(The entire book appears at this link with chapters added after appearing online:
Tyger works a case at Avondale. This chapter
contrasts the official details of investigation with actual
impressions. The Subject has a car accident while under
observation. Tyger also works Hassan Ibn Ben Hassan in a burned
out part of New Orleans’ Seventh Ward, the Smiths of Algiers
Point, and Sammy Nestor in Marrero. Tyger meets R.C. at Barataria
Mall who dispenses observations about karma.
“People Behaving Badly”
“Second verse same as the first … ” Ugggh! “I’m Enery the
Eighth I yam, Henery the Eighth I yam I yam. I got married to the
widow next door.” Whack! Ouch.
And a miss.
“She’s been married seven times before.”
Whack. Silence. Gaaads. Second verse just like the first.
Which is worse?
Up, up and away, fleshy Tyger face balloon, striped by messy
sleeping habits and a bad case of bed-head engendered by the
early morning hour . Usual wake-up routine as immortalized.
Getting down to business. Same classical music on WTUL . Same
incredibly beautiful orange red dawn light flashing.
Up at bad, new subject: Pat Verkuil. This time Tyger’s mother of
all cars grooves across the Huey P. Long Bridge to nearby
Scenic Highway 90 extends south through the bayous from
these salty headwaters. Fast food restaurants and the usual
shopping opportunities loom just past the bridge.
Surveillance fans, in this corner of town, middle class white homes.
Retail opportunities are like sandwiches spread cheesily
between the houses. Not much of a town, really,
but it will have to do.
Pat Verkuil was working on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico
when he said he slipped on a deck and injured his right knee.
Claims he no longer can work and has suffered loss of income.
Subject born 5/21/63. Social security number .
Telephone number. Old address at LaPlace. Married. Two children,
so forth and so on it goes.
Oh, look; 6′ 5″ 250 pounds, long brown hair in a ponytail.
Herr Verkuil shouldn’t be too hard to miss.
Some additional disinformation finishes off Verkuil’s file.
He should be wearing a heavy knee brace. Obtain a description of
vehicles and activity. The agent is authorized to work
from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Check, double check, and triple threat. Off with the mighty
video box into the dawn like a gunslinger with the sun at Tyger’s
back. Another day, another $10 an hour. Tyger gulps down black
coffee, straight no chaser. But oh so sweet.
Rolling across the narrow claustrophobia that is the Huey P.
Long Bridge, Tyger descends into Verkuil world. No activity.
Looking good. An empty field across
the street watches Verkuil’s white wood with blue
trim single family dwelling. Red Chevy truck,
Louisiana License BOO 453 lies in curbside state fronting
house. Family van rests in a driveway by a small carport.
A large backyard with a swing-set and doghouse is visible
from the street. Tyger takes stock of the scene, sells short,
sits back, and relaxes.
What follows are the details of investigation as filed by
Tyger Williams on Friday Jan. 8, 1988:
At 5:30 a.m. the agent departed New Orleans and proceeded to
the subject’s reported residence. Where upon his arrival at 6 a.m.
agent located subject’s residence, a single
family white wood dwelling with blue trim. The dwelling also has
some brick and a large backyard and faces east on the street.
Parked in the subject’s driveway was a black Chevy Astrovan
bearing Louisiana License plate 823X341. Parked directly in
front of the subject’s yard was a red The agent moved a safe distance
from the area and began his surveillance.
A white female emerged from the residence about 7:30 a.m.
and drove the Astrovan on to S. Jamie Blvd. and then on Highway
90 towards New Orleans. A video recording was made of the activity.
The agent maintained a rolling surveillance until 9:30 a.m.
periodically checking on the subject’s activities.
The agent moved a safe distance from the area and began his
Back to reality rush. Tyger resumes his position across the
street by the empty field. The usual street activity and
pedestrian traffic streaming like bream towards a nearby high
school. The little people are getting high while going by.
Bless them every one.
Tyger reads the Slimes-Picayune picking like the trash-man
through the daily outrages — murder, crime, corruption,
i.e. news porn.
Too bad. Checking the sports section. Saints players bemoan
blow-out loss in playoffs.
Just like Mardi Gras. Thanks for nothing, mister .
About 9:30 a.m., a Jefferson Parish Deputy comes by to
discuss Tyger’s positioning. The nascent investigator doesn’t
even bother lying this time. Why mess with it?
Deputy Dawg drives off, meddlesome soul
satisfied. It is merely a function of the usual authority trip.
