A Miracle on September 11th

Oh, it was a beautiful sunny September day, September 11th to be exact in the year 2001, and after my morning cup of coffee I settled down at the computer for a long day’s work on my latest book. Around 8:55 I heard my husband call out for me to come to the living room where he was watching CNN. Pandemonium! The tv was out of its mind, smoke was billowing out of the two world trade center towers and people were jumping off the ledges of all the high floors. Like the rest of the country and the rest of the world who were watching, I could not believe my eyes. The clouds of smoke were thick and wafting up to the heavens and falling below down to the bottom of the two panoramic buildings. The tv cameras panned to the ground and we witnessed hundreds of people running helter-skelter trying to escape the gaseous, blinding masses of cloud-like smoke surrounding them.

When I finally came back to my senses, I realized that my good friend Elyn worked in the first World Trade Tower, on the 105th floor. How many times she had begged me to come and have lunch with her at the magnificent tower restaurant and for some reason I never did. Call it premonition, whatever, I never wanted to go to those monolithic structures. Of course, I never went to the top floor of the Empire State building either, or climbed up to the tippy top of the Statue of Liberty….I love to view heights…in the movies.

But, at that moment my concern was for Elyn, and of course her safety. Or at least to know what was happening. I called her home, no answer. Now it was about 9:30 and calls were coming in from all over, but nothing from Elyn or her husband Art. Elyn did not drive and she and Art lived in New Jersey, about a ten minute drive from the PATH train that would take her to the ferry boat landing across from the World Trade Center.

Then the phone rang…and it was Art…”she’s okay” he screamed into the phone, “she’s alive, she missed the train”. Well, that more or less satisfied me, but still curious, I kept asking questions. His response was that he had a lot of calls to make and would call me later. And he did, about 3o’clock and told me this amazing story.

The night before after eating dinner at a local restaurant, Art said he got a real bad stomach-ache with the attendant problems that we all know so well. Suffice to say the “burps” were not the worst of it. In the morning he pulled himself together and reluctantly went out to the car to drive an ever impatiently waiting Elyn to the train. Oops. Back into the house he ran with a slight but hasty apology and did not return to the car for about fifteen minutes.

“She was screaming”, he told me and said she’d not only missed her train, but the ferry as well.

God was on her side that morning.

They raced to the PATH train, got the next one and she waved a hearty, smiling goodbye.

It was not goodbye for Elyn, at least not that day. The ferry was waiting and she went aboard.  The first building had not yet been struck. But, then it happened and in an instant …mayhem all around…and on the ferry as well as it raced to the dock. In seconds people were streaming down the street towards the ferry and trying on get on as it docked. The ferry captain did not permit this and left the dock. 

Elyn gazed in amazement as the second building was hit. She was safe. And so my story is almost at its end.

That night I asked Elyn where she would have been when the first building was hit and she told me “On the elevator around the 85th floor, with a cup of coffee in my hand”.

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Nick Spill Interview “The Way of the Bodyguard”

Thought you might be interested… this guy is now a P.I. as I am and we have worked together for years. He was a bodyguard for many years and has now written a book about his experiences… adventures. It is quite interesting and very entertaining… enjoy!

Laura

So Nick, you transplanted yourself over here to the USA from New Zealand…very interesting. What was the attraction to Miami?

I fell in love with Miami Beach; back in the 80’s it had a funky feel to it, a good school for my kids and it was 20 degrees hotter than Auckland, New Zealand!

Fascinating work, being a bodyguard and from looking at you, one can tell you are certainly well suited for the job. But, what got you interested in the first place? Did you begin your work here or in NZ?

Here in the US. But my first job was really getting some people out of Mexico who were trapped in a cult. I did not realize I was good at this until afterwards, when we were back in San Diego safe and sound. Since then I have been getting people out of trouble.

How long have you been doing it and have you worked in lots of interesting, exotic places and of course, without revealing too much, for lots of exotic, interesting people?

