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.