Sunday, September 11, 2011

Softgoods (Chapter One)

In the retail world, some goods sold are considered hard (furniture, appliances, linens, etc.) and some are softgoods: among them are all of the fun and fabulous things that women are dying to have because wearing them makes them feel so very good.


It's early morning. No sun. A gritty midtown side street in New York City’s garment district. Truck drivers maneuver to connect with gates and loading docks to disgorge finished garments. The drivers are grubby and cranky.
A rack of Marc Jacobs Crayola yellow silk jersey tank tops with matching lace and taffeta skirts roll down to an unloader. A rack of white organza Armani trenchcoats follow. A rack of lime Chanel suits also follow. A trucker jockeys a twenty-four foot truck into the last empty gate. A guard waves him away.
“This gate’s spoken for,” says the guard.
“Where am I supposed to dump?” asks the trucker
“Not here. Move it.” There’s a shotgun by his side and he makes it visible.
“This for you,” says the trucker. He gives him the finger and then turns the finger sideways. “And this for your horse.”
The trucker continues backing up to the gate but doesn’t unload. He’s there to distract attention from another event.
Fulgencio Coto, a driver for Witter Trucking has arrived ten minutes late. The spot he pays the guard to save is gone. He’ll have to unload with hand-trucks. Shit! Fulgencio gets out and goes to chew out the guard. He’s late because his pregnant wife was in labor. He needs to finish up and get home.
It’s after eight and the street is getting crowded. Elevator starters and janitors arrive. Street people skulk toward Penn Station. In the seconds Fulgencio’s truck is out of view a well-dressed dandy, Zander, slides into the passenger seat. He has on a full rubber mask of Humphrey Bogart topped by a wide brimmed Panama hat.
Fulgencio re-enters his cab. Distracted, he goes to put it in gear. He sees his bizarre guest and the 45 nudging his right kidney and reacts with surprise and fear.
“Drive out through the Lincoln Tunnel. Look straight ahead,” says Zander.
Fulgencio turns to his passenger and gets a smart crack to his head. “Okay, man, I don’t look.”
They drive through narrow cross-town streets, through the Tunnel, along the Jersey Palisades onto the New Jersey Turnpike. At an isolated spot along the marshlands, Zander puts a hand on Fulgencio’s arm. “Pull over, hand me your wallet and get out.”
Fulgencio complies and stands by the side of the road.
“You don’t move for six hours.” says Zander. He looks at his watch and then down at Fulgencio. “My mother told me the morning belongs to the angels. I don’t kill anybody before twelve o’clock.” He waves the wallet. “But I know where you live.”
After a mile of driving, Zander takes off his hat and pulls off the mask to reveal an olive skinned man in his early thirties. He continues driving the Ryder 24 footer until he reaches a stretch of the Washington Beltway. A sign says: WELCOME TO THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. It is barely noon and he has already easily accomplished the deed. He has a truckload of high-end goodies and his willing accomplice Sheila will help him unload them to the eager soccer moms of the nation’s capital.


  1. I can't wait to read this book! Your details really bring the scene to life.

  2. I finished Nothing to Lose on Friday(loved it!), and just started 100 Open Houses. So glad to know there is something new in the works.

  3. Thanks, Carla. There are two new books in the works: Softgoods is a thriller that I want to get out by the end of Sept. because I am being featured in Fast Company magazine and hoping to use the exposure in the best way.
    Your support is appreciated - the sales are nice but the validation that I am emotionally attached to another soul is priceless.