Surveillance Pelicana Chapter 7: ‘Super Sleuth’s Eye of the Tyger’




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

Chapters 1-10:

Chapters 11-20:

Chapters 21-30:


Joe Fine, the Super Sleuth, former Israeli

agent and president of IRS Inc., arrives at New Orleans

International Airport. Tyger meets and greets him. They go to

Dorothy’s house where Joe Fine demonstrates the secret video

surveillance system that is constructed in a car baby seat with

remote controls etc. Operation of the system is explained along

with some of Joe’s other plans for the company.



“Super Sleuth’s Eye of the Tyger”



Chapter Seven




Imagination fancy free take flight. Dawn stalks beyond the

wild blue yonder and behind the green door.

Who cares what’s wrong and who’s right.

Another day has landed squarely on Tyger’s shoulders.

In this case, zut and ehe’. Time passes along points unknown

motor control guided this fabled way.

There alights the Super Sleuth by himself so-called.

This, comrades, is Joe Fine who is totally into the

detective motif. His business card is emblazoned with a classic

picture of detective Sherlock Holmes blowing on a curved wooden pipe.

You’re in somewhat good hands with Joe Fine, a mensch

formerly of the Israeli Defense Force code breaking department,

currently plowing the Gulf Coast for fraudulent insurance claimants and

whatever unsolved mysteries vageries of fate devises.

Tyger walks through the terminal at New Orleans International Airport

that is festooned with Mardi Gras commercialism crass,

and pseudo-Louisiana shopping opportunities-selling

the likes of crawfish mugs, Superdome ashtrays,

and cheesy city skyline postcards.



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A couple of airport cops languidly patrol. From time to time,

an airplane ascends or descends depending

on the tower’s instructions or perhaps pilot whim.

The coffee shop charges a million dollars for a cup of java.

Amusing Mardi Gras Indian exhibit at one end of the terminal and

at the other a salute to the Saints. Don’t they know

both seasons ended poorly?

Tyger arrives at the welcoming area. Joe Fine is a tough act

to miss. Description: White male, 40 years old, married,

two children, 6’2″ tall, 190 pounds, shaved bald head.

Stop. OK, on to Kinderhook

approaching the sacred detective meeting ground.

“Joe Fine. Hey,” and communications, or “commos” as they say

in military parlance, is established.

Joe carries two heavy black suitcases.

“These got atomic bombs or something?” Tyger jokes.

“What do you mean by that?” Joe Fine reflects.

“Joking, sir.”

“Me too.”

Joe Fine pops pops open one of the suitcases as they stop in the

terminal for a moment before trekking to Tyger’s sorry vehicle.

“Holy cow, is that what I think it is?” Tyger asks.

“Yeah, you right,” Joe replies, “TV transmitter.

My man in Mobile made it from components.



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Believe it’s illegal to build these now.”

“Probably,” Tyger says.

“This sucker was messing up,” Joe continues,

“but we can set up a remote unit, operate it

from a safe location using this control mechanism.”

He waves at a neat corner of the black box.

Sure, enough, it is a made in Mars looking, remote unit.

“Still working the bugs out. These suckers are finicky.”

Magic carpet guides the newly former alliance past

baggage carousel and black porters, then across the airport

cross-street. A tow-truck from the welcome your screwed

wagon society hauls an unsuspecting tourist’s car towards oblivion.

Welcome to the Big Easy, folks.

Joe Fine has the gig down. He tells Tyger about his

experiences cracking codes in the Army of the Galilee coming over

the good ole’ USA to make some equally good gelt. And thusly,

he had become Florida Man, a creature of the Redneck Riviera

at the inappropriately named town of Niceville.

Embarking on shop talk, Joe Fine tells a funny story about

setting up one guy to go deep sea fishing. Everyone else on the

boat was an operative. Got the guy on great home video hooking a



Chapter Seven




giant tuna despite an incapacitating back injury.

He guffaws at the makeshift memory.

Then, there is the one about the phony softball game that

stung a guy who claimed to be blind.

“He hit a home run, then we hit a home run,” Joe Fine laughing.

Topics include: Fire investigations, the state of world

affairs — Joe is conservative but

strongly believes in civil liberties, and where

to find the best bathrooms while on a stake-out.

(Motels usually fit the bill.)

