Visitors - Come on in and say hello!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Call me "Bones"

Tomorrow I graduate with my Master's degree: a day I actually thought would never come.

It's been a long 3 years. I've read a lot of books and in the meantime, I've built up a stack of "wanna-read" titles.  Right now I'm in the middle of 4 of them. Being sick of being in the middle of a stack of books once again, in the interim between our last class weekend and now, I've been immersing myself in catching up with my new favorite TV show, "BONES".

Shameful confession:  I actually fell in love with this show when I caught it sometime during my last semester of class.

Watching improbable investigations about crimes that were far more fascinating than any I ever completed has excited my good memories about law enforcement and investigation of fraud, and the other day I found myself giggling over an old memory.

I admit it: I'm still giggling a bit, especially at the similarities!

In my last couple years in Investigation, I was becoming very burned out as a result of several factors. Some of it was the fact that so many people were lying to me for very idiotic reasons. Some of it was the fact that people who were obvious criminals were lying just out of habit and their lies were so obvious it didn't even warrant an investigation. When I had legitimate fraud investigations I was just as happy as when I had legitimate customers.

As a result, I was becoming very jaded and crabby, and as a further consequence, at times I was beginning to lose my patience even while in the field.

On one occasion, we had an especially creepy (read: potentially physically dangerous) customer so my boss came out with me on a vehicle inspection that needed to take place at the suspected fraudmonger's home. As part of my boss's job was to do file reviews, he took this one as an opportunity, and part of that opportunity was to observe my customer interactions. Never mind the fact he was my "backup" in case this guy decided to act in the way his violent history portended.

This particular customer couldn't keep his own story, or his own alleged "damages" straight. He claimed he'd reported a theft, but there was no police record of his alleged report. He reported this and that damage, but when I was there, he gave me completely opposite "symptomatology" of his vehicle.

Tired of the game, I did what any good cop would have done:  I confronted him on the conflicts he was reporting in a very direct way:

 Me, being confrontational:  "That doesn't make any sense. In your statement you said X, but now you are telling me Y. Which is it?"

And then the customer stared at me and tried to hedge around the conflict. I was unrelenting and pressed him on the point.

I wanted to know what I was looking at and what I was assessing his vehicle for. What was he claiming? I did NOT have the time to come out to evaluate the next wishy-washy crappy thing he was claiming with regard to his obvious fraudulent claim.

When the customer went back inside, (tripping up his front steps in the process, only to stand up and state with great dignity, there, at 9:30 am on a weekday, "I'm drunk!") my supervisor quite literally PULLED me aside and said with gritted teeth, "QUESTION HIM ON THE PHONE, NOT IN PERSON!"

He was obviously holding in his OWN temper. (Imagine Booth and Brennan at this point.)

I feigned innocence even knowing I was totally busted in this file review.

Me, feigning innocence to my boss:  "What?  I need to know what he's claiming so I can document it. I'm just giving him a chance to explain his contradictions!"

The criminal customer was coming back down the steps, and this time managed to maintain his footing with the heavy assistance of the railing.  My supervisor stared at me balefully as I came from behind the man's  vehicle to accept some paperwork he was handing over.

I smiled sweetly and asked for clarification on certain points (i.e. I continued to drill him on his inconsistencies albeit in a bit of a softened manner.)

The customer moved into the garage to point something out, maybe some fluid drippings, and my supervisor said to me, again, with gritted teeth, "You are NOT carrying a .9mm anymore!"

Quietly and in a matter-of-fact tone I responded, "I didn't carry a .9mm, I carried a .45!"

Before my boss could brain me with his clipboard I stepped away to join the criminal customer in the garage to stare at the ancient oil stain he was claiming was a fresh transmission fluid leak.

This time I just rolled my eyes instead of responding, pretended to make serious note of the incident, and told the guy we'd be in touch, reminded him to get his forms in and that we were still waiting on the *snicker* police report (*that didn't exist*)

Once in the vehicle, my supervisor said to me again, "You need to remember that you are NOT carrying a .9mm anymore!"

And I corrected him AGAIN, "I didn't carry a .9mm! I carried a .45 !"

Boss:  "Whatever! Either way you're not carrying a gun!"

Me:  "He was lying to me! His story was drastically different in person than it was in his initial statement!"

Boss: "I know, I agree with you! I'm just saying that you aren't carrying a .9mm--"

"--.45!" (me, interrupting..)

Boss: "--anymore! This guy MIGHT have one and might blow you away!"

Me: "He's too drunk to walk up his own familiar steps, I doubt he'd have good aim."

Boss: "Then at least have the decency to protect company property from his bad aim." (half-joking out of exasperation at this point)

Me: "OK, fine."  (pause) "Why can't I have a gun on this job, considering all the customers who want me dead?"

*baleful sidewise stare from scowling supervisor*

Me: *sigh* 


Yeah, call me "Bones". (Only, don't call me Bones. Call me Dr. Brennan).


Fr John Speekman said...

Congrats on the achievement of your Masters - and loved your report on this 'lil encounter. I can sympathise with your annoyance with the customer. But don't forget, you're not carrying a .99mm anymore .. ok?

Adoro said...

Thanks, Father.

And it was a .45! ;-)

Robin said...

Congratulations, Adoro!

Even though we have little in common in some areas, in others we share quite a bit. Having received my M.Div. last night despite impossible life circumstances, I know something about the commitment and tenacity involved.

I continue to follow your journey with interest and hopefulness.

Mary N. said...

This was very funny! You've got a wonderful writing gift.

Congratulations on your Master's Degree!

Melody K said...

Congratulations on achieving your Master's degree! It will be interesting to see where God leads you next.
"Bones" is one of my husband's favorite shows. I watch it quite a bit also but have to admit that the "yuck factor" gets to me sometimes.

Fr. John Mary, ISJ said...

Yeah, you sound EXACTLY like T. Brennan!LOL!!
Great dialogue!
It was such a privilege and blessing to be present at your graduation today...thank you for your invitation. I know what it took to participate in this Master's program; I, myself, am an alumni from some eleven years ago and it's a great accomplishment. Congratulations!
My prayers and blessing. FrJM

Vincenzo said...

I like .45s too.
Congratulations on earning your degree!

Adoro said...

Robin ~ Well, congrats on your M.Div! God bless you!

Mary ~ Thanks! :-)

Melody ~ It's a great show and for me, there really isn't an "ick" factor, although I admit that if I faced those crime scenes in person I'd have to keep a lot of Vicks handy!

Nazareth Priest~ Father, thank you so much for coming, for concelebrating, and how fitting as you are a graduate! You have no idea how honored we all were because of your own presence. :-)

Vincenzo ~ Ah, I always love a man with good taste. I carried a S&W .45, but I gotta say, if I was going to purchase another handgun I'd buy a Sig Saur .45. I've fired one, had less kick than a .22 and was FAR more accurate! butter!

Hmm...I will have to find a buyer for my current .9mm HK (LEGAL BUYER!) at some point. I love the HK and wish it was a .45, but this was my recreational weapon, only used on a firing range, and with great joy.


Other weapons enthusiasts will understand my reluctance to part with this wonderful sidearm. :-)