Surveillance Pelicana Chapter Twenty-Four: ‘O, Excellent Air Bag’

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 TWENTY-FOUR

Mac and Tyger go shopping for nitrous

at the supermarket. Tyger proceeds with in depth surveillance at

Mildred Baker’s apartment during late June. Boredom gives way to

confusion as the most amazing events transpire. Tyger joins Alice

slipping into wonderland as everything becomes curiouser and

curiouser. The case concludes for the time being with a few

perplexing questions posed by Dorothy that further stun Tyger.

 

CHAPTER 24

“O, EXCELLENT AIR BAG”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

Weisman

465

 

Like TOW anti-tank and Hawk anti-aircraft missiles — you

know, the types that were secretly and illegally traded by RayGun

White House officals to Iran in 1985 and 1986 in a failed bid

to gain the release of American hostages held in Lebanon — Tyger

Williams is electronically guided by psychic currents to the

center of the universal condition.

Stuck inside of limbo again. Isn’t that nice? What else is

news?

Tyger walks through the Delchamps Supermarket with Mac:,

unscrewing whipped cream dispenser tops, inhaling

nitrous oxide contained within. Then, they laugh off their

respective asses.

The dynamically deranged duo carefully return the nitrous emptied

canisters to the wrong shelves and keep moving along.

Nothing to see. Woosh, hahaha,

woosh, hahaha, slam bam, thank you Mr. Grocery God.

They float along like a couple of songs, feeling like a day

on the beach. Bitching, dudes.

Tyger explains the latest surveillance assignment with

Armor’s as Mac commiserates. “I could have told you that,” he

second-guesses with voice starting a million octaves too high,

finally leveling off to below sea level where the Big Uneasy

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

466

 

sinks to its natural state.

Hahaha. Haha-haha. Last cans. Mac grabs it as a final hiss

hiss hiss flies to the bright fluorescent ceiling and beyond.

“I love this place,” Mac finally observes. “Best whipped

cream deal in town.”

Like plane loads

of spare F-4 fighter aircraft and

helicopter gunship parts;

you know, the type Ray-Gun

Administration CIA director William Casey along with former Nixon

Administration CIA director and current 1988 Vice-President

George “Shrub” Bush traded with Iranian operatives in not so gay

Paree for a promise not to release the 52 American hostages held in

Teheran until after Ronald Reagan had been elected President and

taken office, according to former Carter administration officials

Tyger Williams is headed straight for his assigned

repository. He buys a bottle of Meyers’s rum and “classic” coca-cola

mixer. Mac handles the chips and dip. Sweet nitrous bright light

enhancement inducing fun propels them through the check-out line.

Hey hey, that was an easy does it mission.

Is America a great country or what?

They return to MacLand ready, willing, and able to induce

inaction. Conversation number one: Who the heil is in charge

here. Hard to say. HaHAHa…

Conversation number two: That fucker Ollie North can get

away with anything. Fuck him. He is shit.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

467

 

Conversation number three: Pass the reefer. Getting high is

a job. But, it is fun. In other words, it’s a fun job.

Like chartered supercargo planes loaded with Stinger handheld

anti-aircraft missiles; fighter aircraft and helicopter

spare parts — you know, the kind that Casey, North, and other

Ray-Gun White House flunkies secretly sold without Congressional

approval as specified by United States law to Iranian

representatives (who they overcharged, by the American way)

diverting the excess profits to supply weapons

for Nicaraguan Contra counterrevolutionaries,

according to federal court and sworn

congressional testimony — the conversation shifts course and

strikes an alternate objective.

“I am getting wasted,” Mac proclaims. “Incoming. Better take

cover.” Tyger scurries along with the cats to the next room.

Mac is armed with a chemical fire extinguisher and whoosh,

empties its contents across the room in a wide wet wild arc.

“Duck and cover, y’all. Duck and cover.”

So much for the lost weekend friends. Never did it begin and

never did it end. Like the universe it continues expanding into

an infinite dark hole that leads nowhere.

So fills the part of the donut between the dough ever

enclosing yet ever exploding. An awesome, and perhaps awful,

display of pyrotechnics without explanation.

More than a little, comrades, like the current policies of

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

468

 

the Ray-Gun Administration.

unfathomable beyond description.

