Although the work I enjoyed more than any other was finding missing persons and investigating crimes, I did other work, too. Most often I was called in to run an investigation after two or three other Private Investigators had failed.
This was one of those cases. And, as with other previously failed cases, I was able to solve it quickly. It was so easy to solve that the client thought I charged him too much for the result, but I got him the result when others could not.
There were types of cases I never accepted. The primary one was divorce cases. After starting my own agency I advertised that I would not accept such cases. Other cases I turned away included what are known as ‘Sub Rosa’ or surveillance work. Most often people who do surveillance cases work for Worker’s Compensation Insurance providers. These sub rosa people will sit near a person’s home in a surveillance van and wait to film or record the Worker’s Comp receiver physically doing what they have reported they were unable to do. Boring work!
The case I was called in on involved a man who had been receiving Worker’s Comp for many years. Every year he was subjected to a sub-rosa surveillance. The most recent time, two sub rosa investigators had spent days and weeks trying just to see the man, let alone find him doing what he wasn’t supposed to do. So the Worker’s Comp agent called me.
Now, I wasn’t about to sit inside a surveillance van day after day after day, as the two others had done. So I simply walked up to the man’s front door and knocked. His wife, a very plain woman in her late fifties, answered the door.
I made no effort to hide who I was and what I was there for. She invited me in and offered me some disgustingly sweet Kool-aide, which I drank and did not complain about. I wanted her to like me.
Her husband, she told me, was not feeling well and was asleep at the time. So she and I sat, drank our Kool-aide, and talked. I noticed an old glass door cabinet that was filled with cheap trinkets: souvenir spoons, saucers, photos, etc., all obviously gathered over years of past vacations. I had a hunch, so I approached the cabinet with her, and we started talking about the things inside.
The woman explained where she and her husband had bought each item, spending almost an hour drinking Kool-aide and going over the history behind each one. I listened and watched her. Tears began to fill her eyes as she related her stories.
I took a chance, a big risk, but I felt I was right. I asked her when her husband had passed away. She wiped a tear away and confessed he had died ten months ago. The woman told me she had to keep his Worker’s Comp money because she had no other income.
I wrote my report and charged the Insurance Company an excessive amount of money because I knew they were about to cut off the old lady and bring her to court to recoup the Worker’s Comp they had overpaid her. In truth, I felt sorry for the widow, but I also knew she was wrong. The Insurance Company did pay my large bill after some complaining.
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