Surveillance Pelicana Part I — Chapters 1 to 10…

SURVEILLANCE PELICANA

BY

DAN WEISMAN

he 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/

 

Chapter One Synopsis: On Christmas Day 1987, Tyger Williams, video

artist, discovers a classified ad for an insurance investigator

which he answers. On New Year’s Day, he burns the “box of

troubles” at the abandoned 1984 World’s Fair site Downtown New Orleans.

Later, he attends a New Year’s party at an Uptown club.

CHAPTER ONE

On Christmas Day 1987, Tyger Williams, video

artist, discovers a classified ad for an insurance investigator

which he answers. On New Year’s Day, he burns the “box of

troubles” at the abandoned 1984 World’s Fair site Downtown New Orleans.

Later, he attends a New Year’s party at an Uptown club.

 

CHAPTER 1

“GOOD MORNING NEW ORLEANS”

 

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Christmas Day, 1987. Tyger Williams sleeps on a lumpy

mattress on a hard wood floor. His head is in the clouds.

Silly rabbit, leaping off, onto  a new horizon.

First assignment — newspaper retrieval.

Check. It lies below the front stoop.

Tyger, who has been sleeping in his clothes, cascades like a

brook down five steps; hops, skips, and jumps across freshly laid

dog shit. Thanks for nothing, beasty boy.

It seems like the typically fun day already, especially

for Christmas. Temperature is in the mid-50s, due to rise

near 70 degrees. Wind wafting from the

south-southwest, approximately 10 miles per hour.

A quick surveillance of the scene reveals business as

unusual. No vehicles clog usually slow as

molasses Magazine Street. No neighbor out and about.

A quiet gentle haze lingers.

Sweet honeysuckle perfume permeates languid air.

Thank goodness for small favors

Tyger prepares the first morning chore.

This consists of scooping two spoonfuls of PJ’s coffee

into a Black and Decker coffee-maker

 

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followed by two cups of bottled water. The percolating spirit

brews. Check.

Tyger continues his daily ritual, opening the Times-

Picayune newspaper to the classified section. Not only is this

the most amusing section of the stupefying wood pulp product that

passes for informational rag, but also a semi-essential part of

rising and shining for the po’ boy.

Tyger — you see, comrades — has been resting for quite a

while in his natural vegetative state, a proud member of the not so

gainful army of the unemployed. It’s looking a lot like job hunting

time again. Merry Christmas, y’all.

Tyger can do this regardless of employment status. He

rolls a thick one. Ah, sweet reefer. Living the life.

Looking through the help wanted section is one sorry sham

after another, one minimum wage job after another, and

another and … Fuck this shit.

Zut and ehe’, suddenly some small thing

like a brown moth alights. Hmm.

Surprise surprise, Doesn’t sound half-bad.

Maybe this, this thang might turn, transform,

into a brilliantly colored butterfly.

“Insurance Investigations — Video Experience Preferred.”

Said classified lists a West Bank post office box.

And so, dear comrades, along for the cosmic ride,

Tyger the lame is about to leap like a deer

 

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into the wonderful world of private eyeing courtesy of that

seemingly innocent Christmas Day calling.

Tyger post-toasties his resume, carefully enveloping it in

white paper seeking approval. He departs the blue-with-white

trim shotgun residence assuming a morning walk.

Hello dawn, your yellow yawns. Golden burnt green lawns

invite immediately pooping pooches. Those damn dogs are shitting

all over Uptown New Orleans. No respect, Rodney Dangerfields of the

spirits, for anyone or anything.

You know, Tyger ponders as he wanders, balking here and thar

he blows. You know, that is something he thinks he can, he thinks

he can, he thinks he can do. He could really and truly dare.

Following persons around with a video camera might even be

amusing. He already does that anyway, for fun. They give you money

for that? What a racket.

Around and around the oblong formed by the Audubon Park

walking track yielding incantations incandescent. Tyger picks

up the pace almost bowling over a middle aged matron

ridiculously blocking his all-consuming hurricane of a path.

Tyger pauses when he reaches a small lake punctuated by cute

little duckies following their mother. He picks a likely rock and

throws it at a nearby oak tree spreading. A mystic force guides

 

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that rock to a wood target affirmation.

Whack! Tyger still has it, sports fans. He strikes the

cosmic object. Yes!

Oh happy delusions for a well struck sacred day.

Back back back through retraced steps Tyger hops hopefully.

Sneakers smoking, big feet joking, after three miles finally

comes to automatic stop.

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Back home at the ranch, time to craft a bed of Liberty Valance legends

veering towards facts.

On good typewriter electric; on Rude-Dolph, on Wolf-

Blitzen. Tyger embellishes experience.

Watching Cable News Network blues with one eye and the

sparrow with the other; Tyger types some stinking hype,

type, type, types some more, and flashes tripe. A series of

lucid non-moments, presto pismatic primo-pimpo;  he has

himself a hell of a past and a heaven of a future. (Perhaps.)

A few days like those sturdy small birds zoom from coffee

house to garden patio. They are seamlessly timeless grand

vectors sweeping across visionary fields chirpingly fast.

Tyger, along with most of New Orleans, is swept away by the

football Saints rousing success as they, miracle cf miracles,

have finally qualified for the National Football League playoffs

after nearly two decades of frustration. Bless you boys.

On a fine day before the New Year, a postman drunk with

holiday cheer, drops off the Thursday mail. Tyger expects

 

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something, but retrieves his booty disappointed. It’s

a Shakespearean day: “There is nothing either

good or bad but thinking makes it so.” Nothing,

but bills lacking birds to wear.

Not nearly enough to meet ends. Tyger needs a j-o-b, Maynard

G. Krebs style, he yelps, ·W-O-R-K, WORK!!! Gulp.

Tyger resumes the normal routine although all is not well

nor well-ended. Smokes some rope, observes TV, exercise, and then

more nothing. Tyger pouts for a few hours, goes for an afternoon

delight iced coffee at a sympathetic serving spoon– this one or that

depending on his mood.

Cardinal, bluebird, black crow, across the small backyard

linger, then flash in dawn’s easy light. Later than usual as usual,

Smoke more reefer, watch more TV, then over to the post office.

Expecting something? Yeah, right. Back across the usual

avenues of desire, then, through the unusual troth of time like

sands through the hourglass having memorized the rest of the

soap opera’s tired lines.

Feeling a mixture of boredom, exaltation,

 

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despair, and delight. What do other people worry about?

Must everybody worry alike?

Sheer joy of having nothing special to do saves the day for

a spell. The rabid delight in manic moments and lovely

fermentation that bubbles over mankind’s giant primordial

lifestyle soup. Eat it already! Afternoon delight.

So what, so what, so what follows each day turns to night and

evening prime-time schedule, a dulling sameness: eat, smoke bluntly,

watch television, a couple of telephone calls.

Hey, poker face. Four days pass and five,

a royal flush. Trash,

That is the bottom-line, comrades. It is what it is.

Life, a boring shaft through which our story plunges.

But, this day, this next blessed day is a news day

as birds call louder, swimming in dulcet, golden tones.

Up stretches Tyger pricked by ringing telephone.

Sometimes Tyger doesn’t even bother to answer. It is always

an ethnic voice spewing “Ahhhh, ahhhh, awww … ,”

 

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Today is different. A female voice inquires politely.

“Is there a” — pregnant pause — “Tyger Williams here?”

Tyger fesses up in his best out-of-body, out-of-mind voice

returning service. “Yo. Present.”

“I would like to speak to you about a job we advertised in

the newspaper.” Wah, dat, diddy, snap, crackle, pop.

“Are you interested in talking about an insurance

investigator’s position?”

“Uhh, yeah. Very interested in fact.”

The woman — what was her name, Tyger can’t remember, rats

tells him to be at a Marrero, Louisiana address next year on

Wednesday January 6, 1988.

“Let me check my schedule,” he says hahaha,

“I think that can be arranged,”

So ends the year of (someone’s) Lord, 1987. Good riddance to bad

rubbish. Auburn Tiger fans can be heard whooping and hollering in

the French Quarter. Something about a Sugar Bowl.

AIDS, crack, covered up savings and loan scandals. Age of Reagan

ending with a whimper, of course, no bang. You were expecting

something apocalyptic? No way, babe,

every mediocre story has a mediocre ending.

For the likes of Tyger Tyger burning in bloom of late

youth bright, 30 years old, single, 6’1″, 225 pounds,

brown hair, brown eyes; days lengthening

past yet another winter solstice,

Tyger grasps for this particular infinitely small now elongating

 

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moment. He occupies a space within the spatial plate like

water expanding. His mind stretches beyond set limits, snaps a

distant shore, and brushes back.

Wave follows wave,  floods over the sea wall. Each

thought so exquisite in passing instantly seems past

noting. Each moment follows in an orderly procession that,

when examined, dissected, rotated on its plane, and analyzed upon

further review reverses the official’s call,

thereby befuddling sports fans.

Tyger sits on a psychic beach, stretching on soft sand in

front of a television set before which he has sunk a zillion

times previously.

Tyger flips his lid. Another beer, another foaming

moment. CNN reviews that far-out 1987 withdrawing into time-space

recollected, a year in which everything crumbled but nothing

fell, the glorious parabolic prelude, in the mists of memory

receding, coinciding with Tyger’s universe like a red-nosed

bloody clown falling falling into a black hole.

Symmetry of consciousness does the old audience wave big

wheels rolling rolling rolling into the future rawhide.

 

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Tyger neglects making any New Beer’s plans, save one.

First, pay last respects to that infinite year of

nothingness withdrawing. Turned over and done son.

Dusk sweeps quickly across the hands of Thursday December

31, last day of the nothingness known as 1987. Lights twinkle

throughout New Orleans metropolitan area as

respectable humanity heads home along Interstateless-10 into a

burnt orange offering bathing the year in coming darkness.

Tyger takes a last ceremonial lap along Magazine Street

passing small antique shops and porch-punctuated houses,

just past Jefferson Avenue where Lee Harvey Oswald lived. So on

and so forth by a smelly downtown bus crawling as it spews ozone

depleting fumes skyward.

Back home, Tyger takes for a spin his beat-up old grey

Toyota station wagon. Dark birds silhouetted in perfect harmony

with darkening sky sing of symmetry across graying electrical power

transformer lines. Hallowed be their resting state.

Farther along past grace, Tyger turns the engine roaring

carriage — no muffler — past seedy used furniture shops in

dark neighborhoods strange and scary. He skirts the visible

housing projects that expel semi-wretched poor now lingering

by check cashing liquor stores. A humbler race runs there.

 

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A strange rara avis of a companion rests

next to intrepid Tyger on a barely upholstered seat.

That cardboard object is a very significant

relic dubbed the “box of troubles” by someone.

Tyger has accumulated in this container

refuse of a very poor calendar year. He has

the receipts and letters from his insane mother,

employment application rejections, a losing Unfair

Grounds horse race autotote ticket, or rather, many; and other

painful and perverse reminders of a mediocre, at best, year about

to reel  into space time.

Here lies a disgraceful brown box begging to be immolated.

The good Tyger believes theoretically that he can escape his

previous troubles by burning the offending contents of

the bad brown box.

One never knows. It might work. At least, that’s

Tyger’s story and he is sticking to it.

For, now, the sacred ceremonial spotlight burns along the

Mississippi River waterfront beneath the Greater New Orleans

Bridge near the dark and silenced Robin Street Wharf. A former

asbestos and hazardous materials storage site as yet

 

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unacknowledged by local authorities squatting

tight along the raucous riverfront by Downtown.

Tyger wings his chariot along pot-holed Tchopitoulas

Street spanning near distance industrial. He swerves

erratically to avoid being swallowed by killer fault-lines.

No argument here that asteroids strike the earth for

evidence exists in plain view that something must have caused

these hellish fissures at land’s end. No man could have wreaked

such havoc currently posing stranger than fictional obstacles to

safe and sane driving.

A Schwegmann’s once super store stands frightfully

abandoned leading to another bombed out building.

A small clan of ragged African-Americans

leaning over a cracked crack pipe, then one-by-slinking-

one into orbit, stumbling through space ejected like sad

meteorites gone mad with self-horror.

A couple of dark youths suddenly roll in front of Tyger’s

vehicle. He angles into a pot-hole — kerplunk — barely avoiding

their sad rock cocaine high. Tyger honks the horn as one would at

a dog or cat to prod the creatures more quickly in the opposite

direction. Then, he flicks on the car’s bright lights.

 

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Towards the far orbs that span the Greater New Orleans

Bridge blinking in wide space, planet Tyger slides off the road

coming to a temporary rest in a jagged asphalt parking lot. The

long yard is blank, blinking off past regrets

with an obscene gesture.

On the blank wall, Tyger Williams, graffiti artist of

dips a psychic psychedelic paintbrush exploring

the awful dismantling of evil that has come to be

represented in a stupid brown cardboard foot-square box filled

beyond it’s karmic brim with last year’s troubles.

Laughing lights on bridge-top mumble. Tyger takes a hit of

purple plastic. Senior Bridge you laughing shambles.

Turning up the radio, followed by the roaring Doors,

“Let it fall, baby fall. Let it fall all night long.”

Burn, you Rosemary’s baby exorcist pimp.

Let it burn, baby, burn.

Ah, sweet smell of burning cardboard ripe from the joy

of torching. Great kudos from the whistle section.

Even sportscaster Buddy D. has been rendered mute on the

adjoining radio station. But how long can that last?

“What about dem Who Dat fans,” he chants. “Have yourself a

very Who Dat New Year.”

The fools don’t even suspect what is in store for them.

Burn burn, yearn away a smoke-filled night. Time smokes. A

Polaroid SX-70 madly flashes, injecting shots into fetid

 

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atmosphere collecting. Bang. Bang. Reload. Bang. Gotcha,

Splitting cardboard box in pieces smashed, ghosts flying

into blinding darkness. They laugh..

They slash. They take with them all the fucking past.

“Now Buddy,” avers a distantly disembodied throaty voice.

“I think that this is really the Saints year. After all,

Pope John II blessed them boys last August.”

“Thank YOU Larry,” emulsions of psychedelic colors blurring,

Buddy D. with a giant frog in his voice — ahem, ahem —

“And how about Dave from Harvey.”

“Well, Buddy, I think that this is the Saints year at

everlonging last … ” blah blah blah talk radio.

Tyger ends radio torture, concentrating on a higher calling,

i.e. ridding the Big Easy of all sin. Somebody got to do it.

A very tall order, the box of troubles recoils like a fireworks snake,

thankfully burning on asphalt by Tyger’s mother the car.

Ballerina graceful atoms smash and splash down

near Thalia Street Wharf, A long honking sound cutting

through descending river fog as lookee lookee

over there the bridge of sighs tumbles, then explodent.

The little baby bullshit Jesus is at this moment being

fitted for his New Year’s drop at Jax Fake Development Brewery.

He smirks in typical bare-assed half-naked fashion. Duck and ever

cover comrades brzzzzzzzz-cachooie sound of incoming fashion.

 

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Tyger cowers behind the dashboard. Considers how he got

there. Fuck if he knows. (Good answer.)

Leaving smoldering ashes of last year’s model collapsed in a

charcoal heap can be an exhilarating treat. Comfy cool sweater

weather sanctification; shaman driver brain spins like a dredl.

Hey pops: the old get older as the future likewise spins

around the corner like one of the crack in the wall gang youthtops

spinning.

Tyger has a good feeling about the Saints reaching the

Super bowl. He mentions that to a blank Buddy D. radio show

staring back in silence. What time is it? Not yet midnight?

Tyger got where how?

Shtick it in reverse Uptown. He springs into traffic circle,

ejecting emulsions uptown to a Willow Street tavern where Tyger stops

to tell good buddy and eminence grise Mr. Milty the non-discouraging

word about this latest conflagration.

“Yeah, but suppose burning the box has an opposite effect,”

Mr. Milty, song-writer creative leader of the rock group New

Neanderthals, counterpoises Tyger on break. “Suppose by burning

the box you have released troubles that were bottled up

successfully already?”

“Hmmm.” ponders a suddenly confused Tyger. “Hadn’t thought that.’

 

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With that, Mr. Milty returns to the group that serenades in

1988, playing laid back until they are dead pseudo-rock as a

small platoon of camp followers stumble towards morning. As usual,

the New Neanderthals are sloppy as shit. So far, New Year or not,

nothing in particular has changed.

Then again, no one is throwing bottles at them… yet.

The New Neanderthals are ahead of last year’s pace.

Shit, have another hit. Noisemakers and officially ignorant

greetings are exchanged concerning the possibilities for coming

disorder rung in by a dropping baby Jesus near Jackson Square.

The New Neanderthals neo-rock on with yet another cover ripoff,”

Teenage Head.” Smoke curls from everyone’s platypus bills

except for Tyger and his friend Armor’s who has appeared like

puff the magic dragon roaring.

“Hello bar scene from Star Wars,” he observes, slapping

Tyger ouch, too hard on the back. “It is getting

like very ugly around here.”

“That’s cause you are here asshole,” Tyger says. “I can take

it. I can take it. I can take it,” Armor’s chorus continues.

“Just keep saying that, Tyger.”

“I can take it,” Tyger answers.

(Franz Biberkopf for brains. )

Tyger stumbles briefly, falling ever so gracefully into the

 

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waiting arms of a “Lost In Space” pinball machine. Smash!

No one notices.

The New Neanderthals are genetically programmed to rock on

no matter how few persons are listening.

None appear to be doing so in this case.

Tyger takes another bottle and long necks backwards into a

desert throat dry. Best beer he ever queered.

Quaff quaff little ducky dives into sloppy choppy bar

waters. A red haired girl saunters gracefully by. Bye-bye.

“Happy new beers,” according to Tyger. “Do I know you?”

“Guess not,” Bye-bye, creep.

“Oh, that’s Crissy Crist,” Armor’s recognizes.

“How is the weather, baby?”

“Do I know you?” The girl replies.

“Ahh, you ain’t so hot,” Armor’s pisses.

Misses. Bye-bye.

Blare glare, in evening wear, clunk; so, the band of fools

finish. What? What? Da-what? Conversation, true, but not much

exchanged by way of communication.

Armor’s, zen master, leads a Bill Cosby jello meltdown.

“Hey baby, I think you look great.”

“Thanks, but no thanks,” continues Crissy Crist

bitch deluxe. Armor’s bemoans his fate. Tyger hands him a

Dixie long-neck in which to cry.

Further words gymnast tumble towards curved ears concerning

said burning of the box of troubles, arriving late to

the club etc. Armor’s eyes still focus on a nearby Crissy

Crist. He nods with half-intensity at Tyger’s conversation.

 

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Tyger remands himself to immediate fate. It is New Year’s

and he has not a spare cent to spend. On the other hand, he has

just torched the evil box, although Mr. Milty believes this might

result in mixed smoke signals. And now, of all indignities yet

suffered, dry scratch throat afflicts him.

Finally, a tactic works. Crissy overhears these pathetic

remarks. She pulls a rather large bill out of her hat. “You

in luck tonight after all honey,” she soothes, “because it looks

like my turn to buy.”

Buy buy, and buy she does, champagne for everyone, even

Armor’s, well into the night. So all karma isn’t lost after all.

Mr. Milty is wrong. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time.

A reefer smoking party sponsored by New Neanderthal butthead

fans backstage now is officially in progress. The musicians

are not even good for that, instead relying on the kindness of

strangers who have never seen them before and never will again.

The Tyger-Armor’s connection soar higher than any bird ever

imagined above the band. Crissy disappears with an

ugly fellow traveler never to return. Bon Voyage darling, but

thanks for the crazy dharma.

Images soar and dive with bird-like facility as Tyger cranes

his neck to catch a better view. Turning, burning yearning

boats slip off the main stage, veering beyond consciousness.

 

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An enraptured Tyger becomes unglued, but fortunately the

acid flattens out by 2 a.m. He walks through the open door to

a more magical dimension, where Armor’s smiles like Tony Curtis

falling off the bar stool. Funny boy pratfall stumble expert

laughs his ass off as he reclaims the perch.

Party-time, party line: 1988 sure is great. Toasts all

around until everyone is burnt like toast, too. Blurry eyed fools

dissolving into a sea of blank faces.

“lt’s okay. You’re okay,” Armor’s is slurring his speech

by 3 a.m. “TodayI’m nobody. Who’s in charge?

Ahh, ahhh. Must make sense to someone.

How ’bout them Saints””

The band of New Neanderthal fools finally conclude their,

shall we say, set. No one listens. No one cares.

The New Neanderthals play regardless. Good for them since

they are not being paid.

Hallelujah. Flowing lines. The next day loud Auburn fans are

destined to kiss their siblings in a Sugar Bow1 tie with

traditional arch-rival Syracuse University.

Plus written in stone the following events of Tyger’s world

impinging. Oh baby baby bulldog dikes,

stick your fingers in the future.

 

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Motion sickness timely night on a story boarding. When

Tyger awakes, it is that eagerly anticipated new beginning. He is

young, relatively, and it is very very sunpower bright New Year’s

Day. Oh yeah ….

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

Following the Saints playoff loss, Tyger and

his friend Armor’s Tungsten attend an open-mike poetry night at

the Blue Bayou club on Tchopitoulas Street.

 

CHAPTER 2

“Night of the Living Poets”

 

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Torched box of troubles notwithstanding,

a horrible shroud of sadness descends over proud New Orleans

on Monday January 4, 1988 ringing in the New Year with the worst

of all possible visions. The boys have been humiliated yet again,

this time by a mangy band of Vikings from the frigid north

country led by Anthony Carter, Keith Millard, Chris Doleman, and

Wade Wilson.

“Where is that darn Pope when you really need him,” the Yats

— a descriptive term derived from the local expression “where

y’at?” — whale and rail on Buddy D’s radio talk show.

“I know what you mean, Johnny from Gretna.

And now Paul from New Orleans East.”

“Just when you thought it was safe to be a Saints fan.”

On and on, the broken record of reality spins around a city

mourning dead playoff hopes. A certain awful comfort survives as

the usual booby prize.

“Tell you what Buddy,” Joe from Metairie looking on the

bright side, “the boys had a hell of a year. First playoff game,

12-and-3 record. We’ll get them next time.”

“Yeah you right, Joe,” Buddy D. agrees. “But I wish it were

 

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next year right now.”

So much for New Year’s optimism.

