Private dick work is usually fun but Christmas gloriously highlights the split between the work itself and the ideals of the holiday. I have always liked the opening scene in L.A. Confidential where the Russell Crowe character yanks down the Christmas lights from on top of the house then handcuffs the wife beater to the railing. Then, there is the glorious brawl at the police station with all the boozed up cops. My line of work is not quite like LA Confidential but it has its holiday moments.
What better way to say good will towards mankind than spying on a woman’s boyfriend in Stockton or tracking down a witness in a criminal case in a dingy apartment in Livermore?
Last year it was Christmas eve surveillance in Stockton, an armpit of a city south of Sacramento and east of Oakland. I followed the guy as he was supposed to be with his elderly parents but was really cavorting elsewhere.
Even on the holiest of all eves, Stockton couldn’t keep from being, well, Stockton. Trunk speakers blasted out the ghetto thump-thump all over the mall parking lots as reprobates scurried to do last minute shopping. I got the video I needed and knocked off just before midnight. As domestic cases go this one was not all that….
This Christmas eve I located a witness in Livermore who is tangled in an Oakland murder case. The guy came to his door in boxers, unshaven and smelling of the previous night’s booze. He is not a big witness but can attest to the Oakland police’s overzealous habits.
It was then back to Oakland trying to get another witness in the murder case to talk. He was on his cell phone in front of his house, with his pitbulls dancing by his side. He couldn’t talk to me then but I told him I would be in touch.
Finally, I could have capped my Christmas eve by serving a lawsuit on a wheelchair-bound woman but even I have Karma concerns. I’ll get her the day after Christmas.