“J. Terry Plummer. I’m a private investigator licensed to practice in Alaska, Idaho, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Wyoming, and a registered member of the Mississippi Private Investigators Association.”

“Uh-huh.” Her eyes flicked to my credentials, and then back up at me. “None of those states have any PI licenses at the state level.”

“And the MPIA is a Yahoo! Group message board,” I said. “What’s your point?”

She flicked the credentials back at me; the cards caught the wind and scattered. I didn’t make any move to pick them up. “You’re used to spewing all that nonsense and flashing these and having people take it for the real thing.”

I wished I could see the full expression on her face, but the flower-pattern mask made it so only her narrowed eyes were visible, and I knew from experience that could just as easily be an affect. “I wouldn’t say I’m used to it,” I said, still not moving to collect my cards, even though one was caught in a very awkward location in the cuff of my pants. “But it does come in handy. It’s a funny coincidence that none of those states have an association and yet they’re both places where a boring-looking white guy like me has the easiest time flashing some authority and getting where he needs to go.”


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