Tyger takes the loss as hard as anyone, smashing a Saints

drinking mug against the wall of his house about 30 minutes into

a game the Saints are already well on their way to blowing

miserably by a score of 44-10.

He watches the entire debacle more out of a sense of

historical trauma than appreciation or joy. This is his duty as

a die-hard Saints fan. After all, it’s not as if he hasn’t

seen this sort of behavior before on the part one of the NFL’s

poorest excuses for a franchise.

Following a brief mourning period consisting of smashing

other objects and commiserating via telephone with friends like

Mac Long, Sandy Alexander, Mr. Milty, and Armor’s Tungsten, Tyger

lets go of the pain and prepares once again to confront life. He

admits his lack of power to affect the final outcome of that

encounter. He must face the future come what may and may become.

And now for an important news fake.

(“All My Children” interruptus, assholes.)

President Ronald Reagan’s chief physician today in Washington

picked the President’s nose cancer.

Long  pregnant pause

Watch “News Fake” later for all the lying details.

Yeah, right. Thanks for nothing.

Commercial. Commercial. Commercial.

 

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Finally, the day’s important new resumes in earnest.

“AllMy Children” continues with Tad Martin and Erica Shame

melodramatically scrambling for attitude.

Sorry babe, no daytime Emmy for that prattle.

You need better writers. Tyger Williams is available.

The two, shall we say, actors prance across life’s stage in

a wooded tableau resembling mad Manhattan’s Central Park.

Oh, they are in Monte Carlo. Same difference.

Preparations continue unabated on a damp cold misting day. A

puff puff here; a puff puff there. Clouds of joy

hang over puff puffing air.

Time capsules bob like sleds careening across

consciousness. White tides washing over all swell ended.

Ungainly surfers vanish beneath giant rolling waves.

What were we contemplating? Oh yes, that damn Adam

Chandler. Why is he stealing Dixie’s baby? Again.

No change in the feckless political weather. A surprisingly

to the uninitiated brisk cool January afternoon follows a

northerly wind whipping down the wetlands.

Brrrr. Who said New Orleans was always hot as hell? It is

hell, yes, but predictions call for bone-chilling cold

later that night. Ooooh. Lala.

Tyger pauses to reflect on current events before the proper

psych job necessary for gaining employment. One last fling is

 

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needed before settling down to whatever business

the future has in store.

That evening a warm dimly lit place calls out for Tyger’s

attention. ‘Tis the Blue Bayou, a tavern that transforms itself

each Tuesday night into the venue

for open-mike poetry reading.

The large, one-room drinking establishment does no Tuesday

business anyway, so why not, the proprietor figures he can

chance the poetry crowd. A good news-bad news dichotomy has

developed these last two months of weekly readings.

A respectable crowd of about 50 persons can be counted on;

poets being poets, they won’t spend money on drinks. A few of

them buy drinks, true, but generally they sneak in vodka, gin,

ethanol, grain alcohol — whatever it takes —

and maybe order cokes. No pepsi.

Management suspects there is more than a random explanation

for the lack of financial reward on their investment and are

becoming quite peeved in return. The poets do not believe they

should be held accountable for their refusal to be ripped off by

high liquor prices.

No cover charge collected, this being an off-night,

way off, although donations for publicity are appreciated.

About half the crowd are regulars each week. Another half wander

in lost in the weeds, the cold world’s mortal coil, or for

 

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whatever reason suffices.

In any event, an environment of growing hostility has

forming. Just an undertone for now,

but worth keeping in mind.

Sign-up, as usual, begins, more or less, at 9: p.m.

Yes, something to do. Hours, however, to kill before then.

Beautiful young pseudo-hippy-happy-hippity-hoppity

chicks bathe poetic eyes with

glorious rose petal fingers adjusting

long tie-dye evening wear.

 

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“I thought I saw a pussycat,” Tyger drifts into mantra,

sitting alone stage right.

“I did. I saw a yellow pussycat with Ray-Gun face falling

asleep during a cabinet meeting.”

And similar semi-madmanic rambling. Just killing time by

killing lines while the poetry flows.

Passes fitfully day falling into dusk. Oops. Tyger can be

seen through narrow portals viewing television, getting high, and

getting by about 6 p.m. dozing into nap-hood, sir sheepishly

sleepy head ambling through time as if he has nothing but time to

waste. Perhaps he will wise up some day.

But until that wonderful moment, rising and shining, Tyger

must wipe eyes, splash water on face, consider

the nothingness of current fate.

Media madness self-censored news personalities march on in a

never-ending self promotional frenzy. Yep, and the evening lies

keep washing out our sandy shores.

Ray-Gun at Santa Barbara vacation. Vacation — from what?

Dem kills dose as dozy-does a lame feature on Cajun dancing. They

call that dancing? Looks more like a tractor pull.

Big deal. Big deal. Big meal at Wendy’s advertisement.

Eat it. Eat it already, local dimwit news.

 

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Knock. Knock. “What’s up Doc?” Tyger stumbles to the door.

It is, who else, Armor ‘s Tungsten. “Hey brother,” as the big old

bear inside gambols. Snake eyes, bro.

“It is my right as an American to drive any place I please,”

Armor’s lectures, still bristling from a roadside close

encounter. He falls into the officially designated visitor ‘s

chair. “It is my right to drive at any speed I please.”

Armor’s, who took his name as a performance moniker

for no explicable reason,

proceeds to explain the day’s folly of

elderly male driver suffering from terminal Alzheimer’s, or some

brain blockage, blocking the artist’s path along the entire

length of St. Charles Avenue.

“Armor’s, my man, how about them cats?” asks Tyger in a

random changing of the topic. Armor’s currently has two elderly

models. “Doing fine, but I wouldn’t mind a new generation. Add

some sizzle to the steak.”

 

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Colors – purple pink magenta orange strawberry – swirl in

aura traces around the dancing fickle finger of odd fate glancing

above Armor’s smiling face. Tyger brews a final batch of coffee

that they drink before attending the poetry show.

Armor’s salivates over visions of long lush female legs

crossing themselves in sexy out-of-body pornography that he has

played all day, along with his privates, don’t ask,

on a VCR at his house. “Oooh mama. They so hot

you can fry your brains on them,” Armor’s concludes thoughtfully,

“Sounds pretty amazing,” notes Tyger after a few more

explicit descriptions of swinging sex acts provided free of

charge by a more than willing Armor’s, his tongue

wagging to the ground.

“I’m getting a new bunch tomorrow,” Armor’s adds. “They are

do-it-yourself amateur snuff acts.

Can’t wait to see what the amateurs are blowing.”

Time mimes a more artsy landfall to

encounter. Time to fuck this poetic mumbo-jumbo stinking shit.

“Screw this place, screw this place, screw this place,”

chants Armor’s favorite mantra as he drives staring straight

ahead stone-faced.

“You need an act of congress to get around this town,”

Armor’s leans on the annoying horn.

“And fuck the donkey you rode in on,”

 

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he yells at the offending driver holding back progress.

“You a one man traffic jam.”

Crawling crawling stalling shit-for-brain pretty babies

snaking slowly along curved streets strolling parallel with the

Mississippi River.

Armor’s gets up close and personal with the car preceding.

This vehicle is revealed to be operated by a demented out-of-

body, out-of-mind purple-haired matron who suddenly starts

weaving nervously like a rural farm truck about to drop its cabbages.

“Ker-splat, you are fat,” yells Armor’s at the lady’s silver

grey Cadillac. “At least she has an American pig car,” he adds.

Her ahhh don’t give a damn attitude subverts the traffic

flow grinding it to a near halt. That lady spent a little too

much time at, shall we say, late tea.

“I thinks she is smashed,” Tyger concludes.

“You’re right. I’d like to smash her,” Armor ‘s replies although

he restrains himself for the sake of the sacred moment.

“Ahh fuck her, fuck all of them,” Armor’s continues as he

startles with a loud horn blast in her face before turning

riverbound right towards Tchopitoulas Street.

Then, it is a quick pass by the railroad tracks and long

view to the wharves. The boys are back at the Blue Bayou again

like a killer cold. The latest prescription: Take two million

 

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aspirin and crawl home by morning.

Quite a scenic experience, then, as poets walk down

Tchopitoulas Street puffing on grass by the neutral ground turf

and dirt. Or bunches of beatnik beret-heads gathered like bananas

inhaling sweet marijuana by the railroad tracks.

Girls like rouged pumpkins are plump down shivering besides the

club. Pretty pieces of flesh adorned mohawk tops and nose

rings form quite the fashionable brood seeking for culture on

which to rest. Yet, there is no denying their

Southern American Princess — SAP — heritage.

A shivering soul in a color drenched Hawaiian shirt stands

nearby in awe. Aloha y’all.

Must be the manic macho hour.

There is no getting past the genetically

unenlightened guarding the gates to the Blue Bayou.

“Crap, ” notes Armor’s Tungsten who has seen it all before.

“The pseudo art crowd is clinging around here

like vines at Wrigley Field.”

Poetry night is no day on the beach.

It varies from an acceptable level of poetic inspiration

to the depths of death-in-life post-mediocrity.

However, the scenery can be pleasant and from time to

time, a brilliant sun rising over the sea, raising the game a notch

 

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for those usually stuck in mud huts.

Armor’s struts by the pumpkin crowd feeling just fuckin’ ham

beautiful, thank you very not. The nose rings ignore him. They

are too busy talking about breast implants or abortions.

Who wants, who knows, who cares. Piles of dangling particles

suspend in bright air, strangling rainbow streamers from toe to tip.

Headed inside while feeling outside, Tyger and Armor’s are

confronted with the wails of a somewhat lame rock and roll band

moaning English style on the juke box. “Oh baby, oh baby,

oh baby please.”

Weren’t they on Saturday Night Live once?

“Sound like the waking dead to me,” Tyger observes. “Bunch of zombies.”

Armor’s has heard them before. “Flock of Seagulls,” he

corrects. “Or is that Flock of Bad Haircuts?

Never can keep that straight.”

No one pays any attention.

The group of 30 space walking astronauts are too busy

floating through personal atmospheric space.

Nonetheless, a poetically waxed mood is being readied for

launch on the pad building. Count-down commences

as advertised at approximately 9 p.m.

The sign-up list grows rapidly as the event reaches

escape velocity.

It blasts off in quasi-surreality.

A paunchy balding fat man about 40-something

reads the ingredients of an apple pie

 

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recipe to mixed response.

“Is that art?” Tyger asks.

“Sounds like he spent too much time in the kitchen.”

The fellow reads another diatribe — ode to the unavailability

of proper bathroom facilities in Central America.

“I don’t like toilet humor,” Armor’s says,

punctuating his thoughts with a long fart

before walking to the tavern restroom for some further relief.

The, shall we say, poet finishes to no applause. He sits

down looking somewhat confused. Perhaps that is his resting bitch face.

Now, a shaved head with brain begins a tribute to the

homeless. “A brilliant purple sunrise, he reads monotonously

from a dirty torn piece of browning white paper.

“Heads swimming in flames. Derelicts. Your time has arisen

like a dogged tail wagging a mangy mutt.

Eat the rich and shit them out for fun.”

“Once this was our world,” recites an artsy-craftsy female

type, attractive in an all-American way with long black hair and

sweet red cheeks. She stands next to a high stool on stage

provided tor poets who wish to sit.

“Exemplified by plastic manikins, how lifeless and unmoving.

 

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And stupidly worse than automatons walking along their fruitless

groves tilled with useless consumer items, waste dreams

fearful futures. Don’t fear those awful tears.

A new day rises from beautiful torrid flames,

its ashes, the pretend shock of a dozen onlookers.

Their number might not be legion, but growing by the moment.”

Lovely, lovely red eyes burning. She is not afraid to cry.

At least on stage. She dips her head like a classy mare

to polite applause as she finishes recitation.

“Hey, that a way,” Armor ‘s stands as he snaps his fingers.

Some part of her connects with Armor’s prurient visage.

“Way to go babe. Looking good.”

Just a phase he is ogling through.

She smiles shyly and evacuates the stage.

A 20 year old boy with long blonde hair introduces himself

as Bob, just plain Bob. He begins a poem dedicated to,

of all persons, himself. Got to love those narcissists.

“Bob has become a great orchestra conductor pulling the

robots’ strings and tooting some very under-utilized horns. The

slaves to fashion must be freed so they can be released again

through the father, the son, the holy Bob…”

“Hmm, religious theme,” Amor’s says too loudly on purpose.

A moronic woman with short black hair who looks

like a chihuahua pooch shooshes him equally loudly.

Armor’s swivels rapidly on his chair.

“Sit on it baby,” he says.

 

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“Shhhh,” she barks.

“Shhhh this,” Armor’s giving her the good finger.

She recoils in disgust.

“Bob has come to save the masses from their horrible fate —

boredom, death-in-life, those things that dare not speak their

name. Bob names them after your evil souls. Master flash

Bob shaking it up. Watch his dust.”

Bob reads this narcissistic crap for 10 more minutes

exceeding the time limit. The mohawk nose ring crowd applauds

wildly while Tyger sits on his hands.

De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum.

“Yes well, ahem, I grasp his point,” Armor’s says. “And it’s

moot. He is like a vegetable, green on the outside,

yellow inside his noggin.”

Yet another temporary poet of the moment to quote, comrades,

to approximate the general idea of the event. “The forecast is

for cruella and unusual weather,” intones a sad eyed lady in long

white dress. “There is a cold front blowing in from North Dakota.

Things are going downhill fast.

Toggy Hill from Donaldsonville reports his ducks have

quacked. Blah blah blah his meaningless cold front bores me. I

live in the endless summer of my ovary. I give the best head in

the world gentlemen. But I refuse to be oppressed

through my desire and yours .”

Hmmm. Armor’s is slightly more interested.

“Sounds like she wants to shake

 

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some action,” he observes, “if you know what I mean.”

Unfortunately, everyone does.

Crap crap scrap, rattle and rack, nowhere men and crazy

hats. Armor’s takes a smelly shit and onward into the future.

Allons, let’s like this egg beater scram.

Tyger takes a break. He walks outside as a male poet yells,

“Flashbacks? That’s all I ever have are flashbacks.”

Automatic poetry feels for the moment as Tyger seems temporarily

satisfied with his lot at the Blue Bayou. He is just listening

tonight inviting whatever inspiration becomes available.

The future waits for tomorrow.

Dancing ballerina on time’s toes prancing, flashes glances

tres romantic. The poetic soap opera continues

until official break-time.

“Time to break something,” Armor’s declares to his antimatter

companion growling from the seat behind him.

“How about your face? Just joking. Not. Yes.”

The in-crowd stretches outside enjoying the brisk weather,

a pleasant change from New Orleans’ usual pattern of hellish

heat and equally uncomfortably unnaturally high humidity. Armor’s

poses Sphinxian riddles as poets mingle in small groups

exchanging the latest artistic information.

“They call the front passenger seat riding shotgun, but I

 

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prefer to call it the death seat.”

Armor’s finishes at last.

“Care to drive to the store and get some popcorn?”

Tyger passes on the invitation.

“Come on. No one has died in my car

yet,” Armor’s drives on. “At least nobody that I know of.”

Strains of a familiar tune drift outside from the bar’s juke

box every time a poet enters or exits. Goody, it’s the Monkees

blaring out “Daytime Believer.” This must mean something although

Tyger hasn’t a clue what.

Nothing matters like nothing matters, time like glass

continually shatters. Visualization technique continues as Armor’s

harasses a pretty young girl with golden curls and extremely

apprehensive manner.

Good old Armor’s is making friends again. Hey dude, remember

the last time. No more law suits, O.K.?

Oyez, oyez, and oh yeah, the poets have finished their

business inside the fabled Blue Bayou.

They begin the beguine, aimlessly drifting

back to their random seats.

Suddenly, extreme darkness alternates with a slightly lit

front platform and better lit side bar. A medium sized bird

perches behind the rail chattering at a female companion

with spiked black hair, leather, and missing tooth smile.

Adjusting slightly for the absence of light, objects as in a

vehicle side mirror are larger than they appear as they sweep by.

 

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Hear you, hear ye, hear ye comrades near to far . A night of

fortitude fortissimo lies around the secret bend. Have some fear,

dear friends. The future is now.

 

CHAPTER  THREE

Poetry night continues at the Blue Bayou.

Events take an unpropitious turn towards ugliness due to a

convergence of circumstances attributable to karmic order. Mona

Mona and her friend Roger initiate a riot resulting in the total

devastation of the bar. Tyger and Armor’s escape before the

authorities arrive.

 

CHAPTER 3

“What a Revolting Development This Is”

 

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Hang around like a glider, comrades, for every eon of

boredom infinitum sometimes passes

over an interesting nanosecond, or two.

In this case, hurtling towards an uncertain future, a

petrified past remains; but only as interpreted

by the likes of future time.

Do not pretend to understand the forever never

Simply try to grasp the momentarily soft landing.

A voice from mission control memory recalls the last booster

stage rocketing through space-time at the Blue Bayou.

“All you so-called genius poets suck,” Armor’s opines.

“You dried out toadies, who think you are;

fug-ged-about-tit dried out toady weeds. You

suck, suck like 10 zillion cosmic vacuum cleaners

suck. Get fucked.”

Another parish heard from.

So forth and so on after the break as a tall long-haired

performance artist snaps the small crowd with his lashing tongue.

Blah blah blah blah.

Armor ‘s assumes a righteous pose.

“But words will never harm me — nah nah nah nah.”

The crowd gathers momentum growing by an anorexia nervosa

 

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case there, a rotund space monkey here, straggling in random

disorder. The girl, in particular, attracts Tyger’s gaze.

For a girlish slip so thin with an eating disorder, she

appears amazingly sexy in short short black dress. She turns

on the lights in the dark room like a sodium vapor lamp.

Sweet memories of youth enter the club stage left, striding

purposefully to the bar counter.

“Uhhh, two cokes please,” requests a closely crew cut rap artist.

He remembers this night through

age immemorial, or not, depending on random brain waves.

The next poet assumes his historical place on the small

stage above the audience. Tyger and Armor’s have taken their

destined seats in a middle row. The usual interchangable 30 souls

fly like blackbirds into neatly arranged order.

“Fuck you Reagan. Fuck your dirty little wars. Hey fuck your

evil empire and fuck your emperor’s no clothes.” the poet singsongs

raising the potential for confrontation a level beat.

So on and so on he blows hard wired by a surrounding cloud

of cigarette smoke. Someone throws a wadded up piece of paper at

the stage. Wide right. The poet dares not notice.

“Najibullah is a foolah. Hit me with your half-greased

ruler. Wham it in and bam it out. You is finer than a turnip sprout.”

After break, rap poet numero duo rambles.

“ls this a rap, a rap rip-off, or a rap take-off?” Armor’s

 

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requests agreement. “You never know,” Tyger manages.

Maybe there is a full moon. Possibly a few Saints fans are

still hung over psychically. Perhaps, the sudden cold snap change

of weather has bent a few, shall we say, minds.

It might be abnormal sunspot activity.

A change in attitude seems apparent for whatever reason.

The natives definitely are growing restless.

“You suck. Rapmaster ‘B’ for booooooring,” snaps the twig

of a small girl who bends rapsters like bamboo.

“Fuck you too, you tool,” he snaps back.

“Booooooring. Boooooring,” continues twig woman gaining an

authoritative air soaring like stars without restraint, picking

up locomotive steam considerable.

“Boring, like a sick autistic gopher. Out damn spot!”

A William Burroughs poster hangs from the wall riverside. He

grins sideways. What a revolting development this is.

Cuckoo George-bent-on-bad-rapping poetry winds to a stop.

“Fuck you then,” and storms off the stage.

There is one poet who knows when it is time to stop.

Rapmeister Dick kicks at a chair on his way to the back of the

bar, perpendicularly turning to owner Big Al Santalucito who, no

request necessary, sets him up with a Jack Daniels shot, Dixie

 

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beer chaser, that is rapped home in a loud show of force.

The next, in this case, poetess begins. She is another neat

looking girl with short black hair, lovely long dress and shapely body.

“Uh-ho,” Armor’s cautions, “I see it coming.”

She recites an ode to her wet pussy.

“Not a bad recommendation for a first date,” Tyger nudges Armor’s who

doesn’t acknowledge due to a jaw dropped open.

“I’m in love,” finally sez he.

Continues the poetess with wonderful descriptions of her

numerous orgasms while waiting for public transportation in Kuala

Lumpur, Malaysia. She meanders through the five minute time

limitation, then politely refrains to sustained applause and some

tasteful finger-snapping. Life is looking up for Armor’s.

Tyger notices heavier than usual traffic around the bar.

Liquor consumption appears to pick up considerably for some, as

yet, inexplicable, reason. In fact, alcohol has replaced marijuana

as the current drug of choice which seems highly irregular.

“What’s the deal,” Tyger finally asks as he turns backwards

to pretty, moon faced, tall as a tree Mona Mona, who looks

sweetly innocent but does some wild performance art with dildos

and blow-up animal creatures.

Drinks free fall, flowing in mass quantity although there

seems little in the exchange of cash for services rendered. Big

Al floats like a monarch butterfly but stings like a drunken bee,

 

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maintaining service across the vast bar expanse huddled beneath

the glare of so-called motel art — weird flowers, seascapes

and children with big eyes — hanging above and beyond the bar railing.

“Shit. Well, shut my earring,” entraps another poet, almost

too well dressed in suit and tie as he begins. “Certainly shit

being a daily unctuous function deserves your full

attention being essential to human condition.

Hallowed be our excrement.”

“O.K., I will give him that,” Armor’s says. At final stage

then, the poet blasts off, then stumbles, tripping over a

microphone chord. The audience, in tribute to Allen Ginsburg,

howls.

Many like the children of the spirit they are, dissolve in

mirthful laughter. Armor’s makes another fake fart, then looks

around in bogus recrimination.

“He who smelt it, dealt it,” Tyger charges accurately.

This much seems certain: it is a tough room that night.

Poets like the mighty ocean roar. Their verbose waves of chatter

fall and rise like amoeba plagued red surf. Dangerous sea

out there for fair weather sailors.

Big Al yells in the corner. “Hey there! You there, who

forgot your drink. Hey buddy. What will it be?”

“Zombie flash sir,” a bearded youth rap-plies.

“Noooo problema.”

Hey, what is going on here? Only the shadow knows.