More wild roving blackbirds circle above Tyger’s anointed
head. What a square baseball cap he is sitting there.
Tyger takes a mental picture of the scene. Those damn
blackbirds. He’s seen them before. Harbingers of bad sad luck.
Perhaps, the evil spell breaks today.
Continuity of lines. Short attention span. Scanning the
block, houses, field, sky. Tyger’s head rotates like a cartoon
clown looking ahead, then behind his tail.
Oh well, what the hell. Tyger relaxes, drinks more coffee —
goes to McDonald’s to piss, not on the report — back to the
field of play. He climbs cautiously out of the surveillance vehicle,
walks back and forth for a while, returns to the car,
checks video equipment.
All systems go. Now, where is that darn nowhere man? Tyger
finds a nearby telephone and calls his new good buddy Patty Pie Verkuil.
Blurry voice answers the phone.
“Ahh, is Phil there?” Tyger roars.
“Phil? Naah. Wrong number.”
“This isn’t Phil Verkuil’s place?”
“No. No. You got the last name, but my name is Pat, not Phil.”
“Oh, sorry Bud. Didn’t read the name right in the book.”
“No problem.” Click. Tock. At least we know he’s there.
Tyger reassumes the position.
About 11 a.m. the mailman walks by the yard.
Dogs, persons who look like dogs, birds, West Bank scenery,
Another 30 minutes passes. Not exactly Apocalypse Now.
Resuming the official details of investigation:
At about 11:55 a.m. the subject departed his neighborhood in
a red Chevy truck. The subject proceeded across the Huey P. Long
Bridge continuing along Clearview Parkway to Interstate 10 and
Interstate 610 towards New Orleans East. A video recording of
this activity was made.
Steaming along the interstate with his hair to the wind and
radio blaring, Tyger stears clear a few car lengths behind Mr.
Verkuil for some 15 miles. The vehicles exit on Read Boulevard
gliding gracefully towards the giant monolith that is Lake Forest
Shopping Mall. The Neville Brothers play on the radio. Who knows
which song. They all sound the same.
Resuming the official details of investigation:
At about 12:35 p.m. the Subject exited Interstate 10 at Read
Boulevard. The Subject’s vehicle then hit the back bumper of
another vehicle directly in front of it on the exit.
A video recording of this activity was made. It shows that
the driver of the struck vehicle immediately emerged as did the
subject who is a white male about 6’5″, 300 pounds, with long brown
hair tied in a pony tail. They briefly examined the damage.
The subject was wearing a heavy brace on his right leg but
is shown jumping out of the truck and appearing to argue with the
driver of the first vehicle. They began shoving each other and
the driver of first vehicle threw a punch which subject ducked.
Subject appeared to be moving with great agility and
placed weight on his right leg.
Another man emerged from the struck vehicle and held the
first driver in a bear-hug. All parties looked at the damage
again, and the subject appeared to apologize. They returned to
their respective vehicles and the subject proceeded down a
service road to a Wendy’s drive-through restaurant on Crowder Boulevard.
At about 12:50 p.m. the Subject drove to 4600 Prospect
Street which is the Textron Marine Systems Plaza and walked
across the parking lot to the building. A video recording of this
activity was made. It shows the subject walking with a slight but
At 1 p.m. the agent proceeded to a safe area across the
street from the building and maintained
negative activity by the subject.
surveillance with negative activity by the subject.
Tyger sits in his car like one of those blackbirds on a
telephone wire. He surveys a tall building
in a vast empty lot across from Lake Forest Shopping Center.
Wild stuff, Johnny Tyger practices for his Carson Show interview.
“The subject crashed into that other guy because
he was busy looking in the rear window at my tail job.
Isn’t that funny?”
Audience dissolves in laughter.
Tyger sits for a while on the top floor of a higher parking
lot level. He examines the area in front of the building for
photo angles. Then, the invisible eye moves to a position across
the street in the farthest stretch of Lake Forest universe.
Good waiting place. Tyger sets up the camera waiting to
complete the mission.
Verkuil limps home about 2:30 p.m. He was probably at a
rehabilitation clinic located in the building as later records
show. Tyger takes a few more fun shots. He
trails the so-called subject back to the interstate.
Concluding the official details of investigation:
At 3:10 p.m. agent departed the area and returned back
to New Orleans where upon his arrival at 3:40 p.m.
he filed this report.
END OF INVESTIGATION
Invoices show that Tyger receives $132 for this particular experience.
