7:20 a.m. I can't send this until later in the morning because there is absolutely nothing as far as cell service here.
My hotel is 20+ miles away, so I got a chance to go through a lot of “Blip-like” towns on my way here. I was driving through one particular residential area early this morning when there, looming at the corner of an intersection was...a giraffe. It was still kind of dark and I almost drove off the road before I realized it was only a statue. A life-sized statue of a giraffe..in the middle of a Michigan neighborhood. No plaque. No explanation. Just a random statue of a giraffe. I shrug. Okay.
My Subject is a cabinetmaker by trade. He is suspected of working when he's supposed to be totally disabled. So far there has been no movement, though.
Well, through a series of very odd coincidences, I was picked up on my last case. So, I thought I'd tell you all about how I almost got thrown in jail for abducting children. My life is never dull, you know?
I arrive at Subject's residence and note that the house is in a really nice neighborhood. And is at the end of a cul de sac. I hate cul de sacs. This means that I can't really set up without being noticed by EVERYBODY on the block. So, I decide to play it safe and do a rolling surveillance, setting up down the street at the intersection with the main drag. I'd done a preliminary drive by the night before and noted Subject's vehicle in the driveway. This afternoon it wasn't there. I will try to pick him up as he's getting home from work (or where ever he is) and then come earlier tomorrow in hopes of following him.
I've been on the case for a couple of hours now and I turn into the cul de sac to get my third master shot of the residence. I just finish taking the video when Subject's wife exits the front door and walks to the mailbox. I continue to loop around the circle, taking a quick glance at the woman as I roll by. She is staring at me with no small measure of hostility. Huh.
I set up again about two blocks away near a bank of pine trees. I am engrossed in writing a blog entry when Subject's vehicle pulls up in front of my SUV. He has blocked off my exit. Oh, fudge.
Subject gets out of his car. A scrawny little rat-faced guy. Balding. Twitchy. Wearing khakis and a button-down shirt. He reminds me of Rick Moranis in Ghost Busters, only less hair. I half-expect him to shuffle up to my window and ask me if I'm the gate keeper.
I continue to write, pretending I don't notice that he is standing there at my window glaring at me.
Finally, he knocks. I finish my sentence and look up. He motions for me to roll down my window. I crack it and say, “Can I help you with something? Are you lost?” (I love asking people that approach my vehicle if they're lost. Their faces get all confused and they don't know what to say. It's like I stole their line or something.)
Anyway, he asks me what I'm doing here. "I'm working. What are YOU doing here?" I know I shouldn't provoke him, but I'm mad that the little rat blocked my exit. That's pretty nervy considering I'm sitting two blocks from his house minding my own business. Ahem.
He tells me that there was a child abducted in the neighborhood yesterday and the person who did it had Wisconsin license plates. Great. Now I'm a suspected baby snatcher. Subject's hostility makes more sense now and I try to reassure him that child abduction is not on my agenda. The problem is that I can't tell him why I'm actually here and that makes him all the more suspicious.
He tells me that he's calling the cops and looks at me expectantly. What do you want me to do? Bolt? Cry? I sigh. “Okay,” I say. I get back to my writing. He stands there for a minute and then takes out his cell phone. I am tempted to run the jackass over, but I don't imagine that would do anything for my case.
I stop writing for a minute and call Stinky Jimmy. “Hey, Jimmy. I got picked up by the Subject. He's here accusing me of abducting children because I have Wisconsin license plates....I just thought you should know.” Jimmy uses several colorful expletives. “You took the words right out of my mouth,” I say.
Subject comes to my window and knocks again. I point to my phone to indicate that I'm talking and he's going to have to kiss my ass until I'm done. I think that I'm confusing him. He expects me to be nervous and evasive. Instead, I turn my attention back to the phone. “He's knocking on my window, Jimmy.” Jimmy swears a bit more. I am impressed with his creativity. “Don't worry,” I laugh. “I think I can take him if it comes down to it.” Jimmy asks me if I want him to talk to the cop when he arrives. I tell him “no” and that I've got it under control. He asks if I'm sure. I smile. Jimmy is under the impression that I'm a delicate flower that he must protect. I tell him again that I'm fine and I'll call back if I need anything.
I get off the phone and crack my window again. “Yes?” I say. Subject tells me that the police are on a call but will be here shortly. “Okay, thanks,” I answer. Did I just thank him for calling the cops on me? He tells me that he's sorry if I've got a legitimate reason to be here, but that one can never be too careful. I sigh again. I fervently wish I could tell him why I'm here in order to alleviate his anxiety, but company policy forbids it.
He walks to his truck and I get back to work. I look up a few minutes later to see Subject staring at me. I wave. He looks away. He doesn't seem as hostile anymore. I don't think he believes I'm a baby snatcher.
The cop finally shows up. He drives over to Subject's truck first and talks to him for quite some time. I am right in the middle of writing about my fortune teller experience but stop abruptly when the cop knocks on my window. (I don't ignore cops as a general rule. They don't like that.) I had taken out my credentials a little while ago and when I roll down the window I hand them to the officer. I smile and we chat a bit. Looks like he's a pretty cool cop. Phew.
The cop tells me that Subject's ex-wife accused him of child molestation after he got custody of the kids a year ago. She lives in Wisconsin. The kids were supposed to testify in court tomorrow regarding the allegations. Yesterday, the ex-wife showed up at one of the daughters' school and abducted her. Mother and daughter are both missing now. Ugh. No wonder they freaked when they saw my plates. It was his own kid that was abducted.
I tell the cop exactly why I'm here and I ask him to please reassure the Subject that I'm not a threat to his children..."And if you could do it in such a way that you don't blow my cover, I'd really appreciate it." He says he will. Good cop. Nice cop. Cute, too.
Anyway, after a few minutes I am told I can leave. I don't waste any time. I park up the street several blocks and knock out a quick report documenting what happened. The officer rolls up a few minutes later and asks me if I want to go out for coffee when he gets off duty in a few hours. I tell him thanks, but that I'm leaving the area as soon as I'm finished with my report. On a whim, I offer him a job with my company. He seems pretty interested. It would be good to have a guy in this part of Michigan. Somebody with LOCAL PLATES.