 

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Stage poet continues moving his mouth, true,

but nothing comes of nothing.

Tyger contemplates the meaning of this message.

Then, a thought strikes home.

“Hold it,” Tyger mumbles to Armor’s.

“This guy is drunk as a skunk.”

Ka-boom, splooey, phooey; the general noise level rises like

high tide exploding by a microphone amplified podium beaten.

Those entering the Blue Bayou as if privy to a secret sandbar,

immediately body surf towards Big Al, the rapidly pouring kahuna.

Big Al jumps over the bar — not quite for he is as huge

as two Hawaiian love shacks. Yet, he gives it the old Big Al try,

finally oozing a large pot belly over the bar-top towards the small stage.

The timid poet eagerly relinquishes his microphone’s

umbilical chord, hoping to disappear into darkness as Big Al

prepares to make an announcement of coming attractions.

“Hey, hey, what the hey, don’t usually do this

but I have had a big week,” he announces.

“Hit a $5,000 jackpot betting on the Vikings Sunday.”

Boo? Hiss? Booze.

“So for the rest of the night,” and a pause that refreshes

as present converges with and diverges from bar-life precedent,

“Drinks are on the house.”

“Uh-ho,” Tyger realizes as the Blue Bayou, indeed, starts

turning very, very like ugly.

Big Al certainly knows how to attract a crowd.

 

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A loud huzzah envelops the tavern as the collected deadbeats

become Al’s new best friends. Various groups embark on favorite

modes of jubilation.

“Have some N’awlins tea, corn-pone,” Tyger abandons caution,

lights a joint, and hands off to Armor’s grasping paw.

“Have another hit brother,” Armor’s swooshes

in a lung full, “of sweet air.”

Armor’s finishes smoking reefer glowing. No one notices.

Poetry night fast approaches ground zero.

Two men with guitars and a woman sing folk-style,

“You can’t beat me I’m working for the union,”

in a surreal accompaniment to the more frenetic activity

of poetry patron grabbing on to bar,

doing whatever it takes to get at those freebies.

Big Al pours frenetically like some mad appliance gone whacky

He is somewhat ably assisted by his girl friend, Carol.

Blurt blurt, more hurt, the race for space along the bar

outrageously flying fur as songbirds belt out a rousing chorus of

“For he’s a jolly good fellow,” dedicated to you know who.

They end without warning, dashing like dots for the serving

troth. “I will have a peppermint Schnapps,” from voices heard

above the rabble babble.

“Wild Turkey?” “Scotch on the rocks!”

“Bartender, an old fashioned. No, make that a Manhattan.”

 

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Ka-boom! Big Al falls to the floor. Nobody seems to

notice. The poetic party has engendered a momentum all its own.

Nobody is in charge anymore.

Drink service, exotic and otherwise, continues at an ever

expanding universal pace. Word travels like a moon shot heard

around the neighborhood, attracting an unusual aggregate in

congregation.

Maybe 60, 70 persons — Nicaraguan exiles, African-Americans

from the nearby ghetto, redneck mothers — paint the Blue Bayou

black, white, yellow, and red with an ad-hoc Rainbow Coalition.

It is a van conversion meat market out there. Little halfpints

down twice their body weight in sparkling burgundy and

imported beer. Bigger piggies further demoralize call liquor

brands by the bygone bottle. Marijuana smoke drifts everywhere.

Nobody is on the podium. Nobody cares. Guess it was time for

another break anyway. Smashing glass sound.

And it was time to break something, too.

“Uh-ho,” Tyger turns to Armor’s who has disappeared over by

the end of the bar to grab-ass the anorectic girl as they grapple

for a bottle of Stolichnaya Vodka.

Scenes shift to a series of dissolves illustrating the

increasingly anarchic state of the Blue Bayou. Staggering

poets, patrons, patriots got to revolution spinning heads floating on

indeterminable rivers of liqour gushing over the wood-planked floor.

 

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Spike haired boys and fat chicks with black dyed dreadlocks

sweep across the room playing an imaginary game of what?

Who knows. Who cares.

They rattle around in dark corners, smashing glass in a

modern Greek chorus. Humbaby, wawawawa, a nitrous oxide fit

building as the building resounds with desire.

More bottles break. Pointless arguments ensue, devolve into

riddles, disdainfully fret their time upon the stage and resume

the usual infinities of anomalies.

Armor’s turns to a blonde haired Nordic beauty, 6’3″ tall

and stacked like a deck of cards. “Who aaaaare these persons, my

dear?” he ever so suavely inquires before clumsily tottering

into the welcoming arms of a nearby chair.

Armor’s looks up at what he considers God’s most glorious

creation: Wall-to-wailing-wall titties.

“Down spot,” cautions the goddess Mona Mona.

“Like yeah,” Armor’s, the dude, abides.

Thronging poets awe behold. The situation is out of control.

Icebergs? Damn them sir, full speed ahead, gulp gulp.

A strange kind of white noise bellies up to the bar wrapping

conversations around curved universes bouncing like superballs

warp speeding between the cracks in the room’s atmosphere.

 

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Everybody is a comedian. Never heard a story so funny.

Hahahahaha. Noise and confusion starts making too much sense.

Sunspots burst, then vector into dark space tailed by the

now routine liquor in free fall. Big Al like a shot off of

Cecil Fielder’s bat is long, long, way long gone. But he is at

the Wrigley Field of the soul and a fan throws his home run back.

About 10,000 years of mankind’s development is stuffed into

one cocktail glass upright on Mona’s Mona’s nose.

“That is not a drill,” notes Armor’s, laid out and back in a corner chair,

spontaneously combusting the spaced out action.

“Not a bad trick,” he observes. “Not bad at all.”

“Whose toin is it now,” asserts a middle-aged receding hairline.

“I came here for a good poetry reading.”

“No,” corrects a unison of voices mocking the Monty Pythons.

“You came here for a poetry reading.”

Hahahaha laughing more gas.

“Ize am not slurring· my woids,” bald guy asserts defensively

although no one could possibly have noticed or cared.

(Drink calls in the background become quite unusual as

patron and management successfully intermingle, bond, and become

one. Pink lady, Goombah Smash, speedball, eth cocktail, and

marijuana with a few micrograms of LSD straight up, etc.)

The open mike name sign-up list melts down in the frenzied

chaos. There is considerable confusion about who should read next

if there is a next.

“Oh please God,” Armor’s prays with hands outstretched Jesus

 

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style . “Don’t let it be me . ”

He is gratefully passed over like the ancient Jews in Egypt.

An anonymous poke in Tyger’s ribs follows.

“No way man,” he replies. “I read last time.”

Finally a very attractive redhead, small and pert, pretends

she is a salmon swimming upstream and mounts the stage.

She has washed up on shore ready to comment.

“Like I have really gotten into the life force here. Every

one of you is like so beautiful. It blows my mind. Thank you.

Thank you. I have learned a lot tonight.

You are beautiful. Yes,” pause, “you know who you are.”

Meanwhile, a bearded man casually flicks lit matches at the

bar flowing with highly flammable liquids and such. Hahaha redux.

The room is swept away by the excrement of its patrons’

exalted excitement.

“Is she giving that guy over there a blowjob?” Armor’s inquires mid-burp.

“Don’t ask me, man” Tyger replies.

“I don’t even know where I am anymore.”

Armor’s snaps his fingers beatnik style in automatic response.

Time for the next er, er, er, what-ya-call-it; redaction.

“Everything seems to be da, da, da, coming up roses,”

proclaims a ruddy complexioned youth sporting pink bunny ears on

his fore and a bushy white tale to his aft.

Armor’s looks at Tyger.

“Don’t ask,” the T-man preemptively strikes.

“Don’t tell. I don’t want to know.”

 

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“Hey man, that’s cool,” Armor’s replies noticeably relieved.

“I knew it wasn’t just me. That’s cool, fool.”

Next. Next. Drum press roll please. Make that a press roll,

kaiser roll, beignet to please. A nondescript boy in horn-rimmed

glasses mumbles, stops, begins crying, then madly kicks at the stage.

He mumble, rumbles, crumbles, bumbles, and reassembles. This

fits right in because he seems to be having a nervous breakdown;

er, make that breakthrough.

Then he is the silly rabbit who jumps back in the hat.

He is gone, solid gone.

“I hope he doesn’t hurt himself,” a disembodied motherly

female voice pretends to care.

“Ah, he does that every week,” another through the carnage

reassesses, accent on the second syllable.

“Well then, that’s nice,” the woman answers through the haze.

Next. Who’s next? Tyger this time Armor’s

once more to the breech nudges. Hahahahaha.

“Have another hit, friend. But no way am I getting up

on that purgatorious stage of dismemberment.”

No matter. A pretty young thing with long thin legs

delicately walks on-stage turning ever so chic on thoroughbred

ankles just the way Francois Truffaut claimed to like them.

For a moment, silent runs the ragged room. It is all the

more surprising for the contrast with the last hour of frenetic

 

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hell-in-training .

“It is my great pleasure to introduce our feature this

evening,” the girl begins with great pomp and ceremonial

circumstance. Armor’s coughs, nudging Tyger yet again.

“Have another hit,” he says passing the reefer.

“There is a feature this evening?”

His voice breaks the suddenly sacred silence of the monumental moment.

“Shhhhhh,” many voices now chime together .

“And in this corner,” the pretty girl with the microphone

continues, “weighing in at a svelte 235 pounds, 5’3″ in his

stocking feet, grey goatee, 50-year-old artistic wonder. It is

Roger. Yes. Roger.”

Polite applause greets Roger climbing into the ring ready for his next opponent.

That would be, in the absence of any clear target, the audience.

So, what else is new?

“And in this corner,” the ring announcer motion. “A slick

cat, a mean machine, 6’3″ tall, 150 pounds. It is,” she whispers

to Roger who, as an unindicted co-conspirator

replies out of the crowd’s earshot.

“Mona. Mona. Mona. Let us hear it for these two dahlins.'”

More polite applause. The rowdy crowd seems to be passed out,

passing gas or otherwise resting.

Ahoy there hearty multitudes. Roger and Mona Mona present

arms. For now, amazingly, the room is fairly sedated, having soaked

 

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up the wild wetness like a dry sponge.

Mona, Mona Mona begins in manner innocuous, singing a

tasteful a cappella medley of theme music from “the Beverly

Hillbillies,” “All in the Family,” “Bewitched,” and, of course,

the crowd pleasing “Brady Bunch.”

“Not bad, not bad,” Armor’s adjudges. A couple of poets by

the bar chant “Go baby go. Let it all hang out. Surf’s up!” and

similar obscurely semi-rude comments.

Roger starts dancing with himself in a slow semi-circuitous

motion. It is about 11 p.m.

Big Al has retired to a stupefied heap on the floor.

The frenetic pace has withered at the vine with time as

everyone has accepted the notion of free booze. Patrons help

themselves at will to whatever is available. A certain sense of

polite kindness now predominates.

Marijuana smoke and liquor fumes fill the atmospheric aroma.

A couple of firemen have somehow gotten word of the party.

They sit uniformly cloaked at a tiny table.

Half the persons in the room resemble various barnyard animals.

The rest look like refugees from the Ethiopian desert.

Everybody seems pleasantly plastered as the dynamic duo onstage,

mainly Mona Mona, sing in mellifluous atonal tones. Make

Tyger a pallet on the floor: she penetrates virgin souls,

washing over timeless passion.

 

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Then, dear Roger magician presto produces a portable cassette

player. Mona clears her throat operatic diva fashion. So much for

the pleasant preliminaries. Now begins the rest of the story.

“Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa… a most indescribable wail, so

horrible, so awesomely annoying like the worst scratched

blackboard sound combined with a million cats squealing.

Mona rapidly travels up and down the musical scale or what

passes for it to the rabble. She prances across the stage

Like demented Energizer bunny rabbit.

.Tyger covers his ear. Armor’s turns around

to see a room gone finally to seed just when one thought

nothing else could happen.

“Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, hoohoo-eeeeeeeeeeeek…Aw, man, hell

of a noisy rain forest. Roger whirls madly like a Turkish dervish

on the small platform, perhaps he calls it dancing.

Kerblam! Kerslam! A number of glasses combustible are

spontaneously smashing. A mirror explodes.

“How much bad luck is that?” Tyger yells above the fray at

Armor’s holding his po’ boi swollen head.

Dear lad seems to have an early hangover.

The once seemingly dead crowd has hallelujah resurrected. Some spring

to their feet as stirring sprouts bending to hard-to-fathom

superhuman musical scales.

Up and down driven on by a crazed elevator operator in the

person of tall as a tower and thin as a reed, moon faced Mona

Mona. “EEEEEeeeeeeeeeeee …” Fingers continue scratching a song

 

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along a tortuous black chalkboard. “AAAAAAaaaaaaeeeeeeee … ”

Yeah, right.  Tyger looks at his watch hand. T-minus infinity and counting.

Rather T-max delivery for how long has it been — three minutes, four, and counting.

Is that all?

Seems like return to forever.

All that passes for attention rivets stagebound.

Mona Mona definitely exhibits an unusual style.

Geezus bejeezus, she is breaking the sound barrier.

And Roger? He is perched like a mad parrot at the front

of the stage making obscene hand gestures,

apparently at the cowering crowd.

“What the actual fuck!” the fat man in the corner starts yelling in

competitive fervor as he stages a last stand.

“Fuuuuuck! Fuck you already!”

He rises. “Fuck you already and your fucking Yoko Ono

imitation.”

He walks hands clenching rather menacingly towards the stage.

“What do you think?” Tyger asks Armor’s who does not respond.

Tyger pokes his friend.

Armor’s removes wadded paper napkin from both ears.

“What? Hey, I’m finally enjoying this,” he says.

“Never mind,” Tyger screams. Armor’s plugs his ears again.

Fat man and Roger stand practically eyeball to eyeball at

the edge of the stage. Roger continues making hand gestures,

 

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which extend beyond conflicting interpretation.

The fat man, red face, looks like a bloated seed about to germinate.

What we have here, gentlemen, quoting Cool Hand Luke’s

Strother Martin warden, is a failure to communicate. And how.

From the rear, near the bar, a few loose objects spin into

view. They grow astronomically.

They are the usual space garbage missiles defying gravity —

glasses, bottles, pretty much anything not tie-dyed down.

Then, trails a steady explosive stream of anti-matter.

Ash trays, candle holders, glasses, every kind of projectile

imaginable, clothes, a bit of what is that, sheetrock?

Holy shit, Batman, have another hit

and by all means Robin, quack, quack, duck.

Man, oh Monaschewitz, the crazy broad won’t stop.

She continues wailing in a superhuman effort to prove

the outrageous power of her vocal chords.

Roger and the fat man square off, push leading to shove as

they wrestle to the smashed glass strewn floor.

Six minutes and counting, mission control.

Some higher power needs to scratch this bitch off the

mission.

“Hear, this small prayer, Lord,” Tyger asks, “make it stop.”

Art,, if art is anything, resembles truth.

The truth of the matter, in this case,

is Mona Mona and Roger bite.

Sad but true dat.

 

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Patrons near the back rise in agitated states and blast off,

launching chairs towards the stage.

Big Al, like some huge hibernating bear sensing

danger in his den, rises groggily, and warily, glances around.

“Uh. What’s happening?” he asks half a heart, half a heart,

half-heartedly wad staggering onward.

“Nothing dear, go back to sleep,” Carol, his girlfriend,

answers. “Oh. Oh. O.K.,” Big Al mumbles and collapses back into

his fetal position. Lucky guy. Course, he’ll regret this in the morning.

Let’s face facts, comrades in confusion.

A full-blown poetry riot of a volcano has erupted.

Two large motorcycle types go from table to table picking up

asteroids, flinging them across the universal rumor,

tumorous growth room.

“Oh my goodness,” exclaims Tyger as a little old lady pulls

off her wig, pushing it into an old man’s face. “She’s bald.”

“And she has a moustache,” a lip-reading Armor’s notes,

obviously impressed.

Time expands by a minute, two, three; stops, reforms, and

like an earthquake rumbles. Ultimate truth is going down,

splintering wood all around the bloody blooming booming bar.

A large table gracefully pirouettes in the air and tumbles

down cracking. “Waaaaaeeeeiiiiii!”

 

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Riotous sounds share Mona Mona’s loud tribute to art and

outrageous fortune. Disorder, comrades, and a lovely poetic

passion reign supreme.

Armor’s smiles approvingly, turning to Tyger.

“I am gettinginto this now,” Armor’s beams.

“This is one of the better open mikes, I do believe, sir.”

Tyger surveys the anarchy with an alarming conclusion.

Armor’s joking. Right?

Finally, at long last, the wailing appears to subside

although it is hard to say if this is so given the Blue Bayou’s

chaotic din. Mona Mona evacuates the stage, punctuating her exit

by grabbing a chair and smashing it on top of the Roger

offending fat man who promptly collapses in a heap.

Roger carefully dusts off himself and takes the microphone.

“Thank you all very much. We’re stopping now,” he says. “You have

been a lovely audience. I hope we can do this again next week.”

“Oh yeah,” Tyger says. “Fat chance.”

Another type of wailing can be heard in the distance. It

seems to be approaching rapidly like a comet or … what’s that,

police siren? Danger, comrades.

“Ai-ooga everyone,” Armor’s says rising to the occasion.

The place tones down considerably. All appears much calmer.

The visual wreckage, however, belies that pleasant aural fixation

 

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The Blue Bayou resembles Hiroshima mon amour after the atom

bomb was dropped.

(In a dark corner, a couple on a first date discuss

Wallace Stevens and the concept of chaos versus order. Quaint.)

“Ai-ooga, aiiiii-ooo,” the unmistakable signs of law

enforcement close in on the anarchic state.

Armor’s again removes his paper ear plugs.

“Sounds like the fuzz,” he says. “We better like a banana split.”

“Nooooo problem,” Tyger replies stirring like a wok-man.

A growing bonfire sparkles in the corner. The firemen run

for cover in the opposite direction. Roger shakes someone’s hand,

ready to beam me up Scotty out and over to Tchopitoulas Street.

“Yes, let’s do this again sometime,” Armor’s says as the dynamic

duo approach the escape hatch.

“Let’s do lunch,” he adds, exiting though the fire door.

The police siren approaches ever closer announcing

itself loudly now that the furor has split ended.

Our nutty cosmonauts vanish into the night. Lost in space

and feeling the impact of a special moment far out memory

recalling. They like stars in a black sky suspended mote float to

the vehicular module.

 

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A postscript dear comrades: Such was the last open mike

poetry night, or any performance, at Blue Bayou.

Only five persons were arrested.

Tyger and Armor·s blew a lovely last “fatty” joint before an

existential retirement.

And no one ever saw Big Al, Roger, or Mona Mona again.

Thank goodness, once more, for small favors.

 

Chapter Four: Tyger interviews at Marrero for an insurance

investigator’s position with Dorothy Lafleur of Information

Retrieval Services (IRS) Inc. The position is explained and Tyger

is hired. He begins his first assignment at Kenner with a

negative outcome.

 

CHAPTER Four

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Greetings dawn. How the hell is it hanging today?

Shedding the past like a snake its skin, Tyger awakens the

next morning turning his head with vivid recollections of the

night before, and a marijuana hangover quickly shaken and stirred.

Today, that day forever etched in time, could be of some

interest or even importance. Tyger looks at his alarming clock.

Great. Got a job interview and can’t be late.

Tyger handles the morning routine with aplomb: shits, shaves

and showers. The usual lame “Good Morning New Orleans” show ruins

morning television. (It is a Williams household outrage.)

Clothing selection, however, takes a turn towards the

unusual. Tyger takes out of his bedroom closet a five-year-old

suit worn just once for a family function best left indescYibably

delicious.

Whooo. It smells like a 5,000 year old dead animal instead

of formal wear. That is terrible.

Not exactly form fitting either. Tyger has put on some

weight since then. He is lugging in at 20 pounds more than the

170 listed on his drivers license. It seems a bit much for a

5’11” frame. Another testimonial to the nowhere lifestyle.

 

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Oh well, truly no choice as to selection. Tyger dons the

brown confection and pisso presto, voila’, a walking piece of shit

like the rest of work-a-day humanity.

Tyger exits the small wood frame shotgun duplex to his

neighbor’s amazement. They have never before seen him dressed

like a store mannikin.

However, nobody utters a discouraging word as befits

good neighbor protocol. Why spoil a perfect vision.

Our boy loads himself in the dented grey Toyota station

wagon without a muffler . He smoky-mokes across to Magazine Street

and Downtown.

As usual, the only time a Regional Transit Authority bus can

be spotted is when one drives behind it. Try waiting on a hot New

Orleans summer day a term that almost goes without saying —

and no bus will pass for hours.

But try being in a hurry and in a car and they fume

everywhere, bottling up traffic. Menacing drivers — female

deadlier than the male variety — snarl at passengers, sometimes

stopping and leaving the bus running while they shop for a

twinkie or cold drink at a nearby inconvenient convenience store.

Typical New Orleans charm, y’all.

In this case, Tyger has procrastinated just long enough to

be anxious about making his employment interview on time. Of

course, he is stuck behind two consecutive busses faced with a

 

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steady stream of incoming traffic on the Uptown side of Magazine

Street.

Tyger honks his horn, weaves wildly, shouts cur-ses, some

quite creative like “You bus-fuck” and “Why don’t you die RTA

faggot” all to no avail–surprise, surprise. The three mile trip

downtown takes about as long as the Pleistocene Age which it

cave folk mimics.

Past the small antique shops, furniture stores and related

businesses through deteriorating street-scum-smart neighborhoods,

the Age of Tyger finally approaches the Camp Street entrance ramp

to the Greater New Orleans Bridge spanning the Mississippi

River from East Bank to West. Tyger’s destination is the

outskirts of Yatville across the river at Marrero.

A middle class suburban New Orleans neighborhood beckons.

Tyger parks the rambling wreck and walks along a short path to

the front door of a mid-sized home.

A chubby yet attractive young woman, about 25 years old,

short black hair, casually dressed in loose fitting black slacks

and white blouse, answers the door.

“Hi, I’m Dorothy LaFleur,” she announces as a small dog runs

up barking. “And this is Poopsie.”

She cradles the pooch. “Excuse me. Poopsie gets over-excited

when she meets a stranger .” She takes the dog outside and

returns.

 

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“Tyger Williams I presume.

