Surveillance Pelicana Chapter Seventeen: ‘Through a Glass Darkly’

SURVEILLANCE PELICANA

BY

DAN WEISMAN

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

Chapters 1-10: https://www.escondidograpevine.com/surveillance-pelicana-full-book-chapters-added-as-they-appear-online/.)

Chapters 11-20: https://www.escondidograpevine.com/surveillance-pelicana-part-ii-chapters-11-to-20-chapters-added-as-they-appear-online/)

Chapters 21-30: https://www.escondidograpevine.com/surveillance-pelicana-part-iii-chapters-21-to-30-chapters-added-as-they-appear-online/

 

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Tyger proceeds on a perilous assignment

in the urban ghetto that results

in a series of strange and surprising events.

 

CHAPTER 17

“Through a Glass Darkly”

 

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Dark, dark, dark as night are Tyger’s true love’s eyes.

Long black hair flowing over soft white shoulders

as a long white dress falls to his lover’s ankles.

“I feel shitty. I feel shitty. I feel shitty, not witty and

gay, I feel shitty … ”

Smack, clack, back to reality calling.

Why does Mr. Milty play that stuff?

Some obscenely obscure pseudo comedian

upsets his WTUL morning wake-up show apple cart.

Just what the 5:45 a.m. get-out of-bed-you-fucking-dead-head

crowd needs to get it in the mood for another stand grand.

Let’s hear it: Yaaay–Blubber!

A minor morning mission has been relayed down

the chain chain chain of command.

Tyger pursues the matter as he spins

The wheel of misfortune, i.e. his social life.

Ah, that dark haired girl in the virginal white outfit

 

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otherwise known as Elena Godchaux, a buxom and

darkly beautiful daughter of the Vermillion Parish District Attorney.

She prepped at private schools in Switzerland

Before a turn at Swarthmore College.

“You can’t always get what you want,”

blares the singing stones on Mr. Milty’s radio aberration,

“but if you try sometimes you get what you…”

Hahaha. Maybe if you are Mick Jagger.

Not this boy. Certainly not this time of day.

“It’s 6 o’clock in the what is it,” says Mr. Milty,

“A.M., I guess, been up all night, so what does it matter.”

 

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And then, there is the case of bird-like Mitzy Maharis from

Gulfport, Mississippi with shocking red locks falling to her

small thin waist. She suffers Tyger sadly, paying all her tribute

to a simp of a musician with an I.Q. lower than his shoe size.

Oh well, what the hell Tyger must fly across town to an

all African-American section nearby in Uptown.

Suffice it to note for the purposes of breakfast recreation

that it doesn’t matter what Tyger does or says because nothing

always comes of nothing.

 

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Hope, as the saying goes, springs eternal.

 

REDACTION OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

 

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planet longing.

“Somewhere in a frozen glare; Floats a vision, winter airs;

Opining how lithe blue birds sing; Dark brown eyes, lovely things;

Bump, glide lightly through the night.

“Fly, fly my dove this way; Thoughts of family, funny faces;

Verandas where children rise or fall; By longing lakes with

sparkling shores; Memory heavenly days recall.

“Somewhere as I stand to gaze; Dreaming in a golden haze;

Blueing seas of white clouds face; Second Law of Thermodynamics;

You are flying home, I care.”

 

 

REDACTION OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

 

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REDACTION OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

 

Lingering somewhat too long on such a beautiful series of insights,

Tyger scurries to get his act together,

quickly loading the black box system in his car,

setting up, and heading for a world mundane

to finish off a more earthly mission and grab some

 

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fraudulent claimant evidentiary.

Dreams are nice as long as they last.

However, even dreamers need to earn a living

thereby to sanctify the time spent in dream state contemplation.

Catch the drift, comrades?

Were the world but a series of philosophical allusions

it would be a better place. Alas, we must vamoose after targets

more concrete lying strewn among urban ruins and

massively pot-holed streets of N’awlins Uptown.

Somewhere the sun is shining.

Somewhere philosopher kings squat by cracker barrels

solving Boethian equations.

Elders speak as children laugh and play.

Every passing object in such a lasting plain

exhibits pastel color and enticing shade.

Beauty flows from such sweet moments

Possibly, you have visited such a magical land.

You then, better than Tyger Willams, can describe

the velocity and mass of this conception.

