Personal log of Kowalski, Roger
We got up early. It’s a simple job to do. Client is a woman suspecting her husband to cheat on her. 250 per day, inclusive expenses. Bunny was quite excited about it and put her sports-bag full with different clothes for changing on the run. It’s her first observation job. I tried to put her back to earth, declared it’s not a fucking spy flick, it’s mostly boring.
Miss Simpson had sent to profile. She did a short matrix run on the client, found out she was posing under a different name, which is hilarious, because she’s actually his wife. Isabelle O’Collin and her husband Tyrone. Well situated upper-middle-class house in a secured part of Newport, Bellevue. A fine neighborhood with enough money to pay our daily fee without much problems for weeks of observation. Well situated suburbia.
We were both quite optimistic. While it wasn’t possible to keep an eye on the house directly we both parked at the road that was leading to the 405 with a mall, some shops and a diner where our parking car was not suspicious. Husband is an accountant at the Body + Tech franchise at Bellevue Square. An expensive health club with integrated bodytech clinic and everything you want. Around fifty people working there, Miss Simpsons file gave me the impression it could be used for money laundering, because it had too much staff, too few business for it’s size or something. Don’t know exactly why she had the impression, I guess it was more a kind of instinct than the pure facts which were quite correct.
That at least was my impression. Forty bucks for a day ticket, three hundred for a month. To enter it for surveillance would eat away not only our expenses, it it’s over the head. Babs tried to convince me to let her keep an eye on him inside, but I was adamant. “But we make 250 a day!” “From which we have left one hundred thirty to forty after taxes and payoff to Tyrell”, I answered. “What?!”, she yelled. “That’s what I can do in three hours! Alone!” “You can go stand in the rain and keep you fucked by strangers, if you are greedy.” “Nah, I give it a try.”
Mister Tyrone O’Collin was driving the Mercedes XL, while his wife, we supposed would drive the small Toyota compact with all those parking tickets all over the city. So we waited for the Mercedes. Babsie preferred to go to sleep after halve an hour of waiting, until I spotted him. To track him wasn’t difficult, until he stopped at a Stuffer Check. I ordered her to shadow him and check about what was going on. After a quarter he stepped out the shop and was driving off, before Babs was able to get through the counter. The last fifty meters she sprinted, jumped in. “What took you so long?” “Go! Go! Go!”, she yelled, her arms full of fast food, soft drinks and sweets. “Do you plan to survive a nuclear winter, say?” “Just drive. I was thinking that if we have expenses it couldn’t be wrong to have some snacks. It’s like in the movies, no?” “Meals, sweets, coffee-drops and sugar-snacks don’t count as expenses.” “You are a buzzkill. Hit the metal, do you?” “Let me just drive cool. We can’t afford the speed tickets.”
She had already eaten through halve of the stuff before we found the silver metallic Mercedes – parked at the Bellevue Square. “See? You’re too damn slow. He’s already here.” “He’s not going anywhere. We park behind that bushes over there and just keep an eye on that. We switch observation ever thirty minutes. Hand me the binocular, would you?” “I want to play with the directional microphone.” “Were you able to place the tracker on the car?” “Nah. I had my hands full with… Just a sec. I do it no.” “No. Look. Cameras. We have to wait.”
We were waiting. “When we can’t have stuffers as expenses, what are those expenses for anyway?” “A dinner with a client for example.” “A dinner with me?” “No.” “Entry to a nightclub?” “Depends.” “On what?” “If you are old enough for that.” “You promised not to give me that kind of shit, did you?” “Okay.” “What else?” “Gasoline, miles, bus tickets, all that is needed to do the job.” “Spy tools?” “Write offs.” “Means?” “We can write them off over three years or so.” “Ah. Sounds boring. That’s your job. Can I go to sleep?” “Again?” “A sharpened mind is the knife nobody can take you away.” “If you don’t shoot yourself down with Novacoke.” “Or booze. Your eyes are a bit red. How was the time at that bar?” “Was a downer. Could you please stop talking and just sleep?”
After a few hours of her sleeping in my lap and me doing most of the job I stirred her. “He’s coming.” “Time?” “Eleven.” She yawned. “Can I drive this time?” “No, you got to get ready to shadow him.” “Okay. I switch clothes.” She undressed herself and I almost missed him leaving the parking place.