Have a seat on the couch. Make

yourself comfortable.

position.”

Let me tell you something about the

Tyger follows orders as Dorothy explains the job’s

requirements. Information Retrieval Services Inc. is the

company’s name. It is operated by a gentleman from Florida. They

handle insurance claims investigations.

Generally, oil, insurance companies, and attorneys pay them

to determine whether the subjects — never refer to them as

anything else are legitimately injured. Tyger nods his head

and listens intently.

The company handles a variety of other investigative

services. For example, the boss, Joe Fine, conducts fire

investigations and administers polygraph tests.

The company also locates persons, interviews potential

witnesses of all types and handles miscellaneous assignments. But

generally, IRS Inc. deals with insurance investigations.

(This is January 1988, so keep in mind that the Louisiana

oil patch has gone bust along with the official OPEC pack of

jackals. Workers are being laid off en masse as the Louisiana

economy hits rock bottom.

Therefore, an early retirement courtesy of fraudulent injury

claims are very attractive to a certain underclass of miscreants.

What’s more, unscrupulous attorneys and physicians conspire to

 

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defraud the insurance companies which, also due to the recession

and the natural inclination to protect assets, are quite

reluctant to pay any claims, much less bogus ones.)

Work for the private IRS Inc. has been booming, Dorothy

continues. “I have been wor-king with Joe for nearly four years,

but I just found out I’m pregnant.” “Congratulations.” “Thank

you, and we feel like we can add someone while I assume a

supervisory role.

“Basically, we need someone with video experience to conduct

video sur-veillance of claimants and operate Joe’s unique video

sur-veillance system.

“Now,” she says, turning discussion to the applicant. I

have your resume here and it looks quite impressive. Anything you

wish to add?”

When a person has had as many positions as Tyger-, dear- boy,

he becomes expert at the ar-t of job inter-viewing tactics. Of

course, on the debit side it is somewhat difficult to land

when a cat has had so many lives.

a job

Tyger

himself in

degrees in

occupations:

begins the usual applicant balancing act painting himself in

an agreeable light. He explains education, various degrees in

literature and history, as well as previous occupations

writer for only the most awful,

er awesome,

publications, and academic researcher.

Moving right along, Tyger discusses

his considerable

 

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independent video experience. He emphasizes video production

skills, talents at videography, editing and the like, and his

desire to work the detective job to earn enough money to keep

afloat

and buy editing equipment.

Dorothy listens carefully from a comfy cloth chair as Tyger

rambles on the couch. Occasionally, Poopsie barks in the

background.

“I am curious abut one thing,” Dorothy notes. “Tyger with

an ‘Y.’ What’s up with that?” Tyger laughs. “Everybody asks

“Everybody asks

me that.

Thee was a class called General Languages that we had to

take in First Form — that’s 7th Grade to y’all — in the private

school I attended. We sampled French, German, Russian, Spanish,

Latin to see which language we wanted to learn later.

I was so ferocious when it came to conjugating Latin verbs

that one day the teacher said I was like a tiger.

The name stuck. I changed the ‘i’ to ‘y’ to be special.”

Tyger stopes speaking and searches for some sort of approving

sign. Dorothy disappears into the bedroom and places a

telephone call while Tyger fidgets on the couch.

At last, dear Dorothy returns from OZ. “I just spoke with

Joe and he gives t a go. We’ll give you a shot at $10 an hour,

Twenty cents a mile plus all expenses.

We furnish the video surveillance system. You file reports

 

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on this format.” She hands him a form. “We cut you a check once

the report is filed.

” I will be available for consultation whenever you are on

assignment. We don’t leave anyone out in the field alone.

Otherwise, Joe has an 1-800 answering service number that he

checks and you can call, You’ll meet him when he comes to town.

“The objective is to determine whether the subject is

actually injured. We have had cases where guys with bad backs

have done roofing jobs; the blind have played softball; and the

allegedly lame have run in marathons.”

Dorothy explains that she doesn’t have the system at her

house, but will in

being repaired.

the near future. It is currently in the shop

IRS Inc. has a backlog of cases that can be investigated

using standard video practices. Tyger is to find a good spot for

surveillance and shoot any possible video of the subject along

with 35mm still shots. Special emphasis should be placed on the

subject·s ability to move around as well as all relevant

details of his injury related lofe-style and activities.

So, it begins. Let’s roll.

“Great. No more suits and ties Tyger unless you have to

testify in court. We’re a down and dirty operation. Blue jeans

 

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are fine.” “Great. I’m a blue jeans type of guy.”

Dorothy issues the necessary equipment

to initiate

operations. Standard issue VHS video recorder with battery;

camera with 8-1 zoom lenses; check. Video car chord, check. Video

cassettes, six hour sp mode, check. Still camera, check. Dorothy

then provides the details of the debut investigation.

Subject: Frank Davis. 432 Wishbone Lane, Kenner, Louisiana.

Phone number: 876-9087. Married with three children,

white male. Date of Birth: 9/21/57.

30 year old

He was working on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and

claims to have slipped on a wet deck and injured his back so that

he has great difficulty moving and can’t work. His social

security number is 098-56-8901.

“Get there about 6 a.m.,” Dorothy continues, “and determine

what vehicle or vehicles he has. Get the license plate numbers

which we will run at a local Department of Motor Vehicles Office.

“Note any and all activities. Stick with him until 11 a.m.

if he isn’t doing anything. Stick with him as long as possible if

there is activity, shooting as much video as you can.”

Ollie North’s Iran-Contra secret subversive legions have

nothing on the new improved Tyger as he leaves Dorothy’s house

with a new job. He is ready to rock and roll on a new mission in

life.

“I think I can. I think I can,” he tells the bomb sans

 

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muffler that answers back, “You know it Sam, you am.”

(So speaks Tyger’s mother the car.)

“What the hey hey hey, I’m an insurance investigator now,”

Tyger says. “You better not break down again.”

Tad gets married again on “All My Children” or Erica gets

fucked as daytime soaps inevitably pass towards nighttime lies.

Tyger’s story moves along time’s fine lines, a few nanoseconds,

maybe eons passing by.

That evening, Tyger tells Armor’s and a couple of other fellow travelers

about his new engagement. They seem impressed.

He checks a Champion map of the New Orleans Metropolitan Area.

Wishbone Lane is down Williams Boulevard

between the International Airport and Jefferson Downs Race Track.

Tyger also looks up Davis, Frank in the phone book: 432 Wishbone Lane, Kenner, Louisiana.

Phone number: 876-9087. Check.

He practices some with the video camera taking pictures

of the small badly carpeted living room and omnipresent turned on television

before sleepy eyed Susans whisk him to bed. Check, check, and double check. O.K., baby, ready to stroll.

“Hey good looking. What you got coking. W

hy don’t you … ” Whaaaaaaat!!!”

Tyger fairly falls off his floor mattress and whacks the clock radio alarm.

“Why don’t you … ”

He misses. Whack. Off.

What the hell? It’s 5 a.m.

 

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Tyger prepares the automatic drip-dry coffee-maker with

P.J.’s French Roast and moves as myth along the ancient wake-up

ritual practiced beyond time’s memory. Of course, the early

morning hour makes this exercise more arduous than usual.

Persevering Tyger shits, shaves, and showers. He finishes

important coffee presentation exercises and samples same. Tastes

almost as if his taste-buds were awake.

Final shaman chants of morning. It is dark, yes, but

prospects of dawn beckon. A silver Toyota wagon without a muffler

is loaded with more useful objects like video equipment. Another

cup of java and off into the future exploring.

WTUL-FM, the progressive college station, has temporarily

gone off the air, again. The only other stations are playing

commercials, classical. or pop sham music.

What is that–Mozart, Brahms, Dylan? Thomas? Who knows. It

seems a stirring melody for a stoic detective investigating a

becoming orange dawn. Quite a silly sight.

Tyger floats along Nashville Avenue, over and under the

secret shortcuts slicing diagonally away from the river towards

Interstate-10. A newspaper delivery here, strange dark jogger

there, birds chirping.

Shut up. Tyger is tired and cranky, nervous about doing well

the first time out of the gate.

He listens to the lame radio in a world concealed by fogged

 

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up car windows — the usual

residue of humidity mixed with

anxiety — and flashing traffic lights. Over and over and over he

goes to Interstate-10 with headlights aglowing.

A few minutes before the appointed hour, Tyger glides his

mother the car to a stop. Voila, subject’s boudoir yonder

beckons.

It is still a bit too dark to read vehicle license plates,

so Tyger drives around the block casing the neighborhood. A

standard middle class suburban grid with small wood houses, green

well-manicured yards and a mixture of car, truck, and van

vehicles.

Tyger pulls his weight over to an empty church parking lot

diagonally across another street from the subject’s abode. He

prepares the video equipment for shooting and waits until

orange has become yellow and dawn is almost past tense.

Then he drives by, scribbling on a four-corner folded piece

of yellow legal paper the license numbers of the car parked in

the Davis driveway and a truck parked on the front curb. Like

taking candy from a baby, baby. This is too easy.

Swallows and pigeons always returning, Tyger resumes his

church lot sentry post. He posts up high near a brick ·wal 1.

Direct evidence reveals hard-working residents of Wishbone

Lane preparing for their lovely jobs. Except one. Lights out at

the Davis household. A newspaper waits patiently on the Davis

 

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front lawn.

Pedestrian and vehicular traffic picks up. Tyger listens to

the radio, while drinking coffee. Video equipment rests in state

on the passenger seat covered by a Kool-Aid Kids beach towel.

Too bad. Nothing shaking. Tyger drives a few blocks to a

Time-Saver convenience store.

(Why do they call it that anyway? The clerks are so

diffident that no one “saves” time.)

He purchases a Slimes-Picayune newspaper with the usual

outrageous news fakes from nowhere interesting. How nice.

The news is no muse: Auburn fans leave New Orleans vowing

they will return. Great–don’t let the door slam you on the way

out. Die tie mongers. Had a lousy Sugar Bowl for breakfast.

Also purchased: a package of cashew nuts and diet coke for

therapeutic caffeine purposes only.

Tyger drives back to the church and waits for another

private eye-full, alternating between Slimes

the Davis house. Negative activity.

lies and glances at

Otherwise, the immediate area exhibits the usual early

morning shenanigans. Vehicles drive by towards

Boulevard. Mothers escort children to school bus stops.

Williams

An occasional jogger or old man totters along. Teenagers on

skateboards whiz towards truancy. Exciting stuff.

Back like a slinky bending to position Tyger slides–safe!

 

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He settles in at Her Lady of Immaculate Conception or whatever

the darn church is called. Occasionally he wipes dew from inside

and outside the car window.

Yellow turns the sky bright into day. Blackbirds fill a

Humidity wipes Tyger’s forehead like

grass. Negative activity by the

block of air to the west.

mist on the green green suburban

subject continues.

A loud wheezing noise.

vanishes from the airwaves.

Oh shit, the mighty WTUL-box again

Tyger switches to WWOZ. “Sonufa gun

gonna have unfun on de bayou.” The song is ending.

“Yes my children, Cajun Louis ‘Lala’ Lalonde here. Let the

good times roll be’bes.” Click. Don’t need that shit, Tyger

swears.

Detective detecting continues with negative activity. Hey,

that car has been around here before. What is it? Those birds

look nice. Anyone coming to the church?

Tyger can’t figure it out. A natural

span deficits as paranoia and good

intermingle, date, mate, marry, and

following sunrise.

position for attention

investigative sense

warily watch the day

Then a siren as a Kenner Police car drives up into the

church. Out jumps the old smoky cop. Sir, sir, etc. etc.

The officer takes Tyger’s driver’s license. “Have you ever

been arrested? Are you sure? Sure?”

 

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The cop gives the license a quick once over.

He looks around Tyger’s tired covered wagon. “Hmmm.

Break tags expired. Seat belt.” Blah blah blah.

“What were you doing here?”

“I was having car trouble and

waiting for a friend..”

crackle (snapple-pop.) The cop’s patrol

radio squawks.

“Just a second sir. Nothing?” The cop shop notes with

disappointment into the accursed transmitter.

“Are you sure?”

Darn, no easy mark to bust today, the cop nonetheless

wants to determine what the neighborhood watch has been bitching about

all morning long.

Look, officer,” Tyger explains the assignment.

What the heck. He is tired of being hassled.

”You know you really shouldn’t lie especially to a policemen,” the cop concludes,

returning Tyger’s license. A brief

painless lecture ensues from a police presence

who is not entirely regulation either.

He sports a sloppy open shirt collar that

reveals a white T-shirt underneath

Complementing red beard

stubble on red face.

“Aright. You have a right to be here. I hope I didn’t spoil

anything,” Officer Santy Claus concludes.

He is, after all,

late for donuts and coffee at the Williams Boulevard Denny’s.

 

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“No. I was just leaving anyway,” Tyger replies. “No

problem.” “But I might be back tomorrow.”

leaving

“0.K. I’ll tell my

partner. Good luck.” The cop drives into obscurity.

Approximately 9:30 a.m. with negative activity by th

subject. Tyger returns to said convenience store and telephones

Dorothy LaFleur explaining the current situation.

“O.K. You can break it off,” she says. “We· 11 check with our

client, maybe go back on this guy. I have another case for you to

do anyway.”

“O.K. Sorry I didn’t come up with anything.” “Don’t worry

about it. If they don’t move, they don’t move. No problem.”

One last pass-by and off into the secret spaces beyond Frank

Davis’s universe roars the Big Bang theory named Tyger Williams.

Have no fear comrades in observation, Tyger’s time will surely

come.

SURVEILLANCE PELICANA

BY

DAN WEISMAN

(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/)

 

CHAPTER FIVE

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.

 

CHAPTER 5

“People Behaving Badly”

 

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“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.

Swing!

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

Avondale, Louisiana.

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.

 

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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,

 

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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.

 

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periodically checking on the subject’s activities.

Negative activity.

The agent moved a safe distance from the area and began his

surveillance.

 

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.

 

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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.

Negative activity.

About 11 a.m. the mailman walks by the yard.

Dogs, persons who look like dogs, birds, West Bank scenery,

 

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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

 

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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

pronounced limp.

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.

 

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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

 

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Weisman

 

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.

 

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(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.

 

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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,

anti-hallelujah.

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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.

 

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“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.

“You smoke?”

“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.

 

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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…”

 

SURVEILLANCE PELICANA

BY

DAN WEISMAN

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/

 

CHAPTER SIX

Waking the Dead at MacLand and Bobby’s

Mac Long and Sarah Ivy, friends of Tyger, hold

court at MacLand. They make local derelict Clyde get out of the

trash. Some bongo jamming takes place. Later, Tyger, Mac and

Armor’s go to Bobby’s Club by the streetcar barn and listen to an

rock and roll group called the New Neanderthals. They return to

the paradise recalled that is MacLand.

 

CHAPTER 6

“Waking the Dead at MacLand and Bobby’s”

 

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Pretty little black girls, all in a row. One flies southward,

the others walk home.

Beautiful monochrome pigeons rock last laughs at that across

Oak Street cat who looks over his shoulder grabbing bats last.

Next image.

Gipper will and Nancy won’t. They party down in these last

hours of their Alzheimer’s miracle.

Hey, who is really in charge here — Baker, Casey, Weinberger, Bush?

Nobody knows.

History trudges along leaving an indelible mark. Holy, shit,

Batman. Molecules is ‘xploding.

Atoms, particles, and inexplicable physical phenomena

stretch from pillar to post mocking man who is powerless to a

fault. Like wow, mind-blowing shit.

Currently being transported mystically to this state of

mind is Tyger detector returning to this place for the umpteenth

million time. He is an existential moot point transmogrified

by events beyond his camera’s eye through time. Hark!

A blade of light in a silver streak sparks these thoughts.

“Good things happen to those who wait.” “Bad things happen

 

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to good people.” Conversation drifts along between

Mac Long and girlfriend Sarah Ivy.

Another silent explosion divisible by the hands of fate.

Welcome to a slice of paradise amended. Recollections of a

feather nest upended. Fly you little blackbirds as we recall.

“Hey, there has been some bad shit happening lately, baby”

“Bad shit happens to good people.” “No shit.” “Shit.”

“Forget all that shit for now.” “Aw, shit on it.” “You are

shitting me.” And like “Shit.”

Disembodied voices once lost in time are discussing the

absent Tyger. “What do you suppose he thinks he’s doing?” “Wha?”

“Yeah like, hear he has got a what ya call it?” “Job.”

“Yeah, like wow. Job. Ihought he was independently

wealthy.” “Like, he’s cracking up.” “No shit.” “Shit.”

“Armor’s told me he was following people around.” “Groovy

Anyone we know?” “Never know.” Little feathers floating on a

couch in a room in a house by a square in the Carrolton section.

of forever young New Orleans. Elusive illusions mark forward progress.

“Hey like listen to this.” Cascading down a million big bang

explosion African drums Mac expands the universal principle of

order made from chaos. “Yeah, I like, cool, ” Sarah coos.

Impulsive implosion. Entropy. Reverse exact replay of a

certain moment. Another joint jointly disappears.

 

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Here ye hear ye. Have another hit.

Sweet joy in these made-for-television actual

real-life true remakes of previous news fake items.

What is it this time? Good things happen to bad people.

Obviously, they have met a few.

Digging outside in the trash like a ferret like a groundhog

like a little black rat is dear old Clyde, a local semi-derelict.

Hey Clyde, get out of the trash. He is a neighborhood guy.

“Uhh well, just you know, looking,” Clyde swings, and misses,

strike two behind in the count, wandering past

an open gate through the small green yard up a few steps and

on the porch in front of a three-bedroom shotgun dwelling.

Get out of the house, Clyde. “Like, well I was just looking

around and you got any spare change? Want to buy some clickums?”

(Note: Clickums were marijuana cigarettes laced with pcp or

some type of animal tranquilizer that made a person somewhat

lightheaded and very insane. They never became as popular as rock

crack cocaine. Lower profit margin.)

“No Clyde, ‘”‘Like I was just wondering,” “No, Clyde … ” “If

you could just spare some change man.” “O.K. Then leave.”

A highly religious give-and-take or a badminton smitten

birdie in flight. Today’s Clyde toll: Two bits, four bits. A dollar.

O.K. Clyde blasts off, careening down Oak Street.

Good day already. The usual kitty litter spread on the

world about you dude. Buy a newspaper Clyde.

“You did a great performance the other night,” one sensitive

 

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MacLand soul tells another . “I loved the way you got yourself up

to the top of the ceiling using that pulley contraption.”

“Yeah. It took a lot of upper body strength.”

They are discussing an artist’s party the previous night

at a warehouse district loft.

“And you. Great idea sitting in the front window with an

endless tape loop of Mr. Ed reruns. Truly awe full art inspiring.”

And in the far corner, as light outside begins its daily

dissipation, a small bongo beat follows. It gathers steam as a

spirit calling all followers. Guide us sir beat as we this sacred

moment meet. Mac and all have a jamming fine time.

Pretty young girls in long dresses, unshaved armpits,

legs, nose rings and tie-dye fashions.

What a joyous and nostalgic puff of smoke as a drum machine now smashes.

They giggle as a corner scoop of beautiful pelicans;

congas and bongos crashing.

Welcome to the jungle. Hear the lion roar. Graceful gazelles

scooting towards the kitchen. Where goes that Tyger neo-detective?

Rumbling bumbling stumbling sounds cascade on a hardwood

floor. This ain’t Bourbon Street. So they love it.

Yowza, yowza, dowza, rising flying spirit sounds soar to

seven millionth heaven. Next door, the dead at Louis’s Funeral

Parlor do not even shake, rattle, role a finger at the rhythmic conflagration.

Wait, comrades. Maybe their fingernails are clicking after all.

 

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Where’s the chicken? Missing information. So cries the hot

tamale man. So dives a prospector seeking spiritual gold. Yes,

dear spirit guide, come to this place. It will make you whole.

Such is the pulsating recollection of MacLand’s karmic song.

Memories of jam sessions pass under the bridge and float along

free at last, thank dawgs and cats almighty.

Paradise revisited. Creating a new world from anarchy and disorder.

A white pelican soars above an orange purple sunset levee to

the west. Big mudddy river flows. Final bicyclists request an

encore performance of that lovely MacLand song.

Over there, see, enters Tyger through the open door.

“Hey, you’re no Clyde,” Sarah comments. “What’s happening’?”

“What it is.” Mac replies for Tyger’s sake.

“In some circles,” Tyger says, “I am considered a smart

guy, but I am considered an idiot in others.”

“That’ssssss nice,” Sarah serpentines real time.

Tyger tells Mac all about the developments of the last two weeks.

“Yeah, heard a rumor about something like that from Armor’s.

“Hey, I’m into it, baby.”

“Sounds groovy, maybe.”

Mac picks up another drum beat, snatching it

with a mysterious hand from a solid block of atmosphere.

Outside, the occasional automobile and life’s plans backfire.

Or are those gunshots? Only the shadow knows. It gets wild

around there. New Orleans is their kind of madhouse town.

 

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About an hour passes. Mac is reigning king of the

Uptown barbecue crowd. Chicken breasts answer grillings

with flavorable aplomb.

Mac takes a quick break checking charcoal for heat. Burning

nicely, thank you. Tyger, Tyger also burning bright.

Resumption of spirit beat.

 

What follows is a description of a sacred state:

 

A hypothetical hidden valley Uptown on a semi-hysterical

street. Oak trees hanging around mid-sized shotgun houses.

Telephone polling the usual suspects amidst acts high-wire.

Darkness lonely heroes your grand design unfurls its

boisterous banner. Hangers-on and mysterious survivors step

lively through existential mine fields.

Hahahaha. Rain forest drums reach epiphanies that, in turn,

wander wondrously towards zenithal callings. Allusion, collusion,

confusion and mixed metaphor bombarding an army charging inside.

Hey sisters and brothers– duck and cover, y’ all.

A four-track reel-to-reel tape player rounds into view.

Large microphone wrapped in grey duct tape is suspended on a

four-foot base, silver stand. Mac must be taping live.

Pretty little girls in sexless sack dresses, swooning

swans as they come and go, speaking of Barry Manilow.

One, two, three pretty maids, all in a row.

One flies northward. One on a thin silver flute blows.

 

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Girl with a tasteful nose ring drifts into lofty repose.

Tyger taps a lamp base and for a change of tone

two empty beer bottles as he reclines on vibrating floor.

