Adventures in the Spy Biz: Reflection on the Final Days

Seven years. I’ve been involved in the Spy business for 7 years, and it comes to a relative end in 2 weeks.

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Always watching through the windows when you least expect it

In 7 years, I’ve been involved in at least 4-5 police investigations involving murder, assault or kidnappings. I’ve assisted in a number of child abuse cases, or at least made it possible for the parent to do the work themselves. I’ve helped prevent at least 2 child abductions, and helped family members find out if their son or daughter was into drugs, planning secret parties or being cyber-bullied. As for infidelity or other stuff, I can’t even begin to count the number of cases I’ve either directly or indirectly been involved in.

In the end, as my time here comes to an end (not 100% immediately, I’ll still do the odd case or two or assist with my successor to complete existing contracts that started in my time), I wonder what did I learn?

Well, the first thing is… unless you work for a corporation or contracted to one, it’s not exactly the most glamorous job in the world. For every interesting case involving police work, there are 10 jobs involving husbands or wives cheating. It’s not so much James Bond as it’s the cheekier side of Magnum PI. In my last entry under “Adventures”, there tended to be a lot of times that would involve long hours watching a hotel or sneaking around a place in the middle of the night to plant tracking devices, cameras and the like.

Next, you find out that Hollywood has completely misconstrued everything to be a world where there are tracking devices the size of sugar cubes that work around the world and need absolutely zero power. For example, those wireless portable cameras that Lisbeth uses in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”. How the hell did those cameras operate? Battery power on wireless cameras work for a matter of HOURS, not days, not weeks as suggested. If they applied the real rules, then the cameras would have run out of power long ago and her journalist friend would have been murdered. There’s Hollywood, and the laws of physics. I would bet on those laws every day. One special note though, the tools and the gear has improved a lot though, even from when I first started my work.

Finally, there’s always an anterior motive. It doesn’t matter who and what case, there always is one. I won’t comment on the Police ones out of respect to the inspectors who have a hard enough time as it is, but there have been too many cases from other Private Investigators and the public at large to not have seen this. I’ve found that without knowing that motive, a client’s case would linger for weeks, even months. I’ve had cases go for over 5 years because I was directed to look in one direction without knowing the other. Sure they pay well, but you just want to have the closure eventually.

So, as my time comes soon to an end, I wonder, was it worth it? I know that a huge chunk of my soul has been bruised in ways that I can never describe. The look of horror of that woman when she found out how her child was being drugged. The knowledge that no matter what I do, often the client refuses to help themselves and endure unspeakable abuse. The regular disappointments by occasional clients that despite retrieving what they needed, they lack the courage to take it that last step. But in the end, I think yes. Despite what my family and friends who disapproved of the job, in the end, I can honestly say that I was in a position to help far more than most. That’ll be the thought that will follow me.

But if I’m so melancholy of the time I spent as a spy of sorts, how did I manage for so long? People in Calgary know me as a social media person, a regarded foodie and Calgary booster. That description probably fits me well, but little do people know that all of this wasn’t just me being a particularly involved with things, it was my life line. While the infidelity stuff can be funny, more often than not, it was simply tragic. It’s a world where there are legions of broken hearts, misplaced anger and residual damage in the lives any children involved. I needed the social media world, a dynamic arena of minds and spirits the world over to keep me engaged with the brighter parts of life. I needed to be a foodie, not simply because I truly enjoy good food and the passions involved with cooking, but to give me a means to brighten the horizons of others through the simple communion of a shared meal. As for being a Calgary booster, that was easy. For every one case I dealt with, there were 100 Calgarians making the lives of one another a better place. If anything, the people of Calgary bring me hope that there are happy families out there, lovers enjoying the simple joys and artists creating art and music. To this incredible city, thank you, and I promise to continue to serve.

Interlude: Topless Revelations and the Evening in Jail

in·ter·lude   /ˈɪntərˌlud/

noun – a short dramatic piece, especially of a light or farcical character, formerly introduced between the parts or acts of miracle and morality plays or given as part of other entertainments.

