Surveillance Pelicana Chapter Sixteen: ‘In a Black Box’

Burning head/Ray Bong




The entire book appears at this link with chapters added after appearing online:

Chapters 1-10:

Chapters 11-20:

Chapters 21-30:


Back to IRS Inc. business. Tyger swaps out

the car baby seat system for the deus ex machina

black box secret video surveillance system.

Tyger runs the system outside Mildred Baker’s New Orleans East apartment and

makes himself scarce at a local shopping mall, among other places.

Other cases are completed with official reports filed and shown in format.

Also, logs of tapes upon further review are revealed.










What a relief. Mardi Gras has been defeated. Tyger is the

happiest detective in town.

Now he must retrieve the baby seat secret surveillance

system he had brought the previous week to Dorothy’s Oz. Joe’s

“man in Mobile” needed to do some extra tinkering on the cute

little critter.

Tyger drives over the river and through the swamp to the

wild wild West Bank of Marrero, pulling up to the modest suburban

one-level house that doubles as the IRS Inc. checkpoint. He

reaches for the front door.

Yip yip yap–that must be Poopsie. Sure enough, Dorothy

leads Tyger into the kitchen where they sit and drink coffee.

“I see you survived Mardi Gras,” begins Dorothy with the

traditional post-Carnival greeting. “Good. Joe’s technical guy is

still working on the baby seat, but we have another system for

you to try out.

“This one should work even better than the baby seat. It’s

the black box.” “Indeed,” Tyger replies curiously.

“Oh yeah. This looks good. I haven’t tried it yet, but Joe

says it works great. Let me show you.”



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They walk the few steps over to the beige carpeted

living area. Sure enough, a large square black wood box

rests beside the couch.

That’s it, period, end of description.

It is a black box mounted by a metal bar with wires.

“You can use this just like the baby seat,” Dorothy

continues. “Mount the camera and operate the same motor control

to move the bar.

“Cover the camera up with this improved cloth cover.” She

produces the item from behind the couch showing it with a small

flourish to an appreciative Tyger.

“It is even more innocuous looking than the baby seat. The

rest of the set-up is standard procedure.”

“The cover looks like a rag doll” Tyger says.

“Let’s give it a whirl.”

“Great,” Dorothy continues. “Joe wants you to go back on

Baker. She has moved to an apartment complex on Morrison Road.

“Go there about 11 a.m. Check out the place. Leave the

system running until 2 p.m. and pick it up. We’ll look over

the tape and come up with a plan.

“Baker is suing the insurance company for so much money that

expense is no object. You probably will get a whole lot of work

on this case in the coming months, so be ready for some




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“We are also going back on LeBeouf. His wife called Joe the

other day and said she has a better way to catch Bingo. I don’t

know how much we can trust her, but Joe might want you to go up

there, and work on that.

“We have a couple of cases locally and something in Houma

that Joe will work with you on, so you should be fairly busy the

next six weeks or so.”

“Hey, I can live with that,” Tyger notes. “Maybe I can make

enough money to buy that video editing system. I can definitely

use the work.”

Tyger loads the black box into his car along with all the

accompanying video accoutrements. He drives by the conveniently

located Pho Tau Bay, sitting there for a while sipping a soothing

daytime Cafe Da — no sua.

Of course, the real purpose for this activity is to check

out the gorgeous Vietnamese girls who stop by, wisely spending

their social currency. Quite a few beautiful dishes aren ‘t even

on the Viet Nam map adorned plates;

If only they knew an intrepid detective nearby psychically

projects to them as they laugh and smile sweetly. Ahhh, dream on


Oh well, such is life. Is it ever fair? Or is it only foul?

Tyger seems out of place and out of time.

A pleasant diversion

passes too quickly.



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Check, please. Tyger returns home to spend the rest of the

day alone before setting on Baker tomorrow. So it goes.

