Surveillance Pelicana Part II — Chapters 11 to 20…

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 ELEVEN

More fun at MacLand. Mr. Milty creates a

large scowling face in the Stinko’s Copy Shop 

window down Oak Street. Te face stops traffic and

causes an uroar. Later, Tyger, Mac Armor’s,

Nick Bowers, and Sandy Alexander go bowling

at Expressway Lanes, across the river at Gretna.

The team prepares for a wild night of bowling with a

pre-games meal at the Pho Tau Bay Vietnamese restaurant and other activities.

Armor’s nearly causes a riot at the alley through his behavior.

 

CHAPTER 11

“Smash-up at Stinko’s”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER ELEVEN

Weisman

172

 

Strange birds are always perched about MacLand Headquarters.

These rara avis sit in various zen-like positions; or free, at

last, fluttering about the three bedroom house

and large adjoining yard outside.

Poor lonely souls in terminal residence next door are a

bit less active. They are not Monty Python parrots pining

for the fjrds. They are past tense. It is a funeral parlor .

But jamming, so they say, can awaken the dead and as the

parade of bongo and conga lines forms to the right, to the left

dem bones, dem bones possibly dance up a storm. Lucky stiffs.

Mac and Sarah and lions and bears fly in formation through

rock solid air. Getting on barbecue time at the old Mac ranch and

the lead drummer grills up a hearty repast of chicken breasts and

ribs. The usual gaggle of geese and soiree of swans are present

discussing current affairs or simply duck quack resting.

Fee fi fo fum, Tyger smells the bullshit of a crummy bum.

Shit, Heave Broward, funky bass player of the New Neanderthals,

has dropped like a karmic dead lead weight to disturb the

ecological balance. Heave ho is the proverbial snake in the garden

ruining everybody’s paradise. His line is plumbing the water for some

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

173

 

easy chum among the beautiful song birds inside.

“Why, you are the prettiest girl here,” he tells three

robins consecutively as he separates each from the safety of a

nest. Could anyone possibly be stupid enough to believe him?

But that is the pickup game. Soon he departs with a

particularly dull blue yay in tow. “You are the prettiest girl

here. I want to give you the greatest orgasm ever,” he is

overheard saying as he pushes his dainty prey out the door.

This occurs as Tyger and Armor’s enter. “Hey Heave,” Armor’s

calls to the long lanky bass fake. It’s go time.

“You’re an asshole. Loser.”

“Fuck you Armor’s,” Heave says, hastily exiting.

Heave’s departure has a salutary effect on the fruitful

gathering. Mac and Sarah, his squeeze, discuss another lame

brain member of the New Neanderthals.

“Yeah, I heard Roots Badburns is getting a doctorate,” Mac

says as Tyger overhears with disgust. “Man, that bullshit again.”

“Root bound shit has been saying that for 20 years,” Armor’s says.

“Hope he does get it. Then, we finally can stop hearing about it.”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELlCANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

174

 

“Hey baby, what it is'” Armor ‘s calls over to Mac who

fiddles with a drum machine. “What it is baby?” says Armor’s

walking across the room to shake Mac ‘s shoulders.

Mac, nonetheless is concentrating on the world beat.

“What it is is to be awful,” observes Mac casually.

“Hey, just saw Heave leaving,” Tyger says. What was he

doing here? Trying to steal some fun? ”

“That’s cool,” Mac notes. “He keeps saying he is going to

sit in on a jam, but never seems to get around to it.”

Armor’s has flown to the kitchen area where he coo-coos

Heave’s left-overs. Some guys have no self-respect. Armor ‘s

qualifies when it comes to the the name of that tune.

Tyger dives into the comfy cushioned couch area, next to the

beanbag chair memorial park, picking a roach out of the ashtray.

“Mind if I partake?” he asks. “Be my guest,” Mac replies as

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

175

 

the drum machine spews out a kind of disco beat.

“Didn’t I hear the Village People do that?” Tyger asks as he

inhales a big puff of smoke and holds it in ever so dearly before

it too must perforce fly. “Hey. Haven’t you heard?” Mac asks

rhetorically. “I used to be the Construction Worker.”

The actual reason for the visit is a rumor that Mr. Milty —

along with lead guitarist Buck the only other

acceptable New Neanderthal — is about to embark on a

semi-serious art project. Stinko’s copy shop where he works

has recently instituted a policy of letting artists

display their work in a side window.

Mac and the gang already have displayed their magnificent

salute to the nuclear family complete with painted and halfburned

styrofoam wig heads. It caused quite a public stir.

Now, it’s Mr. Milty’s turn at bat. He is going to try to

score with a giant face mural painted on the large glass window.

Milty has many strange, awful, and wonderful face paintings

at home. They are sort of to the rear of David Lynch’s

“Eraserhead,” just this side of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg of

Great Gatsby fame with a little Day of the Locust ambiance

tossed in for good measure.

Tyger dares not miss the magic project moment. Given Mr.

Milty’s track record, there is no telling how long the face will

grimace in public before something terrible happens. Milty has a

provocative and quirky attitude concerning art.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

176

 

Therefore, it is best to be on hand for he who hesitates is

lost. Or at least that is what Tyger’s high school baseball coach

said when it came to the topic of taking the extra base.

“Oh yeah, Mr. Milty’s down there now,” Mac reports as he

switches off the drum machine. “Let’s check it out.” So they fly

sky high little starlings and hunker down the road four blocks.

Sure enough, super thin Mr. Milty stands in the window

painting a giant multicolored face. And the face, comrades,

does not look amused.

No indeedy, it looks like apocalypse now with mad reds,

oranges. and greens cascading in every direction. And oh those

evil eyes, Mona Lisa grimace, and general flushed expression.

“Look like anyone you know?” Tyger asks Mac .

“Hope not,” he replies.

Mr . Milty walks inside the Stinko’s window dashing off

stroke after awful stroke. What is that, a penalty shot? No, it

is just a strange face exploding colors in your mind. Mr. Milty

is hard at work, his long sandy hair and Jesus beard flowing.

Screeeeech! Kerboom. Sound of steel crashing and tin cans

being opened by self-implosion.

Boom. Crash. Burn, yearn, fern, yo mama. Disputations and

sad embraces. All this in the Stinko’s window for any passerby to

be alarmed by and hopefully pass through to the other side.

“This is the best window yet,” Tyger remarks as glass

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

177

 

shatters and representational art unflatters the small throng

across the street from Stinko’s now watching Mr. Milty’s every

monumental brush stroke.

An instant anti-karma news flake crew from WDSU — New

Orleans’ own around the clock source of lying commercialism

according to their self-promotions — drive by in their up-link

minivan. They stop to see what the commotion is about.

“Oh it’s just awful art,” a red-faced pumpkin lady tells them.

“You know how finicky artists can be.”

The on-air news flake looks bored. Since this is the most

important and interesting event of the day, he decides to pull up

stakes and move along little doggy to that exciting news porn house fire

on Elm Street. Better visuals for Ray-Gun family values.

Besides, the so-called reporter can’t figure out how he can

make trivial Mr. Milty’s very disturbing commentary on man’s

inhumanity to himself, taking the most awful art down to the

lowest level possible so his editors can understand.

Through it all, The giant disturbing face might be —

shall we say — eternally smiling.

Two police officers drive by noting a considerable commotion and

screech to a sudden stop. Since there seems to be no physical

danger present, they linger gently, joining the growing crowd observing

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

178

 

M. Milty’s impresario strokes and grand gestures with mouths

approaching open wide.

Mac picks up the universal vibration. “Awful, of course,” he state

to the pumpkin lady, now one of MacLand’s temporary best fiends, er friends.

“I think it’s very nice,” she replies, adding, “What do you

mean awful?”

“Awful,” Mac reiterates. “Ya know–full of awe. ”

“Oh yes, it is that,” the matronly lady agrees. “But the

dear boy in the window must be a little, I don’t know,

disturbed maybe. A little disturbed I think.”

“No doubt,” Tyger says.

Crackle, snapple, pop, the police car radio mouths off as a

female cop calls in her position. “Ah, roger, roger; we have a

white male in the Stinko’s window painting a giant face.

Please advise. Over.”

Chhhh, chhhh … static … chhhh. “Never- mind. There’s a 20-30

over at Maple Street. Please respond.” orders the voice

disembodied. “We better get going,” cop-ette tells her podner.

They load in the police car. Driving off, the cop riding

shotgun rolls down his window, looks at Mac,

asking, “But is it art?”

Everyone is a citic . “Can’t help you with that one, man,”

Mac replies as they both laugh. “But I like it.”

Milty takes care of business inside the pained glass,

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

179

 

oblivious to the outside Oak Street crowd in disturbance. Or

maybe he’s into it because that is his usual method of operation.

The Miltmaster soaks up the crowd’s ambivalence, turning

it into an increasingly wild face painting, if that is possible.

He mines a very disturbing vision of the soul’s eye.

“I’m liking this a lot,” Tyger tells Mac.

“I think he is on to something.”

It’s beginning to look a lot like nightmare on Oak Street,

part infinity, part end of the world, and part joke is on them.

Milty winds down the face thing, beginning to wash his

brushes, packing away the offending colors.

Out of the blue, into the pink, ka-boom! Ka-boom! Squealing

tires and jaw of nuked and neutered newt.

Screech! Sliding wheels. Suddenly, right before the crowd’s

Betty Davis eyes conglomeration, a fender bender three car urban

street jam pile-up. Smash! Smash? Smash!

In your face, bozo scum-sucker rubbernecks. Kerblam!

Believe it or nuts, three drivers as one jump out of their

respective you got Prince Albert in a can, well they are let out cars.

Mr. Milty’s face has proven its karmic powers beyond any doubt.

He has caused a three car pile-up accident.

The first driver had been watching through the window and

suddenly stopped only to be struck by the second whom, in turn,

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

180

 

was hit by the third. Damn, that art is powerful stuff.

“I suppose they’ll try to make me investigate this,” Tyger

says. “Face mural causes accident and riot on Oak Street.

News fake at 10.”

The drivers stand on the side of the street jawboning various

pieces of impersonal misinformation. Nothing major really, just a

tribute to Milty’s artistic powers. The artist, himself, has now

finished. He crosses the confused street scene to view his

material damage.

“Not bad, if I don’t say so myself,” Mr. Milty concludes. “I

think I’ve hit a grand slam with this one.”

(Mr. Milty, besides being an advanced musician-artist is

also quite the baseball buff. He specialized in collecting

trading cards before that practice became fashionable.)

“Excellent stuff,” he concludes searching for a quick escape

hatch should he need to flee the surrounding crowd — of, shall

we say, admirers — if necessary. Parapazzi might be lurking

anywhere, not to mention Brigatisti Rosa.

The madcap smashed and crashed motorists are becoming a bit

too personally involved with their dispute so Mac, of all

persons, tries to mediate. “Come on guys. Calm down, ” he says.

“Not much damage. Not much. Relax and look at the nice face painting.”

“Hey that’s what caused this shit,” Driver Number One tells Mac.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

181

 

“If that asshole in front of me hadn’t stopped to look.”

Driver No. 1 pauses, reading the face on the glass.

“I think it sucks,” he says. Then, back to the accident at hand.

Grinning from ear to ear, our cheshire cat of an artist Mr .

Milty is having fun. “That’s what I like to hear,” he says before

departing. “Well, It’s getting ugly over here. I better like a banana split.”

Milty possesses an unerring sense of when to exit honed by

many near death experiences brought about in the name of art.

“You know who caused this shit?” realizes suddenly Driver Number

Three. “Where is the asshole who painted that window?” Too late, bub.

So too, the boys return to MacLand leaving the wreckage of

the unenlightened for themselves to sort out. “You got to give it

to Mr . Milty,” Mac says as he sits in the living space tuning a

conga drum. “He sure knows how to distract a crowd.”

Tyger walks back to the kitchen where Armor’s and Sarah are

playing with the cats, in this case literally. Armor’s needs some

new blood to compliment his brood and has agreed to take some of

MacLand’s excess nuevo kitten population.

Mama Cat recently delivered a large litter of genetically

inbred New Orleans specie wingheadius, a special type of feline

with super-wide ears spanning the globe found only

in the Big UnEasy. “They are cute little buggers,” Armor ‘s notes

as Sarah fetches up an orange female kitty and striped grey brother,

placing them in a carry-all enclosed cardboard box.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

182

 

“O.K. ready, steady. Let’s go,” says Armor’s as the proud

papa with his new family loads into the off-duty surveillance

vehicle. “See ya later alligator,” he yells out the passenger

side window as they drive back to the future.

The plan is to scatter for now, regrouping later at MacLand.

The gang intends to engage in some late-night bowling

practice across the river at the Expressway Lanes in Harvey.

Why not? Seems like something, er, athletic to do. Tyger, Mac and

Armor’s bowl the beguine with their good buddies Nick Bowers

and Sandy Alexander. Mr . Milty would usually be square and be there.

However, he is otherwise indisposed with the aforementioned

instrumental giants of the New Neanderthal age.

Seconds, minutes, and hours pass through this temporary

existence. Tyger fiddles around his house while Armor’s settles

the cats into their new environment. The usual outrageously fine

moments pass for the MacLand crowd. Mr. Milty’s face continues

blocking traffic along Oak Street Stinko’s.

Everyone hooks up at Mac’s place around midnight, piling

into official safe driver Sandy Alexander’s tasteful black

Volkswagen Jetta headed for a date with bowling destiny at Expressway Lanes.

The team has its usual intense pep rally before bowling.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

183

 

This is accompanied by team prayer at which joints are passed to

symbolize the nature of man’s quest for fun representing as well

the hope, the smoke, the holy huffing, and puffing of good high times.

Nick Bowers supplies some very good hydroponically grown

shit. Everyone agrees as they fill the Jetta with jet-streams of

exhaled reefer smoke; what a terrific guy, what great mutah.

Everybody buys into the team concept. Y’all for one and one

P.J. — i.e., personal joint — of regular Mexican pot for y’all.

Let’s hear it for bowlers anonymous. Yaaaay team’ Smoke

billows from every Sandymobile orifice as the boys stumble

outside the car party towards their next destination.

The group walks across the Expressway Lanes parking lot to

the sacred Pho Tau Bay Vietnamese Restaurant.

Another gotta-have-it exercise revealed.

They voraciously consume a hearty pre-games meal of Goi Cuon

spring rolls, and Bun Thit Nuong. Sweetened with condensed milk

Cafe Sua Da washes down the great eats.

How do you say thank you in Vietnamese?

Pho Tau Bay’s owner is an American Indochina War veteran

who married a Vietnamese woman and her family. He seems like a

nice guy, tall and thin with a right forearm tattoo of an

arrow through a heart. (Ah, the slings and arrows of outrageous

fortune form an appropriate symbol for the bowlers from across

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

184

 

the River Styx.)

G. I. Joe hosts as various Vietnamese women, and children

wildly run around the restaurant that has quite a few late-night

diners. Besides the vet, who greet the boys in a friendly easy

manner, the bowling team fools are the only Caucasians at the pho joint.

It is a beautiful place with exotic tropical fish and bright

walls as yet undiscovered by the local news fakes. Eventually,

they will get around to it, but for now, all is pristine pleasure

and good eating before the battle royale begins.

Vietnam Cong Hoa’. Rumbling, bumbling, stumbling,

Armor ‘s is mumbling as the team bounces into Expressway Lanes,

your basic industrial grade bowling alley. Very bright lights flood the alley as dim

bulbs fling their hard round balls of joy down waxed wood boards.

Sandy and Mac zoom over to the snack bar, grabbing four cups

of beer. Armor ‘s is all bowling business, carefully unraveling

the cosmic cloth covering his black beauty 14-pound ball,

shining the sporting object clean of grease.

Sandy smokes a cigarette, the only nicotine habit in the

group. No matter as he fits in with the crowd.

Expressway Lanes after midnight on the weekends

is a smoldering chimney. All those fat asses blow

their lung weight in tobacco haze.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

185

 

They are drinking their bellies full of draft beer.

Odd excuse for a sport, this.

A very competitive environment predominates, as always. Each

bowler wants to come out on top. The lanes rent by the hour after

midnight, so games are much cheaper than during prime-time and

may be rolled in mass quantities.

Therefore, the boys usually roll 10 or 11 games each,

sometimes more, stopping only when their arms or thumbs fall off,

sometimes not even then . Huge blisters might form. A nuclear bomb

might fall. No matter. It takes more than that to eradicate bowling

fever after it has commenced. So begins the first of many games .

Armor’s is a tremendous bowler, believe it or nuts. He

brought along a clove cigarette for some reason. Lights it.

The sweet acrid clove smell drifts over to the other nearby

bowlers. They are a group of potbellied men with Rick’s Oil Field

Trash on their color coordinated white with red and blue trim

shirts. They stare swords at Armor’s target.

Armor’s ignores them, walking slowly to the ball return.

Smash smash smash all around the sounds of balls striking pins in

the nearly empty establishment, no more than one-quarter filled.

Armor’s takes no quarter either. He deliberately

approaches the boards, letting loose a solid pocket hit. Boom!

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

186

 

Pins scatter. Strike one. A look of satisfaction on his face, he sits down,

re- lighting the DJakarta Elephant’s clove cigarette.

Good old boys from Rick’s Oil Field Trash look pissed

Feel free to grumble among yourselves, boys.

Heightened concentration following the Pho Tau Bay culinary experience

makes for a competitive match-up. Not to mention the happy effects of a dozen consumed reefers.

Strike. Strike. Spare. Spare. Strike. Open frame. “Shit, Tyger, you suck.”

Sandy announces beer frame. Armor’s strikes a spare.

Next round you’re buying,” Mac tells Sandy. Beer beer beer all around friends.

Armor’s throws a great game. Strike strike strike strike spare, shit,

spare, spare, shit, spare, shit, strike. He is right up there around 200.

What a great anchorman. And all the while toking on the clove cigarette.

For what–for luck? Perhaps. Finally a mid-sized fatty, person not blunt,

from the trash heap boys, sidles over, staring daggers at Armor’s white haze.

“What you smoking there, boy?” he asks.  “Mari-ja-wanna? What is that shit?”

“Oh, haha,” laughs Armor’s to Rick guy’sred-beet face. “No man. “All good, legal.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

187

 

Clove cigarette from Indonesia. They’re great. Take a puff.”

The atmosphere lightens up considerably. The fellow takes a

hit, holds it, and exhales in a loud rush.

“Whoa Nellie. That stuff makes you dizzy as hell. How about

that,” he declares. “What you know. You learn something new every day.”

“Hey want one?” Armor’s asks, producing the strangely

colored pack with equally exotic elephant graphics.

“Y’all don’t mind,” Armor’s new bestest buddy says.

“Nah,” Armor’s says. Sharing is caring. Or caring is;

I dunno, here, they’re great.”

“Hey, you bowled a mean game there, too, motherfucker.”

Armor’s simply exudes his version of the cheshire cat grin.

“Thanks man,” as the guy wanders off into space.

Sandy returns from bowling his frame. “What was all that

about?” he asks. “The guy thought these clove cigarettes were

marijuana,” Armor’s reports.

Sandy shakes his head. “You’re up.” All business now as the

games continue. Armor’s drills another strike. “Gotcha,” he says,

pointing at the pins with a shooting gun gesture

ala Dennis Eckersley wrapping up a save.

Game after game, frame after frame, follow the bouncing

balls as pins collide, explode, dissipate, go black.

Welcome to the big bang, late night version.

Rolling bowling trolling, jolie fun and frolic shake. Beer

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

188

 

frame after beer frame. Alternating between one person up while

others take a quick team prayer outside. And they are not

smoking clove cigarettes either, comrades.

The games seem quite competitive. Averages are fairly

consistent and respectable. Tyger is low man with a 135.

Nick and Sandy check in at 145.

Mac is hot with his odd shot-put style yielding a 150 pin

performance. Armor’s, fueled by clove and beer, chalks up an

awesome 190. You know what they say: Can’t have too much fuh.

Getting on to 3 a.m. as Rick’s Oil Field Trash along with

about everyone else has vanished into the West Bank

darkness. A teenage party at the far end of the brightly lit

lanes about sums it up.

One of them flings his ball diagonally across three lanes.

Sad lonely ball, bounces rudely stopping gutter adjacent.

His friend runs down and grabs the ball as they laugh hysterically.

Must be too much clove in their diet.

The night manager sternly lectures the boy. “Anyone home.

Anyone there. Anyone home.” he repeats in an endless tape loop.

Black hole. No one apparently is at home. No one is listening.

The boys wrap things up as they pack their bowling bags in

cloths of many colors, return the special shoes, head across the Greater New

Orleans Bridge back to the city of New Orleans. Downtown shimmers

with skyscraper lights that reflect along the muddy Mississippi River.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

189

 

Tyger removes a final joint from his altoids box.

So it goes, so it blows, so ends

the beery bowling barrel,

rolling Uptown through the mist.

Dawn is about to break a sweat.

Comrades, fare thee well.

Sweet dreams.

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 ELEVEN

More fun at MacLand. Mr. Milty creates a

large scowling face in the Stinko’s Copy Shop 

window down Oak Street. Te face stops traffic and

causes an uroar. Later, Tyger, Mac Armor’s,

Nick Bowers, and Sandy Alexander go bowling

at Expressway Lanes, across the river at Gretna.

The team prepares for a wild night of bowling with a

pre-games meal at the Pho Tau Bay Vietnamese restaurant and other activities.

Armor’s nearly causes a riot at the alley through his behavior.

 

CHAPTER 11

“Smash-up at Stinko’s”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER ELEVEN

Weisman

172

 

Strange birds are always perched about MacLand Headquarters.

These rara avis sit in various zen-like positions; or free, at

last, fluttering about the three bedroom house

and large adjoining yard outside.

Poor lonely souls in terminal residence next door are a

bit less active. They are not Monty Python parrots pining

for the fjrds. They are past tense. It is a funeral parlor .

But jamming, so they say, can awaken the dead and as the

parade of bongo and conga lines forms to the right, to the left

dem bones, dem bones possibly dance up a storm. Lucky stiffs.

Mac and Sarah and lions and bears fly in formation through

rock solid air. Getting on barbecue time at the old Mac ranch and

the lead drummer grills up a hearty repast of chicken breasts and

ribs. The usual gaggle of geese and soiree of swans are present

discussing current affairs or simply duck quack resting.

Fee fi fo fum, Tyger smells the bullshit of a crummy bum.

Shit, Heave Broward, funky bass player of the New Neanderthals,

has dropped like a karmic dead lead weight to disturb the

ecological balance. Heave ho is the proverbial snake in the garden

ruining everybody’s paradise. His line is plumbing the water for some

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

173

 

easy chum among the beautiful song birds inside.

“Why, you are the prettiest girl here,” he tells three

robins consecutively as he separates each from the safety of a

nest. Could anyone possibly be stupid enough to believe him?

But that is the pickup game. Soon he departs with a

particularly dull blue yay in tow. “You are the prettiest girl

here. I want to give you the greatest orgasm ever,” he is

overheard saying as he pushes his dainty prey out the door.

This occurs as Tyger and Armor’s enter. “Hey Heave,” Armor’s

calls to the long lanky bass fake. It’s go time.

“You’re an asshole. Loser.”

“Fuck you Armor’s,” Heave says, hastily exiting.

Heave’s departure has a salutary effect on the fruitful

gathering. Mac and Sarah, his squeeze, discuss another lame

brain member of the New Neanderthals.

“Yeah, I heard Roots Badburns is getting a doctorate,” Mac

says as Tyger overhears with disgust. “Man, that bullshit again.”

“Root bound shit has been saying that for 20 years,” Armor’s says.

“Hope he does get it. Then, we finally can stop hearing about it.”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELlCANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

174

 

“Hey baby, what it is'” Armor ‘s calls over to Mac who

fiddles with a drum machine. “What it is baby?” says Armor’s

walking across the room to shake Mac ‘s shoulders.

Mac, nonetheless is concentrating on the world beat.

“What it is is to be awful,” observes Mac casually.

“Hey, just saw Heave leaving,” Tyger says. What was he

doing here? Trying to steal some fun? ”

“That’s cool,” Mac notes. “He keeps saying he is going to

sit in on a jam, but never seems to get around to it.”

Armor’s has flown to the kitchen area where he coo-coos

Heave’s left-overs. Some guys have no self-respect. Armor ‘s

qualifies when it comes to the the name of that tune.

Tyger dives into the comfy cushioned couch area, next to the

beanbag chair memorial park, picking a roach out of the ashtray.

“Mind if I partake?” he asks. “Be my guest,” Mac replies as

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

175

 

the drum machine spews out a kind of disco beat.

“Didn’t I hear the Village People do that?” Tyger asks as he

inhales a big puff of smoke and holds it in ever so dearly before

it too must perforce fly. “Hey. Haven’t you heard?” Mac asks

rhetorically. “I used to be the Construction Worker.”

The actual reason for the visit is a rumor that Mr. Milty —

along with lead guitarist Buck the only other

acceptable New Neanderthal — is about to embark on a

semi-serious art project. Stinko’s copy shop where he works

has recently instituted a policy of letting artists

display their work in a side window.

Mac and the gang already have displayed their magnificent

salute to the nuclear family complete with painted and halfburned

styrofoam wig heads. It caused quite a public stir.

Now, it’s Mr. Milty’s turn at bat. He is going to try to

score with a giant face mural painted on the large glass window.

Milty has many strange, awful, and wonderful face paintings

at home. They are sort of to the rear of David Lynch’s

“Eraserhead,” just this side of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg of

Great Gatsby fame with a little Day of the Locust ambiance

tossed in for good measure.

Tyger dares not miss the magic project moment. Given Mr.

Milty’s track record, there is no telling how long the face will

grimace in public before something terrible happens. Milty has a

provocative and quirky attitude concerning art.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

176

 

Therefore, it is best to be on hand for he who hesitates is

lost. Or at least that is what Tyger’s high school baseball coach

said when it came to the topic of taking the extra base.

“Oh yeah, Mr. Milty’s down there now,” Mac reports as he

switches off the drum machine. “Let’s check it out.” So they fly

sky high little starlings and hunker down the road four blocks.

Sure enough, super thin Mr. Milty stands in the window

painting a giant multicolored face. And the face, comrades,

does not look amused.

No indeedy, it looks like apocalypse now with mad reds,

oranges. and greens cascading in every direction. And oh those

evil eyes, Mona Lisa grimace, and general flushed expression.

“Look like anyone you know?” Tyger asks Mac .

“Hope not,” he replies.

Mr . Milty walks inside the Stinko’s window dashing off

stroke after awful stroke. What is that, a penalty shot? No, it

is just a strange face exploding colors in your mind. Mr. Milty

is hard at work, his long sandy hair and Jesus beard flowing.

Screeeeech! Kerboom. Sound of steel crashing and tin cans

being opened by self-implosion.

Boom. Crash. Burn, yearn, fern, yo mama. Disputations and

sad embraces. All this in the Stinko’s window for any passerby to

be alarmed by and hopefully pass through to the other side.

“This is the best window yet,” Tyger remarks as glass

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

177

 

shatters and representational art unflatters the small throng

across the street from Stinko’s now watching Mr. Milty’s every

monumental brush stroke.

An instant anti-karma news flake crew from WDSU — New

Orleans’ own around the clock source of lying commercialism

according to their self-promotions — drive by in their up-link

minivan. They stop to see what the commotion is about.

“Oh it’s just awful art,” a red-faced pumpkin lady tells them.

“You know how finicky artists can be.”

The on-air news flake looks bored. Since this is the most

important and interesting event of the day, he decides to pull up

stakes and move along little doggy to that exciting news porn house fire

on Elm Street. Better visuals for Ray-Gun family values.

Besides, the so-called reporter can’t figure out how he can

make trivial Mr. Milty’s very disturbing commentary on man’s

inhumanity to himself, taking the most awful art down to the

lowest level possible so his editors can understand.

Through it all, The giant disturbing face might be —

shall we say — eternally smiling.

Two police officers drive by noting a considerable commotion and

screech to a sudden stop. Since there seems to be no physical

danger present, they linger gently, joining the growing crowd observing

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

178

 

M. Milty’s impresario strokes and grand gestures with mouths

approaching open wide.

Mac picks up the universal vibration. “Awful, of course,” he state

to the pumpkin lady, now one of MacLand’s temporary best fiends, er friends.

“I think it’s very nice,” she replies, adding, “What do you

mean awful?”

“Awful,” Mac reiterates. “Ya know–full of awe. ”

“Oh yes, it is that,” the matronly lady agrees. “But the

dear boy in the window must be a little, I don’t know,

disturbed maybe. A little disturbed I think.”

“No doubt,” Tyger says.

Crackle, snapple, pop, the police car radio mouths off as a

female cop calls in her position. “Ah, roger, roger; we have a

white male in the Stinko’s window painting a giant face.

Please advise. Over.”

Chhhh, chhhh … static … chhhh. “Never- mind. There’s a 20-30

over at Maple Street. Please respond.” orders the voice

disembodied. “We better get going,” cop-ette tells her podner.

They load in the police car. Driving off, the cop riding

shotgun rolls down his window, looks at Mac,

asking, “But is it art?”

Everyone is a citic . “Can’t help you with that one, man,”

Mac replies as they both laugh. “But I like it.”

Milty takes care of business inside the pained glass,

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

179

 

oblivious to the outside Oak Street crowd in disturbance. Or

maybe he’s into it because that is his usual method of operation.

The Miltmaster soaks up the crowd’s ambivalence, turning

it into an increasingly wild face painting, if that is possible.

He mines a very disturbing vision of the soul’s eye.

“I’m liking this a lot,” Tyger tells Mac.

“I think he is on to something.”

It’s beginning to look a lot like nightmare on Oak Street,

part infinity, part end of the world, and part joke is on them.

Milty winds down the face thing, beginning to wash his

brushes, packing away the offending colors.

Out of the blue, into the pink, ka-boom! Ka-boom! Squealing

tires and jaw of nuked and neutered newt.

Screech! Sliding wheels. Suddenly, right before the crowd’s

Betty Davis eyes conglomeration, a fender bender three car urban

street jam pile-up. Smash! Smash? Smash!

In your face, bozo scum-sucker rubbernecks. Kerblam!

Believe it or nuts, three drivers as one jump out of their

respective you got Prince Albert in a can, well they are let out cars.

Mr. Milty’s face has proven its karmic powers beyond any doubt.

He has caused a three car pile-up accident.

The first driver had been watching through the window and

suddenly stopped only to be struck by the second whom, in turn,

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

180

 

was hit by the third. Damn, that art is powerful stuff.

“I suppose they’ll try to make me investigate this,” Tyger

says. “Face mural causes accident and riot on Oak Street.

News fake at 10.”

The drivers stand on the side of the street jawboning various

pieces of impersonal misinformation. Nothing major really, just a

tribute to Milty’s artistic powers. The artist, himself, has now

finished. He crosses the confused street scene to view his

material damage.

“Not bad, if I don’t say so myself,” Mr. Milty concludes. “I

think I’ve hit a grand slam with this one.”

(Mr. Milty, besides being an advanced musician-artist is

also quite the baseball buff. He specialized in collecting

trading cards before that practice became fashionable.)

“Excellent stuff,” he concludes searching for a quick escape

hatch should he need to flee the surrounding crowd — of, shall

we say, admirers — if necessary. Parapazzi might be lurking

anywhere, not to mention Brigatisti Rosa.

The madcap smashed and crashed motorists are becoming a bit

too personally involved with their dispute so Mac, of all

persons, tries to mediate. “Come on guys. Calm down, ” he says.

“Not much damage. Not much. Relax and look at the nice face painting.”

“Hey that’s what caused this shit,” Driver Number One tells Mac.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

181

 

“If that asshole in front of me hadn’t stopped to look.”

Driver No. 1 pauses, reading the face on the glass.

“I think it sucks,” he says. Then, back to the accident at hand.

Grinning from ear to ear, our cheshire cat of an artist Mr .

Milty is having fun. “That’s what I like to hear,” he says before

departing. “Well, It’s getting ugly over here. I better like a banana split.”

Milty possesses an unerring sense of when to exit honed by

many near death experiences brought about in the name of art.

“You know who caused this shit?” realizes suddenly Driver Number

Three. “Where is the asshole who painted that window?” Too late, bub.

So too, the boys return to MacLand leaving the wreckage of

the unenlightened for themselves to sort out. “You got to give it

to Mr . Milty,” Mac says as he sits in the living space tuning a

conga drum. “He sure knows how to distract a crowd.”

Tyger walks back to the kitchen where Armor’s and Sarah are

playing with the cats, in this case literally. Armor’s needs some

new blood to compliment his brood and has agreed to take some of

MacLand’s excess nuevo kitten population.

Mama Cat recently delivered a large litter of genetically

inbred New Orleans specie wingheadius, a special type of feline

with super-wide ears spanning the globe found only

in the Big UnEasy. “They are cute little buggers,” Armor ‘s notes

as Sarah fetches up an orange female kitty and striped grey brother,

placing them in a carry-all enclosed cardboard box.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

182

 

“O.K. ready, steady. Let’s go,” says Armor’s as the proud

papa with his new family loads into the off-duty surveillance

vehicle. “See ya later alligator,” he yells out the passenger

side window as they drive back to the future.

The plan is to scatter for now, regrouping later at MacLand.

The gang intends to engage in some late-night bowling

practice across the river at the Expressway Lanes in Harvey.

Why not? Seems like something, er, athletic to do. Tyger, Mac and

Armor’s bowl the beguine with their good buddies Nick Bowers

and Sandy Alexander. Mr . Milty would usually be square and be there.

However, he is otherwise indisposed with the aforementioned

instrumental giants of the New Neanderthal age.

Seconds, minutes, and hours pass through this temporary

existence. Tyger fiddles around his house while Armor’s settles

the cats into their new environment. The usual outrageously fine

moments pass for the MacLand crowd. Mr. Milty’s face continues

blocking traffic along Oak Street Stinko’s.

Everyone hooks up at Mac’s place around midnight, piling

into official safe driver Sandy Alexander’s tasteful black

Volkswagen Jetta headed for a date with bowling destiny at Expressway Lanes.

The team has its usual intense pep rally before bowling.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

183

 

This is accompanied by team prayer at which joints are passed to

symbolize the nature of man’s quest for fun representing as well

the hope, the smoke, the holy huffing, and puffing of good high times.

Nick Bowers supplies some very good hydroponically grown

shit. Everyone agrees as they fill the Jetta with jet-streams of

exhaled reefer smoke; what a terrific guy, what great mutah.

Everybody buys into the team concept. Y’all for one and one

P.J. — i.e., personal joint — of regular Mexican pot for y’all.

Let’s hear it for bowlers anonymous. Yaaaay team’ Smoke

billows from every Sandymobile orifice as the boys stumble

outside the car party towards their next destination.

The group walks across the Expressway Lanes parking lot to

the sacred Pho Tau Bay Vietnamese Restaurant.

Another gotta-have-it exercise revealed.

They voraciously consume a hearty pre-games meal of Goi Cuon

spring rolls, and Bun Thit Nuong. Sweetened with condensed milk

Cafe Sua Da washes down the great eats.

How do you say thank you in Vietnamese?

Pho Tau Bay’s owner is an American Indochina War veteran

who married a Vietnamese woman and her family. He seems like a

nice guy, tall and thin with a right forearm tattoo of an

arrow through a heart. (Ah, the slings and arrows of outrageous

fortune form an appropriate symbol for the bowlers from across

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

184

 

the River Styx.)

G. I. Joe hosts as various Vietnamese women, and children

wildly run around the restaurant that has quite a few late-night

diners. Besides the vet, who greet the boys in a friendly easy

manner, the bowling team fools are the only Caucasians at the pho joint.

It is a beautiful place with exotic tropical fish and bright

walls as yet undiscovered by the local news fakes. Eventually,

they will get around to it, but for now, all is pristine pleasure

and good eating before the battle royale begins.

Vietnam Cong Hoa’. Rumbling, bumbling, stumbling,

Armor ‘s is mumbling as the team bounces into Expressway Lanes,

your basic industrial grade bowling alley. Very bright lights flood the alley as dim

bulbs fling their hard round balls of joy down waxed wood boards.

Sandy and Mac zoom over to the snack bar, grabbing four cups

of beer. Armor ‘s is all bowling business, carefully unraveling

the cosmic cloth covering his black beauty 14-pound ball,

shining the sporting object clean of grease.

Sandy smokes a cigarette, the only nicotine habit in the

group. No matter as he fits in with the crowd.

Expressway Lanes after midnight on the weekends

is a smoldering chimney. All those fat asses blow

their lung weight in tobacco haze.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

185

 

They are drinking their bellies full of draft beer.

Odd excuse for a sport, this.

A very competitive environment predominates, as always. Each

bowler wants to come out on top. The lanes rent by the hour after

midnight, so games are much cheaper than during prime-time and

may be rolled in mass quantities.

Therefore, the boys usually roll 10 or 11 games each,

sometimes more, stopping only when their arms or thumbs fall off,

sometimes not even then . Huge blisters might form. A nuclear bomb

might fall. No matter. It takes more than that to eradicate bowling

fever after it has commenced. So begins the first of many games .

Armor’s is a tremendous bowler, believe it or nuts. He

brought along a clove cigarette for some reason. Lights it.

The sweet acrid clove smell drifts over to the other nearby

bowlers. They are a group of potbellied men with Rick’s Oil Field

Trash on their color coordinated white with red and blue trim

shirts. They stare swords at Armor’s target.

Armor’s ignores them, walking slowly to the ball return.

Smash smash smash all around the sounds of balls striking pins in

the nearly empty establishment, no more than one-quarter filled.

Armor’s takes no quarter either. He deliberately

approaches the boards, letting loose a solid pocket hit. Boom!

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

186

 

Pins scatter. Strike one. A look of satisfaction on his face, he sits down,

re- lighting the DJakarta Elephant’s clove cigarette.

Good old boys from Rick’s Oil Field Trash look pissed

Feel free to grumble among yourselves, boys.

Heightened concentration following the Pho Tau Bay culinary experience

makes for a competitive match-up. Not to mention the happy effects of a dozen consumed reefers.

Strike. Strike. Spare. Spare. Strike. Open frame. “Shit, Tyger, you suck.”

Sandy announces beer frame. Armor’s strikes a spare.

Next round you’re buying,” Mac tells Sandy. Beer beer beer all around friends.

Armor’s throws a great game. Strike strike strike strike spare, shit,

spare, spare, shit, spare, shit, strike. He is right up there around 200.

What a great anchorman. And all the while toking on the clove cigarette.

For what–for luck? Perhaps. Finally a mid-sized fatty, person not blunt,

from the trash heap boys, sidles over, staring daggers at Armor’s white haze.

“What you smoking there, boy?” he asks.  “Mari-ja-wanna? What is that shit?”

“Oh, haha,” laughs Armor’s to Rick guy’sred-beet face. “No man. “All good, legal.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

187

 

Clove cigarette from Indonesia. They’re great. Take a puff.”

The atmosphere lightens up considerably. The fellow takes a

hit, holds it, and exhales in a loud rush.

“Whoa Nellie. That stuff makes you dizzy as hell. How about

that,” he declares. “What you know. You learn something new every day.”

“Hey want one?” Armor’s asks, producing the strangely

colored pack with equally exotic elephant graphics.

“Y’all don’t mind,” Armor’s new bestest buddy says.

“Nah,” Armor’s says. Sharing is caring. Or caring is;

I dunno, here, they’re great.”

“Hey, you bowled a mean game there, too, motherfucker.”

Armor’s simply exudes his version of the cheshire cat grin.

“Thanks man,” as the guy wanders off into space.

Sandy returns from bowling his frame. “What was all that

about?” he asks. “The guy thought these clove cigarettes were

marijuana,” Armor’s reports.

Sandy shakes his head. “You’re up.” All business now as the

games continue. Armor’s drills another strike. “Gotcha,” he says,

pointing at the pins with a shooting gun gesture

ala Dennis Eckersley wrapping up a save.

Game after game, frame after frame, follow the bouncing

balls as pins collide, explode, dissipate, go black.

Welcome to the big bang, late night version.

Rolling bowling trolling, jolie fun and frolic shake. Beer

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

188

 

frame after beer frame. Alternating between one person up while

others take a quick team prayer outside. And they are not

smoking clove cigarettes either, comrades.

The games seem quite competitive. Averages are fairly

consistent and respectable. Tyger is low man with a 135.

Nick and Sandy check in at 145.

Mac is hot with his odd shot-put style yielding a 150 pin

performance. Armor’s, fueled by clove and beer, chalks up an

awesome 190. You know what they say: Can’t have too much fuh.

Getting on to 3 a.m. as Rick’s Oil Field Trash along with

about everyone else has vanished into the West Bank

darkness. A teenage party at the far end of the brightly lit

lanes about sums it up.

One of them flings his ball diagonally across three lanes.

Sad lonely ball, bounces rudely stopping gutter adjacent.

His friend runs down and grabs the ball as they laugh hysterically.

Must be too much clove in their diet.

The night manager sternly lectures the boy. “Anyone home.

Anyone there. Anyone home.” he repeats in an endless tape loop.

Black hole. No one apparently is at home. No one is listening.

The boys wrap things up as they pack their bowling bags in

cloths of many colors, return the special shoes, head across the Greater New

Orleans Bridge back to the city of New Orleans. Downtown shimmers

with skyscraper lights that reflect along the muddy Mississippi River.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

189

 

Tyger removes a final joint from his altoids box.

So it goes, so it blows, so ends

the beery bowling barrel,

rolling Uptown through the mist.

Dawn is about to break a sweat.

Comrades, fare thee well.

Sweet dreams.

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 ELEVEN

More fun at MacLand. Mr. Milty creates a

large scowling face in the Stinko’s Copy Shop 

window down Oak Street. Te face stops traffic and

causes an uroar. Later, Tyger, Mac Armor’s,

Nick Bowers, and Sandy Alexander go bowling

at Expressway Lanes, across the river at Gretna.