“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.” – The Captain, Cool Hand Luke

“If God wanted us to be naked, why did He invent sexy lingerie?” – Shannen Doherty

“Surprises are foolish things. The pleasure is not enhanced, and the inconvenience is often considerable.” – Jane Austen

Friends who know me, also know that I’m usually not exactly at my most logical anywhere near the lingerie section of … well… pretty much any store.  Just being next to the bra department in the Bay, or some place similar, is enough to make me a little jumpy with the instinctual need to run like hell.

But, this isn’t because of a matter of prudishness, or religion or just being a guy.  It was because of that day I spent Xmas shopping with my first love, the one I’m currently writing our story about.  You see, the mathematical equation of:

(the bra section of Eaton’s + Her)/(special event) x (Terry assumed to be a pervert) = Terry in Jail

It was near Xmas time and the town was bustling with the usual hosannas to fat men in red suits and the spectacle of 30-50% OFF signs everywhere.  My parents were in Hong Kong as they often were for my dad’s immigration business.  My sister was away with her friends for a sleepover, and I was more or less home alone for the weekend.

I didn’t really mind being alone at the time, as I knew everyone would be back soon enough in time for Xmas, and I had my exams to study for.  And so there I was, a little bored with reading and re-reading my notes from the past semester, concentrating on the works of Ayn Rand and Charles Darwin.  It was around noon, and I was already 4 hours in when I was starting to sneak the adventures of Iron Man as well out of boredom when she called.  She suggested going Xmas shopping, and as I was already a bit stir crazy, gladly accepted the invite and the lovely gracious company.

We had already been dating on and off for years by then, but this admittedly was new.  We had never done Xmas shopping together and I soon realized that I made the wrong choice.  When she meant that she wanted the company and to see me, it was girl-speak for needing a pack mule and a yes man.  Shop after shop, mirror after mirror it went on, as she would try out one thing or another, or ask my opinion if that scarf would be nice, or that top, or those stockings and so on.  And with each place, Terry the kinda boyfriend was slowly being transformed into Terry the carrier of bags and opinion board to bounce ideas off only.  It was NOT a great day for menfolk everywhere.

This was at a time when Quebec stores still shut their doors at 5pm on weekends and the Internet was just a glint in Al Gore’s eye, and I was looking at that magic number to come around to free me from my bondage.  And it was with that deadline approaching, she decided to save the best for last.  We went into the dark zone, the place that will ever be known as Hell on Earth to me in my mind’s eye, the bra department of Eaton.

Ok, I admit being a little uncomfortable around there.  Well, actually a LOT uncomfortable there, as I sat there, many bags and parcels in hand, and bemused women around with smirks at the sight.  The seconds felt like hours, and being left to my thoughts and devices was starting to drive me mad.  And then it happened….

From the dressing room, a girl screamed loudly.  It was one of panic and fear and it echoed through the whole of Eaton and to the city outside.  But more importantly, it was a voice I recognized, hers.  Ever the knight in training, I dropped everything like a shot and ran straight into the change room to find my girl and leap to the rescue.

Did you know the Eaton bra changing room had over 30 booths?  I sure as heck didn’t until then.  And panicked and worried as I was, I didn’t really care.  I was screaming out her name, and went quickly from booth to booth, opening curtain after curtain trying to find her.  Needless to say, there were quite a few MORE screams coming from that room.

For the alpha males who may read this, no, I did not see a lot of breasts and naked women.  I was so focused in my quest for her, I honestly didn’t even notice the fact that most of these women were topless or partially nude.  I was looking for HER, and that’s all that mattered.  And I think it was around booth number 183 or so (it felt like it), that I DID find her.

I burst in screaming her name, asking what was wrong.  There she was, standing on the little seat of the change booth, and very much topless, when she saw me burst in.  And in a split second, fear became anger, pure female fury directed at ME.  I didn’t even see her fist approach my face.