Tyger now drives along Annunciation Street

careful not to announce his sneaky, yet sanctified by law intentions.

Grover McMillan is the momentary subject oblivious

to the looming rain clouds threatening his pathetic parade.

No doubt Grover is sleeping and dreaming, too,

although his dreams are possibly more mundane;

listening to bad rap music, screwing some black bimbo

behind the Ernst Cafe.

 

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Grover squats in the on-deck circle awaiting his last turn

at bat. Tyger brings to bear the proper black box sub rosa

surveillance system with which to umpire Grover’s insurance claim

Tyger drifts as the cloud state these final moments covered

by darkness before dawn where ghosts walk disguised as men.

He drives through progressively worsening neighborhoods, past

Nashville Avenue and its wharves, past the sea wall.

He sees beyond each intersection — Napoleon Avenue and

Tipitina’s — pulling up lame within a few blocks of Washington Avenue.

Abandoned buildings to the left and smashed glass strewn vacant lots to the right.

Onward rides the Tyger brigade.

Horrible excuses for the passage of streets apologize half in jest.

The joke is on those who must daily trek past this slice of Soweto apartheid in enlightened Lousyiana.

It is not quite 6:30 in the a.m. and Mr. Milty continues to taunt his audience of one,

which resembles Tyger in this case.

Who the hell else could be listening to Mr. Milty’s drivel at the break of dawn?

“Hey there, Ho there, I’m as happy as can be … ”

Blah blah blah, just keep it up baby. Tyger has your telephone number.

Milty crazy-quilt spins his favorite Robyn Hitchcock diatribe:

“My Wife and My Dead Wife.” The classical music for zombies show

 

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doesn’t begin until 7 a.m. so, until that time, get used to it folks,

Mr. Milty’s insanity rules, running wild with the yawning dawn.

That darn Mr. Milty’s musical and rhetorical selections

have jogged Tyger·s brainless waves quite enough this caustic morning

causing him to lose his sense of purpose and concentration.

“Am I still in New Orleans,” he asks the invisible face radio station Milty,

“or is this hell?” Hmmm.

Tyger has risen this dawn on the proverbial wrong side of

the tracks. He takes an early morning zombie stumble down a brightening path.

A shadow follows his unsteady gait, suspended in that fifth force some mistake for wind.

A beautiful dancer with long black hair tied in a pony tail,

Spanish surname to boot, gallops around his heels

snapping her fingers flamenco style,

like a moth fluttering to out damned spot along a wasted avenue.

A cloudy day emerges.

Tyger looks around the immediate vicinity,

noticing a scene unusual. It is the crack of dawn and

 

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this place is crawling with subjects both potential and actual.

What the say hey? They all fit the description of Grover Mcmuffin McMillan.

Shit on toast. What is a detective to do? Where does that motherfucker live?

Tyger checks his legal pad notes. 1674 Annunciation. Check. O.K. There it is.

Unfortunately, being of a minority color, Tyger sticks out like a strange beast.

Tyger focuses on the subject’s reported residence and runs the camera.

Then, he pops open the front hood and embarks on good old Plan “A.”

Which is to say Tyger embraces that dear friend of the uneasy investigator,

bogus car trouble. It seems a very plausible cover

to maintain with the beat to a pulp

beyond disbelief muffler-dead wreck as visual back-up.

 

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The entire hood — and by this we mean nay-bore, not car borne —

is over-run  by lost and lonely souls

escaping ramshackle shotgun houses,

engaging in all varieties of exotic activity

while Tyger tries to do his job.

This baby is a bitch already,

about to be thrown out with the bath water.

Standing by the car hood going the full measure of

shaking his head and looking faux confused,

Tyger realizes that he is the object of intense scrutiny.

He can hear the black block surmise.

“Who, or what, is that ofay guy?

What the fuck is he doing here? He a pig?

Hey man, you in the wrong neighborhood.

What you say. Where you think you at.”

So forth and so on.

Tyger has seen “Taxi Driver” a dozen times.

He strikes the “You talking to me?” attitude.

“Hey boy. A nice white boy like you should not be around a place like this,” a black voice states.

“What you think you doing, boy? You a cop?”

“No, no, no,” Tyger goes Nancy Ray-Gun on psychotropic drugs.

“This damn car always gives me the heebie jeebies.

Maybe, the plugs have popped or something.

Don’t know much about geometry, and automobile mechanics.”

