My ex-fed friend (as in federal agent, not to be confused with Fed-ex) responded to my plea for help with a long list of professional recommendations, a sign that he still thrives on the adrenaline rush of investigation or perhaps a sign that he has way too much time on his hands. Either way, I welcomed his ideas even though the first of which was to start all over again since my quest “hasn’t been all that successful.” Ouch! My instructions as per my Supervisory Special Agent or SSA (could his self-appointed title whose acronym when held up to a mirror, be designed to form a certain message for me?) are as follows:
1-Make copies of Hubert’s work to take out in the field (“you never want to take evidence out of the evidence locker.”) Previously accomplished.
2-Scan his works in e-mailable format. Previously accomplished.
3-Take all leads acquired through the years – responses from museums, galleries, people, etc. – and record results in a newly created Hubert file. Good idea, info now recorded on index cards
4-Never assume anything. Hubert may be a first name, last name, nickname or pseudonym. Point well taken.
5-E-mail Hubert’s work to library research desks, art museums, and galleries in major cities. Previously accomplished and ongoing.
6-Canvas local galleries, museums, antique shops, print shops, etc. with etching copies and leave a business card (“I’ve had countless investigations where someone who swore they knew nothing, all of a sudden have their memory jogged three days later and call the number off my business card with very good info.”) Business card is a very interesting idea, however, the thought of personally engaging strangers leaves me frozen with fear considering I’m always the one at a social gathering sitting in a dark corner feigning fascination with the ice cubes in my drink.
7-Expand my search and branch out to France and Belgium. Hello? I haven’t been awarded an international fellowship, my unemployed status barely takes me to the local supermarket.
8-Become a cold, hard investigator. Lose the passion for your subject. Too late, I’m already emotionally involved with my etchings.
9-Set a goal of closing this case one year from now to avoid a “career case”, a pejorative term for an agent that sits on a case for years. Sage advice but I somehow suspect that I’ll be wiping the drool off my Chasing Hubert business cards from my wheelchair in the nursing home.
10- Have fun and good luck!
Looks like I’m going to need a lot of luck. Feeling a bit like the bumbling Inspector Clouseau, my Chasing Hubert business cards in hand, I’m off to give it my best shot. I guess everyone has a dream, some people dream of fame or fortune, some dream of winning an Oscar or receiving an Olympic gold medal. Mine just happens to be discovering the identity of an etcher…….