The Boy in the Bin

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68) RESOLUTIONS

Arnold Lovelace loved being a self-made millionaire. The bulk of his fortune came from running a sweat shop on 10th Avenue. He made it his business to arrange for Chinese immigrants to get a work Visa in the United States. He provided low-cost housing and employment for them. Sometimes their days in his factory lasted over 16 hours. Arnold didn’t care; if they broke, he’d throw them away and get new ones.

His business enterprise imported everything fake from China. Products like Rolex timepieces, Louis Vuitton handbags, Nike footwear; anything cheap he could make a buck on. He recently imported small high-profit items like phony Viagra tablets and rechargeable batteries,

His employees ran label presses, packaging machines and bottle filling machines. He didn’t care some of his products were health and safety nightmares. He cared even less about worker safety. His whole world focused on profit. He would pay for any workplace injury, but probably raise their rent or extend the work contract. Some of the more attractive ladies might be put to work on their backs as prostitutes.

He sold nothing in New York State. Everything he imported and repackaged got exported out; which created extreme difficulty for Special Investigations to track his company. Even the money transfers stayed secret because everything happened on a cash basis.

Arnold didn’t believe in banks.

He kept a gold security key underneath his Brooks Brothers suit; the suit being the real McCoy. Occasionally, an employee would become a problem to his operation and ‘disappear’. Arnold gave no hoot about this because employee records occasionally would be ‘lost’.

His company survived investigations often. The legitimate side of his business operated as a small printing outfit doing flyers for local venues. Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, and even the Mayor’s office sometimes used his services. He employed a swarm of legal and accounting professionals, to keep noses out of the wrong places.

His son Sammy became the bane of his existence.

After being arrested for the assassination attempt, Sherman developed a plan to nail the old man at the same time. He tired of this slippery weasel always avoiding the law and now had a tool to turn his business upside down.

“We’re going to hit him where he gets hurt,” he told the task force. “I’ll call Arnold to inform him of his son’s problems. You guys will hit the warehouse on 10th Avenue and grab everything you can. I want records, computers, employee lists; inventory; all of the above.”

Arnold arrived at the precinct station in his Cadillac limo wearing a sour look on his face. He assumed, incorrectly, he would pay an appearance ticket for his son and be on his way. After sitting and waiting for 3 hours, Captain Bob Martin finally became available.

“What the fuck kind of operation are you running Martin,” Lovelace stormed. “I’ve been here over 3 hours. Unlike you, some of us have work to do.”

“Don’t even try to talk to me with that tone of voice,” Martin shouted back. “We picked up your punk kid. He’s being charged with an attempt to assassinate the President of the United States.”

Arnold Lovelace went into a rant. He argued Sammy just turned 15 years old and he couldn’t be involved in any plot like this; and how Lovelace would own his badge; and all the clichés coming to his mind.

While this screaming match progressed, an officer from the task force called the precinct. He told Captain Martin about forensic evidence he found on one of the computers picked up in the raid.

Martin hung up the phone, motioned two officers to assist him. They turned Arnold around and slammed him over a desk. Arnold’s eyes bulged out at this gross treatment from New York’s finest and started to protest.

“You are under arrest for bootleg copies of pornographic material on your computer.” Martin charged. “Our team is still investigating the case. We also found illegal copies of pharmaceutical drugs and counterfeit consumer products.”

Lovelace tried to fight back. Much of his willpower disappeared when he stared down the barrels of several service revolvers. Both he and the limo driver got fitted with handcuffs and led off to a holding cell.

“Arraignment will be tomorrow morning,” Captain Martin announced. “I suggest you cool your heels. Perhaps you’d like to share a heart-to-heart talk with your son. We’ve got his ass locked up down there also.

Maria couldn’t wait to tell her son Johnny and nephew Raphael about the New Year’s Eve celebration in downtown Manhattan. One of her co-workers gave an invitation to Maria for a party at Hyatt Plaza. She got called out of town on an emergency and couldn’t attend.

The package included a suite for the night; the ball drop party, hats, noisemakers and all the food and drinks. Maria couldn’t believe her good luck because this would be a real treat for her and the boys. By taking Raphael into her home, she needed to stretch her small salary to cover living expenses. To get a ticket for the party, valued at approximately $ 1000, became a gift from God.

“This is going to be fun, boys,” she said proudly. “You won’t believe how big the crowds are in Times Square. We’ve got a private room and we can meet lots of nice people waiting for the ball to drop.”

“Why do they drop the ball?” Raphael asked.