The thin black dude with gold tooth reflecting the sun

Darting between clouds on a semi-cloudy day, says,

“Well, boy, I don’t know.

This might not be the place to be checking that out.”

Looking around the corner for back-up that never will come,

 

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Tyger must exit the playing field.

“Yeah, you right,” he says.

Suddenly, Tyger broaches a bright idea

that  breaks through clouds.

“Look man, I’m going to have to call a tow truck.

Will you make sure nothing happens to my car if I give you a couple of bucks?”

“Hey, I can handle that,” the gold-tooth guy notes, grinning slyly.

“Forget about the money, boy.

I can watch it for a little while.

But, I strongly urge you to get  it out of here  as soon as possible.”

He points with a grand sweeping gesture at the two heaps,

abandoned and stripped heaps down at the end of the corner.

“Know what I mean?”

“No kidding. I think I do,” Tyger replies. “I’ll be  back in

a few minutes.”

“Don’t tarry now, my fine white friend.

I have to go to the food stamp office at 9 a.m.

Can’t vouch for after that.”

“No problem, I will return long before then.”

No shit, Sherlock.

Good news-bad news, then.

Tyger has bought some time for the system to operate.

 

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On the other hand, everybody fits the description of subject McMuffin.

No getting to the bottom of this barrel.

Just a matter of running the system as long as possible.

Dorothy can look at the replay later,

maybe make some sense of it.

For now, Tyger is concerned about his car’s safety,

more than his own.

It might be a beat-up horrible wreck, but it is also all he has.

He never could afford another one.

Probably, the vehicle is saved

from the ultimate humiliation of final dismantlement

by the irrefutable fact

that it is in only slightly better exterior shape

than the other urban blights

littering this beatific neighborhood.

Fortuna smiles. This dude is a Saints fan.

Buying some overtime, and a vowel Vanna,

Tyger engages in 15 minutes of Saints talk.

“Who Dat?” “Who Dat” “Who Dat say

dey gonna beat dem Saints.”.

 

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“Crummy playoff game,” Tyger rap-plies, “l wish the Pope

had blessed them all the way to at least one playoff win.

The guy appreciates such biting wit, and ·laughs in an uproar,

“Yeah yeah yeah man. Those damn Saints. “They always get you in the end.

“But we get ’em next time.”

Tyger, however,  does have a tow truck to call.

He takes his leave, walks through the mean long streets

over to a telephone at the curb of Tchopitoulas Street and Washington Avenue

to check in with Dorothy control.

 

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“I was afraid of that,” Dorothy concludes after

being apprised of the situation.

” I wasn’t quite sure what the

neighborhood was like, but was hoping for the best.

Are you sure your car is alright.”

“Pretty sure,” Tyger says. “I think that guy is

good to his word. He seems quite respectable. I feel like I can

leave it there for another half-hour or so and then pick it up,”

“Sounds good, but don’t take any unnecessary chances,”

Dorothy continues. “Whenever you feel too uncomfortable don’t

hesitate to get the car out of there.

“Probably McKinley, er McMillan, and all his relatives live

there. We’ll have to assign a black investigator to this case

another time.

“I’ve worked the projects before and know exactly what you

are going through. Do the best you can and drop off the videotape

when you’re finished.

“We’re going to get you back on LeBeouf and Joe Fine has

something he wants you to work on with him in Houma.”

That same old hard to shake cold, Tyger bacteria lingers

outside the recreational center waiting for his medication to

work. He takes a few dozen deep breaths, and returns to the scene

about 8:30 a.m.

Strange how that neighborhood’s dynamics work. Absolutely

 

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nobody is around. The place is a deserted ghost town.

The proverbial light bulb appears as in a cartoon caricature

above dear Tyger’s head.

Those persons had been up all night.

The urban street sprawl party was just winding down

when Tyger made his uninvited entrance.

Ahhh. That’s the ticket.

It would have gone much smoother

had he known which potholes to avoid.

Tyger files this point away for future reference.

Then, the dinky detective walks the ofay walk,

talks the ofay talk, and dances a final waltz.

He whistles an itty bitty ibby ditty song of relief, pops the hood,

and checks for a good last measure.

No car problems here.

Finally, terrible Tyger spirits away the mere two miles

back to the relative comfort and safety

of white man’s paradise

set like an island

in the overflowing ocean

of two-thirds black New Orleans.

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