyger roars.

“Phil? Naah. You got the wrong number.” “This isn·t Phil

Ver-kuil’s place?” “No. No. You got the last name, but my name is

Pat, not Phil.”

“Oh, sorry Bud. Didn’t read the name right in the book.” “No

problem.” Click. Tock. At least we know he’s there. Tyger reassumes

the position.

Negative activity. About 11 a.m. the mailman walks by the yard.

Dogs, persons who look like dogs, birds, West Bank scenery,

 

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Another 30 minutes passes Not exactly Apocalypse Now.

Resuming the official details of investigation:

At about 11:55 a.m. the subject departed his neighborhood in

a red Chevy truck. The subject proceeded across the Huey P. Long

Bridge continuing along Clearview Parkway to Interstate 10 and

Interstate 610 towards New Orleans East. A video recording of

this activity was made.

{Steaming along the interstate with his hair to the wind and

radio blaring, Tyger stears clear a few car lengths behind Mr.

Verkuil for some 15 miles. The vehicles exit on Read Boulevard

gliding gracefully towards the giant monolith that is Lake Forest

Shopping Mall. The Neville Brothers play on the radio. Who knows

which song. They all sound the same.)

Resuming the official details of investigation:

At about 12:35 p.m. the Subject exited Interstate 10 at Read

Boulevard. The Subject’s vehicle then hit the back bumper of

another vehicle directly in front of it on the exit.

A video recording of this activity was made. It shows that

 

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the driver of the struck vehicle immediately emerged as did the

subject who is a white male about 6’3″, 240 lbs, with long brown

hair tied in a pony tail. They briefly examined the damage.

The subject was wearing a heavy brace on his right leg but

is shown jumping out of the truck and appearing to argue with the

driver of the first vehicle. They began shoving each other and

the driver of first vehicle threw a punch which the Subject

ducked.

The subject appeared to be moving with great agility and

placed weight on his right leg.

Another man emerged from the struck vehicle and held the

first driver in a bear-hug. All parties looked at the damage

again, and the subject appeared to apologize. They returned to

their respective vehicles and the subject proceeded down a

service road to a Wendy’s drive-through restaurant on Crowder

Boulevard,

At about 12:50 p.m. the Subject drove to 4600 Prospect

Street which is the Textron Marine Systems Plaza and walked

across the parking lot to the building. A video recording of this

activity was made. It shows the subject walking with a slight but

pronounced limp.

At 1 p.m. the agent proceeded to a safe area across the

street from the building and maintained

negative activity by the subject.

surveillance with negative activity by the subject.

 

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Tyger sits in his car like one of those blackbirds on a

telephone wire. He surveys a tall building

in a vast empty lot

across from Lake Forest Shopping Center.

Wild stuff, Johnny: Tyger- practices for his Carson Show

interview.

“The subject crashed into that other guy

because he was busy looking in the rear window at my tail job.

Isn’t that funny?”

The audience dissolves in laughter.

Tyger sits for a while on the top floor- of a higher parking

lot level. He examines the area in front of the building for

photo angles. Then, the invisible eye moves to a position across

the street in the farthest stretch of Lake Forest universe.

Good waiting place. Tyger sets up the camera waiting to

complete the mission.

Verkuil limps home about 2:30 p.m. He was probably at a

rehabilitation clinic located in the building as later- records

show. Tyger takes a few more fun shots. He

subject back to the inter-state.

trails the so-called

Concluding the official details of investigation:

At 3:10 p.m. the agent departed the area and returned back

to New Orleans where upon his arrival at 3:40 p.m. he filed this

report.

 

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Weisman

 

END OF INVESTIGATION

Invoices show that Tyger receives $132 for this particular

experience.

The next job is less exciting, a simple records check. Tyger

goes the next Monday to the state Department of Motor Vehicles

Office and runs the license plate numbers on Verkuil’s vehicles.

Each red registration copy cost $4. They verify that

Verkuil, and the finance company, own the vehicles and give all

relevant information.

Tyger goes into the Jefferson Parish Courthouse at Gretna

checking another subject for suits criminal and civil.

Zut and ehe’, this miscreant has quite a few.

Busy little bees buzzing flowers, investigator and subject

are inextricably united. Let’s see: six counts of credit card

fraud–suspended

goods–fined $500

sentence; three counts of receiving stolen

plus $101 in court costs, six month sentence

suspended. (The creep must have a good lawyer, Tyger thinks.)

And in this corner a record as long as your arm: possession

of marijuana–forfeited $600 bond by not appearing for trial, new

bond of $1,000 paid for by Central Fidelity.

The subject entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to a six

months suspended sentence and active probation for one year.

 

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(A good lawyer can only accomplish so much.)

Divorce filings. Forfeited bonds in mortgage books. Plea

bargaining. Guilty. Guilty. Suspended sentence. Failed to pay and

charged with contempt. Nice guy, good character.

Another case follows on Tuesday January 12, 1988. Hassan Ibn

Ben Hassan. Do you suppose he is a Black Muslim?

Hassan lives in a burned out part of the city’s Seventh

Ward. Smashed glass and trash strewn everywhere.

Hello Beirut. The Hassan Hassan house is located in a lightly

populated half-abandoned series of cribs, or small one- person

buildings.

Tyger sits back a good distance on A.P. Tureaud Avenue

sticking out like a white bird among all the black objects. A

burly African-American emerges from the bombed out habitat about

noon and walks down the street. He wears a loose fitting shirt,

silver tipped walking cane, and is topped like a chocolate sundae

with a turban.

(Actually, Hassan is dressed quite nattily. Must have seemed

like a nice settlement to this injured halfass fruit and nut

case.)