Two cats scramble for cover. One finds a higher plane to

paw on a blank lamp shade. They illustrate cat subspecies

wingheadus, a MacLand feline tradition.

Christmas lights twinkle twinkle little star of old hat

Bethlehem. Dare we name this Shangri-La?

Nah. Paradise is over by now, although that is beyond

current participatory ken.

Follow the chanting mantra ball y’all. Their fingernails are

clicking. Intensely esoteric beats sing of revolutions that they

lost, and why; revolutions yet to come, and how far and

wide they will grow. Or not.

Bongos, congas, weird old drums fleeting flying spirit

guides. What is that mystery sax Mr. Milty spies?

Toot toot alors, little darlings for tonight briefly jams as one.

Moments of time lovingly suspended fom memory like water

slipping off a melting icicle. Winter days in New Orleans can

feel much colder than they are because of high humidity and

contrast with the usually miserable heat index.

However, on this particular composite date, memories flow

together in scenes as one. All is warm, all is right.

Toot toot tootsie, good night.

 

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Twister? Twister? For some reason

a game has begun to slither and slide.

Strange diversions. An old cassette of Roxy

Music’s “Stranded” space-time’s by.

Scene right, stage left. A joint break for the chosen few

from Armor’s homegrown pot stash.

Beachcombers pick over a tape rewound. Mac turns down Bryan

Ferry, turning up the Macland sound gone wildly bizarre. Alright

pretty babies; a tisket, a tasket, yer a faggot and

that is a take. Cowabunga!!!

A semi-hey line brushes greatness along a corridor leading

to the room of ultimate release, the bathroom. Hey hey hey,

pushing subjects beyond objects, then down under.

Hey hey hey. Yoooow! Stuff like that was very much like fun.

However, we must leave this place for now.

Faces dissolve, up up up in sweet smoke. Offstage actors

stretch and strut the night away.

Mac wraps up the session and prepares to make the local haze.

Off to Bobby’s, a sad local excuse for a rock and roll club.

Here at the appointed hour, a local fake attraction prepares

to open for some far-out national act. Attendance appears sparse

even though this is a weekend night. Bad scene.

Armor’s shows up with the attractive pussy lady from the

Blue Bayou, she of the sexy breasts and sweet disposition …What

was her name again? Doesn’t particularly matter.

They are all properly placed for the moment, comrades.

 

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Pete Fountain plays at the Fair Grounds.

This unfair ground is wired for the New Neanderthals.

The New Neanderthals are good, but star struck, and not in the good way.

Lost in time, they play some lesser-known, but no less lively

late-1950’s covers. Their following is small, yet strong as is the whiff of

patchouli oil overpowering Bobby’s usual stale beer odor.

MacLand and fellow travelers pony up to the show.

Various shades in black glide past a barn streetcar across the

street. Red brick exterior walls mingle with the vague stench of

fragrance interior dark. Step lively as you walk through time.

Bellying up to the bar are melting styroheads; red, purple,

Mardi Gras colors, green and gold, elongating, combining in the

raging fire. Spirit auras of all that disre-embers.

See these talking heads, faces with names and secret lame

games infinitely pretending. They are endless stories unaware of

current surveillance. Tyger will never tell until later.

Information cascades out of control everywhere through the

expansion of space forever misled.

Pretty little girls and how they have no doubt aged.

Dreams never lived now disappear down black holes gone.

Forgotten sounds emanate from such a locale as is this moment

recollected and represented by an out-of-date group of New

 

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Neanderthals so-called.

Everyone stands around partying to the New Neanderthals sounds.

Paradise lost that they never knew began. The New Neanderthals

are passing nuts and bolts lost in pre-history.

This moment barely passing by the wetlands near the levee

along the Mississippi River’s crescent curve that is

for the sake of argument, Saturday Jan. 16, 1988.

The dark black clad rockers have a temporary ball and chain,

no thoughts of futures large or small.

‘Tis a zen party moment. Any gurus out there celestially

interested still? If only time weren’t so easily lost in space.

So it goes, so it goes, so it lovely longing blows.

The drummer pretends to break a sweat. A few lively

styrofoam cutouts twist and shout.

Streetcars come and go. More beer greets a light joint outside.

Weather tonight could be an inhibiting factor.

Temperatures certainly are dropping. So are patrons. But as they say,

the show must go on?

 

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Clang clang clang go the

instruments. The vocalist, a sickly

looking black youth dressed in black, croons ever so awkwardly.

It almost pains to watch.

“This is the end, my…er,” long pause, “uhhh, friend, the…

uhhh, end.” Doo wah doo-wah ditty. Tasteful mystery guitar from

Mr. Milty and a few hot licks from Buck, shady lead guitarist.

Of course, Heave Broward, bass guitar player, is lame.

But that is his job. Fake is real.

Heave is a tall vacuous shit who steals everybody’s fun

through a constant disinformation campaign. How does he get away

with it? Simple, everyone wants to believe his lies are true.

Such represents his ultimate problem, total lack of

artistic creativity that must be covered up at all karmic cost.

But we digress. Karma.

Melting heads, belting heads, some are even drinking head.

Bobby’s becomes a huge mural of elongating, shrinking, wall banging half-lives.

Strange phantoms slam-dance near the stage,

run around outside, smoke reefers at car parties,

then sit back down beer sloshing, hard liquor chasing

thrown in for contrapuntal measure.

Featured act crashes cymbals, smashes guitars, playing to

a very bitter end, loud as an airport runway landing the beat.

Bobby himself mills about Bobby’s surveying the aimless wanna have

fun wannabee — shall we say — crowd. How does he stay in business?

 

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Favorable lease or inheritance no doubt.

Are we having fun yet? Let us consult our guru.

Where in hell is Mac of MacLand nearby?

No matter, noise splatters. New Orleans knows no closing time.

Too bad, everyone seems to be tiring en masse.

Tyger and group pour unfinished beer in cups to-go,

wandering the few blocks back to the MacLand asylum.

All is quiet, all is calm. Ish.

Mac flips on the cassette deck at relatively soft volume.

Ahh, sweet melodic harmony, for a change, flutters infinitely

around loping ear lobes.

“This boggles the minds-eye,” Armor’s remarks to Mac as his

date repairs to the back area, commiserating with Sarah. Armor’s

surfs around the known universe, returning empty-handed.

“What you looking for?” Mac asks.

“I don’t know,” Armor’s replies, “or else I would have found it.”

“Explain to me again how millions of simultaneous thoughts

shoot through your mind’s-eye in a nanosecond,” Tyger asks.

“More, or less, a nanosecond,” Mac sez.

“Oh,” Armor ‘s suddenly remembers. “I gotta run. Where’s my date?”

A few parting reeds, strange orchestral bleats, mini explosions,

red red robins, songbirds bobbing. Sounds linger, blowing

the night away. Yet it is a tasteful tune, sweet background music

 

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for a dockside video or garden party rhythm.

“Nice, nice, nice,” Mac rocks back in a comfy chair taking

in his latest, and greatest, procreation.

“Yes, we have had our moments,” he concludes in reefer

smoke. “Would that it were always such,” adds Tyger every

man observer of the moment.

Late night, early morning, MacLand crowd wants to stay but

leaves as psychically ordained. Tyger resumes his “interesting”

new job Monday bright and early.

Mac and Sarah walk down the path to the front gate, waving

so long, goodbye to the crowd that departs smi1ing.

“See y’all later.” “Later, gator.”

A final song emanates from within their hearth, their home.

It longs, as in the movies, for a final happy ending.

How right, the moment feels.

How justly sublime.

How then

And now.

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

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.

 

CHAPTER 7

“Super Sleuth’s Eye of the Tyger”

 

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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

.

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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.

 

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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

 

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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.

 

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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?”

 

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“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

 

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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.

 

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“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

 

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“All My Children” opening credits. Theme song.

They must follow the tide
Where the seabirds fly
Evermore
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.

 

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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.”

 

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(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.

Scene.

SURVEILLANCE PELICANA

BY

DAN WEISMAN

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/

CHAPTER SEVEN

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.

 

CHAPTER 7

“Super Sleuth’s Eye of the Tyger”

 

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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

.

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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.

 

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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

 

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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.

 

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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?”

 

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“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

 

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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.

 

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“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

 

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“All My Children” opening credits. Theme song.

They must follow the tide
Where the seabirds fly
Evermore
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.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

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Weisman

114

 

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.”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Seven

Weisman

115

 

(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.

Scene.

CHAPTER EIGHT

“Dis Side of Da Bayou Blue”

Tyger leaves early in the day for an

assignment deep in Cajun country at Cocodrie, Terrebonne Parish.

Numerous observations are made concerning the bayou country and

strange ways of the people. After some confusion, Tyger sets up

the baby seat system and speaks with the Subject who turns out to be a nice guy,

but fraudulent claimant.

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

“Dis Side of Da Bayou Blue”

 

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CHAPTER EIGHT

Weisman

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Let us not throw out the baby with the bath water in this

case. Baby seat here, and baby too in this case a Panasonic

VHS color video camera rest in standby mode on the car

upholstery. Video recorder and battery, as per instructions,

cradle the floor.

The strangely wired motor control idles by the

emergency break. Tyger covers up the evidence with a

combination of old towels, shirts, newspaper and for good

measure

Ticky tacky Tyger person folds in four a yellow piece of

legal pad paper, stuffing that in a left shirt pocket. Then the

burly lad grabs an important condiment for an all-day surveillance,

ye trusty ole Altoids box.

(Finally finished off those damn peppermints so the small

metal container can be used for its primary

mission–transporting marijuana cigarettes.)

Gets two mutah reeferoos, compadres, and goes off to break a

 

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few dozen golden rules before greeting lovely dawn.

Brrr, still fairly cold. Tyger wears a heavy wool jacket.

Car windows, per usual, impenetrably fogged.

No matter, nary another- vehicle hogs the road hogging

this early morning sunrise.

Car heater and defogger- mysteriously flip on. Who did that?

Early bed head grogginess continues to predominate.

Car radio back on and the mighty tool has a new host. It

might be. It could be. It is! Mr. Milty, Tyger’s old friend from

the self-immolating New Neanderthals.

“Yes my kiddies, that was Robyn Hitchcock following Patsy

Cline. Crazy. And now a pubic, er, public, ser-vice announcement.

“Have you got herpes? Do you know someone who does? Well, it

can be cured. Stop by the student health service and they will

teach you a lesson if you know what I mean.

“And don’t forget. Just say yes to drugs. Hee’s some Roy

Orbison …

“Oh yeah. I am Mr. Milty and a top of the morning to you.

I’ve been up for hours and it looks pretty ugly out there, but

we’re looking at temperatures rising to the 6O’s by ‘All My

Children’ time.”

Thanks for the up-fake Mr. Milty. Tyger wishes he could make

a psychic request. Mr. Milty always knows best.

 

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“By the way, this goes out there for my home boy Tyger on

assignment somewhere down the line, or so he claims. Good luck,

insurance loser.”

Did the dear Uncle actually say that? “Pretty woman walking

down the street. Pretty woman … ” Not.

Windows melting, the car heats up comfortably. Driving

diving Tyger deciding which way to approach the Huey Long Bridge.

The dirty detective drifts along South Claiborne Avenue that

becomes Jefferson Highway in Metairie. He floats past Ochsner

Clinic, small shopping centers, slow slower slowest (fast) food

restaurants, and typical inconvenience stores.

Magic carpet ride clanks over potholes and typically rough

roading to the extremely

magnificent rusty bridge,

easily squeamishly alarmed.

narrow lanes of the

a known horror hazard

creakily

for the

In the ghostly madcap darkness, in the deep black preamble

to a surveying assignment,

Milty’s idea of a joke song,

brightly. Clunka-clunk-clunk,

in-a-god-da-di-vida which is Mr.

morning, Tyger Tyger is burning

giant truck after truck comes from

hunger, cranking towards the West Bank. They pass the intrepid

investigator in blessed excess of whatever the speed limit is

these days.

·No one can stop them. The bridgescape shakes, rattles, and

rolls each time a huge transport passes. Our hero exhales a quick

 

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breath as he tight grip clenches the steering compartment.

Tyger is in no hurry. Good for him because a threeminute

trip westward ho over the Huey Long Bridge seems like

from here to eternity.

Finally, Tyger is spewed out like the awful truck fumes into

the Bridge City traffic circle environment. West Bank ho, ever

onward through Bridge City and metropolitan Avondale, lovely

little traffic light and fast food haven.

Crackle crackle radio; alligator pie, boudin, crawfish

party … Mr. Milty slips into the depleting ozone layer again.

“Sweet Jane. Sweet Jane. Hahaha. Just joking my little

friends. Let·s spin another platter,” Mr. Milty defines the end

of the metropolitan area, sacred signal fading.

Just past Paradis, aptly named, huh. A couple of shotgun

houses, a school criss-crossing orange dawn tossing to

black turning yellow and blue.

“This is the end.· My beautiful friend. The end.” Paradis

passes as it must. Rise and shine, Des Allemands.

Over from St. Charles to Lafourche Parish, through the heart

of the cancer belt where everyone coincidentally dies from cancer

before they reach 50 years old. Could it be, Church Lady says:

Monsanto, Dow, Corning, River Industries, Billy Bob Moffitt–

Freeport McMoran, Marine Shale Processing. Could it be … Satan.

No more radio. Light breaking like a two-year-old colt,

 

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rearing, show jumping across the back windshield as it

obliterates the past like so many poles with wings.

A very poignant drive through this slice of the Louisiana

pie. Swamp things and vegetation green almost up to Highway 90.

Tyger·s mother the car runs the bayou waters and pristine

swamp with no competing traffic . Car heater so effective that now

Tyger lowers the window to smell the crisp January bayou air.

Quite a therapeutic drive by as Tyger smiles. He slides past

the slow green waters into an alluvial plane and the even sweeter

smell of sugar growing just past Raceland all the way to Houma.

Living in the New Orleans hustle, easy to forget the

beautiful solitude to the west and south in this bayou

country. Very Nicely-Nicely Johnson. Now for the big show, guys and

dolls.

Around 6 a.m. central standard time, Tyger steams through Houma, a

small coterie of about 35,000 lost and lonely souls. He drives along

Highway 90 around the Intercoastal Waterway.

Then, Tyger veers deep into Terrebonne Parish. Assignment

Cocodrie lies at the end of the world, the bottom of the barrel

where the Gulf of Mexico confronts Terrebonne Bay and land’s end

is final, especially given coastal erosion.

Enough with the sightseeing comrades as just past Houma’s city limits

Tyger desists his quest momentarily at the neighborhood Stop-and-Rob.

 

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There, Tyger person purchases Mountain Dew for the caffeine

value mainly and politely inquires about the road to Cocodrie,

last bastion of — shall we say — civilization lrking beyond

even far-out Chauvin.

But we digress.

Tyger grapples with Cajun directions as well as can be

expected. “Well, ya hang da right at da stop sign, past da light

and ovah 56 on dis side of da Bayou Blue.”

Da guy goes on and on about don’t take Highway 55 or 57; if

you see this gas station you are going the wrong direction; so

forth and so on on on. Yeah, right. Or left. Who knows.

Finally, Tyger curtails conversation and glides down the

beautiful two-lane asphalt super low-way all the way to Cocodrie

which smells of the sea. It consists of a mixture of small

middle-class houses, trailers and some dilapidated shacks, as

well as a few civic institutions–bank, civic center, school and

the usual convenience marts.

Now about 6:45 a.m., Tyger sets out to locate the subject

perchance to leave the baby seat surveillance system stalking

canes while he smartly walks away. It seems like a sweet game

plan.

All does not start · so well this day however. Firstly,

Tyger has difficulty locating the Subject’s residence.

All the agent has to go on is Billy Joe Bob Bubby Bubba

Thibodaux, or something like that. The problem is everybody

 

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After driving around in a square route for about

around there has Thibodaux as a last name.

And the telephone directory? One might as well be in the

other evil empire, the Soviet Union, for all the sense it makes.

There is Little Buddy, Big Buddy, Medium Buddy, Skip, Sip,

Rip, and about a million Thibodaux·s to boot. What a hoot.

A few street signs stand sentry, but this source is fairly

useless too. The signs merely give the innocent traveler an

impression of a First Street through Sixth Street, and a bayou

side crossing a gulf side. Numbers do not compute.

After driving around in a square root for aboutfive

minutes, Tyger realizes that not only are there unnamed streets,

but the street signs are not

terribly accurate. In fact, Third

Street comes between Fifth

and Sixth Streets for

inexplicable reasons.

Terrible function of Pi. Maybe someone moved the sign. Then

again, maybe three comes between five and six in exotic Cajun

numerology.

Seriously now, the subject’s name is Bubby Thibodaux and

deduction stemming from the usual sources narrows the number of

potential residences to one likely suspect. Tyger parks the car

at a diagonal across the narrow street from the potential

subject’s Occam’s razor of a house.

Most camera angles are blocked by boats or trucks so Tyger

maneuvers the surveillance vehicle while looking down at the

 

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monitor . He hits the remote control lever as a mechanical

whirring sound precedes the slight movement of the baby seat

apparatus.

Tyger slams a second remote control lever and the camera

tilts back ever so slightly. (Velcro fasteners looping around

the camera secure it to the wooden stand.)

Everything appears properly adjusted after what seems like

hours but lasts only a few minutes. The camera focuses on a

narrow field between the subject’s front door and side driveway.

Picture–Check. Recorder on–Check. Date-timer function on–

Check. All wires and units camouflaged by towel-old-clothesnewspaper-

astronomical atlas–Check. (Astronomical atlas? Don’t

ask. Tyger considers it a classy touch.)

All systems go. T-minus a lot and counting. Anyone looking?

No. Anyone walking around? Don’t seem like. Check.

O.K. then, abandon vehicle. Ah-oog-ah, as Armor’s says diving

yellow submarine of dawn oh, ah-oog-ah. Abandoning vehicle–Check.

Synchronize watch. Time is 7:23 a.m. Check. Ready. Aim.

Blast off into the Cocodrie morning, humid, warm temps

hotly rising. Cruising by foot, our man Tyger walks down to the

long blue bayou and waits. And waits. And…hesitates.

Pirogues and larger fishing type boats are moored along both

sides of the canal . All sorts of boids, strange and wonderful

 

 

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flock in formation overhead. ‘Tis a very restful site.

Cocodrie’s two main streets on either side of the bayou fill

up with a few vehicles crossing the small bridges and wandering

on to Louisiana State Road 56. Tyger throws into the still water

those dreaded dredged sea shells that are used hereabouts for

gravel and whose controversial removal messes with Lake

Ponchartrain. Thanks for nothing Marine Shale Processor junkies.

Passing time, oh how nice, as the sun rises a bright yellow

in the east moving along to 8 a.m, Tyger locates a pay

telephone down a piece by a small market fronting the bayou. He

reverses charges, checking in with Dorothy to see how she wants

this vexing Thibodaux matter handled.

Ring ring ring; ding-a-ling cha-ching ba-da-bing.

Dorothy answers and they discuss the case.

“Hmmm, maybe you should verify that this is the right place.

I would hate for us to sit on an empty house or something,”

Dorothy says.

“Give a neighbor some story or other about looking for a

friend and see if they can identify Bubby. Give me another call

after you have done that. I’m supposed to get with the client and

maybe he’ 11 have some better information on Thibodaux.”

“Yes ma’am. Will-do.” Roger will-co, 10-4 and out good

poopsie-o. Tyger is on the prowl again. Whoop-de-doo.

The detective retraces his steps by the civic center over to

 

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Third, Fourth, or Fifth street — whatever, who cares at this

point — hightailing it back to home base vehicle. This takes

about five minutes.

This takes about five minutes.

A nay-bore of the possible subject two house down putzes around

outside his truck. Tyger saunters over for some not so innocent

conversation.

“Hey there mojombo, I’m looking for my old army pal Bubby

Thibodaux. He gave me directions down here but I’m lost. Does

he live over there?”

“Old army pal?” the middle-aged Cajun fellow quizzically

replies. “I don’t think you mean this Bubby Thibodaux. He’s an

old retired guy like me.

“Dere is another Bubby Thibodaux I know. He across da ba-ou

in a trailer- park. Guy about your age. You might be looking for

him.”

“Yeah. Yeah. That’s the guy. You know him?” “Not really.

Dere a lot of Thibodauxs around here dese parts.”

“Yeah, tell me about it. Together, voyager and ancient mariner guffaw.

“Yeah, you right,” he says. “Dere a lot of Thibodauxs around

here. Yeah, you right.”

Da fellow keeps talking about how he is retired oil field

trash, and proud of it. How he is going fishing all day today

 

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loves it. (His truck has a bumper sticker noting a bad day

fishing is better than a good day working, or sentiments to that

effect.)

On and on Tyger’s new best buddy rambles, but as

fascinating as this fellow is, the intrepid search party must gambol.

“Hey man, I got to like a banana split. Got to get over to

Bubby’s. Thanks for your help.” “Sure sure, Anytime.”

“Thanks again man. You’ve been a lifesaver and I mean that

literally.” “Yeah, be seeing you some time.” “Later.”

Farewells finally end as Tyger reclaims his personal

surveillance vehicle. Driving off, he waves his hand and heads to

the sacred pay-phone. He calls Dorothy again from there. Her line

is busy.

Tyger lingers a few more minutes and calls a cleared line.

Ring ring ba-da-bing and roger willco over etc. The client has

provided new information including presumed current address

i.e. where the plaintiff attorney’s checks have been heading

and complete description.

Subject Thibodaux, Bubby, white male, 30 years old, 5′ 6″,

140 pounds, married with one small child. Living at trailer park,

address 23 Lanois Lane. Mid-sized blue with white trim trailer.

Cross-referencing the other Bubby’s neighbor information and

direct personal  knowledge of the immediate area yields the

 

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subject’s presumed location.

“Look, give him an hour on the system, but stay within sight

of your car,”

Dorothy says. “If he doesn’t come out, then go up

knock on the door, and see what you can do with him.

“He claims a back injury so it would be excellent if you get

shots of him taking out the garbage or lifting something.

Otherwise, just try to get a good identifying picture of him that

we can show the client.

“Our client doesn’t think Bubby is working, but you never

know. It’s our job to find out”

No problem. About 8:45 a.m. when Tyger obtains a good spot

about 30 yards from the trailer to drop the system on Bubby.

