Educational Justice -chp6


Educational Justice

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Maria DeMarco never thought that she would find trouble amongst her many businesses. After all they were the public face of where her money came from. She was after all a retired Prima Ballerina and like most such women she invested her money wisely. But trouble she did find and in the one place she would never have thought to look. One of the schools she loves and sponsors. Can the Black Badge Deputies ferret out the people behind the troubles before Gemini has to deal with Gym Class?

by Snowfall and Jessie Wolf.

Dedicated to the men and women of the US Marshal Service.

Edited by my husband Paul, and AJC Snowfall.

~o~O~o~



Chapter 6

Akin Equestrian Girls School: 0600

Kendra like most of the students at AEGS checked her schedule for the day. She was surprised to an email in her inbox from her old friend Kmasterson2000. With trembling fingers she opened the email.

K,
You and the others are going to see new faces around the school today. Whatever you do, do not act like you recognize them. In fact stay away from them at all cost. They are here to help you but cannot afford for you to act like you know them. Trust me they are here to help but need to work in the dark.
Your friend,
Kmasterson2000

After reading the email Kendra got the attention of her roommate Lisa. Lisa had been through the same treatment as Kendra and was a former slave herself. Using ALS the two quickly laid out what they were going to do. After getting their morning showers and dressing for their morning classes they headed for breakfast.

On the way they met up with the other two former slaves. After using ALS to explain to them what was going on the four girls promised to keep their silence on the matter. As the four girls entered the dining hall Kendra was the first to spot the two new faces among the teachers. As she led the others to the serving line Kendra kept looking at the new teachers. There was something about them that tickled the back of her mind. She didn’t know what it was, but it was there. It was as if those two teachers were somebody else from her past.

After getting their trays the four girls headed for a table on the far side of the room. AS they eat they watched the other students working their way through the service line. Marybeth was the first to spot the two new students as they entered the hall. Using one of their old slave hand signs Marybeth got the others attention and then pointed out the new students.

It took all of Kendra’s will to keep her excitement at seeing her old friend here at AEGS from showing. Lisa nodded her head and then signed. That’s what your friend meant by not knowing the new faces. She’s here and if she’s here then she’s not alone. Those people form the boat have come here to help us, haven’t they. Kendra just nodded her head yes.

“Oh look the dumb bitches are having an attack. Oh wait they’re just gossiping.” The voice and attitude belong to someone that all four former slaves wanted to pound. The laughter at Chantel Henley’s dig pissed the girls off, but they fought to keep their cool. All four just sat there and let the Lipizzan Girls walk away laughing in their arrogance. They all knew that someday they’ll all get their comeuppance, and that day was not too far in the future.

Across the room Justina and Angeles as they were known to the other students fumed with a simmering rage. They had seen the Lipizzan Girls just walk by the former slaves and treat them like crap. Kasey wanted to just walk up and pound the piss out of the whole Dressage team and be don’t with it. Kristine had other ideas in that same vain only hers involved using honey and an ant hill. Their thoughts of mayhem and bloodshed were interrupted by the Headmistress ringing a bell, then standing up.

“Attention, ladies there are a few announcements before we start the day. Firstly the following young ladies need to report to the school uniform supply room to be fitted for proper school uniforms. Kendra Wineman, Lisa Frost, Alexi Miller, Marybeth Tomson, Justina and Angeles Carmen, long with Susan and Sarah Billings. You will also be fitted for your breeches, boots, and blouses for beginning Hunt seat and Dressage. The second thing as some of you knew we have two new teachers joining us. Now as a few of you have already had the pleasure of have a class with these teachers you know that they are very good.

“Both ladies spent the past few years working overseas with the Department of Defense as teachers to military dependents. Mrs. Everbrite is our new History teacher and Mrs. Taugh is the new English teacher. They are very capable and extremely far. Their teaching style may not be one that most of you are used to but I assure you it is an accepted method. That being said I will not tolerate any more complaints about their teaching style. Is that clear?” Scarlet already had, had twelve complaints filed against the new teachers.

“Ladies I asked you all if you understood?” this time the students all answered with a ‘yes ma’am.’ “Good, because if I hear one more complaint the student filing the complaint shall find themselves with more work and fourteen days of stable duty. Starting now Wednesday there will be an optional class for those of you who wish to take it. That class being beginner’s ballet to be taught by my daughter and our two new teachers. And finally there will be open tryouts for the Dressage teams on Friday afternoon. That is all, enjoy your day.”

