Autobiography of a Private Investigator

Issue 5 | Winter 2020 |




More than the illicit activities I’m hired to observe, it’s the little things that stick with me about people who don’t know they’re being watched: the unsucked guts, the saggy tits, the disheveled faces, the limp way their limbs move about, the itching, the fidgeting, the lips moving in silent rehearsals, the way they stare blankly into the distance as they nurse a cigarette. I find myself wondering: is God this bored and this titillated all at the same time?


The science is bullshit. Lying eyes don’t look up and to the left. Fidgety fingers are indicative of nothing. I know this because everyone lies all the time, with every breath inhaling truth and exhaling perversion. Shine a light into their disco-ball mouths and watch them shade reality into sparkling hues and spray it all over the walls as they dance to the rhythm of their own falsehood, lost in the beat. No wonder Pilate washed his hands—you don’t get any answers without breaking some legs.


I once spent hours on TikTok downloading videos of a man, allegedly injured, gyrating his girth to music, slamming his body against the wall, putting knife blades between his fingers, all the while begging, I will eat shit, I will jump off this roof, I will crash my car, just like me and follow me. People are not watches buried in the sand. They are not pearls trapped in clamshells. They are open wounds, pussy and festering, giving you a good look at the inner workings. Most people have machinery that hums too loud—they couldn’t hide if they wanted to.


I once met the devil in an airport bar, and we spent hours talking down whiskey glasses in that modern purgatory. He asked me if I liked what I did, and after thinking about it for some time, I told him that it had its moments of fun but that there were also days that drained the soul of everything it had, and that ultimately it didn’t matter whether I liked it or not because it was a job like any other, and if someone has to do it, it may as well be me. The devil chuckled and raised his glass to me: Amen, brother. Amen.