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/
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.
“O, EXCELLENT AIR BAG”
Like TOW anti-tank and Hawk anti-aircraft missiles — you
know, the types that were secretly and illegally traded by Ray-Gun
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, who is
furiously unscrewing whipped cream dispenser tops,
like there is no tomorrow, inhaling nitrous oxide contained within.
Laughing off their respective Rodney Dangerfield asses. No respect.
The dynamically deranged duo carefully return nitrous emptied
canisters to the wrong shelves and keep moving along.
Nothing to see. Woosh, hahaha, woosh, hahaha, slam bam,
thank you Mr. Grocery Gods. Floating along like
a couple of Weird Al songs, feeling like a day on the beach.
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
sinks to its natural state.
Hahaha. Haha-haha. Last can. 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 Ray-Gun had assumed the position, president
in the case, according to former Carter administration officials;
Tyger Williams is headed straight for his assigned
repository. He buys a bottle of Meyers’ 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 hell 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.
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 hand-held
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
striking an alternate objective.
“I am getting wasted,” Mac proclaims. “Incoming. Better take
cover.” Tyger scurries along with the cats to the next room.
Big Mac, 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 leading nowhere, man.
So fills the part of the donut between the dough ever
enclosing, ever exploding, ever expanding until it doesn’t.
An awesome, and perhaps awful, display of pyrotechnics without
further explanation. More than a little, comrades, like the Ray-Gu
mal-Administration policies. Unfathomable beyond description.
Tyger passes a good time during the second
weekend in June partying his little ass off, unlike 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 take, 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 possibly could
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:
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, 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 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.
Where oh queer has this vision flown? All Tyger sees
are black roaches crawling, a few soaring to catch a better view.
She has disappeared forever? Tyger must decide
whether he is happy or sad to have seen her, 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, 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.
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 the shoe.
Coming on to 10 a.m. Monday June 13, 1988 — 1899 if you
are stuck in last century like the Slimes-Picayune — Tyger
travels I-10 East. His loud unmuffled engine roars past
housing project red rooftops to the left, Vieux Carre on the
right; over and beyond the high rise asphalt road climbing
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,
The inveterate investigator exits on Morrison Road.
A quick check of Bakermania 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 walk down the sidewalk
path to open air mini-shopping centers just beyond visible sight-lines.
Traffic flows north-south in vehicular contrapuntal design.
Being mid-morning of mid-June, the day straddles a
borderline between a somewhat pleasant temperate evening and
quickly ensuing scorching hothouse humidity heat that saturates
Crescent City sensibilities until October.
Tyger begins sweating the small stuff as he fine tunes the black box system.
Tiny beads of Tyger water drip on the video recorder. 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.
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 earthly presence. Following general orders based on a cursory review
of previously recorded Baker surveillance, Tyger remains in the immediately
indigenous zone. This is to observe any activities and, if necessary, hop in his
car to follow any Bakerian anomalies. He doublechecks the rear parking area.
Truck, van, poorly aging red Buick sit around the asphalt lot, no doubt
swapping old war lies. 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.
Nothing neither way declaim Horatios of insane world orders.
Like Hamlet, Tyger looks to the sky, contemplating the inner meaning
of his navel. That cloud looks very like a whipped cream dispenser
nitrous oxide cartridge. Nay, nave, looks very like a wheel chair,
the type that Mildred Baker shtups to conquer, pretending to ride.
A hot hotter hottest sun begins dominating consciousness,
wiping away early morning dew. Tyger rests in the shade of an old
oak tree, leaning nonchalantly on tired wood bark.
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 apartment complex.
Surprise, surprise, a tall thin lad about 17 years old
jumps from the driver’s seat. He double-quick steps lively to the
passenger side gallantly opening the door. Out limps Mrs. Baker
oh so very bang the drums slowly melodramatically sporting
a huge metal brace hanging stiffly from both arms. She sways
from side to side low stepping between awkward placement of brace on
pavement. Yoiks, Youch, ouch, almost pains the soul to see her goose step.
She looks like a massive red ant hill of pain. Hell, 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.
None apparently available.
The thin lad climbs in his car, driving north up Morrison
Road to the nearby yatville market. He returns about 15
minutes later, two bags of groceries full.
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,
keeping on guard for any unusual observers.
Nope, pope. 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 sacre blue contents, dumping it in the wasteland below the highway.
Talk about Lagniappe. Surveillance sometimes can be a funny game resembling,
like Joe Fine said, the 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, simply gathering moss today.
Tyger kills another half-hour nearby alternating between
walking and whatever it takes to stop. Negative subject activity continues.
Final act, 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.
Dialing Dorothy for an upfake, she says, “Run the system until 3 p.m.,
break it down, look at the tape, and return on her tomorrow at 11 a.m.
