Drew was sitting in the back of a taxi, frantically skimming through his file, trying to get a grasp of the gist of the dispute. His client, Sam was sitting next to him in the back seat, trying to engage Drew with his usual convivial banter. He was sitting in the front passenger seat.
Sam was a claims handler for a large insurance company; one of Drew’s firm’s biggest clients. Drew had built a great working relationship with Sam and was tying his best not to ignore Sam’s chit-chat.
However, Drew was in a mess. His mess. And Drew needed to figure it out before the taxi ride was over and they reached their destination: the Workers’ Compensation Tribunal. They were headed to a mediation conference on one of his matters and he had decided to tell Drew at the last second that he didn’t have any experience in mediations and he had told Sam that Drew was attending.
Drew tried to bluff his way through Sam’s conversation by masking his complete and utter ignorance as mere questions to refresh his memory.
“So Sam, the worker hasn’t returned to work since she lodged her bullying claim?”
“Yeah. Bit of a joke, huh? She swears her box off everyday at her co-workers for two years and apparently one abrupt conversation with her supervisor sets her off.”
“Too depressed to leave the house, huh?”
“So she says.”
“But you have surveillance footage of her shopping for bargains at Kmart for two hours? What a sneaky little bitch!”
“Yeah. And she wants 100 K. Over my dead body!”
Drew looked over the run sheets of the surveillance footage.
“Maaaaan, you got a lot of footage of her. Three hours of her laughing and drinking with her mates at her local beer garden!”
“Ha! It’s gold, huh? I tell ya, these private investigators must have the easiest job in the world. And the most boring. Sitting in a car for hours on end waiting for your target to do something interesting. What a shitty job!”
Up until now, he had been pretty silent up front. Drew assumed he was just a bit shy as he hadn’t met Sam before. Drew was wrong. He had just waiting for an “in” on the conversation.
“I can tell you how boring it is. I used to be a private investigator.”
Drew looked up, his eyes burning holes in the back of his head rest.
Really? Now? Drew was well aware of his idiosyncratic, tall tales, but now was not the time. His stories were barely appropriate for recounting in the staff kitchen, let alone in to a client. However, Sam appeared bemused.
“Ha ha, really?”
“Oh yeah. Although I had some pretty crazy jobs.”
Drew looked out the window and rolled his eyes, then turned to Sam, raising his eyebrows with a phoney, reassuring smile. Drew didn’t want any part of this, but he also knew he had to shut it down before the story inevitably turned for the worse. Unfortunatley, Drew’s lack of knowledge about the dispute had him put him on edge and he couldn’t think clearly.
“Once I had to follow a woman whose husband suspected she had been cheating on him.”
“Yeah, it was pretty messy.”
He was in too deep. If Drew had tried to stop the story at this point, Drew would have come out looking ridiculous. All Drew could do now was let the story unfold and just hope for the best.
“So I had to follow her tail around town in the car. On one day we got a tip that she was going to a bar later that night, so I had to follow her to the bar.”
“Did you go in?”
“Nah. I had to wait in the car with my camera ready. I was in the car for 22 hours straight. From 9pm to 8am the next morning. And it was the middle of winter so I was so cold!”
“That sounds pretty rough.”
“Yeah, I had to try to stop dozing off, so I was drinking lots of Red Bull. Problem was, I couldn’t leave the car so I had to urinate in the Red Bull cans.”
Drew was repulsed. He couldn’t bare to look at Sam. But Sam kept on pressing.
“Why were you in the car for so long? Did you follow her back to another man’s house?”
“No, I never caught her cheating. At 8am I realised that I had followed the wrong car. The whole file had to be written off!”
Drew pursued his lips and squinted at Sam with bewilderment. Drew was just so happy to hear that he had approached his investigative career with the same vigour, professionalism and attention to detail that he appeared to apply to his current job. Drew needed to distract Sam’s attention.
“Sooooooo, are we going to settle this matter today or what!”
This is the Chronicles of Creepy Pants.
Stay tuned for Episode 13: Date Night