After Scarlet sat down Samantha looked over at Annette. “It seems that our Headmistress has gotten tired of certain students running roughshod around here.”

“That it does Samantha that it does. Now if only our students can handle the changes. I doubt if some will though. Look over there at the Dressage teams.” Annette point with her chine.

Sam could already see the forming of dissention among their ranks. They could both tell that the girls in the Lipizzan Girls were not happy about there being open tryouts for the team. Sam and Annette gave each other sly smiles. They knew how to make sure that there would be a few open slots on that team.

Kasey and Kristine were also watching the Lipizzan Girls. Switching over Russian Kasey gave Kristine some advice. “When we go for our fitting make sure you keep your eyes and ears open. I have a feeling that the Alpha bitches are going to come at us hard and heavy sis.”

“Where do you think they’ll hit us?” Kristine kept her voice light, but the tone was anything but friendly.

“Somewhere between the school uniform supply room and the dorms. Most likely in the breezeways between buildings four and five. If not there then it will be when we get to the stables with the others. Those are the most likely places for a group confrontation. We let them come at us. Draw them in close and then put the beat down of a life time on them.” Kristine had to look at her sister in shock. There was a note of anger in Kasey’s voice that Kristine had never heard before.

“Justi, you know we’re not to put them in the hospital. Remember our orders are to gather Intel, first. We’re not to seek out the unsubs, remember?” Kristine knew that Kasey had problems with rich people in the past, but there was more going on here with her sister than she thought.

“I know that Ange. And we’ll follow orders, but I am not going to let a bunch of prima donna cunts push me around.” Then just barely over a whisper Kasey continued to herself. “Not this time anyway.”

“Sis don’t let your anger get the better of you. We need to keep our heads down until the time is right. Now is not the time.” Kristine whispered.

Kasey looked over at Kristine and sighed. She knew that her sister was right. “I know sis, but I dealt with rich bitches like that before I dropped out at my last school. They made my life a living hell.”

Over at the Varsity Dressage table or Lipizzaner table Chantel and Mary Sue were close to blowing their collective tops. “How dare the Headmistress hold try outs for OUR team? DOESN’T she realize that WE run the Dressage Teams?” Mary Sue Gilroy was beyond pissed off.

“Wait till I get a hold of my mother. She’ll put that uppity bitch in her place. We don’t care if she owns this place. WE run this county.” Chantel was just as pissed off as Mary Sue.

“But what are we going to do about these upstarts who want to join the teams?” Alex asked of her older sister.

“We put a stop to their plans before they get off the ground. When those freaks and the new girls show up in the stables this afternoon we explain the way things are around here. If that doesn’t work we make sure they get one of the more ‘spirited’ horses for their first lesson. You know the ones I am talking about.” All the members of the Dressage Team knew exactly what horses Chantel was talking about.
As the girls filled out to go to classes Kasey and Kristine held back. They watched as the individual groups left. As each group left Kasey and Kristine marked the ones that would most likely be coming after them and the former slaves later in the day. When they were almost the last ones to leave Kasey spotted the two persons that needed to know what was going to happen. Walking over to Sam and Annette she smiled.

“Hola, Miss Taugh and Miss Everbrite. I hope you enjoy working here.”

“Hola, young lady, and just who are you?”

“OH forgive me ma’am. I am Justine Carmen and this is my younger sister Angeles. While she does not have either of you for classes I have you both for History and English.” Kasey made sure to let Annette and Sam know what their cover was by a simple greeting.

“Oh well welcome to the United States young lady. I take it that this is your first visit to the US?” Samantha said with a smile.

“Oh yes ma’am, but we have always wanted to visit your lovely country. Until now we have gone to school in Italy, France, Germany, and Russia.”

Tell me my dear what has you so on edge?” Sam asked Kasey in Italian.

Ma’am I figure that the Alpha bitches will trying coming at us after we leave the supply room or on our way to the stables. Gemini one has tagged two of the office students as being the main leak for the school. Chantel Henley and Mary Sue Gilroy are our primary suspects. We should know more by this evening.” Kasey was smiling as she passed on the information she and Kristine had already gathered. The fact that they were speaking in Italian basically made sure that no one else could understand what was being said.

