Jack and I often discuss the best way to die. The cause of death ranges from, for unnatural death, accident, execution, homicide, misadventure, suicide, terrorism, war and abortion. For death by natural causes I was told that old age is not a scientifically recognized cause of death.
So, if you find that your wife is sleeping with another man and you kill her, it is classified as “unnatural death” in the coroner’s inquiry. And if your twenty-nine-old wife went to bed before midnight and you woke up in the morning and found that she has stopped breathing you can assume that she is murdered.
Jack and I are colleagues. We work at this private investigation agency. I shall not reveal the name because I am going to tell you this story. This story belongs to me. It is my own story and I am glad that I am still alive to tell this.
During lunch, Jack and I talk about many things. One time he even went so far as to tell me, “When I stand in front of the washing machine and I turn it on, it works, when I stand in front of the microwave oven, it works; but when I stand in front of my wife sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, I don’t know why.” Jack was often exasperated with his wife.
I first came to know of this agency through the “Classified Ads”. I wanted to work there at the agency because I think the scope of the job would be very interesting. Imagine being a private eye. You are being paid to spy on other people. So, I told my husband, who was reading the newspapers at the time, that I wanted this job badly.
I am a housewife and he didn’t really want me to work. I rang for an interview. Two men interviewed me. Jack wasn’t one of them. The fact that there was a mannequin in the conference room where I was interviewed said nothing about the company except to give me a creepy feeling.
I am not too sure why I was eventually picked for the job, but I know that my looks mattered t a lot. I mean, not that I was pretty or what. It was that I look very ordinary. To be a private eye you must have a nondescript face, a kind of face where people look at you and would not want to take a look at you a second time.
When Mr. Singham came into the conference room to interview me the first thing he said to me was, “This you?” showing me my picture in the resume, which I submitted.
I knew that this isn’t the end of the selection. Mr. Singham had two other candidates waiting for him outside the conference room to be interviewed. The application is open until 9 April and today is only the 7th. They may decide to wait until after the 9th to make the final decision.
But Mr. Singham’s decision is based on Mr. Wong’s choice as I was told after I was given the job. At the interview I promised both Mr. Singham and Mr. Wong seven days a week and twenty-four hours a day. To this end I also gave them my cellphone number so that was how I got the job.
“You work eight hours a day, forty-four hours a week.
We begin at 8:30 a.m. and we end at 5:00 p.m., lunch is from 12:30 p.m. and we start again at 1:30 p.m. You may be required to work at night because of the nature of the job. However, you will be given double your hourly rate when you report to work at night.”
I asked Mr. Wong if I could wear jeans during weekdays and he nodded his head approvingly, “You are supposed to wear jeans,” he said,
“As a PI you must look as casual but not too casual,” he added,
“but you shouldn’t be wearing slippers, high-heeled sandals are alright.”
I was told before that if you can’t finish your tasks during office hours you are a lousy worker.
“How long am I supposed to take for each assignment?” I asked.
“It could be weeks, or even months, so long as you procure the evidence.”
“Do I need to buy my own camera?” I asked.
“No, you sit in the office and wait for the instruction.”
“What kind of instruction?” I asked.
“You’ll see,” and with that he ended the conversation. I gathered that if I wanted the job I had better keep quiet.
I am a night person. In the mornings I have to drop by the coffee house at the ground floor for a cup of coffee before I start the day.
Once I got the phone call from Miss. Suzie, I knew that I was in. “See you on the 10th of April,” she told me over the phone. I was elated. After I put the phone down, I immediately went into action.
I organized all my clothes the ones for rainy days I kept them all in a basket and as I threw open the wardrobe, I decided on the black Gucci bag as it has many pockets and is more functional. I found my sunglasses from the drawer and I put it on to see if the frame still fitted nicely. To be a private eye a pair of sunglasses is a necessary tool for the trade.
Whereas Mr. Wong has a pair of sheepish eyes, Mr. Lee has a strong physique. By that I mean that you see that he is tough and you conclude that he can withstand cold weather and long walks. Not surprisingly both of them chose their profession in the private investigation industry.
On the first day I started work I packed my cellphone, my purse, my house keys, my pouch, and a notebook with a pen, and I carried a denim jacket with my bag. My bag was the Gucci that I picked. I wore a dress and then after looking into the full-length mirror I took it off and changed into a pair of black pants and a black silk blouse. I was glad that I could still fit into them.
I was told to be there on 10 April. I arrived at 8:15 a.m. sharp and I made sure that the security guard at the ground floor lobby saw me. I tried to tell him that I am a new staff to one of the tenants there in the building but he ignored me completely. Then I gave the agency fifteen minutes to open. It was officially open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
I didn’t want to be late on my first day at work. First impressions always count. So far, I have given the employers the idea that I am a hard worker. And two days ago, I bought two silk blouses and they cost one hundred and fifty dollars each. I am hoping that my salary can cover the capital outlay soon.
The first person I met on the fifth floor was Jack. I wasn’t introduced to him yet, so I just smiled at him. He merely said, “Hi” and he promptly went inside the conference room leaving me standing by the reception. My first impression of Jack was that he was about thirty and married with at least one kid. He looked a family man to me.
Another guy was sitting at the reception and I was glad that he did not seemed to be interested in me. Later I found out that his name was Bobby. It seemed that the agency took no notice that I was reporting in today.
Three minutes later Jack came out and he told me to go into the conference room and sit down next to him. I merely sat there watching him type. When I became restless, I stood up and asked him whether I could have a cup of coffee.
“You can use the guests’ cup today, but tomorrow please bring your own.”
I was annoyed with myself that I didn’t prepare a mug to bring in today. As Jack took one from a set of six, he ordered, “Don’t break it,” before he promptly left me standing in the kitchen.
The coffee percolator is brewing the powder and I can smell the flavor of the Arabian coffee. “Is it the Arabian brew?” I asked.
No reply came so I stood there and waited until the coffee was ready. I poured the brown liquid into the cup and found that I needed milk as well but this time I dare not disturb Jack again.