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Tyger interviews at Marrero for an insurance
investigator’s position with Dorothy Lafleur of Information
Retrieval Services (IRS) Inc. The position is explained and Tyger
is hired. He begins his first assignment at Kenner with a
Greetings dawn. How the hell is it hanging today?
Shedding the past like a snake its skin, Tyger awakens the
next morning turning his head with vivid recollections of the
night before, and a marijuana hangover quickly shaken and stirred.
Today, that day forever etched in time, could be of some
interest or even slight importance. Tyger side-glances his alarming clock.
Got a job interview and can’t be late.
Tyger handles morning routines with aplomb: shits, shaves,
showers. The usual lame “Good Morning New Orleans” show ruins
daytime TV. (‘Tis a Williams household outrage.)
Clothing selection, takes a turn towards the unusual.
Tyger takes out of his bedroom closet a five-year-old
suit worn just once for a family function best left
Whooo. Smells like a 5,000 year old dead animal instead
of formal wear. That is terrible.
Not exactly form fitting either. Tyger has put on some
weight since then.
Another testimonial to the nowhere lifestyle.
Oh well, truly no choice as to selection. Tyger dons the
brown confection and pisso presto, voila’, a walking piece of crap
like the rest of work-a-day humanity.
Tyger exits the small wood frame shotgun duplex to his
nay-bores’ amazement. Never before seen him dressed
like a store mannikin before or aft.
Nobody utters a discouraging word as befits
good nay-bore protocol. Why spoil a perfect vision.
Our boy loads himself in the dented grey Toyota station
wagon without a muffler . He smoky-mokes across to
Magazine Street and parts Downtown.
As usual, the only time a Regional Transit Authority bus can
be spotted is when one drives behind it. Try waiting on a hot New
Orleans summer day a term that almost goes without saying —
and no bus will pass for hours.
Try being in a hurry and in a car and they fume
everywhere, bottling up traffic. Menacing drivers — female
deadlier than the male variety — snarl at passengers, sometimes
stopping and leaving the bus running while they shop for a
twinkie or cold drink at a nearby inconvenient convenience store.
Typical New Orleans charm, y’all.
In this case, Tyger has procrastinated just long enough to
be anxious about making his employment interview on time. Of
course, he is stuck behind two consecutive busses faced with a
steady stream of incoming traffic on the Uptown side of Magazine Street.
Tyger honks his horn, weaves wildly, shouts curses, some
quite creative like “You bus-fuck” and “Why don’t you die RTA
faggot” all to no avail — surprise, surprise. The three mile trip
downtown takes about as long as the Pleistocene Age.
Past small antique shops, furniture stores and related
businesses through deteriorating street-scum-smart neighborhoods,
the Age of Tyger finally approaches the Camp Street entrance ramp
to the Greater New Orleans Bridge spanning the Mississippi
River from East Bank to West. Tyger’s destination is the
outskirts of Yatville across the river at Marrero.
A middle class suburban New Orleans neighborhood beckons.
Tyger parks the rambling wreck and walks along a short path to
the front door of a mid-sized home.
A chubby yet attractive young woman, about 30 years old,
short black hair, casually dressed in loose fitting black slacks
and white blouse, answers the door.
“Hi, I’m Dorothy LaFleur,” she announces as a small dog runs
up barking. “And this is Poopsie.”
She cradles the pooch. “Excuse me. Poopsie gets over-excited
when she meets a stranger .” She takes the dog outside,
return to sender.
“Tyger Williams I presume. Have a seat on the couch.
Make yourself comfortable.
Let me tell you something about the position.”
Tyger follows orders as Dorothy explains the job’s
requirements. Information Retrieval Services Inc. is the
company’s name. It is operated by a gentleman from Florida. They
handle insurance claims investigations.
Generally, oil, insurance companies, and attorneys pay them
to determine whether the subjects — never refer to them as
anything else — are legitimately injured.
Tyger nods his head, listening intently.
The company handles a variety of other investigative
services. Bossman, Joe Fine, conducts fire
investigations and administers polygraph tests.
The company also locates persons, interviews potential
witnesses of all types and handles miscellaneous assignments.
Generally though, IRS Inc. deals with insurance investigations.
