Thursday, March 30, 2017
“It’s about time you got in here! Did you forget to feed the Unicorn?” Fergus was standing on the dashboard of the RV staring at me as I put on my seat belt.
“I didn’t forget. You’re getting a bit pudgy around the middle. I moved your feeding times up a couple of hours.” I gave his flank a light poke.
“That is all muscle. I’ve been working out.” Fergus danced out of reach of my hands.
“Sure it is. Did you get all that muscle lifting pizza slices up to your mouth. It’s Unicorn chow from now on boyo.” Putting the RV in gear I set off after the rest of the team.
“That’s not fair! Pizza is pure energy to me. I need it to power my muscles.” He flexed and made bowing motions causing Cat to start laughing.
“Any more of that Muscle energy and you will be wearing your barn like a turtle wears a shell. Time for a diet Fergus.”
My mini Unicorn paced back and forth across the dashboard glaring at me. He was starting to become more annoying than usual. “Do you need help getting down?”
“It’s about time you asked. I wasn’t up here to get a tan.”
“Fergus, Cat is sitting right there.” I pointed to my friend and packmate who gave him a small wave. “She would have let you down.”
“First you don’t feed me, then you offer to give me to the stinky Cat person, what kind of Witch are you?”
“The kind that will make you ride up on top of the RV next time. Stop acting like the hurt party. How did you get up her anyway?” I gave him the eye.
“I jumped.” He looked everywhere but at me.
“Why don’t you just jump down than? It’s not that far.”
Fergus looked over the edge of the dash to the carpet below. “All the way down there? No thanks. I’ll just stay up here.”
I just shook my head. Unicorns. “Cat have you found anything about the guy we’re supposed to protect that wasn’t in my briefing packet?”
Cat flipped through the paper tablet she carried just about everywhere. “Marvin Loman. He’s an accountant with the firm Hagin, Greene, and Mancini. According to the file you were given he took a file to a client and saw something he shouldn’t have.”
“Right. The details I was given are pretty slim. What did he see? Why was he there? Is this a big set up to get us killed? Lots of questions.” I tossed all of those questions and more about in my head as I drove.
“My old boss from the serial killer investigation is now in the criminal division. I gave him a call and he filled me in on some things. He wants to meet you one of these days Aggy.” Cat smiled at me.
Interesting. “Is this guy a possible romantic attachment for you Cat? Maybe I do need to meet him!”
“No. No. He’s just a friend. This was just a favor that’s all.”
I glanced at her and her cheeks were flaming. “Uh, huh. So what did this not boyfriend friend say?”
“It was over a holiday weekend. Upper management was away on a team building retreat and couldn’t be reached. The lead partner left his nephew in charge of the office and he was about as dumb as a box of rocks. Marvin, having no real life, just happened to be there that day.” Cat turned on her tablet and showed me a picture of the nephew.
“One of their special clients called requesting a file box from the sealed records room. The nephew, not thinking, sent it with Marvin to take care of it. While he knew there was an off-limits area, he had never been there. Only partners are allowed in there. You can imagine the surprise of both Marvin and the Strega when he appeared holding their information.”
I barked a short laugh. “They must have freaked out.”
“They did. Marvin witnessed a transaction between one of the highest ranking Dons on this side of the Atlantic and Horatia Lucchese. She is the matriarch of the her family and was once married to Unlucky Lucciano. No way it was a coincidence they were together.” Cat pulled up another picture of a gnarled and old looking woman.
“So how did he survive the experience?”
“He was lucky. They were expecting one of the partners or at least one the assistants they knew. Because he had the box with him it was assumed he was in the know. He actually witnessed the meeting, Agatha. The documents in the box were records of payments and bank deposits. A couple of times Marvin was asked to interpret the documents. Marvin saw the entire thing. After he returned the document to the vault he asked the Nephew who those people were and all hell broke loose.” Cat shook her head.
“The Nephew checked the records and freaked out. He tried to get Marvin to stay for the Partners to talk to but he wouldn’t do it. When he tried to have building security detain him the little man bolted. Local LEOs found him huddled in the local bus terminal. When they questioned him and he mentioned the name Lucchese the Bureau was called. Everyone that he has spoken to from the Nephew to the nurse that was called in to check him has been killed. Over forty law enforcement personnel and city employees are already in the morgue because of him.”