“To celebrate the New Year,” she replied. “People come from all over the world party. The New Year represents out with the old, and in with the new. This New Year will be good to us. I almost feel like I’m walking on Holy Water lately.

First , finding you Raphael; alive and safe. Next, having Lieutenant Sherman help to get you back in your old school. And finally, getting this surprise gift from my co-worker. God is truly at work in our lives.

“Do we need to dress up Mom,” Johnny questioned.

“Not real fancy,” Maria responded. “I want you boys to go pick out the nicest outfits you own. This celebration doesn’t happen every day and I want us to look like we belong at the party. Take your heavy coats with you also. The weather man predicted a winter freeze tonight.”

Maria’s excitement affected the boys too. From the time he moved into the Rivero household, Raphael buckled down to his studies at the Village Community School. The recommendation from Lieutenant Sherman paved the way for him being transferred back.

At first, the principal acted reluctant to let him attend classes, because of his history. Maria reassured her how Raphael would be on his best behavior. She pushed hard on Raphael’s behalf, using all her tricks. When she commented ‘After all, he saved the president’s life’, the principal relinquished.

When Raphael was alone with his Cousin Johnny, many questions came up about his experience in the alternate realm. He relayed the events of his dream to him, which caused Johnny to look at him like he belonged in an asylum.

“You’re nuts,” he remarked. “How do you dream this shit up?”

“You’re right Johnny,” Raphael concluded. “It must have been a nightmare.”

Getting out and revisiting the city again gave Raphael a good sensation. To him, his life turned around and now he moved back on the right path. This trio of sharp dressed family members left the house at around 9:00 P.M. They walked down the block to the corner store, where all the taxis congregated.

“I’m feeling lucky,” Maria boasted. “Would you boys help me? If I buy a lottery ticket, will you boys pick the numbers for me?”

“How many numbers do we pick?” Raphael inquired.

“The lottery draws six numbers,” Maria instructed. Why don’t you pick 3 numbers and let Johnny pick the other 3 numbers? Tomorrow, we’ll check the results, to see if we won.”

The all marched into the convenience store and Maria located the rack with all the blank cards. Raphael picked 7, his school grade, 14, his age and 57, the number of comic books in his collection. Johnny picked 15, his age, 31, Maria’s age and 44, their apartment number.

“How much will we win Mom?” Johnny quizzed.

“Pick all 6 numbers correctly,” Maria explained, “and the jackpot is over 2 Million dollars. Keep in mind though; the odds are against anyone winning everything. At best, we would be lucky to win a free ticket.”

“Then why did you buy the ticket?” Raphael wondered

“Because I have a dollar and I have a dream,” she hummed. “And that’s all you need.”

Maria spent $ 1.00 of her hard earned money and paid for the ticket. The cashier smiled at what appeared to be a mother and two sons as they left to catch the cab.

Let the fun begin, Maria thought.

Lieutenant Paul Sherman surrounded himself with plenty of bodies to address. Rolland Sandez, Mark Lawrence, Raul’s ex-partner Fred and his daughter Marcia all died within hours of each other. Forensics found a Long Island motel receipt in Mark’s car. This may tie him to Fred’s death; assuming he became jealous of Fred’s relationship with Sylvia; also his lover.

Marcia’s body wasn’t far from Rolland Sandez’s office, where two gunshots took his life. A recently fired Derringer pistol showed up in Marcia’s purse. He suspected Sandez possibly conducted sort of business relationship with her father. Unfortunately nothing confirmed this lead yet.

Sammy confirmed Sandez provided the bombs for Sylvia’s death and the attempted assassination plot. Fred’s car was found at Sylvia’s house and Paul’s theory suggested Fred to be the primary target. He speculated Fred maybe somehow irritated Sandez.

Political pressures might be the reason he wanted the President dead. Perhaps the President wanted to change immigration policy. Again, Sherman couldn’t nail down an exact reason.

“In all probability,” he told his captain, “we may never know the real story. For the moment though, this is going in my report.”

“I must compliment you Paul,” Captain Martin stated, “everything you suggest sounds plausible. Do you think Arnold Lovelace involved himself at all?”

“No,” he commented. “I think Arnold lived in his own little happy world until Sammy got caught. Without using Sammy as a reason, we possibly never would have snared this snake.”

“So you think busting Arnold happened because of luck?” he chuckled.

“Hey, sometimes even a blind pig finds an apple in the pig pen.”

The captain left the squad room with a smile on his face. He already submitted Paul’s name for a commendation. Perhaps he would be a good candidate when the Captain finally retired. Right now though, he loved the excitement of watching a true professional turn stones over.

Also … turning the screws on the criminals.

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