Colleen Collins has written dozens of articles about private investigations, some exclusively for investigators, others geared to writers writing PI characters/stories, some for people interested in private investigations in general. Her stories could be our stories, so I wanted to share them with you.

"Flying burritos, the food not the band, have a special significance at our PI agency. Years ago, while conducting one of our first surveillances, my PI-partner insisted he wanted a burrito.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I’m into the details, he’s into the big picture. That combo works great for a PI team, although it can also cause friction. On that chilly morning, as we were driving to our destination, I told him that as much as I understood his desire to have a burrito, we were going to be on surveillance together in the same vehicle and why not eat, say, a granola bar instead of a burrito?

“But it’s cold out and I want a warm burrito,” he insisted, “and besides, there’s a cool burrito stand right on the way, we can just drive through, zip zap, order me a burrito, and not lose a minute of time getting there.”

Probably no surprise he’s now a lawyer. They have a way of adding details to their side of the story so they can win.

I didn’t want to argue, decided to zip-zap this burrito issue by driving through the burrito stand. My partner was very happy.

But he didn’t just order a burrito…nooooo…he ordered a smothered burrito. A burrito with all kinds of chili, sour cream, guacamole piled on top of it. I told him we were almost to our destination, so please wait to eat the mess until we were stopped.

We stopped on a side street we’d picked for this surveillance. My partner opened up his to-go bag and the aroma of beans and chili flooded the car.

We’d planned for this to be a stationary surveillance, meaning we thought we’d be staying put, not moving, for several hours watching a residence. To my surprise, the subject exited his house and got into his shiny Lincoln town car. I started the engine. “Hold on,” I said. My partner nodded, his mouth full of burrito.

The Lincoln town car backed down its driveway, pulled onto the street and took off. I waited until the Lincoln had turned a corner, then I pulled a U. ”Here we go!” I said, stepping on the gas. I heard a muffled yell next to me.

Glancing over, I saw that smothered burrito now smothered my partner. He was covered in smother — chili, beans, salsa, guac on his pants, jacket, face, hands…

I kept driving, following the Lincoln.

That case had a happy ending…

We’d been hired by a man to find his baby (the mother, a citizen of another country, decided right after the child was born to take the baby and disappear…sources said she hadn’t left the U.S., however). In the course of numerous surveillances, we finally did locate the baby, and through the man’s attorney there was a heartfelt reunion between the father and his child. Last we heard, the mother left the country and the girl, now eight years old, lives full time with her dad.

My partner also learned to never eat burritos, especially smothered burritos, while on surveillances."

Thank you, Colleen Collins!

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