Tyger passes a good time during the second

weekend in June partying his little ass off and unlike the Ray-

Gun dirty tricks sneak thief junkies not messing with anyone’s

karma in order to hide lack of same.

Just another hot late spring weekend coming on to a

sweltering New Orleans summer head.

Another day passes and another. Night substitutes for day as

sleep resembles death. Life stumbles (seemingly) ever forward

targeting this planet along a continuum of sun rays.

Relativistic astrophysicists continue their ongoing debate

on the future of entropy. Hey guys,

what could possibly survive the backwards arrow of time or would

want to?

Inspired by the last few fleeting days of pure unadulterated

fun, Tyger home alone stares smartly at the Atlanta Braves versus

Los Angeles Dodgers matchup managing to daydream nevertheless

at approximately 2:45 p.m. this Sunday June 12, 1988 aided by

a whipped cream making rig and numerous whippets,

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

469

 

“Notice how white the neutral ground along Canal Street

seems to be in the searing sun. There is a parking lot where

buildings spin, pirouette like that beautiful Spanish dancer

while Tyger dissolves in mirthful fun.

“A yellow line squanders time along the wide boulevard,

tracing shadows to the Maison Blanche Building. Tyger sits in an

unmarked vehicle hugging his baby seat video surveillance

system. This is true love 1988 American style: ready, aim, who

loves you Telly Savalas baby.

“This time the Subject, black female, 30 years old, takes a

circuitous and curious route just beyond the camera s eye. Try as

he might, Tyger can not motor control the aperture to recapture

her in his sights.

“Damn it, another slice of reality life rush lost forever.

Perhaps his efforts would be better placed at another stakeout.

“Same old, same cold war post parade. The good

investigator descends to another level of hellish half-life

where exactas flash and humanity surges from space to lonely

lost outpost. Secret ritual of the bus stop revealed,

he places the surveillance vehicle at a place where it is

sure to be ticketed, i.e. anywhere in the City that Care Forgot.

“The bright white mid-dog day afternoon reveals secret

rituals and dark passages. Unpronounceable patois is inflicted on

the unknowing as another slim dancer sweeps along, light as a

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

470

 

leaf gliding past the Downtown monoliths, chaotic chasms bounded

by those tall monuments to unfeeling.

“For joy. For joy. She loves Boethius too. She curtsies at

his tearful eyes. The camera spits and she disintegrates.

“But where oh where has this vision flown? All Tyger can see

are black roaches crawling, a few soaring to catch a better view.

“She has disappeared forever? — and Tyger must decide

whether he is happy or sad to have seen her and then consider the

implications of his decision.”

Shit, Tyger takes another hit just as it might be, it could

be, it is .. . a home run by Atlanta catcher Bruce Benedict of

all persons. What is frigging happening?

One to nothing, Skip Caray recounts. Tyger awakens from

his illusion to the higher reality of the purest American sport

besides ripping off people, killing them, and covering up — that

is to say, BASEBALL.

Hip hip hooray. Pitch on McWilliams. Lay that libido lumber

number for us Raffy Ramirez.

Tyger loses himself in the ongoing continuity of comparison

between each individual effort of the moment, those that have

passed, and will follow.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

471

 

Bright and early Monday with the sun at his back like a

gunslinger slaying ancient lore, Tyger is ejected into the fetid

psychic atmosphere leading towards New Orleans East.

He is an early morning zombie stumbling past the

multitudinous masses and former kings of Rex, past derelicts

along Camp Street in their ragged uniforms and the legal

derelicts who argue in sustained finery at federal court.

(Why do they wear ties that bind anyway? Never mind, Tyger

answers his own question.)

Therefore, among all those representatives of order

coming and going — a familiar call has sounded. A new day has

come, risen to fall again across the valley of time.

Immutable echoes of anonymous forces that pulled our fathers

and pushed our lives to an inevitable conclusion reverberating like

Mac’s bongos bonging bonging gone.

For Mildred Baker, insurance claimant mondo bizarre

extraordinaire, this is your unlucky day, babe. Tyger is about to

cover you like a wet towel. Enjoy.