Slowing the RV to stop at a red light I chanced a glance at Cat. “They mean business. Did any of the partners survive?”
“Yes. Hagin. He unlike his partners was at a family reunion. The business retreat turned out to be a booze and broad party. Both of those partners turned up dead inside of closed and locked from the inside rooms.”
“Which send the message that no matter what you do we can still get you.” I replied.
“Exactly. After the initial FBI contact teams death WITSEC was called in and Marvin passed to them. Two hours after the hand off the local office exploded in a ball of green flame. Local emergency services say they’ve never seen anything like it.”
“I have. OK. So here’s what we do. You take the team and start digging into the the sole surviving member of the accounting firm. Hagin is your immediate target. Take a look at the Nephew too. He may have made other mistakes similar to Marvin. Let Anastasia run free on this one. She has contacts we can only dream about as well as her forensic skills. She might be able to find out something from all the deaths. Let Major Crimes worry about the deaths and linking the Mob to them. I want you to find the Magick users. If we stumble over something someone else can use feel free to share but don’t waste time on it.”
Cat reached out and touched my arm. “Agatha this really bothers me that you are not going to be here with us. What if we run into trouble without you?”
“The amulets I gave you last year will stop most initial threats. Remember everything I told you about defeating spells?”
Cat counted them off on her fingers. “Kill the Magick users first. Salt circles are your friend. Some Magick won’t cross bodies of water. Changing your physical appearance can help. I don’t understand that last one. How do we do that?”
“Two different ways actually. It can be as simple as taking off your coat and reversing it before putting it back on. Or changing. Both you and Chuck are dual natured. Use it. Most of the spells will be specific to either humans or animals. Not both. Use your brain, Cat.” I tapped my head so she could see it.
“If you truly need me I will come to you. Take your amulet and destroy it. I will come as fast as possible. Other than that stay away from me. My plan is to go to ground and hide until court. We only have to get him there.”
“You say that. But is it really true? Be careful Agatha. We don’t want to lose you. Besides who would take care of Fergus without you?” She smiled at me.
“Who’s taking care of me? It better not be the stinky cat! Are we there yet? I’m hungry here.” The Unicorn in question woke up from his nap and began a fresh round of whining.
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Nicolas Craven carefully threaded his way around the various Marshals and offices workers in the main building of what many in law enforcement called WITSEC. The real name was the US Federal Witness Protection Program. Most officers in uniform wore patches using the acronym FWPP. Confusion was part of Government life. Almost everyone in the building wore black armbands or something over their badges. Half a dozen of their own were melted just yesterday. His men wanted revenge for what happened to their friends and brothers in arms and he was about to see the man who could make that happen.
“No. Forget it Nick.” Special Director John Calvin held up his hand as soon as he saw Craven.
“Sir, we can get these guys! Witnesses at the scene said it was either Geovanni Orlando or someone who looked just like him. He’s the key to all of this. Let me take some of the Marshals and …”
“Damn it, Nicky! No. What does this mean?” The director held up a plaque with the programs name on it.
Nicky grimaced. “Witness protection.”
“Exactly. Witness protection. We protect. We do not go rogue and hunt down suspects or murder them. Let the FBI and local LEO’s do their jobs. Please Nic.” John looked into the eyes of one of his best men.
“Come on John. The FBI? The local office can’t find their ass with both hands and a pack of hunting dogs. Those guys are useless!” Craven flopped down into one of the director’s office chairs.
“I will admit that Agent Martelle’s office is a little disorganized but…”
“Disorganized? Do you remember the Sheffield case? If we hadn’t have switched rooms at the last minute Sabina would have died. They were even tailing the guy that shot up the room. Since he didn’t kill anyone they let him go!”
“Their procedures are a bit restrictive. They have way too much paperwork and regulations to just shoot people. You should know that since you were former FBI.” John smiled at him.
“Oh, please. Just bring that crap up, will you. Yes, yes. I was FBI for all of a minute. The dress code and I had serious issues that and I refused to kiss my bosses ass.” Craven smiled at the memory of telling his boss off and tossing his badge in the trash.
“Don’t go Ronin on me. OK?” John looked across his desk at him.