Subject Hassan walks down the block towards a place called

“The Jazz Room,” where fellow travelers are inside drinking beer

and shooting pool. Tyger drives by nudging the steering wheel

with one hand while holding up the camera with the other. He

 

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shoots Hassan walking — quite briskly in fact — before entering

the establishment. Gotcha’.

Tough luck Hassan. You’re out.

The hits keep coming that week for the budding investigator.

Fortunately for Tyger · s new gravy train pocketbook, rust never-

sleeps, as they say. Ther-e is no rest for dastardly insurance

claimants from hell.

Off to Algiers then on Wednesday January 13, 1988 as Tyger-

tracks the Smith household. They inhabit 5532 Maumus — near

Camus — across the river by Algiers Point.

Subject: White male, about 50 years old, married, two

children. He claims a bad back keeps him from working at a moving

and storage company. No problem.

Before church bells ring, before hemp stirs in the field and

childr-en of morning rise . Before the universe explodes in sun

too bright. Tyger drives through Algiers setting up a good

surveillance spot invisible to the Smithian eye.

Familiar with the routine ae we? Tyger takes down the tags

of all relevant vehicles.

A blue Chevrolet Cavalier sits in the driveway, Louisiana

License number FLWME. That is a vanity plate with the patr-iotic

USA symbols upraised in red, white, and blue. Glory gory, anti-ha

hallelujah.

 

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Negative activity. A 15 year old kid leaves about 8 a.m.,

meets some friends down the street, and saunters over to a nearby

mall. He must be on Christmas school holiday.

About 9 a.m. a white female, 40-45 years old, drives to the

store and returns about 20 minutes later with groceries.

Tyger tails her just for grins.

Tyger resumes surveillance nearby in front of a house

allegedly for sale. Smith emerges in full sweat gear about 10

a.m. Lo and behold, he lugs a heavy trash can. Tyger makes a

video record of the event.

Then, Smith walks around the yard, bends and picks up the

newspaper. Just how stupid are some of these guys? Anyway, that·s

his story and he’s sticking to it.

On Friday,

_

Tyger locates Sammy Nestor of Marrero. He is a

white male, about 25 years old, married, no children. The subject

is about 5′ 10″ tal 1, 160 pounds.

Nestor’s most distinguishable mark seems to be a sporty red

Fiat which he tools around in like a madman. What is his injury7

Bad neck, or something like that. Get him while driving.

Easier said than done. The subject’s residence sits on a

street with four, maybe more, easy exits. He jumps in the Fiat

and speeds out of the neighborhood, seemingly picking an exit at

random.

After arriving about 8 a.m., Tyger stations himself at

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who works for almost nothing at the traveling carnival. They just

completed a two week run in the mall parking lot. His boss and

the others were staying at a nearby motel and he was a kind of

(unsteady) watchman.

Vroooom! There goes the red Fiat. “See ya in a minute,”

Tyger notes off-handedly, revs up, and pursues the quarry.

Vroooom! R.C. looks, as always, contented or confused. Why

bother?

The subject goes to a nearby Winn Dixie Supermarket

emerging five minutes later with a package. He drives caution to

the wind weaving between other cars making good time towards the

over-hanging West Bank Expressway.

Tyger tries his best to keep up, but the smashed wreckage of

his Toyota wagon is no match (natch) for a shiny new red Fiat

sports car. Tyger spies the Subject at a post office, then

purchasing cigarettes at a convenience store, but doesn’t get any

good pictures.

The subject returns to his residence. Tyger returns to R.C.

Land.

“Hey man, you a cop or something?” asks a fully emergent

R.C. standing on the parking lot asphalt. “Nah. I’m just watching

someone.”

“Oh. O.K. ” R.C. lives in a world of suspended disbelief

anyway, so any reply makes sense.

 

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“Now man, you know what they say about what goes around

comes around,” R.C. continues. “I hope you’re doing something

that’s for good.”

“Oh yeah, no problem,” replies Tyger who passes the time by

furnishing a bare bones, need-to-know version of insurance claims

investigations introductory course for R.c.·s consumption. R. C. ,

smiling red cheeks, fills up on raw knowledge.

“Hey man,” R.C. says finally after listening to the

intellectual discourse on the profession. “Do you smoke?” “Well,

yeah,” replies Tyger .

“I got some dynamite stuff. Let’s burn one.” What an

appealing offer. “In a New York second, babe,”

R.C. produces a fabulous furry fiery reefer and up up up

they resemble blue balloons flying. “Tastes great.” “Less

filling.” Inhale, exhale, cough cough. Ahhhh! Falling. Have

another hit of sweet fun–home run.

Smoke smoke smoke. Suddenly, the red Fiat is off to the

races again–2oom 200m kaboom (exhaust backfire) and with a

rocket burst is gone. And in mid-joint, of course.

“Hey man, there he goes,” notes R.C., a fast learner . “Yeah,

well. He’ll  be right back. I’ll get him later,” Tyger retorts.

“Let’s finish this first.

Sure enough, the Subject returns. Then he comes and goes two

more times making various short, and snappy, errands. The subject

 

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settles in about noon. “Watching All My Children,” confides Tyger

to R.C. during a pit stop following a brief subject drive-by.

Tyger breaks off surveillance at 1:30 p.m. “He’s probably

taking a nap. He· 11 be up later,” Tyger informs R.C.

“Hey man. What goes around comes around,” is R.C. ·s

flavoring. “Stay loose.”

Before breaking off, Tyger calculates his wages. Let·s see:

6.5 hours, 34 miles, $3.99 for videotape. He figures on netting

about $72. He drops off the videotape at Dorothy’s house nearby

and heads for the hills, like a swallow ready another season to

return. This job seems to be working out so far so good.

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