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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

A big surprise awaits a Private Detective who is working a case in the year, 2060. Things have changed, and are going to change even further.

 A long time ago there were people that called people in my profession "Gumshoes", and the profession's reputation was less than stellar, by many accounts.

I mean, sneaking around sleazy motels, or high price penthouses, trying to get the goods on cheating spouses wasn't exactly prim detective work, but as they used to say, "It pays the rent".

Those days are over, well, except on rare occasions. It's been a hundred, (plus), years sense the likes of "Dick Tracy" and "Boston Blackie", and things have changed.

The year is 2060 and there is no way I need to sneak around in these generations.

I mean, hay, there are cameras everywhere! And if there isn't a camera available to hack into, then there are apps for camera mounted drones; rent by the hour, day, week, etc.

Some of these drones are as small as a fly. They come with hi-resolution, 3-dimensional, and/or night vision camera lenses. They have added sensors and available apps, if you have the need and can pay the price. Yep, and if you’re a licensed UMAC pilot, which I am, then you can fly it yourself. If not, you can hire a pilot with the touch of the screen.

As I was saying, I don't have the need to sneak around, or even leave my office very often.

My office is in the basement of my Boston Row-House. 

I have a room full of computer equipment, servers, and monitoring equipment that I have no idea how they connect together; I have “People” for that.

With this equipment I can keep tabs on anyone and follow them almost anywhere that they go.

There is always exceptions to rules and the exceptions that go along with these rules are areas called dead zones; those are private moments within homes and some businesses, bathroom visits, and assorted situations like those. The others are usually found outside of the tri-county service area.

I can still locate my surveillance subject, aided by cell towers which are everywhere. They are disguised as almost any kind of light pole, tree, or hi-way sign. Some even look like Hawks or ravens that are perched in tall cell-trees.

These types of dead zones have little or no cameras available and if the subject is in a wooded area, like a forest, or someplace like "Central Park", then these standard rental drones can't handle all the hazards, like tree branches, etc.

In situations like these it is Old-School Gumshoe, or nothing.


Surveillance Subject: Re-jab Boutwallie 

Subject's Employer: U. S. Gov. - Homeland Security

Subject's Occupation: Coordinator, Cyber Security Outreach

Reason for Surveillance:  Spousal Request

Spousal Observations: Subject acting paranoid and frightened for several weeks, shy's away from intimacy, working odd hours, vague in responses about whereabouts.

Case Report # 3,349 - 6

Subject left city boundaries at 3:38 a.m. and cell signal indicates that subject has maintained a stationary position, in the same general location, for 3-Plus hours.

Personnel surveillance was deemed necessary.

I retrieved my truck from its Charging Bay via a mobile APP and it was waiting outside my front door when I exited the building. I locked the subject's concordance into the GPS system, waved the vehicle controls into auto-drive, and sat back to enjoy the early morning ride. I set the on-board cameras on record and on save for surveillance and billing purposes.

The Sun was just starting to show itself on the horizon in a brilliant burst of greenish-orange light! Fantastic!

My truck had just turned off the main hi-way and came to a stop. Censors indicated that manual control was necessary due to poor road conditions and outdated GPS Maps for that road.

I worked my way down dirt and gravel access road for 7.6 miles and then stopped near the set coordinates.

There were no buildings, or vehicles, and not a soul was to be seen.

I looked around for a few minutes and found tire marks that could not have belonged to my truck; my truck does not have wheels.

I pulled up a surveyor's-map for this access road and found it to contain many hair-pinned curves, so I took a little walk along the road. It was a beautiful morning and it made me wish that I wasn't working a case.

The road straightened and when it did I was able to see my truck from a distance. Sure enough, there was my subject's vehicle, it was below some trees and smashed against an outcrop of rock.

The vehicle was quite a distance below the road and above a river that ran through a canyon below.

I saw no sign of Re-jab Boutwallie, but I was sure that he must be alive.

It is nearly impossible to be killed, during car crashes, in this day and age. The safety features go way beyond air bags and computer positioning sensors.

Re-jab might possible be hurt and still inside the vehicle, or he may have wandered off in the dark.

I returned to my truck to retrieved my climbing gear

and changed shoes. Once done, I attached a line to a nearby Pine and down I went.

When I arrived at the vehicle I found no-one.

The vehicle's deployment bubble had done its job, I knew that because there was no blood anywhere.

I did find a briefcase outside the vehicle and a cell phone near-bye, but no sign of my subject. My guess was that he dropped them as he tried to climb up to the road. He may have lost his footing and fell into the river below. But for Mrs. Boutwallie sake, I was hoping that would not be the case.

I took several photos before climbing back to the road; I also took the briefcase and cell phone with me.

Once back on the road, I called 911 and sent them the coordinates where the vehicle could be found, carefully explaining that the vehicle was below the road and hidden by trees.

Once back at my office, I called Mrs. Boutwallie and told her that her husband had been in an accident and that I had not found him at the scene. I explained that the police would, no doubt, want to talk to her and I gave her the number to reach them.

I cautioned her not to read too much into this accident, her husband must have walked away and that was a good sign.

I asked her and received written permission, via cell phone text, to open the briefcase, even if I had to force the locks.


I did have to force the locks on the briefcase, but I'm so good with locks that you'd never know that it had been opened without a key.

There was little inside the case, one bottle of eye drops and three copies of e-mails from a Dr. Stone.

One e-mail was a billing from the doctors billing office, another was a copy of an eye drop prescription, and the last was marked, (URGENT!).

That URGENT e-mail gave a surgery date and a time for Re-jab's eye insert-lenses to be replaced. The date was the same date that his vehicle went off the road.

