The entire book appears at this link with chapters added after appearing online:
Unfortunately, Tyger is broke and can’t attend the second Jazz Fest weekend.
He makes the best of it with karmic daydreams at Audubon Park’s lake.
Following this interlude, Tyger is sent on the wrong assignment by Jack LaFleur,
Dorothy’s dipsy husband. Then, Tyger sets up on a case in Gretna and
takes a memorable ferry ride across the river.
Finally, Armor’s pitches in and returns Tyger to the surveillance scene.
The investigator reviews and logs the tape of strange Subject activity.
“IN THE RIGHT PLACE, MUST HAVE BEEN THE WRONG TIME”
Darn. Back to the same old lame old reality selection. That
is the way it going going goes, apologies to baseball announcers everywhere.
Another day passes and another in alarmingly swift fashion.
Therefore, comrades, put on and take off your easter bonnets.
That sucker is solid gold gone.
Second weekend of Jazz Fest is the same great fun-fess.
However, Tyger can not participate. He still has not straightened out
his finances, probably never will. He has been working with fair
to good frequency, true; but was so far behind in
earthly expenses he can barely afford to touch the financial ground.
This is an unacceptable Jazz Fest recusal to the big Mac
attack, but not much a poor boy can do about a world
uninspired. Mac rounds up another batch of suspects doing his
thing during the second weekend almost same as the first.
A Jazz Fest exile sits at home watching Cubs and
Braves games as consolation prizes. Actually, the stay at home
lofestyle is not half bad. Uptown seems devoid of personality
disorders, thereby making living easier.
Tyger busies himself after baseball viewing by going to
places usually prohibited by weekend laws. P.J’s on Maple Street
apparently has been evacuated. He sits in front drinking coffee,
watching the stray vehicle or two mistakenly rolling around Uptown.
An evidential pleasant diversion swears terrific testimony.
Strolling along Maple Street likewise becomes a positive
experience this late dog day afternoon. No assholes being walked
by brain dead pets. No kids. No noise. A peaceful vacuum fills spring void.
Finally, the ultimate of amazing occurrences. Tyger goes
shopping, shopping until he is dropping which does not take long.
A jaunt to Langenstein’s to make overpriced groceries. A joust
with the windows Allons-y upper Magazine Street.
Rather predictable results. Like at Lake Forest Mall, try as
Tyger might to shop, there seems to be nothing material he wants.
Tyger promises himself a special low-priced purchase to
take the edge off of missing Jazz Fest. No sale. Cha-ching not.
Nor ba-da-bing, babies. Nada nada nada.
Everything displayed in the bookstore, antique store, art
gallery, knick-knack store, hobby shop, is the same old made in
America cheesy junk product. What else would one expect from the
Age of Ray-Gun crap factory?
Where are some well made Japanese goods when one wants them?
Tyger laughs when he thinks of that. Take that, trade
deficit. No making it wider, this holiday from holiday non Jazz
Fest personal celebration.
Tyger surveys the scene natural; blue skies, no crows,
beautiful lake at Audubon Park by the botanical garden, just off
the golf course ripe for the solitary dreamer. “Fore!” Tyger
yells as he flips rocks into dazzling aquamarine waters.
Rippling circles widen like the universe expanding after a
deity’s intervention. Tyger is in charge here and now. Don’t
the sitting ducks on the pond know it. They quack crackle hop to
the far side of the moon.
Tyger represents a benevolent presence this quiet dog day
afternoon. He lays back laid back while sitting at a picnic table
by the park gazebo, scene of the 1884 Cotton Exposition, now a
sightseeing shore. It is a great day to have a great day.
On to Kinderhook, O.K.
Amazing colors are like space-time prisms relatively astral
projecting to another galaxy resplendent where they have yet to
hear of Star Dreck.
So close and yet so far. A tugboat wails along the river.
Birds squeak nearby in the oak trees accompanied by squirrels
scurrying for higher cover. Crooked men float above the nearby
neutral ground in neutral moods.
Tyger’s endless tape loop wraps around the world at large.
Comrades of the sacred moment, Tyger is a collection of molecules
splitting and reforming each moment with force exploded.
The detective might seem like a walking neutron bomb to the
likes of Dill Pickle and the myriad other insurance frauds.