The team prepares for a wild night of bowling with a

pre-games meal at the Pho Tau Bay Vietnamese restaurant and other activities.

Armor’s nearly causes a riot at the alley through his behavior.

 

CHAPTER 11

“Smash-up at Stinko’s”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER ELEVEN

Weisman

172

 

Strange birds are always perched about MacLand Headquarters.

These rara avis sit in various zen-like positions; or free, at

last, fluttering about the three bedroom house

and large adjoining yard outside.

Poor lonely souls in terminal residence next door are a

bit less active. They are not Monty Python parrots pining

for the fjrds. They are past tense. It is a funeral parlor .

But jamming, so they say, can awaken the dead and as the

parade of bongo and conga lines forms to the right, to the left

dem bones, dem bones possibly dance up a storm. Lucky stiffs.

Mac and Sarah and lions and bears fly in formation through

rock solid air. Getting on barbecue time at the old Mac ranch and

the lead drummer grills up a hearty repast of chicken breasts and

ribs. The usual gaggle of geese and soiree of swans are present

discussing current affairs or simply duck quack resting.

Fee fi fo fum, Tyger smells the bullshit of a crummy bum.

Shit, Heave Broward, funky bass player of the New Neanderthals,

has dropped like a karmic dead lead weight to disturb the

ecological balance. Heave ho is the proverbial snake in the garden

ruining everybody’s paradise. His line is plumbing the water for some

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

173

 

easy chum among the beautiful song birds inside.

“Why, you are the prettiest girl here,” he tells three

robins consecutively as he separates each from the safety of a

nest. Could anyone possibly be stupid enough to believe him?

But that is the pickup game. Soon he departs with a

particularly dull blue yay in tow. “You are the prettiest girl

here. I want to give you the greatest orgasm ever,” he is

overheard saying as he pushes his dainty prey out the door.

This occurs as Tyger and Armor’s enter. “Hey Heave,” Armor’s

calls to the long lanky bass fake. It’s go time.

“You’re an asshole. Loser.”

“Fuck you Armor’s,” Heave says, hastily exiting.

Heave’s departure has a salutary effect on the fruitful

gathering. Mac and Sarah, his squeeze, discuss another lame

brain member of the New Neanderthals.

“Yeah, I heard Roots Badburns is getting a doctorate,” Mac

says as Tyger overhears with disgust. “Man, that bullshit again.”

“Root bound shit has been saying that for 20 years,” Armor’s says.

“Hope he does get it. Then, we finally can stop hearing about it.”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELlCANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

174

 

“Hey baby, what it is'” Armor ‘s calls over to Mac who

fiddles with a drum machine. “What it is baby?” says Armor’s

walking across the room to shake Mac ‘s shoulders.

Mac, nonetheless is concentrating on the world beat.

“What it is is to be awful,” observes Mac casually.

“Hey, just saw Heave leaving,” Tyger says. What was he

doing here? Trying to steal some fun? ”

“That’s cool,” Mac notes. “He keeps saying he is going to

sit in on a jam, but never seems to get around to it.”

Armor’s has flown to the kitchen area where he coo-coos

Heave’s left-overs. Some guys have no self-respect. Armor ‘s

qualifies when it comes to the the name of that tune.

Tyger dives into the comfy cushioned couch area, next to the

beanbag chair memorial park, picking a roach out of the ashtray.

“Mind if I partake?” he asks. “Be my guest,” Mac replies as

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

175

 

the drum machine spews out a kind of disco beat.

“Didn’t I hear the Village People do that?” Tyger asks as he

inhales a big puff of smoke and holds it in ever so dearly before

it too must perforce fly. “Hey. Haven’t you heard?” Mac asks

rhetorically. “I used to be the Construction Worker.”

The actual reason for the visit is a rumor that Mr. Milty —

along with lead guitarist Buck the only other

acceptable New Neanderthal — is about to embark on a

semi-serious art project. Stinko’s copy shop where he works

has recently instituted a policy of letting artists

display their work in a side window.

Mac and the gang already have displayed their magnificent

salute to the nuclear family complete with painted and halfburned

styrofoam wig heads. It caused quite a public stir.

Now, it’s Mr. Milty’s turn at bat. He is going to try to

score with a giant face mural painted on the large glass window.

Milty has many strange, awful, and wonderful face paintings

at home. They are sort of to the rear of David Lynch’s

“Eraserhead,” just this side of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg of

Great Gatsby fame with a little Day of the Locust ambiance

tossed in for good measure.

Tyger dares not miss the magic project moment. Given Mr.

Milty’s track record, there is no telling how long the face will

grimace in public before something terrible happens. Milty has a

provocative and quirky attitude concerning art.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

176

 

Therefore, it is best to be on hand for he who hesitates is

lost. Or at least that is what Tyger’s high school baseball coach

said when it came to the topic of taking the extra base.

“Oh yeah, Mr. Milty’s down there now,” Mac reports as he

switches off the drum machine. “Let’s check it out.” So they fly

sky high little starlings and hunker down the road four blocks.

Sure enough, super thin Mr. Milty stands in the window

painting a giant multicolored face. And the face, comrades,

does not look amused.

No indeedy, it looks like apocalypse now with mad reds,

oranges. and greens cascading in every direction. And oh those

evil eyes, Mona Lisa grimace, and general flushed expression.

“Look like anyone you know?” Tyger asks Mac .

“Hope not,” he replies.

Mr . Milty walks inside the Stinko’s window dashing off

stroke after awful stroke. What is that, a penalty shot? No, it

is just a strange face exploding colors in your mind. Mr. Milty

is hard at work, his long sandy hair and Jesus beard flowing.

Screeeeech! Kerboom. Sound of steel crashing and tin cans

being opened by self-implosion.

Boom. Crash. Burn, yearn, fern, yo mama. Disputations and

sad embraces. All this in the Stinko’s window for any passerby to

be alarmed by and hopefully pass through to the other side.

“This is the best window yet,” Tyger remarks as glass

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

177

 

shatters and representational art unflatters the small throng

across the street from Stinko’s now watching Mr. Milty’s every

monumental brush stroke.

An instant anti-karma news flake crew from WDSU — New

Orleans’ own around the clock source of lying commercialism

according to their self-promotions — drive by in their up-link

minivan. They stop to see what the commotion is about.

“Oh it’s just awful art,” a red-faced pumpkin lady tells them.

“You know how finicky artists can be.”

The on-air news flake looks bored. Since this is the most

important and interesting event of the day, he decides to pull up

stakes and move along little doggy to that exciting news porn house fire

on Elm Street. Better visuals for Ray-Gun family values.

Besides, the so-called reporter can’t figure out how he can

make trivial Mr. Milty’s very disturbing commentary on man’s

inhumanity to himself, taking the most awful art down to the

lowest level possible so his editors can understand.

Through it all, The giant disturbing face might be —

shall we say — eternally smiling.

Two police officers drive by noting a considerable commotion and

screech to a sudden stop. Since there seems to be no physical

danger present, they linger gently, joining the growing crowd observing

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

178

 

M. Milty’s impresario strokes and grand gestures with mouths

approaching open wide.

Mac picks up the universal vibration. “Awful, of course,” he state

to the pumpkin lady, now one of MacLand’s temporary best fiends, er friends.

“I think it’s very nice,” she replies, adding, “What do you

mean awful?”

“Awful,” Mac reiterates. “Ya know–full of awe. ”

“Oh yes, it is that,” the matronly lady agrees. “But the

dear boy in the window must be a little, I don’t know,

disturbed maybe. A little disturbed I think.”

“No doubt,” Tyger says.

Crackle, snapple, pop, the police car radio mouths off as a

female cop calls in her position. “Ah, roger, roger; we have a

white male in the Stinko’s window painting a giant face.

Please advise. Over.”

Chhhh, chhhh … static … chhhh. “Never- mind. There’s a 20-30

over at Maple Street. Please respond.” orders the voice

disembodied. “We better get going,” cop-ette tells her podner.

They load in the police car. Driving off, the cop riding

shotgun rolls down his window, looks at Mac,

asking, “But is it art?”

Everyone is a citic . “Can’t help you with that one, man,”

Mac replies as they both laugh. “But I like it.”

Milty takes care of business inside the pained glass,

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

179

 

oblivious to the outside Oak Street crowd in disturbance. Or

maybe he’s into it because that is his usual method of operation.

The Miltmaster soaks up the crowd’s ambivalence, turning

it into an increasingly wild face painting, if that is possible.

He mines a very disturbing vision of the soul’s eye.

“I’m liking this a lot,” Tyger tells Mac.

“I think he is on to something.”

It’s beginning to look a lot like nightmare on Oak Street,

part infinity, part end of the world, and part joke is on them.

Milty winds down the face thing, beginning to wash his

brushes, packing away the offending colors.

Out of the blue, into the pink, ka-boom! Ka-boom! Squealing

tires and jaw of nuked and neutered newt.

Screech! Sliding wheels. Suddenly, right before the crowd’s

Betty Davis eyes conglomeration, a fender bender three car urban

street jam pile-up. Smash! Smash? Smash!

In your face, bozo scum-sucker rubbernecks. Kerblam!

Believe it or nuts, three drivers as one jump out of their

respective you got Prince Albert in a can, well they are let out cars.

Mr. Milty’s face has proven its karmic powers beyond any doubt.

He has caused a three car pile-up accident.

The first driver had been watching through the window and

suddenly stopped only to be struck by the second whom, in turn,

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

180

 

was hit by the third. Damn, that art is powerful stuff.

“I suppose they’ll try to make me investigate this,” Tyger

says. “Face mural causes accident and riot on Oak Street.

News fake at 10.”

The drivers stand on the side of the street jawboning various

pieces of impersonal misinformation. Nothing major really, just a

tribute to Milty’s artistic powers. The artist, himself, has now

finished. He crosses the confused street scene to view his

material damage.

“Not bad, if I don’t say so myself,” Mr. Milty concludes. “I

think I’ve hit a grand slam with this one.”

(Mr. Milty, besides being an advanced musician-artist is

also quite the baseball buff. He specialized in collecting

trading cards before that practice became fashionable.)

“Excellent stuff,” he concludes searching for a quick escape

hatch should he need to flee the surrounding crowd — of, shall

we say, admirers — if necessary. Parapazzi might be lurking

anywhere, not to mention Brigatisti Rosa.

The madcap smashed and crashed motorists are becoming a bit

too personally involved with their dispute so Mac, of all

persons, tries to mediate. “Come on guys. Calm down, ” he says.

“Not much damage. Not much. Relax and look at the nice face painting.”

“Hey that’s what caused this shit,” Driver Number One tells Mac.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

181

 

“If that asshole in front of me hadn’t stopped to look.”

Driver No. 1 pauses, reading the face on the glass.

“I think it sucks,” he says. Then, back to the accident at hand.

Grinning from ear to ear, our cheshire cat of an artist Mr .

Milty is having fun. “That’s what I like to hear,” he says before

departing. “Well, It’s getting ugly over here. I better like a banana split.”

Milty possesses an unerring sense of when to exit honed by

many near death experiences brought about in the name of art.

“You know who caused this shit?” realizes suddenly Driver Number

Three. “Where is the asshole who painted that window?” Too late, bub.

So too, the boys return to MacLand leaving the wreckage of

the unenlightened for themselves to sort out. “You got to give it

to Mr . Milty,” Mac says as he sits in the living space tuning a

conga drum. “He sure knows how to distract a crowd.”

Tyger walks back to the kitchen where Armor’s and Sarah are

playing with the cats, in this case literally. Armor’s needs some

new blood to compliment his brood and has agreed to take some of

MacLand’s excess nuevo kitten population.

Mama Cat recently delivered a large litter of genetically

inbred New Orleans specie wingheadius, a special type of feline

with super-wide ears spanning the globe found only

in the Big UnEasy. “They are cute little buggers,” Armor ‘s notes

as Sarah fetches up an orange female kitty and striped grey brother,

placing them in a carry-all enclosed cardboard box.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

182

 

“O.K. ready, steady. Let’s go,” says Armor’s as the proud

papa with his new family loads into the off-duty surveillance

vehicle. “See ya later alligator,” he yells out the passenger

side window as they drive back to the future.

The plan is to scatter for now, regrouping later at MacLand.

The gang intends to engage in some late-night bowling

practice across the river at the Expressway Lanes in Harvey.

Why not? Seems like something, er, athletic to do. Tyger, Mac and

Armor’s bowl the beguine with their good buddies Nick Bowers

and Sandy Alexander. Mr . Milty would usually be square and be there.

However, he is otherwise indisposed with the aforementioned

instrumental giants of the New Neanderthal age.

Seconds, minutes, and hours pass through this temporary

existence. Tyger fiddles around his house while Armor’s settles

the cats into their new environment. The usual outrageously fine

moments pass for the MacLand crowd. Mr. Milty’s face continues

blocking traffic along Oak Street Stinko’s.

Everyone hooks up at Mac’s place around midnight, piling

into official safe driver Sandy Alexander’s tasteful black

Volkswagen Jetta headed for a date with bowling destiny at Expressway Lanes.

The team has its usual intense pep rally before bowling.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

183

 

This is accompanied by team prayer at which joints are passed to

symbolize the nature of man’s quest for fun representing as well

the hope, the smoke, the holy huffing, and puffing of good high times.

Nick Bowers supplies some very good hydroponically grown

shit. Everyone agrees as they fill the Jetta with jet-streams of

exhaled reefer smoke; what a terrific guy, what great mutah.

Everybody buys into the team concept. Y’all for one and one

P.J. — i.e., personal joint — of regular Mexican pot for y’all.

Let’s hear it for bowlers anonymous. Yaaaay team’ Smoke

billows from every Sandymobile orifice as the boys stumble

outside the car party towards their next destination.

The group walks across the Expressway Lanes parking lot to

the sacred Pho Tau Bay Vietnamese Restaurant.

Another gotta-have-it exercise revealed.

They voraciously consume a hearty pre-games meal of Goi Cuon

spring rolls, and Bun Thit Nuong. Sweetened with condensed milk

Cafe Sua Da washes down the great eats.

How do you say thank you in Vietnamese?

Pho Tau Bay’s owner is an American Indochina War veteran

who married a Vietnamese woman and her family. He seems like a

nice guy, tall and thin with a right forearm tattoo of an

arrow through a heart. (Ah, the slings and arrows of outrageous

fortune form an appropriate symbol for the bowlers from across

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

184

 

the River Styx.)

G. I. Joe hosts as various Vietnamese women, and children

wildly run around the restaurant that has quite a few late-night

diners. Besides the vet, who greet the boys in a friendly easy

manner, the bowling team fools are the only Caucasians at the pho joint.

It is a beautiful place with exotic tropical fish and bright

walls as yet undiscovered by the local news fakes. Eventually,

they will get around to it, but for now, all is pristine pleasure

and good eating before the battle royale begins.

Vietnam Cong Hoa’. Rumbling, bumbling, stumbling,

Armor ‘s is mumbling as the team bounces into Expressway Lanes,

your basic industrial grade bowling alley. Very bright lights flood the alley as dim

bulbs fling their hard round balls of joy down waxed wood boards.

Sandy and Mac zoom over to the snack bar, grabbing four cups

of beer. Armor ‘s is all bowling business, carefully unraveling

the cosmic cloth covering his black beauty 14-pound ball,

shining the sporting object clean of grease.

Sandy smokes a cigarette, the only nicotine habit in the

group. No matter as he fits in with the crowd.

Expressway Lanes after midnight on the weekends

is a smoldering chimney. All those fat asses blow

their lung weight in tobacco haze.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

185

 

They are drinking their bellies full of draft beer.

Odd excuse for a sport, this.

A very competitive environment predominates, as always. Each

bowler wants to come out on top. The lanes rent by the hour after

midnight, so games are much cheaper than during prime-time and

may be rolled in mass quantities.

Therefore, the boys usually roll 10 or 11 games each,

sometimes more, stopping only when their arms or thumbs fall off,

sometimes not even then . Huge blisters might form. A nuclear bomb

might fall. No matter. It takes more than that to eradicate bowling

fever after it has commenced. So begins the first of many games .

Armor’s is a tremendous bowler, believe it or nuts. He

brought along a clove cigarette for some reason. Lights it.

The sweet acrid clove smell drifts over to the other nearby

bowlers. They are a group of potbellied men with Rick’s Oil Field

Trash on their color coordinated white with red and blue trim

shirts. They stare swords at Armor’s target.

Armor’s ignores them, walking slowly to the ball return.

Smash smash smash all around the sounds of balls striking pins in

the nearly empty establishment, no more than one-quarter filled.

Armor’s takes no quarter either. He deliberately

approaches the boards, letting loose a solid pocket hit. Boom!

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

186

 

Pins scatter. Strike one. A look of satisfaction on his face, he sits down,

re- lighting the DJakarta Elephant’s clove cigarette.

Good old boys from Rick’s Oil Field Trash look pissed

Feel free to grumble among yourselves, boys.

Heightened concentration following the Pho Tau Bay culinary experience

makes for a competitive match-up. Not to mention the happy effects of a dozen consumed reefers.

Strike. Strike. Spare. Spare. Strike. Open frame. “Shit, Tyger, you suck.”

Sandy announces beer frame. Armor’s strikes a spare.

Next round you’re buying,” Mac tells Sandy. Beer beer beer all around friends.

Armor’s throws a great game. Strike strike strike strike spare, shit,

spare, spare, shit, spare, shit, strike. He is right up there around 200.

What a great anchorman. And all the while toking on the clove cigarette.

For what–for luck? Perhaps. Finally a mid-sized fatty, person not blunt,

from the trash heap boys, sidles over, staring daggers at Armor’s white haze.

“What you smoking there, boy?” he asks.  “Mari-ja-wanna? What is that shit?”

“Oh, haha,” laughs Armor’s to Rick guy’sred-beet face. “No man. “All good, legal.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

187

 

Clove cigarette from Indonesia. They’re great. Take a puff.”

The atmosphere lightens up considerably. The fellow takes a

hit, holds it, and exhales in a loud rush.

“Whoa Nellie. That stuff makes you dizzy as hell. How about

that,” he declares. “What you know. You learn something new every day.”

“Hey want one?” Armor’s asks, producing the strangely

colored pack with equally exotic elephant graphics.

“Y’all don’t mind,” Armor’s new bestest buddy says.

“Nah,” Armor’s says. Sharing is caring. Or caring is;

I dunno, here, they’re great.”

“Hey, you bowled a mean game there, too, motherfucker.”

Armor’s simply exudes his version of the cheshire cat grin.

“Thanks man,” as the guy wanders off into space.

Sandy returns from bowling his frame. “What was all that

about?” he asks. “The guy thought these clove cigarettes were

marijuana,” Armor’s reports.

Sandy shakes his head. “You’re up.” All business now as the

games continue. Armor’s drills another strike. “Gotcha,” he says,

pointing at the pins with a shooting gun gesture

ala Dennis Eckersley wrapping up a save.

Game after game, frame after frame, follow the bouncing

balls as pins collide, explode, dissipate, go black.

Welcome to the big bang, late night version.

Rolling bowling trolling, jolie fun and frolic shake. Beer

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

188

 

frame after beer frame. Alternating between one person up while

others take a quick team prayer outside. And they are not

smoking clove cigarettes either, comrades.

The games seem quite competitive. Averages are fairly

consistent and respectable. Tyger is low man with a 135.

Nick and Sandy check in at 145.

Mac is hot with his odd shot-put style yielding a 150 pin

performance. Armor’s, fueled by clove and beer, chalks up an

awesome 190. You know what they say: Can’t have too much fuh.

Getting on to 3 a.m. as Rick’s Oil Field Trash along with

about everyone else has vanished into the West Bank

darkness. A teenage party at the far end of the brightly lit

lanes about sums it up.

One of them flings his ball diagonally across three lanes.

Sad lonely ball, bounces rudely stopping gutter adjacent.

His friend runs down and grabs the ball as they laugh hysterically.

Must be too much clove in their diet.

The night manager sternly lectures the boy. “Anyone home.

Anyone there. Anyone home.” he repeats in an endless tape loop.

Black hole. No one apparently is at home. No one is listening.

The boys wrap things up as they pack their bowling bags in

cloths of many colors, return the special shoes, head across the Greater New

Orleans Bridge back to the city of New Orleans. Downtown shimmers

with skyscraper lights that reflect along the muddy Mississippi River.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eleven

Weisman

189

 

Tyger removes a final joint from his altoids box.

So it goes, so it blows, so ends

the beery bowling barrel,

rolling Uptown through the mist.

Dawn is about to break a sweat.

Comrades, fare thee well.

Sweet dreams.

Doggy Girl/Bill Conley

CHAPTER TWELVE

Joe organizes the tam effort for

the first encounter with Mildred Baker who

has a doctor’s appointment near Touro Infirmary

on Prytania Street. Tyger records Baker’s

bizarre activity from a parking garage

across the street. Following this, Tyger

goes to Livingston Parish and interviews

the estranged wife of Bingo LeBoeuf,

Joe’s evil Moriarty of an arch enemy.

Tyger also cases the Loranger home

of the ridiculous Dill Pickle.

 

CHAPTER TWELVE

“”The Fabulous Baker girl, Bingo LeBoeuf and Dill Pickle”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER TWELVE

Weisman

190

 

Listen my children and you shall hear of the first encounter

with Mildred Baker. What a dear. Grab a chair, and abandon fear .

Comrades: You are there.

A week has transpired without any cases, which is fine as

Tyger is very worn out from all the–Maynard G. Krebs voice:

woooork ! It is not all that easy to go from being blissfully

unemployed — blissful to the degree that the attendant lack of

financial resources can be tolerated — to working constantly.

Tyger could lift and press the heavy workload because he was

well rested and assignments were interesting. But the respite has

had a refreshing effect. He’s ready, willing, and raring to go.

Dorothy sets up commas. “We are going in on Mildred Baker,

and Joe wants to meet you outside Que Sera on St. Charles Avenue .

You know where that is, don’t you?”

“A horse is a horse of course, of course. ”

“Good. Be there for 10 a.m. Bring the system. ”

The appointed time, as it

must, rolls down da broad oak

tree lined avenue, home to

must, rolls down da broad oak

some of New Orleans’ wealthiest

mannerisms. Joe waits outside the canopied cafe wearing a “NASA–

Space is the Place” blue cap, and shades. He clutches in his

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twelve

Weisman

191

 

right hand a copy of the St. Petersburg Times.

“Hey, how you doing, bro?” inquiring minds wants to know.

“Doing O.K.,” Tyger replies. “Ready for anything.”

“You are going to enjoy this one,” Joe continues. “We have

Mildred Baker scheduled for a doctor’s appointment.

“She is supposed to show up at 11:30 a.m. at a Dr. Singer’s

office in the medical center on Prytania Street across from Touro

Infirmary. I want you to set up and get some good shots of her

coming and going.”

The plan, as usual, is somewhat overblown but ingenious.

Lana is over in New Orleans East by Baker’s apartment. Joe will

join her. But first, they must find a convenient pay telephone.

Joe will call Tyger at the pay phone when Baker leaves for

the doctor’s office. Then, the junior associate should set up in

a good spot to catch her arrival at the clinic.

Meantime, Lana will try to photograph the sub leaving the

complex. Joe will follow the taxi in which the little girl Baker is

encased while she travels Uptown. This way they have thrice the

opportunity to catch the elusive Ms. Baker in action. Of course,

The very real possibility exists that Ms. Half-Baked will continue the

lame act throughout. However, the client wants to start taking the first good

shot. there and rumble, stumble, bumble, tumble from there.

Who knows. Luck is the residue of design as Branch Rickey, baseball genius,

said. The fabulous Ms. Baker may sip up and slip out of her blessed wheelchair.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twelve

Weisman

192

 

Then, the tired trap thee act would be over–gotcha. It’s a

mega-million dollar question. Therefore, some sub rosa fun seems well

Off into the ozone floats Joe as Tyger takes up residence

near the chosen pay phone. It is situated on the bottom level

of the parking garage directly across Prytania — pronounced pry and

tanya, as in Patty Hearst, by natives — Street from Touro Infirmary.

Tyger sifts around for a good spot. Inspiration strikes.

Why not try the open top level of the garage? He can get a good

long shot of the entire street and any activities like strange

flips or hanging from a railing by former trapeze artist Mildred Baker.

Goody goody gumshoe. This is what surveillance of

the pelicana is all about. Let the good times roll as hopefully

will Mildred’s Baker.

Tyger grabs a quick brew over at the Bluebird Cafe and retakes

his position by the pay phone. After about 25 minutes of pacing

to and fro across the concrete floor by the reeking of piss

elevator area; holy shit, batman, ring ring rings the telephone.

Tyger grabs the gecko by the long tail of a cord.

“Hey that you?” Joe Fine’ s voice on the line. “Yeah chief.

Anything happening?”

“Nah. The bitch is still at home. Lana is watching over on

the corner. Just checking to keep in commas. I anticipate she

worth the effort.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twelve

Weisman

193

 

should be moving any time. Hold that Tyger. We should have

something soon.”

“Gotcha chief. On my toes.” “Good. Be talking to you soon.”

“Back at you.”

About 20 minutes pass. A garage attendant walks by a couple

of times which naturally arouses Tyger’s innate sense of

paranoia.

What does that fucker want anyway? What is his fucking

problem? Tyger wishes he would, like the toilet bowl cleaner,

vanish.

Finally deciding that lack of discretion is the better part

of valor, Tyger catches the attendant’s gaze after a third passby.

“Hey man, is it alright if I wait here? I’m supposed to meet

my girlfriend,” Tyger lies.

“Oh yeah, I’m just on break,” notes the small black

attendant with an official parking

looking for a place to take a smoke.

around at the entrance.”

” I know how that goes,”

garage logo shirt. “Just

They don’t like us hanging

Tyger as friendlinessman

impersonates. “Yeah, work’s a bitch,” the attendant remarks. ” As is my

girlfriend,”Tyger says.

Suddenly, the phone rings-a-ding-dings. Tyger snatches it

like a bug eating plant. The attendant wears a quizzical expression.

“What? What?” Tyger answers an unintelligible voice. ”Izz

Shoily dere?” “Shirley?”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twelve

Weisman

194

 

“Oh, I must have the wrong number .” Click. “What do you

know,” Tyger says to the attend ant, “wrong number.”

The attend ant walks over to the phone and picks up the

receiver. “Uhh, what are you doing?” a worried Tyger asks. After

all, Joe Fine could be calling at any moment. “I got to check in

at home. Y’all don’t miiiiiiiiind. Do you?”

Tyger figures he better let the attendant have his head.

Dial dial, doo-dah, diddy as Tyger waits nervously at arm’s

length from the sacred object.

“Hey there baby. What it ain’t,” the attendant says. “How

you beautiful doll doing? Yeahhhhhhh.” Pregnant pause. Tyger is a

tad nervous, but lets it go.

“Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah? Oh yeah,” and so

forth for two or three minutes that seem much longer.

“She said what? Hey, don’t let that bother you none baby.

You my baby doll gal. Don’t listen to that shit. Yeah. Oh yeah.”

Tyger starts losing his shit. How long is this guy going to

take? An inner debate flares between civil civilian Tyger and the

forces of investigative disorder .

Finally, thank goodness,

Tyger looks perturbed.

the attendant gets off the phone.

“Anything the matter man?” the attendant asks. “Oh, no no no

no. I was waiting for my girlfriend to call on this line about

when she’s going to pick me up. Forgot to mention that to y’all.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twelve

Weisman

195

 

Didn’t know how long you would take.”

“Yeah, dem wild women . Can’t live wid dem and can’t live

widout dem. You feel me, man?” “Oh, yeah, and then some.”

Finally, ring ring da-riiing as Tyger lunges for the phone.

“Who were you talking to?” Joe Fine asks. “Focus.” Thank the good

Lord and pass the ammo.

“It’s for me,” Tyger says to the attendant who waves his

hand adding, “Okee-dokey. Got to be off. Dem wild wild women,”

chuckling as he trails into the garage darkness. “Yeah, you right

man,” Tyger calls out. “See ya when I see ya.”

Back to Joe Fine. “Damn. The parking attendant was using

the phone to kill time.” “I was wondering if I had the right number

but I figured would get you eventually,” Joe says.

“The bitch is off,” the super sleuth continues. “The game is

afoot. They wheeled her in a Yellow Cab. Yellow Cab Number 23. She should

be there in 15 minutes.”

“Got anything on her?” Tyger asks. “Lana took a few

stills, but Baker was doing the act,” Joe says. “I didn’t shoot

any video. You got a good spot?”

“Great spot on the top floor of the parking garage. Got a

nice angle down on the entire street and no one to hassle me.

Looks good.”

“Good show. we’ll be down there in a little while. I’ll try

to get her from the street. You stick where you are. See ya. Got

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twelve

Weisman

196

 

to get after her.” Click.

Tyger takes the elevator to the top floor. The odoriferous

smell of taxi zum klo piss displeases his sensitive nostrils.

But atop the garage in the fresh crisp air, all is right

again. Tyger removes the video camera and recorder .

He is not even going to bother setting up the system. No

need to. It is a straight ahead mission above ground zero. This

way he has more videographic mobility in the splendid isolation

of the empty top floor.

Checking the picture, and looking good. As usual, the

hurry up and wait department. Tyger pauses, and takes another hit

… of sweet air.

But for good measure, he smokes a roach that was in the

ashtray. After

all, an intrepid investigator can never be too

prepared.

So it goes, so it flows. Minutes pass. Tyger focuses w.1th

extra attention span on each and every passing vehicle waiting

for the magic moment of decision .

The Tygermeister scans like a pelicana

back and forth down

along Prytania Street until presto magic,

Joe Fine·s Toyota

Cressida pulls into an empty parking space. Can the Baker party

be far behind?

Sure enough, a couple ot minutes later the cab pulls up to

the front entrance of the medical center. Tyger zooms in on the

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twelve

Weisman

197

 

taxi driver jumping out the door and running into the open

ended building.

Baker remains seated in the cab. A nurse with wheelchair

accompanies the cabby back curbside. They load in Ms. Baker like

a sack of angry potatoes. She appears to be mouthing off to the

cab driver.

Tyger checks his watch. He finally gets it. They are late

for the appointment and Baker’s hopping mad. Now, if only she

would actually hop. That would be somewhat entertaining.

Tick shtick tock. Nothing nothing nothing. Boring boring snoring.

A car passes around the upper curve that spirals the

parking garage thereafter cruising downward. Tyger pays scant

attention to irrelevant details. Or tries to.

Getting on to 1 p.m. For a long lonely time Tyger has been

waiting each nanosecond for the other shoe to drop. Tick friggin

tock. Nothing neither way. Boring boring snoring.

At long and lovely last, they wheel out the fat little Baker

girl. She is a porker alright, no doubt about it. The nurse talks

to her for a while, then returns to said office.

Baker idles just under the building’s awning and waits. And

waits. And Tom Waits.

All this time, Tyger rolls videotape, but, alas, no

suspicious activity to record. Baker is playing it by the book.

She continues looking at her wrist. What time is it? Tyger

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twelve

Weisman

198

 

follows suit. About 1:15 p.m. which reminds him to watch “Al 1 My

Children” on tape when he returns home.

The fabulous Mrs. Baker appears perturbed. She wheels down

Prytania Street. She wheels back to the awning.

She waits a short while. She wheels down Prytania Street and

back again. She has heavy metal braces hanging from each arm.

Tyger continues with his mission control, taping the

diminutive doll judgment day style from above. She looks

pissed through the little birdy viewfinder .

The cab company must be late again. What a cryin’ shame. Joe

Fine sits in his car down the street as well. What a game.

Another United Cab pulls up. Baker wheels towards it.

But, can you beat that–a passenger is ejected, yet the cabby

refuses to take Baker in replacement. The cabby must already have

a previous engagement. Ms. Baker looks very very pissed. Wild

stuff, Johnny, says Ed McMahon.

Another cab arrives, stopping down the street at the corner

of Touro Infirmary. Suddenly, what do you know, Baker forgets

about the horrible condition her condition is in,

springs out of the wheelchair, and

runs down the street, her metallically braced arms waving wildly

in the wake.

This claimant moves along very well for a fat lady, injured

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twelve

Weisman

199

 

or otherwise. Holy cow! Tyger frantically tapes the scene.

Baker walks back to the wheelchair. Now, she leans heavily —

woe is her — on the metal braces, and plunks back down, all

the while giving the cabby quite an apparent earful. Nice lady.

The cabby helps her lumber into the back seat. They drive

away. It is a crazy world comrades in bizarre situations. Welcome

to the Baker asylum where the inmates have become quite surly.

Tyger departs the scene and back down to Prytania Street

paying the booth attendant who looks at him oddly. “Ya goil get

wit you man?” he asks timidly.

“Oh yeah. I just finished having lunch with her. Just came

back to get my car.”

“0h. Well , don’t do anything I wou 1 dn’ t do, man.” “I hear that.”

By this time, Joe Fine is yoicks the fox off off and away

into the urban street scene haze, presumably following Baker back

to New Orleans East, Morrison Road.

Tyger checks in with Dorothy telling her about the Baker mad

dash. She loves it.

“Isn’t that something?” she says. “Funny how sometimes the

lame can walk.” “In this case run,” Tyger adds.

“Strange lady. I’m sur-e we’ll be back on her again. Come on

over to the West Bank tomorrow, drop off the tape and your report

if you can. Then, we have another assignment for you.” “Sounds

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twelve

Weisman

200

 

good.” And a day’s work is done.

The next morning, “Yip yip yip,” who is

that snapping at

Tyger ‘s heels? Why, ’tis Poopsie of course–Dorothy’s, shall we

for the sake of argument say, cute little poodle.

“Hey there slugger,” Tyger calls bending down to pet the

pedigreed mutt. Dorothy lets him in the door. Fawning over

Poopsie, Dorothy leads her to the

backyard, telling Tyger to sit

down at the kitchen table.

“This is a toughie,” she says as Tyger sits down and she

brings him a cup of coffee. “Milk and sugah?” “No thanks. I like

it black.”

“O.K. This is Bingo LeBoeuf,” she continues, showing Tyger a

picture of a thin, blonde, mean looking soul, about 32 years

old. He has a very special scar across his nasty right cheekbone.

“This is kind of a special deal for Joe. He has been trying

to get Bingo for quite a while. Sort of a personal mission.

Joe will be very well pleased if you can get something on him.

“LeBoeuf’s a real low-life, a little on the violent side .

Supposedly he got in a fight with his best friend over his wife

and blasted him in the face with a shotgun .

“You know the type, kind of white trashy. They are always

shooting each other up there and sometimes don’t even need a

reason .” “Oh.”

Dorothy chuckles at Tyger’s natural reaction . “Look, don’t

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twelve

Weisman

201

 

worry. We’re not going to ask you to put yourself in any danger.

Don’t hesitate to bail out if it gets tight.

“What we want you to do is meet with LeBoeuf’s ex-wife. At

least, that’s what she told Joe. Those people are always

fighting, breaking up, and getting back together. You know how

that goes.

“Meet her at the AB&D Cafe at Springfield. That’s where she

works as a waitress. Bingo is supposed to be living in Tickfaw.

“She told Joe that she has some information about Bingo

working as a roofer. We want to find out where and if possible

get some pictures on him.

“He has been a slippery little devil. You just have to

play it by ear. After that, go over to Loranger and check up on

this fellow … ”

A pause while Dorothy chuckles, “You are not going to

believe his name–Dill Pickle. I kid you not.”

“I guess he was born to be an insurance claimant with a name

like that,” Tyger says.

“No kidding,” Dorothy continues. “Anyway, Dill claims to

have an injured neck. We want you to verify his address. Do the

usual outine. You know the drill by now. Check on vehicles and the

layout of his home.

“Also, sit on him for an hour, but give him a lot of room.

We’ll go back on him later, This is just a preliminary check.”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twelve

Weisman

202

 

Merrily merrily verily, north of the lake we go. The next

day Tyger leaves early for the AB&D Cafe, cutting across the

Bonnet Carre Spillway on Interstate 10, leading to Interstate 55

North. and lovely Tangipahoa Parish.

Comrades of the short attention span pay attention as Tyger

transports you through a landscape undergoing several changes

from urban environment to swampland just past New Orleans

International Airport.

Beautiful peaceful La Louisiane. Long vistas of exotic trees

and wetlands, pelicans and other indigenous creatures drifting

off to the south while Lake Ponchartrain and less well-known

sister body of water Lake Maurepas stand guard to the north.

Tyger shifts in that direction on a long stretch of highway

cutting through the wetlands parallel to railroad tracks and not

much else. Only the small town of Manchac separates the pristine

beauty of the wetlands from — shall we say — civilization .

The environment changes north of the lakes. Here the world

more closely resembles the rest of the cracker South in humanity

and landscape with tall pine trees and flowing green fields

punctuated by cattle and red clay.

So close and yet so far, Tangipahoa Parish resembles a

foreign land to the native New Orleanian, and of course, the same

is true in reverse.

The air seems crisp and clean. Tyger wends his way along the

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twelve

Weisman

203

 

interstate to Ponchatoula and the metropolis of Hammond, home of

the Southeastern Louisiana University Lions.

Oops. As Tyger melds with the forest, he temporarily loses

all sense of direction. He stops at a Hammond gas station and

finds the proper directions to Springfield, which lies to the

southwest just across the parish line in Livingston Parish.

Tyger criss-crosses the famed Pearl River, for now a tiny

sliver of a stream that with April rains transmutes into a

roaring raging flood plain

engulfing nearby houses and businesses.

More piney woods and inspiring vegetation are scattered

around the flood plain. Bet

marijuana grows real well there, Tyger observes.It is tough to obtain

flood insurance as a result of 100

years floods that occur on an annual basis, so a lot of the

crackers have become expert arsonists. Joe Fine spends much

time there investigating suspicious fires.

Over and under the woods we go along Louisiana 22 to Mrs.

LeBeouf’s place of employment at the AB&D Cafe, a nondescript

restaurant just off the road.

A couple of pick-up trucks stand watch in the gravel and

dirt parking area. Tyger pulls in, parks, grabs a yellow legal

pad, and enters.

The cafe is surprisingly airy inside and well furnished with

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twelve

Weisman

204

 

hardwood tables and comfortable wooden chairs. Pleasant natural

light cascades through the front windows. A cooking area lurks

behind a half-door to the rear of the cafe.

An equally pleasing aroma drifts over as a pretty young girl

with long blonde hair approaches the looming Tyger, “Are you

Deena LeBeouf,” he asks.

“Hey Deena,”. she calls, then turns to Tyger burning with

nascent lust. “She’ll be out in a second. Grab a seat,” and

surveying the empty cafe, “I guess anywhere.”

Tyger follows her instructions to the letter-. Deena emerges

from the kitchen. She is long and gaunt, more hard than pretty,

but might have been better looking before life’s r-esponsibilities

descended upon her short brown hair . “You looking for me?” she

asks. “Looking for me?”

“Yeah, Tyger- Williams. I’m an associate of Joe Fine. He

asked me to look you up and find out what’s happening.”

“The detective feller,” she recalls. “Where is he? He said

he was coming up.”

“Couldn’t make it. He sent me to find out what’s going on

with your- husband.” “Ex … ” “Ex-husband and report back to him.

Then I’m sure Joe will know what to do.”

“Where are my manners,” Deena states. “Care for some coffee ?

This is after- all a restaurant. We have quite a reputation around

here as the place to go to. The food is very good here.” Tyger

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELI CANA”

Chapter Twelve

Weisman

205

 

takes his coffee black .

“Hey Mary. Can you bring us some coffee?” Deena calls out

and a few seconds later Mary emerges with a full pot. Tyger

samples his brew. “Not bad,” he says. “In fact, very good.”

Deena LeBeouf’s story goes this way: Bingo treated her, and

her two children, like crap during their 14 years together , Bingo

was faking his back injury which really pissed her off.

“Hell, he went hunting over Christmas and was working as a

roofer even though he was collecting money from the insurance

company. That’s pla1n wrong.”

She wanted to trap Bingo by using his desire to see his

children as bajt. Of course, she wasn’t quite sure that plan

would work. Bingo only paid $10 a month for each child in child

support which was shit, but she was letting it slide for now.

There was no formal agreement, so she was using the threat

of higher child support set by a judge as a form of leverage.

(For what, Tyger has no idea.)

Deena reports she recently moved to a place Bingo didn’t

know about and wanted to set him up by offering to let him visit

the kids — the 14 year old boy is the spitting image of him —

and then telling him about a roofing job.

She will call Joe Fine with details. Joe gave her his card a

few months ago. “The Super Sleuth,” she notes, laughing. “He must

be good.”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twelve

Weisman

206

 

Deena provides a few non-relevant details about herself, but

Tyger lets her ramble. He is killing time anyhow and being paid

$10 an hour to boot, Bingo child support money.

Besides, he is not entirely certain on whose side Deena

LeBeouf treads. Maybe she is setting the detectives up for Bingo.

After all, this is reportedly a very devious and evil scam

artist.

Continuing the story’s thread, Deena mentions her work as an

actress in a wild west show. “A what?” asks Tyger. “I’ve never

heard of that.”

” Oh yeah, we go to the country and western bars and do a

shoot-em-up show. I throw the lassos and the boss does a whole

western routine.

“You should check it out sometime. We’re down in Gretna at

Mudbugs occasionally. I can get you in.” “That sounds –good? Maybe

sometime.”

Deena loves her children and is working full-time to try to

provide them with everything they want. She has a beautiful 10

year old girl in additon to the boy.

“Raising the kids is hard work and that damn Bingo. He should

cough up some child support.” She repeats her desire to take him

to court. But first, she wants

revengeful satisfaction.

Looking at his watch, Tyger realizes that time is a·wasting.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twelve

Weisman

207

 

Tyger is anxious to check out the Dill Pickle situation. This

conversation does not seem to be leading anywhere in particular.

Therefore, he excuses himself.

“Come back any time you are hungry. I’ll get you a fr\ee

meal,” Deena offers. “This place is famous around here as the

best food you can get. Real good and wholesome.”