(This is January 1988, so keep in mind that the Louisiana
oil patch has gone bust along with the official OPEC pack of
jackals. Workers are being laid off en masse as the Louisiana
economy hits rock bottom.
Therefore, early retirement courtesy of fraudulent injury
claims appears quite attractive to a certain underclass of miscreants.
What’s more, unscrupulous attorneys and physicians conspire to
defraud the insurance companies which, also due to the recession
and the natural inclination to protect assets, are quite
reluctant to pay any claims, much less bogus ones.)
Work for the private IRS Inc. has been booming, Dorothy
continues. “I have been working with Joe for nearly four years,
just found out I’m pregnant.”
“Thank you. we feel like we can add someone
while I assume a more supervisory role.
Basically, we need someone with video experience to conduct
video surveillance of claimants,
operate Joe’s unique video surveillance system.
“Now,” she says, turning discussion to the applicant at hand,
“have your resume here and it looks quite impressive.
Anything you wish to add?”
A person has assumed as many positions as Tyger
becomes expert at the art of job interviewing tactics.
Tyger begins the usual suppliant balancing act painting himself in
a most agreeable light. He explains education, various degrees in
literature and history, as well as previous occupations
writer for only the most awful, er awesome,
publications, academic researcher.
Moving right along, Tyger discusses his considerable
independent video experience. He emphasizes video production
skills, talents at videography, editing and the like, and his
desire to work the detective job to earn enough money to keep
afloat, buy some rad editing equipment.
Dorothy listens carefully from comfy cloth chair as Tyger
rambles on the couch. Occasionally, Poopsie barks in the
“I am curious abut one thing,” Dorothy notes. “Tyger with
an ‘Y.’ What’s up with that?” Tyger laughs.
“Everybody asks me that.
We had a class called General Languages
in First Form — that’s 7th Grade to y’all — in the private
school I attended. We sampled French, German, Russian, Spanish,
Latin to see which language we wanted to learn later.
I was so ferocious when it came to conjugating Latin verbs
that one day the teacher said I was like a tiger.
The name stuck. I changed the ‘i’ to ‘y’ to be special.”
Tyger stops speaking, searching for some sort of approving
sign. Dorothy disappears into the bedroom. She places a
telephone call while Tyger fidgets on the uncomfy couch.
At long long last, dear Dorothy returns from OZ.
“I just spoke with Joe,” she reports. “He says give it a go.
We’ll give you a shot at $10 an hour, 20 cents a mile plus all expenses.
We furnish the video surveillance system. You file reports
on this format.” She hands him a form.
“We cut you a check once the report is filed.
I will be available for consultation whenever you are on
assignment. We don’t leave anyone out in the field alone.
Otherwise, Joe has an 1-800 answering service number he
checks that you can call, You’ll meet him when he comes to town.
Object is to determine whether the subject actually is
injured. We have had cases where guys with bad backs
did roofing jobs; the blind played softball,
lame run in marathons.”
Dorothy explains that she doesn’t have the system at her
house, but will soon. Being repaired at the shop.
IRS Inc. also has a backlog of cases to be investigated
using more standard video practices. Tyger is to find a good spot for
surveillance and shoot any possible video of the subject along
with 35mm still shots. Special emphasis should be placed on the
subject’s ability to move around as well as all relevant
details of his injury related lofe-style and activities.
So, it begins. Let’s roll.
“Great,” Dorothy says. “No more suits and ties Tyger unless you have to
testify in court. We’re a down and dirty operation. Blue jeans are fine.”
“Great,” Tyger says. “I’m a blue jeans type of guy.”
Dorothy issues equipment necessary to initiate operations.
Standard issue VHS video recorder with battery;
camera with 8-1 zoom lenses; check. Video car chord, check.
Video cassettes, six hour SP mode, check. Still camera, check.
Dorothy then provides the details of the debut investigation.
Subject: Frank Davis. 432 Wishbone Lane, Kenner, Louisiana.
Phone number: 504-876-9087. Married with three children,
white male. Date of Birth: 9/21/57.
He was working on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico,
claims to have slipped on a wet deck and injured his back.
Great difficulty moving and can’t work.
Social Security number, 098-56-8901.
“Get there about 6 a.m.,” Dorothy continues, “determine
what vehicle or vehicles he has. Get the license plate numbers,
which we will run at a local Department of Motor Vehicles Office.