A few kilometers later he stopped at a small commercial strip. Visited a barber. I took the microphone to listen. “That’s illegal. That’s private space.” “Would you please shut up? I’m just testing the hardware.” “Ha! What’s going on?” “Talking.” “My turn!” After that he was visiting a flower shop. Again nothing but talking. “Awkward”, she said. I scratched my head after he entered a woman’s boutique. “He’s not buying anything. And what the hell is he doing in all those shops? Get out, Babs, here’s a bug, place it in his coat, check the store and take a look what’s going on. Maybe he’s a courier or something.”
She slipped out before the sentence was finished. I started to listen to the bug. The shop seemed to be empty but the man and the seller. They stopped talking the moment she entered. Babsie started to go shopping, the seller helped her. She must had placed the bug, because the sound got a little muffled. It was a kind of Country and Western store. She was eating away our expenses faster than you could say ‘bust’. Finally she asked to look around a bit for something for her friend, and Mister O’Collin left the shop.
She came out a few minutes later, her arms full of stuff. “Gee, that’s fun”, she laughed. “Weird thing.” “Yeah. He’s one shop up the road. What’s going on here? Did he exchange something? Maybe if you check for some data-transfer.” “Man, that is looking like the thing Virgil has going.” “Virgil?” “Yeah. Some racket. But with fine suit and that.” “Hm. Do you think?” “Did you see his muscles? That’s not a fucking accountant. That’s a bone breaker.” “You could be right. He’s definitely well-build. But see, Babs, he’s working at a Body + Tech, isn’t he? That’s maybe just the ‘sixpack’ of the month implant?” “Looking quite real if you ask me. Shoulders like that. See? Like that bus over there.”
We followed the guy over a dozen more shops, malls, parlors. “That’s really awkward. You may be right.” “It’s the same like Virgil.”
Finally he was driving off north. “Where he’s going now?” “Can I drive?” “Where did you learn to drive?” “I can drive.” “Okay. It’s my turn to shadow him anyway. You are burned for today at least. Just keep some distance, okay? The tracker is helping you.” “Stop patronizing me, would you?”, she did snide. “Where are we?” “Everett. Casino Corner if I’m correct.” “Is that guy some mobster?” “Can’t say. But there’s something strange. I better turn off the bug in his coat.”
The bug would be harder to detect if it was deactivated. I left it on record without listening. It would store and we were able to get it out later. “That’s looking like a sleazy night club”, she said, when he stopped. “I better get after him to take a look.” “Be careful.”
I didn’t know why the bouncer let me pass without demanding any admission fee. But I shortly after that found out why. The barman asked me at the bar. “What’s up? Checking out the girls?” And I he made perfectly clear that he thought he was talking to a police officer. “Just checking the working conditions for the staff.” He handed me a key. “407, Rita’s on the payroll. Much fun.”
I didn’t see Mister O’Collin and finally found myself at Rita. When I left the club Babsie was staring at me: “You fucked with a floozy? You’re stinking of women, cheap perfume and sweat! What did I say about other women?” “Bunny, that’s a mob night club. Either I played the corrupt police officer on his day off, that’s on the mafia payroll or I would have left through the back door. And they would not have been so kind to open it for me.” She just hit me hard on my left arm. “Hey! Stop that!” “I stop that when I want to!” She started to kick me in the side. “That hurts!” “What do you think you were doing? Ha!? You really are an asshole.”
She stopped kicking and stopped complaining. We sat silently and waited. “Bunny…” “You fuckin’ don’t Bunny me. Stick that up your ass. Cheater! Liar! You pay for that one.” “I really had no choice.” She said nothing but she wasn’t looking too happy about that. In fact I got the impression, she was furious. “There’s our mark. I just copy the last hour.” I checked the watch. “It’s almost twentyhundred. So that’s what he’s doing. Fucking in a night club.” I checked the tape. “Wanna listen?” She grabbed the earpiece and started to listen in. “Oh shit.” “Shit.” We looked at each other. “Shit. Let’s get away from here. Okay?” “Fuck. There’s still the bug and the tracker on that car.” “I call Tyrell. I have no idea how we come out of this alive.” “I don’t want to die”, and she was almost crying.