“Fine. I promise no lone-wolfing it. What are we going to do with him? Court is in three weeks and if we try to move him we are going to lose men again. Some of those guys were my friends!”
John smiled crookedly at him. “We have help coming. Someone higher than me has arranged for Magical Crimes to take this one from us. Before you start it came from way, way, way up there. Even I don’t recognize the authorization.”
“Magical Crimes? How can Jack help us? He’s human like us. We need to handle this ourselves. Don’t we still have those Russians on the payroll?”
“We do but they are occupied elsewhere. Agent Jack Dalton retired from Magical Crimes. He’s not who’s coming.” John tossed Nick a thick file.
“There’s a team now. Five Agents instead of just one. That’s everything I could dig up on them. Some of my bosses are calling them the Lost Children. Word is they’ve tackled some pretty crazy cases already.” John pointed at the file.
“Like what?” Nick cautiously opened the folder. He eyebrows went up at the first page. “She’s just a kid!”
“That Kid almost took down the entire FBI Academy by herself on the first day of classes. The moron they has as director attacked her and tried to arrest her. She left him hanging about twenty feet in the air for half the day. The Marines hate having her there but shes handed them their hats more than once.”
Nick continued to read. “So two Were’s, a Vampire, a Witch, and a human Agent? Who is he?”
“William Maxwell, he goes by Bill. You might remember him from the Ponzo case. He was the arresting Agent for Robert Ponzo. The story I got was he took down ‘dapper Bob’ alone when Agents caught him just after a hit.”
The Marshal shook his head. “If only that guy could have followed the rules. He just had to have a sausage sandwich at three in the morning. The only place to get something like that in Nevada was Vegas. His tombstone should read he died with a sausage in his hand. Stupid. So how did Bill end up in charge of these kids?”
“Oh, he’s not in charge. He works as their liaison. The Witch is the one in charge.” John motioned with his head to the file.
Nick flipped back to the picture at the beginning. “Nice looking. Just who is Agatha Blackmore and how much trouble is she going to be?”
Friday, March 24, 2017
If you owned the World’s largest sentient Garden and pathway to other Universes what would you eat?
Marcella Blackmore, the matriarch of the family, was many things; Witch, mother, and community leader. But cook was her favorite role. Digging in, feeling the soil, and cooking from the heart was the only way she knew to treat the bounty of the land. Marcella is a true Vegetarian, and that is how she cooks.
Take a peek inside her cookbook at her most favorite recipes and what she feeds her friends and family. Even the Cat. You will enjoy Vegan, Vegetarian, and Gluten- free recipes. Agatha may be the Federal Witch, but Marcella is the true Garden Witch.
Join Marcella, Agatha, and even Fergus inside for fun and adventurous Vegetarian exploration.
Enjoy the stories of the Garden while you eat the wonderful recipes that Marcella has provided for you!
“True. However not one Coven member over the rank of under boss or Capo has ever been turned. Anytime they try both the Agents and the snitch die. The Dons and their Masters are believed to be beyond law enforcement until this week. One of our Bureau offices has a man in custody that can identify both a Don and some of the members of the Commission.” I heard glass break and looked toward Bill. He sat there with his mouth open in shock.
“Bill are you OK?” He shook himself and reached to pick up the shards of glass. “Leave it. I’ll get it later. What’s wrong?”
“The Commission? We have a link to the freaking Commission? How?”
“Agatha what’s the Commission?” Cat and Chuck both spoke at once.
“Bill?” I looked to him to explain.
“The Commission is the holiest of holy's when it comes to all things Mafia. Most wise guys will tell you it’s a council of Dons that get together to discuss territory and profits. That movie, uh… what was its name? The man from Corleone. He was on the so-called Commission. That is a good one to watch to understand how the American Mafia works. The second one is better for the early history or at least what us regular humans are aware of. The FBI only became aware of the Magical Mafia a few years ago. It took computers to decipher some of their communiques. We call them the Black Hats or the Prime Coven in out messages. They are as Agatha has called them. Spiders that lurk below the surface.” Bill looked away from us and stared at the wall.
Staring at him for a moment I too looked away. “On a side note. Bill here had a run in with them at one point in his life and he may discuss that with us soon.” Glancing in his direction I saw him nod.
