Detective Ramos Archives – Part 4

­­After a fitful rest Elaine woke early and found herself knocking on the factory door that was owned by Nicholas Palatnokiv. After a few seconds a large burly man abruptly opened the door.

“What do you want?” the burly man growled.

Mustering up all of her courage Elaine pulled herself to her full height (which wasn’t very big) and in her bravest voice demanded “I would like to speak to Mr. Palatnokiv.”

Burly man’s eyes surveyed her behind bushy eyebrows. He scowled at her and said in a thick Russian accent “He’s busy.” Elaine deflated a bit not sure of what to do. The burly man began to close the door on her and without thinking Elaine wedged one high heeled black boot in the way stopping the door.

“I am Detective Ramos and I wanted to ask Mr. Palatnokiv a few questions about Tommy Durnstram. He is the son of CEO George Durnstram. Tommy went missing yesterday. He was kidnapped by men in a black van that was parked next to the corner deli that Mr. Palatnokiv owns. I believe this information could be significant in helping us find Tommy.”

The burly man squinted at her. “Wait here.” he mumbled, closing the door. Elaine’s heart pounded as she nervously swayed from side to side. She had no idea what she was going to say if she got to meet Nick Palatnokiv. She didn’t think she would even get this far. To her astonishment the door swung open and she leapt aside to avoid being hit. A short balding man with sunken eyes looked out at her.

“Follow me.” he growled.

It took a few moments for Elaine’s eyes to adjust to the dimly lit hallways. She took in her surroundings and noticed the grey cement block structure had several doors leading off in different directions. The balding man led her through the hallway and they passed a double door where the factory opened up into a storage area. Boxes were piled everywhere and men drove around in forklifts. After passing the rows of crates and boxes they came to a long staircase at the end of the factory. At the top of the stairs was an office with a large window.

As Elaine climbed the stairs she looked through the window adjacent to the office door and noticed an average height man with a large belly. He had black hair dotted with grey streaks especially at his temples. He was clearly angry, with one hand griping the phone and the other raised in the air curled in a fist. His eyes bulged and his neck had a pulsating vein that looked ready to pop at any moment. The man turned and looked out the window at her and she quickly hid behind the balding man and the door. A few minutes later the door swung open and a recollected man came into view (although the vein in his neck still throbbed slightly).

Elaine immediately stuck her hand out. “Hello Mr. Palatnokiv, my name is Detective Ramos. I am hoping you can assist me in finding a small boy. His name is Tommy and I believe you know his father.”

Mr. Palatnokiv was slightly caught off guard and attempted to hide his surprise by firmly shaking her hand. He attempted a smile but it looked more like a grimace.

“Come in Detective. Let us talk.” With a sharp tug at her arm, Elaine was yanked into Nick’s office and the door was firmly closed behind her, leaving her alone with the biggest mob king in the city.

Be Alert

Sound the alarm
Wake up the forces
Pay attention to the harm
That an idle mind causes

Flowing mindlessly with other fish
Will get you caught in death’s final kiss

Spring into action now don’t wait
Or you’ll realize too late
You were merely mainstream society’s bait

Detective Ramos Archives – Part 3

Gun fire surrounded them. Elaine heard Tommy scream and saw him freeze. Elaine dove behind the nearest car and yanked her handheld from her purse. “Tommy! Get down!” she yelled as she attempted to reach around the car to pull the small boy out of the range of fire.

Elaine heard men shouting and a pause in gunfire. She took the opportunity to look around the car for Tommy and instead found a gun pointed straight at her. She fell down flat on the hard pavement as she heard shots ring out again. She aimed her gun underneath the parked car and watched as several feet shuffled around a smaller pair of sneakers. She heard a yelp as she saw Tommy’s shoes scrape backwards on the pavement and a door slam not long after. She jumped up to see the black van parked in the alleyway, screech away.

“Tommy!” She cried as she ran after the van, trying to memorize the license plate. The van tore around the corner and merged into traffic where Elaine lost sight of it as she dialed 911.

Two hours later Elaine sullenly walked back to her office through the falling snow. The police had taken her statement and Tommy’s parents were called. The deli shop owners were interviewed and she overheard a cop mention an affiliation with mob king Nick Palatnokiv, but of course everything was denied. Moodily she remembered the police chief’s last words to her when she tried to ask questions “Look woman, mind your business and let us real detectives do our job.”

She threw her coat on the empty chair in the corner of her office and slumped into her office chair. The bump of the desk caused the sleeping computer to flicker on casting a dull glow in the now dark office. Debating with herself she finally logged in and began an internet search of the mob. She read news articles, police reports and even rumors on entertainment sites. Three hours and a headache later, Elaine’s bleary red rimmed eyes began to droop begging for sleep. One more article she thought as she clicked on one from a week ago. She perused the article regarding another rich CEO supposedly in connection with Nick Palatnokiv. As she stared at the picture of the CEO her eyes instantly flew open.