Baby’s toys, plastic animals, and a tricycle are scattered

outside the trailer in a small dirt play area.

A 1980 Ford Fairlane Louisiana License Number 156C456 is

parked at an angle nearby. Two small unfinished wooden tables and

a stool stare into deep space beyond the trailer door.

Hanging fire, killing time, are two suspended planters

apparently filled with solid air, not much else. No sign of

subject activity.

Jockeying for the best. position, Tyger spins the

surveillance vehicle in a fairly suspicious semi-circle. “I hope

no one is looking,” he says to himself. He even sweats although

doesn’t notice, currently engrossed in the cat and mouse game of

 

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focusing the baby seat unit.

The job is complete at long last. Tyger frames a nice

picture of the trailer door and dirt yard. Technically speaking,

he makes a mid-shot.

Dissolve. Tyger leaves the vehicle and walks a few lots down

the trailer road.

There is no particularly good spot from which to I-spy, so

the determined detective makes the best of it. A few neighbors

materialize after about 20 minutes of subject inactivity.

Fortunately, no one seems too paranoid around here. Tyger

loves their neighborhood non-watch.

Staying safe, Tyger returns to the vehicle, faux

ppening the front hood. The cover story is going to have to be

car trouble. Boring, true, but generally reliable.

Tyger piddles around the car for a few minutes. Nobody

appears from the trailer under observation, so he gives it 10

more minutes. Hey, what is a little extra time when you’re having

fun, friends.

Reaching 9:30 a.m. with no activity, Tyger figures he better

not sit on an empty house. He has determined that if the Bubbaroo

is inside, he is definitely unemployed.

Tyger checks his watch. Hmmm, just about time for the end of

the morning movie. Time, therefore, to zoom in on the Subject.

A deep breath baby, some nervousness jackola. Tyger monitors

 

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the picture. Looking good. He tightens the shot a little

anticipating the worst which would be a brief subject-in-thedoorway

shot.

A rat-a-tat-tat, detective knocking on Bubby’s door. A

stirring sound escapes from behind draped windows. It ain’t Santa

Claus.

Voila. The Subject is in like Flint. Up up and away Dr.

Tyger balloony tune. Ride the wild beasty frame.

So it goes, thar’ he blows. A short dark complexioned Cajun

about 30 years old answers the door-.

sings. Take it away, Bubbar-oo.

Har-k, the her-ald Bubby

“Ah, hey. What·s up?” Bubby inquires. “Aw man, I just had

some car- tr-ouble and wouldn’t you know it I’m miles fr-om where I

got to go,” furnishes Tyger the big lie.

“May I use the telephone? I’m going to call a friend to tell

him I’ll be late.”

“Yeah that’s a drag, man. I guess it’s alright. Come on in,”

“Thanks man. You’re a saint.”

“Ahh, that’s O.K. I ain’t got much to do since I hurt my

back. It’s cool just seeing someone besides my wife and kid.”

“Oh, you hurt your back. That’s too bad. How did you do it?”

“I’m out on the rig in the Gulf, ya know, and they got me

carrying these heavy pipes.

“Slippped, slud, and the rest you know is history. Happened

 

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three months ago. Mostly been sitting around the house since

then, tinkering and a 11 that. I do some woodwork.”

“Oh yeah. I saw some tables outside. You do that?” “Sure

enough. Keeps me occupied. I’m sort of semi-retired if you know

what I mean.”

Tyger acts confused and leads the subject’s subject

onward. “What do you mean? You look O.K.”

“Nah man. Hurts like hell. Since I injured myself the

insurance company won’t pay me the proper benefits. I don’t know

what their problem is. I guess they don’t believe me or sumthin.

“So I got this lawyer who sends me checks each month pending

the final settlement. I hope they come to their senses and pay

up. Fair is fair ya know.”

“Oh yeah. They are assholes.” “No shit. Hey man, you got to

use the phone? ” “Oh yeah, that’s right. Thanks.”

Tyger sails past a still bouyantly standing Christmas tree

with lights and all blinking. He bobs at the telephone floating

above a kitchen table at the far end of the trailer home sea.

Tyger dials a wrong number. Hell, he wouldn’t even know a

correct number down there at land’s end if his car had broken

down.

Surprise, surprise, no friggin answer. “Uhh, no one home.

Can I wait a few minutes and try again. I’m sure someone will

answer.”

 

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“That’s cool. Like I said all I been doing is a little

woodwork and fishing and of course. a little smoking. You smoke

any?”

You smoke any? Yeah right. Just a little. Of course, the

early morning high has dissipated into mid-morning haze.

“Well, if that’s what I think you mean,” Tyger thinks he

means, “some.” “Yeah you right.”

Actually, Tyger would love to smoke, but it might look bad

if he testifies in court. Can’t you just hear the plaintiff

attorney intoning, “and did you smoke marijuana with my client

while you were on his premises.”

Oh shit, Joe Fine would love that. “Of course I smoked pot with

the subject, then full-blown Sam Kinison style: “Didn’t you? Didn’t you?”

Yeah, that would be great, so Tyger politely refuses,

saying, “I’ll smoke some later but I’ve get to get home first.

Ya know. worried about the car and all.”

“That’s right, mon cher. I mostly get high and watch

television when around here.”

Of course, Tyger is genetically programmed to ask the

following question: “You an ‘All My Children fan?”

“Absolutely,” Bubby replies. “I watch it all the time. And

you know what?” “What?”

“Fuck that Erica Kane. What a bitch.”

“Definitely. I agree. She is never going to win a Daytime Emmy.”

Steering this pirogue erratically, Tyger tries a few more

 

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questions about how long Bubby worked for the oil company and

what is he really doing now. No one just sits around, do they?

(Hahaha. That is all Tyger ever did before taking on this

assignment.)

Not much more pertinent information is forthcoming. Tyger

and Bubby talk for a while about soap operas, football — the

Saints, naturally — and sundry television related topics.

Tyger tries the telephone again and surprise surprise

surprise Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. breath, no bloody answer. Basically,

it is time to leave after tying up some loose ends like clear

pictures of the Subject.

“I better get going,” Tyger states. “Maybe my car will start

now. I’ve had this problem before. Sometimes it just works on its

own. You know what I mean?”

“Oh yeah, cher. Cars are real bitches. You need a hand:'” “No,

I can handle it. But I was curious about the tables outside. Show

me what you do with them.”

New soul mate — or is that future cell mate? — Bubby and

Tyger buddy exit the trailer for the proximate tables. Bubby

picks up one of the small unfinished wood objects, turning it

around in the air so Tyger can see the workmanship that went into

this model.

Looks great. Less filling. Tyger hope the camera 1s

recording this. Looking good.

 

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Bubby bends over to replace the table, then leans on the

trailer outside steps railing. He waves at Tyger as the intrepid

investigator like morning dew evaporates.

“Hey man, when you got more time come on over and we 11 blow

some reefer,” Bubby calls out in parting. “Pass a good time,

cher. I don·t do that much since I retired.”

“Sounds good man,” Tyger replies before climbing in the car

and looking down at the monitor. Picture looks good too.

Bubby waves in the rear view finder as Tyger peels some dirt

leaving the trailer park. A few blocks down the blue bayou,

on the other bank, Tyger replays the last part of the video.

And upon further review, the focus is a little fuzzy and not

as tight as Tyger would like, but there is still some excellent

footage of Bubby bending and holding aloft the table, So a 11 is

not lost. Bad back–Tyger’s bad ass.

Tyger, being interested in artistic purity, might have

wished upon a star for a slightly better picture, but that’s just

show business.

Casebook on Bubby Thibodaux: Good guy but sorry, dude.

Smile, you’re on Candid Camera. Gotcha.

Case closed.

CHAPTER NINE

Discussion ensues on the practical nature and methods of actual investigation.

Tyger traces vehicle tags at the Motor Vehicle Office where he is given free reign.

During one visit, Tyger’s mentor, E.Z. Jones, the office manager, and others are

arrested by state policemen for running a bogus vehicle registration racket.

Tyger pursues two cases during this period. In one case,

the subject is mother of a groom and Tyger catches her in a

compromising position during the wedding reception.

In another case, Tyger follows the subject from his home

in Slidell on an eventful drive along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Th subject is revealed to be an alcoholic litterbug

among other faults.

 

CHAPTER 9

“Long Arm of the Law”

 

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Dorothy LaFleur and Joe Fine seem pleased with the

pilgrim’s progress. The caseload continues unabated during the

coming weeks, as winter comes and just as quickly

goes in the Crescent City.

Tyger is a busy little bee, working four or five days a week.

Typically, he rises early, plowing through the surveillance routine,

finishing up by 2 p.m. or 3 p.m.

Sometimes, Tyger brings along a reefer and depending on

the tightness of the situation gets personally high and tight,

or not. That is a do-it-yourself investigative lagniappe.

Many times, too, it seems like a never ending version of a

Jean Luc Godard film. Maybe nothing makes sense.

Maybe everything can be explained.

Who knows? Who cares? A lonely existential Tyger

stalks his prey through this surrealistic haze.

Sometimes too, it’s like scenes from the “Discreet Charm of

the Bourgeoisie” as Tyger seemingly finds himself wandering from

strange place to odd, odder, oddest outpost.

Tyger employs tactics suitable to specific situations.

Often, he sticks like glue to the system out of concern about

 

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vehicular safety or to keep a watchful eye on current events.

Other times, it’s hit the discreet road, Jack, and don’t

until much much later come back.

Urban areas are best because Tyger can go from fast — perhaps —

food restaurant to fast food restaurant killing the 4-to-6 hours,

or more, that the baby seat system runs in the crib.

A rural scene might mean hours walking down empty roads

from nowhere to nowhere without as much as a Diet Mountain Dew in sight.

A resting place is usually good for an hour or hour-and-ahalf

maximum before the management, investigator, or both

simultaneously, become antsy. Tyger notices he has put on some

weight as he tends to munch on edibles at many watering hole oases.

That is not hunger growling, but boredom.

Eating is something to do.

However, comrades of incipient gluttony, of this one can be

certain; a person can only eat so much junk food and drink so

much coffee and cold drink before exploding. Ka-Boom!

Alas, even excessive consumption ages quickly, cup after

cup, countless bowls of soup followed by endless entrees. And it

can become expensive as well as expansive — expenses on the road

don’t cover such extraneous expenditures.

Tyger usually brings along some light reading material. A

copy of the New York Times a — real? — newspaper usually hits

 

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the spot. Other than that, maybe the Slimes-Picayune or some local rag.

Other learning materials are encouraged although not

required. For a time, Tyger carries a U.S. Department of Defense

Turkish language instructional manual, picking up a little Turkce

lisani biraz while he waits. Merhaba y’all. And Nasilsunuz.

Mostly hurry up and wait mode. A typical series of

assignments unfolds like this:

Tyger drives by subject’s residence, sizing it up.

The investigator notes vehicle types, license plates, and

other items of more than passing interest. What type of

neighborhood? Where is the best place to set up the unit? How

does the place look in general? Are there any possible clues to

subject’s typical activities and character?

Tyger might check out a couple of subjects in the same area.

Also, he might mosey on down to the local Louisiana Motor Vehicle

Office where for the grand sum of $4 anyone may

obtain a copy of any vehicle registration.

This is the typical manner for confirming subject

residence. People always park their vehicles as closely as

possible to their home. Call it human nature.

When the car comes back registered to the subjective,

the investigator has confirmed the objective.

 

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Personnel at the Downtown New Orleans office and satellite

offices West Bank at Gretna, East Bank at Kenner

begin to recognize Tyger after a while as part

of the office  motif, same as the state-issued furniture.

They give him carte blanche in obtaining vehicle registrations.

So efficient has his technique become that Dorothy and Joe

start giving him all of IRS Inc.’s tags to trace. All it takes is

a little schmoozing with the motor vehicle officials who, it

turns out, are a harried, understaffed, and bored out ot their

minds lot eager for a little understanding and friendly

interaction with birds of a feather like Tyger Williams,

insurance investigator extraordinary.

Tyger learns the routine quickly, noticing that a few other

regulars — generally used car salesmen re-registering

vehicles and the occasional competing investigator — also come

in for special treatment, if they are savvy and nice.

After a while, Tyger has become a Motor Vehicle Office

unofficial expediter. Waiting on line for a registration check

might take between 20 minutes and an hour depending on time of

day and clerkly interest. Tyger provides free advice

out of kindness to those poor lost souls

immersed in the bureaucratic maze looking to get out.

Yes comrades, there definitely are tricks to this trade.

Helping first-time losers passes Tyger’s time if nothing

else. Who knows, as R.C. said: “What goes around comes

around.”

 

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Tyger figures he is collecting karma kredits. Maybe he can

trade them in for a new Saints mug like the one he smashed

against his wall on playoff hell day, Jan. 3.

Of all the way stations, none has seen the smiling Tyger

visage more often than the amazingly Byzantine Downtown New

Orleans office, set in the state office building next to New

Orleans City Hall. Lonely and apathetic state employees have

begun allowing him entree to the back of the office past the

“official personnel only” stop sign.

Mr. E. Z. Jones, office manager, instructs Tyger in the arcane art of

computer codes. Everybody assumes the darling detective must be

important, influential, or at least an E. Z. Jones relation.

Once inside the Minotaur’s maze, Tyger runs the plates himself on the

officiously monstrous state computer system.

Welcome to the inner workings of that slice

of Third World pie called the Louisiana bureaucracy.

Now considered an official E. Z. Jones protege, Tyger is

treated with the utmost respect at the Motor Vehicle Office. As

the “Saturday Night Live” Church Lady says,

now, isn’t he special.

An amazing event transpires one otherwise calm day in early

February as Tyger is busy at official insurance investigator

 

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business at the Downtown office.

Mr. E. Z. Jones sits at his pint-sized desk.

Tyger works a few tags at a nearby terminal.

Suddenly, two state troopers and a plainclothesman burst

into the office. “Alright y’all, everybody stop what you are

doing,” a ruddy complexioned state Police Captain announces with

a flourish. “We have warrants for the following individuals…”

Those in line are visibly shocked, but that is nothing

compared to the open-mouthed fish-eyes beyond belief looks of four

employees being rounded up by the police, and standard

procedure, the cops say, ramshackled with handcuffs.

Troopers storm into Mr. E. Z. Jones’ office, promptly

read him his Miranda rights. “Sir, you are under arrest.

Come with me,” a tall equally ruddy in complexion lieutenant

orders with a slight wry smile.

They leave with a bewildered looking Mr. E. Z. Jones in

humiliated tow. The departing Captain tell the crowd and two

clerks who are left, “You can resume what you were doing.”

That would be nothing.

An assistant manager is on the horn presumably calling

superiors in Baton Rouge for new orders. Tyger has sat at his

terminal unmolested through all this.

Hmmm. Finishes up possibly risky business, asking

the assistant manager if he knows what is happening. No way.

Oi course, this is too choice an item to go unrecorded by

the local news flakes. Then again, one never knows.

 

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As life’s soap opera turns, an illegal vehicle registration

ring was operating out of the office. Those arrested are charged

with providing registration documents to car thieves in exchange

for medium-to-medium-large bribes.

Paperwork legitimizes stolen vehicles that are then re-sold

to an unsuspecting public after a new paint job and other minor

adjustments. In other words,

the criminals had taken over the asylum.

A whole new sad army of tyred faces populate the Motor

Vehicle Office sentry posts the next day. Tyger is rudely

prevented from using his computer terminal.

The new team from the home office at Baton Rouge doesn’t

know Tyger from Adam. The detective finally spots a familiar

female face who explains the reassignments.

Tyger, in turn, explains his previous arrangement to the new

management. “You know, it saves you guys time when I do it

myself, and…”

Sorry Charlie, new managerial fish ain’t biting, as

head guppy interruptus. “That’s the way E. Z. Jones did it,

son,” sez pez head a’bobbing. “You saw what happened to him.”

Back to Pine Valley now, Tyger performs many boring

yet necessary investigative tasks. He conducts records

checks — criminal, civil, mortgage, chattel, conveyance,

marriage, divorce; you get the drill.

Tyger’s loss of grandfathered-in status means waiting

with the rest of school of fish in line for the clerk to call his number.

Nice  work if you can get it, nice while it lasted.

 

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This new age necessitates going from office to office all over town

and out-of-town to the various parish courthouses. Some places

like St. Bernard Parish are easy to research. Records

are computerized and housed in one or two places.

Orleans Parish is a big stinkin’ mess where records

are made to be broken. What else is new?

Tyger goes from office to office familiarizing himself

with each Rube Goldberg procedure as best he can.

Always surprising — call it faith in mankind or naive stupidity

— spotting subject’s names in the records never ceases to amaze.

Many of these subjects have been busy little beavers

committing crimes, getting divorces, incurring bad debts, and, in

general, defaming themselves along the legal and illegal paper

trail through life. Check fraud. Vehicle repossessions. Unlawful

detainer, elder abuse, assault, assault with a deadly;

shut Shaft’s mouth, and probably worse that has gone undetected.

Many subjects can be located through obvious sources like

local telephone directories. Sometimes a forwarding address may

be obtained from the nearby post office for the princely sum of $1.

This source, however, is dependent on the clerk’s level of intelligence,

and public interest. The Freedom of Information Act requires they

 

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release the addresses, but you know, all that glitters

when it comes to grifters.

Postal delivery workers provide another good source of

information on subjects, especially in rural areas. Tyger

locates the mailman on a delivery route, asks if he or

she is familiar with individual and address.

They are usually. This method works very well in places

north of New Orleans like St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, the Florida parishes.

One particularly difficult location exercise takes place in

Plaquemines Parish, south of New Orleans, best known for its long

history of excruciating segregation, continuing racism,

and coastal erosion. Tyger must locate John James Jefferson III,

African-American male, 45 years old.

Tyger drives through towns like Empire, Buras, asking citizens

of color if they know the subject. Goddamned nothing else to do,

beans are spilled within an hour. Everybody is in everybody’s business.

Jefferson lives in a modest house trailer on a former

plantation. Hell, everybody does. It is a few weird curving dirt

roads away from Louisiana Highway 23 and downtown Venice.

Tyger interviews Jefferson’s ex-wife about a statement he made

concerning an automobile accident and departs. “Who was that

 

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Ofay lad?” she asks an elderly female companion

as Tyger drives off into the sunset.

Two cases stand above the others during this time frame just

before Mardi Gras. In the first case, Tyger takes a nice Saturday

drive up to Covington, a suburb north of New Orleans in St. Tammany Parish.

He crosses the 29 mile Lake Ponchartrain Causeway — the

world’s longest highway bridge across deep, dark waters

dividing the Big Easy from the big uneasy work-a-day

American free world, aside from Mississippi, to the north.

Tyger spills into downtown Covington. ‘Tis a somewhat tasteful burg.

Parish Courthouse occupies a large square triangulated

by shops and small buildings from the 1940s and 1950s

The dandy-ass detective is attending a formal affair

in this case, a wedding. No snide remarks.

Barbara St. Amant, white female, 42 years old, suffering

from neck injuries incurred in a car accident, is the proud

mother of the groom. About 150 celebrants fill the First

Methodist Church on Willow Street, near the railroad tracks

a few blocks from Downtown.

During a respectful moment, Tyger identifies said

subject from a photograph. He proudly joins the wedding party.

Beautiful ceremony, by the way.

Barbara looks fine, no neck brace or other clue as to the

alleged decapacitating injury. God bless.

 

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Everybody looks like they walked straight out of the Better

Brides and Gardens for Redneck Mothers Magazine.

Tyger mingles enough to seem part of the package as each

side of the wedding assumes he is from the other side.

Confusion is a detective’s best ally.

A somewhat tasteful ceremony,if only those simps next to

Tyger would shut up. The wedding is over in about 30

painless minutes. Tyger has a video camera and portable tape deck

with him, but blends in well. Unfortunately, no good subJect activity.

Tyger follows the rest of the party to the reception nearby

at a banquet hall. He decides the video camera might be

pushing it setting up the baby seat system just in case the

subject does a few handstands outdoors.

He grabs a still camera, enters the hall.  Food looks

tasty.  They have an open bar.

This is the right type of assignment.

A little drinking, a little eating, a little schmoozing.

Tyger, of course, is vague in countenance, trying to pass

as inconspicuously as possible.

 

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Strike up the band “a one and a two and a three…” as the

Lawrence Welk impersonator follows standard wedding procedure.

“For the first dance, as is traditional, I would like to ask the

father of the bride to dance with his daughter and the mother of

the groom to dance with her son.”

Mother-F’in yes! Dancing as in a Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers dream,

Barbara St. Amant enters an insurance scam nightmare. Sure

enough, the slightly tipsy proud mother of the groom dances up a

storm while Hurricane Tyger furiously snaps pictures.

That petite madame subject cuts a mean, wild rug. Tyger gets in

the happy couple of something’s face. Snap snap snap, turtle eye

captures all. He photographs Ms. St. Amant dancing from every

conceivable angle with perfect wedding crasher style.

Neck injury, huh? She moves around pretty well for someone

who can’t leave her house because of incredible pain. Where

be oh noble neck brace? Questions, questions, questions.

Let’s linger for a few more dances. This lady is a regular

Arthur Murray Dance Studios advertisement. Aw shit, she does a

half-flip. Click. Click. Still shots must suffice.

Finally, paranoia settles in as Tyger believes he notices

members of the wedding party putting two and two together

with Orwellian style figuring this three is wild. Tyger figures it is

time to boogie home as he is the only big brother watching, and

two plus two does not yet yield three.

 

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Tyger grabs a drink for the road, natch.

Thanks so much. Disappears into the good night.

Tough job, but thank Joe Fine for the perks.

The other noteworthy case takes place nearby to the east in

Slidell, gateway to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and beautiful Florida.

An initial surveillance reveals that the subject — Paul

Satherly, white male, 58 years old, married, three children, two

grandchildren, about 5’10” 200 pounds, grey hair — lives at a

trailer park just off the first Slidell I-10 exit.

A small clump of gas stations and restaurants geared for the

interstate trade greet the intrepid investigator.

Magnolia Trailer Park sits about a mile down the road.

It seems like a nice trailer subdivision with

middle class double and triple wide rigs.

Satherly’s long, well maintained brown with white trim

trailer sits by a small garden plot at the very end ot a dirt

road fronting a beautiful little lagoon astride a large wooded area.