The next six weeks bring with them as baggage the

aforementioned investigative assignments to which we shall soon

turn our limited attention spans. Tyger is about to join the

black box, catch as catch can, deus ex machina investigating


Besides belaboring the soon to be obvious, Tyger’s life is

quite devoid of diversions. Sure, he watches the usual amount of

television: various cable movies, soap operas, and the odd ice

hockey match. However, there is nary a football nor baseball game

in sight. Boooring.

Tyger’s life revolves around the usual friendly chit-chat

cycle. He visits occasionally with Armor’s, Mac, and the various

cast of characters whom you have met including Sandy Alexander

and even Nick Bowers.

Mr. Milty, rumored to be in the neighborhood, is nowhere to

be found. Various telephone messages remain unreturned. Will

Milty reappear again some day?

Only the shadow knows. Milty usually turns up when one

least expects it like a demented Candid Camera episode. It has

happened before. Perhaps it will happen again.

Or maybe the estranged post-toasty girl friend who has been

hassling Tyger for Mr. Milty information will hire a detective to



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find the wandering vagabond artist. Tyger is unavailable

for the near term.

All that and matters great and small — mainly small —

are beside the immediate discussion of events transpiring in

late February and March 1988.

Tyger is all business these days because he doesn’t know

when the gravy train will end. There is work available. However, Joe

Fine has been acting a bit odd lately.

Little things perhaps invisible to the naked eye, but the

strictly observant have been catching a definite drift.

Tyger is not the only interested party who has noticed that the

party might end at any moment.

Joe Fine has been in less frequent contact with Dorothy as

well, so it is not just an overly paranoid imagination, although

that helps. Dorothy mentions on the telephone that she has had to

get on Joe Fine’s case lately to keep the caseload rolling.

“I don’t know what is eating him,” she relates to an anxious

Tyger. “We have a good thing going and he seems very lethargic .

He has been complaining a lot lately about his little

snots.” She laughs. “I’ve met his wife who is a total bitch.

Maybe he is a little distracted right now.

I am certainly trying to keep him focused, because I need

the work too. You are not the only one. Hopefully things will

work out.”



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Uh-oh. The gig is a happening for now.

How long can it last?

Que lastima not to continue.

Such great money. In fact,

recently Dorothy has raised his salary

to the princely sum of $12 an hour,

twice as much as one could make

in another job dead ended.

It has been … real?

Well, it has been fun.

“I hope Joe Fine maintains his mental condition,” Tyger tells Dorothy.

“I have been getting into this lately.”

“I know what you mean,” Dorothy replies.

“Like I said. we’ve got a good thing going.

I would hate for Joe to blow it.

I guess he is suffering a little crisis of confidence.

Hopefully, that will blow over soon.

” Petrified and fortified by black coffee, straight no chaser,

Tyger sails alongside future ships, tacking east with the black box

until he has navigated to Mildred Baker’s sleazy shores.

Little Miss Muffet is living in a small New Orleans East

apartment complex tuffet. A locked front gate separates

the middle class wheat inside from the criminal chaff

that has overtaken New Orleans in recent years.

(It is beginning to



Chapter Sixteen




look more like Beirut around here every day.)

Tyger drives up and down Morrison Road in a holding pattern

checking the area for the best surveillance site. Piece of cake,

actually, which Tyger has no problem digesting. He can set up in

any of two, or three, places for optimal effect; and three, or

four, others if necessary.

Prime spots squarely face the front gate that is the only

apparent entrance to the Sea Breeze Apartment Complex, so-called.

No problem.

Tyger is about to pull into prime spot number one when,

surprise surprise, a large black truck pulls in ahead of him.

Doesn’t it always go to show — when you want a good spot it blows.

“Damnit. Damnit. Damnit.” Tyger is angrier than a disturbed

hive of bees. “Damned Damned asshole. Damn you motherfucker.”

(Watch that anger bro. He catches himself. It is not the end

of the world yet.)

Tyger must hang a Huey Long across the busy street and try

another spot. He quickly determines that this option is less than


Simply too much vehicular traffic . The picture is disrupted

each time a car passes through the camera. Damn.

