My longest case ever involved undercover work as a pianist and spanned a few steps, including getting a job on my own merit. I traveled around the Western block of Russia for a bit, particularly St Petersburg, Moscow and Volgograd. The core of the case was supposed to take six months, but ended up taking almost two years. Much of that was spent unraveling a Russian-UK trafficking ring... which turned out to be several rings... which ended up linking to cases that spanned decades. My part in it is over, but the case itself is ongoing.
I like to think I've never personally solved a case, I've taken credit for a few, but it's always a team effort. One of the 'worst' stories I've encountered was probably a money launderer. Let me remind you first that the fate of any middle-tier money launderer is never a good one. You get rich cleaning drug money, but sooner or later, someone comes collecting.
I got involved in this case after a suspicious bank account was noticed by a securities company in San Francisco. The agency was hired to do a deep background check. The trail led us to a man in Brazil.
This guy owned a huge property. He had parties there once every week. Not one of those trashy parties, but the ones that included dignitaries and government officials. My team and I mapped out his network, and eventually handed it over to the proper authorities.
Back stateside, his funds were frozen, and over the course of the next few years, the parties stopped, he divorced his wife (losing his kids in the process), he'd started only using cash for transactions. He became paranoid, he'd carry around rolls of cash in his jacket to avoid credit card payment trails. When authorities had enough evidence to raid his place, he escaped capture. But escaping authorities is slightly easier than escaping the mafia.
Only a month or two later, Brazillian news reported he'd jumped to his death from a high rise in São Paulo. When that headline broke, we all knew it wasn't a suicide. Mood was low, and predictably over the course of next year, the body count relating to this one man started piling up. Almost everybody in his network, including his family, eventually disappeared.
I'll just give one example, the rest are less relevant.
When I was 14, I had a crush on an older girl, she was 16 at the time and a sophomore in high school. She lived across the street. One day she sort of teased, that I'd be her pick to the high school dance if I could dance. Being the gullible kid that I was, I took it seriously and told my parents I wanted to take dancing lessons.
Long story short, some six months later, on my way back from one of these lessons, a limo and a guy in a tuxedo picked her up. She hadn't told me when the dance was, so I guess that was fair. Worst part was when she saw me and waved... like I was her little brother.
I mulled over it for well over a week before my mother got suspicious about me not wanting to go back to dance class and forced it out of me. Great times, really.
How did your character become interested in Falconry? (Was the story you were telling us in the chat about how you were visiting somewhere and you saw your friend's falcon in or out of character? Now that I think about it?)
Follow up question: How old were you when Phoenix came in the picture?