“Thanks. I’ll pass along what you said and I’m sure Joe Fine

will be in touch. Give Mary my regards.” Who knows, Tyger hopes,

he might be back again, and Mary looks very good to a lonely

detective on badass assignment on the road.

Right back on Louisiana 22, over and under through Hammond

on I-55 in the noisy smoky makes station wagon fr-om hell, zoom

zoom Tyger driving. He heads north through the fabled home of

Bingo LeBeouf, stately Tickfaw, and the equally magnificent town

of Independence.

From there, it’s along two-lane Highway 40 across the

Tangipahoa River and on to Loranger.

Loranger is a very scenic and beautiful place, a sharp

contrast to the insipid r-edneck motherland where the inmates tool

around in pick-up trucks making loud rackets, resembling hell

warmed over.

Gentle rolling hills for a change with grazing farm animals

and lovely green fields that stretch to the farthest vista. Tyger

has only a rural post office box to go by as Pickle’s address. He

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twelve

Weisman

208

 

stops at a small rural post office nearby and asks the

postmistress for directions.

“Oh yeah, the Pickle place,” she states. “Just go down

Highway 40 east a mile and turn off on Highway 1062. It’s got a

yellow flashing light, the only light. Can’t miss it.”

Sure enough. Tyger turns right at the flashing light and

makes a pass-by at the rural box Pickle has given the insurance

company as his address. The house is set off the road among a

group of two trailers and two very large wood frame structures.

The Pickle residence seems to be the large house that is

painted blue with white trim. A satellite TV dish receives

signals from space to the east of the house.

This object makes Tyger very jealous. The damn low-life

subject is living the life of Reilly. It would be great to have a

dish and be able to watch all the baseball and Saints games.

A woman, in her late 20’s plays with two small children near

the dish. This fits the Pickle profile.

A Ford Bronco Louisiana License Number R30998 sits in the

long driveway. That makes for positive identification as the

vehicle reportedly belongs to Pickle.

A large wooded area lies west of the house just beyond one

of the trailers. Unfortunately, it is a tough surveillance scene.

Anyone entering down the dirt road that leads exclusively to the

four residences is bound to make, shall we say, waves.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twelve

Weisman

209

 

Almost simultaneously with that observation, the woman seems

to notice Tyger in his vehicle perched along the woods by the far

trailer , Therefore, he pops open the hood and goes to the usually

reliable ruse of automobile trouble.

Said lady walks across her large green yard towards Tyger,

questioning his activity. Tyger dishes out the usual reply. He

heard a knocking in the engine and happened to pull off to the

spot by accident.

It looks alright. So, he will be moving right along now,

thank you very much (not). That seems to suffice.

Git along little doggies. Tyger exits the area. He drives up

down Highway 1062, which crests at a hill about a half-mile

the road. He spends the hour checking out the various

external circumstances relating to the Dill Pickle experience .

A farm house sits high on the hilltop. Fluttering around the

house and yard like beautiful butterflies are two — no, make

that three exquisitely attractive young girls probably in

their late teens or early 20s.

Ah, sweet day. The temperature is in the low-60’s and

the humidity is unusually low, maybe 30 percent. Tyger loses

himself in the moment.

An older woman, maybe 50 years old, very attractive for her

age, comes over to his vehicle sitting just beyond the property

off the narrow road. She smiles and seems quite friendly in an

other-worldly sort of way.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Twelve

Weisman

210

 

Tyger tells her he was lost and shows a road map as

evidence, politely asking about Highway 51 which he knows is

nearby. She surmises that he must have gotten turned around,

noting that the highway is about 10 miles west of there.

The woman gives Tyger directions which he pays scant

attention to for he is gazing with longing at her beautiful

daughters as they float laughingly about the farm house

boundaries.

“Thank you ma’am,” he replies extra politely as he will be

back this way again. “Guess I’ll be on my horse.”

“You’re welcome sir . If you re in the neighborhood again

sometime, feel free to drop by. We recently moved here from

Pennsylvania and ar-e also getting acclimated to the area.”

“My, what a lovely invitation,” Tyger replies ever so

gratefully. “Just might take you up on that. l’m in

the area quite often on business. Good bye.”

Tyger roars onto the highway headed southeast towards home.

Looking good comrades. Looking good.

 

CHAPTER THIRTEEN 

Carnival begins as New Orleans descends

into the grips of Mardi Gras madness. Numerous

observations are made about the festival. Tyger

returns to the familiar spot at the Polish Dog stand

showing tourists how to eat the fabled dog. Early

parades are attended and explained.

 

CHAPTER 13

“Mardi Gras Mambo”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Weisman

211

 

Carnival is in the air. Can’t you just feel it? Warning signals

of the coming conflagration have mambo’d across town

for about week. Stray oddballs and odd stray cats have begun

showing up uninvited along the Crescent City fire line.

One can distinguish the visitors quite easily by a general

confused demeanor. That is to say they are wandering about lost

in a haze far different from the native malaise.

Even a road map can’t help them out much.

Carnival crowds represents easy pickings for the local

criminal element. They differ not from the regular tourists in that regard.

The difference between the adult Disneyland and Carnival

tourist crowd is a matter of simple economics. The former tours

on gold American Express Cards while the latter resembles

survivors from a war zone with tattered clothes and empty bank books.

In other words, the Carnival crowd is either a step above or

a step below dereliction. You figure it out.

They arrive like an army of wandering pilgrims, headed not

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

212

 

for Canterbury, but for the sacred site that encompasses Mardi —

pronounced “Mahdi” by locals — Gras. Some come every year.

Others have heard the word in far-off lands from returning advance scouts.

Either way, they start taking up physical and psychic space

reserved the rest of the year for local yokels. That mandates a

bittersweet welcome from the likes of Tyger Williams and his

crowd who have nothing to gain from the touristas presence.

True, it can be interesting to commune with those from other

cultures, places like Los Angeles or the Portlands, being Oregon

and Maine. On the other hand, they are a gigantic moronic hassle.

Firstly, they know nothing. They don’t know where to go,

how to act, or what to say.

They clog up the sewage lines waiting impatiently at the K&B

Drugstore. These are insanely long anyway due to genetically

inherited local brain damage. Any small unusual request

like a travelers check or one from an out-of-state bank might

occupy a clerk’s short attention span in perpetuity.

The newly washed up on these hallowed shores evince

additional negative aspects. They don’t care much about where

they at, not their native land nor problem.

They think nothing of tossing litter in the

already horribly dirty streets, or exhibiting the most

outrageously lewd and lascivious behavior.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

213

 

New Orleans, thy name is partyville to them.

The leisurely visiting class is interested in partying only,

leaving their piggy mess for locals to clean.

This squalid little piece of Third World insanity called

N’awlins might seem like a minor cesspool, like a small thing,

but it’s thine New Orleanians own. Locals adopt an ambivalent

attitude being generally helpful but always on guard.

Not much sport is involved zapping stupid Carnival

travelers. Sort of like clubbing baby seals in the north country.

One false move and blammo, a deadly dose of disinformation slambangs

the tourist cabbage head. Ouch.

One objectionable object might be told

to check out the tombs at St. Louis Cemetery at night.

It doesn’t realize the danger of such an outing.

Or a happy fake helpful this way to the Desire Projects,

nice friendly place to crash turning a tourist trick. Happy

traveler happily out of a local’s face. Carnival spook forever banished.

Fuck em. Most of them are not going to be around after

Mardi Gras anyway so fuck em.

(Of course, a few particularly lost souls somehow manage to

be left behind permanently. They account for the third most

popular excuse for living in the Crescent City. Number one is the

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

214

 

unfortunate fact of being born in New Orleans. Number two is

some job related piece of bad luck.)

Yes comrades, it is coming on Carnival time. The mass

hysteria of the “Mardi Gras Mambo,” endless parades of costumed

clowns, worthless beads, doubloons, trinkets, and, of course,

Polish Dogs looming inevitably on the horizon.

Mardi Gras, the celebration that made New Orleans

infamous has become a major economic event

worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the local economy.

Mardi Gras Mambo, baby. Get one in a King Cake, those

frosted purple, green, and gold sugar monsters that appear on

Martin Luther King Cake Day as required by psychic law.

Find the baby, buy the next year’s cheese stuffed version for the party.

Each cake contains 10 zillion calories. However,

those calories are rendered harmless by decree of Comus.

The season has turned chilly as Mardi Gras Day falls on a

relatively early Feb. 16. It can fall anytime between early

February and early March depending on the lunar calendar.

Carnival has like a cat burglar snuck up on the uncaring

Tyger Williams, about to steal his concentration. He has

hardly paid attention to the coming Mardi Gras explosion due to

working out of town on the LeBeouf and Pickle cases, among

others; following the usual routine of reefer and television madness at home.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

215

 

Signals are now far too clear that soon there will be no avoiding the

poop party, Perhaps that’s the historical charm of the festival that

began with a dozen guys from Mobile saluting Camus along St.

Charles Avenue in 1857. No ducking the big parade. Mardi Gras quacks

everywhere. Eventually, even the most active anti-Mardi Gras

fanatic is forced to surrender and join the fun. Like the

damn out-of-town traffic clogging New Orleans· avenues royale,

no getting around it.

Tyger fastens his psychic seat belt, driving headlong

straight into the waiting arms of Carnival, always a season to dismember.

First parades roll two-and-half weeks before Carnival Day, otherwise

known as Fat Tuesday. Key to following the special season is

keeping in mind it is all designed to build up into a

tremendous frenzy on that fabulous day. (Only to be followed, of

course, by the equally inevitable crash of Ash Wednesday.)

First parades of the season are relatively small affairs

with maybe 15 or 16 floats accompanied by somewhat cheesy throws.

They are available mainly for Mardi Gras practice, sort of the

equivalent of baseball spring training.

Here and there to catch if you dare with a child’s disregard

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

216

 

of care are silly made in China beads and plastic cups.

Doubloons, gold more valuable and silver too, rain also from the

passing floats thrown out by maskers dressed in motley costume.

These plastic and tin baubles take on a meaning far exceeding actual retail value.

“Throw me something mister” crowds merge into one primal scream.

A masker on the salute to cosmos float holds up a sign illustrating

an essential Mardi Gras bead retrieval tactic.

“Show us your tits,” the sign says referring to a valuable

feminine attracting device for worthless throw collection.

Mardi Gras is really for the children in all of us,

not just mere sexual perversion. That is unless you·re

one of the brave souls who venture down to the French Quarter

where it is every mother’s son and daughter for themselves,

damned be the consequences. Oh joy.

The next two weeks bring on a considerable slowdown in the proverbial

work pace. Insurance adjustors adjust their personal schedules

to include partying partying par-tying, to hell with any business.

Similarly, attorneys are a’turning their limited attention

spans to more serious social skills like dressing up like women,

if they are men; and dressing up like men if they are women.

So it goes folks, a charming N’awlins traditional institution.

Everyone is committed.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

217

 

Tyger is pretty much on his own concerning personal loafing

lifestyle preferences aside from a few routine records checks for

IRS Inc. He logs the usual space travel at MacLand and over

at Armor’s cat petting zoo.

There is the pro forma New Neanderthals gig with the usual

lame bullshit. “You’re the prettiest girl here, ” Heave Broward

tells some innocent young chick. Roots Badburns sits in a corner

self-coma, pulls on a drum set, saying what a good boy am I

before beating drums semi-consciously, then

passing out in a heap on the bar floor.

All eyes turning to an endless Carnival parade noisily

approaching. More Mardi Gras revelers each and every day

accumulate on Crescent City doorsteps ready to party hardy until

they drop. And unlike the Haitian boat people, no sending them back.

They soon discover to their chagrin that it is impossible to out party

New Orleanians because the locals have the invaluable experience of

annual practice. Tourists, too late as usual, will have realized

that by Ash Wednesday when it is time to leave and don ‘t let the

door slam your backs on the way out of here.

A racing engine motoring beyond control, Carnival picks up

considerable steam. Two weekends before Carnival Day begins

the onslaught of  dozens of Carnival balls to which

only the select few are invited.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

218

 

These balls are for the privileged upper society classes of

New Orleans and their associates. A few are for the upper

crust of Creoles of color, that is African-American, society.

None of them are for the vast majority of everyday in your

face New Orleanians or the flood of lost and losing it tourists.

Again, the beauty of Carnival is only fleetingly revealed.

Everyone goes to the party, yet only a few attend the real

party or mask on floats above the crowds, throwing their

worthless trinkets to multitudes below. lt is the ultimate in

trickle down partying. How apropos for the Age of Ray-Gun.

Tyger misses the first parades of the week before Mardi

Gras. They are neither interesting nor important. A thin crowd

lines the traditional Uptown parade route that starts at Napoleon

Avenue and Camp Street, cascading down St. Charles Avenue around

Lee Circle, and on to Municipal Auditorium.

Such is the focus ot our attention, comrades. Parades are

breaking out like teenage acne all over town.

They cover the area like overflowing water spilling from the

boat floats along the Tchefuncte River , and Slidell to the north,

down to the Metairie family parades that roll along Veterans

Boulevard; West Bank, and Algiers parades; and the East Bank New

Orleans alternative routes in Gentilly and along

Boulevard. Hum baby, as one might recognize, there is simply no

avoiding the, shall we say, fun.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

219

 

By Thursday Feb. 11, Tyger decides he has to abandon the

anti-Mardi Gras ghost and hunker down to the gang’s traditional

hang-out spot by the YWCA one block down from Lee Circle.

Mardi Gras, after all, represents tradition. Like it or not,

New Orleanians are bound by the rules of engagement.

Tyger drives downtown to the spot, a miserable masker on an

invisible float. He girds himself for a scenic cruise to the annual disaster.

It is time for satirical Momus, one of the main-line krewes

with cowardly covered faces disguising society dolts. The parade

has some charm as nuts and bolts deride on old wooden wheeled

floats, and each year thematically the ridiculous world decry.

They mainly toss thin strands of chintzy beads and the

usual emblem doubloons. The joke, therefore, is these chintzy

throws are being tossed by the wealthiest white men of New

Orleans hidden behind wryly smiling masks. Most of them are drunk

as skunks by the time they reach the end of the line.

Tyger pulls into the YWCA parking lot, unattended

for now. Soon, some unknown power will begin charging

progressively higher prices for parking until the toll reaches

$20, or more, for recreational vehicles on Fat Tuesday.

There is more to this lot than meets the naked eye for

beside the Y’s fence looms the greatest of all Mardi Gras

traditions for Tyger and his friends. This is the beyond reproach

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

220

 

Polish Dog Stand run operated by the Dascenzo family for as long

as there has been Carnival or at least since the early 20th Century.

What else is new? A quick check of the area reveals that

nothing beyond cosmetics has changed. The half-derelict knick knack

vendors hawk the usual array of silly string, wig-heads,

fake handcuffs, plastic toys, dolls, and the most integral part

of their inventory, snap-and-pops.

Crack crack crack sparkle light explodes. Hahaha. Another

snap pops while Mardi Gras rabbles roar loving approval.

All systems go. Tyger floats to the famed Polish Dog Stand

where he is immediately greeted like the return of a

victorious army. Mardi Gras officially has begun.

“Hey hey hey. There he is. How you doing buddy?” asks Roy,

the Polish dog scion, now king of the P.D. jungle.

“Let me know when you want one.”

Yes! Grand slam, baby, and slugger Roy always hits the sweet

spot. “I better take one right now,” Tyger answers,

“The works?” Roy asks. “Ya know it.” “Ya got it buddy. How

has it been going?” “The usual scandals.” “I hear that.”

Roy follows the ancient Polish Dog preparation ritual. He

takes the incredibly tasty andouille sausage — native to

Louisiana — and loads a sea of green pepper, tomato, onions,

chopped vegetables, spices, and condiments before applying the

coup de grace, a fistful of jalapeno peppers.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

221

Weisman

 

Youch! Welcome uninitiated comrades to one of the wonders of

Carnival. Tyger pays the early parade bird special $3 price

which rises to $5 on Mardi Gras Day; rumbling, bumbling,

stumbling negotiating his way to the St. Charles Avenue curbside.

Kerplunk. Tyger plops his butt on the dirty curb, and sits;

staring at the dog with appreciative wonder. (It stares back and

winks.) Some traditions are much tastier than others.

Man oh Manna, there is a hell of a party going on in Tyger’s

mouth. He savors each delightful bite as a group of fatass

tourists from Ohio stare in amazement. They do it every Mardi Gras.

At long last, one of the tourists decides to broach the

flavorful subject. “Ahhh, what is that?” it asks tentatively.

“Polish dog,” Tyger replies. “Tasty treats,”

Tourists huddle up. A large lady with shocking pink

wig-head takes the plunge, purchasing one with “the works.” Roy

exhibits his P.(h.)D. artistry making the sandwich in about a New York minute.

Another perfect P.D. rolls off the Mardi Gras assembly line.

Likewise takes a bit of artistry to finish off the mass caloric

product. The tourist drops as much P.D. tilling as she consumes,

nonetheless smiling broadly when she mission accomplishes.

“We simply must tell everyone in Columbus about this,” she

concludes before fairly keeling over from the weight of internal

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

222

 

jalapeno pressure. “This is really something.”

Tell Tyger about it. Tyger, fulfilling his traditional role of Carnival

historian, fills the group in on the enormity of their discovery.

The P.D. family lives in Slidell. They have operated on this spot

since at least World War One, or so the legend goes. Hell, they

might even have invented the Polish Dog for all we know.

They own a number of stands along the Avenue, but this is

the flagship station where Roy, his wife, teenage son, and other

more anonymous family members supervise operations like

skilled surgeons at a teaching hospital.

Mardi Gras begins the P.D. busy season as the family travels

around the nation during spring, summer, and fall working various

carnivals, fairs, and celebrations until retiring for winter back

home in Slidell. And our national taste buds are the better for it.

Indigestion and stomach rumbles be damned, beat that Japan.

Expert parade viewer that he is, Tyger times his visit

the Polish Dog stand to maximize the parade experience,

minimizing the amount of time he must wait before whatever

given parade rolls by the sacred spot. Speaking of which,

Momus rolls down the avenue mere minutes after

conclusion of P.D. dinner number one million and one. The ancient

monarch is followed by his legions as flambeaus light the

darkness and various military bands march between the strange and

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELlCANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

223

 

beautiful floats. The crowd is relatively thin as the air is a bit on the nippy side.

They stand one or two persons deep along the street.

Tourists and locals alike clap and tap their toes

to the bands playing parade and cheesy pop music.

They shout to the gods for throws when one of the 21 magnificent floats rolls by.

A good time, as always, is had by all. Tyger succumbs to the Carnival spirit.

He might step on a throw if he likes it, or nonchalantly allow the thin

chintzy beads to bounce off his broad shoulders.

He always defers if a child wants a certain throw, no matter how “valuable.”

That is th golden rule of Karnival Karma.

Kids get anything their dear hearts desire.

That always has made Mardi Gras special, among other charms.

Finally, the 45 minute parade rolls down the avenue and out of view.

The crowd quickly disperses. Tyger checks out with the P.D. bunch.

“O.K ., guy, see you tomorrow,” he says.

“I’ll have a dog waiting for you buddy,” Roy replies. “Thi

has been a good one so far. See ya tomorrow.”

Friday, as it has for 50 years, brings Hermes

Flying down the traditional parade route.

Armor’s always jokingly refers to the parade as Herpes.

He is joking, right? Adding for good measure,

“This parade should be Roots Badburns’ favorite,

since he has such a monster case. Hahaha…”

Armor’s has had it in for Roots ever since

the brain dead drummer ripped him off in a pot deal.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

224

 

Tyger and Armor’s do the Mardi Gras Mambo thing, parking at

the YWCA and scarfing down Polish Dogs. Armor’s wears a home-made

button that reads “POLISH DOGS–YES!!!”

Armor’s has become a vegetarian in the off-season, so Roy

prepares a special veggy Polish Dog with all the fixings sans

sausage. Dear boy is a particular favorite to the Polish Dog gods.

He usually gets his fill at a $3 preferred customer price

throughout the Carnival season, even on Fat Tuesday, which is

quite impressive to all observers. Crowds are now

appreciably larger at the stand and throughout the Mardi Gras region .

Even though Herpes isn’t much of a parade — although it has been growing in

recent years and now has 27 floats and 15 bands — the party

partly hardy crowd is out in droves. Many tourists

come for the weekend parades not realizing

that the whole point of the exercise

is Fat Tuesday, which is the

wildest by far day of all.

They have left the Crescent City long before then back to

their nowhere jobs while New Orleanians enjoy the fruits of their

laborious celebration which is to say a unique day off from the

worries of the world.

Herpes flows and goes a puss here, a hive there, down the

streetcar tracks and narrow Downtown portion of St. Charles Avenue

approaching Gallier Hall, and the various state and

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

225

 

federal courts and office buildings.

Armor’s is at the front of the human wave yelling,

“Bead riot!” singling out maskers for particularly close scrutiny.

“Hey asshole, your float stinks,” he shouts, and other endearing remarks.

Riders can’t hear much more than a nitrous type roar of affirmation

anyway. The key to grab that cherished cup or special throw is to

attract their attention. It doesn’t matter how you go about it

although showing tits always works.

That is not really an option in Armor’s case. He must

resort to the less obvious tactic of verbal abuse.

Armor’s goes crazy out there, but merely blends with the

various groups of tourists who have found the spot by accident

and locals who return there on an annual basis.

Ker-plunk. A cup hits Armor’s on the side of his head,

bounces, and a quick black youth scoops it up, continuing to

run down the street not even missing, like Roots Badburns often

does, a beat. Who dat, baby? Whom do you love ?

Next the parade strikes up the St. Augustine Marching Purple

Knights Band followed in a parallel fashion by their camp

followers, those endearing Purple Knight wannabees like an army

of black ants knocking over anyone in their path.

Ah, the simple joys of Carnival. Pound pound pound the

pavement black their military marching sounds in close lock-step,

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

226

 

rising trumpets and falling trombones,

drums a’beating, purple and gold banners waving.

Foreign fatasses shake their booties.

“Here sir, you’re great,” approves an Ohio tourist handing a cold drink

to one of the escorts who walk with the band on the street

separating players from its legion of admirers in the crowd.

“Thanks man,” replies the tall black escort as he stops for a second,

then resumes a mission traditional calling over his shoulder,

“Happy Mardi Gras.”

A group of New York college students — hey, Spring Break is that way — echo

the sentiment. They start screaming “Happy Mardi· Gras'” in unison,

careening wildly, beers in hand, near the Polish Dog stand.

Other homogeneous parties coalesce around the corner, crossing St. Joseph Street.

Here, a fat white Yat lady with her daughter. There, an elderly couple.

A few derelicts wander about with no obvious goal in mind.

After all, this is ther home the rest of the year.

And of course (a horse is a horse) Armor’s, Tyger, and burly bears;

beret heads, Tulane junkies and simply curious onlookers

interacting strangely. Another float as the crowd noise

rises to the occasion. Tourists, watching the locals scramble for beads,

seem a bit hesitant at first. Now, they join the melee

with the vengeance of the converted, fairly diving in the gutter,

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

227

 

reaching down wildly with their hands to retrieve — what is that? —

strands of plastic blue beads made in China.

They have one more lesson to learn, however, before they can become Mardi Gras experts.

Tyger inflicts it on a moronic middle-aged lady whom

he finds totally obnoxious in her personal uncultured bead frenzy.

She has already grabbed a cup away from a very sweet young girl and is diving into

the fray like there is no tomorrow, which there probably isn’t in her specific worthless instance.

Tyger positions himself directly behind her. Armor’s comes over for the show.

“Watch this,” Tyger tells him. “I’m going to show this bitch something.”

Sure enough, as it must, a worthless strand of pink beads falls from the sky at the woman’s feet.

She is about to reach for them when boom blasto ker-blump…

Tyger takes his heavy right shoe foot and stomps it on the ground.

She withdraws her hand a few inches in shock.

Then, she tries to tug the beads from beneath his feet.

Sorry bitcharoo. Tyger’s foot will not budge.

She is left grabbing at air while grumbling.

She withdraws her grubby paw angrily complaining.

“Hey those are mine. Get off them.”

“That ain’t the way it works, ma’am,” Tyger says.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

228

 

“You don’t know shit.

The fastest way to get at a throw is to step on it. You’ll find out.”

“Oh yeah,” she replies in a hard tone.

“Hey, don’t believe me. You’ll find out,”

Tyger concludes, casually bending down to conquer.

He picks up the beads, examines them, and then nonchalantly

passes the worthless junk down the line to a small sweet black girl

standing nearby who politely thanks him tor such munificence.

Bead stomping is a Mardi Gras tradition fostered like many out of practicality.

That woman will soon find out it is totally valid. She is not.

“Hahaha,” Armor continues laughing, “Gotcha. It happens every Carnival.”

A group of flambeau carriers troop behind the next float holding aloft their burning lights.

Kerosene odor tills the air. Audience members toss the flambeaus spare change for which they tip

their torches and like treasure divers recover shiny coins.

Flambeaus near the sidewalks hold out their spare hands as onlookers hand them small

tokens of affection. Armor’s takes a snap-and-pop, throwing it after some change.

The explosion startles the flambeau, who takes it good- naturedly,

laughs and makes a pretend horrified expression.

Armor’s enjoys himself in gay frolic.

“Nice shot, man,” Tyger says.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

229

 

Armors hands Tyger a couple of poppers. Pop pop pop singe the Chinese fireworks.

The parade ends as the last float creaks by rocking to and fro

on squeaky wooden wheels. It is a satirical salute to Pope

John Paul II’s summer 1987 visit to the Crescent City where he

blessed the multitudes on the Lakefront

and the you-know-WhoDats at the Superdome.

The float shows the Pope with a Saints banner,

inscription reading “Bless You Boys–A Winning Season.”

But after all, even the Pope is capable of only so many miracles.

A playoff win probably will have to wait until his next visit.

That is football and this is Carnival. The crowd vanishes

instantly as the sirens and NOPSI wire clearing truck immediately

follow the parade. Funny how that works.

Tyger and Armor’s check out at the Polish Dog stand.

Tyger gets a dog to go which Roy wraps carefully.

“O.K. buddy,” Roy says. “See ya tomorrow.”

Tomorrow indeed. That would be Saturday preceding Mardi Gras

Day. The celebration is now picking up steam about to hit full tilt throttle.

“Bring it on baby,” Armor’s concludes. “I can handle it. Ready for anything.”

He better be.

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 THIRTEEN 

Carnival begins as New Orleans descends

into the grips of Mardi Gras madness. Numerous

observations are made about the festival. Tyger

returns to the familiar spot at the Polish Dog stand

showing tourists how to eat the fabled dog. Early

parades are attended and explained.

 

CHAPTER 13

“Mardi Gras Mambo”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Weisman

211

 

Carnival is in the air. Can’t you just feel it? Warning signals

of the coming conflagration have mambo’d across town

for about week. Stray oddballs and odd stray cats have begun

showing up uninvited along the Crescent City fire line.

One can distinguish the visitors quite easily by a general

confused demeanor. That is to say they are wandering about lost

in a haze far different from the native malaise.

Even a road map can’t help them out much.

Carnival crowds represents easy pickings for the local

criminal element. They differ not from the regular tourists in that regard.

The difference between the adult Disneyland and Carnival

tourist crowd is a matter of simple economics. The former tours

on gold American Express Cards while the latter resembles

survivors from a war zone with tattered clothes and empty bank books.

In other words, the Carnival crowd is either a step above or

a step below dereliction. You figure it out.

They arrive like an army of wandering pilgrims, headed not

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

212

 

for Canterbury, but for the sacred site that encompasses Mardi —

pronounced “Mahdi” by locals — Gras. Some come every year.

Others have heard the word in far-off lands from returning advance scouts.

Either way, they start taking up physical and psychic space

reserved the rest of the year for local yokels. That mandates a

bittersweet welcome from the likes of Tyger Williams and his

crowd who have nothing to gain from the touristas presence.

True, it can be interesting to commune with those from other

cultures, places like Los Angeles or the Portlands, being Oregon

and Maine. On the other hand, they are a gigantic moronic hassle.

Firstly, they know nothing. They don’t know where to go,

how to act, or what to say.

They clog up the sewage lines waiting impatiently at the K&B

Drugstore. These are insanely long anyway due to genetically

inherited local brain damage. Any small unusual request

like a travelers check or one from an out-of-state bank might

occupy a clerk’s short attention span in perpetuity.

The newly washed up on these hallowed shores evince

additional negative aspects. They don’t care much about where

they at, not their native land nor problem.

They think nothing of tossing litter in the

already horribly dirty streets, or exhibiting the most

outrageously lewd and lascivious behavior.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

213

 

New Orleans, thy name is partyville to them.

The leisurely visiting class is interested in partying only,

leaving their piggy mess for locals to clean.

This squalid little piece of Third World insanity called

N’awlins might seem like a minor cesspool, like a small thing,

but it’s thine New Orleanians own. Locals adopt an ambivalent

attitude being generally helpful but always on guard.

Not much sport is involved zapping stupid Carnival

travelers. Sort of like clubbing baby seals in the north country.

One false move and blammo, a deadly dose of disinformation slambangs

the tourist cabbage head. Ouch.

One objectionable object might be told

to check out the tombs at St. Louis Cemetery at night.

It doesn’t realize the danger of such an outing.

Or a happy fake helpful this way to the Desire Projects,

nice friendly place to crash turning a tourist trick. Happy

traveler happily out of a local’s face. Carnival spook forever banished.

Fuck em. Most of them are not going to be around after

Mardi Gras anyway so fuck em.

(Of course, a few particularly lost souls somehow manage to

be left behind permanently. They account for the third most

popular excuse for living in the Crescent City. Number one is the

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

214

 

unfortunate fact of being born in New Orleans. Number two is

some job related piece of bad luck.)

Yes comrades, it is coming on Carnival time. The mass

hysteria of the “Mardi Gras Mambo,” endless parades of costumed

clowns, worthless beads, doubloons, trinkets, and, of course,

Polish Dogs looming inevitably on the horizon.

Mardi Gras, the celebration that made New Orleans

infamous has become a major economic event

worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the local economy.

Mardi Gras Mambo, baby. Get one in a King Cake, those

frosted purple, green, and gold sugar monsters that appear on

Martin Luther King Cake Day as required by psychic law.

Find the baby, buy the next year’s cheese stuffed version for the party.

Each cake contains 10 zillion calories. However,

those calories are rendered harmless by decree of Comus.

The season has turned chilly as Mardi Gras Day falls on a

relatively early Feb. 16. It can fall anytime between early

February and early March depending on the lunar calendar.

Carnival has like a cat burglar snuck up on the uncaring

Tyger Williams, about to steal his concentration. He has

hardly paid attention to the coming Mardi Gras explosion due to

working out of town on the LeBeouf and Pickle cases, among

others; following the usual routine of reefer and television madness at home.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

215

 

Signals are now far too clear that soon there will be no avoiding the

poop party, Perhaps that’s the historical charm of the festival that

began with a dozen guys from Mobile saluting Camus along St.

Charles Avenue in 1857. No ducking the big parade. Mardi Gras quacks

everywhere. Eventually, even the most active anti-Mardi Gras

fanatic is forced to surrender and join the fun. Like the

damn out-of-town traffic clogging New Orleans· avenues royale,

no getting around it.

Tyger fastens his psychic seat belt, driving headlong

straight into the waiting arms of Carnival, always a season to dismember.

First parades roll two-and-half weeks before Carnival Day, otherwise

known as Fat Tuesday. Key to following the special season is

keeping in mind it is all designed to build up into a

tremendous frenzy on that fabulous day. (Only to be followed, of

course, by the equally inevitable crash of Ash Wednesday.)

First parades of the season are relatively small affairs

with maybe 15 or 16 floats accompanied by somewhat cheesy throws.

They are available mainly for Mardi Gras practice, sort of the

equivalent of baseball spring training.

Here and there to catch if you dare with a child’s disregard

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

216

 

of care are silly made in China beads and plastic cups.

Doubloons, gold more valuable and silver too, rain also from the

passing floats thrown out by maskers dressed in motley costume.

These plastic and tin baubles take on a meaning far exceeding actual retail value.

“Throw me something mister” crowds merge into one primal scream.

A masker on the salute to cosmos float holds up a sign illustrating

an essential Mardi Gras bead retrieval tactic.

“Show us your tits,” the sign says referring to a valuable

feminine attracting device for worthless throw collection.

Mardi Gras is really for the children in all of us,

not just mere sexual perversion. That is unless you·re

one of the brave souls who venture down to the French Quarter

where it is every mother’s son and daughter for themselves,

damned be the consequences. Oh joy.

The next two weeks bring on a considerable slowdown in the proverbial

work pace. Insurance adjustors adjust their personal schedules

to include partying partying par-tying, to hell with any business.

Similarly, attorneys are a’turning their limited attention

spans to more serious social skills like dressing up like women,

if they are men; and dressing up like men if they are women.

So it goes folks, a charming N’awlins traditional institution.

Everyone is committed.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

217

 

Tyger is pretty much on his own concerning personal loafing

lifestyle preferences aside from a few routine records checks for

IRS Inc. He logs the usual space travel at MacLand and over

at Armor’s cat petting zoo.

There is the pro forma New Neanderthals gig with the usual

lame bullshit. “You’re the prettiest girl here, ” Heave Broward

tells some innocent young chick. Roots Badburns sits in a corner

self-coma, pulls on a drum set, saying what a good boy am I

before beating drums semi-consciously, then

passing out in a heap on the bar floor.

All eyes turning to an endless Carnival parade noisily

approaching. More Mardi Gras revelers each and every day

accumulate on Crescent City doorsteps ready to party hardy until

they drop. And unlike the Haitian boat people, no sending them back.

They soon discover to their chagrin that it is impossible to out party

New Orleanians because the locals have the invaluable experience of

annual practice. Tourists, too late as usual, will have realized

that by Ash Wednesday when it is time to leave and don ‘t let the

door slam your backs on the way out of here.

A racing engine motoring beyond control, Carnival picks up

considerable steam. Two weekends before Carnival Day begins

the onslaught of  dozens of Carnival balls to which

only the select few are invited.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

218

 

These balls are for the privileged upper society classes of

New Orleans and their associates. A few are for the upper

crust of Creoles of color, that is African-American, society.

None of them are for the vast majority of everyday in your

face New Orleanians or the flood of lost and losing it tourists.

Again, the beauty of Carnival is only fleetingly revealed.

Everyone goes to the party, yet only a few attend the real

party or mask on floats above the crowds, throwing their

worthless trinkets to multitudes below. lt is the ultimate in

trickle down partying. How apropos for the Age of Ray-Gun.

Tyger misses the first parades of the week before Mardi

Gras. They are neither interesting nor important. A thin crowd

lines the traditional Uptown parade route that starts at Napoleon

Avenue and Camp Street, cascading down St. Charles Avenue around

Lee Circle, and on to Municipal Auditorium.

Such is the focus ot our attention, comrades. Parades are

breaking out like teenage acne all over town.

They cover the area like overflowing water spilling from the

boat floats along the Tchefuncte River , and Slidell to the north,

down to the Metairie family parades that roll along Veterans

Boulevard; West Bank, and Algiers parades; and the East Bank New

Orleans alternative routes in Gentilly and along

Boulevard. Hum baby, as one might recognize, there is simply no

avoiding the, shall we say, fun.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

219

 

By Thursday Feb. 11, Tyger decides he has to abandon the

anti-Mardi Gras ghost and hunker down to the gang’s traditional

hang-out spot by the YWCA one block down from Lee Circle.

Mardi Gras, after all, represents tradition. Like it or not,

New Orleanians are bound by the rules of engagement.

Tyger drives downtown to the spot, a miserable masker on an

invisible float. He girds himself for a scenic cruise to the annual disaster.

It is time for satirical Momus, one of the main-line krewes

with cowardly covered faces disguising society dolts. The parade

has some charm as nuts and bolts deride on old wooden wheeled

floats, and each year thematically the ridiculous world decry.

They mainly toss thin strands of chintzy beads and the

usual emblem doubloons. The joke, therefore, is these chintzy

throws are being tossed by the wealthiest white men of New

Orleans hidden behind wryly smiling masks. Most of them are drunk

as skunks by the time they reach the end of the line.

Tyger pulls into the YWCA parking lot, unattended

for now. Soon, some unknown power will begin charging

progressively higher prices for parking until the toll reaches

$20, or more, for recreational vehicles on Fat Tuesday.

There is more to this lot than meets the naked eye for

beside the Y’s fence looms the greatest of all Mardi Gras

traditions for Tyger and his friends. This is the beyond reproach

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

220

 

Polish Dog Stand run operated by the Dascenzo family for as long

as there has been Carnival or at least since the early 20th Century.

What else is new? A quick check of the area reveals that

nothing beyond cosmetics has changed. The half-derelict knick knack

vendors hawk the usual array of silly string, wig-heads,

fake handcuffs, plastic toys, dolls, and the most integral part

of their inventory, snap-and-pops.

Crack crack crack sparkle light explodes. Hahaha. Another

snap pops while Mardi Gras rabbles roar loving approval.

All systems go. Tyger floats to the famed Polish Dog Stand

where he is immediately greeted like the return of a

victorious army. Mardi Gras officially has begun.

“Hey hey hey. There he is. How you doing buddy?” asks Roy,

the Polish dog scion, now king of the P.D. jungle.

“Let me know when you want one.”

Yes! Grand slam, baby, and slugger Roy always hits the sweet

spot. “I better take one right now,” Tyger answers,

“The works?” Roy asks. “Ya know it.” “Ya got it buddy. How

has it been going?” “The usual scandals.” “I hear that.”

Roy follows the ancient Polish Dog preparation ritual. He

takes the incredibly tasty andouille sausage — native to

Louisiana — and loads a sea of green pepper, tomato, onions,

chopped vegetables, spices, and condiments before applying the

coup de grace, a fistful of jalapeno peppers.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

221

Weisman

 

Youch! Welcome uninitiated comrades to one of the wonders of

Carnival. Tyger pays the early parade bird special $3 price

which rises to $5 on Mardi Gras Day; rumbling, bumbling,

stumbling negotiating his way to the St. Charles Avenue curbside.

Kerplunk. Tyger plops his butt on the dirty curb, and sits;

staring at the dog with appreciative wonder. (It stares back and

winks.) Some traditions are much tastier than others.

Man oh Manna, there is a hell of a party going on in Tyger’s

mouth. He savors each delightful bite as a group of fatass

tourists from Ohio stare in amazement. They do it every Mardi Gras.

At long last, one of the tourists decides to broach the

flavorful subject. “Ahhh, what is that?” it asks tentatively.

“Polish dog,” Tyger replies. “Tasty treats,”

Tourists huddle up. A large lady with shocking pink

wig-head takes the plunge, purchasing one with “the works.” Roy

exhibits his P.(h.)D. artistry making the sandwich in about a New York minute.

Another perfect P.D. rolls off the Mardi Gras assembly line.

Likewise takes a bit of artistry to finish off the mass caloric

product. The tourist drops as much P.D. tilling as she consumes,

nonetheless smiling broadly when she mission accomplishes.

“We simply must tell everyone in Columbus about this,” she

concludes before fairly keeling over from the weight of internal

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

222

 

jalapeno pressure. “This is really something.”

Tell Tyger about it. Tyger, fulfilling his traditional role of Carnival

historian, fills the group in on the enormity of their discovery.

The P.D. family lives in Slidell. They have operated on this spot

since at least World War One, or so the legend goes. Hell, they

might even have invented the Polish Dog for all we know.

They own a number of stands along the Avenue, but this is

the flagship station where Roy, his wife, teenage son, and other

more anonymous family members supervise operations like

skilled surgeons at a teaching hospital.

Mardi Gras begins the P.D. busy season as the family travels

around the nation during spring, summer, and fall working various

carnivals, fairs, and celebrations until retiring for winter back

home in Slidell. And our national taste buds are the better for it.

Indigestion and stomach rumbles be damned, beat that Japan.

Expert parade viewer that he is, Tyger times his visit

the Polish Dog stand to maximize the parade experience,

minimizing the amount of time he must wait before whatever

given parade rolls by the sacred spot. Speaking of which,

Momus rolls down the avenue mere minutes after

conclusion of P.D. dinner number one million and one. The ancient

monarch is followed by his legions as flambeaus light the

darkness and various military bands march between the strange and

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELlCANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

223

 

beautiful floats. The crowd is relatively thin as the air is a bit on the nippy side.

They stand one or two persons deep along the street.

Tourists and locals alike clap and tap their toes

to the bands playing parade and cheesy pop music.

They shout to the gods for throws when one of the 21 magnificent floats rolls by.

A good time, as always, is had by all. Tyger succumbs to the Carnival spirit.

He might step on a throw if he likes it, or nonchalantly allow the thin

chintzy beads to bounce off his broad shoulders.

He always defers if a child wants a certain throw, no matter how “valuable.”

That is th golden rule of Karnival Karma.

Kids get anything their dear hearts desire.

That always has made Mardi Gras special, among other charms.

Finally, the 45 minute parade rolls down the avenue and out of view.

The crowd quickly disperses. Tyger checks out with the P.D. bunch.

“O.K ., guy, see you tomorrow,” he says.

“I’ll have a dog waiting for you buddy,” Roy replies. “Thi

has been a good one so far. See ya tomorrow.”

Friday, as it has for 50 years, brings Hermes

Flying down the traditional parade route.

Armor’s always jokingly refers to the parade as Herpes.

He is joking, right? Adding for good measure,

“This parade should be Roots Badburns’ favorite,

since he has such a monster case. Hahaha…”

Armor’s has had it in for Roots ever since

the brain dead drummer ripped him off in a pot deal.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

224

 

Tyger and Armor’s do the Mardi Gras Mambo thing, parking at

the YWCA and scarfing down Polish Dogs. Armor’s wears a home-made

button that reads “POLISH DOGS–YES!!!”

Armor’s has become a vegetarian in the off-season, so Roy

prepares a special veggy Polish Dog with all the fixings sans

sausage. Dear boy is a particular favorite to the Polish Dog gods.

