Naturally, I can’t talk about my clients. A private investigator who runs around blabbing about confidential matters would have a lot of spare time on her hands. I can’t name names, you understand. But I can give you an idea of what an average day looks like.
Take today, for example. I went for an early run on the beach with my golden retriever, Rhett. After breakfast I typed up some interview notes from yesterday and packed my surveillance supplies: cooler with water, Diet Cheerwine, and sandwiches, chocolate, gloves—both latex and leather—hand sanitizer, Lysol, trash bags, plus a few of my favorite toys: camera, Taser, binoculars, and eavesdropping equipment, and my Sig Sauer 9.
I’m currently working five cases. Sadly, three involve marital misbehavior. I declare, if more people took their “I dos” to heart, I’d have to find another job. Today I drove into Charleston to tail one of the pillars of society. Let’s call him Romeo.
Romeo may or may not have a chick on the side. His poor wife is so beside herself she’s taken to hiring all manner of psychics, chakra balancers, tarot card readers, and me, in an effort to establish his fidelity. Like some women in her predicament, she thinks she wants to know the truth, but very likely she does not, bless her heart.
I snagged a parking space under a shade tree across from Romeo’s downtown law office. It was quarter to twelve. Every day since I’d been tailing him, at noon he’d walked a few blocks down Broad to the Blind Tiger Pub and ordered a pot roast sandwich, extra horseradish sauce. He lunched alone and went straight back to the office. Romeo looked over his shoulder a lot, but I’d seen neither hide nor hair of another woman—until today.
I’d waited only ten minutes when a guy parked a rickshaw bicycle taxi several yards from Romeo’s office. The driver hopped off and hotfooted west on Broad Street, head down. Less than a minute later, a woman wearing a black and white polka-dot dress, five inch heels, and a wide-brimmed hat climbed into the passenger seat. She wore large sunglasses, and her hair was either short or pulled up. I’d be hard pressed to describe her aside from her clothing and body-type—slim with curves. Let’s call her Jackie.
Romeo walked out of his office and turned east on Broad. A muscular guy with colorful tattoos appeared from underneath a crepe myrtle—we’ll call him Thug. Thug must have spoken to Romeo, because he turned around. Thug gestured towards the rickshaw with his head. I started snapping pictures.
Romeo looked right, then left, and walked towards the rickshaw. Jackie slid over and he climbed in. Thug got on the seat and started peddling. Great. I couldn’t follow them in my car. They’d make me in an instant. I hopped out, crossed the street, and jogged after them.
They turned down Legare, a one-way, residential street. I had to run hard to keep up. Romeo and Jackie had their heads together. Thug made a left on Tradd. I caught a break when a carload of sightseers hung him up. I slowed to a jog. Half a block later I had to stop and pretend to tie my shoe to avoid passing them. Jackie and Romeo were speaking in unloving tones, but I couldn’t make out the words. Thug turned left on Meeting Street and put his well-muscled legs into his work. The distance between us widened quickly.
He turned right and headed the wrong way down St. Michael’s Alley. I sprinted, but that last half block seemed to take an eternity.
I pulled up short and peered around the corner. The rickshaw stood fifty feet in front of me. Thug and Jackie scurried in the opposite direction. Romeo was still in the rickshaw, slumped a bit, and very still.
I pulled out my iPhone and scrolled to Sonny Ravenel’s name. He’s a Charleston police officer and family friend. While the phone rang, I approached the rickshaw. I couldn’t see blood, which was encouraging. Thug and Jackie darted up Church Street. I could follow them or try to help my client’s husband, who had bigger problems just then than his questionable fidelity.
I called his name. He didn’t move.
“Liz, what’s up?” Sonny answered the phone.
I felt for a pulse.
“I’m at St. Michael’s Alley and Meeting Street. I need you and EMS PDQ.”
“Are you all right?”
“I am. But the guy I’ve been tailing doesn’t have a pulse.”
“Don’t move. I’m on my way.”
Today really wasn’t an average day, I guess. But this kind of thing comes up in my line of work.
You can read more about Liz in Lowcountry Boil, the first book in the new “Liz Talbot” mystery series.
** Thanks to the Susan, I have one (1) autographed copy of LOWCOUNTRY BOIL to give away. Contest open to residents of the US only. Contest ends September 21. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Book will be shipped directly from the author. **
Meet the author
Susan M. Boyer has been making up stories her whole life. She tags along with her husband on business trips whenever she can because hotels are great places to write: fresh coffee all day and cookies at 4 p.m. They have a home in Greenville, SC, which they occasionally visit. Susan’s short fiction has appeared in moonShine Review, Spinetingler Magazine, Relief Journal, The Petigru Review, and Catfish Stew. Her debut novel, Lowcountry Boil, is a 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense recipient and an RWA Golden Heart® finalist. Visit Susan at www.susanmboyerbooks.com, on Facebook or Twitter.
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