Thursday, January 5, 2017

PI Clients Are Not Always Pleasant (A reprint)


 I chose to reprint the following from near the beginning of Chapter 1 of THE BISTI BUSINESS for this week’s post because DSP Publications will be releasing this book before long.

In the scene, BJ is working late one evening when he receives a phone call from an individual looking for his son who—together with his traveling companion Dana Norville—is overdue from a vacation trip to the great state of New Mexico. The passage makes plain that confidential investigators occasionally end up dealing with clients they don’t personally like and, just as in any other profession, come face to face with bigotry on occasions. It also points out that PIs generally prefer to deal with attorneys as clients because lawyers realize what the rest of us do not. PI’s are information gatherers, not detectives who go around solving crimes… except in fiction… such as in THE BISTI BUSINESS, for example. The scene also allows me to highlight some New Mexico history. Enjoy.

*****
Cover by Mary Fanning
THE BISTI BUSINESS

“How about Norville?”
“That bastard’s a dyed-in-the-wool pansy, and he’s contaminating my son.”
I bit my tongue at the sophomoric outburst. “For your information, Mr. Alfano, I’m pretty ‘dyed-in-the-wool’ myself. I think you need to call someone else.”
“Now wait a minute.” Anthony Alfano obviously was not accustomed to getting the brush-off. “I know all about you. And except for that—nonsense—you’ve got a good reputation. You can move in both the straight world and the gay world. You’re the one I want. Find my son, Vinson, and send him home to his mother and me.”
“It’s Mr. Vinson.” Might as well set the bigoted SOB straight right at the beginning.
“All right, Mr. Vinson, score one for you. Are you sure you’re gay? You don’t sound it.”
“Does your son?”
“No, but—”
“But in your dreams he’s not twisted, right? How about Norville? Am I looking for a flaming queen?”
“Of course, not. Lando wouldn’t hang out with someone like that. No, I’ve got to admit, looking at Dana Norville, you wouldn’t suspect.”
“Then how can you be certain?”
“I did a quick background check on Norville when the two of them started bumming around together, and the guy was clean. But when they…uh, got close, I took another look and found the man Norville had been shacking up with before he latched onto my son.”
“Very well, Mr. Alfano, I’ll look into the matter. I’ll do it for Orlando and Dana, but you’re going to be footing the bills.”
He promised to have his secretary in California call Hazel tomorrow with the credit card information for my retainer and to provide anything else we requested. I asked him to email color photos of the two men. If they were as close as he believed, there would be a few around somewhere. He also gave me his son’s cell and pager numbers.
After hanging up, I tapped my desk blotter with a gold and onyx letter opener fashioned into a miniature Toledo blade. I sighed aloud. The Alfano case had all the hallmarks of developing into a nightmare. Working for attorneys was easier; they understood the process. Private individuals had a warped idea of what a PI did, which was nothing more or less than gathering information. But I was committed, so I might as well make the best of it.
I returned to the visual meditation of the landscape outside my window. As nature’s glow dimmed, man-made lights came alive: amber lampposts, white fluorescents, flamboyant neons, yellow vehicle headlights reflecting off wet pavement, and far in the distance a tiny spot moving slowly across the sky—one of the aerial trams hauling patrons up Sandia Peak’s rugged western escarpment to the restaurant atop the mountain.
By leaning forward, I caught the faint, rosy underbelly of a western cloudbank, the lingering legacy of a dead sunset. Was that what had drawn Orando and Dana to the Land of Enchantment? Spectacular scenery and surreal sunsets? Or was it our rich heritage of Indian and Hispanic art? The two were history majors, and Albuquerque had a long history. It was approaching its 300th birthday, while Santa Fe and many of the nearby Indian Pueblos had longer lifelines.

*****

The Zozobra Incident was released by DSP this past November. Bisti, along with The City of Rocks will be published in 2017. The novels feature the adventures of BJ Vinson and his partner, Paul Barton.

Keep on reading, guys. I always look forward to hearing from you at dontravis21@gmail.com.

See you next week.

Don

New posts are published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.

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