He usually gets his fill at a $3 preferred customer price

throughout the Carnival season, even on Fat Tuesday, which is

quite impressive to all observers. Crowds are now

appreciably larger at the stand and throughout the Mardi Gras region .

Even though Herpes isn’t much of a parade — although it has been growing in

recent years and now has 27 floats and 15 bands — the party

partly hardy crowd is out in droves. Many tourists

come for the weekend parades not realizing

that the whole point of the exercise

is Fat Tuesday, which is the

wildest by far day of all.

They have left the Crescent City long before then back to

their nowhere jobs while New Orleanians enjoy the fruits of their

laborious celebration which is to say a unique day off from the

worries of the world.

Herpes flows and goes a puss here, a hive there, down the

streetcar tracks and narrow Downtown portion of St. Charles Avenue

approaching Gallier Hall, and the various state and

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

225

 

federal courts and office buildings.

Armor’s is at the front of the human wave yelling,

“Bead riot!” singling out maskers for particularly close scrutiny.

“Hey asshole, your float stinks,” he shouts, and other endearing remarks.

Riders can’t hear much more than a nitrous type roar of affirmation

anyway. The key to grab that cherished cup or special throw is to

attract their attention. It doesn’t matter how you go about it

although showing tits always works.

That is not really an option in Armor’s case. He must

resort to the less obvious tactic of verbal abuse.

Armor’s goes crazy out there, but merely blends with the

various groups of tourists who have found the spot by accident

and locals who return there on an annual basis.

Ker-plunk. A cup hits Armor’s on the side of his head,

bounces, and a quick black youth scoops it up, continuing to

run down the street not even missing, like Roots Badburns often

does, a beat. Who dat, baby? Whom do you love ?

Next the parade strikes up the St. Augustine Marching Purple

Knights Band followed in a parallel fashion by their camp

followers, those endearing Purple Knight wannabees like an army

of black ants knocking over anyone in their path.

Ah, the simple joys of Carnival. Pound pound pound the

pavement black their military marching sounds in close lock-step,

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

226

 

rising trumpets and falling trombones,

drums a’beating, purple and gold banners waving.

Foreign fatasses shake their booties.

“Here sir, you’re great,” approves an Ohio tourist handing a cold drink

to one of the escorts who walk with the band on the street

separating players from its legion of admirers in the crowd.

“Thanks man,” replies the tall black escort as he stops for a second,

then resumes a mission traditional calling over his shoulder,

“Happy Mardi Gras.”

A group of New York college students — hey, Spring Break is that way — echo

the sentiment. They start screaming “Happy Mardi· Gras'” in unison,

careening wildly, beers in hand, near the Polish Dog stand.

Other homogeneous parties coalesce around the corner, crossing St. Joseph Street.

Here, a fat white Yat lady with her daughter. There, an elderly couple.

A few derelicts wander about with no obvious goal in mind.

After all, this is ther home the rest of the year.

And of course (a horse is a horse) Armor’s, Tyger, and burly bears;

beret heads, Tulane junkies and simply curious onlookers

interacting strangely. Another float as the crowd noise

rises to the occasion. Tourists, watching the locals scramble for beads,

seem a bit hesitant at first. Now, they join the melee

with the vengeance of the converted, fairly diving in the gutter,

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

227

 

reaching down wildly with their hands to retrieve — what is that? —

strands of plastic blue beads made in China.

They have one more lesson to learn, however, before they can become Mardi Gras experts.

Tyger inflicts it on a moronic middle-aged lady whom

he finds totally obnoxious in her personal uncultured bead frenzy.

She has already grabbed a cup away from a very sweet young girl and is diving into

the fray like there is no tomorrow, which there probably isn’t in her specific worthless instance.

Tyger positions himself directly behind her. Armor’s comes over for the show.

“Watch this,” Tyger tells him. “I’m going to show this bitch something.”

Sure enough, as it must, a worthless strand of pink beads falls from the sky at the woman’s feet.

She is about to reach for them when boom blasto ker-blump…

Tyger takes his heavy right shoe foot and stomps it on the ground.

She withdraws her hand a few inches in shock.

Then, she tries to tug the beads from beneath his feet.

Sorry bitcharoo. Tyger’s foot will not budge.

She is left grabbing at air while grumbling.

She withdraws her grubby paw angrily complaining.

“Hey those are mine. Get off them.”

“That ain’t the way it works, ma’am,” Tyger says.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

228

 

“You don’t know shit.

The fastest way to get at a throw is to step on it. You’ll find out.”

“Oh yeah,” she replies in a hard tone.

“Hey, don’t believe me. You’ll find out,”

Tyger concludes, casually bending down to conquer.

He picks up the beads, examines them, and then nonchalantly

passes the worthless junk down the line to a small sweet black girl

standing nearby who politely thanks him tor such munificence.

Bead stomping is a Mardi Gras tradition fostered like many out of practicality.

That woman will soon find out it is totally valid. She is not.

“Hahaha,” Armor continues laughing, “Gotcha. It happens every Carnival.”

A group of flambeau carriers troop behind the next float holding aloft their burning lights.

Kerosene odor tills the air. Audience members toss the flambeaus spare change for which they tip

their torches and like treasure divers recover shiny coins.

Flambeaus near the sidewalks hold out their spare hands as onlookers hand them small

tokens of affection. Armor’s takes a snap-and-pop, throwing it after some change.

The explosion startles the flambeau, who takes it good- naturedly,

laughs and makes a pretend horrified expression.

Armor’s enjoys himself in gay frolic.

“Nice shot, man,” Tyger says.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Thirteen

Weisman

229

 

Armors hands Tyger a couple of poppers. Pop pop pop singe the Chinese fireworks.

The parade ends as the last float creaks by rocking to and fro

on squeaky wooden wheels. It is a satirical salute to Pope

John Paul II’s summer 1987 visit to the Crescent City where he

blessed the multitudes on the Lakefront

and the you-know-WhoDats at the Superdome.

The float shows the Pope with a Saints banner,

inscription reading “Bless You Boys–A Winning Season.”

But after all, even the Pope is capable of only so many miracles.

A playoff win probably will have to wait until his next visit.

That is football and this is Carnival. The crowd vanishes

instantly as the sirens and NOPSI wire clearing truck immediately

follow the parade. Funny how that works.

Tyger and Armor’s check out at the Polish Dog stand.

Tyger gets a dog to go which Roy wraps carefully.

“O.K. buddy,” Roy says. “See ya tomorrow.”

Tomorrow indeed. That would be Saturday preceding Mardi Gras

Day. The celebration is now picking up steam about to hit full tilt throttle.

“Bring it on baby,” Armor’s concludes. “I can handle it. Ready for anything.”

He better be.

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 FOURTEEN

Mardi Gras heats up considerably. Mac, Armor’s, Tyger and Sandy prepare

for the Tucks Parade at Mr. Milty’s House of Horrors and Pain. Milty’s

girlfriend Victoria and cat Blubber are confronted. Larry Bud Melman’s

appearance at the Tucks Parade is a big bummer. Other parades

are attended and explained. Many Carnival related events and freakouts take place.

The chapter ends with Tyger making final preparations for Fat Tuesday.

 

CHAPTER 14

“In a House,in a Square, in a Quadrant”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

Weisman

230

 

A fine day for a parade, and what day isn’t, as the sun

rises as an optical illusion in the west if one stands Uptown on

the snake curve crescent riverbend. That is a trick trivia

question for tourists to ponder.

Pre-parade preparations have begun in earnest at Mr. Milty’s

Magazine Street upper loft. Mr . Milty — the artist, himself —

is strewn among the hanging awful face paintings, scattered audio

cassettes, and papers. Tyger, Sandy Alexander, and big Mac enter stage left.

Blubber, the always irascible and sometimes highly toxic

orange tomcat who responds only to Mr. Milty’s touch, and then

just if it strikes his feline fancy, also “greets” the boys.

Blubber’s favorite tactic is to pretend to be friendly as he

cuddles up to some unsuspecting stranger. Then, the cuckold

boom, screech, ouch, clawing paws strike, scratching the shit out of that

sucker’s arm. Mr. Milty greatly enjoys this recurring nightmare.

“I think he must train the beast to act that way,” Sandy sotto voce

mentions to Tyger as they enter. “I hate that cat.”

Victoria, one of Mr. Milty’s interchangeable girlfriend

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fourteen

Weisman

231

 

parts, has been showering. Naked, she at the precise moment Armor’s enters the

apartment, opens the bathroom door. A look of shock

then, as the tall thin blonde immediately slams the door.

“Is it something I said?” Armor’s mock seriously asks.

Mr. Milty, too, finds this amusing, cracking a smile soleil.

“Hey what is the matter girl? Put on some clothes. We have company.”

“Milton. Ahhh … ” returns the voice of exquisite exasperation.

Her sexy lithe body wrapped in a small towel darts from the

bathroom a nanosecond later escaping into the bedroom followed by

another slamming door. Blubber scurries for cover.

“I hate you Milton,” her voice trails.

“Relax darling,” he coo coos. “We’re going to the Tucks Parade,”

turning to Sandy. “She is a bit high strung. I’m breaking her in gradually.

Believe she’ll come around by Jazz Fest.”

Blubber leads a procession to the kitchen where Mr. Milty

busies himself making Bloody Mary drinks for the crowd. Armor’s

and Mac fool around with a pair of African drums hanging around

near a half destroyed cloth covered couch.

Boom boom boom boom, embarking on a quickie jam session.

Sandy and Tyger find a couple of chairs in which to plop,

tapping the sides in polite accompaniment.

A pitcher of tomato red Bloody Mary’s emerges from the

kitchen followed by Mr. Milty and Blubber. Each participant has

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fourteen

Weisman

232

 

an old Mardi Gras cup from past parades.

Tyger with Baachus; Sandy and Armor’s, Endymion;

Mac has what is that? Nephartiti? Do what?

“Where did you get this thing?” Mac asks.

Mr. Milty looks hard. “Must have been a truck parade.”

“Nephartiti,” Armor’s guffaws, accent on the last syllable.

“Gimme that next.” A loud slurping sound rises from the floor

where Tyger places his cup. “What the fuck,” Tyger says with startled

agitation, noticing the orange flaked culprit, He waves his hand to shoo

away you know who jumping in sly recognition followed

by a loud. hiss. “That damn Blubber. He was in my Bloody Mary,

man, I want another.” Such fun to be had at Mr. Milty’s house.

He enjoys this, obviously, mock asking crouching Tyger,

“What? You gonna let a few cat hairs spoil a great drink?

Come on, Tygs, you can handle it.”

“No, I can’t. Excuse me. I’d like another.”

“No way haha,” Mr. Milty says going to the kitchen as Blubber starts

purring. Yeah, sure, Blubs. Er, way, please. Ever the gracious host,

despite the bluster, Mr. Milty resuscitates another morning potion as Blubber

sidles up to Sandy who rudely pushes him away. “I’m not going to

fall for that one, assshole,” says the Sandman as Blubber

skulks in a what have I done mannerism.

“Miiiilton,” implores a whining voice from behind the

bedroom door. “Please come in here.”

“In a moment girl. Can’t you hear we’re partying.” Boom boom boom…

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fourteen

Weisman

233

 

Mac and Armor’s jamming accelerates. Mr. Milty moves over

to the audio cabinet, flicking on a four-track tape recorder.

The man of a thousand (scary) faces picks up a large conga

drum, joining the jam. This continues for a few minutes. A

three-man main roller derby type jam while Sandy and Tyger take forks,

lightly tapping bottles for bad company.

“Ahhhhhhh!” Mac yells as he concludes a final beat then

raises both arms skyward with a bongomania flourish. “Alright,

man,” Mr. Milty says approaching and about to flick off the tape

deck. He pauses for a moment. A little girl’s voice now pleads

from behind the closed door: “Milton. P-uhh-lease come in here this instant.”

He dramatically flicks off the tape recorder.

“lt’s a take,” he says. “Coming dear.” He turns to the gang.

“Excuse me for a moment. Got to take care of risky business.”

Muffled voices emanate from the bedroom as the group

finishes off cocktails. There is the usual milling about waiting

for Mr. Milty to emerge so they can head down to the Polish Dog stand.

Finally, Mr. Milty sees the light of day. “Otay. Everything’s cool. Let’s scram.”

Victoria follows dressed in a tasteful white blouse and blue jeans.

“You boys have a good time. Milton. I’ll talk to you later.”

“See you gal,” Mr. Milty says, kissing Victoria square flat on

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fourteen

Weisman

234

 

those baby apple red cheeks.

“Come on guys. Let’s disappear before she changes her mind,”

Mr . Milty’s residence is a few blocks past the parade

staging crowds. “Thank goodness we got past the gridlock,” notes

Armor’s, who lives a block away from Camp and Prytania Streets.

“You can be stuck there for hours.”

The hardy quintette load into Mac’s maroon minivan and

follow lower Magazine Street to Polish Dog paradise. It’s still there.

The usual salutations and purchases. Mac and Armor’s obtain

snap-and-pop ammunition from a nearby vendor, then proceed on

undercover search and explode missions. Pop pops popping at each

other’s toes and at unsuspecting neighboring spectators.

Venus, that lame old women’s parade, is about to make it

down the Avenue. First floats the NOPSI truck making sure the

overhead streetcar wires are clear .

The Krewe of Krowd Kontrol’s KKK signature float follows as

it must. Cops are encased in a two-decker glass window drinking coffee,

eating donuts and, oh by the way, monitoring communications

“Krewe of Krowd Kontrol,” yells Mac as he tosses the minifirecrackers

at the glass laughing hysterically as one explodes, shocking a female cop.

But, she gets it, and laughs good-naturedly.

Thanks goodness.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fourteen

Weisman

235

 

Aw man, I hate this parade,” Tyger says. “Those old

bitches can’t throw anything right. You have to stand

right up on the curb to catch anything besides a cold.

Venus maskers, therefore, negate some of the Mardi Gras sport

of making that Say Hey Willie Mays catch of a hard throw as the crowd

oohs and ahhs with “Nice catch. How do they do it? Hey-ho!” and so forth.

Sandy cranes his neck searching fo the swimming panoply of floats.

“I hear Larry Bud Melman is going to be king of Tucks,” he informs

the masses, “That should be outrageous as always.”

Temps have risen to a pleasant 65 degrees. Crowds are the largest yet of the season.

The usual mixture of humanity and humidity stand along the avenue participating

in various stages of celebration, depending on Mardi Gras experience, party origins, and belief.

Mr. Milty has brought along a thermos of Blood Mary’s from which he pours a stiff drinky poo.

Everybody waits for the usual unusual bead riot behavior to begin.

A short gap gasps between the initial pre-floats and Venus Parade.

Potential spectators crane said necks, trying to peer past Lee Circle, which,

of course, is impossible. Carnival sounds

drift along, warning of the coming procession.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fourteen

Weisman

236

 

“What is that?” Sandy asks. “Theme from ‘Flashdance?'”

“Oh boy,” Tyger replies. “For the one millionth time. Flash-shaft.”

“Hey, the theme from ‘Shaft,·” notes Sandy, “would be a lot better. ”

It’s either “Flashdance” disco, military moron

music or similarly insipid pop rap flash tarts. Must be against

the law to play something good during a Carnival parade.

(Funny thing, worse the song, more excitedly responds

the crowd. Yet another reflection on Carnival culture.)

Venus goes, Venus blows; dukes, maids and flower

painted floats. Throws, as predicted, are lame. Tyger yells at one

grand dame, “Come on . Let’ s see your arm. How far can you

throw it up. Hey babe, throw it up’ ”

Mac and Armor ‘s run up to floats in order to bombard them broadside.

A number of successful snap-and-pop-mom missions ensue .

Sandy calmly smokes a cigarette a few feet back with other non-combatants.

Couple of cops stand with their arms folded, appearing bored

as they survey the crowd for the billionth time.

Float inevitably follows float. Marching band follows marching band

high-stepping along until they merge into one long vision of

Carnivals past, Carnival presented, and Carnivals yet to come.

The final fire truck following the long 23-float parade is

in turn stalked by the NOPSI truck. The crowd disperses rapidly.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fourteen

Weisman

237

 

“Who sounded the fire alarm?” Tyger asks. “Where are they

all going? The best is yet to come.”

Mac and Sandy walk across the street to the Seaman’s Lounge.

It is a hangout for semi-derelicts and their fellow travelers

most of the year, becoming a more cosmopolitan venue catering

to the Mardi Gras walk-in trade during Al Johnson Carnival time.

The boys eject themselves from the vaguely stinking of piss

building, returning to the sacred spot with an armful of beers

which they pass all around. A party wouldn’t be a party without

Armor’s grabbing a beer, shouting, “Let the good times roll.”

Indeed. Time for Tucks about 20 minutes later than usual

this year. College students first formed Tucks in the 1950’s as a

smaller satirical expression. It has become the unusual usual 25

float extravaganza. Dukes, and other royalty, flash by on lettered mini-floats.

As do some daring lady’s tits. “Hey Duke. Hey Duke. Throw me

something mister,” Mac shouts before exploding a final

snap-and-pop spontaneous commentary. The crowd merges as one with

the celebration at hand.

A group of Jefferson Parish deputies on horseback trudge by

nonchalantly handing out silver doubloons and prized long glass

beads. Cars containing Tucks officials follow.

Then, the always popular shriners dressed in motley driving

funny cars. Armor’s belabors the obvious.

“You clowns, ” he shouts. “Get a real job.”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fourteen

Weisman

238

 

WYLD boom-box truck spews out “Love ya

baby. Love ya baby,” as it graces the scene.

Fatass tourists and stupid college

students dance disJointedly along with the commercial beat.

“I just can’t understand how anyone listens to that shit,” Sandy says.

Mr. Milty, who has been in absentia for some time, has

apparently left the scene entirely. “Where is that asshole?”

Tyger asks. “He is going to miss Larry Bud Melman.”

Sure enough. Larry Bud’s float zooms around Lee Circle

heading downtown on the traditional parade route.

“Hey hey,” Mac shouts. “I see a celebrity.”

The crowd raises its collective game a notch. Soon,

everyone is shouting, “How is David Letterman?” and the usual,

“Larry Bud. Throw me something.”

The red-faced — comic? –is a lollapalooza alright

crowning the “Tribute to Banana Republics” theme float.

Larry Bud waves awkwardly to the crowd below.

“I hope he doesn’t fall down,” Sandy says. “He could hurt himself.”

“And others too,” Tyger adds.

Everyone is excited as the float approaches the immediate

vicinity of the P.D. stand. It might be, it could be, it…isn’t.

Larry Bud disappears at that precise moment, going inside

the float toilet to take care of personal business. Therefore,

the bucolic alleged comic is nowhere to be seen as his float

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fourteen

Weisman

239

 

passes the gang s immediate vicinity.

This lack of celestial presence greatly displeases the

group. “Hey what is this shit,” Tyger bemoans. “That fucker

doesn’t know who his real audience is.”

“What else is new,” replies Sandy, not truly a Larry Bud fan.

“Get a real job,” Mac yells at the passing float for good

measure. He turns to Armor’s. “I saw a celebrity,” he announces proudly

as Armor’s bombards his feet with mini-explosions.

“Hahaha.” Mac like a bunny hops. “Hahaha. Gotcha, silly

rabbit. Larry Bud Melman sucks.”

And, oh by the way, where is Mr . Milty when you need him?

“He’s going to have to find his own way home I guess,” Mac concludes.

Comrades who have followed Carnival to date, may guess the

rest of this parade. The boys frolic in beautiful sunlight as

float begets fabulous float, high school bands march or rest

depending on exigencies of the moment .

(Perhaps a float has broken down, or just as likely, some

drunken fool has fallen from the sky to ground.)

By the way comrades, this note of passing political

“Hey you commies,” Armor’s yells at one of the shiny red made in Belarus

tractors driven by a bored looking equally shiny red faced

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fourteen

Weisman

240

 

driver. “Don’t you know the revolution is over .”

The party must continue ever onward for that night

brings the first mega-parade, the outrageous Endymion

pronounced End-em-ion,short “e” — with monster floats ridden by

dozens of maskers. The Superdome Endymion Extravaganza perforce

follows that evening.This year the gluttons of bad taste have invited the

fabulous Wayne Newton, all the way from the other sin city,

Las Vegas. Oh joy.

Tyger is definitely no fan of Endymion. He prefers the old line

krewes with their old-timey floats and strict code of silence.

Yeah, they are racist motherfuckers, sure, but that is

part of what Carnival is all about. One might not like it,

but sometimes life sucks.

Tourists frolic blissfully ignorant of local politics. That

is their job as window dressing extras.

The immutable fact that Mardi Gras exists for the social elite to

thumb upper crust noses at curious supplicants below is quite

beyond the limited ken of tourista filters.

Tourists think it’s their prviliged by passport party.

That’s part of their fucking problem.

Tyger is not into the more democratic, but no less

ridiculous, Endymion because he hates huge crowds, among

other reasons. Fortunately, this being N’awlins, the parade is

televised so the stay at home crowd won’t miss any of the

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fourteen

Weisman

241

 

shall we say — excitement

Therefore our intrepid investigator watches the giant floats

cascade like a waterfall down the fabled avenue. Each float is

preceded and trailed by a merciless mega-band.

Crowds are from 10-to-12 persons thick by the Polish Dog Stand.

A throng tens of thousands strong straddles along Canal

Street, which tourist guides tout to be the widest boulevard in

America. This evening, one might as well add, wildest boulevard, too.

Let it pass friends. Let Endymion ride you by. Tyger has

smaller fish to fry. Later that night, the New Neanderthals

perform at a semi-prestigious Tulane students ball. Tyger

outside watches through a glass pane window.

They charge $15 admission. As Heave Broward notes, “I really

wish we could get you in Tyger, good buddy, but they won’t allow

us to put anyone on the guest list.” Sure, “friend.”

(Heave fears any superior social competition.)

Tyger doesn’t have the entrance fee. Even if he did, who

wants to waste money on something one can usually ignore for free.

Armor’s and Tyger stand about for the first set waiting for

the break to see if any hot babes break stride outside. Of course

they do. Heave Broward follows one stunning co-ed with his

small tail wagging and the usual lame line. You know the drill by now.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fourteen

Weisman

242

 

“You’re the pettiest girl here,” the simpleton simply

simp. Armor’s shakes his head.

“A walking, talking asshole,” he observes.

That bit of slimy business concluded, the boys night-cap at

Armor’s house. His cats are growing by leaps and bound, which

they execute like Olympic gymnasts over each other.

“I give that flip a 9.5,” Tyger scores, “on a scale of 1-to-7.”

Come 11, Tyger departs for bed, perchance to dream.

Sunday is coming, although the enveloping madness renders

such designations irrelevant. Every day now might as well rhyme with

fun day. From here on out there is no rest for the wicked and

their fellow travelers until Ash Wednesday when all bets are off and they

must repent. Hey babies blue, the party’s just starting.

Funday Sunday holiday, no way, way; time for

the Thoth Parade, one of Tyger’s favorites. He catches it at the

Rehabilitation Center on Henry C. Clay Avenue, just offAudubon Park.

A bit of nostalgia wraps itself in this annual rite of

passage. This was the first parade Tyger attended after moving

to the Big Uneasy. He lives within walking distance Uptown.

A surprising touch of class is exhibited in this

exercise too. The parade route is designed to pass by the various

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fourteen

Weisman

243

 

Uptown hospitals and clinics.

They refer to themselves as “The Krewe of Shut-Ins.” Thoth’s

riders are very generous with throws, paying special attention to

the sick and infirm, youngsters, and the eldest of elders. Often,

Thoth is a moving affair with more than a few dear tears

shed in grateful thanks.

All hail Thoth! May you continue until time stops

and the universe through entropy refolds.

Or barring that, roll ever onwards forever and a day.

Tyger stations himself next to a couple of nuns who, very un-nunlike,

join the forces of cosmic disorder, scrambling like the

rest of the pagans bowling each other over for doubloons and

dubious throws. A good time passes.

Thoth and Iris, another lame female krewe, follow the

traditional parade route downtown. Later, bright night-time

lights for Baachus, the second mega-parade, larger even than

Endymion. Baachus, god of wine, is generally ruled by a dipsy

Hollywood idol, or so the theory goes.

Who is it this time? Richard Dreyfus? “I didn’t think he was

gay,” Mac’s friend Sarah notes upon hearing the announcement. “Is he?”

“Why don’t you try to fuck him and find out  ask him,” Mac replies.

Tyger bows out of the celebration for reasons similar to Endymion.

He has extra incentive since the last time he attended Baachus a drunken sailor

dumped a ton of beer on his freshly laundered jacket.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fourteen

Weisman

244

 

Who needs that shit? Let Mac and the gang enjoy the not-so-subtle

pleasures of Baachigator and the other immense mega-floats

swooning with colored lights and drunken maskers.

Tyger catches the flack on television instead.

Parades are fun to watch in absentia.

Revelers flop like mops all over town that night.

A veritable flood of tourists consume the Crescent City connection .

Mardi Gras minions are rumbling, bumbling, stumbling in

one’s face anywhere one looks.

They are out of fucking control– OOFC for the uninitiated.

It is still possible to ignore the inhuman wave, but only

just barely. A local hero has to plan his every move carefully,

like going to the Winn Dixie or the K&B nightmare.

Driving around town is next to impossible. No use

trying unless one simply must go somewhere. Even then, it takes a

lot of fortitude fortissimo. Hey babe, you have to flow limbo low

with the go. And just as abruptly stop for that’s Carnival rules.

Partying subsumes every street corner. An amazing array of

music and night-time diversion follows Baachus as required by

city psychic ordinance. Of course, the Baachus Extravaganza engulfs the Superhome.

And the French Quarter? Hahaha. You have to ask.

Better bring a life preserver if through those wild waters one traverses.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fourteen

Weisman

245

 

Monday arrives, barely. The rest of the world is working as

usual and many in New Orleans are forced by their superiors

headquartered in distant and regular places

like your Houston or Denver to show a similar pretense.

However, nothing gets done. No way, Jose. The unfortunately

working rat class mainly parties at the office,

plotting ways to abandon ship early.

Iceberg chunks clink in Baachus cups mixing with titanic

high octane self-pollutants. Lundi Gras, as they say,

is the calm before the storm.

Which is not to say that Proteus, who rules this day, can be

ignored safely. In fact, it is a great parade, another old-line

krewe with ancient floats backed by mystical lore.

They are throwing cups this time, the first of the old-line

krewes to adopt that recent innovation of actually throwing an

object useful throughout they year. Many N’awlins households use

these cups exclusively for lifestyle enhancino entertainment.

Arthur Hardy, designated Carnival historian for NewsBotch

Eyewitless NewsFake, describes these newfangled throws on the

Monday parade wrap-up:

“Proteus is throwing silver and gold doubloons, beads

and for the first time ever, red with a white design of a horse

Proteus cups. Good luck and happy Carnival.”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fourteen

Weisman

246

 

Tyger arrives at the P.D. stand a few minutes before Proteus

dives into the deep blue waters of Downtown night. A shiny red

cup drops at his feet from the first numbered float. He calmly

picks it up while a thin red-facedtourist — of course — dives

frenetically at his feet.

Our dear boy turns the cup over looking at it with

considerable faux admiration. “Not bad,” he reflects as the tourist

stares longingly. “Sorry.· Certain throws are meant for certain persons.”

The tourist seems perplexed by that comment, like a cat,

immediately short attention spanning back to the frenzied fray,

immersing itself in continuing Mardi Gras madness.

Proteus wobbles downtown on wood spoke wheels. Tyger grabs

another Polish Dog to go. “Ready for the big one tomorrow?”

asks Roy. “Ready as I’ll ever be,” Tyger notes.

“Haven’t we had a great Mardi Gras so far?” “Nah,” pause

“Only the greatest ever.” “I hope the weather holds. This makes or breaks

it for us.” “I’m sure it won’t, haha.” Mardi Gras like toilet bowl humor.

One of the recreational vehicle nomads who have descended

into the celebration stands guard nearby. A mini-village of such

vehicles has assembled at the YWCA parking lot.

“Hey buddy,” Roy says to the nomadic white haired man. “This

guy has been coming here forever ,” as he introduces Tyger.

“Yeah this guy came all way from Oklahoma. He visits with us

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fourteen

Weisman

247

 

at the Oklahoma State Fair .”

“OK cool,” Tyger responds impressed. He has never met an

out-of-Carnival patron of the Polish Dog stand. Turning to the

R.V. man he asks: “Are Polish Dogs the same taste sensation up there?”

“Exactly the same,” the man replies smiling, satisfying

Tyger ‘s investigative curiosity. Always wondered ’bout dat.

Great is the truth and it prevails.

Rest is now the top priority for Mardi Gras veterans.

Tourists and selected localsare going wild all over town by this time.

Many of them will party all night.

Those savvy in the ways of Carnival already have staked out

prime spots along the St. Charles Avenue neutral ground as the

streetcars have stopped running. Some party in place as they will

all night and all the next day. Smart sheep grab needed sleep.

Tyger fits in category latter. Very foolish not to be well

rested. Fat Tuesday is the ultimate party endurance test.

Most partying like there is no tomorrow will

shortly discover their folly as they pass out in heaps along the

street sometime between the start of the truck parades and Comus.

Tyger spends time on the telephone firming up plans.

Everyone has assigned themselves time-honored tasks

preparing for the coming storm.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fourteen

Weisman

248

 

Tyger usually is first on scene at the P.D. stand psychically staking

out real estate location for location is all. Just another Mardi

Gras tradition so time honored in application that few remember how it began.

Tyger decided to rise late one Mardi Gras past. Big mistake.

Surprise, no surprise. That year was a disaster. As we digress.

Tygermeister was rudely awakened at 7 a.m. by the loud

Uptown revelry of local marching clubs fortifying themselves

with vast quantities of hooch, serenaded by incredibly loud

traditional Carnival music courtesy of Professor Longhair-

and Neville Brothers recordings. Simply no avoiding the fun.

Tyger gave up the ghost after that, always rising to greet the dawn head on

and then some as early as inhumanly impossible.

Coming on 7:30 a.m., this year of the Tyger, of political note, an

influential Louisiana state senator is hanging around Norby’s

bar with the rest of the marching club already drunk on his butt.

That’s Louisiana politics for you. Someone is always looking

out for the party’s interest

The few, if any, who somehow don’t make the massive passing

day of parades can watch the show on television anyway, since all

local stations pre-empt programming for Mardi Gras coverage.

That leaves those who are physically unable and a few losers

like Roots Badburns who can’t be bothered by such a celebration .

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fourteen

Weisman

249

 

Roots is too lazy and has important business

like picking his nose hairs to attend to.

Never mind. One can count the stay-at-home crowd by handfuls

while a million, or more, throng to every conceivable vantage

point and ocular angle in, and around, the Crescent City.

Business as usual everywhere else, but magic enveloping the

Big F’in Easy. That’s the way New Orleanians roll. Who can

blame them, valid criticism of Carnival aside.

That is what makes New Orleans special.

Up up and away Tyger polishes off preparations at 8:15 a.m.

Just as well as it is a difficult journey downtown

on which he soon will embark .

Tyger fills the Altoid box with joints, checks on the so-called

“archives” in the freezer carefully removing from the

aluminum foil a select handful of LSD — extremely essential in

relating to the coming insanity — generally bracing himself

for whatever strange events will come. Ready, steady, eddy, and

Dennis Miller style, he is out of there.

Precise navigation is essential the trip downtown.

Firstly, Tyger must make it past the previously noted marching

clubs. Then, he must avoid the usually reliable Tchopitoulas

corridor since hundreds of truck floats are lining up

for their afternoon moment of immortality. A massive traffic jam clogs

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fourteen

Weisman

250

 

nearby Uptown roads . Wise travelers, however, know the direct

route, skirting such obstacles, and across Napoleon Avenue

where the regular krewes form.

Which is how it happens this 1988 Mardi Gras Day; Tuesday

Feb. 16 for the rest of the free world. Maybe it takes 10 minutes

longer than usual, which seems a a small price to pay all things considered

Strap yourselves in dear comrades in the celebratory arts

and sciences. You are about to graduate into Carnival Day,

what promises to be the time of your lives.

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 FIFTEEN

Mardi Gras heats up considerably.

All heaven and hell break out on Fat Tuesday.

Everyone parties their butts off at the Polish Dog stand.

All aspects of Carnival from the walking clubs through Zulu,

Rex, the truck parades, and his most majestic Mystick Krewe of Comus are

observed and explained. It’s a wild world. Everything concerning

the actual story and celebration of Mardi Gras is revealed

for all who don’t know. [It takes a native to explain these events.

The Krewe of Krowd Kontrol, Krewe of Sanitation, Meeting of the Courts,

and Tyger’s visions wrap up the significant day.

 

CHAPTER 15

“If Ever I Cease to Love”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

Weisman

251

 

“Well, I’m going to New Orleans. I want to see the Mardi Gras.

Yes, I’m going to New Orleans. I want to see the Mardi Gras.

When I see the Mardi Gras, I want to know what Carnival’s for…”

Henry Byrd, Professor Longhair to the uninitiated

if  they exist, belts Mardi Gras cadenzas like a heavyweight boxer on the

music station which spans the radio waves with

continuous Carnival sounds from top to bottom.

“A city under siege,” the WWOZ announcer cutting in,

“if you’re not already up, get out of bed

sleepy heads. It’s Maaaaardi Gras in New  Orleans,”

pronounced with limy English accent and long “eeens.”

The announcer, as he is genetically programmed to do,

continues his Mardi Gras wake-up call.

“Ready or not fiends, this is New Orleans

and this is Carnival, the greatest free party of earth.

No avoiding it, so get your buns out of the oven,

get your Fat Tuesday buns into the fryer. Paaaaarty!”

Tyger breaks through traffic like Saints scat-back Ruben Mayes

through the hated Falcons line, flies past Mr. Milty’s house o’ pain —

he will make his Polish Dog stand at some point most assuredly —

betting the nag with a clear path over and under

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

Weisman

252

 

Magazine Street spilling down onto curiously circuitous lower Camp Street.

Derelicts move slowly like a defeated army away from the impending confrontation.

They have seen this kind of before and are leery of it like so many beaten dogs.

Traffic laws mean nothing now.Tyger takes advantage of this special dispensation

turning the wrong way up one-way St. Joseph Street. He stops mid-way down the block

from the YWCA parking lot Mac moved his van there the previous night

as  did Nick Bowers his car, leaving a space perfectomundo between

for Tyger’s dharma bum wreck. It fits nicely — thanks so much —

in front of the “no parking” sign confident this special day will yield  no ticket.

Only a person who has the misfortune or utter stupidity

to park in a special parade towing zone will get nabbed.

They will be in for a rude awakening sometime before Comus in that case.

Nazi cum scum meter maids — if that is not too

insulting to Nazis — don’t mess with cars on streets like St. Joseph.

Couldn’t get a tow-truck in there if they wanted.

Parking time. Tyger completes maneuvers while the continuous flood

of Mardi Gras music rolls tide rolls. A final radio send-off by Al “Carnival Time” Johnson

who is singing, d’uh, “All because It’s Carnival time. Oh, it’s Carnival time,

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

253

 

Oh well, it’s Carnival time and everybody’s having tun.”

Click. Already. Check the clock.

Off with “Carnival Time” — who, incidentally, drives a cab in

the Carnival off-season — and on with the big shoe. Tyger cuts a

small sliver from a Mickey Mouse acid hit, lovingly sliding

it onto his eagerly salivating tongue. He holds it in place for

just a moment before fully ingesting.

Hey comrades, it’s Carnival time which makes a lot more

sense if you are tripping the light fantastic. Just ask Peter

Fonda and Dennis Hopper as they “Easy Rider” through 1969.

Tyger surveys the crowd walking down wide St. Joseph Street

proud. Huge rented trucks assume their traditional places

on party bent street corners.

Truck people already are busy beavers barbecuing on

grills and hibachis along the street. Women sit on chairs inside

the vehicular parties.

Recreational Vehicle central has likewise graced the scene

with all inhabitants early birds risen. Maybe it’s 7:30 a.m.

(No use bringing a watch as Greenwich Mean Time is rendered meaningless.)

The Polish Dog stand party is in full-swing mode.

Tyger catches the infectious disease. He grins at a fatass

woman dressed as ballerina whom he recognizes from every Mardi

Gras past, presented, and perhaps to be.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

254

 

“Whoa, no hot tub this year?” Tyger facetiously asks the

prima ballerina as she pirouettes uproariously. “What a great

idea,” she replies as if she gets it. ”Maybe next year.”

“Maybe never, babe.”

A quick surveillance of the scene reveals the usual unusual

behavior. Families dressed as strange fish swim back and forth in

endless aimless streams along St. Charles Avenue. Or is that

simply Tyger’s acid test imagination?

Come on comrades, what do you think?

Of course, that man is not really a crawfish.

His companion isn’t truly an oyster.

It’s Just, drive the point home one last note Al Johnson,

CARNIVAL TIME! O.K.? Everybody having fun?

The flood of outrageous costumes and behavior continues by

levees and sea walls unabated. “Bitch, bitch, bitch,” a man

dressed as a motley clown says as he laughs, pointing the fickle

finger of fate at an equally colorful companion.

They hold squeeze bottles filled with mysterious purple

liquid. Radish juice maybe, or an exotic fruit flavored

concoction. Whatever it is friends, it is doubtlessly highly toxic.

Welcome, then, to the street parade, the first conscious

moments of Fat Tuesday. The police, dark chicory coffee and

attitudes in hand, start setting up barricades along St. Charles Avenue.

Barricades are optional, only used for the largest of

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

255

 

Carnival day crowds. The temporal authorities must be expecting a

huge throng, weather being pleasant for Feb. 16.

“Hey buddy, how’s it going,” Roy greets Tyger checking in

at the Polish Dog stand. “You ready to party?”

His teenage son dances to disco music

emanating loudly from a nearby recreational vehicle.

Where else in the world at — 7:45 a.m.? — are so many

drunk, stoned, and tripping people partying their asses off like

this assisted, and yes, even encouraged, by the authorities?

Perhaps the Socratic method answers that question.

Tyger cuts through the heavy pedestrian traffic making his

way to the Seaman’s Lounge. It is the same old Zeno’s Paradox of

regular semi-derelicts and Mardi Gras extras. There are always

more approaching the bar no matter how many have departed.

No queue to the bathroom yet formed, Tyger enters, ignoring

an outstretched hand extended by a rather ragged looking

scarecrow. He seems under an impression that he might be the

official bathroom attendant for the day.

Hey dude, buy a vowel, get a clue. Whatever he is, sorry

Charlie, no tips available from Tyger who has seen it all

before and takes a precautionary piss. Maybe next year, old sot.

After taking care of business, Tyger goes to the long wood

bar inhabited by refugees from a Charles Bukowski lifestyle and

orders the usual, man, Bloody Mary. It costs $3 and because it’s

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

256

 

Al Johnson Carnival time tastes like the greatest mixed drink on earth.

Tyger strolls a few blocks down St. Charles surveying the

harbingers of impending brain damage. Chairs, ladders, coolers,

and all the accoutrements of this costumed army of revelers are

scattered everywhere, and beyond the horizon .

Lee Circle now is surrounded by spectator

bleachers and party patrons. Batter up friends, and that’s not just the fries.

Tyger struts beneath General Robert E. Lee’s stony visage

and around to a clear view of the expressway on-ramp — out of

commission obviously — broad vista containing an amazing

multicolored tableau stretching as far as visibility laws. Or

is that just the Mickey Mouse acid coming around. Speaking of which,

What is that snap snap popping at Tyger’s heels? He half-

jumps startled amidst the mini-explosions. Hahaha in his face,

who could it be, could it be … Armor’s? Who else.

“Have you slivved yet?” Armor’s inquires as Tyger regains

his senses. “Thanks for sharing that pal,” Tyger says. “Sliv to live.”

“I’m going to take a full hit,” Armor’s informs Tyger and

all who are happening nearby after which he carefully unwraps

a small square of paper disguised artfully as Bugs Bunny. “What’s up doc?”

“Whoo-wee, baby,” Tyger- watches approvingly. “You still have

some of the Bugs Bunnies? Those were massive.”

.

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

257

 

Armor ‘s cranes back his head and tilt, drops the acid.

“I need a drink,” he grandly announces to the oblivious multitude,

setting off for the well chartered waters of ye olde Seaman’s Lounge.

Colors, oh those bleeding tie-dyed colors … as Tyger spins

like a crazy top appreciating the pure fluidity of motion. His

brain purees, quickly liquifies. He chases liquid sky again .

How appropriate that the master of the secret passage and

guru of the sudden exit would as if by magic, disco presto reappear

at such a propitious moment. Besides, it’s the psychic law.

An exchange of information transpires.

“Ahh, hey, hey. Mr. Milty, I presume.”

“In the flesh dear Tyger- person. Have you slivved yet’?”

“A horse is a horse of course of course. Ya got to sliv to live. How about you?”

“Need you ask, dear boy?”

To the about to be initiated into what follows as Carnival

lore, here is how Mr. Milty is — shall we say — dressed.

He sports a giant self-painted face mask. This is not the sort of

vision one would in a dark alley want to face.

Kids seems to like it. And psychopaths.

The rest of his wiry frame from no-neck to toe is draped

with a bright bright orange jump suit. A 32-ounce squeeze bottle

filled with a highly inflammable mixology experiment dangles from

a money belt/utility holder. Chernobyl has got nothing on this

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

258

 

radioactive concoction. Mr. Milty raises his highly toxic mixture

to the heavens above, uttering a small Mardi Gras invocation,

as he must assuming the role of shaman of the moment.

“Let’s get bent,” he says in ever so slightly muffled tones,

squirting a light green liquid through a disjointed hole in the

face mask where his real mouth is located.

“What the Sam Mills is that?” Tyger asks.

“Try some and find out,” Milty teases.

“Oh Lord, not again,” Tyger says, shaking his Seattle

Mariners baseball cap covered head.