“Because they fall under Magical Crimes, Jack has a file on them. According to his research there are thirteen coven members of the Black hats. Strega members will have a tattoo of both the moon goddess and the horned god on each of their shoulders signifying their commitments. Most if not all wear either an ornate Pentagram ring or necklace on their bodies.”
“I will say that so does just about every other Wiccan or modern Witch on the planet. Finding them that way is almost impossible.” I held up my hand to show the ring.
“How does this relate to WITSEC?”
“A very good question, Cat. They have a witness in their possession that can identify both one of the Dons and a Strega leader.” I smiled as Bill shot upward.
“Holy crap, Agatha! That’s huge.” The smile on his face dropped. “He’s dead. No one survives to get to trial. Not ever. Look at “Unlucky” Luciano. He tried to turn states evidence against the face of the Commission Meyer Lansky and he was stabbed, drowned, hung, and shot. Not in that order. No one has ever survived to even set foot in court over these guys.”
“Except this time someone in Organized Crimes division got smart. They hid the witness in the courthouse three days before the Grand Jury hearing. He managed to give his testimony before the assassins showed up and he was whisked away to protective custody. However. The convoy he was in was attacked and half the group of US Marshals were killed. The car they were driving was melted.”
Cat frowned. “Melted? Is that even possible? Could you do it?”
“Good question. Maybe? I can see in my head how it works and maybe I have a spell of Grandmothers that might do the job.” I glanced in the direction of my office. Grandmother had given me an heirloom spellbook that might have something like that in it.
“Bill will agree with me on this. WITSEC absolutely hates the FBI. They work very closely with our counterparts in the human part of the Bureau but they get given all the dirty work. Don’t get me wrong. What they do is necessary and a huge help to our cases. But we given them hardened criminals and expect them to turn them into regular people.”
Chuck leaned forward. “Do we really? I thought WITSEC was for witnesses and people who see the wrong thing at the wrong time. Like the movies.”
“Thats only about five percent.” Bill looked at him. “Remember that man-on-the-street witnesses are rare. They see the wrong thing or are easily confused. The real information comes from bad guys that want to turn states evidence to save themselves from the gas chamber! According to WITSEC they’ve relocated over eight-thousand since the seventies.”
“And no one they relocate who follows the rules has died on their watch. Note I say those that follow the rules.” I glanced at my notes. “Quite a few of these guys can’t cut it and go home or break cover and then they die. Usually horribly.”
“Agatha. What do they want from us?” Bill finally asked the question I was waiting for.
“They want us to hide the current witness from Magickal attack. At the same time, Washington wants us to try and locate the Magickal Mafia.”
“They aren’t asking a lot are they?” Bill just shook his head.
“No they aren’t. I talked this over for hours with the Director. She feels this could be a major drain on our resources.” This conversation was about to turn very ugly. I just knew they would hate my plan.
“How so? We can keep him safe if you shield the RV like you did that one time last year. I don’t see the issue.”
“Cat, the issue is this. The Mafia Witches are insanely powerful. Yes, I can shield the RV but how do we do the second part of of the assignment if we have a witness with us at all times?”
Bill caught on first by shooting me a look and shaking his head no. “No! It’s far too dangerous. Let WITSEC guard him, you are far too valuable to risk.”
“Director Mills said the same exact thing. I can’t be in two places at once. It’s the only thing I can think of that will do both assignments.”
Cat looked between the two of us. “What is he talking about?”
I let out a big sigh. “To do this we need to split up. I will take the witness and hide him under a Magickal cover somewhere while the rest of you track down the assassins and the Strega. It’s the only way to do both assignments.”
“Agatha that makes you a target! We have to stick together in this!” Cat could only stare in shock at me.
“By conducting the investigation this way we are working together. I just can’t keep all of you safe. My Magick isn’t strong enough, Cat! The Strega are something none of us have ever tackled before. They practically ruled Sicily before the Demon War. It was only the threat of Demon’s that made them move entirely here to this country. We will be in touch the entire time. I promise you that.” I felt a tear run down my face. The very thought of leaving my friends and my team scared the living hell out of me.
“Where is WITSEC keeping this witness?”
Bill had a grimace on his face. I knew he disapproved but I was in charge not him. “Near Washington in a safe house. It’s where they take everyone. Director Mills told me it’s like the old terminal at Ellis Island. They assign living space and virtually your whole new life there; new papers, names, licenses, etc.”