The next job is less exciting, simple records check. Tyger
goes the next Monday to the state Department of Motor Vehicles
Office, runs the license plate numbers on Verkuil’s vehicles.
Each red registration copy costs $4. They verify that
Verkuil, and the finance company, own the vehicles and
some other less relevant information.
Tyger goes into the Jefferson Parish Courthouse at Gretna
checking another subject for suits criminal and civil.
Zut and ehe’, this miscreant has quite a few.
Busy little bees buzzing flowers, investigator and subject
are inextricably united. Let’s see: Six counts of credit card
fraud — suspended sentence; three counts of receiving stolen
goods — fined $500 plus $101 in court costs,
six month sentence suspended.
(Creep must have a good lawyer.)
And in this corner, a record as long as your arm:
Possession of marijuana — forfeited $600 bond
for not appearing for trial, new bond of $1,000 paid for by Central Fidelity.
Subject entered a guilty plea, sentenced to six
months suspended sentence, active probation for one year.
(A good lawyer can only accomplish so much.)
Divorce filings. Forfeited bonds in mortgage books. Plea
bargaining. Guilty. Guilty. Suspended sentence. Failed to pay and
charged with contempt. Nice guy, “good” character.
Another case follows on Tuesday January 12, 1988. Hassan Ibn
Ben Hassan. Do you suppose he is a Black Muslim?
Hassan lives in a burned out part of the city’s Seventh
Ward. Smashed glass and trash strewn everywhere.
Hello Beirut. The Hassan Hassan house is located in a lightly
populated half-abandoned series of cribs,
small one- person type shacks.
Tyger sits back, way back, a good distance on A.P. Tureaud Avenue
sticking out like a white bird among all the black objects.
A burly African-American emerges from the bombed out habitat about
noon and walks down the street. He wears a loose fitting shirt,
silver tipped walking cane, and is topped like a chocolate sundae
with a turban.
(Actually, Hassan is dressed quite nattily. Must have seemed
like a nice settlement to this injured half-ass fruit and nut case.)
Subject Hassan walks down the block towards a place called
“The Jazz Room,” where fellow travelers are tapped inside drinking beer,
shooting pool. Tyger drives by, nudging the steering wheel
with one hand while holding up the camera with the other.
He shoots Hassan walking — quite briskly in fact —
before entering said establishment. Gotcha!
Tough luck Hassan. You’re out.
The hits keep coming that week for the budding investigator.
Fortunately for Tyger’s new gravy train pocketbook, rust never-
sleeps, as they say. No rest for dastardly insurance claimants from hell.
Off to Algiers, then, on Wednesday January 13, 1988 as Tyger-
tracks the Smith household. They inhabit 5532 Maumus — near
Camus — across the river by Algiers Point.
Subject: White male, about 50 years old, married, two
children. He claims a bad back keeps him from working at a moving
and storage company. No problem.
Before church bells ring, before hemp stirs in the field and
children of morning rise . Before the universe explodes in sun,
too bright. Tyger drives through Algiers setting up a good
surveillance spot invisible to the Smithian eye.
Familiar with the routine are we?
Tyger takes down the tags of all relevant vehicles.
Blue Chevrolet Cavalier sits in the driveway, Louisiana
License number BLWME. That is a vanity plate with the patriotic
USA symbols upraised in red, white, and blue. Glory gory,
Negative activity. A 15 year old kid leaves about 8 a.m.,
meets some friends down the street, and saunters over to a nearby
mall. He must be on Christmas school holiday.
About 9 a.m. white female, 40-45 years old, drives to the
store, returning about 20 minutes later with groceries.
Tyger tails her just for grins.
Tyger resumes surveillance nearby in front of a house
allegedly for sale. Smith emerges in full sweat gear about 10 a.m.
Lo and behold, he lugs a heavy trash can.
Tyger makes a video record of the event.
Then, Smith walks around the yard, bends and breaks,
picking up the newspaper. It’s the Slimes-Picayune.
Just how stupid are some of these guys?
Anyway, that’s his story and he’s sticking to it.
On Friday, Tyger locates Sammy Nestor of Marrero.
White male, about 25 years old, married, no children.
Subject is about 5′ 10″ tall, 160 pounds.
Nestor’s most distinguishable mark seems to be a sporty red
Fiat, in which he tools around like a madman. What’s his beef?
Bad neck, or something. Get him while driving.
Easier said than done. Subject’s residence shits on a
street with four, maybe more, easy exits. He jumps in the Fiat,
speeds out of the neighborhood, seemingly picking an exit at random.