“You remember what happened last time.”

Carnival crazies demand that Tyger sample a stream from

the scary black and gold Saints squirt bottle.

“Whoa. Seriously, Milty. What the hell is in this? ”

“Eth cocktail with Berry Berry Blue Kool-aid,” states the awful face.

“Oh Lawd, not ethanol again. This is what happened last time.”

Armor’s returns like a good penny. The three whoop it up

along the St. Charles curbside. It is a little past very early in

the morning. Multitudes throng to chosen spots all over the city of New Orleans.

Zulu gathers apostles on Claiborne and Jackson Avenues.

Rex, fitted with his royal train, proceeds to greet

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

259

 

fawning subjects near Napoleon Avenue at Camp Street as is

annual habit. All is right with the weird world of Carnival.

The crowd becomes thicker, reveling in disorderly, mindlessly

passing in every conceivable direction. Gaggles of vendors

gather. They waddle downtown apparently to brave the mass of

humanity stretched along the Avenue and filling Canal Street to

inhuman capacity. And the French Quarter?

Don’t even ask, comrades. Some Mardi Gras moments

are best left for personal on-site investigation, if one dares.

The Vieux Carre is only for the hardiest or most inebriated, of souls.

Suffice it to say the deep blue sea bobs with outrageous

big boobs costumes, on men; women most scantily clad,

or cross-sex dressed; drag queens playing kissee, kissee; bankers

dressed as pirates, lions and, over there an Oscar Meyer wiener ,

half-bitten, accompanying a hard boiled egg; a large green potato

person; a family of frolickers all dressed the same as playing

cards in a deck; clowns, of course; and every possible fantasy

that has ever existed in the human mind or reflected human or

inhuman condition.

“Whooaaa,” Armor’s calls. “Here comes the nuclear family.”

They irradiate the spot every year.

The pater familia apparently works at Waterford III Nuclear

plant in Northeast Louisiana and shares the gang’s Polish Dog

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

260

 

stand pre-programming. (It is actually one of the best spots from

which to view the parade because the crowds are manageable. Of

course, convenient logistics and Polish Dog heaven also are present.)

Nuclear family dad wears a blue cap adorned with white atom

symbol, as well as beet red face. “Better stay away hey hey,” he

jokes. “I’m radioactive.” He is joking, right?

“Now, that I can believe,” remarks Tyger as Armor’s walks

over to schmooze with Mr . Nuclear catastrophe.

It happens every year.

Armor’s and bestest buddy for the day begin their annual

tete-a-tete. The confab always lasts for hours.

What  do you suppose they possibly could be discussing?”

Tyger asks Milty. “I don’t think you want to know,” Mr . Milty replies laughing.

“You’re right Milty. Don’t know what I was thinking.”

A larger than ever commotion and sudden quick movement on

the street precedes the intoxicating sound of the “Mardi Gras

Mambo” blasting over a portable loudspeaker.

”Is that the parade?” an ignorant tourist inquires. Tyger is

embalmed in happiness, willing to be patient.

“By my calculations,” he notes, looking at his watch

merely for show, “that is Pete Fountain’s Half-Fast Marching

Club,” which of course confirms his opinion almost instantly.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

261

 

The club belies it’s moniker as members walk

less than half fast, slowly careening from side

to side of the avenue passing out flowers, silver club doubloons, and kisses,

each of which are bestowed in overly generous fashion.

Their sacred mission is to stop at every tavern along the

route until gracing the French Quarter with their good times

rolling presence. Pete Fountain, clarinetist and originator

of the club, is pulled on a small float by a few of his close friends.

Club members dock for a moment at the Seaman’s Lounge. Tyger

takes the opportunity to approach the clarinetist who hands him

a doubloon with his likeness. “I saw a celebrity,” Tyger exults,

returning to the surging crowd.

The club dissipates, swallowed by the massive crowd in its

wake. Dragons, sea creatures; a trio in Nina, Pinta, and

Santa Maria uniform boat costumes; a myriad of painted faces and

swirling colors swallow the celebration whole.

One guy marches as the hole in the donut accompanied bv a

friend dressed as a giant question mark.

“Huh?” Tyger asks Milty.

“Huh,” Milty replies. Silly question.

Mermaids, representations of Louisiana edible foodstuffs and

inanimate objects, a man dressed as heaving barf, are spewed

out into the swirling eddies of Mardi Gras madness. The sliv to

live crowd, as well, seems highly affected.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

262

 

The Jefferson City Buzzards, an ancient and cherished

walking club, follow Pete Fountain. They are dressed as clowns,

returning traditional favors when members of the crowd,

preferably big-tit women, bestow upon their flushed red cheeks

the appropriate shirts to the wind responses.

Some supplicants seem more eager than others. One used-up

looking hag tackles a walker. “Can she do that?” Tyger wonders.

” I think she cari do anything she wants,” Milty replies.

“Ooooh. That is one ugly woman.”

Mac, Sarah, Milty’s girlfriend d’jour, the Nick Bowers clan

and Sandy Alexander with his new bride Mary Ann drop into this

haze, barely noticed at first. So, the complement is complete.

Fortunately, as always, they have arrived just in the Bowers

of time for the sun has flown across the cloudless deep blue

sea of sky. Snap your fingers, poof, past 10 a.m., here comes

the blessed Big Shot leading the mostly black Zulu Parade.

Get ready for the funny black faced maskers tossing to the

crowd one of the most intensely prestigious of throws, the

decorated Zulu coconut. Everyone wants one. The crowd launches a

collective wail: “Throw me a coconut, mister! Coconuts!”

Zulu after Zulu, spears and African warrior outfits straight

out of Tarzan movies; riders tease the crowd with coconuts,

spears, cups and beads, holding them aloft, waiting for the

nitrous peak of noise and emotion, then pulling them back.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

263

 

A few wave signs proclaiming the sentiment of the moment.

“Show us your tits.” Carnival currency has a value all its own.

Tits indeed are being shown. The cutest possible babies — youthful

children, and the other kind — are being presented to Zulus for

approval and possible coconut coronation as the massive;

wonderfully painted parade floats whizzing like wasps by.

A zillion cups, doubloons and Zulu beads strike the ground

in an unison of desire. Normally respectable people scramble like

eggs along the frying pan ground everywhere the mind’s eye wanders.

The masses stomp, wildly wave hands, shout, in any way

possible attempting to attract rider attention. Mass hysteria,

the awful beauty of complete disorder and dramatic tension of

existence coalescing, divides itself in basic genetic patterns,

burrowing to the bottom-line of human endeavor .

Winners shout in triumph holding spears and coconuts to the

golden sun for divine approval. Losers cry by the curbside having

just missed that black and gold cup, that strange miniature

plastic silver crown, or any one of a thousand suddenly all-important

party favors. Life has become its own caricature.

Huge bands from local high schools and places far-away march

double-time between floats, then stop as the parade waits for any

of a thousand possible mishaps to be resolved.

(Zulu holds a marching band contest, always attracting the

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

264

 

very best. As noted, any parade might stop as a

float, rider –or both — break down, or for a crowd related accident.)

So, boom boom barn barn to the front and throw me something to

the rear in one non-stop sensual explosion. “Yipes!” Milty jumps

ass backwards. Mac has scored a direct snap and pop on his face.

“Get a real job,” Mac shouts. Hahaha.

Oh, wondrous communion of human nature. Nobody even notices

acid tripping scoundrels. That is because tripsters

everywhere tripping on chemicals, or on the natural high

provided by the gathered multitudes turning reality on its head.

“This is a great Mardi Gras. The greatest Mardi Gras ever,”

relates Sandy to Mary Ann as a torrent of beads rain down upon his shoulders.

“Oh my goodness. Thank you. Thank you,” he cries to the

unseen throwers, holding above his head for show an unopened

plastic package of a gross of beads.

Maskers always seem to divine who should get what and why.

That’s Carnival karma, corny comrades.

Snap your fingers then, in a dream-time moment Zulu has

vanished. Gone are the disdainful dukes and maids, magnificently

decorated floats, surreal images, and esoteric Carnival

commentary apparent only to advanced students of the celebration,

and Zulu warriors. The gang retreats from the battleground to Mac’s car

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

265

 

as is traditional. There they smoke a massive number of joints, and

like the universe explode in a big bang, then mystically reform.

“Whos in charge here?” Nick asks. “You’re not?” Tyger

replies. Hahaha — a round of laughter for everyone on the house.

P.D. gang busters take care of miscellaneous business like

liquid refreshment replenishment, pissing behind the trash

receptacle on the corner. Mrs. Bowers has papered over her car

window for a private lady’s room interior and, in general,

tallying up the loot while accounting for any casualties.

“Where’s Armor’s?” “Still with the nuclear family.”

”Mr. Milty?” “No fucking clue.”

“O.K. Nick is here and Sandy.” “Mary Ann?” “She went with

Sarah to the Polish Dog stand.” So forth and so on.

“Hey then, let’s party.”

Said gang parties for a short while that seems like forever

in a bottle before the arrival of His Majesty’s Bandwagon and

Rex, King of Carnival. All hail the Krewe of Polish Dog

The group returns to a ladder sea behind the closed

barricades that had parted briefly to allow tor passage of

fake Israelites, big ships and toy boats alike seeking smoother

seas, pit-stops, or any of the million, or so, no-doubt demented

functions they must perform.

Mac purchases a can of silly string from a passing vendor,

then hides behind a Cadbury’s chocolate salesman from Chicago,

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

266

 

or so the man dressed as a gigantic chocolate candy bar claims to

be. Mac spews the horrible pink chemical nightmare on Sarah who

jumps aside laughing in pretend horror. Splat.

Spray sticks to the next nearest target, in this

case a jowly but not particularly jolly looking member of New

Orleans’ shall we seg-way — finest.

“There goes the ozone layer,” Nick observes as Mac tries to

hide between Sandy. “He did it,” a disembodied voice sounding

like Mac claims. Sandy moves stage right. “No I didn’t,” he reclaims.

Fortunately, the policeman allows a slim sly smiles

to break the semi-comic plane as he wipes offending silly string off his face.

No matter who or what you are, dear comrades, it’s tough to

look tough with a face full of silly string. Mac makes himself

scarce for a while, staying on the safe side of the lawman.

As Mac disappears, appears in his wake the first premonition

of the Rex Parade. The Police Communications truck is tailed by

the NOPSI wire clearing floats and various vehicular odds and

ends, including the Blaine Kern Artists Inc. truck referring to

the master float builder of the area. Git along little dogies.

Deputies on horseback, maids and dukes from prominent

families atop grandly decorated mini-floats pulled by the fruits

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

267

 

of Belarus labor belaboring the throngs with high society.

Lookee, lookee over there . Everybody stands at rapt

attention pointing towards Lee Circle.

His white cape flowing, his long manicured beard, waving the

royal scepter above a crowd of subjects (and potential”subjects”).

There, over yonder, rolls the magnificent King of Carnival

his very self in the multi-colored costumed flesh.

“Yes, yes, yes,” Mac along with thousands roars. “Just say yes.”

His royal majesty salutes his loyal followers, waving in

the time honed and practiced manner.

It is Rex! It is Rex! The crowd cheers their regal approval

to which the King of Carnival grandly acknowledges with a royal

wave. Rex’s theme song “If Ever I Cease to Love,” plays above the

masses in an endless musical loop.

“All hail Rex'” the Bowers family among a million others

shout as almost one. “Get a real job’ Hahaha,” emanates from MacMouth.

The grand procession stops briefly at the Polish Dog Stand

for here Rex’s past momentarily encounters future acknowledgment.

Armor’s looks dispassionately unimpressed by his brush with

royalty. “I do not acknowledge monarchy,” he states and follows with a whoop.

“This is what we fought the Revolutionary War to defeat,”

Armor’s continues. “Down with the monarchy! Let the pigs eat cake.”

“Mixed metaphor,” Tyger cautions.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

268

 

Armor’s shouts are drowned out by Rex’s well wishers.

If not for Rex and Carnival most would be slaves

to a far worse fate at the stinking corporate work place.

“Hey everybody,” Mac yells,· “Take the rest of the day off'”

“Get a real job,” Nick echoes.

Rex passes on his inevitable way to toasts at Gallier Hall

where the open-shirt Mayor Sidney Barthelemy hands over, for the

day, all reigns of control to the Big Easy. That’s not a bad deal for the people.

“Here is to you Rex, our majestic monarch,” the mayor

shouts, trying to raise his game a notch. “Your royal day has

been blessed with the greatest of weather.”

“And to you sir,” Rex replies holding aloft his giant cup of wine.

“And to my royal subjects, and all who have graced my celebration

from points near and dear and places afar.

Have a joyous, safe, and happy Mardi Gras. toast you all.

Without further ado, I bid you adieu. Let the party roll on'”

And it is rumbling, bumbling, stumbling the wrong way down

St. Charles Avenue as the masses scramble for purple, green,

gold, and white Rex cups and the emblem Rex beads with a golden

crown dangling from similar colors.

The Polish Dog stand lies fallow now, deserted by a fair

weather army hungry for cheap plastic baubles to feed the soul.

All eyes and attention spans are firmly entrenched upon the

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

269

 

floating sparrow in this year’s “Salute to Things that Fly.” The

next float greatly resembles the Space Shuttle Challenger. Oy vey.

There moos the Beouf Gras, a perennial participant with

its large white cow. “Hey hum Bingo baby,” Tyger yells in

unappreciated reference to Joe Fine’s favorite insurance claim

scam subject scandal. “Who loves you baby?”

There the Jester, as always, laughing up a storm; and

the aforementioned Majesty’s Bandwagon with the royal orchestra

serenading endless strains of the royal song. “If Ever I Cease To

Love” droning on and on as on the parade rolls into eternity’s waiting arms.

The panoply oi floats divided by military marching bands

pauses for another break. Rex now conducts the real social

business for which he has been appointed.

King of Carnival toasts the social elite on the

reviewing stand at the Boston Club along Canal Street.

Rex salutes his true raison d’etre existential court,

moving towards his final chapter in the Book of Carnival, 1988.

Unfortunately for The Texas A&M University marching band,

this salute stops the parade in front of the P.D. stand.

Milty face is their unforgiving and persistent enemy.

As they stand at attention swords and boot licking

ready for almost nothing, miracle of Mardi Gras, Mr. Milty

materializes, jumping face to watermelon face in front of

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

270

 

the Aggie band taskmaster.

Mac jumps in front of the chimera that is Mr. Milty

frantically snapping his still shot camera.

“Photo opportunity!” Mac informs.

Tough luck we are the men of A&M. That is Mardi Gras

justice. Smile, you are on candid camera.

Mr . Milty performs a dainty face dance, taunting the Aggies

with his advanced karma. “Nicaragua’s that way, he yells,

pointing the band in the appropriately opposite direction.

“Hey you faggies. Get a life’. And how about that mascot

Reveille. I hear the bitch has rabies. Hahaha.”

The Aggies look as pissed as possible without falling out of

rank and physically attacking Mr . Milty. But then, in a

fortuitous turn — for the Aggies or for Mr. Milty, we’ll never

know — Rex completes his Boston Club toast.

Word passes down the second line.

Crimson clad Aggie bandmaster raises his baton.

Fellow traveler Aggies march off playing the Texas A&M fright song.

Mr . Milty can’t resist the final word. “See you next year,” out he rings.

Approximately 1 p.m. and the sun is hanging a very bright

yellow overhead. The last Rex float vanishes as in a dream.

Many in the crowd disperse.

Just as many remain, however, for the truck parades with

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

271

 

their fumes and more egalitarian challenges immediately chug

behind majestic Rex. The 250 trucks with long bed trailers roll

one after another for three exhausting hours along the parade

route. Truck floats vary greatly in attention to detail.

Tons of trinkets, beads, doubloons, cups, plastic objects, and

throws of any variety imaginable fill what’s left of the sky.

These floats allow anyone who has $200 and the desire to ride

above the masses to participate in the long parade.

They are a favorite of everyone as the vast quantities of

throws satiate all natural desire for worthless toy objects from

the People’s Republic of China, Guatemala, the Philippines, and

from wherever else such objects spring.

The unusually usual forces of disorder predominate in typically

timeless fashion. Chaos rules the immediate environs of the Polish Dog stand.

The verbal abuse squad heaps insult upon good natured insult

at riders who return such remarks in kind,

after they stop laughing. The drunken official orbital reaches apogee.

Now. it spins rapidly back to planet earth.

The crowd thins considerably with each

passing truck, leaving in its wake, as if by a Merlin’s transmogrification,

a magnificent mystic mountain of discarded trash.

Recreational vehicles and the surrounding mass of cars,

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

272

 

trucks, and vans depart the immediate P.D. stand vicinity.

Indeed, the wave has reversed itself. All roads now lead out of

New Orleans, back to reality calling.

Mac is off snapping Nick. Sarah is waving her arms at Krewe

of Orleanians Truck Float #135, titled ”And All That Jazz,” with

cheesy musical instruments made of paper mache adorning the flat

bed exterior, most of the rider positions left empty through

parade attrition or rider apathy.

(After all, it is a long journey into comas from

Tchopitoulas Street and Nashville Avenue to the

bittersweet end of the Carnival line.)

Sandy, Mary Ann, and Armor’s have long since departed.

Mr. Milty says goodbye, embarking on his annual pilgrimage to the

fleshed and flushed out French Quarter. Presumably he will meet

his girlfriend, who has watched the parades with her family at the Boston Club.

Enough already. Tyger, too, must go into the tank, leaving

the fracas for a while. He follows a higher calling.

Tyger is the resident expert on the most important

parade of all, unbeknownst to the blissfully ignorant. Tyger

lives for the final parade of Mardi Gras, initiator of New

Orleans Carnival, the most secretive old-line institution of all.

Comrades, in the likely case you are unaware of the

immutable forces of history, we will set the record straight forevermore.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

273

 

You have yet to greet the pre-eminent ruler who wields

goblet instead of scepter. The monarch who even Rex

must bow to as the courts at midnight meet to usher out

the Carnival season after separate Municipal Auditorium balls.

In case you haven’t heard, in case it’s news to y’all, Tyger

will be standing proudly at 6 p.m. by the P.O. stand alone —

with the exception of passed out minions and a wide awake Sandman —

awaiting his most secret regal presence.

Yes, the Mystick Krewe of Comus calls. Thankfully, Carnival

shall end with his passage. All those uninvited guests will depart for home.

All hail Comus, epitome of old school Carnival, who follows a riderless

float, never has his identity revealed. (Although a determined

investigator might deduce his identity from the Slimes-Picayune

society pages if it were necessary to know.)

Therefore, a quick pit stop Uptown already much easier to

transverse in the fading Carnival glow. Tyger splashes water on

his face, takes care of related bathroom duties. He verifies

that the VCR recorded the Mardi Gras show, in theory, for later viewing.

About 5:30 p.m., Tyger returns for a Polish Dog last stand.

Once again, he drops into the YWCA parking lot grounds zero. R.V.

world has completely vanished. A few stragglers returning from

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

274

 

earlier Mardi Gras engagements surround the lot.

Only Robert E. Lee seems unaffected. He continues sitting on

horseback purveying the remnants of yet another losing battle.

Tyger’s special general orders include a final surveillance

of the scene. Crowds once flooding through the streets

have slowed to a sickly burnt out trickle.

“Ahh wahh, dat who,” a semi-derelict soul wobbles downtown. He

used to be an executive vice-president, or a corporate commercial

rip-off scandal. Maybe he will pass as that again tomorrow.

Small groups of losers squirt final wads here and there,

wide and outside; ball ball ball, take a walk, you bums. A pretty

but used up jewelry-making artist whom Tyger knows staggers by

Lee Circle, pulling up her short dress, for a split-second,

exhibiting lace panties to no one in particular.

She appears drunker than a sailor on shore leave.

Tyger hopes the little sapphire survives these final Carnival hours to

make it past the Seaman’s Lounge to another port of call

Shouldn’t she be playing the French Quarter?

A mountain of trash covers every Crescent City street, but

is particularly thick along St. Charles Avenue. This is how the

success of Carnival will be judged for future generations to

beat. The next day an official verdict will be rendered as

garbage is weighed for relative tonnage. The more trash,

the better was the celebration.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

275

 

Tyger takes a rough cat’s scan of the pictorial debris.

Looks like a good one, folks. And within hours,

thank you Lord, the party will have ended.

Those who love Carnival and prepare for it year-round might

be sorely disappointed, but that’s their problem. Lovers of Comus

the few, the hardy, the only, remain to rejoice atop

the trash-filled heap. The worst of the mess is past tense.

Whereas the P.D. outskirts once was home to hundreds if not thousands.

Whereas a few have bit the bullet in the nearby vicinity,

holding their heads or staring vacantly into the darkening distance.

Whereas a small thin line of topsy-tipsy post-revelers walk in wobbling misdirection.

Let it be resolved therefore, that Tyger stand alone victorious

over Carnival ready to write its final chapter.

Hallelujah sings the crosswalk between past and future attractions.

Electrical sparks fly from eyes falling on a contented disaster.

History falls to the winners to write.

The biggest winners this day are those like Tyger

who don’t much care for the trappings of Mardi Gras,

but are enticed into becoming fellow travelers.

As such, perhaps a bit guilty of having too much fun

contrary to anti-Carnival karmic beliefs. They pause in that final moment

of reflection, raising their arms in triumph,

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

276

 

proclaiming through incantations, “Enough is enough!”

The New Orleans Police Department, too, welcomes the end of

Carnival madness. No more triple shifts and overtime. Money

simply isn’t worth the effort after a certain point.

Prices for Mardi Gras related objects have plummeted

like the stock market crashing. Or a store closing sale.

Snap-and-pops are discounted 75 percent.

Silly string sells for below wholesale market value.

Even Polish Dogs have dropped from a $5 high on

the early morning Rex rules exchange to…see what they are now.

“Hey buddy,” Roy yells to Tyger”Come on over and get one on the house.”

And that Polish Dog, dear comrades, assumes a place of pre-eminent

stature compared to all that have passed before and all that hope to follow.

Munching, crunching, swallowing between wide flavorful mouthfuls,

Tyger must to the world proclaim, “This is the greatest Polish Dog ever Yowee wowee”’

Sandy Alexander is also one of the few hardy survivors.

Looking fit and trim as befits his southpaw hurler’s frame,

Sandy appears presto disco magic as Tyger finishes last gulp.

The Sandman satirically crosses his fingers in the form of a cross fending off evil.

“Something bad is going to happen,” he jokes.

“Something bad already happened,” Tyger replies.

They frolic in the refuse of a golden celebration, kicking

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

277

 

over discarded cartons and containers, gently picking through

garbage with winged feet. Wouldn’t want your hands to touch some

of that crap because you might know where it has been.

That’s about the size of it.

“What is the theme this year?” Sandy asks of coming Comus.

“A salute to deities, I believe, ” Tyger answers. “That must mean us.”

And so it goes. A husband and wife tourist team saunter by,

asking Tyger when the final parade — what is its name? — rolls

by the sacred stand.

A derelictus temalus ignoramus interrupts. “Waaalll, the

parade is supposed to start at 6:15, so that means it won’t be

here tor another hour.”

That type of disinformation passes down the line every

year. Tyger corrects this typical piece of incorrect verbal garbage.

“No. Comus always starts early. They roll as rapidly

Downtown as possible since they hate parading. The entire point

is to squeeze in as much partying as possible before midnight.”

“Naah. They won’t be here for a while,” the old bag who is

carrying an old bag filled to the brim with beads replies as she

searches through the trash heap for any uncollected booty.

(The unclaimed beading is worth a few cents a gross, to

recyclers gearing up for next year’s Mardi Gras. That can add up

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

278

 

to a few useful dollars for the energetic derelict.)

Tourists look confused, as always. “Believe who you want

to believe, but I am a Comus expert,” Tyger notes for the

permanent record. “I’ve been coming to this parade

forever. Comus is the most significant event of the Mardi Gras

season, the most beautiful, and most mysterious parade.

And the doubloons are totally psychedelic if you stare at them.

There is no comparison to the Mistick Krewe of Comus.”

Sandy nods his head in agreement after returning from the

P.D. stand fully armed, dangerous, and about to be self-loaded

with a Polish Dog. “Alright,” he reports. “The guy only charged

me $3. That’s last week’s price.”

Tyger doesn’t have the heart to tell him of his last dog and

slyly smiles. “What?” Sandy asks. “What?” “Oh, nothing.” “I saw

you smile.” “Nah.”

Coming on to 6:30 p.m. as Tyger looks at his watch.

“I predict Comus will come around the bend in approximately two minutes,” he avers.

Sure enough, the final sounds of Comus cut through an eerie

silence. Comus prefers small out-of-step bizarre musical units to award winning mega-bands.

The first wave of lost players trek downtown in double march step.

Band members look tired and just a little pissed as if they

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELI CANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

279

 

thought they were going to march in Rex,

but instead were tricked into falling down a horrible abyss.

Lucky stiffs to march for Comus.

If only they realized their flying feet have been bestowed

the greatest of honors imaginable

“Just as I predicted,” Tyger rubs it in for the tourists.

“Get ready for the true king of Carnival who carries a silver goblet.

You stand at the precipice of history for hither comes

the Mistick Krewe of Comus.”

Olden wood wheels and ancient floats.

The first one, as always, comes riderless further confounding the uninitiated.

Tourists chatter among themselves, walking away from the parade site.

A few savvy Carnival veterans and those others who still can stand, pull their own weight,

or haven’t been satiated by the previous orgy of fun, stare in wonder at the sight.

“Comus. Comus’.” Sandy and Tyger shout together. “Who are you anyway?”

And so, the king of Carnival kings timelessly arrives.

Comus waves his free hand, holding his goblet with the other

in a toast to the few but enthusiastic fans.

A dip of the goblet in Tyger and Sandy’s direction

as all-knowing Comus recognizes them from celebrations past.

The boys are not too difficult to pick out either as no more than

seven or eight others applaud on a sidewalk that once held

hundreds. And the Tyger-Sandy connection is at the same spot every year.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

280

 

Quickly, quickly passes the 22 floats of Comus interrupted

briefly by out-of-sync marching units and flambeau carriers.

The first float with riders stops briefly before the boys and tosses

them a complment of gold and silver doubloons as well as the

chintziest of plain blue beads.

This is designed to take the pressure off for Mardi Gras

would be the most abysmal of failures were not a complement of

such doubloons garnered to be cherished and examined throughout

the coming year. Comus riders know this, paying special attention

at the parade headwaters to knowledgeable sailors like the

Tygermeister and dandy Sandy Alexander by Seaman’s Lounge.

Pretty much nothing, snake eyes, shakes after that first

float. Some floats don’t have riders. Some have but a couple,

three or four depending on the whimsy of Comus.

The crowd yells for more. Maskers simply radiate plastic

molded Mona Lisa smiles. A few pull up their tunics

in “show us your tits” fashion but, as required by law, say nothing.

Comus riders do not need to speak since they are the elite

of the elite, allowed to do whatever they want. And that includes during Carnival.

The parade takes its usual New York second and just like —

snap-and-pop exploding between one’s fingers — that, has

vanished. The boys don’t leave yet as the absolute finale of the

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

281

 

season is about to take place, one of the stranger, yet most

functional, of hassles.

For around Lee Circle, here comes the Krewe of Krowd Kontrol

to be followed immediately by the Krewe of Sanitation. Whoa

Nellie, the KKK is an intimidating by design tradition.

The party’s final remnants are graced by those horrific

police sirens roaring, accompanied by blinding motorcycle lights

flashing. The KKK drive down the street six abreast to be

followed by a hundred cops on horseback.

They blast off for the roistering frolicking French Quarter

where they will clear the streets of unsuspecting revelers at

precisely 12:01 a.m., Ash Wednesday. Absolutely no mercy granted.

Sleazy French Quarter tourists, who at 6:30 p.m. are doing

their thing face-to-in-your-face and wall-to-wall, never quite

grasp the point that Mardi Gras is the pre-Lenten religious

celebration. Lent begins promptly with the first minute of Ash Wednesday.

N.O.P.D. KKK enforces crowd clearing tactics with

extra P.D. relish, gung-ho gusto, and special retributory attention.

Tourists always complain as they scurry for refuge inside

French Quarter drinking establishments where they are allowed to

party as long as they don’t venture into the streets.

They never realize the vast extent of their ignorance.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

282

 

They probably wouldn’t care if they did.

In the final analysis, tourists and unconnected locals

alike are simply extras in the Carnival tableau, like it or nuts.

Therefore, take Carnival for what it is worth, not much at this point.

Sanity is regaining strength with each passing hour .

The Krewe of Krowd Kontrol, therefore, continues Downtown on

its modern not yet fully appreciated mission. It roars down the

avenue as fast as Comus.

Then, the related Krewe of Sanitation, consisting of giant

street sweeper machines and sanitation workers supported by

guarded Orleans Parish prisoners, sweep aside the mounds of trash.

Street sweepers wash St. Charles Avenue of all previous sins

with powerful blasts of water pushing even the most righteous

observers like Tyger and Sandy back back back and beyond the

Polish Dog outfield warning track.

Tyger waves to one of the sanitation workers walking in h1gh

rubber boots, carrying a broom. The gap-toothed black man waves back.

“Hey throw me something mister,” Tyger yells. “Oh yeah.

Oh yeah,” Mr . Sanitation acknowledges.

“I bet you like this parade the best,” Tyger adds.

“Oh yeah. Oh yeah. There wouldn’t be no tomorrow if we weren’t here,”

the star of the magic moment says.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

283

 

The final meeting of the courts of Rex and Comus,

is the grand finale, a final seasonal ritual

broadcast live on a local television station.

Tyger relaxes at his home alone, observing Rex pay homage to

Comus amidst the stains of “If Ever I Cease to Love” played

ad nauseam. Although the merry tune is a lovely thought.

The courts meet with the usual precise and time practiced

pageantry. Young pages, kings, queens, and other royalty dance

unwavering at the scripted meeting. lt is the same story every

year with only a few small faces trading places.

Tyger watches a bit longer as immediately following that

traditional pageant, comes the clearing of the French Quarter ot

revelers at 12:01, also shown live on television.

So inspiring has the day been that Tyger sits right down and

writes himself a poem. So follows the Comus Parade:

 

“We are just a face; A subject and a place; A lily and a

rose; Rose again for Carnival.

“Shouts the willow rows; By the setting hyacinths; Looms the

long parade; Brush the final stroke.

“Empty hides the space; Where silence softly rows;

Before the wave applauds; The coming of the float.

“I float and so do you; Beneath a sky of beads; tossed by

maskers out; Nowhere left to go.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Fifteen

Weisman

284

 

“In your darkest eyes; Shines a mandrake moon; Shooting up

the stars; Howling at the fools.

“Comus come to me; Where the marchers stop; How the garden

grows; I can’t help myself.

“To see and not to see; Hides your colored mask; Behind a

bed of thorns; Blows a stack of facts.

“We ar-e meant to be; An object and a dream; Beyond the great

arcade; Stands nothingness.”

 

Rubbing his bleary eyes in joy at having survived yet

another Mardi Gras, Tyger finally embarks on the sleep of

truly contented. He dreams of tracking down insurance fraud.

Not. He dreams of graceful ballerina swans dancing. Shhhh.

Don’t disturb him. All too soon, the work-a-day world

resumes again tomorrow.

Shhhh…Sleep tight.

Enough is too much.

Burning head/Ray Bong

https://www.escondidograpevine.com/wp-admin/post-new.php

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

Back to IRS Inc. business. Tyger swaps out

the car baby seat system for the deus ex machina

black box secret video surveillance system.

Tyger runs the system outside Mildred Baker’s New Orleans East apartment and

makes himself scarce at a local shopping mall, among other places.

Other cases are completed with official reports filed and shown in format.

Also, logs of tapes upon further review are revealed.

 

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/

https://www.escondidograpevine.com/wp-admin/post-new.php

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

Back to IRS Inc. business. Tyger swaps out

the car baby seat system for the deus ex machina

black box secret video surveillance system.

Tyger runs the system outside Mildred Baker’s New Orleans East apartment and

makes himself scarce at a local shopping mall, among other places.

Other cases are completed with official reports filed and shown in format.

Also, logs of tapes upon further review are revealed.

 

CHAPTERS 16

“IN A BLACK BOX”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

Weisman

285

 

What a relief. Mardi Gras has been defeated.

Tyger is the happiest detective in town.

Now, he must retrieve the baby seat secret surveillance

system he had brought the previous week to Dorothy’s Oz.

Joe’s “man in Mobile” needed to do some extra tinkering

on the cute little critter.

Tyger drives over the river and through the swamp to the

wild wild West Bank of Marrero, pulling up to the modest suburban

one-level house that doubles as the IRS Inc. checkpoint.

He reaches for the front door.

Yip yip yap,  Poopsie, doggone it. Sure enough, Dorothy

leads Tyger into the kitchen where they sit and drink coffee.

“I see you survived Mardi Gras,” begins Dorothy with the

traditional post-Carnival greeting. “Good. Joe’s technical guy is

still working on the baby seat, but we have another system for you to try out.

This one should work even better than the baby seat. It’s the black box.”

“Indeed,” Tyger replies curiously.

“Oh yeah. This looks good. I haven’t tried it yet, but Joe

says it works great. Let me show you the ropes.”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

286

 

They walk the few steps over to the beige carpeted

living area. Sure enough, a large square black wood box

rests beside the couch. That’s it, period, end of description.

It is a black box mounted by a metal bar with wires.

“You can use this just like the baby seat,” Dorothy continues.

“Mount the camera, operate the same motor control to move the bar.

Cover the camera up with this improved cloth cover.”

She produces said item from behind the couch, displaying it

with a small flourish to an appreciative Tyger.

“It is even more innocuous looking than the baby seat.

Rest of the set-up is standard procedure.”

“Cover looks like a rag doll” Tyger says. “Let’s give it a whirl.”

“Great,” Dorothy continues. “Joe wants you back on

Baker. She has moved to an apartment complex on Morrison Road.

Go there about 11 a.m. Check out the place. Leave the

system running until 2 p.m. and pick it up. We’ll look over

the tape, come up with a plan.

Baker is suing the insurance company for so much money that

expense is no object. You probably will get a whole lot of work

on this case in the coming months, so be ready for some fun.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

287

 

“We are also going back on LeBeouf. His wife called Joe the

other day, said she has a better way to catch Bingo. I don’t

know how much we can trust her, but Joe might want you to go up

there, and work on that.

We have a couple of cases locally and something in Houma

that Joe will work with you on, so you should be fairly busy the

next few weeks or so.”

“Hey, I can live with that,” Tyger notes. “Maybe I can make

enough money to buy that video editing system. I can definitely use the work.”

Tyger loads the bad black box into his car along with all the

accompanying video accoutrements. He drives by the conveniently

located Pho Tau Bay, sitting there for a while sipping a soothing

daytime Cafe Da — no sua.

Of course, the real purpose for this activity is to check

out the gorgeous Vietnamese girls who stop by, wisely spending

their social currency. Quite a few beautiful dishes aren’t even

on the Viet Nam map adorned plates;

If only they knew an intrepid detective nearby psychically

projects to them as they laugh and smile sweetly. Ahhh, dream on, y’all.

Oh well, such is life. Is it ever fair? Or only foul?

Tyger seems out of place and out of time.

A pleasant diversion passes too quickly.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

288

 

Check, please. Tyger returns home to spend the rest of the

day alone before setting on Baker tomorrow. So it goes.

The next six weeks bring with them as baggage the

aforementioned investigative assignments to which we shall soon

turn our limited attention spans. Tyger is about to join the

black box, catch as catch can, deus ex machina investigating circuit.

Besides belaboring the soon to be obvious, Tyger’s life is

quite devoid of diversions. Sure, he watches the usual amount of

television: various cable movies, soap operas, and the odd ice

hockey match. However, there is nary a football nor

baseball game in sight. Boooring.

Tyger’s life revolves around the usual friendly chit-chat

cycle. He visits occasionally with Armor’s, Mac, and the various

cast of characters whom you have met including Sandy Alexander

and even Nick Bowers.

Mr. Milty, rumored to be in the neighborhood, is nowhere to

be found. Various telephone messages remain unreturned.

Will Milty reappear again some day?

Only the shadow knows. Milty usually turns up when one

least expects it like a demented Candid Camera episode. It has

happened before. Perhaps it will happen again.

Or maybe the estranged post-toasty girl friend who has been

hassling Tyger for Mr. Milty information will hire a detective to

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

289

 

find the wandering vagabond artist. Tyger is unavailable for the near term.

All that and matters great and small — mainly small —

are beside the immediate discussion of events transpiring in

late February to March 1988.

Tyger is all business these days. He doesn’t know

when the gravy train will end. work is available. However, Joe

Fine has been acting a bit odd lately.

Little things perhaps invisible to the naked eye, but the

strictly observant have been catching a definite drift.

Tyger is not the only interested party who has noticed that the

party might end at any moment.

Joe Fine has been in less frequent contact with Dorothy as

well, so it is not just an overly paranoid imagination, although

that helps. Dorothy mentions on the telephone that she has had to

get on Joe Fine’s case lately to keep the caseload rolling.

“I don’t know what is eating him,” she relates to an anxious Tyger.

“We have a good thing going and he seems very lethargic .

He has been complaining a lot lately about his little

snots.” She laughs. “I’ve met his wife who is a total bitch.

Maybe he is a little distracted right now.

I am certainly trying to keep him focused, because I need

the work too. You are not the only one. Hopefully things will work out.”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

290

 

Uh-oh. The gig is a happening for now. How long can it last?

Que lastima not to continue. Such great money. In fact,

recently Dorothy has raised his salary to the princely sum of $12 an hour,

twice as much as one could make in another job dead ended.

It has been…real? Well, it has been fun.

“Hope Joe Fine maintains his mental condition,” Tyger tells Dorothy.

“Been getting into this lately.”

“I know what you mean,” Dorothy replies. “Like I said. We’ve got a good thing going.

Hate for Joe to blow it. Guess he is suffering a little crisis of confidence.

Hopefully, that will blow over soon.”

Fortified by black coffee, straight no chaser,

Tyger sails alongside future ships, tacking east with the black box

until he has navigated to Mildred Baker’s sleazy shores.

Little Miss Muffet is living in a small New Orleans East

apartment complex tuffet. Locked front gate separates

the middle class wheat inside from the criminal chaff

that has overtaken New Orleans in recent years.

(It is beginning to look more like Beirut around here every day.)

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

291

 

Tyger drives up and down Morrison Road in a holding pattern

checking the area for the best surveillance site. Piece of cake,

actually, which Tyger has no problem digesting. He can set up in

any of two, or three, places for optimal effect; three, or four, others if necessary.

Prime spots squarely face the front gate that is the only

apparent entrance to the Sea Breeze Apartment Complex, so-called.

No problem.

Tyger is about to pull into prime spot number one when,

surprise surprise, a large black truck pulls in ahead of him.

Doesn’t it always go to show — when you want a good spot it blows.

“Damnit. Damnit. Damnit.” Tyger is angrier than a disturbed

hive of bees. “Damned Damned asshole. Damn you motherfucker.”

(Watch that anger bro. He catches himself. It is not the end of the world

yet.)

Tyger must hang a Huey Long across the busy street, try

another spot. He quickly determines that this option is less than optimal.

Simply too much vehicular traffic. The picture is disrupted

each time a car passes through the camera. Damn yahoos.

Lingering like a bad case of flu, blown away like a puff

of wind along the levee, Tyger waits, watches in horror

wondering. “Is that guy going to move it this century?”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

292

 

he asks himself in passing.

Tyger leaves the video running. He walks around

the apartment complex to the rear parking lot. He notes

various vehicles, including a 1985 Ford Mustang, red, that comes

back later as registered to Mildred Baker’s ex-husband.

Further surveillance reveals that her teenage son drives it.

The youngest Baker guides his “ailing” mother as she glides

across the gravy train’s gilded tracks. As usual, it is all in the family.

Down the road a block sits a small shopping area where Tyger

buys a diet Mountain Dew at a market. He checks out the local

talent. After all, he will be returning this way again and

again and again or so Dorothy has foretold.

(Unfortunately, the talent wouldn’t even qualify for an

appearance on Ed McMahon’s “Star Search.”)

Tyger re-enters his personal mission control back at the

surveillance scene, and monitors video functions. All systems go,

baby, go — looking good. The secondary primary spot isn’t

half-bad if one ignores passing traffic.

Spot primo still would be best and thank you Lord a red

faced workman re-emerges. He moves his stinking truck. Tyger

immediately jockeys into the vacated place, motor control

focusing a very nice picture that spans from the entrance to the

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

293

 

adjacent front lawn, then stalks away.

Now, the real challenge of this assignment. What to do for

three-and-a-half hours. Easier said than done. Sure beats working.

The wandering detective heads over to a nearby outdoors

mini-mall. He stops, looks, surveys landscape. Booooring.

Just a few nondescript local type shops, another less than

adequate market, and the Eastside Cinema Showcase, which for some

reason only screens second-run Hollywood movies at night.

Never mind. Lake Forest Shopping Center is a mile down the

road. Tyger knows he will find a slice of consumer paradise over

the wild blue yonder. There, over there, he like a fire flies, like a firefly alights.

Sure enough kiddies. There is a there there. In this case,

it is a lovely all weather under one roof shopping mall. A Sears

where America shops store anchors one end.

Maison Blanche Department Bore encloses the other side.

Another friendly 42 flavors of corporate consumer madness

also await the bah bah sheepskin shoppers. They are joined this

mid-day by Tyger Williams, none other, in the flash.

Tyger walks around for a while checking out prices.

Booooring. How do those cretins manage to buy anything?

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

294

 

Life is the real real thing, babe, and this the first day of a

perpetual calendar dated for the moment March 1988

march march marching into spring. The top of Jackson Brewery rip-off

development dropped the ball, after all, signifying the end of 1987.

Another ball will drop this year as the shopping mall

stretches along timeless for a while. It is what it is

for this brain dead moment, waiting for the Baker plan to

formulate a mile down the road.