Bill shook his head. “Do they have precautions in place for Magick?”
“Not to my knowledge. That’s one of the reason they requested us so fast. They have an unspoken rule of not protecting Magickal witnesses.”
Checking my watch I frowned. “We can discuss this more on the road but we have to go now. They are expecting us to pick him up in a couple of hours. Chuck can you get Anastasia’s RV disconnected and ready to go?”
“I’ll go now. Have you told her about all of this yet?” Chuck waved at all them to include in the discussion.
Shaking my head I replied. “Not yet. I’ll call her when she wakes. I’ll take the lead, catch up when you can.” Holding up my hand to prevent further arguments I went back to my room slamming the door behind me.
“Hey! Not so loud. I’m trying to learn something here.” Fergus yelled at me from inside his barn.
“I’m almost afraid to ask. What are you learning in there?” Opening the lid I could see him sitting in his recliner watching his phone.
“It’s a new show on the Barn channel called Pimp my stall. They fix up horse stalls and make them pretty. You should see what they did do this one old race horse. I really want a new paint job with flowers and wallpaper in my barn now!”
“What’s wrong with what you have? The farmer and fake farm animals looks OK. You have a dance floor and mirror ball already why change anything?” The walls were starting to look scuffed and worn. Maybe I should look for a new barn for the little guy.
“It’s too old! Can we pimp my barn? Can we?” His jumping up and down made me forget the whole WITSEC thing and all the danger it represented.
Still speaking I sat down at the table the barn rested on. “How about this. I’ll let the Bs know that you want a change. They look to be crafty. We can paint, wallpaper, and jazz up your barn for you. Maybe give you a porch or something. Does that sound good?”
“Yes! Let’s go now!” Fergus opened his door with a Moo and ran out to see me.
“About that. We have a new assignment. I have to protect a guy from Witches called the Magical Mafia. So we’ll be traveling for a few weeks. Can we wait a little bit?” The things I do to keep my Unicorn happy.
“Can I have a water fountain?”
“We’ll see about that later. You’ll be traveling with me a bunch. My job this time is to protect someone so I may need the power stored inside of you.”
“Do you have to? Every time you do that I feel like a juice box.” Fergus shivered all over.
“It doesn’t happen all that often. So get ready to travel we’re leaving the barn in the RV. You get to ride with me.”
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Thursday, March 16, 2017
“What you doing?” Fergus’s voice came out of nowhere, almost causing me to drop the mixture.
“Don’t do that! Do you know how long it took me to get that right?” I said looking down at a smiling unicorn sitting on my notebook.
“Nope. Don’t care. Can we go out to eat for lunch?” He complained.
“Why?” I looked down at him suspiciously. He’d been pretty quiet lately, which in itself is really suspicious. He still hadn’t forgiven me for leaving him locked in the RV when we took down the Reverend last month. According to him, he had his own adventure, but won’t tell me what it was. Speaking of not telling me something.
Looking him in the eyes, I asked, “how did you get up here? You were passed out in the magickal hay field.”
He looked up at me with a puzzled face. “No idea what you’re saying right now. Jumping up here was easy. So... Eating out, can we do it?”
“We need to discuss your jumping one of these days. Where is it you wanted to go?” I said.
“Do you remember Jodi from Anchors a Weigh? She doesn’t work there anymore.” He commented.
“OK. Was she the blond waitress?” I asked.
“No, you always get that part wrong. Jodi is the brunette, and Amber is the redhead. Easy.” He answered, then began trotting around the various jars I had on the table.
“Wasn’t there another one too? I seem to remember another name.” I tapped my finger against my lips while trying to remember.
“Forget about her. She got married last month. This is all about Jodi. I mean all about eating lunch.” He spoke quickly trying to cover his gaft.
I made a circular motion with my hand as I asked. “Can we speed this up? I do have an experiment to finish.”
“What are you trying to do, anyway?” He mumbled sniffing at a small bouquet of wolfsbane flowers on the table and taking a tentative taste.
I slid the flowers out of reach. “Don’t eat those! Do you have any concept of how expensive those are?” Once again, he just looked up at me.
