(Hijackers are intercepting deliveries of Armani,Kors,Dior,Klein and Prada. It happens right under the nose of guards and truckers. Who is behind it? Where are the clothes ending up? Detective Bradford Jennings III is going to find out)
It’s a bright sunny Wednesday but as everyone knows the narrow streets and tall buildings in the Garment District don’t let the sun in until later in the day. Angel Hilario has worked as a “floater” for the past seven months and job suits him. He’s not the type to keep still and the work of pushing racks of fancy clothes from truck to showroom is something his nervous system can handle. This morning, he’s pushing a rack of sequined evening gowns and thinking about his girlfriend who broke up with him for the tenth time. You can see by his swagger and the quick violent pushes and saves he plays with the rack that he is both restless and distracted.
On the fourth violent push an Anglo-Saxon thirtysomething catches the rack and stands between the clothes and Angel. Bradford Jennings III is not your typical cop or your typical plainclothes detective. For one thing he has the calm demeanor of someone who has never had to scramble for attention or for money. He’s not a pretty boy but he is good looking in a preppy way. His eyes are a different story. If you have any idea that he is soft, his eyes will persuade you otherwise. His eyes give him a different dimension and few people can look into them without wondering what happened to him that hurt that much. Jennings, sockless, wearing jeans, loafers and a button-down shirt stands firm between the clothes and Angel making him stop. Jennings has had enough conversations with Angel to put them a level above acquaintances. They would never have drinks together but they might confide personal information given the right circumstances. Bradford acknowledges that Angel - although his job and clothing point to the contrary - exhibits an air of superiority. Go figure.
“Angel you were here yesterday morning. What did you see?”
“Hey, detective,” says Angel, “when you gonna learn to pronounce my name. It’s Anhel, broad A and G like H.” He pauses and puts a finger to his forehead. “Yesterday I was moving evening sweaters with feather collars. If the birds’ rights people throw blood on the merchandise, I’m dead. I wouldn’t have noticed King Kong. I didn’t see your man, Lieutenant.” He pauses again and this time looks at Bradford with a brazen grin. “The guy’s got guts. Santa Baranza! He hits every week. In your face. You ain’t gonna get him.”
Bradford responds with good humor. “He’s a worthy opponent.”
“Hah! He’s a fucking genius magician,” Angel answers. He is certain that his knowledge of human nature is superior to the guy in the button down shirt.
“He’s a criminal with a lucky streak,” says Bradford, still unperturbed.
Angel’s shrug says he’s betting on the hijacker. “Where’s your socks? You’re gonna catch cold.” Angel gives the rack a healthy shove that sends it racing down the crest of the road. It looks like a sure crash but in one bound, he has it back. You can hear his cackle all the way down the street.