Since that first adventure in Mexico in 1980, I have returned to Mexico a couple of times. Each episode has been weirder. I have traveled to Nigeria to look after a group of lawyers who were prosecuting the biggest Nigerian 419 Scams ever. I looked after rappers in situations I would no longer consider wise and had access to people and events I would not have been able to experience as an ordinary guy.

I have described some of these incidents in my book The Way of the Bodyguard, available for download on Amazon.

Nigeria was one of the more exotic locations, though I am using the word exotic rather loosely. As bodyguards, we hired the local military to look after us, or least provide weapons and transportation. We moved around in an armed convoy. Lagos has at least 14 million people and one traffic light, so driving there is a little chaotic. Makes you appreciate Miami drivers! There were several incidents where there were spontaneous riots, masses of people breaking out into violence, pushing over cars and attacking anyone they did not like. We had large plastic bags full of local paper currency we could throw up in the air. We called them Dash bombs, Dash being slang for their local money. If we caught the wind it would fall over the rioters and they would be distracted enough so we could escape in our vans without the army having to shoot their way out, which would have made the situation much worse. There were not enough bullets for some of these mobs. It’s hard to imagine how many people were in these riots, thousands and thousands.

And being exposed to so much wealth and privilege spoils you. Traveling on a private 737 or a private Jumbo jet, armed, can make flying in economy really unpleasant. You just drive up to the plane, walk on and make yourself comfortable and fly off. No annoyances. Once you know how the other 1% lives, it’s a little disconcerting. For every good story like that there is a horror story. I had to stand on the tarmac one endless August afternoon while Police K9s sniffed every piece of luggage our entourage had. There were over 1,000 suitcases. We exhausted quite a few sniffing dogs. Meanwhile I am standing under the beating sun, overseeing this with a lot of hostile Police. This is where tact, charm and patience come in handy and a few friends from the local embassy.

I think living in 5 star hotels for long periods of time is the best situation. Months of not making your bed, stacking the dishwasher, putting out the garbage, looking after the house and garden while living in luxury can be attractive. Then you remember the 18-hour days where you never have any time for yourself and you constantly have to think ahead for every contingency and you can never relax. Then it doesn’t sound so good.

Have you ever felt threatened or afraid for your life…or limbs? How did you handle it?

This is a part of the job. You are hired because someone if afraid for their safety, or is concerned about something bad happening to them. If you were not concerned for your safety you have an unrealistic approach to the job. The secret is not to show fear, but to exhibit confidence and competence.

There is a descriptive episode at the end of my book The Way of the Bodyguard, that lays out a dramatic escape and evasion plan we had rehearsed and executed after an internationally televised Awards ceremony. Our client still talks about this episode. It could have ended badly, especially for him, but nothing tragic happened, but he was close enough to know he narrowly escaped with his life. It was sobering experience and worth the read.

These are the types of stories you would never read about in the media. What you do read in the media is when something goes terribly wrong, usually for the bodyguard. Do a search on your favorite news search engine and type in “bodyguard”. They are usually attacked, jailed or killed. You never read headlines like: “Bodyguard saves life of famous person. Nothing happens. Everyone happy.”

I was in a new nightclub once and I looked around and thought, hello, I am the only white guy here. This is interesting. I usually am color blind in social situations but here I must have stood out. And I was the only man in a suit. I must have looked like I was armed and wearing body armor. I was, and heavily armed. So I stood next to the stage and the singer I was protecting and tried not to be annoyed by the super loud music. Everyone kept away from me. Respect can be a two way street.

That is what I teach, show respect, be low key, if you can, and make friends not enemies. And above all do not show fear. I was once waiting outside another large nightclub in an alleyway. I stood casually, waiting for the rest of the bodyguard team to exit with the client. The alley was packed. There were drug deals going down next to me, just about every type of mean looking gang member you can imagine, undercover cops prowling around and one very scared looking uniformed Police officer with his Taser out ready to shoot anyone who looked at him the wrong way. That was definitely the wrong approach. Seeing the fear in that young man’s eyes made me laugh, but not in a good way. Fear shows weakness and attracts predators.

Now, about this utterly intriguing book you have just published. What made you decide to write it, and at this time? Are you still doing this bodyguard work? If not, what made you stop?

