Chapter 34…

Cooking has always been one of the few things I do that actually seems to impress people, especially women.

I think it allows them to perceive what they see as a domestic feminine side to me that actually isn’t there.

Well, maybe a little. I just have never understood the concept of comfort food. Isn’t it all comfort food?

We could all just chew on dry dog food ( or the human equivalent, known as Fritos ) and stay alive, you know. But French Onion Soup has history, and you should always indulge a little when you indulge a little. Food is just so damned good.

So I actually followed her instructions. Got the groceries, drove to the address in Narragansett. Nice area.

Also threw a ball peen hammer in the bag so I could knock this girl upside the head if she didn’t start talking soon.

Because those security cameras had all kinds of stuff on the DVR. Both sisters, Jenn’s daughter, Jenn’s daughter’s boyfriend, Fucking Bobby, another guy who I presumed was Jenn’s ex- husband, and another guy who I couldn’ t place at all.

But I knew someone who could. So I made her some scrambled eggs with sauteed bacon and scallions, cornbread from scratch, mixed some pineapple juice with orange and split it with seltzer water. Eight O’ Clock  coffee ground from beans. ( Have Grinder, Will Travel.) Sweet potato home fries with a spot of maple syrup and brown sugared butter that goes with the cornbread nicely, too.

Pretty damned good. And for my client too, based on her finishing everything and then trying to chew the blue flowers off her Pfaltzgraff plate.  I served her seconds, and put a copy of the greatest hits of the security footage down beside her plate. I had already made a few extra copies.

” Let me get you another coffee. You’re not going to like this much. But it’ll be OK. As far as the legal ramifications go, I know a guy.”

 

Chapter 30…

I’m too old for this.

And getting older by the second. While the ranting continues from downstairs, I stand here desperately trying to determine how I can trace these cameras back to their source, and getting a little panicky about it. They have to be wondering what the hell I’m doing up here by now.

And then realize that I’m literally standing right in front of the damned answer. Hiding right in plain sight, as they say.

 There’s a 24- in. LED screen in the corner of the room, as a lot of bedrooms have, with a cable box on the shelf underneath it. And another cable box underneath that. Most people wouldn’t give this a second glance. It’s just another gizmo plugged into somebody’s TV.

Except this gizmo is an old GE Triplex DVR designed for security use. I’ve spent years wrestling with the damned thing, being widely used in general security applications. An operator’s manual obviously written by three blind, drunken Chinese engineers locked in a closet. I  can now clearly remember Jenn telling me years ago that she wanted to get one from her dad’s PI company to be able to track Aunt Mary’s nocturnal weirdness. She was  apparently busy hoarding canned goods, almost filling the garage with them. We joked at Aunt Mary’s expense, too, that she would be fully prepared for the Apocalypse. Because one needs to be able to offer the Four Horsemen a decent home-cooked meal, and Del Monte Creamed Corn is the perfect sidedish.

If only I could remember to follow the bread crumb trail. No, no…I stand here staring at a piece of equipment that I’m quite familiar with, wondering why it’s here at all. In the home of an ex- security account manager… who’s father ran a PI agency… that she got licensed through…

The bread crumbs are the size of golf balls nowadays. I am too damned old for this.

Next  row of crumbs… get the TV remote, get to the GE submenu, get the IP address to the DVR, and get the freak out of Dodge. Because I’ve still got the GE software suite on my laptop back at the office, from six years ago. Once a packrat…applies to software, too.

Thank you, Jesus. A breakthrough, finally. I just knew there would be one around here somewhere.

With a bit more luck, I’ll be able to watch this whole thing unfold in relative comfort back at the office. Just grab a six-pack of Guiness Blonde and some Orville Redenbacher on the way. This ‘ll be over in no time. And no, I will not share this information with the police presence downstairs. I have a strong hunch that ol’ Bobby is going to be all over this DVR.

And now to get back to Providence. Problematic, having ridden up here with someone who could still well prove to be up to her knees in this.

Way, way too old. Need rest. Need computer. Need faithful cat in attendance.

And, next time, try not to rely on possible suspects for transportation, dumbass.

 

I’ll take the questions.

Well… An unexpected honor from the Clark over at the Doctrine. Either that, or he’s running out of bloggers to pass awards to.  That’s ok; I know even fewer bloggers than he does, and I like the questions posed, so I’ll give it a go.

1) How did I feel in the middle of writing my first post?

