9:51 a.m. I am on the couch again. I have a window open and am listening to the traffic outside. I slept for an unprecedented ten hours straight. I guess the lack of sleep and the time change all caught up with me.
I finished my Hollywood case yesterday. And none too soon. I know I've been here too long when I am browsing in the Whole Foods Market on 3rd Street and a woman walks by me wearing a Juicy Catour sweatsuit. I wrinkle my nose and think to myself, "That is SO last year!"
I start my surveillance at noon. My Subject is inactive until about 2pm, at which time she limps out of the house wearing casual clothes. Funny, she wasn't limping at all lastnight. She is talking on a cell phone and holding a set of keys in the other hand. I film her as she walks around the corner and then I scramble to get my camera situated in my spy purse. I jump out of the car and take several steps before I remember, Oh yeah. Shoes would be good.
I slip on some flip flops, slam the car door, and run. I get to the corner and look to the left. Nothing. She's wearing a white blouse and has very distinctive blond curls so I wouldn't miss her if she was around. I look to the right and across the street. Not there either. I begin cursing under my breath. How can I lose somebody on foot pursuit who has a bad leg??? If I were my boss I'd fire me.
I decide to head to the right on the theory that unless the light was working in her favor, she would still be standing here waiting. I check inside of every restaurant, spa, and specialty shop for a full block. I turn off the cam and run back down the other side of the street doing the same thing. Eventually, I've checked every store within a block on either side of the cross street. There is no sign of her.
I am frustrated.
Okay. Time to think, here.
I sit down on a bench and consider. She left at 2:00pm. Those are restaurant hours. And if she's waiting tables in this neighborhood she might be making enough to supplement her lifestyle.
This case has been worked for two weeks by several other investigators. From what I've read in previous reports, she has tended to leave the house earlier than this.
Still, I think as I get up, this is the best lead I have. I walk up and down the blocks again writing down the names of each restaurant. Then I go back to my car and start making phone calls. Some of the restaurants only have answering machines that instruct you to leave a message if you want a reservation. For those that actually do answer, I ask for Subject and get a lot of confused responses. At least Subject's name is very unique and there's no chance she can be mistaken for somebody else...
I call a French restaurant only a 100 feet or so south of the intersection. A woman answers and I ask for Subject. "Hold on just a minute, she's right here," she says. I smile. Gotcha! Thirty seconds later she's back on the line telling me that Subject isn't there today but can she take a message. I say no and hang up. Hmmmm. That was weird. First she's there and now she isn't? I suppose she might have bill collectors after her or she might just be paranoid with all of the strange people calling her and knocking on her doors and following her around for the past two weeks.
Only one way to find out. I load up my spy purse again and head up the street. I enter the restaurant and think to myself, Corporate better pay me back for this fabulous meal I'm about to have. It is the early afternoon still so the place is mostly deserted. The wait staff, wearing all black with white aprons, looks bored. I am seated in the back near the kitchen. I look down at my flip flops and my casual shorts and tank. I shrug. Hide the riff raff, huh? That's fine. Just gives me a better opportunity to snoop.
I order a fruit and cheese platter and a cup of herbal tea. Then I ask the waitress where the bathroom is. She points down a hallway. I turn on the cam and head toward the hall, but instead of going left, I turn right and into the kitchen. The cook staff looks up. I scan the faces and don't recognize any of them. "Oops! Wrong door." I am rewarded with a scowl from a short man with curly dark hair.
In the bathroom, I turn off the cam and sit on a vanity chair. She's not here. I'm not that surprised, really. She was wearing very casual clothes when she left the house and that doesn't fit. Maybe she was picking up a check. That would explain the clothes and the hostess mistakenly saying she's here.
I go back to my table and enjoy my lunch. I call Subject's house and get an answering machine. Still not home.
As I stroll back to my car, there is no doubt I'm disappointed that I wasn't able to reconnect with Subject. But I figured out where she works, at least. That was mostly what the client wanted to know.