I am obsessed.

They kicked me out when I was eighteen.

Hard to blame them.

My mom and her sister-in-law got over my dad’s disappearance years before. Seems they determined one day to just move on.

Wasn’t so easy for me.

Daddy disappeared on a Friday, exactly three weeks before my last day of fourth grade. At the sassy age of nine, I already thought New Orleans cops were a big pile of callous fools. They wouldn’t give a damn about some man from Tremé who had gone missing.

Three months later, my suspicions were confirmed by a sweaty, pink-cheeked and balding detective who sat hunched on the rickety white chair in our narrow living room. This man told my mom and aunt the case was cold. He mumbled that there were a lot of other cases with more promise. There was nothing more they could do.

Apologies. Excuses.

That’s when I determined this hollow, timid man didn’t deserve the title Detective. Finding the truth takes grit. Tenacity. I would have to assume that job if we were to get any answers.

Mamma and Aunt Ella figured it was a mantle I would outgrow; one I would eventually wear out. Instead, my constant stream of questions and latest theories became unwanted intrusions, reminders of their heartbreak. Eventually, I wore them out.

Turns out, they underestimated my tenacity.

When you’re eighteen and find yourself on your own, you have three choices. With my neglected grades and no money, college wasn’t in the cards. I tried working at the local fast food joint, but it didn’t take long for me solve the mystery of how that bitter, petty-minded Assistant Manager got made. Seeking stability above all else, I made the only choice an impudent, broke teen could. I joined the military.

After four years as a Marine MP, dealing with harsh leaders who hated my independent streak and drunk privates who hated my uniform, the choice not to re-enlist was a no-brainer. Besides, anyone could see the real action was with the FBI.

Learned a lot there. Worked hard. Solved some cases and prevented more. Five years in, I finally solved the conspiracy of the FBI and saw the truth: how that organization was constructed to churn out an endless supply of  self-conscious bureaucrats.

Fortunately, I escaped that  dismal fate.

Today, I’m back in The Big Easy.

By day—and more often by night—I work as a private detective. Taking cases the police can’t or won’t handle.

I write about my assignments. Some as steamy as this grand old city. Some cold as ice.

And I continue to dig for clues on my coldest case, the disappearance of a young girl’s father so long ago.

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