Back in the 70′s, before I had my own P.I. license, I worked for a number of other operations. Under Arizona law, to qualify for your own company license, you have to put in three years working under someone else’s. I worked for one guy who ran me all over, checking on people who were scamming insurance companies for health claims. The idea was show up, unannounced, and sit surveillance on their house, in the hope they would serendipitously come outside right then. And you could film them playing jai-alai (or Olympic wrestling) in the front yard. Of course, the subject rarely cooperated.
There was this one guy, who reportedly had severe back injuries. I did catch him leaving his house, driving to city parks, and picking up many aluminum cans. Following him was particularly easy, as he was driving a dirty, faded white 1961 Ford Falcon, with a severely bent frame! It was as if he was driving sideways down the street, never over 25 mph.
They say the youth think they’re invincible. I certainly did. Mortality never occurred to me.
Another time, I was sitting surveillance in the projects. Never a good idea alone. Watching another freakin’ tract home, surrounded by many other tract homes, none with landscaping – maybe one tree, each.
This was back before cellular telephones, GPS, and all that stuff. When on surveillance, one was advised to bring a roll-of-quarters (for pay telephones, or to use as an ersatz brass knuckle), and a glass quart milk bottle. I’ll let you guess the reason for the bottle.
So, here I am, in the midst of low-income government housing, mid-day. I probably had the newest car on the block, even though it was 6 years old, and the battery was ‘iffy’. And, no other cars were parked on the street for a couple blocks.
I’d been there about three hours, when I casually looked in the rear-view mirror. Walking up the street, with purpose, were about 15 neighborhood residents. They all seemed to have boards, hoes, heavy rakes. And they were walking straight for my car! Images of Frankenstein’s monster came to mind – and I was he!
If it had been night, there would have been torches!
OH, PULEEZ, LET MY BATTERY WORK!
The car did start, and I was able to exit, unscathed. I did have a revolver in my briefcase, but, no reloads after six shots. Young fool!
Now, mortality occurred to me.