Monday, March 25, 2013

Threats, paranoia, and sartorial style

This morning I received a call from Tony*, a client for whom I have done a few jobs previously. You can read about the first time here, which should give you some kind of indication as to the problems Tony has been having.

Tony has a small contracting company, TWA*. Given the nature of the industry, finding suitable employees has been a bit of a challenge for Tony, and some of his hiring decisions made have come back to haunt him - particularly when his erstwhile employees have been stealing from the company or the clients.

Just the day before I had backed Tony up in a carpark meeting with another recently-fired employee. Tony said he wanted me there to 'document the proceedings' but I think he really wanted me there if the proverbial shit hit that fan since there had been threats.

It didn't. At least not right then.

So then I received that phone call from Tony, clearly nervous...

"Are you outside my house right now?" he asked.

"No" I replied, somewhat bemused. I mean, what would I be doing at his place? 

"My wife just rang to say some rough-looking big guy came up to the door with some papers and is now sitting in his car in front of the house. She was too scared to answer the door."

For a start I was a little miffed that Tony would immediately think of me when his wife described a "rough-looking big guy." Okay, I might not dress like, say, Hal Humphries over at [FIND] but rough-looking?  

That hurt me a little inside, Tony. Yes it did.

Anyway, he then asked: "Can you please go over right now and check that everything is okay and see what he wants?"

"Sure!" I replied. I'm nothing if not responsive to my Clients' needs.

Tony gave me the vehicle description and registration and I immediately proceeded to his house on the other side of town. When I arrived I noted the dark-coloured sedan parked right outside with a large man sitting in front. I pulled into the driveway, got out of my vehicle, and walked over to the driver's side of his. I couldn't see his eyes because of his dark sunglasses but I knew they were watching me approach. There was a piece of paper, folded in half, on the dash.

I initially thought he might have been a process server or fellow PI, given the legal issues Tony and TWA had been having lately. Perhaps an ex-employee was taking action against Tony...?

Then I thought that he might have been one of those gang-members mentioned in previous threats - the paper might have had photographs of Tony's family...

I nodded at the man and waited while he wound the window down.   

"May I enquire as to your business here?" I formally, and quite politely, asked. "The occupants have some concerns in regards to recent threats received."

He pulled off his sunglasses and frowned. "Tony and Alice* have been getting threats? They asked me to meet them today at 11am to help them shift but I was early..."

Yep. It turned out that the big scary man was a friend of theirs and had arranged to help them pack and move some household furniture. He misread the time he was supposed to come out and had arrived a couple of hours early. Alice only caught a glimpse of him through a window and did not recognise him at all, nor was he in his usual vehicle.

At this moment Tony arrived with a sheepish grin but very much relieved.

* Not their real names yadda yadda yadda.