The Dallas Morning News is the large local newspaper in Dallas, Texas. It's put out by Belo Interactive, Inc. (all rights reserved, of course). It comes out seven days a week (with two sunday editions, early and normal) and does a pretty good job of covering national and local events equally. It has a huge comics section too.

If you're looking for Doonesbury, as I usually do, it's not in the comic section. It's nearly always located on the last page of the front page section, which could also be described as the front side of the back page, on the lower left.

Two weeks ago, I saw the following help wanted ad in the classified section of the Dallas Morning News:
Needed immediately: One enterprising young man to fill an opening for a trainee investigator. Experience in private investigation or law enforcement not required, but is an asset. Duties include (but are not limited to): archival research, interviewing witnesses, photography and minor clerical duties. Candidates should be physically fit, willing to put in long hours and be able to travel extensively. Please send resume/C.V., letter(s) of reference and a current police report to: P/O Box 1433, 2090 Craig St., North Las Vegas, NV, 89030.

Needless to say, I was intrigued. Why would an ad for a P.I. job opening in Vegas be placed in the Dallas Morning News? What was the pay like? Would my wife kill me if I applied for the job? "What the fuck," I said aloud.

I printed off a copy of my resume (trumping up my service record in the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves), had my faculty advisor write a brief letter lauding my "attention to fine details" and picked up my police record from the county sheriff's office. All of this went into a letter-sized manila envelope, to which I affixed two 37 cent teddy bear stamps. Vegas, here I come.

Fast forward to three days ago. To be honest, I'd forgotten about my whim of a job application mere hours after dropping it off at the mailbox. I was underqualified, still without a college degree and married to a woman who was unwilling to migrate across the country a second time in fifteen months. I ruled out anything except a "Thanks for comin' out" letter. I couldn't have been more wrong, but I digress...

I had slept in on Monday morning. Caramelhead (my wife) had already left for work, so the only person left to fight me for the duvet was my dog. I was winning quite soundly when the phone rang. As best as I can remember, the conversation went something like this:

"Is this Gordon Bruce Reid?" Usually the only people who used my full name were bank officers, INS agents or tax collectors. This was bad.
"Um, yes."
"We are in receipt of your job application for our investigative assistant position. Are you still interested?"
"I guess...I, uh, need to know a bit more about the job before I commit, okay?"
"We understand. We have a few questions for you first. Have you ever been arrested for a criminal offense?"
"Once as a minor, but I received a pardon, and my record was expunged when I turned 18."
"Good. Do you like football?" Football?
"Football? Yeah, I love football. But what does that..."
"Did you ever play football?"
"In high school, but I don't..."
"What do you think about black people?"
"Whuh? Not very much...uh, I mean I think of them just like anybody else. Where is this..."
"Have you ever been to upstate New York?"
"Um, once. I went to Plattsburgh last..."
"Can we call you back in a few minutes?"
"I guess, but wait! I have a few..."
(Click. Dial tone.)

I waited in bed for a few minutes, thinking that the phone would ring right away. Thusfar, this job interview had been the most odd (and yet compelling) one that I've ever experienced. Five minutes went by, then ten, then fifteen. I was already going to be late for class, but I couldn't afford to skip again. I was feeling pretty ripe, so I took the cordless phone into the bathroom with me, in case they called while I was in the shower (which they did, of course).

"Mr. Reid, how soon can you come to Las Vegas?"
"Um, I'm a bit strapped for cash right now, my student loans haven't come in yet."
"We can have a ticket waiting for you at DFW tonight. It's imperative that Mr. Simpson meets you as soon as possible."
"Mr. Simpson...who's that? A client? I'm a bit confused..."
"Have I mentioned the $15,000 signing bonus yet, Mr. Reid?" Suddenly this wasn't a lark application anymore.
"What makes you think that I'm qualified? I mean..."
"We'll be the judges of that."

I'll spare you the details of the discussion my wife and I had on the red-eye, the equally-bizarre second interview and the high stakes baccarat game with Leah Rimini and one of the guys from the long-gone ABC sitcom "Two Guys and a Girl". That brings me to tonight, the eve of my second day of work. So far, my investigative abilities only have been tapped to find O.J.'s ball in the heavy rough, and the only person I've interviewed so far is the Mexican dude manning the beercart.

My name is Gordon Reid, and I'm searching for the real killers.

(On the advice of liveforever, I have added this disclaimer.) I have not moved to Vegas, I'm not O.J. Simpson's caddy and I did not play baccarat with Leah Rimini. No such ad ran the the Morning News. I'm sure O.J. has enough people willing to be his caddy free of charge. Consider this w/u a flight of fancy, or as liveforever would put it, twaddle.

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