A short sample from "Softgoods" a novella of high fashion and low murder.
(to read a free sample or buy any or my books, click the title to the right of this post.)
Ralph Lauren, Anna Sui, Donna Karan Todd Oldham Bill Blass Versace, Gucci, Prada, Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang, de la Renta, Calvin Klein, Alexander McQueen, Chloe, Chanel, dolce & gabbana, Diesel, Dior, Tom Ford, Betsey Johnson, Paul Smith, John Galliano, Stella McCartney, Karl Lagerfeld, Nicole Miller, Vivienne Westwood, Issey Miyake, Zac Posen, agnes b, John Varvatos, Eileen Fisher, Narciso Rodriguez, Issac Mizrahi, Missoni, Norma Kamali, Jean Paul Gaultier. All have to leave their ivory towers and descend to these mean streets into the hands of Angel Hilario.
It was a bright sunny Wednesday but as everyone knew the narrow streets and tall buildings in the Garment District didn’t let the sun in until later in the day and then only in glancing stripes. Angel Hilario liked it that way. He had worked as a floater for the past seven months and the job suited him. He was not the type to keep still and the work of pushing racks of fancy clothes from truck to showroom was something his nervous system could handle. This morning, he was pushing a rack of printed silk David Meister evening dresses and thinking about his girlfriend who had broken up with him for the tenth time. Her name was September Valez and that suited him just fine. She was high strung and could hold her own. He knew she would come back. You could see by his swagger and the quick violent pushes and saves he played with the rack that he was both restless and distracted.
On the fourth violent push an Anglo-Saxon thirtysomething caught the rack and stood between the clothes and Angel. Bradford Jennings III was not your typical cop or your typical plainclothes detective. For one thing he had the calm demeanor of someone who didn’t scramble for attention or for money. He was not a pretty boy but he was good looking in a preppy way. His eyes were a different story. If you had any idea that he was soft, his eyes persuaded you otherwise. His eyes gave him a different dimension and few people looked into them without wondering what had happened to him that hurt that much. Plainclothes detective Bradford Jennings, III, 32, gently muscled, unblemished, sockless, wearing jeans, loafers, button-down shirt stood firm between the clothes and Angel making him stop. Jennings had had enough conversations with Angel to put them on a level a smidgeon above acquaintances. They would never have had drinks together but they might have confided personal information given the right circumstances. Bradford acknowledged that Angel - although his job and clothing pointed to the contrary - exhibited an air of superiority. Go figure.
“Angel you were here yesterday morning. What did you see?”
“Hey, detective,” said Angel, “when you gonna learn to pronounce my name. It’s Anhel, broad A and G like H.” He paused and put 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 paused again and this time looked 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 responded with good humor. “He’s a worthy opponent.”
“Hah! He’s a fucking genius magician,” Angel answered. He was certain that his knowledge of human nature was superior to the guy in the button down shirt.
“He’s a criminal with a lucky streak,” said Bradford, still unperturbed.
Angel’s shrug said he was betting on the hijacker. “Where’s your socks? You’re gonna catch cold.” Angel gave the rack a healthy shove that sent it racing down the crest of the road. It looked like a sure crash but in one bound, he had it back. You could hear his cackle all the way down the street. When he reached his destination, he looked back to see if Bradford was still looking at him. He wouldn’t admit it in a million years but he wanted the detective to think well of him.