Joe Fine touches on a variety of interesting and essential

concepts. He is kind of like a detective guru, which is good for a

Tyger getting his feet wet in the business.

“That Super Sleuth thing is pretty damn good,” Tyger sez like pez.

“You would be surprised how many people

remember me for that,” remarks Joe Fine.

Joe provides additional information about various near death

experiences hanging out with the Army of the Galilee on the

Golan Heights during the Yom Kippur War. He mentions hobbies of

sky and deep sea diving. He likes the Grand Cayman Islands for

both. Maybe, he will make it to northern Australia some fine day.

Meantime, I-10 is the usual near death experience.

Tyger weaves his mother the car between traffic crazed Yat

ladies and steamed million-wheeler long-haulers.

Hopefully, Super Sleuth Joe Fine isn’t noticing.



Chapter Seven




Then, past the Metairie cemeteries where the dead are

buried above ground. Beware them voodoo ya-ya witches.

Wouldn’t you prefer eternity down under in a casket?

“Nice work if you can get it,” Joe Fine concludes.

“Did Dorothy mention that I’m going to have you use the system?”

“She had kind of sort of I guess maybe might have mentioned it.”

“Good. You’ll enjoy this.”

Continuing along I-10 towards Downtown and the West Bank,

Joe is, well , fine. He continues to regale his newly recruited

junior associate with picaresque and picturesque verbal daguerreotypes.

“That’s what I hate about this place,” Joe says, “the people.

Dunno. Some of them are idiots like anywhere, but some of them

venture beyond idiocy into lunacy. They don’t care much for

serious business. Get lots of cases around here. I guess it’s the easy

peasy money party mentality. Talk about the city that care forgot.”

No shit, Sherlock.

“It’s hard to get stuff done sometimes,” Tyger says,

“because everyone’s in your face with Mardi Gras or sumthin.

Adult Disneyland.”

“Slackers slackville,” Joe Fine adds. “All these guys figure



Chapter Seven




they can get away with anything.

Tangipahoa, St. Tammany parishes, and north of Lake

Ponchartrain — I have so many presumed arson cases it’s funny and

pathetic. All in the family type business, burning down your

house or the neighbor’s Wild stuff.

No wonder insurance companies paying us

good money to investigate.”

Hum-baby, this narrator seems cooked. A final message from

Joe Fine about sports; he likes soccer, not football and

cooking; Louisiana food is too hot and spicy; Edwin Fucking

Edwards, everyone knows that guy is a crook. Hopefully, he won’t

return in the next election a’la Richard Nixon’s ghost.

All this is expressed in tightly metered word bite clips.

“That’s precisely what I mean,” Joe notes, veering nonetheless,

“How do you spell that boat. You know the Cajun canoe

they have on the bayous?”

“You mean a pirogue?” Tyger asks

“That’s it. How do you spell that?”

“Pirogue: p-i-r-o-g-u-e, I think,”

“Yeah. Yeah, that’s the ticket. I never could figure out that one.”

Downtown canoodles stage left alongside the expressionless way as the

dynamic duo careens towards old man river going West Bank proud.

“Actually it is a beautiful skyline and all, the riverfront,

here at Yatville,” Joe finally observes.



Chapter Seven




For some reason, a large blimp hangs suspended limply near

the Superdome. “I like watching the barges roll along,” Joe pines.

There crosses the Greater New Orleans Bridge, pre-toll days,

single span with the companion Crescent City Connection, so-called

rising as a hallucinating parallelogram companion.

Over and under, winding around the declining exit ramp,

Tyger takes the serpentine asphalt road to the West Bank overpass,

emerging at Marrero.

The yellow brick road leads to Dorothy’s house.

Cut to interior, living area in front divided into a family

room and kitchen with large dining table. The small poodle dog

with pink ribbon around her head is barking in excitement.

Is that well manicured mutt called Spunky, Sparky, Barky?

“What the hell is the dog’s name again?” Joe Fine finally asks.

“l always forget.” Maybe it’s Blinky.

“Get going girl,” Dorothy says, leading away the noisy

creature with nary a care. “That darn pooch, Poopsie.”

Dorothy exits stage left, returning with a baby seat for a

car. She places it gingerly on the kitchen table.

Joe Fine watches his pride with joy.

“There it is,” Joe Fine presents. “Our little beauty.

