Another character Cleo meets in Baby Girl 3 is Jim La Tige; remember his name from Book 2? His was merely a mention. In Book 3 he makes his first appearance when Cleo, now Shanna, goes to work for him at La Tige Detective Agency. He is gritty, blunt , and full color.
My first order of business was getting a job, and I had my sights set on just the one. La Tige Investigative Services the title etched into a frosted glass door. Inside, the office was small and a wooden desk covered in clutter sat off in a corner. A large man with his back turned was talking on the phone. I patiently waited. Finally, he turned around and introduced himself.
“Jim La Tige, may I help you?” He leaned back in the well worn leather chair.
“Yes, I’m inquiring about the receptionist position?”
“Yes, yes, my last receptionist left four weeks ago and as you can see I’m in need of another. Too many jobs going to keep the office neat, any recent job experience?”
“No, but if you give me a chance I will have this place organized and running smoothly in no time at all.” I had never worked a real job except some modeling as Justine but I needed a job and specifically this job so I turned on my charm and puckered out my chest.
“No experience. Can you answer a phone?” he replied. His eyes did a quick involuntary glance across my chest, then immediately back to my face. Well, at least he wasn’t being picky and from the looks he was in desperate need.
“Yes” I said with a sweet smile.
“Can you file alphabetically and numerically?”
What kind of idiot couldn’t? I thought. I picked up a file, went to the row of filing cabinets. They were marked with colored dots. The file had a colored blue dot. I found the cabinet with blue dots and looked at the drawers. They were labeled alphabetically A-G/ H-N/ O-Z. The file was labeled Garcia, Richard. I opened the A-G drawer and flipped through until I got to the G’s and then found other Garcia’s, Gomez, Jose, Mary and now Richard.
“Impressive! You have the job. I just need to make a copy of your driver’s license and social security card. While I do that I have some papers for you to fill out.” He replied with a hint of rush in his voice.
“I don’t have a driver’s license, but I have a passport, will that do?”
He looked at me oddly then stated, “That’ll work.” I pulled it out of my purse. He took it in his hand and eyeballed it quickly. “Twenty two, how’s it you have no license?”
“Public transportation has always done me well and cars pollute adding ozone depletion and global warming.” A quick save which rolled off my tongue like melted butter.
“Humph…You’ll fit right in here in Frisco, lots of tree huggers.”
His observation was correct although not in the way he assumed. San Francisco was a place of beauty and freaks. I did blend right in. At night it sparkled with magic and glowed with excitement. Everybody was unique and every corner of the city its own world.
He pulled a chair up to his desk, grabbed his piles and placed them on the floor. Then he handed me a pen, a form, and shuffled his approximately six foot bulk to the copy machine which made some loud swooshing, kerchunking noises. I had never filled out a tax form before. My name I got, but exemptions. What was an exemption? I just filled in 0’s and signed. I handed it back to him, he shook my hand and gave me back my passport, social security card, and the pile of files from the floor, “I’ll return in about an hour,” he grumbled and with that disappeared out the door which I found odd since he had just hired me.
I did it, now I had access to more information than I would ever be able to find on the internet. Officer La Tige would be assistance to my investigation as well. I didn’t feel as though I was using him after all he desperately needed someone to keep things organized and under control and I needed to know who I was so I thought it a fair trade. I found what I was looking for and went head first tumbling forward.
Officer La Tige was a large man of very few words. He stood about six feet tall with a bulky, muscular build, and a slight but noticeable limp coming from his left leg. Thick tufts of dark brown hair infused with gray spirals framed his head and accentuated his square shaped face. His eyes were a stunning blue, which offset his rhinoceros-like appearance. When he talked, he was straight and to the point, and didn’t talk much about himself or anything else, rather he barked orders. He was somewhat intimidating and had no social graces. I could see why he had a difficult time keeping a receptionist. I knew the only way to get anything personal out of him was to gain his trust. I came in everyday and did my job, nothing less but always more.
He would literally throw his cases open and closed on my desk making a slobbish mess of them. That I didn’t appreciate, “Really, do you have to throw them? You nearly knocked over my coffee! Your desk may look like a tornado rolled over it, but I like mine neat.”
“So I see, lunch?” he humphed.
“Yes, I would. Thanks,” I accepted and felt we were bonding. He took me to a Mexican joint where we stuffed our faces with mega sized burritos washed down with beer. Where else can a person drink on the job, paid for by the boss. As he ate, food stuck to his five o’clock shadow and dropped onto his tray. He was as messy an eater as everything else.
“You are a man of many words,” I said sarcastically. He humphed with a mouth full of food some falling to his tray. I took that as a cue to continue, “We walked past an office supply store on the way here. We are going to stop there on the way back. There are a few things we need,” I ordered.
He swallowed his food this time and actually spoke instead of humphing, “Yeah OK”. Then he wiped his face displaying he had
some social graces.
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