Lingering like a bad case of flu and blown away like a puff

of wind along the levee, Tyger waits, watches in horror, and

wonders. “Is that guy going to move it this century?” he asks



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himself in passing.

Meantime, Tyger leaves the video running. He walks around

the apartment complex to the rear parking lot. He notes the

various vehicles, including a 1985 Ford Mustang, red, that comes

back later as registered to Mildred Baker’s ex-husband.

Further surveillance reveals that her teenage son drives it.

The youngest Baker guides his “ailing” mother as she glides

across the gravy train’s gilded tracks. As usual, it is all in

the family.

Down the road a block sits a small shopping area where Tyger

buys a Mountain Dew at a market. He checks out the local

talent. After all, he will be returning this way again and

again and again or so Dorothy has foretold.

(Unfortunately, the talent wouldn’t even qualify for an

appearance on Ed McMahon’s “Star Search.”)

Tyger re-enters his personal mission control back at the

surveillance scene, and monitors video functions. All systems go,

baby, go — looking good. The secondary primary spot isn’t

half-bad if one ignores passing traffic.

Spot primo still would be best and thank you Lord a red

faced workman re-emerges. Hemoves his stinking truck. Tyger

immediately jockeys into the vacated place, motor control

focusing a very nice picture that spans from the entrance to the



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adjacent front lawn and walks away.

Now, the real challenge of this assignment. What to do for

three-and-a-half hours. Easier said than done. But it beats


The wandering detective heads over to a nearby outdoors

mini-mall. He stops, looks, and surveys landscape. Booooring.

Just a few nondescript local type shops, another less than

adequate market, and the Eastside Cinema Showcase that for some

reason only screens its second-run Hollywood movies at night.

Never mind. Lake Forest Shopping Center is a mile down the

road. Tyger knows he will find a slice of consumer paradise over

the wild blue yonder. There, over there, he like a fire flies and

like a firefly alights.

Sure enough kiddies. There is a there there. In this case,

it is a lovely all weather under one roof shopping mall. A Sears

where America shops store anchors one end.

Department Bore encloses the other side.

A Maison Blanche

Another friendly 42 flavors of corporate consumer madness

also await the bah bah sheepskin shoppers. They are joined this

mid-day by Tyger Williams, none other.

Tyger walks around for a while checking out prices.

Booooring. How do those cretins manage to buy anything?



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Life is the real real thing, babe, and this the first day of a

perpetual calendar dated

for the moment March 1988 march march

marching into spring.

The top of Jackson Brewery rip-off

development dropped the ball, after all, signifying the end of


Another ball will drop this year as the shopping mall

stretches along timeless for a while. And it is all Tyger has

for this brain dead moment, waiting for the Baker plan to

formulate a mile down the road.

Dum de dum dum. Dum de dum dum. Musak drones along filling

shopping drones with money squandering wonder.

Truly, Tyger has chanced upon the ultimate heart of darkness.



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Tyger is the ultimate invisible man,

a secret deus ex machina black box video surveillance system

running while he sits and ponders burning styroheads,

based on the theme of “Whatever Happened to the Nuclear Family.”

This should tell you something about his relative state. Here goes nothing.

Burning, burning, churning; styroheads are burning across

Lake Forest Mall. That horrible bio-nondegradable

styrofoam, smell of chemicals burning, their red and orange

faces, white heads melting and elongating

in equally terrible brown gooey pools.

Some of those styroheads had names, buddy.

Some, the panted awful art insignias being

official members of the non-aborted — darn —

nuclear family who sat for a short spell

inside Stinko’s window surrounded by

portraits of 10,000 red-and-orange

faces setting in the copy shop margins with

holocaust screams and



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barbecue smiles.

“So at the shopping mall, a Saints playoff lighter — you

know how that went — in one hand; a joint in another — dynamite

stuff, by the way straight from Vice-President Shrub’s personal

victory garden — a ceremonial flame leaps this way forward and

jumps back again in horror.

