Hi, I’m Jason Wilder, and I’d like to welcome you to the offices of the Midnight Investigations Agency, the best private eye outfit in River City, California. We offer a full range of services here, from Missing Person cases to Industrial Espionage to Executive Protection. Come on, I’ll give you the tour . . .
We’re located on the 1300 block of Galleon Street here in River City. From the outside, you’ll see a beautiful two story brick Victorian, built at the turn of the century before last. Pass the black iron gate and up the stairs to the porch will take you to the massive oak front door. Here you’ll see the etched brass plaque the bears the title and emblem and of the Midnight Investigations Agency; a stylized eye with a clock face in the center pupil with the hands pointing to the midnight hour. When you won’t see are the miniature cameras and microphones that are part of our security system; believe me, I know where these things are and I can’t spot them.
Once inside, you come to the wood paneled reception area complete with comfortable leather chairs. To your right you see a large, neatly kept desk, behind which usually sits a small, neatly kept man. This is Paul Merlyn, the agencies front man. Don’t let his professionally polite manner fool you. He’ll have you sized up and analyzed better than an x-ray.
From the reception area, you may be granted entrance to what we refer around here as the Throne Room. Through a heavy soundproofed door lies the office of Victoria Wilder, the Chief of Operations here at the Midnight Agency. If Her Majesty (as she is referred to, mostly under my breath) is in residence, you’ll meet a charming, silver haired, gray-eyed woman who appears to be a true lady of the manor born. Unless you cross her, in which case you’ll meet the fast-talking, tough as nails ex-street cop once dubbed ‘The Iron Maiden’. Either way, I’m the one guy in the world who can legitimately call her Mother. Mom’s usually accompanied by Beowulf, a black and tan German Shepherd and ex-River City Police K-9 who lost an eye in the line of duty.
The first thing one notices about Her Majesty’s office is the fact what it appears to be from the same time period as when the house was built. From her ornate desk with the high backed chair to the leather-upholstered guest seating to the fireplace and bookcases, you’ll think you’ve stepped back in time. But concealed within Mom’s desk are her high-definition computer monitor, wireless keyboard, multi function telephone and an old service revolver that she keeps there “just in case”. She just likes to keep “the ugly but useful things” out of sight. Which I suppose includes me and the rest of the staff.
Over the fireplace is a portrait of my dad, William “Wild Bill” Wilder, killed in the line of duty when I was just a kid. He was also known as “Captain Midnight” when he and Mom worked together at the River City Police Crime Abatement Team (known colloquially as the C.A.T. Squad). It was after Dad was murdered that Mom quit the force and opened up her own agency, using Dad’s old call sign for the name of the place. On either side of the fireplace are concealed doorways that lead to the kitchen and dining area and the stairs that lead up to the bedrooms and den or down to the basement.
Down below is where we keep some of the more esoteric equipment we use from time to time; everything from night vision surveillance gear to electronic tracking devices and the like. It’s also the place I refer to as the Torture Room. Over half the floor space is devoted to the practice area where I had countless hours of police style Aiki-Jujitsu training beaten into me. But the skills I’ve learned do come in handy on those occasions when you have to disarm, immobilize or render someone unconscious. We also keep a frighteningly well-stocked weapons locker down here, although I usually content myself by carrying my father’s old customized Ruger revolver. When I have to, anyway.
Toward the back of the house, past the central kitchen and dining area (the bedrooms and den occupy the upstairs) you’ll find the War Room. In stark contrast to Her Majesty’s office, this place looks like the inside of a military bunker, complete with desks for the other operatives and myself as well as the round conference table where we discuss our various cases. Unless it’s being used for poker, of course.
Out the back will take you to the brick enclosed garden and patio, adorned with Mom’s award winning rose bushes, and from there you’ll find the four car garage that houses Mom’s midnight black Jaguar XJR along with a couple of anonymous blue Dodge sedans and the War Wagon, a deceptively plain looking while van loaded with electronic surveillance gear. My classic Mustang Fastback, another legacy from my father, usually has to park on the street.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I hear my mother calling . .