Thursday, December 9, 2010

budding gumshoe

The office is tucked away between a few fenced lots and a couple shady storage units. It sits on the other side of the railroad tracks, so close actually that when a train rolls by, I have to reach out and steady the office supplies and decorations that are within my reach. There is no window in my back room, but I imagine if there were, it would let in light that would cast a sepia-type glow to the entire room. There are stacks and stacks of dingy papers that are covered in chicken scratch and lawyer jargon. Pictures of repeat offenders. Cartoons about process servers. Confiscated goods, and a nice collection of guns, which are most likely real and range from palm size all the way up to shotguns with sawed off barrels.

This is my new job. I work in the back of a private investigator's office. I'm the detail girl. I run background checks, track down car tags, and social security numbers, warrants and offenders. I report to the boss who is a tall skinny man who doesn't like people and always rubs them the wrong way. You would too if you've been kicking people out of houses, and finding people who skip out on their loan payments for the last 30 years. There is always work to do, and he works as hard at chewing the cigar that is always in his mouth as he does finding the person he has been hired to find. He requires you to do everything his way, no matter what it is. He dictates everything into his voice recorder, doesn't waste words, and changes the way he wants things done everyday. Most people get frustrated and give up rather than take his abuse. But I've always known him as Poppy, my best friends' grandfather. So each berating message just makes me roll my eyes, laugh, and get back to work.

I spend all day recording people's bad decisions. Some days all I do is enter arrests and evictions into databases. I see everything from stalking to prostitution, exceeding the maximum speed limit to rape. Some days I can handle it, some days I can't. I play a game to keep it from getting too tedious, I try to find the best name of the day. Xavier Mandragon won yesterday.
The game keeps my mind from thinking about the bad things that are actually happening out there. Or even at how, after two weeks I've become rather hardened, surprised really when someone's record is clean.

This is what is keeping me busy now. It's like professionally facebook stalking someone. At it always peaks people's interests when I mention that I'm working at a PI's office.

And don't worry out there.... I'm not checking up on anyone. At least not yet. I'm still too worried I'll uncover some deep dark secret that will ruin everything. So you're safe. For now!

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