He resembles force at rest at this particular juncture
in the never-ending story.
Thusly, Tyger continues his special mind’s eye surveillance of
poor lost thoughts sunk in a brain not as nice as Audubon Park to
know. Grant him a moment of introspection before he resumes the
natural progression of existential information.
A dreamer dreams beyond the ever-more. It goes, sings Patti
Smith at CBGB’s-OMFUG, like this:
Comrades have washed upon these unkempt shores only to be
Here lies land’s end where one can fall off
or be saved, depending
on random intervention by fate, undertow,
whatever force acknowledged.
Hail to the valiant comrades who have suffered and lost,
never suffered, never lost;
dastardly piggies, great thinkers through time.
All the same, all dissolving
into circles on the lake,
covered by time.
Hidden by the same blanket of darkness;
illuminated by a most beautiful sunset,
all alone at empty picnic tables.
Here comes the untergang, the plague, the cessation of being,
a Caesarian section.
It’s all the same.
Snap your fingers, snap crackle pop your
cereal; leave the surveillance of nothingness
Leave it to those who expect, deliver,
and receive nothing.
Drop two dissimilar rocks into the lake,
smile as they dissolve into nothingness.
We are bound even in the most bountiful of lands
by such a nothingness.
Cry wolf. Cry enough.
Good grief. Ruminations of a foolish inmate in this
coming hothouse of universal disorder. Tyger tyres of his
grid-locked diversion. He is a foolish sack of dreams whiling away
the future with hopes unhinged.
Therefore, Tyger person leaves the park sleep-walking
while theoretically awake, passing this way for a sacred
monumental moment, then dissolving into a hallowed differential
Take another hit, baby, of sweet air filled with blunt reefer.
Tyger huffs, he puffs, and blows the joint down. No one is
available to question his absolute authority.
Feel better? Time has stopped. Tyger feels small, then tall,
then small again and ever so silly. Groovy white rabbit.
Good shit like this makes a person feel as good as President
Ray-Gun when one of his buddies knocks over a couple of million
saving and loans institutions. (Dynamite stuff, by the way obtained
from Ray-Gun’s personal psychic connection.
Bonzo’s buddy must get high constantly to act
the way he does screwing the nation if he actually wields
power, highly theoretical at this point — while Nancy screws
the real boss, Sinatra, according to tabloid and memoir accounts.
Later Iran-Contra testimony definitively shows Ray-Gun
had no control over any governmental function not dictated
by sphincter muscle. He seems convincing, claiming to
remember nothing about his presidency. He never would have left
Hollywood if he were that good an actor.)
What does it matter? The greedy era of Ray-Gun and his
buddies is best left like the terror of the Khmer Rouge for
history to judge. They form equal and opposite reactions of the same equation.
Therefore, in his best dialectical rationale, Tyger flips
the album to something more amenable. He falls captive to that
beautiful Spanish dancer, fawn brown eyes, slender buttocks,
light dress flowing in waves down to the brown ground.
She glides like a dinky dark moth becoming madame butterfly
tapping at Tygertown’s right temple. Then naked, just say yes
baby! Poosh, implosion, gone. Tyger’s dream disintigrates
like the El Avion plane of future terrorist targets disappearing
from a radar screen.
Strange voice leaps on the picnic table like a dispossessed bunny
rabbit-sized squirrel, Professor Irwin Corey style mocking
startled subject, Tyger Williams. “Follow me, m’kinder.
Follow me home,” it cries.
Whoa poppa. Tyger slaps himself with the awful truth
no beautiful dancer in sight, just a poor boy whose
limited attention span is wandering and wondering.
Tyger chills as Francois Truffuat might, magically turning
day to night. Mere trifle for a “genius” mind.
A higher force turns night back to day. So forth and so
on until the working week begins again in earnest.
A few days later, Tyger finds himself on the road to the LSU
Dentistry School at 1100 Florida Boulevard. Sorry comrades, not
for a much needed dental check-up, but on yet another
silly surveillance assignment.
This time Tyger is supposed to sit in the large main waiting
area and wait for the subject, Pearly Mae Spencer,
African-American, 46 years old, married, four children, 5’2″, 230 pounds.
Stop. She should not be too hard to pick up, so to speak,
because that is one large Marge of a — Jerry Lewis voice —
Here are the grim details of the investigation.