Well, there I was, now shocked back into reality, when I realized what I had just done.  I look back and forth down the aisle, hearing the screams of other women now as well, and the eyes of at least a dozen really pissed women trying to cover themselves with the booth curtains.  So with that in mind, I did what any self respecting knight of olde who believed in chivalry with all his being, I booked it for the exit at full speed.

Did you know the security office of Eaton Montreal was just right next to the bra department?  I found out pretty quickly, as the minute I stepped out of the room, 2 guards tackled me and took me down.  I have to admit, they were pretty well trained, as they soon had me up on my feet, restrained, and dragged into their security office.  They even had their own little jail of sorts there.

Not long later, the boys in blue arrived, and took me away to the precinct.  While leaving the precinct, I noticed that my gal’s boxes and bags were all gone, hopefully taken by her though that probably wasn’t my concern.  It was more, where the hell was her, and figured that she was so angry that she left without me.

Well, there I was, explaining my story again and again, but not to any willing open ears.  Since I had acted so rashly and quickly, no one had any reference to the timing and assumed that all of the screaming was because of my rummaging through the change room, as opposed to me reacting to a scream and THEN rummaging through the room (not that it made much difference in the dozen or so womens’ minds).

So there I was, innocent looking little me, being seen as some naughty daring pervert in the precinct office.  Thankfully, everyone was pretty busy with the holiday rush of real criminals and what not, so they let me make a few calls as opposed to just one since my folks were away at the time.  And hoo boy, it definitely took quite a few calls.  It wasn’t a particularly pleasant stay though, as after the calls, they tossed me into the drunk tank with a few others, mostly pickpockets and purse snatchers.  That stay… well… was mostly me staying in a corner, hoping to keep my rear virginity intact as I had seen way too many prison movies.

A year before my incarceration. Don't I look all honest and innocent?

A year before my incarceration. Don’t I look all honest and innocent?

Luckily I was still under 18, so the officers weren’t as pissed at me as they would be, more like bemused if anything.  More importantly, I have a fairly honest face, so people tend to take me more at face value and I couldn’t have come up with a story like this in a 1000 years.  Even more fortunate for me, none of the women had made a statement, which I assume was probably because of the need to go home with their shopping and get ready for the Xmas holidays.  Still, it took awhile to find someone to pick me up from the station, with the promise that I would appear for court the following Monday.

As soon as I was out, I tried to see her, over and over, but she refused my calls, my knocking at the door and so on.  Her mom and dad were a bit puzzled as she wouldn’t reveal what happened, and they took it as some sort of lovers’ spat I suppose.  I couldn’t really be too upset on why she wouldn’t see me, but I needed her help to stay out of 20 years of hard jail with murderers and rapists (I had a pretty vivid imagination then).  In the end, it took a mutual friend and flowers to convince her to tell me the story on what happened, and with that, her own apology for thinking me to be some evil perv who tried to sneak a peak at her breasts (yes, hard to believe, but I hadn’t seen her nude ever back then).

The session later in court was probably one of the best that judge ever had.  While Eaton had placed charges on me, she had approached the security manager and the clerk and explained everything that had happened just prior to seeing the judge.  Eaton still had to press charges, after all, running into a change room and bursting into the change room of a dozen or so women was still… well… stupid beyond belief.  But, now knowing the sequence of events, the security manager had asked for leniency from the public prosecutor and as I had a record as being a goody two shoes in general in the community, the judge (who was struggling not to laugh) was pretty lenient as well and sentenced me to a misdemeanor with community service.

Around those years, my friends might remember all those hours I was spending at NDG’s Head and Hands as a tutor and a volunteer?  Well, that was the court mandated community service I had to do to atone for my act of stupidity.  She forgave me for the whole transgression and we returned to our dance of are we/aren’t we a couple, and life proceeded as could be.  Well, as best as it could, with her constantly holding this over my head every time I screwed up that is.

Oh, and you’re probably wondering why she screamed in the first place? She told me the following day, after I spent the time in prison. She saw a mouse.

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The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt. 1

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt. 2

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt. 3

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt. 4

The Days Before Tomorrow, Epilogue and Answers

The Days Before Tomorrow, Afterword