Dum de dum dum. Dum de dum dum. Musak drones along, filling,

shopping drones with money squandering wonder.

Truly, Tyger has chanced upon the ultimate heart of darkness.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

295

 

Tyger is the ultimate invisible man,

secret deus ex machina black box video surveillance system

running while he sits and ponders burning styroheads,

based on the theme of “Whatever Happened to the Nuclear Family.”

This should tell you something about his relative state. Here goes nothing.

 

Burning, burning, churning; styroheads are burning across

Lake Forest Mall. That horrible bio-nondegradable

styrofoam, smell of chemicals burning, their red and orange

faces, white heads melting and elongating

in equally terrible brown gooey pools.

Some of those styroheads had names, buddy.

Some, the panted awful art insignias being

official members of the non-aborted — darn —

nuclear family who sat for a short spell

inside Stinko’s window surrounded by

portraits of 10,000 red-and-orange

faces setting in the copy shop margins with

holocaust screams and barbecue smiles.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

296

 

So at the shopping mall, a Saints playoff lighter — you

know how that went — in one hand; a joint in another — dynamite

stuff, by the way straight from Vice-President Shrub’s personal

victory garden — a ceremonial flame leaps this way forward and

jumps back again in horror.

A sickly slick salesclerk looking like Nancy Ray-gun’s

hairdresser’s mother hops, skips, and jumps across the fake plant

walkway and out of her swarthy fatass irradiated skin rumbling,

bumbling, stumbling through the artificial colors … “

 

“Uhh sir, you o.k.?” a small mall security guard extra taps

Tyger on the shoulders. “Whaaaa?” Tyger replies, so rudely interrupted.

“Just noticed you been sitting here quite a while, and you know,

knocked over your cold drink.”

“Oh, right,” Tyger unleashed. “Sorry. What time do you have?”

“Little after 2 p.m.”

“Damn. I was waiting for my girl friend. Guess she’s late. Got to run.” ”

“Yeah. Yeah.”

“O.K.”

A real meeting of the mindless transpiring. Tyger must pick

up the system, leaving the sublime emptiness of bogus commerce

for a more immediate future.

Have no fear Frau Baker. Tyger will be back like entropy

some coming space-time. Goody goody gumshoedrop.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

297

 

Back to more visible business for now.

He picks up his feet, stomping across the empty barren weed-filled,

and not in the good way, path back

to Morrison Road and the surveillance scene.

All looks normal. All seems well.

Hippety-hopping in the car, Tyger glances downward to check

the monitor and monitor the VCR. All systems continue to operate

properly. Looking good, mission control. Must blast off now.

Our dear Tyger boy therefore postulates that all subject

activity, if any, has been deliberately, indelibly, irrefutably

recorded. Say good day, Mildred.

‘Tis tape drop off at Dorothy’s home office. She isn’t there

Instead, she is consulting a professional about her

delicate condition. Her husband Jack Splat, some kind of vaguely

public servant, is available for tape delivery.

“Hey dude,” greets Jack, who has long brown hair tied back

in a pony tail. “How is it hanging?”

Tyger laughs at the silly question. “Great. Great. Hanging

like a kite, baby.” Jack jovial agrees to agree.

Something is missing from the scene. Finally it dawns on

Tyger. “Hey Jack. Where’s Poopsie?”

“That dumb bitch. She’s in the backyard. That is Dorothy’s

department. You know how those hormones get. Just keeping the

family peace. Know what I mean?”

“Oh, yeah. Got to keep the boss happy.”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

298

 

“Definitely, dude. Care for ‘a cold drink?”

Jack is a nice guy in a weird way. Just stoopid.

“Got to run for now,” Tyger replies. “Beat the traffic.”

“I hear that. See you when I see you.” “Later.”

Dorothy calls the next day. “Good going Tyger. Baker and her

son piddled around the front for a while. Then they left in the

red Mustang. So we know she is keeping active. I’ll get with Joe.

We should go back on her later.

For now, we have a couple of cases for you to work next

week. Work Larry Gordon, white male, married, one child, 27 years

old, 1334 Yale Boulevard in Metairie.

He drives a beige Mercury Cougar, Louisiana License Number

213A356. His wife has a late-model red Mazda sports car

Louisiana License Number 65N901. Do that Monday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Then get Reginald Alonzo Jones III, black male, 45 years old,

divorced, two children, 6522 Berkely — guess, that’s

street — Algiers. Work him Wednesday from 7 a.m. until noon .

“That should keep you busy for a while next week. Look over

the tapes when you finish and put everything in your report.

I’ll get back with you later on it.

Hopefully, Joe is O.K., and we can go gung-ho on Baker.

I’ve got another case, too, that I’ll give you. I am sure Joe

wants you back on Bingo LeBeouf.”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

299

 

“Like I told you before, he spoke with Mrs. Bingo and is

totally obsessed with that thorn in his side. It is definitely

personal between Joe and Bingo. Good versus evil.”

Just following orders, Tyger sets up on Gordon at the

appointed place and hour. He files the following report after

reviewing videotaped evidence:

 

DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION:

On Monday March 7, 1988 at 7:15 a.m. the agent departed New

Orleans and proceeded to the Subject’s reported city of

residence. Where upon his arrival at 7:30 a.m. the agent

located the Subject’s residence which is a single family

blue painted wood with white trim dwelling. Parked in the

Subject’s driveway was a beige Mercury Cougar, Louisiana

License Number 213A356. The agent moved a safe distance from

the area and began his surveillance.

 

INVESTIGATORS NOTE:

 

A Video recording of the following activity was made.

At 10:05 a.m. a young white female, about 25 years old,

emerges from the residence with a small child followed by

activity of the child at the door. She leaves the area.

At 11:15 a.m. the young female returns.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

300

 

At 11:27 a.m. a young white male arrives.

At 11:31 a.m. a white male fitting the Subject’s description emerges from the residence with the small child, warms up the car and drives away.

At 11:48 a.m. another white female, in dark slacks and with beehive hair arrangement drives up and enters the residence. At 12:06 p.m. the white female in dark slacks speaks with an older white female at the door and leaves.

At 12:28 p.m. the older white female, the white female in slacks, and the white female presumed to be the Subject’s wife engage in activity around the front yard.

At 12:43 p.m. the Subject returns in the Mercury Cougar, emerges from the vehicle, checks the front mailbox, and goes inside.

At 1:43 p.m. and until 2:13 p.m. the Subject wearing a “World’s Greatest Dad” sweater stands in the residence’s doorway and sits on the Mercury Cougar until the tape ends.

 

DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION:

At 2:30 p.m. the agent returned to the surveillance scene, moved a safe distance from the area, and resumed his active surveillance. At 3:00 p.m. the Subject was observed washing his car. The

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

301

 

Subject appeared to walk normally and showed no difficulty

while bending over during this activity.

 

INVESTIGATORS NOTE:

A Video recording of this activity was made.

 

DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION:

At 3:30 p.m. the previously noted older white female, young white female in slacks and beehive haircut, and Subject’s wife engaged in activity in and around the residence.

At 4:55 p.m. the Subject emerged from residence and walked around the yard. He appeared to be walking normally. 

 

INVESTIGATORS NOTE:

A Video recording of this activity was made.

 

DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION:

At 5:15 p.m. the surveillance continues with negative activity.

At 5:30 p.m. not seeing the Subject again the agent ended his surveillance and returned back to New Orleans where upon his arrival at 5:45 p.m. he reviewed the Video recording and filed this report.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

302

 

The Gordon case nets Tyger 10.5 hours of investigative time

worth $126 plus $6 for 30 miles. Not a bad day’s work and some

good shots of Roberts activity.

The Jones case does not proceed quite as smoothly although,

thankfully, Tyger does not realize this until later. He sets up,

per instructions, at 7 a.m.

He sits at a nearby park, walking around the neighborhood

until about 10 a.m. while certain about to be mentioned

activity takes place.

All the while, Tyger lurks nearby behind a tree, next to a

car, or waiting at a bus stop keeping keeping close tabs with the

situation. He was authorized until noon but as Falstaff says,

discretion is the better part of valor.

 

This is a log he makes from the videotape after reviewing it later:

 

At 7:37 a.m. a black teenager takes trash can to garage door

and walks back to the front of the residence.

At 8:18 a.m. a black female who appears to be Jones’s

girlfriend emerges from the residence and walks by on the

street.

At 9:19-9:22 a.m. the black female walks by and around the

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

303

 

surveillance vehicle.

At 9:31-9:35 a.m. the black female and black teenager

and another black person engage in activity around the

surveillance vehicle.

At 9:44 a.m. the Subject emerges from the residence and

walks by the surveillance vehicle on Berkely Street.

At 9:52 a.m. a New Orleans Police Department car drives

up to the surveillance vehicle and stops.

At 9:54 a.m. a male and female police officers walk around

the surveillance vehicle.

At 9:58 a.m. a close-up shot of the Subject as he speaks

with the police officers.

At 10:03 a.m. the Subject leaves the scene and returns to

his residence.

At 10:06 a.m. the police officers leave the scene.

 

And at 10:10 a.m., not noted on the log, Tyger jumps quickly

into his mother the car, zoom zoom zooming away. He does not even

look over his shoulder fearing the fate of Lot’s wife.

Can’t win ’em all. But Jones did appear to be moving

without any apparent neck pain. So, maybe all is not lost.

One never knows.

That’s shoe business.

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/

https://www.escondidograpevine.com/wp-admin/post-new.php

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

Back to IRS Inc. business. Tyger swaps out

the car baby seat system for the deus ex machina

black box secret video surveillance system.

Tyger runs the system outside Mildred Baker’s New Orleans East apartment and

makes himself scarce at a local shopping mall, among other places.

Other cases are completed with official reports filed and shown in format.

Also, logs of tapes upon further review are revealed.

 

CHAPTERS 16

“IN A BLACK BOX”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

Weisman

285

 

What a relief. Mardi Gras has been defeated.

Tyger is the happiest detective in town.

Now, he must retrieve the baby seat secret surveillance

system he had brought the previous week to Dorothy’s Oz.

Joe’s “man in Mobile” needed to do some extra tinkering

on the cute little critter.

Tyger drives over the river and through the swamp to the

wild wild West Bank of Marrero, pulling up to the modest suburban

one-level house that doubles as the IRS Inc. checkpoint.

He reaches for the front door.

Yip yip yap,  Poopsie, doggone it. Sure enough, Dorothy

leads Tyger into the kitchen where they sit and drink coffee.

“I see you survived Mardi Gras,” begins Dorothy with the

traditional post-Carnival greeting. “Good. Joe’s technical guy is

still working on the baby seat, but we have another system for you to try out.

This one should work even better than the baby seat. It’s the black box.”

“Indeed,” Tyger replies curiously.

“Oh yeah. This looks good. I haven’t tried it yet, but Joe

says it works great. Let me show you the ropes.”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

286

 

They walk the few steps over to the beige carpeted

living area. Sure enough, a large square black wood box

rests beside the couch. That’s it, period, end of description.

It is a black box mounted by a metal bar with wires.

“You can use this just like the baby seat,” Dorothy continues.

“Mount the camera, operate the same motor control to move the bar.

Cover the camera up with this improved cloth cover.”

She produces said item from behind the couch, displaying it

with a small flourish to an appreciative Tyger.

“It is even more innocuous looking than the baby seat.

Rest of the set-up is standard procedure.”

“Cover looks like a rag doll” Tyger says. “Let’s give it a whirl.”

“Great,” Dorothy continues. “Joe wants you back on

Baker. She has moved to an apartment complex on Morrison Road.

Go there about 11 a.m. Check out the place. Leave the

system running until 2 p.m. and pick it up. We’ll look over

the tape, come up with a plan.

Baker is suing the insurance company for so much money that

expense is no object. You probably will get a whole lot of work

on this case in the coming months, so be ready for some fun.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

287

 

“We are also going back on LeBeouf. His wife called Joe the

other day, said she has a better way to catch Bingo. I don’t

know how much we can trust her, but Joe might want you to go up

there, and work on that.

We have a couple of cases locally and something in Houma

that Joe will work with you on, so you should be fairly busy the

next few weeks or so.”

“Hey, I can live with that,” Tyger notes. “Maybe I can make

enough money to buy that video editing system. I can definitely use the work.”

Tyger loads the bad black box into his car along with all the

accompanying video accoutrements. He drives by the conveniently

located Pho Tau Bay, sitting there for a while sipping a soothing

daytime Cafe Da — no sua.

Of course, the real purpose for this activity is to check

out the gorgeous Vietnamese girls who stop by, wisely spending

their social currency. Quite a few beautiful dishes aren’t even

on the Viet Nam map adorned plates;

If only they knew an intrepid detective nearby psychically

projects to them as they laugh and smile sweetly. Ahhh, dream on, y’all.

Oh well, such is life. Is it ever fair? Or only foul?

Tyger seems out of place and out of time.

A pleasant diversion passes too quickly.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

288

 

Check, please. Tyger returns home to spend the rest of the

day alone before setting on Baker tomorrow. So it goes.

The next six weeks bring with them as baggage the

aforementioned investigative assignments to which we shall soon

turn our limited attention spans. Tyger is about to join the

black box, catch as catch can, deus ex machina investigating circuit.

Besides belaboring the soon to be obvious, Tyger’s life is

quite devoid of diversions. Sure, he watches the usual amount of

television: various cable movies, soap operas, and the odd ice

hockey match. However, there is nary a football nor

baseball game in sight. Boooring.

Tyger’s life revolves around the usual friendly chit-chat

cycle. He visits occasionally with Armor’s, Mac, and the various

cast of characters whom you have met including Sandy Alexander

and even Nick Bowers.

Mr. Milty, rumored to be in the neighborhood, is nowhere to

be found. Various telephone messages remain unreturned.

Will Milty reappear again some day?

Only the shadow knows. Milty usually turns up when one

least expects it like a demented Candid Camera episode. It has

happened before. Perhaps it will happen again.

Or maybe the estranged post-toasty girl friend who has been

hassling Tyger for Mr. Milty information will hire a detective to

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

289

 

find the wandering vagabond artist. Tyger is unavailable for the near term.

All that and matters great and small — mainly small —

are beside the immediate discussion of events transpiring in

late February to March 1988.

Tyger is all business these days. He doesn’t know

when the gravy train will end. work is available. However, Joe

Fine has been acting a bit odd lately.

Little things perhaps invisible to the naked eye, but the

strictly observant have been catching a definite drift.

Tyger is not the only interested party who has noticed that the

party might end at any moment.

Joe Fine has been in less frequent contact with Dorothy as

well, so it is not just an overly paranoid imagination, although

that helps. Dorothy mentions on the telephone that she has had to

get on Joe Fine’s case lately to keep the caseload rolling.

“I don’t know what is eating him,” she relates to an anxious Tyger.

“We have a good thing going and he seems very lethargic .

He has been complaining a lot lately about his little

snots.” She laughs. “I’ve met his wife who is a total bitch.

Maybe he is a little distracted right now.

I am certainly trying to keep him focused, because I need

the work too. You are not the only one. Hopefully things will work out.”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

290

 

Uh-oh. The gig is a happening for now. How long can it last?

Que lastima not to continue. Such great money. In fact,

recently Dorothy has raised his salary to the princely sum of $12 an hour,

twice as much as one could make in another job dead ended.

It has been…real? Well, it has been fun.

“Hope Joe Fine maintains his mental condition,” Tyger tells Dorothy.

“Been getting into this lately.”

“I know what you mean,” Dorothy replies. “Like I said. We’ve got a good thing going.

Hate for Joe to blow it. Guess he is suffering a little crisis of confidence.

Hopefully, that will blow over soon.”

Fortified by black coffee, straight no chaser,

Tyger sails alongside future ships, tacking east with the black box

until he has navigated to Mildred Baker’s sleazy shores.

Little Miss Muffet is living in a small New Orleans East

apartment complex tuffet. Locked front gate separates

the middle class wheat inside from the criminal chaff

that has overtaken New Orleans in recent years.

(It is beginning to look more like Beirut around here every day.)

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

291

 

Tyger drives up and down Morrison Road in a holding pattern

checking the area for the best surveillance site. Piece of cake,

actually, which Tyger has no problem digesting. He can set up in

any of two, or three, places for optimal effect; three, or four, others if necessary.

Prime spots squarely face the front gate that is the only

apparent entrance to the Sea Breeze Apartment Complex, so-called.

No problem.

Tyger is about to pull into prime spot number one when,

surprise surprise, a large black truck pulls in ahead of him.

Doesn’t it always go to show — when you want a good spot it blows.

“Damnit. Damnit. Damnit.” Tyger is angrier than a disturbed

hive of bees. “Damned Damned asshole. Damn you motherfucker.”

(Watch that anger bro. He catches himself. It is not the end of the world

yet.)

Tyger must hang a Huey Long across the busy street, try

another spot. He quickly determines that this option is less than optimal.

Simply too much vehicular traffic. The picture is disrupted

each time a car passes through the camera. Damn yahoos.

Lingering like a bad case of flu, blown away like a puff

of wind along the levee, Tyger waits, watches in horror

wondering. “Is that guy going to move it this century?”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

292

 

he asks himself in passing.

Tyger leaves the video running. He walks around

the apartment complex to the rear parking lot. He notes

various vehicles, including a 1985 Ford Mustang, red, that comes

back later as registered to Mildred Baker’s ex-husband.

Further surveillance reveals that her teenage son drives it.

The youngest Baker guides his “ailing” mother as she glides

across the gravy train’s gilded tracks. As usual, it is all in the family.

Down the road a block sits a small shopping area where Tyger

buys a diet Mountain Dew at a market. He checks out the local

talent. After all, he will be returning this way again and

again and again or so Dorothy has foretold.

(Unfortunately, the talent wouldn’t even qualify for an

appearance on Ed McMahon’s “Star Search.”)

Tyger re-enters his personal mission control back at the

surveillance scene, and monitors video functions. All systems go,

baby, go — looking good. The secondary primary spot isn’t

half-bad if one ignores passing traffic.

Spot primo still would be best and thank you Lord a red

faced workman re-emerges. He moves his stinking truck. Tyger

immediately jockeys into the vacated place, motor control

focusing a very nice picture that spans from the entrance to the

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

293

 

adjacent front lawn, then stalks away.

Now, the real challenge of this assignment. What to do for

three-and-a-half hours. Easier said than done. Sure beats working.

The wandering detective heads over to a nearby outdoors

mini-mall. He stops, looks, surveys landscape. Booooring.

Just a few nondescript local type shops, another less than

adequate market, and the Eastside Cinema Showcase, which for some

reason only screens second-run Hollywood movies at night.

Never mind. Lake Forest Shopping Center is a mile down the

road. Tyger knows he will find a slice of consumer paradise over

the wild blue yonder. There, over there, he like a fire flies, like a firefly alights.

Sure enough kiddies. There is a there there. In this case,

it is a lovely all weather under one roof shopping mall. A Sears

where America shops store anchors one end.

Maison Blanche Department Bore encloses the other side.

Another friendly 42 flavors of corporate consumer madness

also await the bah bah sheepskin shoppers. They are joined this

mid-day by Tyger Williams, none other, in the flash.

Tyger walks around for a while checking out prices.

Booooring. How do those cretins manage to buy anything?

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

294

 

Life is the real real thing, babe, and this the first day of a

perpetual calendar dated for the moment March 1988

march march marching into spring. The top of Jackson Brewery rip-off

development dropped the ball, after all, signifying the end of 1987.

Another ball will drop this year as the shopping mall

stretches along timeless for a while. It is what it is

for this brain dead moment, waiting for the Baker plan to

formulate a mile down the road.

Dum de dum dum. Dum de dum dum. Musak drones along, filling,

shopping drones with money squandering wonder.

Truly, Tyger has chanced upon the ultimate heart of darkness.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

295

 

Tyger is the ultimate invisible man,

secret deus ex machina black box video surveillance system

running while he sits and ponders burning styroheads,

based on the theme of “Whatever Happened to the Nuclear Family.”

This should tell you something about his relative state. Here goes nothing.

 

Burning, burning, churning; styroheads are burning across

Lake Forest Mall. That horrible bio-nondegradable

styrofoam, smell of chemicals burning, their red and orange

faces, white heads melting and elongating

in equally terrible brown gooey pools.

Some of those styroheads had names, buddy.

Some, the panted awful art insignias being

official members of the non-aborted — darn —

nuclear family who sat for a short spell

inside Stinko’s window surrounded by

portraits of 10,000 red-and-orange

faces setting in the copy shop margins with

holocaust screams and barbecue smiles.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

296

 

So at the shopping mall, a Saints playoff lighter — you

know how that went — in one hand; a joint in another — dynamite

stuff, by the way straight from Vice-President Shrub’s personal

victory garden — a ceremonial flame leaps this way forward and

jumps back again in horror.

A sickly slick salesclerk looking like Nancy Ray-gun’s

hairdresser’s mother hops, skips, and jumps across the fake plant

walkway and out of her swarthy fatass irradiated skin rumbling,

bumbling, stumbling through the artificial colors … “

 

“Uhh sir, you o.k.?” a small mall security guard extra taps

Tyger on the shoulders. “Whaaaa?” Tyger replies, so rudely interrupted.

“Just noticed you been sitting here quite a while, and you know,

knocked over your cold drink.”

“Oh, right,” Tyger unleashed. “Sorry. What time do you have?”

“Little after 2 p.m.”

“Damn. I was waiting for my girl friend. Guess she’s late. Got to run.” ”

“Yeah. Yeah.”

“O.K.”

A real meeting of the mindless transpiring. Tyger must pick

up the system, leaving the sublime emptiness of bogus commerce

for a more immediate future.

Have no fear Frau Baker. Tyger will be back like entropy

some coming space-time. Goody goody gumshoedrop.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

297

 

Back to more visible business for now.

He picks up his feet, stomping across the empty barren weed-filled,

and not in the good way, path back

to Morrison Road and the surveillance scene.

All looks normal. All seems well.

Hippety-hopping in the car, Tyger glances downward to check

the monitor and monitor the VCR. All systems continue to operate

properly. Looking good, mission control. Must blast off now.

Our dear Tyger boy therefore postulates that all subject

activity, if any, has been deliberately, indelibly, irrefutably

recorded. Say good day, Mildred.

‘Tis tape drop off at Dorothy’s home office. She isn’t there

Instead, she is consulting a professional about her

delicate condition. Her husband Jack Splat, some kind of vaguely

public servant, is available for tape delivery.

“Hey dude,” greets Jack, who has long brown hair tied back

in a pony tail. “How is it hanging?”

Tyger laughs at the silly question. “Great. Great. Hanging

like a kite, baby.” Jack jovial agrees to agree.

Something is missing from the scene. Finally it dawns on

Tyger. “Hey Jack. Where’s Poopsie?”

“That dumb bitch. She’s in the backyard. That is Dorothy’s

department. You know how those hormones get. Just keeping the

family peace. Know what I mean?”

“Oh, yeah. Got to keep the boss happy.”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

298

 

“Definitely, dude. Care for ‘a cold drink?”

Jack is a nice guy in a weird way. Just stoopid.

“Got to run for now,” Tyger replies. “Beat the traffic.”

“I hear that. See you when I see you.” “Later.”

Dorothy calls the next day. “Good going Tyger. Baker and her

son piddled around the front for a while. Then they left in the

red Mustang. So we know she is keeping active. I’ll get with Joe.

We should go back on her later.

For now, we have a couple of cases for you to work next

week. Work Larry Gordon, white male, married, one child, 27 years

old, 1334 Yale Boulevard in Metairie.

He drives a beige Mercury Cougar, Louisiana License Number

213A356. His wife has a late-model red Mazda sports car

Louisiana License Number 65N901. Do that Monday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Then get Reginald Alonzo Jones III, black male, 45 years old,

divorced, two children, 6522 Berkely — guess, that’s

street — Algiers. Work him Wednesday from 7 a.m. until noon .

“That should keep you busy for a while next week. Look over

the tapes when you finish and put everything in your report.

I’ll get back with you later on it.

Hopefully, Joe is O.K., and we can go gung-ho on Baker.

I’ve got another case, too, that I’ll give you. I am sure Joe

wants you back on Bingo LeBeouf.”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

299

 

“Like I told you before, he spoke with Mrs. Bingo and is

totally obsessed with that thorn in his side. It is definitely

personal between Joe and Bingo. Good versus evil.”

Just following orders, Tyger sets up on Gordon at the

appointed place and hour. He files the following report after

reviewing videotaped evidence:

 

DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION:

On Monday March 7, 1988 at 7:15 a.m. the agent departed New

Orleans and proceeded to the Subject’s reported city of

residence. Where upon his arrival at 7:30 a.m. the agent

located the Subject’s residence which is a single family

blue painted wood with white trim dwelling. Parked in the

Subject’s driveway was a beige Mercury Cougar, Louisiana

License Number 213A356. The agent moved a safe distance from

the area and began his surveillance.

 

INVESTIGATORS NOTE:

 

A Video recording of the following activity was made.

At 10:05 a.m. a young white female, about 25 years old,

emerges from the residence with a small child followed by

activity of the child at the door. She leaves the area.

At 11:15 a.m. the young female returns.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

300

 

At 11:27 a.m. a young white male arrives.

At 11:31 a.m. a white male fitting the Subject’s description emerges from the residence with the small child, warms up the car and drives away.

At 11:48 a.m. another white female, in dark slacks and with beehive hair arrangement drives up and enters the residence. At 12:06 p.m. the white female in dark slacks speaks with an older white female at the door and leaves.

At 12:28 p.m. the older white female, the white female in slacks, and the white female presumed to be the Subject’s wife engage in activity around the front yard.

At 12:43 p.m. the Subject returns in the Mercury Cougar, emerges from the vehicle, checks the front mailbox, and goes inside.

At 1:43 p.m. and until 2:13 p.m. the Subject wearing a “World’s Greatest Dad” sweater stands in the residence’s doorway and sits on the Mercury Cougar until the tape ends.

 

DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION:

At 2:30 p.m. the agent returned to the surveillance scene, moved a safe distance from the area, and resumed his active surveillance. At 3:00 p.m. the Subject was observed washing his car. The

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

301

 

Subject appeared to walk normally and showed no difficulty

while bending over during this activity.

 

INVESTIGATORS NOTE:

A Video recording of this activity was made.

 

DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION:

At 3:30 p.m. the previously noted older white female, young white female in slacks and beehive haircut, and Subject’s wife engaged in activity in and around the residence.

At 4:55 p.m. the Subject emerged from residence and walked around the yard. He appeared to be walking normally. 

 

INVESTIGATORS NOTE:

A Video recording of this activity was made.

 

DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION:

At 5:15 p.m. the surveillance continues with negative activity.

At 5:30 p.m. not seeing the Subject again the agent ended his surveillance and returned back to New Orleans where upon his arrival at 5:45 p.m. he reviewed the Video recording and filed this report.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

302

 

The Gordon case nets Tyger 10.5 hours of investigative time

worth $126 plus $6 for 30 miles. Not a bad day’s work and some

good shots of Roberts activity.

The Jones case does not proceed quite as smoothly although,

thankfully, Tyger does not realize this until later. He sets up,

per instructions, at 7 a.m.

He sits at a nearby park, walking around the neighborhood

until about 10 a.m. while certain about to be mentioned

activity takes place.

All the while, Tyger lurks nearby behind a tree, next to a

car, or waiting at a bus stop keeping keeping close tabs with the

situation. He was authorized until noon but as Falstaff says,

discretion is the better part of valor.

 

This is a log he makes from the videotape after reviewing it later:

 

At 7:37 a.m. a black teenager takes trash can to garage door

and walks back to the front of the residence.

At 8:18 a.m. a black female who appears to be Jones’s

girlfriend emerges from the residence and walks by on the

street.

At 9:19-9:22 a.m. the black female walks by and around the

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Sixteen

Weisman

303

 

surveillance vehicle.

At 9:31-9:35 a.m. the black female and black teenager

and another black person engage in activity around the

surveillance vehicle.

At 9:44 a.m. the Subject emerges from the residence and

walks by the surveillance vehicle on Berkely Street.

At 9:52 a.m. a New Orleans Police Department car drives

up to the surveillance vehicle and stops.

At 9:54 a.m. a male and female police officers walk around

the surveillance vehicle.

At 9:58 a.m. a close-up shot of the Subject as he speaks

with the police officers.

At 10:03 a.m. the Subject leaves the scene and returns to

his residence.

At 10:06 a.m. the police officers leave the scene.

 

And at 10:10 a.m., not noted on the log, Tyger jumps quickly

into his mother the car, zoom zoom zooming away. He does not even

look over his shoulder fearing the fate of Lot’s wife.

Can’t win ’em all. But Jones did appear to be moving

without any apparent neck pain. So, maybe all is not lost.

One never knows.

That’s shoe business.

 

 

 

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Tyger proceeds on a perilous assignment

in the urban ghetto that results

in a series of strange and surprising events.

 

CHAPTER 17

“Through a Glass Darkly”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

304

 

Dark, dark, dark as night are Tyger’s true love’s eyes.

Long black hair flowing over soft white shoulders

as a long white dress falls to his lover’s ankles.

“I feel shitty. I feel shitty. I feel shitty, not witty and gay, I feel shitty … ”

Smack, clack, back to reality calling.

Why does Mr. Milty play that stuff?

Some obscenely obscure pseudo comedian

upsets his WTUL morning wake-up show apple cart.

Just what the 5:45 a.m. get-out of-bed-you-fucking-dead-head

crowd needs to get it in the mood for another stand grand.

Let’s hear it: Yaaay–Blubber!

A minor morning mission has been relayed down

the chain chain chain gang of command.

Tyger pursues the matter as he spins

The wheel of misfortune, i.e. his social life.

Ah, that dark haired girl in the virginal white outfit

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

305

 

otherwise known as Elena Godchaux, a buxom and

darkly beautiful daughter of the Vermillion Parish District Attorney.

She prepped at private schools in Switzerland

Before a turn at Swarthmore College.

“You can’t always get what you want,”

blares the singing stones on Mr. Milty’s radio aberration,

“but if you try sometimes you get what you…”

Hahaha. Maybe if you are Mick Jagger.

Not this boy. Certainly not this time of day.

“It’s 6 o’clock in the what is it,” says Mr. Milty,

“A.M., I guess, been up all night, so what does it matter.”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

306

 

And then, there is the case of bird-like Mitzy Maharis from

Gulfport, Mississippi with shocking red locks falling to her

small thin waist. She suffers Tyger sadly, paying all her tribute

to a simp of a musician with an I.Q. lower than his shoe size.

Oh well, what the hell Tyger must fly across town to an

all African-American section nearby in Uptown.

Suffice it to note for the purposes of breakfast recreation

that it doesn’t matter what Tyger does or says because nothing

always comes of nothing.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Seventeen

Weisman

307

 

Hope, as the saying goes, springs eternal.

 

REDACTION OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

308

 

planet longing.

 

Somewhere in a frozen glare; Floats a vision, winter airs;

Opining how lithe blue birds sing; Dark brown eyes, lovely things;

Bump, glide lightly through the night.

“Fly, fly my dove this way; Thoughts of family, funny faces;

Verandas where children rise or fall; By longing lakes with

sparkling shores; Memory heavenly days recall.

“Somewhere as I stand to gaze; Dreaming in a golden haze;

Blueing seas of white clouds face; Second Law of Thermodynamics;

You are flying home, I care.

 

 

REDACTION OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

309

 

REDACTION OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

 

Lingering somewhat too long on such a beautiful series of insights,

Tyger scurries to get his act together,

quickly loading the black box system in his car,

setting up, and heading for a world mundane

to finish off a more earthly mission and grab some

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

310

 

fraudulent claimant evidentiary.

Dreams are nice as long as they last.

However, even dreamers need to earn a living

thereby to sanctify the time spent in dream state contemplation.

Catch the drift, comrades?

Were the world but a series of philosophical allusions

it would be a better place. Alas, we must vamoose after targets

more concrete lying strewn among urban ruins and

massively pot-holed streets of N’awlins Uptown.

 

Somewhere the sun is shining.

Somewhere philosopher kings squat by cracker barrels

solving Boethian equations.

Elders speak as children laugh and play.

Every passing object in such a lasting plain

exhibits pastel color and enticing shade.

Beauty flows from such sweet moments

Possibly, you have visited such a magical land.

You then, better than Tyger Willams, can describe

the velocity and mass of this conception.

 

Tyger now drives along Annunciation Street

careful not to announce his sneaky, yet sanctified by law intentions.

Grover McMillan is the momentary subject oblivious

to the looming rain clouds threatening his pathetic parade.

No doubt Grover is sleeping and dreaming, too,

although his dreams are possibly more mundane;

listening to bad rap music, screwing some black bimbo

behind the Ernst Cafe.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

311

 

Grover squats in the on-deck circle awaiting his last turn

at bat. Tyger brings to bear the proper black box sub rosa

surveillance system with which to umpire Grover’s insurance claim.

Tyger drifts as the cloud state these final moments covered

by darkness before dawn where ghosts walk disguised as men.

He drives through progressively worsening neighborhoods, past

Nashville Avenue and its wharves, past the sea wall.

He sees beyond each intersection, Napoleon Avenue and

Tipitina’s, pulling up lame within a few blocks of Washington Avenue.

Abandoned buildings to the left and smashed glass strewn vacant lots to the right.

Onward rides the Tyger brigade.

Horrible excuses for the passage of streets apologize half in jest.

The joke is on those who must daily trek past this slice of Soweto apartheid in enlightened Lousyiana.

It is not quite 6:30 in the a.m. as Mr. Milty continues to taunt his audience of one,

which resembles Tyger in this case.

Who the hell else could be listening to Mr. Milty’s drivel at the break of dawn?

“Hey there, Ho there, I’m as happy as can be…”

Blah blah blah, just keep it up baby. Tyger has your telephone number.

Milty crazy-quilt spins his favorite Robyn Hitchcock diatribe:

“My Wife and My Dead Wife.” The classical music for zombies show

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

312

 

doesn’t begin until 7 a.m. so, until that time, get used to it folks,

Mr. Milty’s insanity rules, running wild with the yawning dawn.

Those darn Miltyriffic musical and rhetorical selections

have jogged Tyger’s brainless waves quite enough this caustic morning

causing him to lose his sense of purpose and concentration.

“Am I still in New Orleans,” he asks the invisible face radio station Milty,

“or is this hell?” Hmmm.

Tyger has risen this dawn on the proverbial wrong side of

the tracks. He takes an early morning zombie stumble down a brightening path.

A shadow follows his unsteady gait, suspended in that fifth force some mistake for wind.

A beautiful dancer with long black hair tied in a pony tail,

Spanish surname to boot, gallops around his heels

snapping her fingers flamenco style,

like a moth fluttering to out damned spot along a wasted avenue.

A cloudy day emerges.

Tyger looks around the immediate vicinity,

noticing a scene unusual. It is the crack of dawn.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

313

 

Speaking of crack, this place is crawling with scary looking

subjects both potential and actual. What the say hey?

They all fit the description of Grover Mcmuffin McMillan.

Shit on toast. What is a detective to do? Where does that motherfucker live?

Tyger checks his legal pad notes. 1674 Annunciation. Check. O.K. There it is.

Unfortunately, being of a minority, for here, color, Tyger sticks out like a strange beast.

Tyger focuses on the subject’s reported residence and runs the camera.

Then, he pops open the front hood and embarks on good old Plan “A.”

Which is to say Tyger embraces that dear friend of the uneasy investigator,

bogus car trouble. It seems a very plausible cover to maintain with the beat to a pulp

beyond disbelief muffler-dead wreck as visual back-up.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

314

 

The entire hood — and by this we mean nay-bore, not car borne —

seems over-run by lost and lonely souls

escaping ramshackle shotgun houses,

engaging in all varieties of exotic activity

while Tyger tries to do his job.

This baby is a bitch already,

about to be thrown out with the bath water.

Standing by the car hood going the full measure of

shaking his head and looking faux confused,

Tyger realizes that he is the object of intense scrutiny.

He can hear the black block surmise.

“Who, or what, is that ofay guy?

What the fuck is he doing here? He a pig?

Hey man, you in the wrong neighborhood.

What you say. Where you think you at.”

So forth and so on.

Tyger has seen “Taxi Driver” a dozen times.

He strikes the “You talking to me?” attitude.

“Hey boy. A nice white boy like you should not be around a place like this,” a black voice states.

“What you think you doing, boy? You a cop?”

“No, no, no,” Tyger goes Nancy Ray-Gun on psychotropic drugs.

“This damn car always gives me the heebie jeebies.

Maybe, the plugs have popped or something.

Don’t know much about geometry, and automobile mechanics.”

Thin black dude with gold tooth reflecting the sun

Darting between clouds on a semi-cloudy day, says,

“Well, boy, I don’t know.

This might not be the place to be checking that out.”

Looking around the corner for back-up that never will come,

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

315

 

Tyger must exit the playing field.

“Yeah, you right,” he says.

Suddenly, Tyger broaches a bright idea

breaking through angry clouds.

“Look man, I’m going to have to call a tow truck.

Will you make sure nothing happens to my car if I give you a couple of bucks?”

“Hey, I can handle that,” the gold-tooth guy notes, grinning slyly.

“Forget about the money, boy.

I can watch it for a little while.

But, I strongly urge you to get it out of here as soon as possible.”

He points with a grand sweeping gesture at the two heaps,

abandoned and stripped heaps down at the end of the corner.

“Know what I mean?”

“No kidding. Believe I do,” Tyger replies. “Back in a few.”

“Don’t tarry now, my fine white friend.

I have to go to the food stamp office at 9 a.m.

Can’t vouch for after that.”

“No problem, back long before then.”

No shit, Sherlock.

Good news-bad news, then.

Tyger has bought some time for the system to operate.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

316

 

On the other hand, everybody fits the description of subject McMuffin.

No getting to the bottom of this barrel.

Just a matter of running the system as long as possible.

Dorothy can look at the replay later,

maybe make some sense of it.

For now, Tyger is concerned about his car’s safety,

more than his own.

It might be a beat-up horrible wreck, but it is also all he has.

He never could afford another one.

Probably, the vehicle is saved

from the ultimate humiliation of final dismantlement

by the irrefutable fact

that it is in only slightly better exterior shape

than the other urban blights

littering this beatific neighborhood.

Fortuna smiles. This dude is a Saints fan.

Buying overtime, and a vowel Vanna,

Tyger engages in 15 minutes of Saints talk.

“Who Dat?” “Who Dat” “Who Dat say

dey gonna beat dem Saints.”.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

317

 

“Crummy playoff game,” Tyger rap-plies, “Wish the Pope

had blessed them all the way to at least one playoff win.

The guy appreciates such biting wit, and ·laughs in an uproar,

“Yeah yeah yeah man. Dem damn Saints. Always get you in the end.

We get ’em next time.”

Tyger, however, does have a tow truck to call.

He takes his leave, walks through the mean long streets

over to a telephone at the curb of Tchopitoulas Street and Washington Avenue

to check in with Dorothy control.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Seventeen

Weisman

318

 

“I was afraid of that,” Dorothy concludes after

being apprised of the situation.

” I wasn’t quite sure what the

neighborhood was like, but was hoping for the best.

Are you sure your car is alright.”

“Pretty sure,” Tyger says. “I believe that guy is

good to go. Seems quite respectable. I feel like I can

leave it there for another half-hour or so, then pick it up,”

“Sounds good, but don’t take any unnecessary chances,”

Dorothy continues. “Whenever you feel too uncomfortable don’t

hesitate to get the car out of there, Probably McKinley, er McMillan,

all his peeps live there. We’ll have to assign a black investigator to this case

another time.I’ve worked the projects before. Know exactly what you

are going through. Do the best you can. Drop off the videotape

when you’re finished. We’re going to get you back on LeBeouf,

and Joe Fine has something he wants you to work on with him in Houma.”

That same old hard to shake cold, Tyger bacteria lingers

outside the recreational center waiting for his medication to

work. He takes a few dozen deep breaths, returning to the scene

of the grime about 8:30 a.m.

Strange how that neighborhood’s dynamics work.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Seventeen

Weisman

319

 

Nobody is around. Les place is a deserted ghost town.

The proverbial light bulb appears as in a cartoon caricature

above dear Tyger’s head.

Party people persons were up (to no good) all night.

The urban street sprawl funfest was just winding down

when Tyger made his uninvited entrance.

Ahhh. That’s the ticket.

It would have gone much smoother

had he known which potholes to avoid.

Tyger files this point away for future reference.

Then, the dinky detective walks the ofay walk,

talks the ofay talk, and dances a final waltz.

He whistles an itty bitty ibby ditty song of relief, pops the hood,

checking for a good last measure.

No car problems here.

Finally, terrible Tyger spirits away the mere two miles

back to the relative comfort and safety of white man’s paradise

set like an island in the overflowing ocean

of two-thirds black New Orleans.

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 SEVENTEEN

Tyger proceeds on a perilous assignment

in the urban ghetto that results

in a series of strange and surprising events.

 

CHAPTER 17

“Through a Glass Darkly”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

304

 

Dark, dark, dark as night are Tyger’s true love’s eyes.

Long black hair flowing over soft white shoulders

as a long white dress falls to his lover’s ankles.

“I feel shitty. I feel shitty. I feel shitty, not witty and gay, I feel shitty … ”

Smack, clack, back to reality calling.

Why does Mr. Milty play that stuff?

Some obscenely obscure pseudo comedian

upsets his WTUL morning wake-up show apple cart.

Just what the 5:45 a.m. get-out of-bed-you-fucking-dead-head

crowd needs to get it in the mood for another stand grand.

Let’s hear it: Yaaay–Blubber!

A minor morning mission has been relayed down

the chain chain chain gang of command.

Tyger pursues the matter as he spins

The wheel of misfortune, i.e. his social life.

Ah, that dark haired girl in the virginal white outfit

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

305

 

otherwise known as Elena Godchaux, a buxom and

darkly beautiful daughter of the Vermillion Parish District Attorney.

She prepped at private schools in Switzerland

Before a turn at Swarthmore College.

