Dave Jordan weaved through midtown traffic. Max Buckley sat quietly in the passenger seat staring out the window through aviator sunglasses. His mouth was formed into a grim line. He did not take in the babble of his partner. Dave regaled Max with his participation in an academy buddy’s wedding party. “The bride’s mother was so uptight, she refused to let anyone bring a plus one unless they were married or engaged.” He laughed. “You should have seen her face when I opened her other daughter’s hotel room door the morning after the wedding.” Max shook his head. He was calculating how he was going to question a potential suspect to a burglary.
The radio cracked to life. A silent alarm was signaling a robbery in progress at an upscale clothing boutique. Dave hit the switch for the light on the dashboard. “We are two blocks out.” Max radioed that two plainclothes officers were responding.
The store sat in the center of the West 51st Street block. Dave turned off the light before turning onto the crowded street. Max signaled Dave with two fingers to approach the entrance from the left. He would take the left. The atmosphere of the store was cave like. Dim, dark lighting and loud music. The smell was an overpowering array of floral and musky perfumes. The two detectives scanned through the window. A lone woman stood at the counter in the center of the store. A man dressed in a sleek black snake skin suit leaned against the counter. Max could make out a small blued weapon. “He’s armed.” Max whispered. Dave smiled a knowing smile. Max pulled open the door. “I told you that a blender was not a good gift.” Dave bantered lightly. “Ok we are here. I’ll get her that slinky little red dress she wanted.” Max strode through the store. He automatically assessed the man. Tall. 6’2” tall about 175. When he got closer he saw a small gold earring. The look in the young sales girls eyes reminded him of the deer in the headlights.
Max approached the counter. “Hi doll face. I’m sorry to bother you but I need to get in an out quick. My girl wants that red dress.” He pointed to the ornately dressed manikin at the side of the floor.” The man at the desk whirled to face Max. When he did this, Dave placed his weapon next to his ear. “Don’t move, NYPD. You are under arrest.” The smartly dressed bad guy froze. Max watched his fingers flex over the trigger on his weapon. Calmly, Max arched an eyebrow and pointed his weapon between his eyes. “I don’t think you want to do that.” Hoping he would take the hint. He looked directly into Max’s eyes and gave up.
Dave handcuffed him and radioed in one in custody. At that point the store filled with uniformed police officers. Max handed off the weapon and turned his attention to the girl behind the counter. The adrenalin of the situation began to ebb. Max saw she was holing so tightly to the counter that her knuckles were white. She was trying desperately to maintain her composure. Max recognized the look and rapidly moved behind the young girl. He reached her just as her knocking knees gave out from under her. His big warm hands wrapped around her as he eased her to the floor. “Honey, put your head between your knees and take a breath for me.” His voice was filled with strength. “You are safe.” Her face was pale and covered with sweat from fear. Tears poured from her eyes and sobs wracked her chest. “Detective, do we need a bus.” A fresh faced cop asked him. Max nodded yes.”
He knelt beside her. “Honey, breathe for me.” He placed his hand at the small of her back. The young girl began to shake. Max slipped off his jacket and wrapped it around the girl. The simple sleeveless pink sheath offered her no protection from these shudders. He slipped to the floor and sat beside her placing a protective paternal arm around her. His broad chest was warm and tight. The ambulance crew arrived and as he tried to let them in, she grabbed onto him. His sweet smile soothed her. “It’s all right. Let these boys give you a hand. I’ll be right here.” Dave leaned over the counter and reached out a hand to help his partner off the ground. “Daddy. I’ll meet you at the hospital.” Max’s eyes twinkled at Dave’s knowing eye.