Tyger sets up the black box system, recently remanded back
into custody, in his vehicle at the outside parking lot with
close-up lens zoomed on the large building’s front door and
immediate asphalt vicinity. This should provide the proper
picture of Mrs. Spencer as she buffalo soldiers into the phacility.
The where is the beef Ms. Spencer is reported to be
suffering the pain and agony of a bad knee injured in a terrible
tumble outside a neighborhood grocery store.
Maybe it is true. Sure. Then again, who knows? Tyger is
being paid to discover, Paul Harvey voice, the rest of the story .
Tyger Tyger burning bright takes a still camera
which he slides under his plastic seat. He pretends to be
engrossed in the latest lying issue of the Slimes-Picayune.
Now, there is a good joke.
Looky, looky gumshoedrop, the Slimes mongers have the
wrong date on the top of the front page. No, guys, ’tis not
May 5, 1899. It is May 5, 1988. Get a clue. You would think they
could at least get the century right.
Of course, the next day they will run a retraction buried in
the metro section beneath the obituaries. Class act, these
Hurry up and wait. Hurry up and wait. Tick tick tock tock.
Tyger lingers past the 1 p.m. appointment Ms. Spencer
allegedly has at the dentist’s building.
Dorothy has taken the day off to conduct personal business.
The location was passed down the line to Tyger by her husband,
Jack LeFleur, who is home alone. How could anything go wrong, ugh.
Hmmm. More tick, more tock, not; nothing, neither way Laertes breath.
Phat lady hasn’t sung this soap opera over. Maybe someone screwed up
the surveillance location. Could it be …
“Ahh, yeah dude. I”m the middle-man today. Dorothy had to go
off with her mother to do some baby stuff shopping. What’s the
“Well Jack,” Tyger news flashes, “The subject is supposed to
be at a 1 p.m. orthopedic surgeon”s office. But I happen to be
waiting for the subject at the LSU Dentistry Building. What is
wrong with this picture?”
“Ahhh, wait a second dude. Let me look up something,” Jack
says as da voice disappears from their pay umbilical chord. It
is 2 p.m., time for the soap opera “General Hospital,”
not this tired waste of time.
Finally, Jack returns to the line, hooking a big one.
“Ahhh, dude. Dude. Know what. Thought it was the
orthodontist. l’m such an idiot sometimes.
“What do you know,” Tyger says. “LSU Medical Center at 1 p.m. for the
Orthopedic surgeon. Not LSU Dentistry Center. It’s right here in
black and white.”
“Aw man,” Jack, flat as a hat, continues.
“Medical Center is all the way Downtown.”
“Sorry, my man. You can see how I mixed it up.”
“You don’t think she is still down there? Do you, dude? Do you?”
“Not in this lifetime.”
“Damn. Dotty is going to be all over me like red beans on rice.”
“I guess we better call it a day.”
“Guess so. I’ll check in with Dorothy later.”
End of Assignment.
Next up, the following Monday bright and early, Waldo B.
Utley Gretna insurance scam scum lifestyle. He has a bad back
allegedly resulting from a spill off a motorcycle. But he was
wearing a helmet, so there. Safety first and all that jazz.
Tyger drives by the Utley pad about 8 a.m. checking it
out for camera angles. It is a small blue with yellow trim house
in a lower middle class area just southwest of the Gretna Ferry.
Looks like the same old same old.
In this case, Tyger has been instructed to leave the system
running while keeping a sharp eye on it, and the Utley abode, for
about an hour. That way he can assume an active follow by car
maneuver should the subject leave for,
(Thanks, Maynard G. Krebs brain.)
heaven forfend — WORK! WORK!.
The presumption will be Utley is unemployed if he has not
moved by about 9:15 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. at the latest.
Then, Tyger is to to leave the area, retrieving the system
after five, or so, hours. Dorothy wants him to review the tape
before submitting it, and his report, the following day.
Like the usual case of flu, therefore, Tyger flutters in the
neighborhood’s lungs. He waits for a while at a nearby corner bus
stop. Hey, one never knows who might pass by the Jefferson Parish
psychic swamp this fresh spring day.