Tyger drives around the trailer park looking for alternative

exits. None available. Then he returns to the Satherly lifestyles

of the bizarre insurance claimants, noting nearby vehicles.

The tags check out at the Slidell DMV. A black minivan

Louisiana License Number T067435 is registered to the main man

himself. So is a grey Lincoln Continental. Two other vehicles are

registered to apparently unrelated neighbors.

 

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Tyger sets up the baby seat system in his car at a nearby

Big Wheels Truck Stop. And back to Lot 157 of

the Magnolia Trailer park at approximately 10 a.m.

Satherly claims a back injury makes movement impossible.

Tyger initially is authorized to cover the subject from 10 a.m.

to 2 p.m. The plan is to return on the sub at a later date.

It always seems a bit dicey setting up so late in the

morning. Considerable pedestrian activity

swarms around the terrible trailer lots.

High time for Plan ”A.” Tyger sets up at a

diagonal across from subject’s trailer getting a decent

picture of the trailer’s front door and yard.

Exiting the vehicle, it’s that old standby, car trouble.

Tyger pops the jack in the box out, popping open the front hood.

Not so bad a ruse given the smashed up atoms of vehicular conniptions.

Tyger abandons the mother lode vehicle after a few minutes of piddling

around, and walks off. The forest provides an alluring escape.

The temperature is a very pleasant 65 degrees, winds from

the southeast, as Tyger floats across the lagoon woods, pushing

aside weeds and Spanish moss from nearby trees. He sets up at a

nice spot across the lagoon from the Satherly nest.

Two kids and an old man fish to the west. Sweet sweet

smell of magnolia and honeysuckle linger in the air. It seems

like a very pleasant surveillance assignment this fine late morrow.

 

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Tyger relaxes somewhat, watching the trailer for tell-tale activity.

He spots a white female, mid-50’s — a real bee’s nest head —

messing around the trailer about 30 minutes later. A car arrives

and a white female, mid-20’s with small child, join the fray.

Another car arrives and two white males, early 20’s and late

teens, arrive. Guess it’s party time at the Satherly trailer homestead.

They are a true Ray-Gun Era advertisement for family values.

Sitting in the weeds, Tyger occasionally swats aside a

mysterious flying insect, continuing to observe with great interest.

Good script, bad acting.  Typical soap opera television.

Hopefully, the system is recording.

Party time as usual, apparently. Satherly family members

come and go the rest of the morning, no doubt

speaking of Michelangelo, right, although

no sign of the slippery Satherly of a subject.

Finally, just before noon, hallelujah, Satherly, the elder,

emerges, fitting the description nicely nicely.

He moves around ever so carefully, apparently in great pain.

But hold on comrades. This is Louisiana and you know what

they say about the weather. Wait a few minutes and it changes.

Claimant looks to the west and to the east.

Looks about the same no doubt.

Noting nothing neither way, he immediately upgrades his gait.

Miracle of miracles, Mother Theresa if you’re listening.

 

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Praise the Lord, uncork the champagne,

miracle of miracles, Satherly appears cured.

He starts walking around the area quite

naturally with the greatest of ease.

“Hope to get around that well when I’m his age,”

Tyger tells a moth in nearby flight.

The brown moth dips a wing in apparent agreement.

Yes, it is shocking, but not surprising,

another case of insurance claim chicanery

displayed like a peacock in light of day.

Old Sath-mo is living la dolce vida, the good life, while

insurance adjusters grimly grumble.

Vehicles come and go after that impersonating

random family functions. Satherly sticks close to the hive.

Potential problems — er, challenges — arise as sun flames

the day. Dastardly daily double.

Tyger has to piss before he springs a leak. Parched dry thirsty as well.

Tyger hopes no one is looking. How rude. Pisses in the trees.

Still thirsty, however. Can’t have everything.

Activity dies down about 1 p.m. Guess “All My Children”

has ended. Tyger gives Satherly 20 minutes to see if he is going

to do some errands before “General Hospital.” Nope.

He exits the scene for the truck stop and calling Dorothy to

advise her of subject activity or lack therof.

 

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Dorothy suggests he leave the system running, breaking off

at 2 p.m. as planned. She will speak with the client and

advise sitting on Satherly the next day.

Tyger hangs out for lunch at the exclusive Phillips 66 Diner.

Against his better judgment, he samples the fish surprise dinner.

Surprise. Tastes like chicken.

Time passes in that fashion until Tyger charges into the

trailer camp to rescue his real meal ticket. He bends around the

corner by the last trailer park road where Satherly resides, and

cautiously checks the scene for damage.

All is peaceful. All goes well. The master of disaster jumps

in his beat-up old station wagon sans’ muffler, chugging away

to return for grins another day.

A late night review of recorded activities reveals

Satherly climbing into the van, driving off, and returning with

groceries as well as the usual family traffic

in and around his home sweet trailer home.

That next day arrives as it must. This time Tyger sets up

shop at 11 a.m. at the same location.

Mission protocol consists of operating the secret system for two hours,

 

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then sitting along the asphalt road that leads from truck

stop city to Magnolia Park. This way Tyger can catch the cookie

monster by his crooked tale as he makes groceries, excruciating

pain, haha good one, and all. That should cover it.

Tyger kills time in the usual honored fashion. He spends 30

minutes at each restaurant, drinking a zillion cups of hot java.

He also verifies the roadside cliche that truck drivers know the

best cuisine. Randy’s Pit Stop provides an excellent catfish

dinner, quite the taste sensation, tastes like chicken.

A last pit stop at the Pit Stop and back to the trailer

haven where Tyger spends a while in the woods communing with

nature and, oh by the way, keeping a sharp eye on Satherlyland.

The usual family party hardy activity continues through 2 p.m.

Tyger departs the scene and checks with home base. Dorothy

tells him to continue through 4 p.m. He pulls up stakes, waiting

for Godot at a field across the street from the trailer park exit.

An hour passes with no subject activity although a constant

stream of vehicular traffic keeps our boy on his toes as each

vehicle brings along an adrenalin rush. It might be, it could

be, it ain’t. Shuck, no oyster.

A van resembling Satherly’s leaves. Tyger jumps in his car,

zooms off, pursuing the jackrabbit down the red brick road.

Tough luck quickly revealed though though.

Isn’t the subject. Isn’t his time.

 

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Tyger executes a quick pass-by to confirm the van’s

presence. It is still there. A moment of paranoiac uncertainty strikes

home. Maybe Satherly has departed in one of the other family vehicles.

Oh dear . Tyger calls the Satherly number, hanging up relieved

when said sub answers.

The prey remains by the green lagoon. Tyger returns to his lair,

waiting through about 3:30 p.m. Lo-and-behold, at long last

this way the Satherly van goes.

Van go stops at the Shell Station. Satherly and a white

male, mid-20’s, presumably his son, emerge. Satherly pumps gas.

His son goes into the highway super-station, emerging, deus ex machia with a

sack of something, no telling what.

Tyger, sweating somewhat, records this activity. Look pa no

hands. They are hidden from view beneath the dashboard, motor

controlling the camera into action. Looking good, deus ex machina,

The two men return to their moveable cocoon, headwinding off

due east on venerable l-10 with Tyger in lukewarm pursuit giving

them some breathing room. Where can these clowns be going?

Curiosity runs rampant. Might as well follow. It’s the law,

and besides, getting that 20 cents per mile is additional lagniappe.

 

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Two projectiles are ejected from the van about 10 minutes

along the journey to somewhere undisclosed. What the heck?

Happens too quickly to videotape.

The feat is copy shop duplicated ten minutes later.

Objects bounce lively, looking very like beer cans.

Another repetition nearing the Mississippi state line.

And a last can makes six.

Not content with insurance claim sleaz-hood, Satherly

also appears to be an alcoholic litterbug.

This guy has no respect for anything.

Pulling into Waveland, Mississippi, the Satherly party exits

to Highway 90, the main road through the towns along the beach front.

Satherly hops out of the car. He enters yet another inconvenience

store emerging with yet another paper bag covered package.

No great mystery now. They are drinking their body weight in malt liquor.

Tyger becomes somewhat concerned as the Satherly clan drives

erratically through Waveland. What the hey line.

Could they be heading somewhere special? Have they made him?

The van, the van stops at a vacant lot. Tyger turns more paranoid

than usual. Satherly’s porta party disembarks, bee-lining to a

secluded spot by a clump of oak trees. What do you know?

They piss in the bushes like a pack of dogs. Bow wow.

And zoom zoom, they are off again without a care on

 

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the Highway 90 through Bay St. Louis and Pass Christian to hell.

Beer cans are ejected from the vehicle module at regular 10 minute intervals.

They stop at Long Beach, buying at least two six-packs judging from celestial modeling.

This time Tyger shoots a nice picture of Satherly hopping about,

a demented bunny rabbit, half drunk and half crazy, forgetting all about

the delicate condition his condition supposedly is in.

What’s more, Satherly the elder is driving.

Must be pretty tough with such an incapacitating injury.

Say hey, Gulfport and shiny white beaches

fairly empty this February passing as in a travel video.

Sweet supple Gulf wind invigorates landward.

White sea gulls fill the blue sky nearing sunset.

It is an absolutely peaceful and wondrous sight.

Meanwhile, in painful disregard of law and natural

Satherly is drunk as a skunk, weaving all over the road,

a road theoretically impossible to negotiate due to his back injury.

Cans fly out the van’s open side window at regular intervals.

They kerplunk asphalt, bouncing wildly along the black asphalt

road as Tyger swerves to avoid them. Fun guys. If you like beer.

The Sath school of scandal eases into a final pit stop just east of Biloxi.

This is a more discreet encounter as they use the lavatory, egads, finally.

Always a first time. Then, return to sender with the now traditional

mega-packages of by-now-you-know-what.

 

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A very beautiful sunset has crept past the assignment.

Soon too dark for good pictures.

And Biloxi is a long way from Tygertown.

Low on gasoline, due to the unanticipated length of

pursuit, Tyger psychically calls it a mission waving in mock

salute at the blind drunk subject, turning around, and

reverse engineering west towards home.

The detective fills the tank with Mississippi

gasoline, checks in with Dorothy who okee-dokes the departure.

Tyger also buys a cold drink. Beer? No way.

There is a number one in the glove compartment.

Mr. Satherly by now is history, litterbug creep.

Evidence of his fakery abounds, duly submitted

with report and invoice.

Final verdict: 15 hours, 224 miles, $16 to run

tags, $4 for videotape and a final accounting of $212.

Tyger has a scheduled meeting in Downtown New

Orleans with the Super Sleuth Joe Fine,

to go over cases manana.

Here’s to good times.

CHAPTER TEN

Observations about New Orleans precede Tyger’s

meeting at the Hyatt Hotel with Joe Fine.

They go over upcoming cases. Joe gives Tyger

Mildred Baker’s deposition to read in what will

become a celebrated encounter. Later, Dorothy calls

Tyger, tells him to meet Joe in Baton Rouge under

surprising circumstances, Tyger, Joe and the mysterious

Lana work some Baton Rouge area cases.

 

CHAPTER 10

“Busted Flat at Baton Rouge”

 

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No reefer this morning for Tyger Williams about to breakfast

with the boss man. Just as well as he clears his mind

of all that before has passed.

The Tyger front moves right along to Claiborne Avenue on the

way to meeting Joe Fine at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

African-American kids play football along the neutral ground

in-between Claiborne Avenue.

Future Saints are looking good. Too bad Tyger is past

his prime or he might consider running a few pass routes.

Unfortunately too, the innocent looking youths are

surrounded in all directions by poverty’s residue. Public housing

projects stand testament to man’s inhumanity to man to the right

of them. Decrepit shacks passing for family homes nod to the left.

Strange unknown to white folk black music establishments,

sort of hotels, various exotic eating and commercial

establishments specializing in such items as chicken gizzards and

African-American hair products loom also along the mysterious

Claiborne Avenue traffic pattern.

A sea of black faces floats all around. This day Tyger

Williams is merely a small vessel passing by the blackbird

 

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projects on his personal quest for substance and meaning as well

as an acceptable paycheck.

Tyger flies by the exotic black heartland abutting

Downtown, sidestepping the well populated space underneath the

Claiborne overpass. A mini-community of black elders sits on lawn

chairs passing time by playing dice and cards, judiciously

settling pertinent disputes as well.

Loop de-loop Earhart Expressway around and to the ocean of

monoliths forming a silly skyline. Lee Circle stands at

attention stage right. The losing general on horseback reviews his

troops circling in modern monster mash machines

awash with modern horsepower.

Past the main post office and Poydras Street, Tyger looking

looking looking for a parking place, no small assignment.

The fearsome race of cosmically awful meter maids

lurk about like jackals ready to pounce. Those amazing Amazon

Philistines have as their sole purpose in life the bedevilment of

motorists with tickets, some valid, most not,

given as rudely as imaginable.

Three strikes and yeeeer out, a victim of the dreaded orange

boot that is affixed to those with as many tickets as strikes.

Native and tourist alike fear these evil ticket writing maniacs

who know no civilized bounds.

Ahh, a parking ,place suddenly materializes saving Tyger the

expense of a parking garage. He tries to plug a quarter in the

 

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slot, but alas, as is often the case, the meter is broken.

Oh well, another ticket to contest, no doubt. Nothing ever

works around here except corruption.

Such a splendid hotel among all the rising edifices battling

the sky for space. Monuments to what has become New Orleans·

leading industry besides corruption, tourista trappings.

The Big Easy has built upon its natural and historical charm

with the development of a Disneyland for adults mentality.

Civic leaders scramble to take credit for the natural order

of job creation and development.

Goodbye high paying jobs related to the oil and gas industry.

Other real industries that used to dot the riverfront

have died one by one due to a lack of imagination on the

part of city mismanagement.

Hello nowhere minimum wage jobs sucking up to tourists in

partial replacement. Thanks for the grand vision,

civic movers and shakers. Shake and move this middle finger.

Yet, a certain wonderful feeling strikes an investigator

out among the ruins to come. Filling the sky to the east the giant

— and yes, rather beautiful — Superdome, home of the Saints and

coming National Republican Convention.

Big muddy Mississippi River flows to the west.

Northward ho, looms the historic Vieux Carre, otherwise

 

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known as the French Quarter, where New Orleans was settled

originally. It houses historic structures, restaurants, t-shirt

shops, strip shows; and a few residents besides the actual derelicts.

Southward stands the familiar sights and sounds of

residential Uptown, and the great beyond.

That is the location of Tygertown as well.

Dostoyevsky might have lived in 80 residences around

St. Petersburg. But he has nothing on wandering Tygerlust who already

has squatted in seven or eight different locations during a 10

year stuck in the below sea level mud experience of New Orleans.

Enough of this descriptive prosaic morning musing. Tyger

must enter the Hyatt lobby, take an escalator up two stories

to the glitzy hotel restaurant area. Joe Fine, briefcase by his

side, flirts with a random hotel maid.

“Nice lady,” he says to Tyger arriving. “Let’s get some

breakfast. What you say. On the house.

Business deduction tax write-off.”

They sit down in an open air restaurant by the side of the

Hyatt trademark see-through elevators climbing and descending

like a race of super- spiders flying along a web of wires.

Joe is his usual gregarious self. He slips off the shades,

ordering a modest breakfast of orange juice.

Tyger follows suit. Eggs and toast, coffee and

 

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A variety of topics are covered including meter maid

scams previously cited. “This city is ridiculous,” concludes

Joe Fine. “And they wonder why no one wants to do business here.”

Down to business, Joe pulls a large document like a rabbit

from his leather briefcase. He thumbs through

it, leading the paper chase to Tyger.

“Know what this is?” Joe Fine asks. “No.”

“Deposition. Take a look at your leisure. We are

probably going out on that case in a couple of weeks.

It’s a doozy. This Mildred Baker broad will blow your mind.

She’s a former carnival trapeze artist who is absolutely loony

tunes. That is one elevator that doesn’t reach the top floor.

Claims she slipped and fell while working as a cook on a

Gulf rig. Supposedly completely paralyzed from the hips down .”

Joe pauses. “Not. She is about as legitimate as a Bourbon Street

barker. Big bucks in this case. She wants 10 million dollars.

This broad is full of shit. We’re going to work her good.

This could mean big bucks for us. Look over her deposition,

gather what information you can from it.

Depositions are funny. You can tell a lot about someone

by the way they answer the questions. Know what I mean?

If someone is an asshole they’ll answer questions like an asshole.

If they are honest, you can take that to the bank.”

 

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“Read through Baker and see what you think. Crazy, yeah,

but a tough act to follow. Where fools fail, they go to the super

sleuth source. That’s why they want experts like us

to get the job done. hing probably ends up in federal court.”

They discuss other cases. Satherly is fried, might go back

on him in a few months. Mazel Tov on the wedding party.

Bet that made the social pages. Insurance company well satisfied.

Joe Fine mentions that he is giving a presentation for

the All-State adjusters over in Harvey the next day. Hopes to

grab a few new cases off that master class performance.

And Joe still wants to make that promotional tape sometime.

“See what you can come up with on that,” he says.

On the lighter side, Joe’s little “snot faces,” as he

“affectionately” refers to his kids, are going great guns down at

the beach. He will have to leave New Orleans after the All-State

show, drive home to Florida, make sure they don’t set fire to

the house or something worse, his third wife.

You know how kids are and wink wink.

A couple of probable cases, therefore, for Tyger burns.

Joe might have something good coming up in Baton Rouge, too.

 

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Dorothy will be in touch. Joe pays the check,

engaging in some final flirting with the very attractive blonde

waitress shamelessly flirting back. Kismet.

Tyger flips through Mildred Baker’s deposition at home.

He begins to catch Joe’s drift. She is a total fruity gone tutti,

using baby-like language to describe her accident and subsequent

extreme pain and anguish. She also has the odd habit of

describing herself in the third person,

like Bo Jackson used to and Donald Trump.

So, it’s “Mildred can’t move her little bitty feet. Mildred

was a very active girl and now she can’t do anything for herself.

God will see to justice  for Mildred.” And so forth. Weird shit this.

The basic outline of this case can be gleaned from the thick

court document. Pretty much like Joe said, she claims to have

been working as a cook on a Gulf rig, slip-slud on a wet deck and

became discombobulated, not to mention torn asunder. She has been living at

 

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New Orleans East on Morrison Road since then. She claims her

teen-age son must assist her constantly in every activity. The

she-subject is apparently divorced, about 40 years old, and

according to the deposition, conflated perhaps with her dating profile,

loves cats and potted plants. Nice work if you can get it.

Bat-crazy up, she is the Babe Ruth of insurance

claimants going for the rip-off grand slam world series.

Mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, rumbling, stumbling, and

basically this woman doesn’t have a clue. Or does she? Maybe God

is on her side, after all, because she is causing lots of grief

for many heavy hitting insurance company upper echelon executives.

“Just the facts ma am, the defense attorney exclaims in

exasperation on Page 122 of the three-inch thick document.

“We have been here for four hours.”

(A prudent insurance investigator must perforce deduce that

there is some method to Mildred Baker’s madness.)

Dorothy telephones Tyger later that day.

“Joe wants toget with you on a case in Baton Rouge,” she notes.

“It’s a white male, 28 years old, married, no children, located at Magic

Mountain Subdivision. All they have out there are subdivisions.”

Funny thing about that Magic Mountain name. There are about

as many magic mountains in Southeastern Louisiana as there are

ice castles or maple syrup trees. That is to say between zero and no way.

 

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“Anyhow,” Tyger asks, “where we going to meet?”

Dorothy pauses. “You know, Joe wouldn’t tell me,” she replies.

“Asked him. He just said he would find you. You know

how Joe is. Said be there for 9 a.m.”

Fine. That Joe Fine. Tyger is going all the way to Baton

Rouge and Joe Fine will find him somehow. Yeah, right.

No use thinking about it too much lest you blow out too

many brain cells. Tyger plans on taking the easiest path

by following Dorothy’s instructions.

Let the chips fall where they may.

Up and atoms the next morning, on l-10 west across

the Bonnet Carre Spillway, the long death stretch with no

turnarounds spanning the distance between Kenner and Reserve.

The traffic fatality toll soars and astronomically crashes

whenever fog shrouds the 4-lane interstate. This

meteorological phenomenon occurs with alarming frequency.

No state official seems prepared to take action to prevent the tragedies.

Whizzing by St. John the Baptist and Ascension Parishes,

that damn cancer belt again Tyger skirts signs pointing

to Sorrento and Donaldsonville, finally reaching the outer fringes

of Baton Rouge where Interstates 10 and 12 coalesce.

Tyger can see a few miles away in the distance the largest

 

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structure in the Red Stick City, the State Capitol Downtown that

was ordained by Huey Long to be the tallest building in town and

as such has remained. The former Governor turned U.S. Senator who

was killed by his own bodyguards in a wild shoot-out with a

disgruntled physician lies in state in a garden down a long park

from that tower. Tyger turns off at the LSU exit, heading for the

aforementioned magic subdivision. No sign of Joe Fine.

“1 knew it,” Tyger tells the car radio switched on to KLSU,

a decent college radio station engaging in some kind of New Wave

prattle. “What am I going to do now?”

Tyger decides to buy the traditional diet Mountain Dew before calling Dorothy

for additional information that might come in handy, small

details like where the subject is located, what is his name, and

claim to shame. He stops at a nearby 7-come-Eleven.

A man in a hat reads a People magazine in the corner. Tyger

pays the clerk. “Uhh, ya got the time,” a tiny voice says.

Tyger looks over and, voila, off flies disguising

haberdashery. What do you know, a fine Joe Fine in the flesh.

“Hey, how did you know to find me here?” Tyger asks beside

himself in disbelief. “I’m a professional. There are some thing

we just know,” Joe Fine notes, laughing off his ass.

You can look it up, friends.

Joe buys a cold drink. Then, on with the big shoe.

 

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Working as a team, Joe has Tyger knock on the door. A person

fitting the subject’s description answers. Tyger gives him the

old “I was lost around here can you give me some directions.”

Feigning complete ignorance — easy to do for such a fool —

he lures the subject outside.

Poor sot of a subject walks around the yard pointing out

various intersections and landmarks on the way to the Magic

Mountain Subdivision. Magic Mountain, Shmagic Shmountain; they

all look the same, comrades.

Meanwhile, Joe sits off in his 1987 grey Toyota Cressida

merrily shooting video and still photographs. This takes about 30

minutes from convenience store to inevitable conclusion.