I’m telling a unicorn to not eat flowers. “This is an enchantment to make bullets find the target on their own. If I got the recipe correct, they should give me a better than fifty percent improvement in my range scores.”
Fergus peered at the vial sitting in front of me. “As long as that isn’t something you eat your fine. You suck at cooking. So can we go?”
“Go where? You never finished what you were saying.” I asked. Why couldn’t I have changed something less annoying like a sloth or something?
“Oh. Well, Jodi went to work for a new place called Juan’s in town. Can we go there for lunch?” He said, continuing to trot around on my table.
Frowning I looked back at him. “Do you even like Mexican food? How do you know about this stuff?”
“Jodi’s cousin owns the place. She told me last week that Obie had a job opening and she wouldn’t be able to see me anymore at Anchors. She sent me a picture of the new place, and it looks cool. It has lots of pretty colors and flags. Can we go?” He asked anxiously.
I swear he’s like a little kid sometimes. “Sure. You aren’t going to shut up until I agree anyhow. One thing, though. Doesn’t it bother you that a guy named Obie owns a restaurant called Juan’s?” I asked him.
He cocked his head one way and then the other. “So? Why would that bother me?” He said as he trotted off to the far edge of the table. I kept a horse bed there for him.
Unicorns. I shook my head and went back to my experiment.
Once I cleaned up my workspace, it was time for lunch. I carried him to our truck for the trip to the restaurant. We had not traveled very far before Fergus vomited on the seat. Apparently, Fergus was not having a good ‘travel’ day and had gotten sick. Climbing back into my vehicle after cleaning up the mess I checked my phone. It was blowing up a moment ago, but I ignored it.
“I’m going to die! Ugh.” Fergus choked and coughed out.
“If you get sick in my truck again you’re riding on the outside. I mean it, Fergus!” I commented as I finished cleaning up his second heap. How can one tiny creature hurl so much?
“Just bury me in Mothra like you promised when I go.” He groaned.
“Don’t you mean Montana? Mothra is one of those movie monsters you like so much.” I absently responded. Scrolling through my messages, I could see two from the B’s and three from Director Mills. Cat and Chuck had at least one in there too. Maybe I could blame Fergus for this delay. He’s the one that ate the Wolfsbane.
As I pulled up to the restaurant, Fergus said. “See, what did I tell you. Pretty flags and colors everywhere.” Fergus was sitting on my shoulder like a deranged parrot as we walked into the incredibly garish restaurant. I like Mexican food, but I could tell this was not going to be fun.
Fergus’s favorite waitress of the month stood at the cash register with a big fake smile on her face. “Jodi!” Fergus yelled, jumping around and nearly falling off.
“Hey, little dude! I see you found the place.” Jodi replied looking up at me. “Hello, Agent Blackmore.”
“Jodi. How’s business?” I inquired. The restaurant was inside a former gas station which I thought was a bit strange. The pumps outside were all gone. Only the poles that once held up the awning remained.
Jodi grinned and said, “Great! The lunch rush just ended. Let me get you a table.” As she led us to a table, I checked my watch, and it was only twelve thirty. Maybe people ate early here in Virginia.
The walls were still glass but painted over in red, green, and white. There were painted smiling girls with red hair and pigtails staring up at me from our tabletop. “Nice tables,” I remarked.
Jodi blushed a bit saying, “My cousin was on a budget. We plan to paint over them soon. What would you like to drink?”
I could only shake my head as Fergus ordered a sweet tea. Maybe it was time to take his phone away from him. I just asked for water. Leaving two menus in front of us, she let me know she would be back to take our orders. Fergus hopped around and stared at the pictures.
“What’s this stuff? Is it a salad?” He asked as he turned the pages with his nose. It was probably a good thing the health department wasn’t here. A seeing eye unicorn is not a good description of Fergus.
Cocking my head, I looked at the picture. “Traditional Chiapas salad with peppers and local greens encased in a fried flour tortilla.” I interpreted for him.
“Cool! I’m getting that one!” He said as he did a little dance on the table.
Pulling out my phone I looked up the word Chiapas. Another word popped out during my search, spicy. I couldn’t remember if he liked spicy food. Grandmother used to let him try stuff while she cooked. Since I was so bad at cooking, I was rarely in our kitchen. It should be fun to watch no matter what. Good thing he was indestructible.