Run the system the full six hours. Spend the first hour nearby,
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. 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
to the catbird’s seat. Baker the junior’s car is back in the lot hobnobbing
with the other inanimate objects.
About the only activity of note, if that, is Mrs. Baker executing her
walking like death warmed over shtick, leaning painfully on heavy
metal arm braces trudging to the edge of the apartment complex
stairs. Yoiks! Youch! What a pathetic slouch. She needs new material.
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, peers inside.
Then he returns and speaks to the fabulous Mrs. Baker as
her son places 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 not so 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.
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
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 bag, 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.
Kids bicycle about like mad fruit flies. Cars race along
in the distance, far away from the madding Baker crowd.
Tyger determines this to be a psychically safe area,
lighting up a marijuana roach. He inhales deeply, leans back,
watching time flow like a flash flooding 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 redux.
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 more to report.
“Great,” Dorothy notes. “Look at the tape when you get home.
Do the same thing tomorrow. They really want to get Baker.
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, even artistic close-ups from the Bakerian enclosure
to her lower steel framed extremities.
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 appearances on the
po’ liddle me ode to Mildred Baker insurance sham show
while Tyger hangs around not so innocently across the street.
The subject moves in the usual woe is me 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’ll go back on her Tuesday.”
“No problem,” Tyger replies. “Getting sick of LakeForest Mall anyway. ”
The following Tuesday, June 21, 1988 is the summer solstice,
longest day of the year. That makes no difference in the wide
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
putting out the plants before leaving 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 out 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. Takes fucking
forever to get nowhere. Not helping matters any, the driver takes
the Chef Mentaur Highway exit, then stomps off to an inconvenience store.
“Ah, what the hell is going on?” Tyger wonders loudly. Elderly
Yat presence simply shakes his balding head. “Happens all the time.”
Dat man says. “They just stop when they feels like it. Goes with the turf.”
“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
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, walking 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. Aboriginal dreamtime.
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.
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.
on Monday June 27, 1988, events begin to pick up the pace
Curious comings and curioser goings around the Baker place.
About time, ya thunk?
Increased activity is apparent tout de suite as a series
of 30- and 40-something white males arrive and depart en masse.
They have that coke classic redneck mother demeanor tooling around in
raunchy pick-up trucks and vans with dirty 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, passing on loopy 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 retreats from the battle field for the mall.
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. Ain’t happenin’.
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 I-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
can not figure it out. What the hell could
all those motherfucking rednecks be doing in there?
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.
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 raunchy redneck convention breaks up about noon.
The entire crew departs en more 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
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, rewinding 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. No Baker Baker anywhere, 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.
The big bad Baker vehicle returns about 20 minutes later.
Sure enough, the comeback kid is behind the wheel.
Like a bear who shit in the woods, 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 good 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-in-lifestyles.
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. “Spoke with Joe today.
Says it is time to wrap up on Baker. Wants you to take an active surveillance.
Sit in your car on her, follow any movements. Just go for it. Don’t care
if you blow your cover. Shoot her if she moves.”
Noooo problema. Tyger sets up, waiting for hours. He
ignores the neighbors as they likewise ignore him. That is some
neighborhood watch program they have over 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 owl him now. Hoot hoot.
Fuck her, if toucan. Give her the bird. She can make
Tyger from here to eternity for all the investigator cares.
He simply is 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
she has gotten away with something.Tyger has been following the acrobat turned
faux invalid’s activities for weeks without being noticed. She only
caught 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 want
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 world of Mildred Baker where nothing is as it
seems, and even less makes sense.
He sets up the picture, 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, picking up the system about 4:30 p.m. after first
determining that the coast, as they say, is clear. Not even a
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 you mean?”
“You didn’t notice anything, ahh, unusual about, say, your car?”
continues Dorothy mining the same vein. Conversation ensues.
“No,” Tyger says. “Same as always.”
“You sure?” Dorothy says.
“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, then
shaking it for a spell. Didn’t really affect the picture any.
That darn black box is very sturdy.”
“They were shaking my car?”
“Well, yes. But if you didn’t notice anything unusual, guess it’s alright.”
“No. 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 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. 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. Never seen anything
that funny in my life, 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. Actually, quite a gas.
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.”
“Like I said. We are through with the case. Nothing on
the horizon for a while,” Dorothy continues. “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.
Might be some other cases too.”
“Sure. Sure. 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, 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.
Watching the Cubbies blast the Philadelphia Philthies
9-1 behind the pitching of Rick Sutcliffe, Tyger nevertheless
feels a sense of uneasiness. He hits on the last remaining
nitrous whippets from the ISIS 20-pack. Whoosh whoosh ah-ha-ha.
“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. Reality is unreal.
Hahaha…laughing it up till the coming morrow.
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