Coming on to 10 a.m. Monday June 13, 1988 — 1899 if you

are stuck in last century like the Slimes-Picayune — Tyger

travels Interstate 10 East. His loud unmuffled engine roars past

housing project red rooftops to the left and Vieux Carre on the

right; over and beyond the high rise asphalt road that climbs

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

472

 

above the Almonaster-Michoud Industrial District funneling down

into New Orleans East.

The 13 mile journey to the far side of the Crescent City

might as well be the far side of the moon,

if you know how it

goes.

The inveterate investigator exits on Morrison Road.

A quick check of the Baker area shows all activity normal,

therefore all systems a big a go go, shindig control. Tyger pulls

into the numero uno surveillance location watching the

ever loving story unfolding.

An old bugger walks his equally ancient large shaggy dog. A

couple of black kids talk loudly as they walk down the sidewalk

path to open air mini-shopping centers just beyond the

visible sightlines.

Traffic flows north-south in vehicular

contrapuntal.

Being mid-morning of mid-June,

the day straddles a

borderline between a somewhat pleasant temperate evening and the

quickly ensuing scorching hothouse humidity heat that saturates

Crescent City sensibilities until October.

Tyger begins to sweat as he fine tunes the black box system.

Small beads of Tyger water drop on the video recorder while he

covers the car floor with the Kool Aid Kids beach towel and an

astronomical calendar.

Why the large colorful astronomical calendar issued by the

Clemson University Physics Department? Because it’s there, babe.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

473

 

Don’t ask so many questions.

Tyger considers the calendar a classy touch in case anyone

sees through the tinted car windows. Maybe this will subliminally

inspire them to spend more time considering the all encompassing

nature of the heavens instead of their usual stuck in the mud shit

helluva learthly presence.

Following general orders based on a cursory review of previously

recorded Baker surveillance, Tyger remains in the immediately

indigenous area.

This is to observe any activities and, if necessary, hop in his

car to follow any Bakerian anomalies.

He checks the rear parking area. A truck, a van,

and an aging red Buick sit around the asphalt lot, no doubt

swapping old war lies. The sub rosa investigator walks around the backside,

up and over by an adjoining apartment complex, finally ending up where

he began, by his mother the car.

An uneventful surveillance scene ensues. Nothing neither way

declaim Horatios of insane world orders.

Like Hamlet, Tyger looks to the sky as he contemplates the

meaning of his navel. That cloud looks very like a

whipped cream dispenser nitrous oxide cartridge.

No, it looks like a wheel chair, the type that Mildred Baker

pretends to ride.

A hot hotter hottest sun begins to dominate consciousness

wiping away early morning dew. Tyger rests in the shade of an old

oak tree, leaning nonchalantly on tired wood bark.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

474

 

Hey, de nada no problem. The investigator has nothing but

time to kill at $12 an hour plus mileage and relevant expenses.

About 11:20 a.m. a sudden flurry of subjective activity.

A Mustang with Mississippi plates reportedly owned by Baker’s

ex-husband, driven by her teen-age son, rolls up to the

front of the apartment complex.

Surprise, surprise, a tall thin lad about 17 years old

jumps from the driver’s seat. He double-quick steps to the

passenger side gallantly opening the door.

Out limps Mrs. Baker — oh so very bang the drums slowly — with

a huge metal brace hanging stiffly from both arms. She sways

from side to side stepping between awkward placement of brace on

pavement.

Yoiks, Youch, ouch, It almost pains the soul to see her goose step.

She looks like a massive red ant hill of pain.

Hell, it seems almost too much to bear as she waits for her

son to open the front gate.

Truly overkill. One almost might believe she was seriously

injured if not for the histrionic display outside Touro

Infirmary. This bitch simply takes the cake. (Eat it already.)

After about 15 minutes of Monday silence, young Baker

carries out a series of assignments. He places four potted plants

outside the front upstairs apartment. He checks for mail.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

475

 

None apparently available.

The thin lad climbs in his car and drives north up Morrison

Road to the nearby yatville market. He returns about 15

minutes later with two bags of groceries.

Tyger lets the boy pass because he is not the primary target

of surveillance. Meantime, negative subject activity.

After about two hours, Tyger figures he has hung around the

spreading oak tree long enough and wanders a bit farther away

near the interstate underpass. He takes a well earned rest and

nnitrous break, inhaling quickly while keeping on guard for any

unusual observers.