That’s too many questions Laura!

I had been trying to write the book for over ten years. I had to figure out how to write about my adventures without breaching any confidences or laws and give away too many secrets.

Seriously, we have a tradition in this country in giving back, spreading what you know so others can follow and improve on what you have done. This is part of professionalism, sharing, being a mentor, and promoting standards in our profession.

I could only publish this once I was out of the actual bodyguard business. I took a State job as an investigator. I sleep in my own bed now. No more private jets or extended stays in 5 star hotels and I am looking after and protecting my wife, my number one Protectee. I also travel Economy and it sucks!

Do you feel that you have a lot of important information in your book to assist someone who would like to pursue this line of endeavor? Is it, at least in part, a self-help, or how to do it book? Are there certain requisites that a person, male or female must have in order to do this kind of work? Mental or physical requirements? And along the same lines, are there many women who pursue this type of work? Do you talk about them in your book?

The Way of the Bodyguard is a how to book. I describe what it takes to be a bodyguard, what you have to do to get a job, how to select a good bodyguard school and what the physical and mental requirements are for a good bodyguard.

There is a big demand for female bodyguards. A good female bodyguard can find long-term corporate protection work. I describe several excellent women bodyguards I have worked with. They all have particular skills and in some situations, advantages over male bodyguards that give them an edge. There is a big future for competent and highly trained women bodyguards.

Is there anything in the book that you would like to share with our readers as a main point of interest?

Bodyguards have been around forever, since Biblical times, as I explain in my book and there seems to be more a demand for them now as the World becomes more dangerous and unpredictable. I wrote the book for people who are curious about what it is like to be a bodyguard as well as men and women who want to enter the profession. I hope this goes beyond the headlines and the superficial coverage bodyguards get in the media.

There is a lot to our profession, I trust this book contributes to a greater understanding of what it is like to be a bodyguard in today’s society.

Nick Spill’s The Way of the Bodyguard is available for immediate download from Amazon for $4.99.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D0VUXFS

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In Regard to the Boston Bombings

I think about the early morning excitement of the little eight year old boy called Martin Richard.  It was Monday, April 15th in Boston and time for the great Boston Marathon. I can only imagine, a little breakfast and then off to the race. A day filled with sport, family, good weather and fun was on the menu and little Martin, with his gap toothed smile and baseball cap was enjoying every moment of it. Until the second bomb hit so close to him that he died right then and there. His little sister was horribly wounded, and his mother was soon enroute to the hospital to have brain surgery to save her life. The weather was still beautiful. But, that was all. Life was over for a little boy, a little American boy who had a bright and happy future before him and was slain because two Muslim-American  terrorists, one actually a naturalized citizen and his brother a legal resident decided to destroy an American sporting event and an American dream. Bengazi,  and now a little boy and two young women dead, on our own soil. When will our government decide to call this what it is, multiple attacks of pure terrorism designed to destroy our people here in our homeland and only be accused of an ordinary simple garden-variety crime. This is not the kind of crime one gets read his rights, this is the kind of crime where one should be treated as a murderous traitor out to destroy America…..and treated accordingly. Before  Homeland Security (?) and other government agencies took their place to “defend” us…what would we have done. I ask you.

Check out my true crime book, Bail Bonds Babylon, available at every major online retailer!

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The World of Bail Bonds for Women

My foray into the world of bail bonds and eventually criminal and civil investigations began with my recognition that I needed to make a change in my life. Realizing that I was a battered wife, I accepted my mistakes and began to move on. I had to find certain courage almost 40 years ago, at a time when divorce and single motherhood was not as acceptable as it is today. It was a different world and I had to get out there and make it right for myself. We all make mistakes and we all have another chance to make things right.

The bail bonds business was a means to an end for me, but going back to school held the promise that I needed to forget about the past and become a successful woman. I hope that I am able to inspire women to do what it takes to realize their own dreams and build a better life. Actually, the bail bonds business is a good starting off point and takes only a short time to learn and intern. I discovered with the encouragement of some good friends, the agonies I experienced helped me to grow into who I am and was able to transform into stories the cases I did that are interesting, compelling, exciting, a bit scary, even sometimes fun, and I hope good reading.

