By May B. Yesno © 2007
The guy I was following parked his fat butt on a bench and started feeding himself, and the pigeons gathered around, from the Popcorn Bag he carried.
One piece for the thirty pigeons, six pieces for himself. Cupping his handful for himself, seemingly not minding the occasional choke on kernels.
I wasn't happy with this slob. And I was even less happy with his current activity - watching the kids across the path and down away.
But it was a public park. And the guy only watched the kids. Too bad about that.
I slid into a bench fifty yards or so up the path to keep him in sight, and reviewed what I knew about the clown.
Fifty-nine years, High School plus some. Had a decent job and had been in it for twenty years. Churchgoer on occasions. Most friends seemed through his wife, and it appeared that all visitors to their home were her friends, or at least people met through her. No co-workers visited. No kids of their own. Never any kids. Whether his choice, her choice, or their choice, or simply impossible, unknown. It was reported that he liked kids and the visitors with kids didn't report problems.
He did indulge in alcohol to a mild extent, seldom going out with colleagues after work and then only on special occasions and office parties. A movie a year, and then at his wife's urging. No sports; no bowling, no golf, no nothing. Except some yard work around his place, a home he had purchased fifteen years prior. He did have TV, internet and subscriptions to several magazines (not considering his wife's, which were knit this, care for the house that), Only one of the magazines interested me, that was a computer gaming monthly. I figured this guy for a war gamer or gambler, though I didn't know for sure about anything along those lines, except he wasn't a Nerd. His job wasn't in those areas.
About the only positive thing about this guy was he asked for a raise every year. Like clockwork, I'm told. Always for the amount of the previous year's reported inflation rate. Never more. His boss indicated that he never asked for a promotion, either, nor volunteered for extra time on the clock or more responsibility. A real wuss, this one.
Look at him: sitting over there in the cheap suit, carefully whipping his salted, butter-smeared hand on that over-large handkerchief in the breast pocket next to the pseudo silk tie. Christ. Who would think looking at him that he had been carrying a million and a half accidental life insurance on his wife all these years. Who? I ask you.
On the other hand, who would think he would ever legally file the claim? Which brings me around to me.
I'm a private investigator. A damn good private investigator. I have a wife, a very expensive wife. She likes the good things in life. We're matched. I like good things too. I've got two kids, a nice house and the kids are looking forward to their second year at the good college upstate. No need to talk about the four cars, two trucks and three dogs. To say little about the cats hanging around. I like the night life.
Really need a party or so a week to make a man feel alive. I like showing off the wife, too. She's a looker, that one. That is all beside the point. What matters is I was hired to investigate this clown's claim. All the usual questions, all the usual suspicions. Here, outta the blue, a no-nothing asks for a mil and a half. The company isn't really happy with this. Nowhere near happy. So, I'm assigned the case to see if... What...
I've been after determining this for eight months now. The creep's lawyer is starting to yap some. Me? Let him yap, the longer the better for me. But he is making noises about the State regulatory body and so forth. So the company is going to move soon - fact is, they've been after me here lately. And what do I have to report?
Slop's wife died in a traffic accident. She was driving one car and got rammed by another. At least it was quick. I tried her to be at fault, that didn't work well. I tried the "Hand of God" thing, but we couldn't find a flaming thing wrong with either car not explainable by the battle damage. She wasn't on the cell, they didn't own one. She wasn't -- anything. Just a Vanilla Jane. No lumps, no handles anywhere I could see. Until the autopsy.
I really thought I had something there. The Biddy was juiced up on downers and other stuff. Not that I can fault her for that, what with their lifestyle. Be enough to drive anyone to hypertension. The biggest problem was they were all prescription stuff, within easy tolerances. I tried to hang on a bit with that train of thought but there wasn't enough to satisfy the company and there wasn't a written prohibition included in her prescription bottle to prohibit driving.
So, I tried the other car. That was a fifty-fifty thing. Problem was the fifty percent of the four in the other car were straight, and it just so happened that they were the right fifty percent. They were both straight and in charge of the vehicle on impact. At least that we could prove. None of the four made it, so we only know what we surmise.
And I can't find anything to hang this on. Sitting here watching this duffer and reading these notes reminds me that the guy's car was carrying full coverage insurance on a three month old car. Yeah. He would buy a new car every two years and keep them fully covered. So he'll be getting a new car on top of everything else.
My newest is eight years old. I got it the year my youngest kid got out of secondary school. And this guy I'm following.
Yeah, him. Gets a mil and a half, and a new car. No house payment, no wife, no kids, no pets. And a million and a half with a new car.
Well. The report is due in an hour, I guess this one is settled. Except for the check. Some guys just have all the luck.
May B. Yesno is a writer from Fresno, CA.