He fancied himself as a private investigator. Engrossed during his teens of detective series he loved to watch on TV, he lived the life of a secretive observer of activities around him. His preparations were important for his present occupation.
The small but highlighted signboard on the front wall of his tiny ground floor office made it official. He was for hire. “Anything and everything could be found” proudly claimed his motto.
For a month, no one came to seek his services. Until today.
A burly fellow entered the door, his brusque manner could be considered impolite but it was part of his job to scare and be feared: security personnel should possess such aura.
“You, in charge?” he asked carelessly, his eyes roamed the premises.
“How may I help you?” Mr. P.I. adjusted his demeanor. In his mind, every person should be treated accordingly.
“Not me,” the bodyguard coughed out.
At the same instant, an elegantly dressed middle-aged woman came in the door. Obviously, she was the mistress from the way the bodyguard bowed respectfully, removed of his crude behavior earlier.
Mr. P.I. walked out from behind his desk to approach who was in his estimate his first and most valuable client.
The bodyguard was quick. Before Mr. P.I. could offer a handshake, the security blocked the gesture,
“It’s okay, Brutus.”
Mr. P.I. nearly burst out laughing. The mention of Popeye’s nemesis produced hilarious memories of his childhood.
“Can I offer you something to drink?” The dialogue was from one of his favorite shows.
She lightly shook her head as if she was not interested in small talk.
“I want you to find my companion. He ran away.”
Mr. P.I. glanced at the bodyguard. He immediately suspected the man had something to do with it.
“I have to …” he was cut off by the woman’s hastiness.
“Money is no object,” she continued, handing him a thick envelope.
“Can I ask you a recent photo? His hangouts? Anything that could speed up the process of locating him.”
She took out a large glossy photograph, the type used by hopeful actors and actresses in their resumes.
Mr. P.I. began his rehearsed speech, promising to move heaven and earth, come hell or high water, blah, blah, blah, as he took the proffered photo. His sweetened words were stopped abruptly.
“You can find him?” the woman’s face displayed sadness and longing.
Mr. P.I. was now absolutely sure the bodyguard was directly or indirectly part of the crime.
“I promise you this,” he raised his hand in a pledge, “he will be found.”
An hour after his client and bodyguard left, he was still stuck looking at the photo.
“Where the hell should I start looking for a cat?”