“You can’t always get what you want,”

blares the singing stones on Mr. Milty’s radio aberration,

“but if you try sometimes you get what you…”

Hahaha. Maybe if you are Mick Jagger.

Not this boy. Certainly not this time of day.

“It’s 6 o’clock in the what is it,” says Mr. Milty,

“A.M., I guess, been up all night, so what does it matter.”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

306

 

And then, there is the case of bird-like Mitzy Maharis from

Gulfport, Mississippi with shocking red locks falling to her

small thin waist. She suffers Tyger sadly, paying all her tribute

to a simp of a musician with an I.Q. lower than his shoe size.

Oh well, what the hell Tyger must fly across town to an

all African-American section nearby in Uptown.

Suffice it to note for the purposes of breakfast recreation

that it doesn’t matter what Tyger does or says because nothing

always comes of nothing.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Seventeen

Weisman

307

 

Hope, as the saying goes, springs eternal.

 

REDACTION OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

308

 

planet longing.

 

Somewhere in a frozen glare; Floats a vision, winter airs;

Opining how lithe blue birds sing; Dark brown eyes, lovely things;

Bump, glide lightly through the night.

“Fly, fly my dove this way; Thoughts of family, funny faces;

Verandas where children rise or fall; By longing lakes with

sparkling shores; Memory heavenly days recall.

“Somewhere as I stand to gaze; Dreaming in a golden haze;

Blueing seas of white clouds face; Second Law of Thermodynamics;

You are flying home, I care.

 

 

REDACTION OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

309

 

REDACTION OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

 

Lingering somewhat too long on such a beautiful series of insights,

Tyger scurries to get his act together,

quickly loading the black box system in his car,

setting up, and heading for a world mundane

to finish off a more earthly mission and grab some

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

310

 

fraudulent claimant evidentiary.

Dreams are nice as long as they last.

However, even dreamers need to earn a living

thereby to sanctify the time spent in dream state contemplation.

Catch the drift, comrades?

Were the world but a series of philosophical allusions

it would be a better place. Alas, we must vamoose after targets

more concrete lying strewn among urban ruins and

massively pot-holed streets of N’awlins Uptown.

 

Somewhere the sun is shining.

Somewhere philosopher kings squat by cracker barrels

solving Boethian equations.

Elders speak as children laugh and play.

Every passing object in such a lasting plain

exhibits pastel color and enticing shade.

Beauty flows from such sweet moments

Possibly, you have visited such a magical land.

You then, better than Tyger Willams, can describe

the velocity and mass of this conception.

 

Tyger now drives along Annunciation Street

careful not to announce his sneaky, yet sanctified by law intentions.

Grover McMillan is the momentary subject oblivious

to the looming rain clouds threatening his pathetic parade.

No doubt Grover is sleeping and dreaming, too,

although his dreams are possibly more mundane;

listening to bad rap music, screwing some black bimbo

behind the Ernst Cafe.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

311

 

Grover squats in the on-deck circle awaiting his last turn

at bat. Tyger brings to bear the proper black box sub rosa

surveillance system with which to umpire Grover’s insurance claim.

Tyger drifts as the cloud state these final moments covered

by darkness before dawn where ghosts walk disguised as men.

He drives through progressively worsening neighborhoods, past

Nashville Avenue and its wharves, past the sea wall.

He sees beyond each intersection, Napoleon Avenue and

Tipitina’s, pulling up lame within a few blocks of Washington Avenue.

Abandoned buildings to the left and smashed glass strewn vacant lots to the right.

Onward rides the Tyger brigade.

Horrible excuses for the passage of streets apologize half in jest.

The joke is on those who must daily trek past this slice of Soweto apartheid in enlightened Lousyiana.

It is not quite 6:30 in the a.m. as Mr. Milty continues to taunt his audience of one,

which resembles Tyger in this case.

Who the hell else could be listening to Mr. Milty’s drivel at the break of dawn?

“Hey there, Ho there, I’m as happy as can be…”

Blah blah blah, just keep it up baby. Tyger has your telephone number.

Milty crazy-quilt spins his favorite Robyn Hitchcock diatribe:

“My Wife and My Dead Wife.” The classical music for zombies show

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

312

 

doesn’t begin until 7 a.m. so, until that time, get used to it folks,

Mr. Milty’s insanity rules, running wild with the yawning dawn.

Those darn Miltyriffic musical and rhetorical selections

have jogged Tyger’s brainless waves quite enough this caustic morning

causing him to lose his sense of purpose and concentration.

“Am I still in New Orleans,” he asks the invisible face radio station Milty,

“or is this hell?” Hmmm.

Tyger has risen this dawn on the proverbial wrong side of

the tracks. He takes an early morning zombie stumble down a brightening path.

A shadow follows his unsteady gait, suspended in that fifth force some mistake for wind.

A beautiful dancer with long black hair tied in a pony tail,

Spanish surname to boot, gallops around his heels

snapping her fingers flamenco style,

like a moth fluttering to out damned spot along a wasted avenue.

A cloudy day emerges.

Tyger looks around the immediate vicinity,

noticing a scene unusual. It is the crack of dawn.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

313

 

Speaking of crack, this place is crawling with scary looking

subjects both potential and actual. What the say hey?

They all fit the description of Grover Mcmuffin McMillan.

Shit on toast. What is a detective to do? Where does that motherfucker live?

Tyger checks his legal pad notes. 1674 Annunciation. Check. O.K. There it is.

Unfortunately, being of a minority, for here, color, Tyger sticks out like a strange beast.

Tyger focuses on the subject’s reported residence and runs the camera.

Then, he pops open the front hood and embarks on good old Plan “A.”

Which is to say Tyger embraces that dear friend of the uneasy investigator,

bogus car trouble. It seems a very plausible cover to maintain with the beat to a pulp

beyond disbelief muffler-dead wreck as visual back-up.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

314

 

The entire hood — and by this we mean nay-bore, not car borne —

seems over-run by lost and lonely souls

escaping ramshackle shotgun houses,

engaging in all varieties of exotic activity

while Tyger tries to do his job.

This baby is a bitch already,

about to be thrown out with the bath water.

Standing by the car hood going the full measure of

shaking his head and looking faux confused,

Tyger realizes that he is the object of intense scrutiny.

He can hear the black block surmise.

“Who, or what, is that ofay guy?

What the fuck is he doing here? He a pig?

Hey man, you in the wrong neighborhood.

What you say. Where you think you at.”

So forth and so on.

Tyger has seen “Taxi Driver” a dozen times.

He strikes the “You talking to me?” attitude.

“Hey boy. A nice white boy like you should not be around a place like this,” a black voice states.

“What you think you doing, boy? You a cop?”

“No, no, no,” Tyger goes Nancy Ray-Gun on psychotropic drugs.

“This damn car always gives me the heebie jeebies.

Maybe, the plugs have popped or something.

Don’t know much about geometry, and automobile mechanics.”

Thin black dude with gold tooth reflecting the sun

Darting between clouds on a semi-cloudy day, says,

“Well, boy, I don’t know.

This might not be the place to be checking that out.”

Looking around the corner for back-up that never will come,

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

315

 

Tyger must exit the playing field.

“Yeah, you right,” he says.

Suddenly, Tyger broaches a bright idea

breaking through angry clouds.

“Look man, I’m going to have to call a tow truck.

Will you make sure nothing happens to my car if I give you a couple of bucks?”

“Hey, I can handle that,” the gold-tooth guy notes, grinning slyly.

“Forget about the money, boy.

I can watch it for a little while.

But, I strongly urge you to get it out of here as soon as possible.”

He points with a grand sweeping gesture at the two heaps,

abandoned and stripped heaps down at the end of the corner.

“Know what I mean?”

“No kidding. Believe I do,” Tyger replies. “Back in a few.”

“Don’t tarry now, my fine white friend.

I have to go to the food stamp office at 9 a.m.

Can’t vouch for after that.”

“No problem, back long before then.”

No shit, Sherlock.

Good news-bad news, then.

Tyger has bought some time for the system to operate.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

316

 

On the other hand, everybody fits the description of subject McMuffin.

No getting to the bottom of this barrel.

Just a matter of running the system as long as possible.

Dorothy can look at the replay later,

maybe make some sense of it.

For now, Tyger is concerned about his car’s safety,

more than his own.

It might be a beat-up horrible wreck, but it is also all he has.

He never could afford another one.

Probably, the vehicle is saved

from the ultimate humiliation of final dismantlement

by the irrefutable fact

that it is in only slightly better exterior shape

than the other urban blights

littering this beatific neighborhood.

Fortuna smiles. This dude is a Saints fan.

Buying overtime, and a vowel Vanna,

Tyger engages in 15 minutes of Saints talk.

“Who Dat?” “Who Dat” “Who Dat say

dey gonna beat dem Saints.”.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Weisman

317

 

“Crummy playoff game,” Tyger rap-plies, “Wish the Pope

had blessed them all the way to at least one playoff win.

The guy appreciates such biting wit, and ·laughs in an uproar,

“Yeah yeah yeah man. Dem damn Saints. Always get you in the end.

We get ’em next time.”

Tyger, however, does have a tow truck to call.

He takes his leave, walks through the mean long streets

over to a telephone at the curb of Tchopitoulas Street and Washington Avenue

to check in with Dorothy control.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Seventeen

Weisman

318

 

“I was afraid of that,” Dorothy concludes after

being apprised of the situation.

” I wasn’t quite sure what the

neighborhood was like, but was hoping for the best.

Are you sure your car is alright.”

“Pretty sure,” Tyger says. “I believe that guy is

good to go. Seems quite respectable. I feel like I can

leave it there for another half-hour or so, then pick it up,”

“Sounds good, but don’t take any unnecessary chances,”

Dorothy continues. “Whenever you feel too uncomfortable don’t

hesitate to get the car out of there, Probably McKinley, er McMillan,

all his peeps live there. We’ll have to assign a black investigator to this case

another time.I’ve worked the projects before. Know exactly what you

are going through. Do the best you can. Drop off the videotape

when you’re finished. We’re going to get you back on LeBeouf,

and Joe Fine has something he wants you to work on with him in Houma.”

That same old hard to shake cold, Tyger bacteria lingers

outside the recreational center waiting for his medication to

work. He takes a few dozen deep breaths, returning to the scene

of the grime about 8:30 a.m.

Strange how that neighborhood’s dynamics work.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Seventeen

Weisman

319

 

Nobody is around. Les place is a deserted ghost town.

The proverbial light bulb appears as in a cartoon caricature

above dear Tyger’s head.

Party people persons were up (to no good) all night.

The urban street sprawl funfest was just winding down

when Tyger made his uninvited entrance.

Ahhh. That’s the ticket.

It would have gone much smoother

had he known which potholes to avoid.

Tyger files this point away for future reference.

Then, the dinky detective walks the ofay walk,

talks the ofay talk, and dances a final waltz.

He whistles an itty bitty ibby ditty song of relief, pops the hood,

checking for a good last measure.

No car problems here.

Finally, terrible Tyger spirits away the mere two miles

back to the relative comfort and safety of white man’s paradise

set like an island in the overflowing ocean

of two-thirds black New Orleans.

C

 

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

It is April. Tyger meets Joe in Houma where

Joe shares some insights into the world.

Then, Lana meets them and they go off on various cases in the Houma area.

Tyger kills time along the bayou as the system runs. Joe shows off

some of his electronic gadgetry.

 

CHAPTER 18

“SUPER SLEUTH AND COMPANY HOME IN ON HOUMA”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Weisman

320

 

Tyger has made it all the way to April in his new position.

That just about sets a new indoor-out door-any door

Williams Book of world records milestone for employment longevity.

Hallelujah and hosannah y’all, sigh the bluebirds in Tyger’s backyard signifying good luck.

April the most benign of Southeastern Louisiana months,

contrary to some poet’s emotions,

has blossomed throughout the eager land.

Weather perfect; air clear and awesome,,

uplifting everyones once tired spirits.

What’s more, another miraculous stroke of good fortune stands poised

to strike the rabid baseball fan forced all winter to lie fallow.

The Major Leagues are about to play ball.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Weisman

321

 

REDACTION OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Weisman

322

 

Therefore, let it be resolved dear comrades

of the longing heart and short attention span,

seekers of truth and lovers of fiction,

that Tyger Williams salutes you and you only

on his way to Houma to meet and greet Joe Fine,

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Weisman

323

 

He composes two poems driving through wetlands, bayous,

and finally widening green fields of rising sugar cane.

What time would tell you sitting on a porch in old New Orleans.

Stop whatever you are doing comrades .

Listen now you starlings:

 

Golden meadows, deep brown shadows

grazing in a sea of yellow-green alongside Highway 1.

 

Curves this silver thread from place to lonely post

stands a stucco laundromat, winds around

 

A faceless ghost, blowing through an open door,

breezy dreamer, thoughts of home.

 

Listen love, my precious dove,

I saw a turtle on the road,

 

Backing into Paradis,

poor frail neck with rock hard shell.

 

Stubborn to the lonely end,

no turning back for noble men,

 

Who choose a path and die,

they are noble for their try.

 

Never does a day half pass,

never does a cuckoo cry,

 

Never does a hopeless heart,

never does a bayou sigh.

 

Without my saying thus,

your eyes immortalize.

 

The flip side of this coin comes up heads, heads; heads up again.

Always comes up heads for it is a trick coin with two heads

Tyger sometimes flips to impress his friends,

sometimes flips to depress a fool.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Weisman

324

 

He is on a roll like the time he flipped the coin and it landed on neither side,

instead lodging upright next to a book on the floor. Hahaha.

Armor’s fell out of his chair he laughed so hard at that

Gravity is such an awesome force to behold.

What the hey, otay, Tyger also composes this poem on the way

to the Houma Holiday Inn where Joe Fine is already waiting with

a cup of coffee,

flirting with yet another waitress.

 

Rain falling by Bayou L’ourse,

rain falling by Bayou Delight,

falling falling falling — slowly — in love again.

 

Recalling golden days while tearing,

feeling all those desperate failings,

while drinking in dark green waters, algae, spanish moss.

 

Hardly flowing, blocked backwaters, pirogues,

lonely rowing orders; always coming, always going, home

where hearts were made to break, and comrades slowly dissipate.

 

Days will pass and rain stop time,

but love of love a dulcet vine, always lingers,

always falling, please be mine,”

 

Enough of the poet for now

a duly inspired Tyger pulls into downtown Houma,

named after the Native American tribe, and over to the Holiday Inn.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eighteen

Weisman

325

 

Joe Fine’s traditional baseball cap has been removed to

reveal his impressive chrome dome. He has come out of the closet

apparently since his last confab with Tyger, and now proudly

displays the Telly Savalas-Yul Brynner bald penis head look.

Heck, some women think the look is very sexy.

Super Sleuth wears a blue open neck alligator shirt and

tan slacks. A pair of sunglasses, notebook, and a — what is

that? Tyger is almost afraid to find out — a small device that

looks like a pager, rest on the Holiday Inn Houma Cafe table.

Joe mercilessly flirts with a 30-something semi-attractive

redhead waitress as Tyger enters the near empty restaurant.

Couple of geologists dig in the corner.

Joe Fine probes for something more unfathomable. Or maybe,

that is just how he passes the time while waiting. Who knows.

Without missing a beat then, “Hey beautiful, how about

another cup of coffee. There’s my guy Tyger. Grab a seat son. Hey

beautiful, looking good this morning. Thanks a lot. ”

Whooo. Tyger feels as though his whole life has passed

before his eyes. He must raise his game a notch because Joe is

the boss and Tyger wants to get along.

“Everything going O.K.?” Tyger asks. “We have some good ones

out here in Yahooland today,” Joe replies. “Love these redneck

cases. Are you ready to play the game?”

“Batter up baby.”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eighteen

Weisman

326

 

Joe explains current missions. He has one lowlife in

the Azalea Camellia Gaspergou Trailer Park at nearby Bayou Cane.

The head honcho has another case at the opposite end of town

along Bayou Black. A third case is Downtown off Bayou

Terrebonne, which straddles Houma, dividing the small city on

either side of the larger Intracoastal Canal.

Apparently the demise of Joe Fine, contrary to previous

reports, has been greatly exaggerated. Or maybe this is the storm

before the calm. Who knows?

Tyger has a lot of experience with manic depressive personalities.

Just check out MacLandia. He is highly suspicious of Joe’s behavior.

He seems almost too enthusiastic to be true.

The all — monkey business? — meeting continues with another pot

of coffee and another. Joe eats only lightly buttered toast,

spinning a few yarns about his time in military service.

“The U.S. Army is a bunch of losers,” he says. “The Israeli

Defense Forces — now that, dear Tyger, is an organization that

does not fool around. No wonder these guys lost Vietnam. We would have

blown them to Kingdom Come like we did the Syrians on the Golan Heights.

Those pussies thought they could surprise us in the Yom

Kippur War, 1973. When we got our shit together we beat their

asses, but it was a bloody battle.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eighteen

Weisman

327

 

Have to admit, felt sorry for some of their young guys.

You know, the tank gunners and poor motherfuckers they

slapped uniforms on to die. Those guys are like you or me

in a lot of ways. They just got a rotten government.

Who wants to fight? We should just try to get along as best

we can. I know we could if we tried.

Fucking politicians are the same the world over. They got

to make other people die so they can rip off everyone else and

get away with it. I am out of that shit forever. I’m an American citizen.

God bless the good old U.S.A. Know what I mean, son?”

“Yes sir,” Tyger replies at attention. “We have to do what

we have to do sometimes, not question orders.”

“You got that right,” agrees Joe grinning, turning back

to the previous encounter. “Hey good looking,

what ya got cooking. Can we have just one more cup of java. I

don’t know how you do it, babe.”

“Yes sir, coming right up,” the brown uniformed name-tagged

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eighteen

Weisman

328

 

waitress replies as she scurries, retreating to higher ground.

The geologists have come and gone like the Pleistocene Epoch.

A husband and wife team who are straying at the motel begin brunch.

“Oh man, I tell you Tyger, you are one lucky son of a gun,”

Joe continues, scratching his chrome dome. “You’re single without a

care in the world.” “Well, I don’t know about that,” Tyger laughs.

“Nah, true dat,” Joe says. “You might think you have some

problems, or whatever, but they’re really nothing. You’re young,

single, and fancy free. You got a lot of life ahead of you.

Me? I got the little snot-noses at home. Don’t get me

wrong. I love the little bastards. But, noisy, shitting, in the shit,

constantly demanding this, that, andthe other thing. Man oh

manna, that stuff can really get to you.

Take my wife. Please. She can be a total bitch. All I hear

is fix this. This is crap. What’s wrong with you. Goddamn. I

mean, sometimes I just look forward to getting the hell out of

Dodge. You feel me, son?”

“Oh,” Tyger says as Dorothy’s recent appraisal of Joe’s

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eighteen

Weisman

329

 

delicate mental condition his condition is in is on

his mind. “Don’t worry Joe. Everything will work out.”

Tyger understands totally the need to re-assure his — after

all — meal ticket. And Joe Fine is a nice guy, too.

It is tough seeing Joe dissatisfied, considering the hell of

a job he has been doing. That black box/baby seat video

surveillance system is unique in the business, a great leap

forward for sub rosa secret agents everywhere.

“Don’t worry, man,” Tyger reassures his boss. “You’re a

survivor. You’ll get by. “Yah yah yah. I know. Just sometimes … ”

Who should saunter into the restaurant at this low moment,

thoroughbred ankles upturned, long black hair and devil may care

green eyes, but the lovely Lana whom last we met at Baton

Rouge. That entrance perks up Joe Fine’s countenance.

“Lana. What am I going to do with you?” Joe asks. “You’re

an hour late. Where the hell have you been?

We have a lot of work to do today.”

“Sorry Joe,” Lana grins with girlish grace.

Thought you said 11 a.m.” “Wrong.” “Sorry.”

“Never mind. No coffee for you. Let’s go back to my

motel room. I want to show you guys something.”

Joe leaves money for the bill and tip on the table, scoops

up his bell book and candle belongings, leading his two

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eighteen

Weisman

330

 

associates into the light of a new day. He relishes the role of

mother ducky to a new breed of superior sleuths-in-training.

(Acronym, SIT–how appropriate for many of the missions.)

“Thanks a million, darling,” Joe calls over his

shoulder to the waitress clearing away the sneaky business

meeting’s debris. “See you when I see you.”

“Thank you sir,” she replies, Hill Street Blues style.

“Be careful out there.”

Out into the weirdly colored hallway — they have not

invented names for those hues yet —

into the gathering sunlight near noon. The three walkie talkie

a few more feet to a lower motel room.

“Always get a room on the bottom floor away from the main

office,” Joe advises his captive platoon members. “That way you

don’t have to carry heavy equipment upstairs. Less

noisy. Something to keep in mind when you go on the road.”

An open suitcase lies on a plastic table. Various changes of

clothes and baseball caps rest on the extra bed.

“Damn maid. Hasn’t made the room yet,” Joe complains.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eighteen

Weisman

331

 

“I tell you. The people around here are slow slower slowest,”

Joe continues before washing his face and sitting on the

overly colorful bed cover.

“Let me show you something,” Joe tells Tyger and Lana as

they watch intently. He holds up a plain black contraption that

contrasts strangely with a painted clown portrait on the wall. A

cool sea breeze scene, by the way, adorns the other wall.

Those darn “starving” artists.

“Check this out,” Joe says. “It’s a homing device. You put this in a

safe place under someone’s car and then you take this thing,”

He pulls out a Swiss army knife, removes

the sea breeze motel art painting from

the wall with the Phillip’s screwdriver head.

“Just a little trick I learned in the Promised Land,”

he says, grinning, as he removes a shiny silver object from

behind the pseudo-art object.

“You activate it like this.” He flips a small lever on the

silver companion contraption, “and there you have it. It beeps loudly

loudly, loudest when you are near the vehicle you’re following,

and keeps you going in the right direction without the subject

having a clue in the world. Ahhh, I love technology

Joe sets off by hand an annoying buzzing noise, “just so you

can hear what it sounds like. We might have to use it today.

Haven’t decided. But I wanted you to see some of the tools

of the trade for future reference.

“Tell you what though. This is a bitch to put under

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eighteen

Weisman

332

 

someone’s car. You really have to do it late at night because if

someone notices. Believe nobody wants that.”

Joe looks at his diver’s watch. “Tell you what. I’ll

activate the homer in the motel room and we’ll drive around the

area so you can get some idea of how it works. How about that?”

“Sounds bad ass,” says Lana ever so cooly cooly hot.

“You sure about this?” Tyger asks.

Lana in the suicide seat. Tyger in the tank. Joe drives a hard bargain around

the Houma Holiday Inn parking lot and a few blocks away north, then west towards

the bayou. Beep beep beep beep. Sure enough, the device trolls as

predicted. Following about 15 minutes of such frolicking fun, the

terribly terrific trio returns to the motel room to plot the day’s fantastic

journey to the center of the insurance fraud conundrum.

Back at base, Joe divvies up assignments. He has the

baby seat system, which he trades to Tyger for the big bad black box.

“My man in Mobile has some ideas for improving the box

design, making it smaller with an improved remote control,” Joe

says. “Use the baby seat for now. We’ll swap back in a week, or so.”

It’s like the time Harry Chiti was traded from the Cleveland

Indians to the New York Mets for a player to be named later.

The player to be named later was himself.

Tyger has no problem with that. What’s the diff.

They both work. Right?

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter- Eighteen

Weisman

333

 

“O.K. kiddos,” Joe says after he and Tyger fix up their

respective surveillance systems in the appropriate vehicles,

“Now, Tyger. I want you to set up your system on Dixon over at

Bayou Cane. Leave the system there. Lana and I will pick you up

outside the trailer park on Grand Caillou Road.

Stake out the Thibodaux residence just off

Bayou Terrebonne after that. Stay back with the still camera,”

which Joe produces from a locked suitcase under the bed,

“Note any activity, getting some photographs if possible.

Lana and I will take care of other,” Joe flashes fake quote

marks with his fingers, “‘business’ around town. We also have to meet

for a while with a client, let him know we are an unstoppable

army on the move with all guns blazing.

Stick with the Thibodaux case until we come and get you. It

should be about three hours. If you have any problem or have to

move to another location, call Dorothy collect. She is at home

all day today as back-up in case we fall out of commos.

Okee Dokee.? Let’s get it on. Let the games begin,” Joe

concludes as Tyger and the beautiful Lana nod their heads in

fired-up agreement. “We are going to have some fun today.”

Good plan, maybe. Tyger sets the baby seat system up on a

gravel patch directly facing a mid-sized white with green trim trailer.

A few probably innocent bystanders stand down the road.

Tyger doesn’t care. He is going to follow orders no matter what.

Set up takes about a minute anyway.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eighteen

Weisman

334

 

After standard weapons check determines all systems rolling,

Tyger walks away where Joe and Lana retrieve him like a lost

penny, a poor pup wandering along a packed dirt road.

Back to town and the major avenue that straddles Bayou

Terrebonne. Joe lets Tyger roam near a two-story blue wood duplex

apartment with fire escape stairs in the back, the bayou just beyond that.

Tyger finds a nice restful spot about 50 yards away along

the pleasant waters just behind a fish shop.

Boats are docked nearby as well.

Fishermen come and go from the waterway to the north.

Seafood buyers drive in from East Main Street to the south.

Tyger hunkers in his foxhole for the wary wait. “See you in

a few hours,” Joe says as he drives away. Beautiful Lana-doon

looks ever so appealingly vague on the shotgun side.

Tyger maintains his position waiting like a rock to roll. He

is determined that it will take no less than an act of God to

move him from this zen-like state. Ho-hum–another day,

another shady surveillance spot.

Not much subject activity to report. A middle aged woman

comes and goes, as do a couple of black apartment tenants.

(The complex has four units.)

Tyger whiles away the day throwing dredged sea shells into

the still waters. He speaks briefly to some old bugger of a dude

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eighteen

Weisman

335

 

drifting along on a girl’s bicycle.

S-I-T (and wait) first class Williams checks into the seafood store

where they are selling that Cajun delicacy, alligator meat, as well as

hot boudin. Tyger is just there for the diet Mountain Dew, however.

“Alligator meat any good?” he asks innocently. “Aw man,

it’s the greatest,” a pot bellied Cajun critter at the counter

calls. “Where you from anyway?”

Tyger gives him the waiting for a girl friend story,

pleasantly inquiring about the man’s Saintly desires. No dice.

“I don’t go for dat football stuff,” he replies, “aldough

dat Bobby Hebert. Coonass boy from over in Cut Off, Loosiana. I

hear he pretty good. I like to see dem Cajuns make de grade.

Show ’em what we made of.”

Tick tick tick, tock tick cock, F-me Woodstock. Finally,

Tyger calls up the Thibodaux residence. Darn rude subject

refuses to answer. Sub probably sank in some mud earlier in the day.

Thibodaux kicking back along some bayou somewhere fishing, no doubt.

Who ain’t down there?

Tyger gives Dorothy a ring, informing her of the lackluster

situation. “Haven’t heard back from Joe yet,” she responds.

“You are where Joe left you, right? Just stick with it. I’ll let Joe know

when he checks in. Be patient. Maybe something will happen yet.”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eighteen

336

Weisman

 

Phat chance, but no matter. Hurry up and wait.

Hurry up and wait to escape.

Even the slightest hint of activity at the apartment complex

sparks a flurry of Tygerian activity as he scrambles into

position, snap snap snaps a few pictures, that kind of thing

Keeping active for the hell of it.

Might as well look like you’re doing something. One never

knows who might be watching the detective watching the scene.

But truly, no one even resembles the sub or his pity parade.

To be perfectly frank, hardly matters what Tyger does this

lazy afternoon by the still waters of Babylon.

Finally, he sits back, settling like soft rain on a nice

grassy spot along Bayou Terrebonne, and relaxes. Not a bad way to

spend a day, after all is said and not done.

Day starts to forsake its grace, so Tyger checks in again

with Dorothy at Oz. “Joe called right after you did,” Dorothy says.

“He is still working the other cases and will be along … ”

she pauses, “about any time now actually. Sit tight. You are down

by the bayou, right? Relax down there. Joe will get you soon.”

Er, later? Thankfully, as officially predicted, Joe, Lana-less,

drives along. He wears a Chicago White Sox baseball cap,

nonchalantly sliding open the door for Tyger to enter crouching.

“That seafood place any good?” Joe asks as Tyger sits

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eighteen

Weisman

337

 

inside. “Dunno. They got alligator meat, though.”

“Alligator meat? Well. I’ll be dammed. Always wondered what

that tastes like. Probably chicken, huh?” “Dunno.”

“No time to taste test now. That stuff needs to be fresh

anyway, or so I’ve heard.

Let’s go get your car. By the way, Pud Hegwood he’s a

local attorney,  just gave us some more cases. He loved the

Bubbicide you pulled down at Cocodrie.”

“Lana coming back?” Tyger asks.

“Nah, that bitch is what we call a ghost.

Know what that means?” Joe replies in

his best Socratic method.

“No.”

“That is someone you bring down to do a specific job and

then, they vanish forever. Like Casper, a ghost. She is well on her

way back to Alexandria now. I’ve only been using her lately for

assignments like that because she is too unreliable.

I can not believe that bitch made us sit around all day at

the Holiday Inn spinning our wheels when we should have been

haunting subjects. I don’t know. She is such a knock-out though,

guess I’ll give her another shot. She’s a quick study when

she puts her, more finger quotes, “‘mind’ to it.

Good looking girl like that is great for some of

these sleazoids. She pops open her hood, tells them she has car

trouble, and they are falling all over themselves like white on

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eighteen

Weisman

338

 

rice to give her a handle; a love handle, if you know what I mean.

Great set-up. Bang bang, maybe we get a guy with a bad back

changing a tire for her. These subjects are all alike.

When will they ever learn.”

Tyger retrieves his vehicle from the Azalea Camellia

Gaspergou Trailer Park with a minimum of effort. No one seems to

notice, or care. He follows Joe Fine to a nearby rural

drinking establishment where the Super Sleuth checks in with

Dorothy behind the curtain at Oz •

That piece of commos taken care of, neither big city

detective is interested in joining the insider country bumpkin

draft beer drinking crowd. They conduct official IRS Inc.

miscellaneous business on the gravel and sea shell parking lot.

Time to call the roll.

Joe leaves the citizens band radios with Tyger.

“Don’t have room. You take this. We’ll hook up later.”

Tyger hands over a stack of reports he forgot to leave with Dorothy.

“You might as well have these. They’re for you anyway.”

“Oh, here. Check this out,” Joe says, retrieving an oddly

elongated pair of — what? Binoculars? Tank commander

goggles? Opera glasses? — handing them to Tyger.

“Do you know what this is?” “Nope.” “These are night

vision goggles. Take it inside and check it out.” Okey.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Eighteen

Weisman

339

 

Tyger re-enters the dimly lit establishment for only a

momentary gaze, yet long enough to alarm the redneck apparitions.

See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya.

Apparently, the goggles differentiate light. Tyger can see

quite clearly through the darkened bar interior.

“What do you think?” Joe asks as Tyger returns,

squinting some and handing back the night vision goggles.

“Pretty impressive, eh? Thinking of using them on Bingo LeBeouf. I

swear I will get that Moriarty bastard yet.”

A parting of the ways with a handshake and final

salutation. Joe heads north to Shreveport or about as far away

from the “snot-noses” as possible. Tyger blasts off for home to

grand dame N’awlins.

Just another day at the office, comrades. Until we meet

again. For the precious momentary record, however, Joe seems,

well, fine.

CHAPTER NINETEEN

Tyger, Sandy, Milty, and Armor’s spend the day

at the New Orleans Fairgrounds, the third oldest horse racing

track in America. Many insightful observations are made about the

racing environment and the day ends with an amazing and

unexpected turn of events.

 

CHAPTER 19

“DAY AT THE RACES”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER NINETEEN

Weisman

340

 

A gathering of — shall we say — eagles flock to Sandy

Alexander’s modest two bedroom house just beyond the lions on

Pritchard Place. Those stately monuments to living in the jungle pause across

the street from the Notre Dame Seminary where Pope John II slept

before blessing our dear who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints

before da Vikings beat them like a Saxon drum.

Next time, Poopsie, get it right.

Eagles — make me laugh, hahaha — more like a squatting of

pigeons ready to be fried for the Jolie Green Giant’s dinner.

They have a bad plan in mind.

Sandy, Tyger, Armor’s, and the puff as by David

Copperfield magically reappearing Mr. Milty are fixing to be

fleeced, about to be taken to the proverbial cleaners.

Yes comrades, the final day of the 1988 racing season is

about to commence at the New Orleans Unfair Grounds, the

third oldest horse racing track in America.

And you are there. Now, Church Lady fanatics, isnt that

special? On your marks, ready steady, prepare to be ripped off.

You expected differently in Lousyiana?

Sandy’s wife Mary Ann, ever the proper Southern young lady,

offers sweet iced tea and sympathy to the about to be iced quartet.

“Day at the Races”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER NINETEEN

Weisman

341

 

Tanks, but no tanks” replies Mr. Milty, “I’ve already

consumed my body weight in margaritas. ” Ohhhh-Key.

“And you Armor’s. Come on. Have some sweet tea,” Mary

Ann coaxes the burly bear. “It will be good for you”

“Better not,” Armor’s replies. “I have to concentrate on the

horses. No distractions.”

Armor’s, as one can see, is a serious ass bettor. He dont

fool around when it comes to losing his — hard? — earned money.

Sandy finishes up chores in the couple’s backyard as Tyger

stumbles outside to say howdy. “You aren’t going to do that

dream exacta thing again?” inquires the, ever sensible Sandy, a

printing executive who is also a writer.

“Of course. It’s in my contract,” replies Tyger Williams,

psychic handicapper extraordinary.

Armor’s and Mr. Milty sit in the bright front airy

parlor pouring over the Daily Racing Form. “Who do you like in

the Fifth?” Mr. Milty asks. “It’s a $10,000 claimer.”

The cheap price is about right, the usual fare at the Fair

Grounds. It seems an almost beautiful race track, but like the

city of New Orleans, has seen better times.

“Bayou Reality ran real well last time out, moving

down in class,” Armor’s notes as he scans the printed field.

“Looks as good as anyone in that field. I like the connections.”

Mr. Milty scribbles the information down in his pull-out

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

342

 

racing section. “Odds are nice at 5-1,” the man of a thousand

faces adds. “It’s a keeper.”

“Hmmm. I like Classy Boat in that race, too. What about

Dangerous Bid?” Mr. Milty continues scouring through the small

print of the racing paper that looks like hieroglyphics to the

uninitiated, but is quite simple to decipher for those with some experience.

“Dangerous Bid? Nah. Big fake rip-off,” according to

Armor’s considered opinion. “They put the Bid in there to make

everybody think it’s a Spectacular Bid kid like Risen Star.

It’s really sired by this other shit horse. Steer like the Titanic clear.”

“You like Bayou Reality over Classy Boat?” Milty continues.

“I’m going to bet them over and under, maybe put

five bucks on Bayou Reality’s nose.”

“Sounds good. I might play that,” Armor’s says.

Sandy and Tyger discuss variations on a theme amongst

the rose bushes and green green grass of home.

“You dreamed about which race last night?” Sandy tentatively probes.

“Focused in on the feature,” Tyger replies. “I visualized

the race track, watching the race from start to finish. Even

heard the track announcer. Saw the winning colors,

purple with a green star. Romero was the jockey

Any of that sound right?”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter 19

Weisman

343

 

“Could be,” Sandy confirms. “Randy has Reason’s Boy in that

race. Reason’s Boy is a great runner. I think he’s going off at

10-1 or 12-1. That’s worth considering. But I like Marfa’s

Missile. That’s a real nice colt.”

The outdoor garden party returns to commingle with its

indoor compatriots. Sandy kisses Mary Ann a fond farewell.

“Y’all have good luck at the track today,” Mary Ann wishes.

“Here. Take some cookies for the road. They should fill you up,

honey before you win all that money.”

Mary Ann is the greatest pastry chef in the free world .

The chain gang, especially Armor’s, scarf up a plate of

chocolate chip giants before cascading like the flooding Pearl

River over the Alexander home’s banks, into Sandy’s Volkswagen Jetta.

The gang is off to play the ponies. Look out, N’awlins’

fellow space jockeys. They’re about to blast off like the Space Shuttle Challenger.

A 10-minute drive down South Carrolton Avenue around City

Park, over to Esplanade Avenue and the boys have reached the

final gates of doom. Mr. Milty and Armor’s spend some quality

quiet time concentrating on the Racing Form.

The art touts make critical marks with respective pencils,

contemplating the immediate future with hopes of victory and some

trepidation borne of past regrets. At least, it keeps them occupied.

Such is part of horse racing·s attraction. Youse make a pick,

.-

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

344

·

youse takes your chances.

Tyger rides along confident in his knowledge of the dream

exacta. To him, the race has already run. It has happened before.

In fact, Tyger picked Fair Grounds winners solely based on

premonition long before he knew how to handicap properly.

His success was unparalleled.

Mr. Milty refused to go with Tyger for a time because

it seemed that every time Tyger won, on the longest of shots, Mr.

Milty lost on favorites. “Hey man, you are stealing my fun,”

concluded Mr. Milty. Fair grounds enough.

Horse racing isn’t about horses at all. It is rather a

reflection of human nature.

We see human foibles and personifications take flight as

airy addenda to the actual situation on the ground. Not to

mention the usual human greed attached to all forms of gambling.

Be that as it may…

Strangely, too, the more expert Tyger became in

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

345

 

handicapping, the less successful were his dream exacta

selections. Therefore, he saves the method only for special occasions.

As Tyger’s losers conformed more precisely with racing odds

and attitudes, Mr. Milty dropped his objections to attending

races with the post-psychic master. They were playing on a more level surface.

Tyger won far less often, but had more confidence in the

scientific method. So, he continued with the method rather than the madness.

Ahh, Gentilly Boulevard, where Sandy pulls up to the gate,

hands the parking attendant $2, moving along little doggies to

a “lucky” parking place. The boys pile out of the car, floating

through the $1 general admission turnstile over to the Paddock

area where they all buy 75 cent programs.

It is very important for each player to have his own

program, so that he can concentrate better on the action.

That’s just the law of the land, folks.

What a sight the Unfair Grounds are as the last day

of the season with an accumulated Pick Six pool of $95,000 to be

divided that day entices 7,500 “fans” of the “sport of

kings”about2,000 more than usual. No need for LSD here as the

joint trips the light fanatic with colors and bizarre behavior.

“Reminds me of ugly night at the Galleria,” moans Tyger,

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

346

 

recalling a massive overdose of acid that accompanied the

incredible accumulation of the scariest persons on the planet

later that same evening at the Houston Galleria.

But these ugly patrons are New Orleans’ finest, and by

definition more colorful, interesting and bizarre than any group

of ugly citizens everywhere. Take that, Space City Houston.

Such is another distinguishing mark that makes the Big Easy

special. Besides, language, food, and culture; New Orleanians

are inundated by a phenomenon that even has a moniker.

These rare bird strange unfathomable rara avis souls

are known as “characters.” Better believe it comrades,

they don’t need to be acting to fulfill that role.

The characters are out of their cages inundating the ticky

tacky tracky. They line and ride the rails. They flow in eddy

pools around the Paddock where the horses are being

prepared for battle half-aware.

Some sidle up to the Oak Grill ordering hamburgers and

gumbo. Others camp outside the grandstand heaping the usual

amount of verbal abuse on the poor young jocks.

“Hey there Bruce Poyadou,” screams one gap toothed black man

a mere decibel below the sound barrier. “When ya ever going

to win one? I am sick of losing money on you, babe.”

Poyadou on top of a maiden claimer parading before the

second race — the bottom half of the daily double — rides

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

347

 

along, shaking his head, laughing. He utters an inaudible

remark to the accompanying hot-walker.

“Hey dere Randy Romero. How’s it hanging,” elderly

thin white man with greasy grey hair and semi-tattered clothing

yells at the meet’s elite leading rider. “Got a winner for me?”

Romero mutters a passing equally unintelligible remark to

the jockey in front of him. Rail birds shake their heads like

cuckoo clocks gone wild.

“What? What? What you say?” the elderly spectator continues

as a chestnut horse stops a moment, seeming to wink at him.

“That’s good enough for me,” he remarks, rushing to the

doors presumably placing a wager inside at the betting terminals .

Meanwhile, the usual practiced behavior takes place in

spades in every possible direction. Patrons spit gigantic gobs of

brown goo anywhere. (Step lively, try to avoid that piece of sickening reality.)

A great looking woman in a short black dress attracts an

inordinate amount of attention. “Whoo-whee, baby,” one sensitive

soul shouts after her ass as she walks briskly shaking her

booty. Da wag wags his tail behind her not sorry butt in subtle mimicry.

Armor’s and Milty have flown the coop to engage in light

wagering on the Pick Six before laying a couple of dollars on

some loser in the Second. This is merely a diversion as they seem

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

348

 

hell bent on the Fifth, Seventh and Feature race, which is the Tenth.

They bet a few dollars here and there on the others just to

maintain a passing interest. But the big money in their case,

maybe $15 or $20. is reserved for races of maximum interest.

Tyger and Sandy stare down their respective forms. They

perch near the rail by the officials box at the top of the second

longest stretch in America.

Or so the program claims. No one can figure out

where the longest stretch is nor how long it could possibly be.

This one must suffice and seems to stretch near forever.

The long stretch makes for some intriguing picking. The

serious handicapping crowd must keep in mind that principles are

turned on their heads here. One looks for the top closers who can

negotiate the stretch after front runners have burned themselves

out in their dumb-ass equestrian blaze for glory.

“And they are off,” track announcer Tony Bentley calls the

start of the race. “Silent Glory takes the lead followed by

Insignificant Poppism, Fernwood Tonight, Alybaba’s Dada, and six

lengths back along the rail…”

The outside crowd has increased in numbers and intensity, as

the horses round the first turn of a six furlong outing, heading

towards the stretch. Milty and Armor’s are back for the fray.

