One day ENIGMA CONSULTANTS S.L. received a call from the mayor urging Michael and Jacob to investigate a strange phenomenon that many neighbors of Washington Heights had communicated to the City Hall. Mayor LaGuardia was too busy to go into further details, he just urged them to go to that neighborhood and see what the hell was going on there. So that’s what they did. After spending all morning walking around the neighborhood, Michael was the first to detect an anomaly (a certain Grace Faydworth was the second, a child name Rob the third and Jacob was the last one). What was this anomaly?, you’ll ask. I tell you: a certain number of guys they passed on the street had a strange attitude that caused a chill. Those guys walked with a rigidity of robots, had no expression in the face and their glance was empty: they just wandered the streets absorbed as if they were zombies. Michael noticed it because he had the reference of his uncle Jeremiah, who was a zombie since he traveled to Haiti on a business trip.
After spending also the afternoon touring the neighborhood they realized something else. There was a haberdashery that seemed to be the epicenter of that strange phenomenon. They kept the store in question under close surveillance and found out that the customers entered the haberdashery with carefree demeanor whereas they left it with a stiff demeanor. When Michael approached to look closely at the face of one of those customers, his suspicions were confirmed: he had the same empty glance as all the odd guys they had passed on the street that day. And he also remembered that they all had another common trait: they all wore the same kind of hat. A dark brown Fedora hat. What the hell was happening inside that haberdashery? Unfortunately there was only one way to find out. Jacob was not willing to change his elegant dunce hood for an ordinary Fedora hat, so it was Michael who got the chance to buy a new hat. However, when the haberdasher saw Jacob’s hood, he was shocked and had a breakdown (he began to turn on himself like a top while trying to lick his neck with his tongue). So Jacob had no choice but to put away his hood and buy a hat. While Michael was busy paying for the acquisition, he lost sight of his friend, who had already left the store and was walking down the street. When Michael caught up with Jacob and told him how well the new hat suit him, he realized that his friend was absent. There was a zombie under that hat! Just as his uncle Jeremiah! As soon as Michael plucked the hat from Jacob’s head and put the hood back on it, Jacob went back to his usual self. “But the hood suits you better” he corrected himself. And dragging his friend, he ran back to the store.
“Does the gentleman want another hat?”, the haberdasher asked.
“No, I just would like to know what your country of origin is.”
But when Michael asked that question, he already knew the answer: Haiti!
Back in their office, the two investigators let the authorities know what they had discovered. The next day, the haberdashery was dismantled and the haberdasher arrested on charges of zombiefying American citizens. And little by little Washington Heights returned to normal. But if you are a New Yorker, do not rely: maybe in the back of a wardrobe one day you’ll find an old Fedora hat. Do not put it on! Throw it into the Hudson! Maybe it suits some flirty Atlantic sturgeon.