There are none. Vehicles come and go across the nearby road

as sneaky Tyger person remains invisibly cloaked by a freeway

pillar and post. Nice spot, hopefully no illegally dumped

hazardous waste in the vicinity to spoil such fun.

Tyger wanders a bit farther afield and what do you know,

spies a very familiar four foot high light blue object. He walks

to it,. bends down, laughing uproariously incognito in

utter cognition.

Comrades, believe it or nuts, a discarded nitrous oxide tank

graces the interstate underworld. Apparently, someone has nearly

emptied

its contents and dumped it in the wasteland below the highway.

Talk about Lagniappe. Surveillance can

sometimes be a funny game resembling, like Joe Fine said, the

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

476

 

ultimate Andy Warhol movie. Yuck it up, comrades.

Tyger wobbles back to the spot for a walkabout at 1 p.m. He

figures if Baker is a soap opera fan maybe she will roll during

the break between “All My Children” and “General Hospital.”

Nobody watches “One Life to Live.”

No dice. Apparently, no rolling stone,

she simply is gathering moss today.

Tyger kills another half-hour nearby alternating between

walking and whatever it takes to stop. Negative Subject activity

continues.

Finally the usual search for a pay telephone to destroy.

Rather surprisingly, there seems to be a lack of such functions.

Tyger eventually locates a nice model near Ullo’s Family

Supermarket. He dials Dorothy for an upfake.

“Run the system until 3 p.m., break it down, look at the tape

and return on her tomorrow at 11 a.m,” Dorothy advises.

“Run the system the full six hours. Spend the first hour­

nearby, then leave the area. Break it off a little before 5 p.m.

“Fair enough,” Tyger acknowledges. “I will give her the

royal treatment. We all know she is faking. It is just a matter

of getting her again.”

As per instructions, Tyger returns the next morrow like an

ill wind that means Mildred Baker no good. He sets up, sticking

by the spot. Baker the junior’s car is back in the lot hobnobbing

with the other inanimate objects.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

477

 

About the only activity of note, if that, is Mrs. Baker

walking like death warmed over as she leans painfully on heavy

metal arm braces trudging to the edge of the apartment complex

stairs. Yoiks! Youch! What a pathetic slouch.

Previously cited elderly dog walking man opens his door

below. She speaks to the neighbor. He walks a few steps to the

row of open mailboxes and looks inside.

Then he returns and speaks to the fabulous Mrs. Baker as

her son places the potted plants outside. She lamely returns

inside. And that’s the name of that game. Tyger gives it another 30

minutes before departing to kill a wonderful four hours

at Lake Forest Mall.

The mall is its usually insipid environment, but at least

air conditioned, to put it mildly. The place exudes an arctic

like cold.

No wonder the ozone layer is being totally depleted. It must

take about 100,000 future skin cancer cases alone to keep this

zootropic void comfortable enough for

the zombierrific  manimals

currently on display.

Imagine, this is just one such location out of galaxies exhibiting

the usual shopping until they are dropping school of scandal

in the age of laughing gas Ray-Gun.

Tyger alternates periods of walking around aimlessly with

innocent window shopping and sitting at each of the mall eating

areas in random rotation.

He grabs a cup of chicory here, a cold drink

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

478

 

there, chilling a couple of hours.

A quick check of the mall cinema reveals “Clue” is playing.

Not interested. Maybe there is something interesting next week.

Nope. It’s some piece of pap called “Jocks.” Reads the front

poster with a picture of two guys ogling tennis balls and bosoms:

“A big tennis tournament in Las Vegas looks like the perfect

road trip for a college team with something to prove; starring

Richard Roundtree and Perry King.”

Better to watch grass grow and paint dry. At least

those allow for possibilities of flying fancy free.

Bored with mall marauding, Tyger returns to “Discreet Charm

of the Bourgeoisie” “Last Year at Marienbad” mode.

He walks around outside in the

90 degree heat,

90 percent humidity. Ahh, Louisiana living;

O, excellent air ag and be sure to pass the gas.

New Orleans East around these parts is nothing but open

spaces punctuated by shopping areas, apartment complexes, and

related structures. Tyger walks this way and turns that. He

retraces his steps and like a compass gone wild moves little

doggie along in random counterclockwise measures north, east,

south, west, and back again.