“A sickly slick salesclerk looking like Nancy Ray-gun’s

hairdresser’s mother hops, skips, and jumps across the fake plant

walkway and out of her swarthy fatass irradiated skin rumbling,

bumbling, stumbling through the artificial colors … ”

“Uhh sir, you o.k.?” a small mall security guard extra taps

Tyger on the shoulders. “Whaaaa?” Tyger replies, so rudely


“I just noticed that you have been sitting here a long time

and knocked over- your cold drink.” “Oh, right. Sorry. What time

do you have?” “Little after 2 p.m.”

“Oh. I was waiting for my girl friend. Guess she’s late. Got

to run.” “Yeah. Yeah.” “O.K.”

A real meeting of the mindless transpiring. Tyger must pick

up the system, leaving the sublime emptiness of bogus commerce

for a more immediate future.

Have no fear Frau Baker. Tyger will be back like entropy

some coming space-time. Goody goody gumshoedrop. Back to more



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visible business for now.

He picks up his feet, stomping across the empty barren weedfilled

path back to Morrison Road and the surveillance scene. All

looks normal. All seems well.

Hippety-hopping in the car, Tyger glances downward to check

the monitor and monitor the VCR. All systems continue to operate

properly. Looking good, mission control. Must blast off now.

Our dear Tyger boy therefore postulates that all subject

activity, if any, has been deliberately, indelibly, irrefutably

recorded. Say good day, Mildred.

‘Tis tape drop off at Dorothy’s home office. She isn’t

there. Instead, she is consulting a professional about her

delicate condition. Her husband Jack Splat, some kind of vaguely

public servant, is available for tape delivery.

“Hey dude,” greets Jack, who has long brown hair tied back

in a pony tail. “How is it hanging?”

Tyger laughs at the silly question. “Great. Great. Hanging

like a kite, baby.” Jack agrees.

Something is missing from the scene. Finally it dawns on

Tyger. “Hey Jack. Where’s Poopsie?”

“That dumb bitch. She’s in the backyard. That is Dorothy’s

department. You know how those hormones get. Just keeping the

family peace. Know what I mean?” “Oh, yeah. Got to keep the

better half happy.”



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“Definitely, dude. Care for ‘a cold drink?” Jack is a nice

guy in a weird way.

“Got to run for now,” Tyger replies. “Beat the traffic.” “I

hear that. See you when I see you.” “Later.”

Dorothy calls the next day. “Good going Tyger. Baker and her

son piddled around the front for a while. Then they left in the

red Mustang. So we know she is keeping active. I’ll get with Joe.

We should go back on her later.

“For now, we have a couple of cases for you to work next

week. Work Larry Gordon, white male, married, one child, 27 years

old, 1334 Yale Boulevard in Metairie.

“He drives a beige Mercury Cougar, Louisiana License Number

213A356 and his wife has a late-model red Mazda sports car

Louisiana License Number 65N901. Do that all day Monday from 7:30

a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“Then get Reginald Alonzo Jones III, black male, 45 years

old, divorced, two children, 6522 Berkely — I guess that’s

street — Algiers. Work him Wednesday from 7 a.m. until noon .

“That should keep you busy for a while next week. Look over

the tapes when you finish and put everything in your report. I’ll

get back with you later on it.

“Hopefully, Joe is O.K., and we can go gung-ho on Baker.

I’ve got another case, too, that I’ll give you. I am sure Joe

wants you back on Bingo LeBeouf.



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“Like I told you before, he spoke with Mrs. Bingo and is

totally obsessed with that thorn in his side. It is definitely

personal between Joe and Bingo.”

Just following orders, Tyger sets up on Gordon at the

appointed place and hour. He files the following report after

reviewing the videotaped evidence:



On Monday March 7, 1988 at 7:15 a.m. the agent departed New

Orleans and proceeded to the Subject·s reported city of

residence. Where upon his arrival at 7:30 a.m. the agent

located the Subject·s residence which is a single family

blue painted wood with white trim dwelling. Parked in the

subject’s driveway was a beige Mercury Cougar, Louisiana

License Number 213A356. The agent moved a safe distance from

the area and began his surveillance.