Initially, I began by writing whole posts in the comments to the Doctrine because I saw them as being related to the subject at hand. I didn’t notice how odd that was.  I soon began ‘The Secessionist Rag” as a way of seceding from the Doctrine and going my own way.  It began as a writing experiment that included participation of the Doctrine denizens of that time. I still like that story.

Shortly after that, I found myself writing a post about… raking leaves.  It was my first complete departure into writing purely on my own. I still remember the exhiliaration of not knowing where the thing was going to go from sentence to sentence, and thoroughly enjoying the ride. I soon became completely addicted to that sensation, and now don’t write that much because it’s become all the more difficult to obtain. I’m an addict.

2) First girlfriend…

This would be Janice Kinder, in the third grade. She was English and Protestant, to my Irish and Catholic. We agreed that it was doomed, but of course had no idea why. We were in the third grade.

My first real girlfriend was Diane Fitzgerald in high school; a very badly twisted and damaged roger. Extremely volatile personality, easily mistaken for a scott. Even Scott knew to keep his distance. Last I heard, she was serving as pastor in a Congregational church outside of London, having apparently decided to invade Britain.

3) Gilligan…

a) Why presume that they’re cannibals?

b) Are they angry men with spears? Or maybe they’re beautiful scantily-clad Eurasian girls in grass skirts…even if they were cannibals…not the worst thing…

Anyway. If they’re angry men, I’ll go with a scott for the military value. Awfully good in a scrap. If they’re girls…I’d rather a clark there instead. A clark will have trouble relating, and won’t make eye contact. That’ll give me more time to ingratiate myself by putting together a quick but zesty barbecue sauce, or maybe trading my life for my secret dry rub recipe. Then I can become the personal chef to the Cannibal Queen.

4) Swapping…

Very difficult choice. The hardest would be scotts, because it would be so exhausting to maintain the necessary output of energy over a long period of time. Not to even mention the barking.

If I knew seven bloggers to pass this to, I would.  But, alas…

Outpost…

Friday night at 2000 hrs ( 8 pm for civilians), and I’m at work. I’ve been doing Friday 3-11’s lately. One of the few who is maniacally responsible enough to show up for duty with a blizzard en route. There are 5 of us here tonight; 2 security, 2 maintenance, 1 engineer. On my security cameras, I’m watching payloaders, backhoes, and a Bobcat ( I so really want one of those…only$ 36,000) trying to keep the connector roads and parking lots clear. Better to move 6 inches of snow 8 times rather than move 3 feet all at once. Have to feel bad for those guys, though. They’ll be going straight through all day tomorrow, at least. It’s snowing sideways at about 60 mph. The building was just officially closed through Monday morning, and there is a full road ban in place ( arrests, fines, and prison time?!! ) Security’s relief has already called out to report for work ( no surprises there )-which means we will certainly be here until the world re-opens. The power is dipping on and off, but there is a huge backup diesel generator that’s supposed to be able to run for a few days. Otherwise, Metlife would would not only lose fax and phone lines, but there would be a threat to the data center. That would be the downside to having converted the acres of paper files to electronic storage. Snoopy will be really pissed. That damned thing better kick in when it’s supposed to. We’ll find out shortly. A large tree just came down and blocked one of the roads off. One less to plow. On the plus side; us security guys brought enough supplies to live through a nuclear strike, and I also brought a fold-up cot, two woolen blankets and a wheat-hull pillow. So no one has to sleep sitting up in an office chair. ( I am such a mother hen- old re-enactor habits.) And, the Chief Engineer phoned in permission giving us access to the full kitchen. So, I’m thinking… fire up a grill, maybe sirloin steaks with sauteed mushroom and onion in a white garlic sauce. Maybe special details aren’t so bad after all. Always wanted to try cooking on a commercial grill. Grill’s hot. Check with you later.

****

A little ambitious on the sirloin steak idea; but did manage shaved steak with mushroom/onion/hot Italian peppers/ melted provolone on toasted rolls.

Pretty damned good. Breakfast, I believe, will be omelettes with hash browns.

Not the big puffy American– style ones…the thin French ones ala Julia Child. With their choice of fillings, of course. That’s the whole idea. Thank you, Julia…

I’d like to be able to say ” do you want fries with that”, but I’m not sure how to get one of the deep- fryers working. Wouldn’t want to mess up and accidentally summon the fire department on a night like this. Not to mention being summarily dismissed from security.

But then maybe I could work in the kitchen…

Maybe we’ll just go with chips instead. And I’d better get started on a lunch menu…