After arriving about 8 a.m., Tyger stations himself at the most likely
exit fronting a busy street near
Barataria Mall. A small circus packs part of
the mall parking lot. Ever-curious, now by trade,
Tyger heads over yonder after checking
Nestor’s place for further non-activity.
Circus vehicles seem abandoned. Most trappings
are loaded on long flatbed trucks. Howdy-do
Carnival ghost town.
Tyger drives around slowly, car radio blaring loudly,
ugh, the Rutles. No, check that, the Beatles.
“Strawberry Fields Forever” for all the groovy people
and secret squares. Tyger stops near one of his homey owns.
another station wagon. Maybe this is where they mate
before returning to the concrete sea.
A stringy voice punctuates solid air.
“Hey, what is this?” it asks.
“What is this indeed,” Tyger says.
“Aw man, you woke me up,” it says.
“Hey, how ya doin’?”
Tyger makes nice. “O.K.”
“Just call me R.C.,” says the voice who
becomes the man, early 20s, beard stubble,
long black hair. “Like the cola. Where they go, anyway?”
“You don’t know?” Tyger says.
“Oh yeah. Maybe Bourbon Street. Give me a lift?”
Yeah, right. “No way, dude. I’m working something.”
R.C.’s story is fairly simple. He is sort of a semi-derelict
working for almost nothing at the traveling carnival. They just
completed a two week run in the mall parking lot. His boss and
the others were staying at a nearby motel. He was a kind of
an (unsteady) watchman at the mall. Too bad
Vroooom! There goes that damn red Fiat. “See ya in a minute,”
Tyger notes off-handedly, revs up, pursuing today’s quarry.
Vroooom! R.C. in his dust, looking, as always,
contented or confused. Why bother?
Subject goes to a nearby Winn Dixie Supermarket
emerging five minutes later with a package. He drives caution to
the wind weaving between other cars making good time towards the
over-hanging West Bank Expressway.
Tyger tries his best to keep up, but the smashed wreckage of
his Toyota wagon is no match (natch) for a shiny new red Fiat
sports car. Tyger spies the subject at a post office, then
purchasing cigarettes at a convenience store,
but doesn’t get any good pictures.
Subject returns to his residence.
Tyger returns to R.C. Cola Land.
“Hey man, you a cop or something?” asks a fully emergent
R.C. standing on the parking lot asphalt.
“Nah. I’m just watching someone.”
“Oh. O.K. ” R.C. lives in an imperfect world of suspended disbelief,
so any reply makes perfect sense.
“Now man, you know what they say about what goes around
comes around,” R.C. continues.
“I hope you’re doing something that’s for good.”
“Oh yeah, no problem,” replies Tyger who passes the time by
furnishing a bare bones, need-to-know version of insurance claims
investigations introductory course for R.C.’s consumption.
R. C. smiling red cheeks, fills up on raw knowledge.
“Hey man,” R.C. says finally, after listening to the
intellectual discourse on the profession.
“Tabacky,” Tyger jokes. “Just the wacky.”.
“I got some dynamite stuff. Let’s burn one.”
R.C. produces a fabulous furry fiery reefer and up, uppity,
yup, exhalations resemble blue balloons flying.
“Tastes great.” “Less filling.”
Inhale, exhale, cough cough. Ahhhh! Falling.
Have another hit of sweet fun — home run.
Smoke smoke, cough cough, smoke.
Suddenly, the red Fiat is off to the races again,
zoom zoom kaboom (exhaust backfire) and with a
rocket’s red glare, burst be gone.
And in mid-joint, too, of course.
“Hey man, there he goes,” notes R.C., a fast study.
“Yeah, well. What can you do?” Tyger says.
“He’ll be right back. I’ll get him later. Let’s finish this first.”
Sure enough, a bad penny, subject returns.
Then, he comes and goes two more times
making various short, and snappy, errands.
“SURVEILLANCE PELI CANA”
Sub settles in about noon.
“Watching All My Children,” Tyger says.
Tyger breaks off surveillance at 1:30 p.m.
“He’s probably taking a nap. He’ll be up later.”
“Hey man. What goes around comes around,” is R.C.’s
flavoring. “Stay loose.”
Before breaking off, Tyger calculates the damage. Let’s see,
6.5 hours, 34 miles, $3.99 for videotape. He figures on netting
about $72. He drops off the videotape at Dorothy’s house nearby,
heading for the hills, like a swallow ready another season to return
This scene seems to be working out so far so good.
“Second verse, same as the first…”