An older gentleman and a sexually frustrated MILF

Sometimes, I think I must have the best job in the world. As part of my work, I met a girl a few weeks ago. Not a girl, really. A woman. A truly fascinating woman. Her name is Sarah.

I’m a private investigator for a boutique divorce law firm. It’s not as glamorous as it may sound. I do rack up the frequent-flier points, and yes, I went to Las Vegas last Christmas, but it was for work. I was trying to get video of a suspected cheating husband. To a degree, I understood when I spied on him. After all, his wife was a shrew, and he was a typical guy. The young lady he took to his room while his wife finished her shopping did a Tahitian hula/reverse cowgirl thing that I had never seen before.

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A lot of my work involves researching hidden assets. Sometimes, I’m looking for real estate holdings or off-shore bank accounts. Sometimes, it’s artwork or jewels. Often, I’m at a desk, and when I do go out on field-work, there’s no Indiana Jones or Mission Impossible stuff.

The senior partner (known among the staff as The Ice Queen) called me to her office. “Don,” she asked, “if I told you I wanted you on a red-eye flight Sunday night, what would it do to your other cases?”

“For how long?”

“I wouldn’t normally ask you to do this, but …”

“Bullshit, Marian,” I interrupted. “How long do I have to be away?”

“You have all the budget you need on this one to hire whoever you want to help you. If you get yourself a good forensic accountant, you should be on the plane back home Friday night.”

“Some clients will argue, but nobody’s world will come to an end if I’m not here for a week,” I said. “It’s a good thing we love each other.”

“Just remember who pays whom, and why. Clean up your loose ends and go home. Pack for a week in Virginia, near DC. A car will pick you up and take you to the airport. Be ready Sunday morning at ten.” Marian handed me some file folders and a small bundle of discs, and motioned me away. “Go, before we do something stupid.”

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My new job was to dig up the dirt on a business. The estranged wife has a large block of shares in her husband’s enterprise, and she feels he’s siphoning off money, lowering the value of her holdings, which would be beneficial to him when he is ordered to buy her out.

Even though I probably have learned enough over the years to take the exams, I’m not an accountant. This job needed one. From an assignment several years ago, I know a gentleman who is a senior partner in a successful accounting firm in the area. I gave him a call. He agreed to “rent out” his best forensic accountant, a Mrs. Sarah Blevins. Her schedule would be clear late Monday morning.

Her curriculum vitae had me hoping for a dynamic, no-nonsense woman with a sharp mind and a bit of cynicism, all business, and hopefully, a stickler for details. I wanted someone who could find evidence of fiduciary mistakes by the company’s own financial people, or signs that the books had been “cooked.”

I’ve teamed with this kind of specialist before. They’re often the nerds of the accounting world. Based on the people I had worked with in the past, I anticipated a plain looking woman.

That’s not what I saw when she came into the lobby. She was taller than I expected, honey-blond, blue-eyed, and pretty. If she wore make-up, it was subtle. Dressed in a conservative skirt and jacket, she spoke with a soft but confident voice laced with the sweeter parts of a southern drawl. She looked like a woman you could enjoy taking to dinner, or helping with a project she’s doing as a Sunday school teacher.

My first impression was to see her in the role of trusted executive secretary or elementary school principal, but this assignment called for more than that. I needed a rabid badger.

She took me to her office to discuss the case. Following her down the hall, I played with the idea of those long legs in a much shorter, tighter skirt, with dressy heels replacing the sensible office shoes she wore. I wondered what her long hair would feel like in my hands.

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“You’re disappointed, aren’t you, Don?” she asked, after she had closed the door and taken her place behind her desk.

“Excuse me?”

“I get that a lot. Being a woman is a handicap in business. At least it seems that way to me,” she said.

“I don’t look down on women in business, Sarah. I’m not that kind of guy.”

“You’ve read my curriculum vitae, I assume,” she said.

“I did, and I was impressed.”

“Would you have been as ‘impressed’ if I were a man? Or did you just think my qualifications were good for a woman?”

“Where is all this coming from?” I asked.

“Look, I know what your employers do. They screw people out of money in divorces. They’re very good at it,” she said.

“I try not to think of it that way. Are claims exaggerated? Sure. On both sides. Are mistakes made? Yes, unfortunately. We’re all human. My job is to make sure that all assets are accounted for, and that my employer’s client gets compensation for the value of the couple’s shared holdings and for the pain and suffering of a failed marriage.”

Sarah got more animated. “Marriage is sacred, as far as I’m concerned. People stand there in front of whatever they consider to be God, and swear an oath to each other. That’s one of the things that ticks me off. This country has become all about getting someone else to pay through the nose for your dumb mistakes. In a marriage, unless you’re completely stupid, you should have known what you were getting yourself into.”

“I’m not completely stupid,” I said. “I’m smart enough to have stayed single. Look, if you’re not comfortable working with someone who does this for a living, I’m sorry I wasted your time.” I stood and turned toward the door.

“Wait!” she cried. “Please. Oh, dammit, I’m not good at this.” Suddenly, her bluster was gone. “Won’t you sit down?”

I did. I looked at her, waiting for her to continue. She was staring at the screen-saver on her computer monitor, playing absent-mindedly with a wisp of her hair that was draped over her chest. She took a deep breath, and then broke into a weak smile.

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“That’s probably the worst job I’ve done introducing myself since I was about twelve,” she said. “May I start over?”

I stood up, smiled, and extended my hand, just as I had done before. “Hello, I’m Don Croswell.”

She gave me a smirk, stood, and said, “Good to meet you, Don. I’m Sarah Blevins.” She laughed as we shook hands. “Please, sit down. Would you like a water?” She swiveled in her chair and got two bottles from her mini-fridge. “I’m a competent accountant. My records prove that. I also have a very good nose for bullshit.”

“That’s what I need. This guy is hiding something. I’m just not sure where or how.”

She said, “When my boss told me about this assignment, I was anxious to work with you because of what you do, not who you work for. You expose liars. You search for the truth. That’s what I do, too. Look, Don, I’m sorry, but I’m guilty of a little bit of hero worship here. You look at the whole picture. All I do is give you some financial details.”

“If you can give me those details, I’ll make sure my employers know exactly how valuable your assistance was. There may be need for your services in the future, if you’re willing.”

“I have a career with this firm. As I understand it, the boss is basically ‘renting’ me to you,” she said.

“That’s right, and I’m not in a position to offer anyone a job anyway, but I’ve given references before that have gotten a little freelance work for some people. In one way or another, we’re all in the information business. Networking is important, and I’ve got a big address book,” I said.

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