What ya think? How you like it? ”

“Ahh,” Tyger takes a wild stab in the living room heart.

“Baby seat, I guess. What you mean?”



Chapter Seven




“Yes,” Joe says. That’s what I’m talking ’bout.

That’s the beauty of the system.

Looks just like a baby seat.”

Dorothy smiles by the sink.

“Okee-dokee, here is how it works.”

Joe Fine demonstrates as if making a training video.

Take the automobile battery and put it on the car floor.

Take the jumper cable electrical switches.

Plug in the video recorder and camera.

A small board disguised with cloth supports the VHS camera.

A motor control unit also is plugged in, using that the

investigator can move the camera into position

without actually touching the unit.

The picture is centered through a monitor on the floor.

Camera proper, draped with blue bag cover, appears

quite innocent to the naked eye.

Everything else is covered by towels, old clothes, and

newspapers so that the intricate wiring remains invisible.

Tinted windows in Tyger’s car will provide an extra modicum of security.

“They can look right at that sucker as close as you are to

me now,” Joe remarks to Tyger, sitting about an arm’s length

across the table, “and not suspect a thing. In fact, I have taken

some very nice in your subject’s face shots myself.”

Objective is to arrive at the subjective’s home around

dawn, then set up a shot covering the areas at the residence



Chapter Seven




most conducive to activity. Preferably, this

includes the front door and any garage areas.

Tyger is to run a six hour VHS videotape on the system in

his parked car and make himself scarce, usually leaving the area

although circumstances might dictate hanging around the abandoned vehicle.

“And oh by the way,” Joe Fine adds, “if you think Andy

Warhol made weird movies, you should get a hold of some of our tapes.”

No shit again, Sherlock.

Dorothy and Joe Fine issue the gear then, making special

note of each object — camera, recorder, monitor, remote control,

tapes, battery. Oh yes, don’t forget the Sears Almighty battery

recharger. Check. Check. Check already. That’s a lotta lotta stuff.

And don’t forget this big picture of a component,

the ultimate in car baby seats.

No sub rosa surveillence system would be complete without it.

Final instructions and plans for next week’s cases are laid

lovingly bare on the kitchen table for all to appreciate.

“There should be some good hunting these next few weeks,”

Joe knows “Damn fine missions. Full speed ahead.”

Joe ends the research and development meeting with a few

rapid fire miscellaneous requests of the new recruit. He wants to

make an instructional video about the system and market it to

other agents. He wants to draw up brochures, maybe branch out

into other areas. Tyger might be able to help with all this.



Chapter Seven




“Getting cases is not that hard.

Takes a lot of bullshit, schmoozing with attorneys,

insurance adjusters to get that business,” according to the gospel by Joe.

“And then, they never understand how tough it is to carry

out assignments. They think everything is Starsky and Hutch or

whatever is the current popular detective show.”

(Joe Fine acknowledges that he doesn’t really know for he

doesn’t watch television. Or so he says.)

“This is a results business,” Joe continues. “Clients

are very impressed when I tell them about the system, show

some good results. Lately, I’ve been getting more work than I can handle.”

“People go neighborhood watch crazy if they see a guy in a

parked car,” Dorothy adds. “If no one is inside and all you

can see is an innocent baby seat, if that, we’re home free.”

Joe and Dorothy have been using the system for about six months.

They “know” Tyger can do a great job with it.

“No problem,” Tyger says. “Looks like fun.”

Fun indeed. Everyone smiles. Successful secret surveillance

business meeting. Tyger loads up his vehicle, hands shaking

all around, blasts off for known points Uptown.

“See you when I see you,” Joe Fine says.

“Be thinking about that instructional video.”

Yeah, right; as if…If Tyger hurries home, he can catch the



Chapter Seven




“All My Children” opening credits. Theme song.

They must follow the tide
Where the seabirds fly
Until they find me…

Retracing the usual steps — time, and ass backwards in this

case, Tyger drives into the future. He has a joint in the

glove compartment, goody goody gum-shoe-drop.

Tyger lights up, and over the bridge weaving between semi-insane

semi-truck gravel-head drivers and sporty tin cans filled

with nuclear families or brain-dead cement-head sundry

recreational vehicles with sports van turnip faced pilots.

Damn it. “All My Children” just started.