Maybe Ann Margaret, Princess Margaret, or Jane Snowden an
obscure and smashing British actress who played the ingenue in an
equally obscure movie “French Lesson” and for whom Tyger has a
passionate crush will stop, notice the mysterious stranger,
and give him a lift. (Yeah, right. Dream on. Get a life. Etc.)
A couple of busses pass. Drivers open doors. Tyger
politely declines their indifferent invites. Diverse drivers depart
the scene looking perplexed.
Seeking to avoid further suspicion, Tyger wanders
about the neighborhood for a while enjoying the healthful
benefits of physical exercise. Surveillance continues with
negative subject activity.
Tyger looks inside his mother the car to confirm all
systems are operating effectively. That is a big a-go-go,
mission control. Investigative capsule blasts off like the
Space Shuttle Discovery. He wishes himself a hardy bon voyage,
and a fat g’day to Mr. Utley.
Irony is but a literary affectation, so therefore shall we
say coincidentally, Tyger decides to take public transportation,
returning Uptown to home base. He wanders in wonder past empty fields
littered with garbage and who knows what faded memories, crossing
railroad tracks on Gretna’s always less than fashionable
lower than sea level east side.
Quick jaunt over to the Gretna Ferry, running on a
non-specific schedule across the Mississippi River below the
crescent to Jackson Avenue in the emerald city.
No ferry in sight, not even close.
Nothing in New Orleans ever runs efficiently. That is part
of the charm of being the only resident Third World Banana
Republic of the United States.
(Rebublic? Not when Edwin Edwards was governor.)
Deserted ferry terminal absolutely reeks of piss and
human excrement. Cochon. Yet, nary a pig in sight.
Tyger returns outside, sits on the grassy knoll, waiting
10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 40 minutes…
Geez, what is the story already?
A thin reed of a black man, around 50, 60, or 70 years old,
dealer’s choice, take youse pick, stops by.
s”Yeah. They said there wasn’t no boat today.”
“What?” Tyger asks fairly pissed off. “The ferry always runs.
What do you mean not running today?”
“That’s what the. man said,” the ancient — mariner? —
replies. “He said river too high. Ain’t no running.” Ohhh-key.
“Thanks for the upfake,” Tyger replies.
A skeptical soul by design, as well as recent potty training, and
having no alternative, Tyger hangs around another 15 minutes.
Then, a loud horn blow, and sure enough, hear that ferry
coming, coming around the riverbend, turning into view,
backing into the dock. That old guy was just like the dirty terminal inside,
full of piss and no vinegar. What else is new, que sera? Trust but
verify, possibly the only reasonable saying ever uttered by Ray-Gun.
Uniformed ferry worker ropes the boat dockside.
Snatches back the long steel chain preventing potential
passengers from jumping in the river and being swept away.
He accomplishes that task with studied nonchalance.
Hasn’t lost a passenger yet. At least that he knows of.
Ah, hubris, always a first time.
Vehicles on board roll off the deck on to the
wooden planks leading to West Bank River Road wrapping like
a water moccasin around the protection levee.
They are rolling rolling rolling rawhide.
Look out below.
A few dirty dozen passengers, mainly African-Americans
although a white college student-aged bicyclist counts among
their number, amble off as if they have just completed a scenic
cruise through the Caribbean. How sweet, cue the Love Boat theme.
All aboard who are going to be bored once outgoing traffic
dissipates. Again, same verse just like the first,
the orange jump suit crowd of blase’ ferry employees wave
along vehicles and their river crossing slaves Aye aye sirs.
This nondemoninational procession of Ford, Chevy Blazer,
Toyota Camry, indeterminate makes and models of decrepit wrecks
still salvageable, proceed en masse until the ferry has been
circled by a veritable bonanza of wagons, car, and vans.
Tyger embarks along with three black women who have
magically materialized despite the ancient one’s warning. In
other words, the savvy ferry crowd have assumed their rightful
place in historical perspective.
No need to reach into those shallow pockets either, comrades
in water transportation. The ferry is one of the few items in New
Orleans that is free. At least at that point in time.
A free ride takes the edge off of hard wooden benches on
which these earthbound birds perch. Brian Ferry swings back
to conform to the river currents, darting across thick brown
soupy sales waters.
A grand view of the greater New Orleans Metropolitan Area in
the bright distance sticks in place like a glossy postcard image
shimmering in the mid-morning sun. White skyline holds a
pretty picture Kodak moment contrasting favorably with the
slow as a tortoise barge traffic and more upscale riverboats
floating on the Big Muddy.
