Today, I picked up my last paycheck from the city. You may recall my last day there was in early September. Getting paid monthly meant I needed to return in October to pick up what remained, the last loose end.
I walked up the grand front steps and into the reception area. But someone was in line ahead of me.
A tall, slightly built man in a navy blue wool coat waited for the receptionist’s return. He had small leaves stuck to his upper back. I gasped. Why is this important? Good question. Read on.
See, when I’m out running in the morning, I see a few regulars walking around. Men, mostly. I don’t memorize characteristics or features but if you pass someone often enough, you start to recognize them. Many mornings I’d detected a tall, dark, slightly built man out and about when I run. He lopes along, brown eyes eyes unseeing, hood up on his brown sweatshirt. You could say he epitomizes a brown study. And without fail, he has groundcover attached to his back.
As a longtime CSI fan, I’ve picked up a few things. You only get groundcover on your back if you’re sleeping outside. Or you’re rolling around in a pile of leaves. And it’s not “camping under the stars weather”. Well, it *could* be, but I digress.
“I’m getting Jenny for you. She’s the assistant,” the receptionist said to the strange man.
Jenny, a friend of mine, rounded the corner.
“Can I help you?” she asked, all politeness.
“Yes, I’m a private investigator. I’m looking into some fraud…”
He turned sideways. Same guy. Instead of his casual brown hoodie, he now wore a white button-down shirt. The grubby cuffs stuck out of his coat.
Jenny asked for his card. Good Jenny!
“I don’t have one. I can’t give one out…”
At this point, I turned away. I asked the receptionist for a piece of paper. She handed me a post-it.
“That man is not an investigator. I’m going to write Jenny a note about it,” I told her. I wanted to warn her. Then I recounted the running run-ins. The counter clerk’s eyes got wide.
Jenny finished up with the dark man, and he left. The odor of unwashed flesh followed in his wake.
Jenny walked over to me.
“Uh, Jenny, that guy isn’t a private investigator. He’s homeless.”
She waved her hand in dismissal.
“Oh, I know. He was dirty and his teeth rotten. And no business card? Why do people do this kind of thing? Do they think we won’t catch on?”
Perhaps the man truly is an out-of-work investigator. I hope so. We may never know. But for now, he looks like he’s perpetrating a fraud of his own.
Happy blogiversary to me! Yesterday marks the third anniversary of my blog. Kinda mind blowing.
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