The intrepid investigator discovers a sort of bayou-drainage

ditch near a huge decrepit apartment complex. He sits around

there tossing rocks in the putrid green water.

Good times.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

479

 

Kids bicycle about like mad fruit flies. Cars drift

languidly along the distance.

Tyger determines this to be a psychically safe area and

lights up a marijuana roach. He inhales deeply, leans back, and

watches time flow like a rotting arroyo.

Feeling a bit overheated after a spell, the detective from

across the River Styx strikes out again for the overly cool

to say the least mediocrity mall. Lighting up the tote

board, Cerberus determines he has earned about 60

1988 dollars while

hanging out in the eastern hot zone. Maybe this is what

purgatory is all about. Taxi zum klo.

Tyger checks in with Dorothy letting her know all systems are

operating properly when he arrives back among the — living? —

at safety first mall. Nothing much to report.

“Great,” Dorothy notes. “Look at the tape when you get home

and do the same thing tomorrow. They really want to get Baker

since she is asking for a zillion dollars. She is a strange

bird alright. The say she was a trapeze artist in her salad days,

then somehow ended up working messes at Gulf oil rigs.”

A review of the tape shows minimal activity. Baker hobbles

around like the invalid she pretends to be and not to be. (That

is the question.) She speaks briefly with neighbors by her door

a few times. Quite the social butterfly.

She sends her son on neighborhood errands.

Tyger has acquired a feel for the lay of the land, and then

some, by now. He maxes out on the camera focus shooting very nice

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

480

 

close-ups from the Bakerian enclosure

to her lower steel framed extremities.

It seems like a real job being Mildred Baker.

Three days in a row and by now, comrades, one can appreciate

the picture. Nothing much has changed.

Subject makes her usual —

ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille —

cameo appearance on the po’ liddle

ode Mildred Baker insurance sham show

while Tyger hangs around not so innocently

across the street. The subject moves

in a painful mass while Tyger prays for something more active.

No way today, comrades in sitting around waiting for nothing

to happen. Tyger walks around an endless tape loop. He hangs out

at the mall well on his way to being an honorary teeny bopper or

maintenance worker. He retrieves the unit, then returns home.

Instant replay rules no change in the official’s call. Like

you were expecting a change in the weather.

Fat chance. It is hot hot hot and Mildred Baker is

not not not.

Dorothy tells Tyger to break off the surveillance for the

remainder of the week. “Let’s give Baker a little rest. We will

go back on her Tuesday.”

“No problem,” Tyger replies. “I am getting sick of Lake

Forest Mall anyway. ”

The following Tuesday June 21, 1988 is the summer solstice,

the longest day of the year. That makes no difference in the wide

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

481

 

world of Baker dog and pony show histrionics. Roots Badburns must

be her technical advisor.

Set up is promptly at 11 a.m. Tyger hangs around long

enough to see little lord Faunteroy Baker put out the plants

and leave on morning errand call.

Tyger decides to mix up the routine somewhat. He

waits an hour for an RTA bus that finally arrives.

A couple of well groomed African-American ladies dressed for

Downtown Canal Street sit in front. A couple of kids lounge

at back.

An elderly Who Dat Yat man assumes the middle position. Tyger joins

him a few rows back. He plans to ride this wild beast to the end

of the line.

Hey man, no wonder no one takes this shit. It takes fucking

forever to get anywhere. Not helping matters any, the driver

takes the Chef Mentaur Highway exit,

hen stomps off to an inconvenience store.

“Ah, what the hell is going on?” Tyger wonders loudly. The

elderly Yat presence simply shakes his head. “It happens all the time.

They just stop when they feel like it,” Dat man says

“How can they get away with this?” Tyger asks.

“That’s just the way it goes,” says Yat.

Right. The driver hangs on a pay telephone. Tyger would be

angrier but, after all, he is not really going anywhere. Guess he

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

482

 

and the bus driver have more in common than first appreciated.

Finally, the driver climbs back in his cockpit and blasts

off.

“Got everything accomplished, have we?” Tyger loudly asks

sarcastically from the middle seating kingdom The driver is obviously

too dedicated to his craft to acknowledge.

Downtown on Canal Street at long last, Tyger takes his

nickel paper transfer and walks over to South Claiborne Avenue

near the medical centers. He waits forever for forever again,

finally catching a bus Uptown.

