This is the story of how I first became a Gentleman Bounty Hunter, although I was too young to be a gentleman and I was too strange to actually catch anyone.
When I was a boy, I was pretty frisky.
I don't know why that word triggers the reaction that it does.
It's always been a fairly simple and straightforward word that describes a healthy boy, somewhat husky but not overtly so, who likes to bounce around and have fun. That was me. I wore the knees out of dress pants fairly quickly by being so frisky. There were more than a few times when I would get so frisky, I would split my pants open and not even know it (I am not certain, but this may have led to improvements in children's clothing, such as reinforced knees in pants and reinforced seats in husky boy pants).
Father would comment on my friskiness and look on with disapproval, but the excitement and interests that I had were paramount for me. I had to know what was in that cabinet, under that table, over that hedge, concealed in that locked facility, behind that barn, under that car, in that public toilet or beneath the folds of that rather diaphanous skirt.
I had to burst in and investigate and jump on chairs and tables and run around and knock things over. I had to climb every ladder that I saw and slide down ever pole that I saw. I had to jump over every reasonably jumpable gap and I had to see the bottom of every hole. Drainage pipes were a huge problem for me.
When I was 11, I got lost in the downtown Groton sewer system for about two days. I fancied myself living underground and becoming a kind of mole-rat person with super-sensitive eyesight and the ability to digest stolen food from a pizza restaurant that had a loose manhole cover behind it. I should write about my time as the Mole Boy of Groton. Technically, I wasn't a mole--I was a mole rat. I didn't do any digging. I subsisted off stolen or discarded food in tunnels someone else had installed. But I solved a few bank robberies, fell in love, and invented a curved stick that allowed me to run through sewer pipes while carrying pizza without falling.
It was ingenious.
Even when I was a Mole Boy, I was dressed nattily and smartly. I wore a tie, suit coat, and either long or short pants, depending on the season. I had my hair done up in a pageboy cut with black ribbons to hold it out of my eyes on either side of my head.
This was not because I wanted to look like a rather foppish little twerp. This was because of how unreasonably wealthy we were. It was not because I liked to wear such clothing. It was expected that I would wear such clothing. When you're the son of a rich man, you have to dress the part. This reinforces the class distinctions which have made this such a great country. I must confess that I have never worn jeans or sneakers. I did wear cleats when I played football, but they were brown leather cleats, the best that money could buy.
The first time that the idea that I might become a bounty hunter came up when we were sailing the Caribbean. I had taken the family vessel, a converted World War II blockade running "corvette" style craft that my Father, Norman Rogers Senior, had appropriated in North Africa from the German Navy, and I had taken Miranda and a small crew with me. We had no purpose, other than to get out of the Northeastern United States and do something different.
Miranda said to me one morning, "call Babs Worthington. She keeps trying to reach you on the satellite phone."
I love Babs, but Babs is more of a muse than anything for me. She puts ideas in my head. I dated her in college, at Princeton, while she attended a school for women, as Princeton was not co-ed at the time. Babs and I knew we were not destined to be married but that we were destined to be lifelong friends. I demurred. Not that I didn't want to talk to Babs. I did. I just didn't want to have to get up the energy to sift through her rapidfire advice, which was surely going to be the right advice.
Miranda insisted, and my new personal assistant, a Mr. Peej, also told me that he had had a wonderful conversation with Babs about me, about my skills and talents, and I was taken aback. It's as if Peej had known me all of my life or something.
Making a long story short without a reason to do so, I spent three hours on the satellite phone with Babs, and I ended up flying to Key West to see her. Babs owns three travel agencies there, running a crew of agents and concierges and assistants for some very wealthy families that we are all in touch with and know from our own upbringing.
From that meeting, an idea was born, a need was filled, and a Gentleman Bounty Hunter was created out of what used to be me.
True to his word, Father has followed through on his incoherent threats to flee his caregivers:
- - Mr. Norman Rogers, Jr.
The following matter is URGENT
I am leaving this note on your father's web site in order to inform you that we cannot locate him. The facility has no record of him being signed out by yourself, by Miss Miranda, or by Mr. Peejamod. Mr. Rogers was in the care of Miss Martinez this afternoon but she was called away from her station by a false report of a raccoon in the cafeteria.
He was signed out of the care suite at 2:12PM by a Mr. Anatoly Nevermind and we have a witness who says that Mr. Rogers was placed in an Airport Hotel van and has left this facility.
Please contact us at your earliest convenience. I apologize for communicating to you in this manner, but it is urgent that we hear from you.
Extended Care Administrator
Well, so much summer. If Father is in the hands of his Ukrainian contacts, he could be anywhere by now. Or, he could be headed for the Admiral Hassenpfeffer, which is anchored off St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.
Miranda had her heart set on entering a Masters program at the University of Maryland this fall. I have informed her of this development, and she has already withdrawn from school. Mr. Peej is headed for Northern Virginia. He is going to investigate Father's suite at Leisure World, and I am going to take it easy this afternoon and think for a bit with my eyes closed. The weather is beautiful, but I've had too many cookies for lunch, which makes me sluggish.