Note any and all activities. Stick with him until 11 a.m.
if he isn’t doing anything. Stick with him as long as possible if
there is activity, shooting as much video as you can.”
Ollie North’s Iran-Contra secret subversive legions have
nothing on the new improved Tyger as he leaves Dorothy’s house
with a new job. He is ready to rock and roll on a new mission in life.
“I think I can. I think I can,” he tells the bomb sans
muffler, which answers back, “You know it Sam, you am.”
(So speaks Tyger’s mother the car.)
“What the hey hey hey, I’m an insurance investigator now,”
Tyger says. “You better not break down again, bitch.”
Tad gets married again on “All My Children” or Erica gets
fucked as daytime soaps inevitably pass towards nighttime lies.
Tyger’s story moves along time’s fine lines, a few nanoseconds,
maybe eons passing by.
That evening, Tyger tells Armor’s and a couple of other fellow travelers
about his new engagement. They seem impressed.
He checks a Champion map of the New Orleans Metropolitan Area.
Wishbone Lane is down Williams Boulevard
between the International Airport and Jefferson Downs Race Track.
Tyger also looks up Davis, Frank in the phone book: 432 Wishbone Lane, Kenner, Louisiana.
Phone number: 504-876-9087. Check.
He practices some with the video camera taking pictures
of the small badly carpeted living room and omnipresent turned on television
before sleepy eyed Susans whisk him to bed. Check, check, and double check.
O.K., baby, ready to stroll.
“Hey good looking. What you got coking.
Why don’t you … ” Whaaaaaaat!!!”
Tyger fairly falls off his floor mattress and whacks the clock radio alarm.
“Why don’t you … ”
He misses. Whack. Off.
What the hell? It’s 5 a.m.
Tyger prepares the automatic drip-dry coffee-maker with
P.J.’s French Roast and moves as myth along the ancient wake-up
ritual practiced beyond time’s memory. Of course, the early
morning hour makes this exercise more arduous than usual.
Persevering Tyger shits, shaves, and showers. He finishes
important coffee presentation exercises and samples same.
Tastes almost as if his taste-buds were awake.
Final shaman chants of morning. It is dark, yes, but
prospects of dawn beckon. Silver Toyota wagon without a muffler
is loaded with more useful objects like video equipment. Another
cup of java and off into the future exploring.
WTUL-FM, the progressive college station, has temporarily
gone off the air, again. The only other stations are playing
commercials, classical. or pop sham music.
What is that — Mozart, Brahms, Dylan? Thomas? Who knows.
Strikes a stirring melody for a stoic detective investigating a
becoming orange dawn. Quite a silly sight.
Tyger floats along Nashville Avenue, over and under
secret shortcuts slicing diagonally away from the river towards
Interstate-10. A newspaper delivery here, strange dark jogger
there, birds chirping.
Tyger is tired and cranky, nervous about doing well
first time out of the gate.
He listens to the lame radio in a world concealed by fogged
up car windows — the usual
residue of humidity mixed with
anxiety — and flashing traffic lights. Over and over and over he
goes to Interstate-10 with headlights aglowing.
A few minutes before the appointed hour, Tyger glides his
mother the car to a stop. Voila, subject’s boudoir yonder beckons.
Still a bit too dark to read vehicle license plates,
Tyger drives around the block casing the neighborhood.
Standard middle class suburban grid with small wood houses, green
well-manicured yards and a mixture of car, truck, van vehicles.
Tyger pulls his dead weight over to an empty church parking lot,
resurrecting diagonally across another street from subject’s abode. He
prepares video equipment for shooting, waiting until
orange has become yellow and dawn is almost past tense.
Then, he drives by, scribbling on a four-corner folded piece
of yellow legal paper the license numbers of the car parked in
the Davis driveway and a truck parked on the front curb. Like
taking candy from a baby, baby. This is too easy.
Swallows and pigeons always returning, Tyger resumes his
church lot sentry post. He posts up high near a brick wall.
Direct evidence reveals hard-working residents of Wishbone
Lane preparing for their lovely jobs. Except one. Lights out at
da Davis household. A newspaper waits patiently
on the Davis front lawn.