Sweet river air, too, breezily blows past a reflective
Tyger. Life at such a moment becomes a calm collection of
Tyger loses himself in momentary contemplation. N’awlins as
concrete inanimate object of affectionate smiles, touching
an observer like a lover longing for small pleasures. The place
might be on to something if they could just get rid of those darn people.
The women of the ferry’s far dark corner are yap yak yatting
away far too loudly, mitigating Tyger’s blissful meditation.
Ah well, what ya gonna do? He tries to lift and
separate their idle chatter from delightful observation
like a bra off a pornographic image.
Same tyred story repeats along the river’s East Bank.
Vehicles depart followed by a few stragglers ejected into the
urban blight bordering on Jackson Avenue and Tchopitoulas Street.
A recently completed concrete sea wall lines the street
towards Uptown thereby blocking the once beautiful view of the
docks and river environment. They think of everything in this
half-baked excuse for a City That Care Forgot. No stopping,
shall we say, progress.
(Funny thing is the wall seems useless for actual protection
from flooding. It floods just the same anyway. A more likely
explanation for its construction is that somebody lined their
pockets. Welcome to politics as unfortunately usual in the Pig Sleazy.)
Tyger gets along little doggy walking the ever unpleasant
length of Jackson Avenue to Magazine Street where a bus will pass
along eventually. He steps lively over the endless accumulation
of dog shit further blighting the sort of sidewalk.
The wandering detective glides by that ever radioactively retroactive
wasteland of broken glass and discarded rubble by the projects
that makes this part of the city look more like war-torn Beirut or the
moon than a quaint local tourist attraction. Just as well for any
tourists here would definitely be shot and mugged,
and we are not talking travel photography.
Tyger feels safety in daylight, walking over to the
scenic “Checks Cashed” and “Hard Liquor” corner of Magazine
Street hopping on a waiting bus. What do you know, convenience
for a change. He hands the bus driver 60 cents in return for safe passage.
Usual collection of bus riders, a gay mixture of old men
and women with a few youngsters thrown in for good measure. It is
a trip in another way too. Tyger is on the giving rather than
receiving end of the RTA black fume spewing society.
Finally, Tyger has returned to his lair . It is about noon so
he lights up a big one, settles back at the home television
fires, relaxes, observing the passing soap opera.
Aw shit on it. They recycled that damn amnesia plot for
the billionth time. Yeah right, amnesia is a very
common occurrence in modern day society.
Soapsuds who are impersonating writers of those shows should
be taken out in the countryside Khmer Rouge Sendero Luminoso
fashion and, shall we say, re-educated. Tyger passes the time by
watching the show anyway. It is in his anti-social contract.
That is to say watches between lousy stinking
stupid commercials for which Tyger must always mute the sound.
Who do they think they are fooling anyway?
Wouldn’t have to advertise if the products were any good.
Even a moron like Roots Badburns must know that. Then
again … as Emily Litella is saying on the Comedy Channel’s
Saturday Night Live “encore presentation” at this precise
intersection of space-time, “neeeever mind.”
Tyger hangs around the home liars burning for a while until
“General Hospital.” He telephones Armor’s, who thankfully is
available, in order to finagle the currently underemployed artist
into giving him a lift to the West Bank.
Screw this public transportation stuff. Tyger has had about
his annual fill of that type of pilgrim’s progress.
Armor’s is a lot like a Louisiana politician in this regard.
He definitely can be bought, and not even for the right price.
The “for sale” sign always hangs prominently outside his
The promise of two thick joints cinches the deal.That is a
bit below the going rate. Armor’s is being a good guy apparently.
“Hey hey hey, working a case are we?” Armor’s chimes in as
he breaks down the front door. Another parish heard from.
“Here, take this,” Tyger replies handing the dear boy
a marijuana mutah cigarette.
Armor”s grabs a lung full of joy. “Thanks. I needed that.
Sure glad I gave up tobacco. Now I can really enjoy pot. Let me
know when you want to go. I am right on it baby.”
They return downstream about 3 p.m. This time the ferry
must be forsaken for the seemingly faster route across the
Greater New Orleans Bridge, steel span glistening in
mid-afternoon’s bright glare.