Expressway lane blocking assholes. Tyger fears the worst.

Just missed Erika Cane fucking a tractor.

Tyger’s mother the car gets off on Camp Street descending

like a Marcel Duchamp nude those strange stairs. It fruit loops

to Tchopitoulas Street somehow. It takes him on a magic carpet

ride past the Stonehenge that surrounds a mind’s eye.

The abandoned 1984 World’ s Fair site flies by over here.

Over there stretch  more wharves: Thalia Street Wharf, a bright red;

Robin Street Wharf, a burnt orange.

Mystery car cuts across abandoned debris, burnt out

vehicular wreckage, sundry fascinating architectural relics

maybe still standing, over to lower Magazine Street. Then,

slower, for derelict trucks fall in to the right, damn fume monster

busses clogging the northern front. Fight on, dude.



Chapter Seven




Magazine Street follows, as it must, the river’s bend. So

does Tyger trailing behind the noontime sun. Church bells ring.

Cajun blackened redfish run down Jackson Avenue.

It’s time. It’s time. Tyger is missing “All  My Children.”

Goddamerung it.

Tyger pounds an angry beat on the car horn, yelling

expletives deleted out the car window, throwing paper temper towel

tantrums in the car bitch, at the car bitches,

turning up and down car radio volume.

All these measures fail to move the bus blocking soap opera

access in front. Said trip takes fooorrreeevvverrr.

And then some. Fuck them already.

Then, a few quick who dats thrown down Nashville Avenue,

surprisingly light traffic around the park,

of course too little, too late, and presto, home at last.

Tyger jumps through the door, out the car, turning on the

television set in one fluid motion taking approximately one

nanosecond unreal time. Immediately settling in like an old story line.

A minor flunky Rosencrantz of a character is dying as a major

player comments, “life must go on,” but for the commercial break.

Get ready for the future. Easy for him to say.

“Fuck you Erica Shame, you slut,”

Tyger, or maybe Guildenstern, shouting

displeasure at the blinking television set.

“No Daytime Emmy for the zillionth consecutive year for you.”



Chapter Seven




(Typical talk back to your television generational humor. )

Tyger troubles. “Oh no, what is it this time.

Another wedding? Another amnesia victim?”

Nah. Just the usual fleeting passions.

After all, ratings sweep not until February.

Passes the rest of the show with actors merely rehashing

details over endless cups of coffee. Tyger joins them with a

couple styrofoam cups worth of P.J.’s coffee, black, no chaser.

Reefer consumed. More soap opera. Quick walk to the store.

Back tor more home life. Checking out the secret

surveillance system. Quite impressive actually, believe it or not.

A map to look at the roads down in the bayou.

All systems check. All Tygers go.

Cut to Tuesday January 19, 1988 at

“Some day, we’ll be together again. One of these days.

When we’re together again, I’ll say that I love you.

Some day. We’ll be togeth…”

Slam. Bam. Wake up man. Here we go again.

Some crazy co-ed rides roughshod over the WTUL-FM airwaves.

“It’s 4:30, what is it, p.m.,” a thin girlish voice swings and misses.

“No wait, that’s wrong. It’s 4:30 a.m. So hard to keep track

when you been up all night.”

Wham. Slam. This time her voice registers as does Tyger’s



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alarm radio bash.

What time is it actually? It’s dark but the red clock time

sings out 4:30 a.m. Shit, it really is 4:30. That is early.

The cold slaps Tyger’s body flinging it like a sumo wrestler

out of the bedroom ring, into the bathroom where he turns on the

heater, standing next to its eerie orange-red glow. Wake up.

Wake up. Wake the F UP!  Time to begin the beguine .

Why bother with certain parts of the ritual? Why indeed.

After all, who is going to know if our boy stinks like a rotting

tuna or looks like a blackened catfish?

Tyger gets as far as shitting, shaving and maintenance

grooming before latching on the line. He blows off

traditional shower. All systems go, stars yet aglow, Tyger

puffs off last night’s nearly abandoned pipe

beginning a new tradition this brave new morning.

He loads the vehicle with surveillance gear unusual.

Holy cow, time to hit a homer in the gloamin’.

Batter up. You’re next, insurance scam creep.

This is your most unlucky moment.

Eye of the Tyger has escaped to rope-a-dope you.

Growls agent he-man glowing.


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