A Video recording of the following activity was made.

At 10:05 a.m. a young white female, about 25 years old,

emerges from the residence with a small child followed by

activity of the child at the door. She leaves the area.

At 11:15 a.m. the young female returns



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At 11:27 a.m. a young white male arrives.

At 11:31 a.m. a white male fitting the Subject’s description emerges from the residence with the small child, warms up the car and drives away.

At 11:48 a.m. another white female, in dark slacks and with beehive hair arrangement drives up and enters the residence. At 12:06 p.m. the white female in dark slacks speaks with an older white female at the door and leaves.

At 12:28 p.m. the older white female, the white female in slacks, and the white female presumed to be the Subject’s wife engage in activity around the front yard.

At 12:43 p.m. the Subject returns in the Mercury Cougar, emerges from the vehicle, checks the front mailbox, and goes inside.

At 1:43 p.m. and until 2:13 p.m. the Subject wearing a
“World’s Greatest Dad” sweater stands in the residence’s doorway and sits on the Mercury Cougar until the tape ends.



At 2:30 p.m. the agent returned to the surveill•nce scene, moved a safe distance from the area, and resumed his active surveillance. At 3:00 p.m. the Subject was observed washing his car. The



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Subject appeared to walk normally and showed no difficulty

while bending over during this activity.



A Video recording of this activity was made.



At 3:30 p.m. the previously noted older white female, young white female in slacks and beehive haircut, and Subject’s wife engaged in activity in and around the residence.

At 4:55 p.m. the Subject emerged from residence and walked around the yard. He appeared to be walking normally. 



A Video recording of this activity was made.



At 5:15 p.m. the surveillance continues with negative activity.

At 5:30 p.m. not seeing the Subject again the agent ended his surveillance and returned back to New Orleans where upon his arrival at 5:45 p.m. he reviewed the Video recording and filed this report.



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The Gordon case nets Tyger 10.5 hours of investigative time

worth $126 plus $6 for 30 miles. Not a bad day’s work and some

good shots of Roberts activity.

The Jones case does not proceed quite as smoothly although,

thankfully, Tyger does not realize this until later. He sets up,

per instructions, at 7 a.m.

He sits at a nearby park, and walks around the neighborhood

until about 10 a.m. while certain about to be mentioned

activity takes place.

All the while, Tyger lurks nearby behind a tree, next to a

car, or waiting at a bus stop keeping keeping close tabs with the

situation. He was authorized until noon but as Falstaff says,

discretion is the better part of valor.


This is a log he makes from the videotape after reviewing it later:


At 7:37 a.m. a black teenager takes trash can to garage door

and walks back to the front of the residence.

At 8:18 a.m. a black female who appears to be Jones’s

girlfriend emerges from the residence and walks by on the


At 9:19-9:22 a.m. the black female walks by and around the



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surveillance vehicle.

At 9:31-9:35 a.m. the black female and black teenager

and another black person engage in activity around the

surveillance vehicle.

At 9:44 a.m. the Subject emerges from the residence and

walks by the surveillance vehicle on Berkely Street.

At 9:52 a.m. a New Orleans Police Department car drives

up to the surveillance vehicle and stops.

At 9:54 a.m. a male and female police officers walk around

the surveillance vehicle.

At 9:58 a.m. a close-up shot of the Subject as he speaks

with the police officers.

At 10:03 a.m. the Subject leaves the scene and returns to

his residence.

At 10:06 a.m. the police officers leave the scene.


And at 10:10 a.m., not noted on the log, Tyger jumps quickly

into his mother the car, zoom zoom zooming away. He does not even

look over his shoulder fearing the fate of Lot’s wife.

Oh well, can’t win them all. But Jones did appear to be moving

without any apparent neck pain. So, maybe all is not lost.

One never knows.

That’s show business.

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