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Bail Bonds Babylon now available at Kobo!

Bail Bonds Babylon is now available at Kobo books! You can buy the book or send it as a gift through the following link: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Bail-Bonds-Babylon/book-9BFx-pvg2k2BSkUFiqhH2Q/page1.html?s=qifwLWEYyE6KRFdTq9x7Eg&r=1

Buy it now!

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Women Working in Law Enforcement, Bail Bonds and Related Jobs

Another thing that I have discovered and will share is that we have to know who we are and what we want from life and then decide to do whatever it is that we must to attain it. Surely as women you must have realized all this and accomplished it by feeling your way, overcoming obstacles and finally realizing your dreams and getting to where you want to be.

So my message is that it is my ambition, my objective, to encourage young and even middle-aged women who are so inclined and who have a burning desire to work for justice to study and engage themselves in work such as law enforcement, forensics, criminology, and criminal pathology. It is then possible to work for the FBI, the DEA, homeland security perhaps even the CIA, all to assure the safety of the future of our country. It is necessary to get out there and earn degrees and awards and become heroes to themselves and their families. 

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Women In Bail Bonds or Criminal Justice

Working in bail bonds or criminal justice is really a lot easier today than it was 30 or 40 years ago. There are not as many stumbling blocks along the way, especially legally, with equal rights for women an important part of our lives, also because of educational opportunities across the board; women have learned that they have the right to demand equal opportunities to carry through on their chosen professions so they can depend on themselves.

Aha, is that the SECRET? A good part of it anyway.

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More About Me, Laura Landfield and BAIL BONDS BABYLON

 

 

I’m proud that forty years later, lots of ups and down along the way I realize that my courage and determination to support myself and my two children, educate them and give them a wonderful lifestyle worked out fine. I proved that even after a destructive early relationship and shattering experiences, I was able to effectively reprogram myself to live up to my potential. I humbly thank whatever powers that’d be and all the cuckoo criminals that I got out of jail for helping me to come to certain realizations and make the necessary changes. I could do it, I would do it. I did do it.

Many of the groups that I address on book signing tours are young women in their late teens or early twenties, many still in college or universities and all searching for the right path for their life. I try to be a bit of an inspiration to them and give encouragement that they can do anything they’re willing to study and work hard for. Sometimes I speak to young women in prisons who have made mistakes and I try especially hard to let them know that they can get on the right track with their lives if they are convinced that is what they want.

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How I Ended Up A Bails Bond Lady

Now, about my book Bail Bonds Babylon. I became a bail bondsman because of a combination of events, hardly desperation, partly being young, divorced, alone, and broke back in the early 70s. And proud. I felt demeaned, I was educated, why did I have to wait on a food stamp line for a few measly dollars worth of food to feed my kids. My talents as a television personality had been cast aside in the wake of a big national shakeup. And lastly, and the best reason was that my mother and brother were in the business. Ah yes, that was it. And it was going to be easy, I thought. And the big bucks would roll in, I thought.

So, being kind of fearless and a bit reckless, as we all are in our mid twenties and not minding my impending relationships with the criminally-minded cast of characters I knew I’d meet, I went for it. And I did it successfully for about six years and now I can write all about it.

Dear fans, keep watching for my next exciting blog.

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Beginning Bail Bonds

 Why Bail Bonds Babylon? It’s a funky title about my experiences in that funky business called bail bonds. And funky it is, among other things, like maybe scary. And that’s true specially years ago when I first started out there were not many women bondsmen in those days.

Imagine that in just one day or night I had the chance to meet and greet and embezzler, a bank robber, a rapist, someone who had committed a felonious assault and under special circumstances, even a suspected murderer. But wait, the best is yet to come. A good deal of the time, I had the particular honor of escorting these self-saying men or in some cases women into my car and taking them from the jail house to our bails bond office. Heavens! Been there done that. And, that’s just part of the story, the HOW it was done. The really interesting part is the WHY, and what let up to my choosing such a strange and certainly unladylike career.

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