Although the CEO did look familiar, he wasn’t the one who caught her attention. As she stared at what must have been a family photo she noticed next to him a small boy with dark chocolate hair, coffee colored eyes and a bright smile. “Tommy.” She whispered. Quickly she read the caption underneath the picture which stated “Dunstram & Company CEO George Dunstram with his wife Celia and son Thomas at the Dunstram and Company annual charity event.

Dumbstruck Elaine opened a new tab and searched for more articles on the charity event. Instantly she found one accompanied with a picture of Nick Palatnokiv holding the hand of a famous model and entering the Westshire hotel where the charity event had taken place. She read “Suspected mob king Nick Palatnokiv was in attendance at last night’s annual charity event. His appearance supports rumors of his affiliation with CEO George Dunstram. Allegedly Nick Palatnokiv donated a substantial amount of money to the charity In Their Hands, which many believe is a cover to raise money for Dunstram’s run for local political office; sources say.

Elaine opened another tab and searched for information on Nick Palatnokiv. She was able to locate his contact information and decided it was time to pay Mr. Palatnokiv a visit.

A Love Story

Ana was up before the sun. She had a lot to do today and she wanted to do as much as she could before the island sun made her tasks unbearable. Dressing in the dark humid room she put on her simple dress that she made just for cleaning and chores. Moving carefully, not to wake her cousins that slept near her, she soundlessly crept to the kitchen, making coffee on the stove for the day. She quickly made breakfast for her aunt, uncle and their children and set it aside. Grabbing a piece of bread and tin cup of coffee she rushed it down and began her day.
Every morning started this way. She started in living room, scrubbing the floors and cleaning the chairs. By the time she was done everyone else was awake and eating the breakfast she had laid out. She would take this time in the early morning sun to go out and complete her chores, tending to the garden and scrubbing and washing the tiled front porch. She liked to get this done early to avoid the hot sun burning the tiles as she worked. She grabbed her bucket and began to work on the tiles on the porch. But today was not like every other day. Today her life would change forever.

Juan walked to work everyday. He would make the journey in the early morning through the town to the plaza in the center of Ponce. He was a hard worker and had worked since he was young. Now 18, he was ready to take on life and enjoy every moment of it. He loved the walk to the plaza and back. He would greet everyone he met along the way, especially the beautiful women he saw. He enjoyed making conversation with anyone who would talk to him.
On this morning, Juan was making great time on his walk. He looked around at the palm trees swaying in the smallest breezes and at the sun shimmering over the tin roofs as it slowly rose in the sky. As he breathed in the salty air, he noticed a pretty woman washing the front porch. Intrigued he drew closer and noticed she was bent over, rear end facing him. When he arrived at the sidewalk in front of the house he couldn’t help but stop and admire her. He was a sucker for a nice pair of legs and the woman washing in front of him had the nicest pair of legs he had ever seen! He had to talk to her. He shouted out his friendliest hello. The woman paused long enough to turn and look at him and quickly turn back to her task ignoring him completely. Undeterred Juan called out to her to have a good day and went on his way. But he hadn’t given up.

 Ana was so nervous about the man who called out to her. She was not used to having men approach her like that. She was terrified of what her aunt and uncle would say. Who did he think he was anyway calling out to her like that? She was glad she ignored him. The next morning came and again the man stopped in front of her house and called out to her. She ignored him. He told her goodbye again and went on his way. This continued for a week straight. Ana was so distraught with worry she didn’t know what to do. She didn’t want her routine changed for this one man, so she came to a decision.
Like clockwork, the next morning the man came up again and said hello. Ana turned on him and asked him what he wanted and why he kept bothering her. He responded that he found her beautiful and just wanted to get to know her. His name was Juan and he thought she had the nicest legs he had every seen and she was perfect for him. Blushing Ana mumbled her name and said she was busy and to have a good day. She rushed inside. Juan smiled.

Everyday Juan never failed to show up at the same time to say hello to Ana. Ana at first simply gave a curt response. Then she began to laugh at his jokes. After that she began to talk to him more and more. Their talks became more intimate and serious until one day Juan went to her uncle and aunt and asked permission to date her. Ana couldn’t believe how her life had changed with just one hello.

Ana awoke from her dream. She quickly sat up gathering her bearings. She knew she had a lot to do today, even if her body felt a little more heavy then usual. As she went to stand up from the bed she felt a hand fall on her leg. She looked over to see her beloved husband, Juan, of over 60 years smile at her. As if he knew of her dream he whispered “I still think you have the nicest legs around.” Ana’s heart fluttered and she smiled.

Detective Ramos Archives – Part 2

Elaine was still running the phone conversation around in her head as she walked to the park near Gold Pine Apartments where he lived. Her gut said this was a bad idea but the $50 left in her bank account pushed her along as she shivered against the icy wind. In the distance she could see the park, a small spot in the middle of this side of town with park benches, a frozen fountain, trees and grassy areas for picnics that were now covered in a thin layer of snow. Sitting on a bench was a small figure bundled in a blue puffy coat, black mittens and a dark blue wooly hat complete with a tassel ball on top.