At approximately 2 p.m. by the “General Hospital” clock;

final destination, Tygertown, all detectives please exit. Well,

comrades in the transportational arts, Tyger knew before he

started that the trip probably would be a bust. He wanted to

confirm that data by scientific method. Bad thinking.

Back on the road again after a 30 minute pit stop. Let us

skip description of the return trip. Another pointless exercise

in return to forever.

Tyger is exhausted when he finally returns to the

surveillance scene. Now, that really was like working.

The instant replay investigator picks up the system while

acknowledging his foolishness. We all must learn from our

mistakes or they go for naught.

Next time, sensibility must triumph. Definitely back to the

mall. The hell with Gulliver’s Travels.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

483

 

On Wednesday, more of the same old same old. Set up, mall

extravaganza, take down, review tapes. No scoring. Nothing

neither way. Another rest period until the end of the week is

ordered.

However, on Monday June 27, 1988, events begin to pick up the

pace. Curious comings and curioser goings around the Baker place.

About time, you think?

Increased activity is apparent tout de suite as a series

of 30- and 40-something white males arrive and depart.

They have that coke classic redneck mother demeanor tooling around in

raunchy pick-up trucks and vans with Mississippi and Louisiana license plates.

Tyger sticks with the scene longer than usual due to a case

of highly aroused curiosity. Mrs. Baker flitters across her

universe of front door to top of the stairs like the grand queen

carnival bee greeting her visitors and passing on commands.

Drone bees ignore her for the most part, although one

tall thin redneck with visible arm tattoos pays her more

attention than the others.

While most of them seem interchangeable anonymous parts in

some crazy yahoo party machine, tattoo man appears to be

more of a leader type. His presence like that of the son is

continuous.

Following orders, and figuring discretion is the better part

of valor, best to make himself scarce in case something bad

happens. Tyger leaves the battle field for the mall.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

484

 

He fritters away the hours leaving the Baker critters to frolic.

D’uh dangerous detective returns for 4:30 p.m. system

retrieval. He waits a bit longer inside his vehicle in the event

something interesting happens. True dat.

A redneck mother of a red truck zooms out of the parking lot on Morrison

Road towards the interstate. Tyger follows. He lets go of the

truck, however, when the driver turns east on Interstate 10 on

the way to Spring Woods and the Mississippi state line.

Tyger must head west to his house to review the tape. After

all, the departing vehicle does not overtly concern the subject of

the investigation. Baker is not aboard, so pursuit seems

irrelevant. Upon further review,  more of the same perplexing activity.

A party of rednecks arrive. A party departs. Tattoo man and

Baker son generally hover in and around the apartment perimeter.

Sometimes, said son runs short errands.

Baker rules the space between her front door and stairs with

bizarre grace and awkward heavy metal brace aided movements.

This  goes on all day.

This goes on all the next day — more rednecks, constant

activity. Tyger runs the system, sticking closer to the viewing

area just in case Baker rolls. Nothing doing on that score.

Still, it seems a puzzling surveillance scene. Tyger simply

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

485

 

can not figure it out. What the hell could

all those motherfucking rednecks

be doing in there?

The damn thing is more puzzling than relativistic physics

and Big Bang theories. They don’t seem to be dealing drugs.

No way is Baker a madame nor does she appear to be anything

more than a figurehead greeter whom the others ignore. Would you

want to sleep with that?

Not in this life. There is more there than meets the eye,

obviously. But what?

Tattoo guy appears to be running the big shoe, but that is

about all Tyger can discern, like that oak tree

he stands by, stumped.

On Wednesday June 29, Tyger joins Alice slipping into

wonderland as everything becomes curiouser and curiouser. The

redneck convention breaks up about noon. The entire crew departs

en masse in two minivans.

No return on deposit.

They are solid gone for the day.

As Tyger lurks down the road near the market, he notices a

wild break in the weather. Baker son’s car emerges from the back

parking lot, meandering about 40 yards to one of the street

turnarounds.

Nothing unusual about that. But then, what the hey-line?

Mildred Baker, without her heavy braces, jumps — that is jumps

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

486

 

like a silly white rabbit, out of the passenger seat and

walks that is walks like you or Tyger — over to the driver’s

side. She practically drags a reluctant teenager out of his seat

and have another hit, holy shit! — climbs in herself and

drives down the street. The poor kid, hang-dog demeanor, sits

like death on the passenger side.