Pedestrian and vehicular traffic picks up. Tyger listens to
the radio, while drinking coffee. Video equipment rests in state
on the passenger seat covered by a Kool-Aid Kids beach towel.
Too bad. Nothing shaking. Tyger drives a few blocks to a
Time-Saver convenience store.
(Why do they call it that anyway? The clerks are so
diffident that no one “saves” time.)
He purchases a Slimes-Picayune newspaper with the usual
outrageous news fakes from nowhere interesting. How nice.
The news is no muse: Auburn fans leave New Orleans vowing
they will return. Don’t let the door slam you on the way
out. Die tie mongers. Had a lousy Sugar Bowl for breakfast.
Also purchased: Package of cashew nuts diet coke for
therapeutic caffeine purposes only.
Tyger drives back to the church. He waits for another
private eye-full, alternating between Slimes lies and glances at
the Davis house. Negative activity.
Otherwise, immediate area exhibits the usual early
morning shenanigans. Vehicles drive by towards Williams
Boulevard. Mothers escort children to school bus stops.
An occasional jogger or old man totters along. Teenagers on
skateboards whiz towards truancy. Exciting stuff.
Back like a slinky bending to position Tyger slides. Safe!
He settles in at Her Lady of Immaculate Conception or whatever
the darn church is called. Occasionally he wipes dew from inside
and outside the car window.
Yellow turns the sky bright into day. Blackbirds fill the
block of air to the west.
Humidity wipes Tyger’s forehead like
mist on the green green suburban
grass. Negative activity by the subject continues.
A loud wheezing noise vanishes from the airwaves.
Oh shit, the mighty WTUL-box again,
Tyger switches to WWOZ. “Sonufa gun
gonna have unfun on de bayou.” The song is ending.
“Yes my children, Cajun Louis ‘Lala’ Lalonde here.
Let the good times roll be’bes.”
Click. Don’t need that shit, Tyger swears.
Detective detecting continues with negative activity. Hey,
that car has been around here before. What is it? Those birds
look nice. Anyone coming to the church?
Tyger can’t figure nothing out.
A natural span deficits as paranoia and good
investigative sense intermingle, date, mate, marry,
warily watch the day following sunrise.
Suddenly, a siren as a Kenner Police car drives up into the
church. Out jumps the old smoky cop. Sir, sir, etc. etc.
The officer takes Tyger’s driver’s license.
“Ever been arrested? Are you sure? Sure?”
Cop gives license a quick once over.
He looks around Tyger’s tired covered wagon.
“Hmmm. Break tags expired. Seat belt.” Blah blah blah.
“What you doing here?”
“I was having car trouble, waiting for a friend.”
Crackle (snapple-pop.) Cop’s patrol radio sputters and ,squawks.
“Just a moment, sir. Nothing?”
Cop shop notes with disappointment into the accursed transmitter.
Darn, no easy mark to bust today, the cop nonetheless
wants to determine what the neighborhood watch has been bitching about
all morning long.
“Look, officer,” Tyger explains the assignment.
What the heck. He is tired of being hassled.
”You know you really shouldn’t lie especially to a policemen,” the cop concludes,
returning Tyger’s license. A brief
painless lecture ensues from a police presence
who is not entirely regulation either.
He sports a sloppy open shirt collar
revealing a white T-shirt underneath
Complementing red beard stubble on red face.
“Aright. You have a right to be here. I hope I didn’t spoil
nuthin’,” Officer Santy Claus concludes.
He is, after all, late for donuts and coffee at the Williams Boulevard Denny’s.
“No. I was just leaving anyway,” Tyger replies.
“But I might be back tomorrow.”
“O.K. I’ll tell my partner. Happy hunting.”
The cop drives into obscurity.
Approximately 9:30 a.m. with negative subject activity
Tyger returns to said convenience store and telephones
Dorothy LaFleur explaining the current situation.
“O.K. break it off,” she says. “We’ll check with our
client, maybe go back on this guy.
I have another case for you to do, anyways.”
“O.K. Sorry I didn’t come up with anything.”
“Don’t worry about it. If they don’t move, they don’t move. No problem.”
One last pass-by, off into the secret spaces beyond Frank
Davis’s universe roars the Big Bang theory named Tyger Williams.
Have no fear comrades in observation, Tyger’s time surely will come.