I really didn't want The Collectors to be one of those shadowy groups every conspiracy theorist loves to hate. I wanted this group of men, who love all things rare and excellent, to have a place in most or our real experience. But when one decides to grab the best of everything, by whatever means necessary, they must live on the fringe; an unspeakably luxurious fringe.
Here then is the recollection of one of the most attractive and complicated of The Collectors:
Security was never a problem for Elias Barbicas; it was his business. The medium build, medium tall, moderately handsome young man fit the description of so many at Athens International Airport, sipping coffee at McDonalds and waiting for his flight. Elias smiled easily and was careful not to display any of the trappings of his wealth. Only in his hometown was he known as one of the New Princes.
It was not what Elias did that made him rich, it was who he was. It was what Elias did that made him so careful not to be noticed. This time his ticket was to the States, terminating in Chicago, and for this he was grateful. Of all the destinations in all the world, there was none where a young man of Greek descent could feel more welcomed, he thought. And they have restaurants actually better than Kérkyra. How is this possible?
The flight would take a while. There was no hurry. That was the secret to looking less threatening than everyone else; everyone was in such a hurry and so quick to complain, especially Americans. The blue covered passport placed Elias among that group of large, white legs beneath wide shorts of the ill mannered and impatient. And almost always overweight. He was none of these things, but for this trip he was indeed an American.
The Chicago Sun Times was filled with stories about political corruption, failing schools and desperate neighborhoods. It was the story of one fallen policeman that caught his eye. Elias knew something of police work and it touched him that one of his own, no matter how distant and removed, had met such an end. The story was engraved and stored in Elias' trained memory:
Detective Sergeant Miklos "Mick" Molnar is credited with saving the lives of three children during a daring rescue attempt over the Riverdale Quarry. The case was the final act in a weeklong investigation into the death of Peter Janich, retired business consultant. Sgt. Molnar and his partners Fredrico Blakely and Jerzy Stempowski were called to the scene by an anonymous tip. Detective Gregory Flowers of the Hyatt PD and Captain Anastasia Crenshaw also helped in preventing an event that could have cost the lives of the three Janich children, ages 7, 13 and 17. The perpetrator, KCI radio program director Jerome Bennett, a.k.a. Jeremiah Brankovitch was killed in an apparent murder/suicide attempt. Fortunately, the fast thinking of Sergeant Molnar and his team prevented Bennett from carrying out his deadly task. Memorial services for the fallen hero will be Monday at the 103rd Street Police District Division and Trumbull Park.
For some reason, Elias was moved by the news. He made a note of stopping by the services, if he had time. There was little doubt he would have time to pay his respects to the family involved. It was business with the late Peter Janich that brought him to the city. He was certain he would have an opportunity to ask the children about their experiences. It was not in his nature, but he hoped that terror filled night was the worst they would have to face in their young lives. Elias Barbicas was capable and efficient in his job, but he hoped there would be no need to add to the children's nightmare. It is doubtful.