“Tommy I presume.” Elaine looked down upon the small face of a boy around 5 or 6 with coffee colored eyes and dark chocolate colored hair peeping out of his hat. His eyes brightened upon seeing her and he jumped up.

“You came!” he chattered.

“Yes and you look half frozen. Let’s go across the street to that café and I will get you a hot chocolate.”

After sitting in a booth next to the window and ordering two hot chocolates, Tommy’s had extra marshmallows; Elaine removed her scarf and leather gloves and folded her hands in front of her. Tommy fidgeted under her gaze, his cheeks rosy from the cold wind. He remained quiet, looking uncomfortable in his outerwear. Elaine sighed and removed her notebook and pen from her bag.

“Ok, let’s get started. Please explain to me what the problem is and what you need my help with?” She looked at him intently.

Tommy fidgeted and rubbed his hands together. “Well it started the other day. My puppy usually walks me to school every morning and night cuz I save my breakfast and lunch and feed him. He’s awful hungry all the time. Mommy and Daddy won’t let me keep him so I have to sneak him stuff. But that day he didn’t show. I looked everywhere and can’t find him. I don’t know what happened to him.”

“How long has this puppy walked with you to school?”

“Since school started.”

Elaine jotted in her notebook. “Do you have a picture of him? Can you describe what he looks like?”

“I have a picture!” he exclaimed digging into his coat pocket and producing a folded piece of notebook paper. Opening it Elaine found a colored drawing of a dog. She groaned inwardly as she flattened the drawing on the table.

“Tommy, I’m going to call some shelters to see if they have a puppy that matches this description. Sit tight ok?” Elaine removed her phone from her purse and began googling nearby shelters, systematically calling them one by one. Thirty minutes later she still had not located the dog. “Tommy, no one has seen him but I have an idea. Why don’t you take me to the place you last saw him?”

After paying for the hot chocolates they set out to the place Tommy had last seen the dog. He led her down several blocks until they reached a large brick apartment building across the street from a local deli. Tommy stopped and pointed across the street to the alley that ran alongside the deli.

“I usually saw him there and he would come meet me here.” Elaine looked around to where Tommy pointed. A black van was parked in the alley where several men stood around talking loudly and gesturing animatedly. As Elaine tried to understand what the men were saying they were interrupted by a loud bark as a black dog bounded into view.

“Sonny!” Tommy cried and shot off across the street.

“Wait Tommy!” Elaine threw her hand out to stop him but Tommy was too quick and raced up to the dog. Elaine ran out after him when suddenly the air was filled with loud pops. They were caught in the middle of a gun fight.

To Be Continued…

Detective Ramos Archives – Part 1

The computer screen blinked in time to the humming of the radiator in the corner of the closet-sized office space Detective Elaine Ramos had rented. Elaine’s office was a mess of papers and files sprawled across her floor and desk. Her hands covered her face and her frizzy, unkempt hair flailed around them, tickling each fingertip. A budget spreadsheet shown on the blinking screen, dotted with red numbers.

“Damn sexists.” She thought. “I’m just as good as any male detective out there.”

Suddenly the phone blared and Elaine threw herself back in surprise as if the phone were on fire. Her chair squeaked in relent almost toppling her over. She lunged for the dusty phone, sweaty hands slipping on the cool handle as she breathed “Detective Ramos”.

Soft breathing responded. “Hello?!” she barked. More breathing responded. “This better not be a prank again or so help me I’ll…”

“Hello?” squeaked a soft voice.

“Yes? Who is this?”

“Hi…m-my name is T-Tommy. Is this a detective?”

“Yeess.” Elaine responded tentatively. “This is Detective Ramos. What can I help you with?”

“Well…I kinda need your help. See…I lost my puppy but nobody will help me find him. Daddy says detectives help find stuff; so can you help me?”

Elaine rubbed her temple. “Look, kid, why don’t you ask your parents for help?”

“I did! But you see…umm…Sonny is technically not my puppy.” Elaine rolled her eyes. “See, he’s a stray. Mommy won’t let me keep him.”

Elaine sighed, “Look kid, I’m sorry about your puppy but I’m a professional. I don’t know if your daddy explained to you but as a professional I get paid to…”

“I can pay you! I’ve been saving my money! I can give you $500! Is that enough? I can meet you at the park by the Pizza Hut.”

“The one on 51st?” Elaine couldn’t believe she was even entertaining this.

“I think so. It’s by where I live. I live in a red building with a gold tree on it.”

“Oh Gold Pine apartments, I know that area. I don’t live far from there.” On the other side of the tracks Elaine thought sarcastically.

“So you’ll meet me?!” Tommy exclaimed.

“Yea kid…I’ll meet you. Give me 30 minutes.” Elaine was dumbfounded in herself.

“Okay thanks! Bye!” chirped Tommy.

Elaine hung up the phone and starred at its gleaming black handle. What was she thinking? She couldn’t do this. She wasn’t going. She turned to her computer and glared at the screen with its red taunting numbers. She could hear them mocking her. Before she could reason herself out of it, she grabbed her wool coat, leather gloves and walked out.

TO BE CONTINUED…