Last but not leased was the poorly hidden Memory Retrieval Wafer, it was stuffed inside the lining of the case.

When I attached the wafer to my laptop, I found only the top line was readable, it read, "TOP SECRET, property of the United States Department of Homeland Security". 

The rest of the information on the wafer was scrambled and I couldn't tell if I was looking at text or images.

Well, I've seen Top Secret documents before and as far as I'm concerned, most shouldn't be. However, they always tweak my interest so I gave the wafer to “MY GUY”, the decoder, for inspection.

The next day the cops arrived at my doorstep. They asked all sorts of strange and mysterious questions about Re-jab Boutwallie.

They said that they were getting inquiries from government agencies, as well as two Cyber Security Corporations.

They wanted to know if I had been questioned, or contacted, by anyone else.

I told them that I had not and they looked rather relieved.

They didn't say who those agencies were, or what they were asking, and that was OK with me; the less that they think I know, the better.

I asked if they had found Mr. Boutwallie and they said no.

No body was found in the area of the accident site, or along the river.

Another thing (?), I guess that they didn't want to get a warrant for the briefcase, so they had me talk to Mrs. Boutwallie over the phone. She insisted that I give them Mr. Boutwallie briefcase, which I did right after they signed my "Receivables Form"; (I had already made sure that the liner was re-attached and looking like it was never touched). I also gave them the cell phone, (after copying the contacts and the saved e-mails to a burner phone).

They asked for copies of my surveillance data and they said that they would touch base with me at a later date, if and when Mr. Boutwallie was found.

I gave them copies of what I had and they left.

And as soon as they left I scanned my office area for any devices that might have been left behind; the place was clean.

It took longer for “MY GUY” to finish with the wafer than I thought it should, much longer than it had ever taken him before. One morning he showed up at my office with very dark glasses on and a hooded-coat lined with what looked like aluminum foil; he would not look directly at me; instead he looked towards the ground most of the time.

After giving me an un-scrambled version, and the original wafer, he said he had a doctor’s appointment. When I asked about the doctor’s visit he just said that I would understand soon enough.

Then he left as quickly and as mysteriously as he had arrived.

Now I was really curious as to what was on that wafer, so I locked the office door, pulled the blinds, sat down at my desk, and connected the new wafer to the computer.

A I started viewing the images, my first thought was of complete amazement, and then I started to get angry.

After calming down, I called Mrs. Boutwallie and asked her if her husband had had any eye surgeries in the past year.

She said that her husband had had eye problems for some time, blurred vision was the problem. Then someone at work recommended an eye doctor and the doctor convinced her husband that he had Cataracts. This Dr. Harold L. Steven removed them soon afterward, just a couple of months ago.

She also stated that he had recently been having problems with watery eyes, but didn't know if that was due to the surgery.

She stated that Mr. Boutwallie was not satisfied with Dr. Steven services, or his explanations.

And the eye-drops that he was given, by the good doctor, were not helping much.

Well, it seems that Mr. Boutwallie went to see another surgeon for a second opinion; that was about a month ago. And more recently he told his wife that he was going to have another surgery very soon.

I asked for the names and phone numbers for both doctors; she text-ed them to me.

First, I phoned Dr. Steven at the number that I received, but that number was no longer in service. So I Goggled Dr. Harold L. Steven and aside from a Retired Dentist and a professor of Biology, there was no other Dr. Harold L. Steven.

Dr. Stone was a different story and the number Mrs. Boutwallie gave me was a good one.

I called him to see what he had to say about replacing Boutwallie's eye lenses. At first he was cooperative, but then he asked me to HOLD, because he had another call, so I did. When he came back on the phone he was all testy and he told me that if I wanted any more information I should call his lawyer; that's when he hung up.


I wondered, "What should I do? Should I turn the original wafer over to the police, or do I just cubbyhole both of them and act like I didn't have a clue?"

This was a real puzzler and I really needed to stew over it for awhile.

I sat back down and continued reviewing the images that were no longer scrambled.

The images that I was seeing, as if seen through rearview mirrors, seemed to be those of a vehicle that was chasing Mr. Boutwallie as he drove down that access road, and off the cliff. 

I was viewing, on my monitor, everything that Mr. Boutwallie had been seeing from the time of his eye surgery.

Yes, from that time forward, whatever he was looking at was being recorded and was always accessible to someone, somewhere.

Who? Who Knows? Nobody was paying me to find out and besides, I didn't have a death wish.

As I continued viewing the monitor, I saw the deployment of my subject's vehicle's safety bubble, then the bottom of a helicopter as, I'm assuming, Mr. Boutwallie's body was being lifted toward the aircraft.

The one thing that I couldn't see was Mr. Boutwallie himself. Was he still alive?

The last images that I saw were the ceiling of the inside of the helicopter, and then the screen went black.


I checked with a friend that works Medi-Vac, she said that their records showed no reports of a helicopter rescue anywhere in that area. Besides, she informed me that they seldom fly at night in wooded areas.


It took awhile and I had to enlist the help of several others from the, "MY GUYS", team.

We did a search, in several ways, for all eye surgeries done in hospitals in the state, and within the time period.

Among the patient listed was Re-jab Boutwallie and “MY GUY”, the decoder.

We looked for surgeries that the attending surgeon's name was Dr. Harold L. Steven, Dr. Steven Harold, Dr. Larry Harold, Dr. Loraine Stevens, or any other variation.

There must be a lot of surgeons using those name variations because we found thousands.

And we found that these surgeons had a back-log of surgeries scheduled way into the following year; all for lens replacements.



D. Thurmond / JEF


Submitted: November 12, 2015

© Copyright 2021 D. Thurmond aka JEF. All rights reserved.

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