“Oh man, where is that Salad and Dressing,” Armor’s is

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nneteen

Weisman

349

 

already complaining. Milty stands in a personal circle merely

shaking his head with an ever souring expression.

“Around the first turn, Alybaba’s Dada, Key to the Locker,”

etc. etc., “and back ten lengths is Fernwood Tonight, bringing up

the rear,” of course, a horse is a horse, Salad and Dressing.

“Armor’s this is all your fault,” Mr. Milty mutters. “I knew

we should have bet on Alybaba’s Dada.” “Hey man, no one twisted

your arm.” “I know but … ”

The crowd blurs as shouting minions rise in a nitrous type

solution of heavy white noise accompanying air thick with grey

cigarette and cigar smoke. They yell as one shaking fist

thrusting through the air. They urge their particular favorites

to victory in every way, shape, and form possible as if horses

and riders could hear them or their plaintiff cries could affect the outcome.

“At the top of the stretch, Alybaba’s Dada; Dr. No No has

gotten in and charging along the rail, here comes Aura of Fire.

There will be no catching him today. Aura of Fire, Alybaba’s

Dada, and a photo for third place.”

Whoosh. Some higher power has let all the nitrous out of the

balloon. It crashes to the ground. The crowd immediately dissipates.

Curious sporting types stand in place watching the tote

board flash official results. Tired losers tear up those evil

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

350

 

offending tickets, flinging them with disgust to the spit-riddled concrete floor.

A couple of guys dance in the distance with fists

raised in a salute to the winner and their apparent good fortune.

“That a way Aura of Fire,” a redneck yells. “I knew it.”

That redneck mother lucky stiffs it inside to the betting

window for his temporary reward. Horses double back to the

winners circle and officials box while being simultaneously undressed

by Latin inspired attendants. The redneck mother’s karmic slip is

showing. Whaaa …The winning jockey waves his baton in salute.

A well dressed gaggle of dotty looking persons, the owner and his family, walk

to the circle ready to be awarded the proper recognition as a

track photographer snaps their picture with horse and jockey.

Another guy tears up his ticket. “Damned be it,” he mutters.

“I covered every pick but that one. Shit. Had Alybaba’s Dada on

top of Fire.” So it goes. Tons of yelling as usual

as Alybaba’s Dada is posted as second favorite at 7-2.

The blessed winner was an 8-1 long shot.

Payout on a $3 exacta wager is about $100.

“That’s decent,” a just crawled out of the bayou bengal

comments. “We’ll get ’em next time.”

Don’t even ask about Milty and Armor’s. They are busy

looking at the Racing Form plotting their next disaster.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

351

 

“Who do you like in the Third?” Armor’s eggs on Milty, The

dismal tenth place finish out of ten horses perpetrated by Salad

and Dressing quickly has been forgotten. “It’s an allowance race

for $25,000 three-year old filly claimers.”

“Hmmmm. Marry Me Mary A. might be a good one,” Milty jokes.

“You like that one, eh Sandy?”

Sandy laughs. “I think I already bet on that one in real life,” he notes.

“Ran at Louisiana Downs last year,” Armor’s adds, not

missing a hoofbeat, “That’s a good sign.”

“How about Cindy’s Candy?” Milty inquires scratching his

slight beard stubble. (He lost that among other items, during

Mardi Gras.) He never shaves on race day mindful of

the Herculean myth.

“That nag. No way,” Armor’s replies. “Big loser at Delta

Downs last month. She sucks.” “Just like you,” Milty taunts.

“Randy is on her,” continues Armor’s referring to the

meet’s leading jock. “Don’t care,” Milty responds. “Don’t care.

Got no chance no how no way, Jose’.”

Sandy stands nearby checking out the program and laughing.

“Dream about this one any?” he asks Tyger.

“Nah,” Tyger answers. “I think I’m going to bet $5 on

MyMindlsOutahere. I always liked that filly. She’s a good closer.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

352

 

So it goes through races three through seven.

A few wagers here, a few losers there.

The crowd grows as the feature looms nearer. Some leave,

some arrive, creating an interchangeable mixture of imagery.

Armor’s and Milty — believe it or nuts — are doing

Nicely-Nicely Johnson this day.

They head into late afternoon a bit above even.

Quite satisfied and looking to cement their immediate future

with a killing in the next race.

“We are going to be partying tonight,” Armor’s boldly

predicts. “What else is new?” asks a skeptical Sandy.

Tyger walks into the cavernous black hole that lies just

beneath the $2 grandstand seat surface, into the waiting jaws

of surreal beef jerky. Color television monitors dot the

landscape as do food booths and bars.

A veritable cross-section of persons who seem to have fallen

to earth from other planets careen, bouncing off each other

like crazed self-motivated bumper cars at an amusement park gone

wild. “Where do these people come from?” asks a perplexed Tyger

walking to the betting window.

Smoke hangs in a sickly cloud resembling Los Angeles on the

smoggiest day of a summer inversion representing yet another bit

of awfulness with a small “a”. Tough to understand the

self-immolation styrohead set.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

353

 

“What the hell is wrong with them?” Tyger asks himself while

coughing loudly. Right there is the main reason he prefers to stand outside.

Tyger picks a betting window with a short line. He places $5

to win, $3 to show on Number Seven, “Where’s the Bleep,” and $3

over and under on “Where’s the Bleep,” with Two, Five, Eight, and Nine.

Ahhh, and give the dear boy $2 to win on Number Two,

“Hate Yo Mama.” That is a hunch bet.

Tyger walks up the stairs to the facility’s second floor.

More of the same, and kind of depressing.

Horseplayers and their fellow travelers walk around in

respective haze like zombies oblivious to surroundings.

They stare blank pages at the ever unfolding story hoping

for a flood of good fortune to wash away those earthly troubles.

An entire gamut of human emotion washes across the linoleum

checkered floor sweeping away more mundane thoughts of current

conditions. Poor saps will have more than enough time to cope

with their daily routines between now and the opening of

Jefferson Downs in Kenner. That occurs the following Wednesday.

For the eternal moment, this huge pack of rats and a few

artistic mice are frozen like figures on a Grecian urn turning

ever yearning towards the Eighth Race post parade as they

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

354

 

silently watch second floor monitors for wagering clues.

The future for these poor huddled masses is now. Like Raider

owner Al Davis said, just win baby. It doesn’t matter what it takes.

How fortunate for the fatass cigar smoking touts, and

nice guys finishing last that they aren’t actually running

themselves. At least this way. vicariously betting on dumb

beasts of burden, they have a mathematical chance,

no matter how slim, of victory.

How easy it is to forget the many humiliating defeats

preceding, doubtless following in that moment of pure ecstasy

of complete victory. Winning for a moment suspends that

moment in space-time forever.

Tyger cites the words of John Keats to a nearby lout. “John

Keats?” the short in stature long in snout nose  answers.

“Doesn’t he jock at Pimlico Park?”

“Never mind.”

Such powerful intoxication over-rides all other

considerations and sensibilities. Authorities encourage this

activity while banning substances that are good for the soul like sweet marijuana.

Who is in charge here anyway? Like the black soldier answers

in Oliver Stone’s Platoon, “You’re not?”

Solly Cholly. No one seems to know what is going down or what

they are doing. Communal amnesia blankets the horse and bugger set.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

355

 

Everyone sets aside those earthly cares and heavenly goals

to concentrate instead on more pressing matters like the Daily

Racing Form, figuring out bets, mining strangers for

misinformation, losing their heads as some gelding grabs the

brass ring, or finding their souls swept along on a magic carpet

ride of universal desire. Fools and buffoons,

jerks and great artists they might be, God bless them every one.

It is difficult in the final analysis to hate the beast who

knows not what he does. In this way comrades, we must pity the

poor horse playing gambling addicts and wish them Bonne Chance on

this the last day of blissful ignorance at the UnFair Grounds until

the season traditionally re-opens later that year on Thanksgiving Day.

Enough of the upstairs-downstairs shit for Tyger Williams.

He rejoins the in-crowd near the finish line ready to be

appraised of the latest statistical updates of fate.

“Sandy won the last race. Milty and I blew it. Big bummer,”

Armor’s recapitulates. “I haven’t a clue what happened to Mr.

Milty after that. He said he had to go away for a minute,

never returned. I guess that means he won’t be coming back.

“Yeah,” Sandy adds, “Mr. Milty is the master of the tasteful exit.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

356

 

Couldn’t get out of the Superdome fast enough when we

went to the Saints playoff game. I think he lasted a quarter.”

“Guess he’ll find his way home alright,” Tyger replies.

“He always seems to anyway.”

“That Mr. Milty,” Sandy adds. “I stopped trying to

understand him years ago. He is as inscrutable as one of those

damn faces he paints. I hope for his sake he becomes a great

artist some day. I don’t know what else he could do if he weren’t.”

Kaleidoscope of horse flesh fills tableau visual

around and around deep dirt track, followed by winners and

losers galore. Tote board lights flash as do the eyes of

momentary victors to whom small spoils are awarded.

Losers cry and try to get it back at the next opportunity.

One never knows. Maybe something good will happen.

Tyger’s personal fortune that day reflects the totality of

the collective experience. He busts on the Eighth Race, but picks

up a healthy payback in the Ninth as Mickey’s Flashback

uncharacteristically wires the mile-and-a-quarter field.

Sometimes one can win while choosing a horse for the wrong

reasons. Mickey’s Flashback looked like a closer and with a name like that.

Couple that pick, as Tyger does, with the Number Three

horse, Mardi Gras Honey, and he takes a healthy $85 cut out of

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

357

 

future losses. Even the likes of Tyger can feel like a winner for

a fleeting moment. Coming on to feature time,

the $50,000 added Last Chance Sweepstakes, the crowd saddles up

for one final fling. “Oh lawdy over there,” points the Sandman.

“A fat lady is singing.” A small wiry semi-derelict dances a demented jig

by the starting gate. Pete Fountain in the flesh blows the post parade call

on his crazy clarinet. He mixes the classic call of the post parade in an odd

medley with “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans,” and

“When the Saints Come Marching In.”

Horses display varying degrees of enthusiasm as they

prance around the track. Some snuggle into their walking mates.

Others rear their long neck heads, looking over the ragtag crowd,

deciding if they feel like running this final day.

Loud, foul mouthed bettors provide the usual verbal abuse

squad accompaniment. “Hey Simington. I hear you’re

sleeping around.” “Man. That Tonkaton’s Nightmare again.

I have nightmares just thinking of that motherfucker.”

“Hey Randy Romero, get a real job.”

Oh sorry, that is not just any anonymous oaf. That comment

is vintage gangplank talk emitted by Armor’s Tungsten’s tongue

a’wagging. His head is still locked in Carnival carnage.

Sandy looks in Tyger’s direction as the object of the dream

exacta pulls into view exhibiting the pre-visualized

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

358

 

instructions. “Reason’s Boy?” Sandy asks hesitantly.

“Looks like a winner to me, baby,” Tyger answers. “Floating along at 15-1.”

Sandy puts $20 on the bay colt’s head — a very large wager

for the usually cautious family man — while Tyger, true to the

dream exacta promise, wheels the field under Reason’s Boy in a $3

exacta that comes to a total of $33, adding $7 to win. The boys

return, preparing with Armor’s to watch the race.

Armor’s has decided he is finished forever with this crap.

He watches the tote board for innocent amusement, eating large

scoops of popcorn recently purchased as a consolation prize.

He went down $40 for the day.

The crowd hushes for a brief instant as the horses approach

the starting gate at the far end of the track. And they’re off.

“Split Season with the early lead, followed by Secret

Taipan, BottomOfTheBarrel, Closet Cooty, Marfa’s Missile, and

Presidential Bid. And around the turn it’s…” Blah blah blah blah

Where the hell is Reason’s Boy?

A few million light-year eons pass as the horses round the

far turn. It takes the horses about 44:4 seconds in real time

according to the flashing tote board. Reason’s Boy has launched

with final odds of 14-1.

Tyger looks everywhere for the horse and can’t seem to pick

him up the 12 horse field. Sandy gives in to the forces of

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

359

 

discouraging darkness, staring daggers

below the bottoms of his shoes.

Armor’s busies himself throwing popcorn kernels in the air,

attempting to catch them with his open fish mouth.

“At the to of the stretch, Presidential Bid, Secret

Taipan, Fair Warning three wide. Falling five lengths

back to Misogyny, Closet Cooty, Marfa’s Missile and…

charging on the outside Reason’s Boy. Reason’s Boy…”

You rang Maynard G. Krebs Gilligan’s Island breath?

Suddenly, Sandy snaps to attention. He and Tyger

muscle themselves past some old black guys,

springing up to the rail. The hell with them.

“Making a run down the back stretch. Presidential Bid, Secret Taipan,

Reason’s Boy two lengths back … ”

Sandy is beside himself, fists thrusting high in the sky,

yelling, “Reason’s Boy! Reason’s Boy!

You can do it baby! Come on baby’ Reason’s Boy!”

But it is a funny thing. Sandy’s voice is lost in the intense sound

swirling like a tornado sweeping up every object in its terrific wake,

spitting them out somewhere somehow down the track of human consciousness.

Tyger, too, is swept away in excitement and has joined Sandy.

“You can do it! You can do it! You can do it!”

“Down the final furlong…” Horses galloping

past the Sandy-Tyger connection going a million light years a second,

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

360

 

merging blurs along the main line passing.

“It is Presidential Bid, Reason’s Boy second and Secret Taipan third.”

Ahhhhhh. Sandy expels another ahhhhhh.

Tyger’s body goes limp with a feeling of the most ultimate agony of defeat.

“Oh well,” Sandy says, turning to Tyger in the tank.

“You can’t win them all.” “Shit,” Tyger replies.

But wait. Hold your stinking horses.

“Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen,”

track announcer intercedes from loudspeakers above,

“Results are not official. Please hold all tickets.”

Too late for disillusioned some.

“There has been a steward’s inquiry. Hold all tickets.”

Sandy and Tyger, suddenly resurrected, exchange subtle glances.

“No way,” Sandy says. “Way,” says Tyger.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” the now deified track announcer rambles.

“After further review by order of the stewards,

Presidential Bid is disqualified for bumping in the stretch and

placed third behind Secret Taipan. The official winner is…”

Sandy and Tyger yell the sacred name together with track announcer Tony Bentley.

“Reason’s Boy!!!” Followed by “Yes!”

“Results are official. The winner is Reason’s Boy,

a bay colt out of Turn To Reason, ridden by Randy Romero,

owned by Mr. and Mrs. Rocky Singleton;

second is Secret Taipan; third, Presidential Bid.

The running time of One Minute 43 Seconds … ”

The payoff lights the tote board like the Fourth of July.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

361

 

“$28.50 to win, $13.60 to place, $6.00 to show;

Exacta 7-4 pays $662,”

Tyger reads the results in shock as they Jumping Jack Flash.

“Yes! Yes! Yes!” Sandy, who is jumping for joy, chimes in

like an astral projection beside himself in glee.

He does a little touchdown celebration dance.

“That’s about $285 for me. Reason’s Boy. Yes! Just say yes, baby.”

Tyger scribbles the results in his program figuring he is

set to collect about $730. “Wow,” he finally manages to expel.

Armor’s looks at the scene with more than a touch of

bewilderment. “Damn. Why don’t I ever listen

to that damn Williams? Damn.”

Sandman and Tygermeister did not need a Volkswagen Jetta to

drive the four miles back to the resting lions at Pritchard

Place. They could have flown home on the wings

of pure unadulterated happiness.

“How did you do Honey?” Mary Ann asks sweetly as they soar

like victorious archangels through the opening front door.

“Not bad. Not bad,” Sandy replies winking at Tyger.

“Not too badly at all.”

“Well, isn’t that nice.”

As, they say, God watches out for children,

drunks and fools.”

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 NINETEEN

Tyger, Sandy, Milty, and Armor’s spend the day

at the New Orleans Fairgrounds, the third oldest horse racing

track in America. Many insightful observations are made about the

racing environment and the day ends with an amazing and

unexpected turn of events.

 

CHAPTER 19

“DAY AT THE RACES”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER NINETEEN

Weisman

340

 

A gathering of — shall we say — eagles flock to Sandy

Alexander’s modest two bedroom house just beyond the lions on

Pritchard Place. Those stately monuments to living in the jungle pause across

the street from the Notre Dame Seminary where Pope John II slept

before blessing our dear who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints

before da Vikings beat them like a Saxon drum.

Next time, Poopsie, get it right.

Eagles — make me laugh, hahaha — more like a squatting of

pigeons ready to be fried for the Jolie Green Giant’s dinner.

They have a bad plan in mind.

Sandy, Tyger, Armor’s, and the puff as by David

Copperfield magically reappearing Mr. Milty are fixing to be

fleeced, about to be taken to the proverbial cleaners.

Yes comrades, the final day of the 1988 racing season is

about to commence at the New Orleans Unfair Grounds, the

third oldest horse racing track in America.

And you are there. Now, Church Lady fanatics, isnt that

special? On your marks, ready steady, prepare to be ripped off.

You expected differently in Lousyiana?

Sandy’s wife Mary Ann, ever the proper Southern young lady,

offers sweet iced tea and sympathy to the about to be iced quartet.

“Day at the Races”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

CHAPTER NINETEEN

Weisman

341

 

Tanks, but no tanks” replies Mr. Milty, “I’ve already

consumed my body weight in margaritas. ” Ohhhh-Key.

“And you Armor’s. Come on. Have some sweet tea,” Mary

Ann coaxes the burly bear. “It will be good for you”

“Better not,” Armor’s replies. “I have to concentrate on the

horses. No distractions.”

Armor’s, as one can see, is a serious ass bettor. He dont

fool around when it comes to losing his — hard? — earned money.

Sandy finishes up chores in the couple’s backyard as Tyger

stumbles outside to say howdy. “You aren’t going to do that

dream exacta thing again?” inquires the, ever sensible Sandy, a

printing executive who is also a writer.

“Of course. It’s in my contract,” replies Tyger Williams,

psychic handicapper extraordinary.

Armor’s and Mr. Milty sit in the bright front airy

parlor pouring over the Daily Racing Form. “Who do you like in

the Fifth?” Mr. Milty asks. “It’s a $10,000 claimer.”

The cheap price is about right, the usual fare at the Fair

Grounds. It seems an almost beautiful race track, but like the

city of New Orleans, has seen better times.

“Bayou Reality ran real well last time out, moving

down in class,” Armor’s notes as he scans the printed field.

“Looks as good as anyone in that field. I like the connections.”

Mr. Milty scribbles the information down in his pull-out

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

342

 

racing section. “Odds are nice at 5-1,” the man of a thousand

faces adds. “It’s a keeper.”

“Hmmm. I like Classy Boat in that race, too. What about

Dangerous Bid?” Mr. Milty continues scouring through the small

print of the racing paper that looks like hieroglyphics to the

uninitiated, but is quite simple to decipher for those with some experience.

“Dangerous Bid? Nah. Big fake rip-off,” according to

Armor’s considered opinion. “They put the Bid in there to make

everybody think it’s a Spectacular Bid kid like Risen Star.

It’s really sired by this other shit horse. Steer like the Titanic clear.”

“You like Bayou Reality over Classy Boat?” Milty continues.

“I’m going to bet them over and under, maybe put

five bucks on Bayou Reality’s nose.”

“Sounds good. I might play that,” Armor’s says.

Sandy and Tyger discuss variations on a theme amongst

the rose bushes and green green grass of home.

“You dreamed about which race last night?” Sandy tentatively probes.

“Focused in on the feature,” Tyger replies. “I visualized

the race track, watching the race from start to finish. Even

heard the track announcer. Saw the winning colors,

purple with a green star. Romero was the jockey

Any of that sound right?”

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter 19

Weisman

343

 

“Could be,” Sandy confirms. “Randy has Reason’s Boy in that

race. Reason’s Boy is a great runner. I think he’s going off at

10-1 or 12-1. That’s worth considering. But I like Marfa’s

Missile. That’s a real nice colt.”

The outdoor garden party returns to commingle with its

indoor compatriots. Sandy kisses Mary Ann a fond farewell.

“Y’all have good luck at the track today,” Mary Ann wishes.

“Here. Take some cookies for the road. They should fill you up,

honey before you win all that money.”

Mary Ann is the greatest pastry chef in the free world .

The chain gang, especially Armor’s, scarf up a plate of

chocolate chip giants before cascading like the flooding Pearl

River over the Alexander home’s banks, into Sandy’s Volkswagen Jetta.

The gang is off to play the ponies. Look out, N’awlins’

fellow space jockeys. They’re about to blast off like the Space Shuttle Challenger.

A 10-minute drive down South Carrolton Avenue around City

Park, over to Esplanade Avenue and the boys have reached the

final gates of doom. Mr. Milty and Armor’s spend some quality

quiet time concentrating on the Racing Form.

The art touts make critical marks with respective pencils,

contemplating the immediate future with hopes of victory and some

trepidation borne of past regrets. At least, it keeps them occupied.

Such is part of horse racing·s attraction. Youse make a pick,

.-

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

344

·

youse takes your chances.

Tyger rides along confident in his knowledge of the dream

exacta. To him, the race has already run. It has happened before.

In fact, Tyger picked Fair Grounds winners solely based on

premonition long before he knew how to handicap properly.

His success was unparalleled.

Mr. Milty refused to go with Tyger for a time because

it seemed that every time Tyger won, on the longest of shots, Mr.

Milty lost on favorites. “Hey man, you are stealing my fun,”

concluded Mr. Milty. Fair grounds enough.

Horse racing isn’t about horses at all. It is rather a

reflection of human nature.

We see human foibles and personifications take flight as

airy addenda to the actual situation on the ground. Not to

mention the usual human greed attached to all forms of gambling.

Be that as it may…

Strangely, too, the more expert Tyger became in

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

345

 

handicapping, the less successful were his dream exacta

selections. Therefore, he saves the method only for special occasions.

As Tyger’s losers conformed more precisely with racing odds

and attitudes, Mr. Milty dropped his objections to attending

races with the post-psychic master. They were playing on a more level surface.

Tyger won far less often, but had more confidence in the

scientific method. So, he continued with the method rather than the madness.

Ahh, Gentilly Boulevard, where Sandy pulls up to the gate,

hands the parking attendant $2, moving along little doggies to

a “lucky” parking place. The boys pile out of the car, floating

through the $1 general admission turnstile over to the Paddock

area where they all buy 75 cent programs.

It is very important for each player to have his own

program, so that he can concentrate better on the action.

That’s just the law of the land, folks.

What a sight the Unfair Grounds are as the last day

of the season with an accumulated Pick Six pool of $95,000 to be

divided that day entices 7,500 “fans” of the “sport of

kings”about2,000 more than usual. No need for LSD here as the

joint trips the light fanatic with colors and bizarre behavior.

“Reminds me of ugly night at the Galleria,” moans Tyger,

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

346

 

recalling a massive overdose of acid that accompanied the

incredible accumulation of the scariest persons on the planet

later that same evening at the Houston Galleria.

But these ugly patrons are New Orleans’ finest, and by

definition more colorful, interesting and bizarre than any group

of ugly citizens everywhere. Take that, Space City Houston.

Such is another distinguishing mark that makes the Big Easy

special. Besides, language, food, and culture; New Orleanians

are inundated by a phenomenon that even has a moniker.

These rare bird strange unfathomable rara avis souls

are known as “characters.” Better believe it comrades,

they don’t need to be acting to fulfill that role.

The characters are out of their cages inundating the ticky

tacky tracky. They line and ride the rails. They flow in eddy

pools around the Paddock where the horses are being

prepared for battle half-aware.

Some sidle up to the Oak Grill ordering hamburgers and

gumbo. Others camp outside the grandstand heaping the usual

amount of verbal abuse on the poor young jocks.

“Hey there Bruce Poyadou,” screams one gap toothed black man

a mere decibel below the sound barrier. “When ya ever going

to win one? I am sick of losing money on you, babe.”

Poyadou on top of a maiden claimer parading before the

second race — the bottom half of the daily double — rides

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

347

 

along, shaking his head, laughing. He utters an inaudible

remark to the accompanying hot-walker.

“Hey dere Randy Romero. How’s it hanging,” elderly

thin white man with greasy grey hair and semi-tattered clothing

yells at the meet’s elite leading rider. “Got a winner for me?”

Romero mutters a passing equally unintelligible remark to

the jockey in front of him. Rail birds shake their heads like

cuckoo clocks gone wild.

“What? What? What you say?” the elderly spectator continues

as a chestnut horse stops a moment, seeming to wink at him.

“That’s good enough for me,” he remarks, rushing to the

doors presumably placing a wager inside at the betting terminals .

Meanwhile, the usual practiced behavior takes place in

spades in every possible direction. Patrons spit gigantic gobs of

brown goo anywhere. (Step lively, try to avoid that piece of sickening reality.)

A great looking woman in a short black dress attracts an

inordinate amount of attention. “Whoo-whee, baby,” one sensitive

soul shouts after her ass as she walks briskly shaking her

booty. Da wag wags his tail behind her not sorry butt in subtle mimicry.

Armor’s and Milty have flown the coop to engage in light

wagering on the Pick Six before laying a couple of dollars on

some loser in the Second. This is merely a diversion as they seem

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

348

 

hell bent on the Fifth, Seventh and Feature race, which is the Tenth.

They bet a few dollars here and there on the others just to

maintain a passing interest. But the big money in their case,

maybe $15 or $20. is reserved for races of maximum interest.

Tyger and Sandy stare down their respective forms. They

perch near the rail by the officials box at the top of the second

longest stretch in America.

Or so the program claims. No one can figure out

where the longest stretch is nor how long it could possibly be.

This one must suffice and seems to stretch near forever.

The long stretch makes for some intriguing picking. The

serious handicapping crowd must keep in mind that principles are

turned on their heads here. One looks for the top closers who can

negotiate the stretch after front runners have burned themselves

out in their dumb-ass equestrian blaze for glory.

“And they are off,” track announcer Tony Bentley calls the

start of the race. “Silent Glory takes the lead followed by

Insignificant Poppism, Fernwood Tonight, Alybaba’s Dada, and six

lengths back along the rail…”

The outside crowd has increased in numbers and intensity, as

the horses round the first turn of a six furlong outing, heading

towards the stretch. Milty and Armor’s are back for the fray.

“Oh man, where is that Salad and Dressing,” Armor’s is

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nneteen

Weisman

349

 

already complaining. Milty stands in a personal circle merely

shaking his head with an ever souring expression.

“Around the first turn, Alybaba’s Dada, Key to the Locker,”

etc. etc., “and back ten lengths is Fernwood Tonight, bringing up

the rear,” of course, a horse is a horse, Salad and Dressing.

“Armor’s this is all your fault,” Mr. Milty mutters. “I knew

we should have bet on Alybaba’s Dada.” “Hey man, no one twisted

your arm.” “I know but … ”

The crowd blurs as shouting minions rise in a nitrous type

solution of heavy white noise accompanying air thick with grey

cigarette and cigar smoke. They yell as one shaking fist

thrusting through the air. They urge their particular favorites

to victory in every way, shape, and form possible as if horses

and riders could hear them or their plaintiff cries could affect the outcome.

“At the top of the stretch, Alybaba’s Dada; Dr. No No has

gotten in and charging along the rail, here comes Aura of Fire.

There will be no catching him today. Aura of Fire, Alybaba’s

Dada, and a photo for third place.”

Whoosh. Some higher power has let all the nitrous out of the

balloon. It crashes to the ground. The crowd immediately dissipates.

Curious sporting types stand in place watching the tote

board flash official results. Tired losers tear up those evil

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

350

 

offending tickets, flinging them with disgust to the spit-riddled concrete floor.

A couple of guys dance in the distance with fists

raised in a salute to the winner and their apparent good fortune.

“That a way Aura of Fire,” a redneck yells. “I knew it.”

That redneck mother lucky stiffs it inside to the betting

window for his temporary reward. Horses double back to the

winners circle and officials box while being simultaneously undressed

by Latin inspired attendants. The redneck mother’s karmic slip is

showing. Whaaa …The winning jockey waves his baton in salute.

A well dressed gaggle of dotty looking persons, the owner and his family, walk

to the circle ready to be awarded the proper recognition as a

track photographer snaps their picture with horse and jockey.

Another guy tears up his ticket. “Damned be it,” he mutters.

“I covered every pick but that one. Shit. Had Alybaba’s Dada on

top of Fire.” So it goes. Tons of yelling as usual

as Alybaba’s Dada is posted as second favorite at 7-2.

The blessed winner was an 8-1 long shot.

Payout on a $3 exacta wager is about $100.

“That’s decent,” a just crawled out of the bayou bengal

comments. “We’ll get ’em next time.”

Don’t even ask about Milty and Armor’s. They are busy

looking at the Racing Form plotting their next disaster.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

351

 

“Who do you like in the Third?” Armor’s eggs on Milty, The

dismal tenth place finish out of ten horses perpetrated by Salad

and Dressing quickly has been forgotten. “It’s an allowance race

for $25,000 three-year old filly claimers.”

“Hmmmm. Marry Me Mary A. might be a good one,” Milty jokes.

“You like that one, eh Sandy?”

Sandy laughs. “I think I already bet on that one in real life,” he notes.

“Ran at Louisiana Downs last year,” Armor’s adds, not

missing a hoofbeat, “That’s a good sign.”

“How about Cindy’s Candy?” Milty inquires scratching his

slight beard stubble. (He lost that among other items, during

Mardi Gras.) He never shaves on race day mindful of

the Herculean myth.

“That nag. No way,” Armor’s replies. “Big loser at Delta

Downs last month. She sucks.” “Just like you,” Milty taunts.

“Randy is on her,” continues Armor’s referring to the

meet’s leading jock. “Don’t care,” Milty responds. “Don’t care.

Got no chance no how no way, Jose’.”

Sandy stands nearby checking out the program and laughing.

“Dream about this one any?” he asks Tyger.

“Nah,” Tyger answers. “I think I’m going to bet $5 on

MyMindlsOutahere. I always liked that filly. She’s a good closer.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

352

 

So it goes through races three through seven.

A few wagers here, a few losers there.

The crowd grows as the feature looms nearer. Some leave,

some arrive, creating an interchangeable mixture of imagery.

Armor’s and Milty — believe it or nuts — are doing

Nicely-Nicely Johnson this day.

They head into late afternoon a bit above even.

Quite satisfied and looking to cement their immediate future

with a killing in the next race.

“We are going to be partying tonight,” Armor’s boldly

predicts. “What else is new?” asks a skeptical Sandy.

Tyger walks into the cavernous black hole that lies just

beneath the $2 grandstand seat surface, into the waiting jaws

of surreal beef jerky. Color television monitors dot the

landscape as do food booths and bars.

A veritable cross-section of persons who seem to have fallen

to earth from other planets careen, bouncing off each other

like crazed self-motivated bumper cars at an amusement park gone

wild. “Where do these people come from?” asks a perplexed Tyger

walking to the betting window.

Smoke hangs in a sickly cloud resembling Los Angeles on the

smoggiest day of a summer inversion representing yet another bit

of awfulness with a small “a”. Tough to understand the

self-immolation styrohead set.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

353

 

“What the hell is wrong with them?” Tyger asks himself while

coughing loudly. Right there is the main reason he prefers to stand outside.

Tyger picks a betting window with a short line. He places $5

to win, $3 to show on Number Seven, “Where’s the Bleep,” and $3

over and under on “Where’s the Bleep,” with Two, Five, Eight, and Nine.

Ahhh, and give the dear boy $2 to win on Number Two,

“Hate Yo Mama.” That is a hunch bet.

Tyger walks up the stairs to the facility’s second floor.

More of the same, and kind of depressing.

Horseplayers and their fellow travelers walk around in

respective haze like zombies oblivious to surroundings.

They stare blank pages at the ever unfolding story hoping

for a flood of good fortune to wash away those earthly troubles.

An entire gamut of human emotion washes across the linoleum

checkered floor sweeping away more mundane thoughts of current

conditions. Poor saps will have more than enough time to cope

with their daily routines between now and the opening of

Jefferson Downs in Kenner. That occurs the following Wednesday.

For the eternal moment, this huge pack of rats and a few

artistic mice are frozen like figures on a Grecian urn turning

ever yearning towards the Eighth Race post parade as they

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

354

 

silently watch second floor monitors for wagering clues.

The future for these poor huddled masses is now. Like Raider

owner Al Davis said, just win baby. It doesn’t matter what it takes.

How fortunate for the fatass cigar smoking touts, and

nice guys finishing last that they aren’t actually running

themselves. At least this way. vicariously betting on dumb

beasts of burden, they have a mathematical chance,

no matter how slim, of victory.

How easy it is to forget the many humiliating defeats

preceding, doubtless following in that moment of pure ecstasy

of complete victory. Winning for a moment suspends that

moment in space-time forever.

Tyger cites the words of John Keats to a nearby lout. “John

Keats?” the short in stature long in snout nose  answers.

“Doesn’t he jock at Pimlico Park?”

“Never mind.”

Such powerful intoxication over-rides all other

considerations and sensibilities. Authorities encourage this

activity while banning substances that are good for the soul like sweet marijuana.

Who is in charge here anyway? Like the black soldier answers

in Oliver Stone’s Platoon, “You’re not?”

Solly Cholly. No one seems to know what is going down or what

they are doing. Communal amnesia blankets the horse and bugger set.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

355

 

Everyone sets aside those earthly cares and heavenly goals

to concentrate instead on more pressing matters like the Daily

Racing Form, figuring out bets, mining strangers for

misinformation, losing their heads as some gelding grabs the

brass ring, or finding their souls swept along on a magic carpet

ride of universal desire. Fools and buffoons,

jerks and great artists they might be, God bless them every one.

It is difficult in the final analysis to hate the beast who

knows not what he does. In this way comrades, we must pity the

poor horse playing gambling addicts and wish them Bonne Chance on

this the last day of blissful ignorance at the UnFair Grounds until

the season traditionally re-opens later that year on Thanksgiving Day.

Enough of the upstairs-downstairs shit for Tyger Williams.

He rejoins the in-crowd near the finish line ready to be

appraised of the latest statistical updates of fate.

“Sandy won the last race. Milty and I blew it. Big bummer,”

Armor’s recapitulates. “I haven’t a clue what happened to Mr.

Milty after that. He said he had to go away for a minute,

never returned. I guess that means he won’t be coming back.

“Yeah,” Sandy adds, “Mr. Milty is the master of the tasteful exit.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

356

 

Couldn’t get out of the Superdome fast enough when we

went to the Saints playoff game. I think he lasted a quarter.”

“Guess he’ll find his way home alright,” Tyger replies.

“He always seems to anyway.”

“That Mr. Milty,” Sandy adds. “I stopped trying to

understand him years ago. He is as inscrutable as one of those

damn faces he paints. I hope for his sake he becomes a great

artist some day. I don’t know what else he could do if he weren’t.”

Kaleidoscope of horse flesh fills tableau visual

around and around deep dirt track, followed by winners and

losers galore. Tote board lights flash as do the eyes of

momentary victors to whom small spoils are awarded.

Losers cry and try to get it back at the next opportunity.

One never knows. Maybe something good will happen.

Tyger’s personal fortune that day reflects the totality of

the collective experience. He busts on the Eighth Race, but picks

up a healthy payback in the Ninth as Mickey’s Flashback

uncharacteristically wires the mile-and-a-quarter field.

Sometimes one can win while choosing a horse for the wrong

reasons. Mickey’s Flashback looked like a closer and with a name like that.

Couple that pick, as Tyger does, with the Number Three

horse, Mardi Gras Honey, and he takes a healthy $85 cut out of

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

357

 

future losses. Even the likes of Tyger can feel like a winner for

a fleeting moment. Coming on to feature time,

the $50,000 added Last Chance Sweepstakes, the crowd saddles up

for one final fling. “Oh lawdy over there,” points the Sandman.

“A fat lady is singing.” A small wiry semi-derelict dances a demented jig

by the starting gate. Pete Fountain in the flesh blows the post parade call

on his crazy clarinet. He mixes the classic call of the post parade in an odd

medley with “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans,” and

“When the Saints Come Marching In.”

Horses display varying degrees of enthusiasm as they

prance around the track. Some snuggle into their walking mates.

Others rear their long neck heads, looking over the ragtag crowd,

deciding if they feel like running this final day.

Loud, foul mouthed bettors provide the usual verbal abuse

squad accompaniment. “Hey Simington. I hear you’re

sleeping around.” “Man. That Tonkaton’s Nightmare again.

I have nightmares just thinking of that motherfucker.”

“Hey Randy Romero, get a real job.”

Oh sorry, that is not just any anonymous oaf. That comment

is vintage gangplank talk emitted by Armor’s Tungsten’s tongue

a’wagging. His head is still locked in Carnival carnage.

Sandy looks in Tyger’s direction as the object of the dream

exacta pulls into view exhibiting the pre-visualized

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

358

 

instructions. “Reason’s Boy?” Sandy asks hesitantly.

“Looks like a winner to me, baby,” Tyger answers. “Floating along at 15-1.”

Sandy puts $20 on the bay colt’s head — a very large wager

for the usually cautious family man — while Tyger, true to the

dream exacta promise, wheels the field under Reason’s Boy in a $3

exacta that comes to a total of $33, adding $7 to win. The boys

return, preparing with Armor’s to watch the race.

Armor’s has decided he is finished forever with this crap.

He watches the tote board for innocent amusement, eating large

scoops of popcorn recently purchased as a consolation prize.

He went down $40 for the day.

The crowd hushes for a brief instant as the horses approach

the starting gate at the far end of the track. And they’re off.

“Split Season with the early lead, followed by Secret

Taipan, BottomOfTheBarrel, Closet Cooty, Marfa’s Missile, and

Presidential Bid. And around the turn it’s…” Blah blah blah blah

Where the hell is Reason’s Boy?

A few million light-year eons pass as the horses round the

far turn. It takes the horses about 44:4 seconds in real time

according to the flashing tote board. Reason’s Boy has launched

with final odds of 14-1.

Tyger looks everywhere for the horse and can’t seem to pick

him up the 12 horse field. Sandy gives in to the forces of

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

359

 

discouraging darkness, staring daggers

below the bottoms of his shoes.

Armor’s busies himself throwing popcorn kernels in the air,

attempting to catch them with his open fish mouth.

“At the to of the stretch, Presidential Bid, Secret

Taipan, Fair Warning three wide. Falling five lengths

back to Misogyny, Closet Cooty, Marfa’s Missile and…

charging on the outside Reason’s Boy. Reason’s Boy…”

You rang Maynard G. Krebs Gilligan’s Island breath?

Suddenly, Sandy snaps to attention. He and Tyger

muscle themselves past some old black guys,

springing up to the rail. The hell with them.

“Making a run down the back stretch. Presidential Bid, Secret Taipan,

Reason’s Boy two lengths back … ”

Sandy is beside himself, fists thrusting high in the sky,

yelling, “Reason’s Boy! Reason’s Boy!

You can do it baby! Come on baby’ Reason’s Boy!”

But it is a funny thing. Sandy’s voice is lost in the intense sound

swirling like a tornado sweeping up every object in its terrific wake,

spitting them out somewhere somehow down the track of human consciousness.

Tyger, too, is swept away in excitement and has joined Sandy.

“You can do it! You can do it! You can do it!”

“Down the final furlong…” Horses galloping

past the Sandy-Tyger connection going a million light years a second,

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

360

 

merging blurs along the main line passing.

“It is Presidential Bid, Reason’s Boy second and Secret Taipan third.”

Ahhhhhh. Sandy expels another ahhhhhh.

Tyger’s body goes limp with a feeling of the most ultimate agony of defeat.

“Oh well,” Sandy says, turning to Tyger in the tank.

“You can’t win them all.” “Shit,” Tyger replies.

But wait. Hold your stinking horses.

“Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen,”

track announcer intercedes from loudspeakers above,

“Results are not official. Please hold all tickets.”

Too late for disillusioned some.

“There has been a steward’s inquiry. Hold all tickets.”

Sandy and Tyger, suddenly resurrected, exchange subtle glances.

“No way,” Sandy says. “Way,” says Tyger.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” the now deified track announcer rambles.

“After further review by order of the stewards,

Presidential Bid is disqualified for bumping in the stretch and

placed third behind Secret Taipan. The official winner is…”

Sandy and Tyger yell the sacred name together with track announcer Tony Bentley.

“Reason’s Boy!!!” Followed by “Yes!”

“Results are official. The winner is Reason’s Boy,

a bay colt out of Turn To Reason, ridden by Randy Romero,

owned by Mr. and Mrs. Rocky Singleton;

second is Secret Taipan; third, Presidential Bid.

The running time of One Minute 43 Seconds … ”

The payoff lights the tote board like the Fourth of July.

 

“SURVEILLANCE PELICANA”

Chapter Nineteen

Weisman

361

 

“$28.50 to win, $13.60 to place, $6.00 to show;

Exacta 7-4 pays $662,”

Tyger reads the results in shock as they Jumping Jack Flash.

“Yes! Yes! Yes!” Sandy, who is jumping for joy, chimes in

like an astral projection beside himself in glee.

He does a little touchdown celebration dance.

“That’s about $285 for me. Reason’s Boy. Yes! Just say yes, baby.”

Tyger scribbles the results in his program figuring he is

set to collect about $730. “Wow,” he finally manages to expel.

Armor’s looks at the scene with more than a touch of

bewilderment. “Damn. Why don’t I ever listen

to that damn Williams? Damn.”

Sandman and Tygermeister did not need a Volkswagen Jetta to

drive the four miles back to the resting lions at Pritchard

Place. They could have flown home on the wings

of pure unadulterated happiness.

“How did you do Honey?” Mary Ann asks sweetly as they soar

like victorious archangels through the opening front door.

“Not bad. Not bad,” Sandy replies winking at Tyger.

“Not too badly at all.”

“Well, isn’t that nice.”

As, they say, God watches out for children,

drunks and fools.”

Surveillance final CH. 19