Tyger stands by the market with his mouth wide open in

disbelief. What a time to be out of his car. Damn.

Elvis has left the building!

Tyger immediately returns to his vehicle and rewinds the

tape. As expected, rats, all he has is Baker doing the usual

hobble step polka while leaving the apartment.

The acrobatic turnaround segment happened in outer space

beyond the videomaker’s universe.

Who would have thunk it?

Tyger drives up and down Morrison Road hoping to pick up

Baker’s car, especially considering the current driver.

Alas, it is to no avail.

There is no Baker Baker anywhere and not a hood to wink.

Tyger does not want to leave the immediate area because the

fabulous Mrs. Baker might be driving when they return.

However, he has a bad feeling about that possibility.

Sometimes one shot is all you get.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

487

 

The big bad Baker vehicle returns about 20 minutes later

and, sure

enough, the comeback kid is behind the wheel.

He appears greatly relieved.

Baker upon return to sender, has resumed her vegetative

state. The boy helps her out of the car in a show for the

neighbors and God, no doubt.

Tyger feels fairly confident he has gone undetected despite

his frequent presence. In fact, by this time his constant

appearance has induced an inverse effect. He has become just as

much a part of the Morrison Road landscape as the other yat finks.

Hell, he has spent so much time around Baker purgatory that

legitimate residents of the area believe he lives nearby. He is

Cerberus from beyond the mall to their River Styx death-inlifestyles.

Now church lady: isn’t that special?

Back at his actual Uptown residence, Tyger reviews the tape

and telephones Dorothy. “Well, what do you know,” she comments

thoughtfully considering the big picture.

“I spoke with Joe today. He says it is time to wrap up on

Baker,” Dorothy continues.

“He wants you to take an active surveillance.

Sit in your car on her and follow any movements. Just go

for it. We don’t care if you blow your cover. Shoot her if she

moves.”

Noooo problema. Tyger sets up and waits for hours. He

ignores the neighbors as they likewise ignore him. That is some

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

488

 

neighborhood watch program they have out there

The son’s car is missing from the parking lot.

No sign of the redneck conventioneers.

A little after 1 p.m. Baker, encased like a manic mummy

in steel embrace, walks — make that painfully hobbles —

down the street to the market, and returns.

Tyger gets right up on her fat ass with his car,

first shooting from behind. Then, he leap-frogs

to the market parking lot, obtaining a good front shot.

Silly wabbit looks like agony of the anti-christ on crutches.

Quite a performance from the lady who just the other

day was driving like a batwoman out of hell along Morrison Road.

Tyger knows she has spotted him now.

Fuck her, if toucan. Give her the bird.

She can make Tyger from here to eternity for all the investigator cares.

He is simply following

orders. There is no tomorrow today.

That about sums up the extent of Baker’s activity. Tyger

posts high on the apartment complex. He notices her pointing him

out to a neighbor.

Did she just wave at him? Must be a pigment of his

imagination. Then again …

After further review, Tyger decides she indeed was waving at

him from the top of the stairs. He doesn’t particularly care

except for a modicum of anger induced by her half-assed

attitude that she believes

has gotten away with something.

Tyger has been following the acrobat turned invalid’s

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

489

 

activities for weeks without being noticed. She could only catch

him when he turned up the heat in the most obvious fashion.

That evening, Dorothy delivers final marching orders. “We

are going one last time on Baker, and that is the fat lady singing.

I bet you are sick of the place by now.”

“No kidding,” mind of the Tyger replies. “Everyone thinks I

live around there.”

Dorothy laughs. “All we want you to do is set up the system

as usual. Run it the six hours and pick it up. This will conclude

our mission. Then, drop off the tapes and equipment.

Joe wants to make a few modifications, or something.

Don’t worry about your reports until later.

We only need the tapes for now”

Tyger takes a final leap through the looking glass into the

wonderful Disney world of Mildred Baker where nothing is as it

seems and even less makes sense.

He sets up the picture and gets the hell out of River City

East over to the covered mall. The maxed-out mall experience finally comes

in somewhat handy as the weather has now turned hot for the

duration of summer and beyond. Tyger chills in the usual manner.

