Wednesday, December 21, 2005


8:29 a.m.

I spent much of last night trying to put out fires.

Only the fires are in Texas and my supervisor there, Jose, seems to be a pyromaniac.

My radio goes off at about 9pm. "Polly! Are you there?"

I am right in the middle of eating a late dinner...a bag of chocolate chips and a cup of chamomile. I stare at my radio for a minute and debate whether to answer. "Technically" I am off the clock after nine.

"Polly, I gotta problem with this Smoot case. I know you can hear me."

Oh, hell.

I pick up my radio. "Hi, Jose. Que paso?"

" looks like the guy that my investigator was following for the past couple of days is actually the FATHER of the guy we're supposed to be following. And it turns out that first address we were given on the intake sheet really IS Subject's residence."

I sigh heavily and pinch the bridge of my nose. When I read the report that was submitted last night it indicated that the investigator did his own "research" when he got to town. He said he found a new address and phone number for the Subject. He didn't even bother to set up at the address we were given, but went straight to the new one...which, it turned out, belonged to Subject's father.

"Jose, how is it that your investigator mistook a 70-year-old man for a 27-year-old?"

"I dunno, man. He said he looked old for his age."

I sigh again. I have been making a huge effort to keep Jose from being fired. He tends to forget important things, has no common sense, and just generally is disorganized to the point that he is constantly reactive to stuff that has gone wrong.

He's a decent enough guy. A big, Mexican teddy bear. And I mean big. He's probably near 400 lbs and 5'8" tall. He goes far beyond what I, or any other half-way savvy individual would do to gain the loyalty of his investigators. He lends them money and covers their asses when they screw something up really bad. He's kind and innocent and I suppose that is why even though he is a lot of work, I am trying to help him succeed.

Yesterday morning Jose called me with a shaky voice and told me frankly that he didn't think he was very good at being a supervisor. This after a scathing piece of hate-mail sent down from the corporate powers-that-be telling him he sucks at reviewing cases.

Which he does.

I told him it's just a matter of being more organized and learning how to review cases better. We talked for 45 minutes on strategies he can utilize to improve his performance and when I hung up the phone I really felt we'd made some progress.

So when I get the call tonight indicating that we followed the wrong guy around for two days and it's our own damn fault, I am fearing for Jose.

"Okay. Damage control. Luckily the update from yesterday was so bad that they sent it back for you to review. I still haven't turned in the one you submitted tonight. Take them both and do what you can to make it prettier without lying."

What do I mean by that? Well, often it's not what you say, but how you say it. For example, I lose a guy in mobile surveillance because I'm following too far back and I get stuck behind a truck. Damn. I really goofed that one up, right?

When I write my report, however, I say something to the tune of:
"Investigator began running a loose surveillance in order to protect the integrity of the investigation. After several minutes, view of Subject vehicle was obstructed by a large 18-wheeler tractor trailor. Efforts to re-establish contact were unsuccessful."

Now doesn't that sound better? Dude, I know I lost him, but it was in an effort to protect the integrity of the investigation, for Pete's sake!

Another example... I get a new phone number for my Subject by calling 411:
"Extensive internal search efforts revealed new contact information for Subject as follows..."

Anyway, we'll see what happens today. I did what I could, but I think that Jose has hit the ol' brick wall. He has reached his level of incompetence. It's the Peter Principle in action.

In other news, we're having a Christmas luncheon at the ME's office tomorrow. I was supposed to bring in my $10 for Dr. Frank's gift sometime earlier in the week but I wrote Joy and Nancy an email today asking if I can just give it to them tomorrow, saying, "I suppose I COULD bring it in today, but that would mean I have to take a shower and I am in the process of breaking a personal filth record."

Which reminds me, I need to buy some more fly paper.


Higgy said...

Also, Febreze sprayed right on the clothes you're wearing has the dual effect of deodorant AND covering up the sweat stains!

Might be time to say "buh-bye" to Jose...

glxai - how you spell "galaxy" when sending a text message to a teenager...

Kafaleni said...

*hugs Polly anyway*

*sniffs suspiciously in Higgy's direction*

Merry Chrissle-miss, hon. Please don't fire Jose before Christmas. Wait till the 26th.

Enjoy the Christmas party!!

Olga said...

often it's not what you say, but how you say it.

So true - a couple of real life examples:
Instead of saying, "Your hair is so orange today!" (said once by a friend to Polly) she could have said, "Polly, did you color your hair? It looks great!"

Instead of saying, "Can I hold your gun?" to Polly's hot roommate who happens to be cleaning his handgun (really), say with a sweet smile, "I've never held a gun before. Is it heavy?" (Worked like a charm too. It WAS heavy.)

jiwerm: the nickname for the annoying guy named Jim at the office

John D. said...

OK investigator-trainees, today's lesson is that you oughta do a thorough database (Choicepoint/Autotrack, Lexis-Nexis etc.) workup on your subject prior to spending several days on surveillance.

It looks like Jose is either clueless, or he's just too nice to spank an investigator for screwing up something he shouldn't have screwed up. I'm sorry to say that he might be beyond your help Polly. I respect your loyalty though. It's an increasingly rare thing in modern-day corporate America.

JD Rhoades said...

This never happens to Elvis Cole. Or Spenser.

I'm just sayin'.

Polly P.I. said...


How ya doin, darlin? I haven't seen you around much! You must be busy lawyering...

Jeff Meyerson said...

"Jose, how is it that your investigator mistook a 70-year-old man for a 27-year-old?"

"I dunno, man. He said he looked old for his age."

Unless the guy has progeria, the investigator is another real dumbass.

This never happens to Elvis Cole. Or Spenser.

Yeah Dusty, but Elvis and Spenser are smartasses, not dumbasses. And they have Joe Pike & Hawk backing them up, not portly ol' Jose.

Eleanor said...

oooh, catfight on the Polly PI blog - (OK, they're both men, but so what???!!!

uleakd - self-explanatory.
I hate it when that happens.

Yossarian said...

thats great

Anonymous said...

The drycleaners has the shirt, Jeff.