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Bounty hunter, Skip tracer, Bail enforcement agent, or Fugitive recovery agent…take your pick of names. I have been called all of these and more; some not worth the time to mention, many of them only four letters. I’m Jackson; just Jackson, the rest doesn’t matter and isn't important. I spend most of my time looking for the lawbreakers who don’t want to be found. When I mention this to most folks they automatically think, or say, "you're like that guy that actor Lee 'what’s his name' played on the television show." I just shake my head while stifling a laugh. If they only knew.
It’s been reported that roughly twenty percent of the individuals posting bail will never make their scheduled reappearance before the judge. Their reasons are like grains of salt and, most of the time, don’t matter a hill of beans to me when it comes to finding and returning them to law enforcement. The sad truth about the warrant is, for many of them, they forgot their court date. After which, I guess, they figure it isn't worth the hassle to turn themselves in, thinking their crime wasn't that severe and the “man” is so busy they won't be given a second look.
I don't have a degree in psychology and I don't care why the reason; for me its business. The good news is that ninety percent of the twenty percent will be found and turned back over to the system by hunters, like me. I eke out a pretty decent living on that ninety percent. Again, nothing personal, it’s about the money. Everyone has to make a living in times like these; this is mine. Pay isn’t bad; but, I’ll never be a rich man. It’s good enough to pay the few bills for my shelter, food, and gas for this old clunker I call my office space.
However, it’s the remaining ten percent that make my job tough and dangerous. This ten percent represents the serious runners. The criminals who believe they are immortal and can escape punishment. They use the streets and neighborhoods, their family and friends to hide away. They try to blend back into society; while, continuing to commit the crimes that got them into trouble in the first place. These are the thugs and punks that truly don’t want to be found. It is these runners that I spend the best part of my life trying to find and get off the streets, while hoping to increase my earnings just a bit.
My old man was a cop; spent his whole life serving the public. Nothing made him prouder then when I went off to college to get my criminal justice degree – follow in his footsteps. You should have seen the smiles and heard the bragging to his cohorts. He just knew I was going to be “a chip off the old block,” even a better cop than he was. Nothing broke his heart more then when I walked away after two years of playing in college to join the Army. He stopped speaking to me, as did all the others. I had disgraced him, dishonored the family name. I was no longer welcomed at home or in the old hometown. It’s true that you can’t go back; especially if you piss off the local law enforcement. I tried once after leaving the Army – barely crossed the county line before the blue lights forced me to pull off the highway. It may have not been a threat; but, it was as close to “get out of town before sundown” as I wanted to get to hear, and not even try to challenge.
I called my mom before I turned around and headed back north. She told me she loved me no matter what; told me I shouldn’t let the old man’s threats bother me; come home. She would never believe how hard it was to do what I did. I didn’t see either of them again, until I saw his marker at mom’s funeral. I was there at graveside, in spite of the looks and whispers. Time doesn’t heal all wounds, nor does it let you have that last moment you wished you could. I wiped away the tears, and walked slowly away without looking back. I wanted to get away before getting hassled, by the family or the cops who don’t forget.