“Hey hey. You know what man?” Armor’s broaches a subject
beside the usual dissection of daily details. “I would like to
work on a case one of these days. The detectives ever have any openings?”
Ah, so that is his angle. “Sometimes, they need extra help
to be a ghost or something,” Tyger confirms. “They use someone on
a case and then they disappear like Casper. (Weinberger?)
“You never know. I’ll tell them about you when something like that comes up.”
“Alright man. I’m gonna get to be a detective just like Tyger. Outasight.”
Wafting like a zephyr across the West Bank Expressway and
down Manhattan Boulevard, Armor’s spots the Pho Tau Bay
Restaurant and Expressway Lanes.
“Hey man. Let’s get some Cafe Sua Da to go.”
“Better not man,” Tyger replies. “I have to pull the car out
of the neighborhood. Maybe next time.”
Tyger instructs Armor’s to navigate around the choppy waters
determining the coast be clear; no nosy neighbors or subject
activity to interfere with retrieving the secret surveillance unit.
Or so it seems.
“Let me off down the block,” requests Tyger passing off the
Altoids box. “Thanks for the reef man,” Armor’s notes.
“See you later alligator. I’m history.”
“Thanks again for the lift, Casper.”
Tyger wades into the Utley zone, recovering what is Tyger’s;
no more, no less. All quiet on the West Bank front.
He removes the towel covering the video recorder. The
machine is off, tape run to conclusion. Six sickly
hours of heaven knows what Mr. Allison to watch.
Tyger checks Slimes-Picayune television listings when he
returns home. Guess what’s on tap this evening before the daily
baseball game from the Left Coast at 9:30 p.m.
Why, the Utley family television special, of course.
Tyger considers this special must see TV. That’s entertainment.
Usual pre-game functions transpire. Tyger rewinds tape,
and ready, steady, go. Here is hoping a black cat hops
across Utley·s path, making him bend over, and not in the good way.
The following is the log of Waldo Utley’s experiences for
bad luck Friday May 13, 1988:
At 9:42 a.m. the Subject carries large plastic garbage bags
stuffed with laundry to wife’s vehicle. She leaves.
At 10:51 a.m. until 11:06 a.m. an elderly white female
arrives by car and speaks with the Subject who crouches on
At 11:06 a.m. until 11:12 a.m. Clear identifying picture of
the Subject sitting on his porch.
At 11:55 a.m. two white males, in their twenties, arrive in
a green car with white roof.
At 12:14 p.m. brief shot of the Subject retrieving mail.
At 12:17 p.m. the Subject’s wife returns with the laundry.
The Subject carries the laundry bag from the car to the
At 12:55 p.m. the white males leave. The Subject picks up
the child with one hand then lifts him up to the porch.
At 2:35 p.m. two black males, late twenties or early
thirties, arrive at the house by car and speak with the
Subject. The Subject jumps off the porch and joins them
in their vehicle.
At 2:40 p.m. the Subject and the black males walk in the yard,
At 2:49 p.m. the Subject hops into his vehicle and backs
it into his driveway.
At 2:56 p.m. the black males leave area.
End of tape.
Hmm. Firstly, Waldo B. Utley is in fine condition.
As usual, bad back, his bad ass. He is in better shape than Tyger,
Armor’s or anyone. That part of the case seems easily resolved.
Secondly, however, Utley appears to be engaged in another
activity with which Tyger is acquainted somewhat. He seems to be
dealing drugs. Not much question about that.
Tyger labels the tape. He writes up the final report,
leaving off the drug business. Dorothy can pick that out for
herself, comment to the client or not.
All the same to Tyger Williams. He has bigger fish to fry.
Thus concludes the day’s surveillance. Friday night and all
is as always was in and around the Crescent City. They are probably
partying the house down at the Utley residence. Tourists walking
mindlessly up and down Bourbon Street.
Tyger watches the Cubs-Dodgers game, falling asleep at half
past one in the morning. Nothing else to do that night.
Another day, another 9.5 hours investigative time, 27 miles
and $5.89 for videotape for a total of $106.29 in billable costs.
Another night, restful and blissful ignorance knowing
that at least one American worker did a good job today.
Sleep tight, dear Tyger, for tomorrow is another day.
That much, the future always promises and delivers.