He is a bit more cautious than previously due to Thursday’s

events as he picks up the system about 4:30 p.m. after first

determining that the coast, as they say, is clear. Not even a

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

490

 

Mariel boat-lift dinghy or Cajun pirogue on the horizon.

A change in course is taken per instructions.

Tyger drives

to the West Bank during rush — haha — hour, crawling into

Marrero about 5:30 p.m. He leaves off the tapes and equipment,

then returns home.

Land line rings at Tyger’s lair about 9 p.m.

Yes? Dorothy from behind the curtain at Oz.

“Ahhh, Tyger. Is everything alright?” inquires his

supervisor ever so cautiously.

“Huh?” Tyger replies a bit perplexed. “What do you mean?”

“You didn’t notice anything, ahh, unusual about, say, your

car?” continues Dorothy mining the same vein.

Conversation ensues: “No. It was the same as always.”

“Are you sure?” “Well, yeah. Why do you ask?”

“Oh, that’s a relief,” Dorothy notes. “No one said anything

to you or anything? Did they?” “No,” answers

a suddenly concerned Tyger .

” I better tell you what happened,” Dorothy continues.

“Baker and a couple of neighbors were around your car for at

least 20 minutes, shaking it and everything like that. I was

afraid maybe they did something to it.”

“Shaking my car?” “Yeah. Actually it is kind of funny because

they are right up in the window staring inside and

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

491

 

then shaking it for a while. Didn’t really affect the picture

any. That black box is very sturdy.”

“They were shaking my car?” “Well, yes. But if you didn’t

notice anything unusual I guess it’s alright.”

“No. The car drove crappy as always.” “Well, that’s a

relief. I guess. Sorry to put you through that. We didn’t

think anything like that would happen, but Mildred Baker is mad

as a hatter, as we all well know.”

“They were shaking my car? You are kidding, right?” “Don’t

get too concerned. Apparently everything turned out for the

best.”

“I must have been at Lake Forest Mall when they were doing

that. Everything seemed normal when I returned. I didn’t have a

clue.”

“Good then. Let me know if there are any problems with your

car or anything.” Dorothy resumes her laughing gasps.

“I mean, you really should see the tape. I have never-

seen anything that funny in my life with them all clucking

like chickens, shaking the car.

They were trying to look through the windows, but from

the appearance of it, didn’t seem to see anything,” Dorothy

continues. “Actually, quite a gas. I guess I can say that because

it isn’t my car. Seriously, let me know if anything is wrong.

We’ll take care of it.”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

492

 

“Like I said. We are through with the case. Nothing on

the horizon for a while,” Dorothy says. “I’m sure we

will have you going on some cases after the Fourth of July. I

know Joe wants to get at Bingo LeBeouf very badly and there

might be some other cases.”

“Sure. Sure. I need a little break anyway.” Tyger replies,

shaking his head in amazement. “They were shaking my car?

I’ll  be damned. Didn’t have a clue.”

Tyger immediately screeches like a cruise missile to his

vehicular target reconnoitering for any scrapes, cuts, bruises,

or Baker related abrasions.

No, it seems alright. He road tests around Audubon Park. All

systems operate as always, which is to say not great but no

unusual noises or problems. So it goes. The Baker riot did not

cause any significant fall-out like a nuclear tipped Cruise

missile might.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twenty-Four

Weisman

493

 

Watching the Cubbies blast the Philadelphia Philthies

9-1 behind the pitching of Rick Sutcliffe, Tyger nevertheless

feels a sense of uneasiness. He calms down with a couple of

personal joints like hedgehogs in a row.

“Man, I was in that damn mall when all hell was breaking

loose,” Tyger thinks, shaking his head in resignation. “I am very

glad I did not see that happening. I really would have broken

Baker’s back if I had. Bitch.”

No harm, no foul, no matter. In a Midsummer Night’s Dream

so pleasant, so right, Tyger kicks back his mind reflecting on

the Bard’s sentiments. All’s well that’s well ended.

The intrepid investigator can’t ask for much more than that,

except, maybe, Prospero’s daughter. But that is another play

entirely. Take another hit, O’ excellent air bag. End of story.

Be the first to comment on "Surveillance Pelicana Chapter Twenty-Four: ‘O, Excellent Air Bag’"

Leave a comment