Saturday, June 11, 2005

6/11/05

9:52 a.m. I am eating left-over Chinese and watching the Cartoon Network. Oh, that Billy and Mandy. Cracks me up. I chase every few bites of spicy beef curry with a swig of Mylanta.

I will tell you the rest of the Lawyer Boy story. A month or so after the statement fiasco, I got an assignment to surveil Lawyer Boy for two days. I voiced my concern that he knew my face, my voice, and the make and model of my vehicle. The client was unconcerned, though, supposing that he would never recognize me. Okay. That's fine. I will just have to be very careful to disguise myself.

5:54 a.m. I arrive at Lawyer Boy's house and set up down the street. There is construction on the house next to his. Or deconstruction, more accurately. The neighborhood he lives in is so exclusive that people have taken to buying the modest homes that were built in the sixties and demolishing them in favor of mansions that completely suffocate any lawn that might have been there before. I watch as a bulldozer plows down a picket fence lined with climbing roses and hydrangeas. Across the street, there is a pair of deer feeding on the hostas that line a flower bed. It is so odd to see deer in such an urban setting that I start filming. I smile as I imagine what the video techs will say when they see this Mutual of Omaha moment. I consider providing a running commentary. "Jim approaches the pregnant female with tranquilizer gun in hand. Careful, Jim! Caaaarrrrful!"

I am so busy amusing myself that I almost miss the garage door shutting at Lawyer Boy's house. Aack! I re-fix the camera on the back end of his black Mercedes sedan as it heads south down the street. I drop the camera and begin mobile pursuit. He takes a left toward the village's downtown. I am surprised at this. I expected him to head toward Chicago, toward his office. I remembered him mentioning that he went to physical therapy in the mornings and presume that is where he's going.

Lawyer Boy drives into the Metra Rail parking lot. Oh! He's taking the train in. I should have known. He parks in a 4 hour limit parking spot near the station building. I park across from him and scramble into the back of my truck to take film of him walking onto the platform. His face carries a sour expression that I am beginning to suspect is typical for him.

I note that Lawyer Boy is not carrying a cane. This is important because in our interview he said he walked with a cane outside of the house. I don't see a limp or an awkward gate. I shake my head. That won't look good. I can't help but feel for him. His claim IS legit. I got my hands on some x-rays and I could see degenerative changes taking place up and down his back. The disease he has will slowly fuse his vertebral column and send sharp bone spurs growing into his spinal cord unless he continues to undergo surgeries every year or so. He's just such a jerk and so unwilling to provide asked-for information that it is easy for me to understand how the insurance company would be suspicious and want to nail him to the wall. He ACTS like a crook.

I don't have much time. I put the camera in my spy purse and change out of my tank top/workout pants ensemble. I put on some black suit pants, heels, and a matching black suit jacket. I slick my hair back into a ponytail, put on lipstick, and finish off the look with my school marm glasses. I consider myself in the mirror. It looks like my IQ just went up 30 points. Not bad.

I throw my wallet and cell phone in the purse with my cam (it's a big purse) and run to the counter to purchase a ticket. The train shows up just as I finish up. I kick off my shoes, grab them, and run.

I barely make it as the doors close behind me. I put my shoes back on and look around. Way to avoid drawing attention to yourself, Polly. I pat my hair down and settle into a spot across from Lawyer Boy. Fortunately, he is busy scowling at the business section of the newspaper and doesn't seem to care what is going on around him. I position the camera, reach in my pocket, and hit "play" on the remote.

Like everybody else, I stare at the advertisements on the side of the car. No eye contact. No smiles. If you smile at people in the subway they think you're either retarded or crazy.

Finally, Lawyer Boy stands up as we pull into a downtown station. I follow. He exits and heads to the street. His office, it turns out, is in one of the most expensive and prominent business districts in Chicago. I knew he was doing well for himself, but I hadn't realized he was doing THIS well. No wonder the insurance company didn't want to pay out. It would cost them a fortune to provide even a portion of his previous income in disability.

I pass by as he enters his building. I will walk to the corner of the block and wait a few minutes before coming back. If I am right, there is no way I will get up to his offices. The security will be too tight. I imagine myself in a cat burglar suit sneaking into the building through the garbage shoot. I would then make my way through the air vents to his office, where I would record him doing back flips and hand stands. I start humming the Mission Impossible theme song.

Sure enough. When I go inside, I see a rent-a-cop behind a security desk and a turnstile blocking off access to a bank of elevators. I walk back out. Okay. Well, maybe there is another entrance. I walk around the side where the parking garage is. A security guard is standing outside the sliding metal door and there is a code-activated keypad. Ugh.

Okay. So I go into a restaurant down the block and order the most delicious french toast breakfast I've ever had. I call his office and ask to speak with him. The secretary says he's in court all day. Really? He told me he hasn't been to court for months. Of course, that could be what he has his secretary tell everybody when he isn't taking calls. Makes him sound busy and important.

I spend the rest of the day spinning my wheels. I run the license plate of the vehicle he drove to the train station and find it is registered to his firm. After 10 hours, I head back to the train. I must have missed him somehow as he was leaving the building. When I get back to his stop, I walk up the stairs from the platform. Still there. His car is still sitting in the 4 hour limit parking spot. What do you know. So much for cutting his hours back.

The next day, I see him safely on the train, again. No point in following him. I simply call his office an hour later and confirm that he's there. I take off and run a few errands, checking his vehicle every couple of hours to see if he's returned. Nope. Finally, at 8pm, I break off for the day and close the case.

I'm sure Lawyer Boy's wife, who told me he was driving her crazy being home all the time, is quite happy about now.

7 comments:

Eleanor said...

I love this story Polly - in my experience civil lawyers (NO pun intended) are very arrogant and full of themselves - here in San Diego they tend to travel in groups of 4, all pulling suitcase holder thingys full of boxes of very important documenet! *snork*

*waits for next chapter*

Eleanor said...

That would be "documents!"

Jeff Meyerson said...

While it is possible his behavior is a direct result of the pain he is in, I'm guessing he was always a miserable bastard. It's pretty hard to feel sorry for somone with that kind of attitude problem, and he clearly was lying.

Verdict: weasel.

jane said...

as someone else living in san diego... i can verify that lawyers here *do* tend to travel in packs of four. scary and soul-less. only eighteen more days!

slyeyes said...

*sighs*

Ah, the never ending battle between civil and criminal attorneys.

slyeyes said...

Maybe I should put the word "Defense" between "criminal" and "attorney"; huge difference.

MOTW said...

I'm dying to know - is Lawyer Boy suffering from ankylosing spondylitis (a.k.a. spondyloarthritis)? That's the first thing I thought of when you said his spine would fuse.

I have a male cousin who went through that. He lives on Daytona Beach, rides his motorcycle, is a good husband and father. My sis saw him about five years ago and said you'd really never know his spine was fused, except that his head was tilted slightly forward. His doc made him sleep in a recliner so when his back fused, it would at least fuse somewhat straight.

Love your blog, Polly!