It’s been 10 years, so I have forgotten what he looked like. I seem to remember six feet tall, in shape, and a smile that was born from self confidence rather than friendliness.
At the time, I was working for a Greater Detroit weekly newspaper. My job on Tuesdays was to get the county sheriff’s report on my way into work. Usually in the office was the substation’s commander, a lieutenant who was still in military shape, and his secretary. She was a tall, bespectacled redhead with her hair cut short.
On this day, there was another man in the office.
His last name, Crichton, stuck out for obvious reasons. “Nope, not related to Michael,” he said.
Then I asked Crichton what he did, and he said he worked for the Oakland County Friend of the Court. His job was to find child support absconders who didn’t want to be found.
And then that smile.
It made me think of a Great White shark, no meal for a day, finding a large school of fish that would make for a great dinner. I also thought of a black-suited IRS agent flipping their credentials at a businessman and saying, “According to our records, it’s been 12 years since you last filed a tax return.” You can’t tell what their facial expression is, due to the black sunglasses that hides their eyes.
The smile made me think something else: he was very good at his job.
Crichton kept smiling as he handed me his business card. “Richard,” he said, “If you know anybody in Oakland County or even in a nearby county who is neglecting their financial obligations as a parent, let me know. I’ll be happy for the custodial parent to track them down and get them held accountable.”
We exchanged pleasantries, and then once the report was ready, I headed to the newspaper office.
Likeable guy, but a tsunami wave of relief washed over me. It’s the kind of relief you have when you think you’re about to owe thousands in taxes, only to realize you’re getting a generous refund. I’m so glad I’m not an absconder, I thought.
You see on COPS and Dog the Bounty Hunter how many suspects will fight and try to get away. If they saw this man with that shark smile, that confidence, I imagine they’d just put their hands up. No reason to fight, since there’s no point.
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