Tyger walks down to the end of the clean street.

Joe Fine picks him up by the 7-Eleven, saying, “There is somebody

we must meet,” before driving towards Downtown Baton Rouge.

Tyger’s mother the car is parked in semi-retirement at the

inconvenience store after Joe asks the clerk if it is alright.

The Super Sleuth travels under the cover of politeness while on assignment.

Joe drives his nice new — if one can call 50,000 miles in

one year new — 1987 Cressida over to an innocuous looking minishopping

center parking  lot, pulling up in front of a dry cleaners.

 

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Beautiful young girl with long black hair and

devilishly delicious green eyes stands by waiting for a ride.

“Hey dummy, over here,” Joe shouts. An electric bulb lights

the blank space over her pretty little head. This, of course, is

no accidental pick-up.

“Lana, this is Tyger. Tyger, Lana,” Joe introduces with

“Hello. Pleased to meet you,” all around. “Let’s get over to the

courthouse,” Joe continues, all business.

Joe continues with a few vaguely sexist remarks, saying them

in a funny way that offends no one back then.

Simply the Joe Fine style. Serves him well.

It becomes apparent that Tyger and Lana are both extras in

the continuing Joe Fine saga. They pass the time talking about

this and that; the weather and whether the Soviet Union really

will break up like the Berlin Wall.

Joe Fine says as he leaves,”Make yourselves comfortable,”

The two junior associates wait in the car while he wanders through the

courthouse for about 15 minutes looking up whatever. Doesn’t say.

Joe takes Tyger back to his car at the 7-Eleven. “I wanted you

two to meet,” he says. “We will be using Lana on some of our-

cases. She is an eager beaver, if you know what I mean.

“And a quick study. It’s always good to have an attractive female on hand

for some of our sleazier subjects who think with their dicks.”

 

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Then, off again, this time to nearby Denham Springs. Here is

the scenario: Early afternoon. Joe wants Tyger to hang

around a guy’s house while he and Lana go off,

waiting down the block at a gas station.

Joe goes into the trunk of his car, pulling out a pair of CB

radios. Tuning them to the same frequency, the plan is for Tyger

to signal him if sub dives into his vehicle. Joe and Lana

will follow, hopefully also telling Tyger where to go,

so he can come in as backup.

“Ready to play the game?” Joe asks. “Sure, boss.” “And

remember,” — Joe does a nice “Hill Street Blues” imitation for-

someone who claims never to watch television —

“be careful out there.” “Right boss.”

They both have units and should be able to get some good

pictures if the guy moves.

“By the way, what’s my handle?” Tyger jokes.

“Do you know any code?” Joe asks. “Code?” Tyger replies confused.

“Yeah, Morse Code,” Joe says. “You know–the dots and dashes.”

“No sir .”

“Too bad,” Joe says. “Don’t worry about a handle for now.

We need to teach you some code so no one intercepts commos.”

Hurry up and wait. Hurry up and wait. Tyger sits sits sits.

Nothing in particular happens.

 

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Of course, the usual unrelated activity that distracts

attention for a few moments at a spell breaks the boredom

somewhat. Dogs running, children running, adults running after

dogs and children; birds, other vehicles.

That guy chopping wood in his yard.

Was that a pit bull? Big Brother.

Wait, what? Subject chopping wood in his yard!

Tyger tries to call Joe, instead encountering miserable

static. Can’t get through. Damn the torpedoes.

Tyger gets what pictures he can, but the distance is quite

great. Try as he might, he can’t get in better position. When

the guy goes inside, Tyger finally gets through. Joe calls him

into temporary base camp, in this case the nearby Chevron Station.

Alas, it turns out to be the wrong house. Joe has been on

the horn with the client and his answering service.

No foul, no harm, Joe determines they need to break off the case.

There is some confusion as to where the actual subject is

hiding, so Joe needs to meet eyeball-to-eyeball with the client

to iron out the details of investigation.

“We’ll get that sucker another day,” Joe vows. “Every dog

has its day and his day will come. Follow me back to the 7-Eleven.”

They return to the store, swapping out various equipment

while the lovely Lana purchases cigarettes. Neither Joe nor Tyger smoke

tobacco.

“You keep this. I’ll take that. Here take this too. How has

 

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the system been working?” Additional detective small talk is

swapped, too.

“How do you like the detective biz so far?” Joe asks Lana

when she emerges radiant from the cancerous convenience purchase.

“It’s been fun,” she replies.

“Don’t worry kid. You’ll learn, ” Joe adds,

winking a knowing eye in Tyger’s directional headlight.

Turning to Tyger, Joe continues, “She says she wants to be

an investigator. This is a good way to break her in.”

And turning back to Lana: “You’ll do great, kid. All it

takes is intelligence and persistence. And it can be fun, too.”

Day is growing a bit long in the tooth, so last hurrahs

are parted after a few final equipment exchanges. Joe and Lana

take off for an undisclosed location. Tyger tiptoes out of town,

retracing his steps as he departs with his back to a fading sun.

A typical case of another day, another claim to follow.

Tyger wonders what game Joe and Lana are up to by now.

No matter. Have another hit … of sweet air.

Check to see if anyone is following. Out of now habit.

Traffic like Tyger’s head is surprisingly light all the way

to N’awlins. This new job sure beats working.

SURVEILLANCE PELICANA

BY

DAN WEISMAN

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

CHAPTER TEN

Observations about New Orleans precede Tyger’s

meeting at the Hyatt Hotel with Joe Fine.

They go over upcoming cases. Joe gives Tyger

Mildred Baker’s deposition to read in what will

become a celebrated encounter. Later, Dorothy calls

Tyger, tells him to meet Joe in Baton Rouge under

surprising circumstances, Tyger, Joe and the mysterious

Lana work some Baton Rouge area cases.

 

CHAPTER 10

“Busted Flat at Baton Rouge”

 

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No reefer this morning for Tyger Williams about to breakfast

with the boss man. Just as well as he clears his mind

of all that before has passed.

The Tyger front moves right along to Claiborne Avenue on the

way to meeting Joe Fine at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

African-American kids play football along the neutral ground

in-between Claiborne Avenue.

Future Saints are looking good. Too bad Tyger is past

his prime or he might consider running a few pass routes.

Unfortunately too, the innocent looking youths are

surrounded in all directions by poverty’s residue. Public housing

projects stand testament to man’s inhumanity to man to the right

of them. Decrepit shacks passing for family homes nod to the left.

Strange unknown to white folk black music establishments,

sort of hotels, various exotic eating and commercial

establishments specializing in such items as chicken gizzards and

African-American hair products loom also along the mysterious

Claiborne Avenue traffic pattern.

A sea of black faces floats all around. This day Tyger

Williams is merely a small vessel passing by the blackbird

 

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projects on his personal quest for substance and meaning as well

as an acceptable paycheck.

Tyger flies by the exotic black heartland abutting

Downtown, sidestepping the well populated space underneath the

Claiborne overpass. A mini-community of black elders sits on lawn

chairs passing time by playing dice and cards, judiciously

settling pertinent disputes as well.

Loop de-loop Earhart Expressway around and to the ocean of

monoliths forming a silly skyline. Lee Circle stands at

attention stage right. The losing general on horseback reviews his

troops circling in modern monster mash machines

awash with modern horsepower.

Past the main post office and Poydras Street, Tyger looking

looking looking for a parking place, no small assignment.

The fearsome race of cosmically awful meter maids

lurk about like jackals ready to pounce. Those amazing Amazon

Philistines have as their sole purpose in life the bedevilment of

motorists with tickets, some valid, most not,

given as rudely as imaginable.

Three strikes and yeeeer out, a victim of the dreaded orange

boot that is affixed to those with as many tickets as strikes.

Native and tourist alike fear these evil ticket writing maniacs

who know no civilized bounds.

Ahh, a parking ,place suddenly materializes saving Tyger the

expense of a parking garage. He tries to plug a quarter in the

 

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slot, but alas, as is often the case, the meter is broken.

Oh well, another ticket to contest, no doubt. Nothing ever

works around here except corruption.

Such a splendid hotel among all the rising edifices battling

the sky for space. Monuments to what has become New Orleans·

leading industry besides corruption, tourista trappings.

The Big Easy has built upon its natural and historical charm

with the development of a Disneyland for adults mentality.

Civic leaders scramble to take credit for the natural order

of job creation and development.

Goodbye high paying jobs related to the oil and gas industry.

Other real industries that used to dot the riverfront

have died one by one due to a lack of imagination on the

part of city mismanagement.

Hello nowhere minimum wage jobs sucking up to tourists in

partial replacement. Thanks for the grand vision,

civic movers and shakers. Shake and move this middle finger.

Yet, a certain wonderful feeling strikes an investigator

out among the ruins to come. Filling the sky to the east the giant

— and yes, rather beautiful — Superdome, home of the Saints and

coming National Republican Convention.

Big muddy Mississippi River flows to the west.

Northward ho, looms the historic Vieux Carre, otherwise

 

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known as the French Quarter, where New Orleans was settled

originally. It houses historic structures, restaurants, t-shirt

shops, strip shows; and a few residents besides the actual derelicts.

Southward stands the familiar sights and sounds of

residential Uptown, and the great beyond.

That is the location of Tygertown as well.

Dostoyevsky might have lived in 80 residences around

St. Petersburg. But he has nothing on wandering Tygerlust who already

has squatted in seven or eight different locations during a 10

year stuck in the below sea level mud experience of New Orleans.

Enough of this descriptive prosaic morning musing. Tyger

must enter the Hyatt lobby, take an escalator up two stories

to the glitzy hotel restaurant area. Joe Fine, briefcase by his

side, flirts with a random hotel maid.

“Nice lady,” he says to Tyger arriving. “Let’s get some

breakfast. What you say. On the house.

Business deduction tax write-off.”

They sit down in an open air restaurant by the side of the

Hyatt trademark see-through elevators climbing and descending

like a race of super- spiders flying along a web of wires.

Joe is his usual gregarious self. He slips off the shades,

ordering a modest breakfast of orange juice.

Tyger follows suit. Eggs and toast, coffee and

 

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A variety of topics are covered including meter maid

scams previously cited. “This city is ridiculous,” concludes

Joe Fine. “And they wonder why no one wants to do business here.”

Down to business, Joe pulls a large document like a rabbit

from his leather briefcase. He thumbs through

it, leading the paper chase to Tyger.

“Know what this is?” Joe Fine asks. “No.”

“Deposition. Take a look at your leisure. We are

probably going out on that case in a couple of weeks.

It’s a doozy. This Mildred Baker broad will blow your mind.

She’s a former carnival trapeze artist who is absolutely loony

tunes. That is one elevator that doesn’t reach the top floor.

Claims she slipped and fell while working as a cook on a

Gulf rig. Supposedly completely paralyzed from the hips down .”

Joe pauses. “Not. She is about as legitimate as a Bourbon Street

barker. Big bucks in this case. She wants 10 million dollars.

This broad is full of shit. We’re going to work her good.

This could mean big bucks for us. Look over her deposition,

gather what information you can from it.

Depositions are funny. You can tell a lot about someone

by the way they answer the questions. Know what I mean?

If someone is an asshole they’ll answer questions like an asshole.

If they are honest, you can take that to the bank.”

 

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“Read through Baker and see what you think. Crazy, yeah,

but a tough act to follow. Where fools fail, they go to the super

sleuth source. That’s why they want experts like us

to get the job done. hing probably ends up in federal court.”

They discuss other cases. Satherly is fried, might go back

on him in a few months. Mazel Tov on the wedding party.

Bet that made the social pages. Insurance company well satisfied.

Joe Fine mentions that he is giving a presentation for

the All-State adjusters over in Harvey the next day. Hopes to

grab a few new cases off that master class performance.

And Joe still wants to make that promotional tape sometime.

“See what you can come up with on that,” he says.

On the lighter side, Joe’s little “snot faces,” as he

“affectionately” refers to his kids, are going great guns down at

the beach. He will have to leave New Orleans after the All-State

show, drive home to Florida, make sure they don’t set fire to

the house or something worse, his third wife.

You know how kids are and wink wink.

A couple of probable cases, therefore, for Tyger burns.

Joe might have something good coming up in Baton Rouge, too.

 

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Dorothy will be in touch. Joe pays the check,

engaging in some final flirting with the very attractive blonde

waitress shamelessly flirting back. Kismet.

Tyger flips through Mildred Baker’s deposition at home.

He begins to catch Joe’s drift. She is a total fruity gone tutti,

using baby-like language to describe her accident and subsequent

extreme pain and anguish. She also has the odd habit of

describing herself in the third person,

like Bo Jackson used to and Donald Trump.

So, it’s “Mildred can’t move her little bitty feet. Mildred

was a very active girl and now she can’t do anything for herself.

God will see to justice  for Mildred.” And so forth. Weird shit this.

The basic outline of this case can be gleaned from the thick

court document. Pretty much like Joe said, she claims to have

been working as a cook on a Gulf rig, slip-slud on a wet deck and

became discombobulated, not to mention torn asunder. She has been living at

 

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New Orleans East on Morrison Road since then. She claims her

teen-age son must assist her constantly in every activity. The

she-subject is apparently divorced, about 40 years old, and

according to the deposition, conflated perhaps with her dating profile,

loves cats and potted plants. Nice work if you can get it.

Bat-crazy up, she is the Babe Ruth of insurance

claimants going for the rip-off grand slam world series.

Mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, rumbling, stumbling, and

basically this woman doesn’t have a clue. Or does she? Maybe God

is on her side, after all, because she is causing lots of grief

for many heavy hitting insurance company upper echelon executives.

“Just the facts ma am, the defense attorney exclaims in

exasperation on Page 122 of the three-inch thick document.

“We have been here for four hours.”

(A prudent insurance investigator must perforce deduce that

there is some method to Mildred Baker’s madness.)

Dorothy telephones Tyger later that day.

“Joe wants toget with you on a case in Baton Rouge,” she notes.

“It’s a white male, 28 years old, married, no children, located at Magic

Mountain Subdivision. All they have out there are subdivisions.”

Funny thing about that Magic Mountain name. There are about

as many magic mountains in Southeastern Louisiana as there are

ice castles or maple syrup trees. That is to say between zero and no way.

 

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“Anyhow,” Tyger asks, “where we going to meet?”

Dorothy pauses. “You know, Joe wouldn’t tell me,” she replies.

“Asked him. He just said he would find you. You know

how Joe is. Said be there for 9 a.m.”

Fine. That Joe Fine. Tyger is going all the way to Baton

Rouge and Joe Fine will find him somehow. Yeah, right.

No use thinking about it too much lest you blow out too

many brain cells. Tyger plans on taking the easiest path

by following Dorothy’s instructions.

Let the chips fall where they may.

Up and atoms the next morning, on l-10 west across

the Bonnet Carre Spillway, the long death stretch with no

turnarounds spanning the distance between Kenner and Reserve.

The traffic fatality toll soars and astronomically crashes

whenever fog shrouds the 4-lane interstate. This

meteorological phenomenon occurs with alarming frequency.

No state official seems prepared to take action to prevent the tragedies.

Whizzing by St. John the Baptist and Ascension Parishes,

that damn cancer belt again Tyger skirts signs pointing

to Sorrento and Donaldsonville, finally reaching the outer fringes

of Baton Rouge where Interstates 10 and 12 coalesce.

Tyger can see a few miles away in the distance the largest

 

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structure in the Red Stick City, the State Capitol Downtown that

was ordained by Huey Long to be the tallest building in town and

as such has remained. The former Governor turned U.S. Senator who

was killed by his own bodyguards in a wild shoot-out with a

disgruntled physician lies in state in a garden down a long park

from that tower. Tyger turns off at the LSU exit, heading for the

aforementioned magic subdivision. No sign of Joe Fine.

“1 knew it,” Tyger tells the car radio switched on to KLSU,

a decent college radio station engaging in some kind of New Wave

prattle. “What am I going to do now?”

Tyger decides to buy the traditional diet Mountain Dew before calling Dorothy

for additional information that might come in handy, small

details like where the subject is located, what is his name, and

claim to shame. He stops at a nearby 7-come-Eleven.

A man in a hat reads a People magazine in the corner. Tyger

pays the clerk. “Uhh, ya got the time,” a tiny voice says.

Tyger looks over and, voila, off flies disguising

haberdashery. What do you know, a fine Joe Fine in the flesh.

“Hey, how did you know to find me here?” Tyger asks beside

himself in disbelief. “I’m a professional. There are some thing

we just know,” Joe Fine notes, laughing off his ass.

You can look it up, friends.

Joe buys a cold drink. Then, on with the big shoe.

 

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Working as a team, Joe has Tyger knock on the door. A person

fitting the subject’s description answers. Tyger gives him the

old “I was lost around here can you give me some directions.”

Feigning complete ignorance — easy to do for such a fool —

he lures the subject outside.

Poor sot of a subject walks around the yard pointing out

various intersections and landmarks on the way to the Magic

Mountain Subdivision. Magic Mountain, Shmagic Shmountain; they

all look the same, comrades.

Meanwhile, Joe sits off in his 1987 grey Toyota Cressida

merrily shooting video and still photographs. This takes about 30

minutes from convenience store to inevitable conclusion.

Tyger walks down to the end of the clean street.

Joe Fine picks him up by the 7-Eleven, saying, “There is somebody

we must meet,” before driving towards Downtown Baton Rouge.

Tyger’s mother the car is parked in semi-retirement at the

inconvenience store after Joe asks the clerk if it is alright.

The Super Sleuth travels under the cover of politeness while on assignment.

Joe drives his nice new — if one can call 50,000 miles in

one year new — 1987 Cressida over to an innocuous looking minishopping

center parking  lot, pulling up in front of a dry cleaners.

 

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Beautiful young girl with long black hair and

devilishly delicious green eyes stands by waiting for a ride.

“Hey dummy, over here,” Joe shouts. An electric bulb lights

the blank space over her pretty little head. This, of course, is

no accidental pick-up.

“Lana, this is Tyger. Tyger, Lana,” Joe introduces with

“Hello. Pleased to meet you,” all around. “Let’s get over to the

courthouse,” Joe continues, all business.

Joe continues with a few vaguely sexist remarks, saying them

in a funny way that offends no one back then.

Simply the Joe Fine style. Serves him well.

It becomes apparent that Tyger and Lana are both extras in

the continuing Joe Fine saga. They pass the time talking about

this and that; the weather and whether the Soviet Union really

will break up like the Berlin Wall.

Joe Fine says as he leaves,”Make yourselves comfortable,”

The two junior associates wait in the car while he wanders through the

courthouse for about 15 minutes looking up whatever. Doesn’t say.

Joe takes Tyger back to his car at the 7-Eleven. “I wanted you

two to meet,” he says. “We will be using Lana on some of our-

cases. She is an eager beaver, if you know what I mean.

“And a quick study. It’s always good to have an attractive female on hand

for some of our sleazier subjects who think with their dicks.”

 

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Then, off again, this time to nearby Denham Springs. Here is

the scenario: Early afternoon. Joe wants Tyger to hang

around a guy’s house while he and Lana go off,

waiting down the block at a gas station.

Joe goes into the trunk of his car, pulling out a pair of CB

radios. Tuning them to the same frequency, the plan is for Tyger

to signal him if sub dives into his vehicle. Joe and Lana

will follow, hopefully also telling Tyger where to go,

so he can come in as backup.

“Ready to play the game?” Joe asks. “Sure, boss.” “And

remember,” — Joe does a nice “Hill Street Blues” imitation for-

someone who claims never to watch television —

“be careful out there.” “Right boss.”

They both have units and should be able to get some good

pictures if the guy moves.

“By the way, what’s my handle?” Tyger jokes.

“Do you know any code?” Joe asks. “Code?” Tyger replies confused.

“Yeah, Morse Code,” Joe says. “You know–the dots and dashes.”

“No sir .”

“Too bad,” Joe says. “Don’t worry about a handle for now.

We need to teach you some code so no one intercepts commos.”

Hurry up and wait. Hurry up and wait. Tyger sits sits sits.

Nothing in particular happens.

 

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Of course, the usual unrelated activity that distracts

attention for a few moments at a spell breaks the boredom

somewhat. Dogs running, children running, adults running after

dogs and children; birds, other vehicles.

That guy chopping wood in his yard.

Was that a pit bull? Big Brother.

Wait, what? Subject chopping wood in his yard!

Tyger tries to call Joe, instead encountering miserable

static. Can’t get through. Damn the torpedoes.

Tyger gets what pictures he can, but the distance is quite

great. Try as he might, he can’t get in better position. When

the guy goes inside, Tyger finally gets through. Joe calls him

into temporary base camp, in this case the nearby Chevron Station.

Alas, it turns out to be the wrong house. Joe has been on

the horn with the client and his answering service.

No foul, no harm, Joe determines they need to break off the case.

There is some confusion as to where the actual subject is

hiding, so Joe needs to meet eyeball-to-eyeball with the client

to iron out the details of investigation.

“We’ll get that sucker another day,” Joe vows. “Every dog

has its day and his day will come. Follow me back to the 7-Eleven.”

They return to the store, swapping out various equipment

while the lovely Lana purchases cigarettes. Neither Joe nor Tyger smoke

tobacco.

“You keep this. I’ll take that. Here take this too. How has

 

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the system been working?” Additional detective small talk is

swapped, too.

“How do you like the detective biz so far?” Joe asks Lana

when she emerges radiant from the cancerous convenience purchase.

“It’s been fun,” she replies.

“Don’t worry kid. You’ll learn, ” Joe adds,

winking a knowing eye in Tyger’s directional headlight.

Turning to Tyger, Joe continues, “She says she wants to be

an investigator. This is a good way to break her in.”

And turning back to Lana: “You’ll do great, kid. All it

takes is intelligence and persistence. And it can be fun, too.”

Day is growing a bit long in the tooth, so last hurrahs

are parted after a few final equipment exchanges. Joe and Lana

take off for an undisclosed location. Tyger tiptoes out of town,

retracing his steps as he departs with his back to a fading sun.

A typical case of another day, another claim to follow.

Tyger wonders what game Joe and Lana are up to by now.

No matter. Have another hit … of sweet air.

Check to see if anyone is following. Out of now habit.

Traffic like Tyger’s head is surprisingly light all the way

to N’awlins. This new job sure beats working.