You have been cleared to send them to the hospital if they push things too far girls. Before you ask the Major was the one to give that clearance. Just do your best to make it look like an accident, understand?” Annette told Kasey and Kristine.

Yes ma’am. As it is we need to get over to the uniform supply room.” Kristine answered for the two of them.

Sam and Annette smiled as their daughters headed off to get their school uniforms and riding appeal. They knew that the girls were treading in dangerous waters. And as their mothers neither Annette nor Sam could help them with their present assignment without blowing their covers. All Sam and Annette could was hope that the girls training was enough to carry them through.

Across town at STC 0900…

Maria and Anna had just entered their office when the desk phone rang. Not really thinking Anna answered the phone. “Southern Coastal Transport office of Maria DeMarco. How my I direct your call?”

“Good morning ma’am I need to talk to Mrs. DeMarco please.” Said the man on the other end of the line. Anna passed the receiver to Maria.

“Maria DeMarco speaking and to whom do I have the pleasure of talking with?”

“Who I am is of no concern DeMarco. What is of concern is you are getting in the way of certain families in the area. Take some advice and get out of South Carolina and stay out. Do you understand?”

“I see. I take it that you speak for these families. Very well then please pass on a message for me. Stay away from the Akin Equestrian Girls School and Savanah River Military Academy. I don’t take kindly to people screwing with my investments. As for me leaving South Carolina that’s not going to happen. Do you understand me?” Maria let her anger fill her voice.

“Not smart DeMarco. I figured you at least were smart enough to stay out of where you’re not welcomed, but I guess you’re too stupid to know when you’re out matched. Very well then you had your chance, don’t say we didn’t warn you.” The line went dead in Maria’s ear.

“Well that was fun.”

“I take it Maria that we have angered someone?” Anna asked from over by the window.

“Yes we have old friend. It seems that the Henley’s and Gilroy’s don’t like outsiders stepping in when they get out of hand. That phone call was the opening round of intimidation. I figure that they’re next attack will be something along the lines of graffiti on the office doors or a direct attack on my car. Something like that. These people are not a true Organization. No they’re small time and are nothing like dealing with the Families.”

“Do you think they will go after the schools directly now Maria?”

Maria thought about Anna’s question. Joining her old friend by the office window Maria let her mind wonder before answering. “No. No they want the schools for some reason Anna. The problem is that I cannot think of what that reason might be. If I could only figure that out then we’ll have a leg up on this mess.”

“Maria, I have worked for you and your family for more than thirty years now and been your friend for longer than that. That being said I have to tell you that you’re being ignorant. You’re over thinking the problem when the answer is right there in front of you. They want the schools because they will have control over the students of the schools. You know this. Now what are you going to do about it? Where is the Dove? Has all this living in the light made you soft? Five years ago you would have put both of these families in their graves. Not just the heads of these want to be crime families, but all of them. When are you going to put an end to this?”

Maria sighed and looked down at the parking lot. “You’re right Anna if this was five years ago I would have already put all of them in their graves. In fact I would have brought Annette with me and made sure that none were missed. We can no longer work that way Anna. We gave are word to step out of the shadows and live in the light old friend. As much as I want to handle this in the old way we cannot.”

Anna was proud of her old friend. As temping as it was for the two of them to go back to the old ways Maria wasn’t going there. “So old friend how shall we handle this threat?”

“Just as my granddaughters are handling the problem. We shall be bait and wait for the little fish to come swimming. When they do we shall show them that they are not the sharks they think they are. We will snap them up and spit them out like the Great Whites that we are.” Maria started to grin as she thought of something from her past. “Anna, do you remember that slimy little toad Malcom Heath? You know the one I’m talking about.”

It had taken Anna a moment to remember the late Italian National Police Chief. “Oh my, it has been awhile sense that man graced our presence. What brought that man to mind Maria?”

“Remember how he had that ‘unfortunate’ accident?”

“The one at the restaurant or the one with the high speed power pole?”

“The restaurant one dear. The one that gave the poor man such dreadful stomach problems. What was it that he eat? Oh and it was Chief Ramon Giehacontia that had the problems with high speed power poles.”

“OH THAT ONE! I’m sorry there have been so many in our past that I get them confused at times. As for Heath he just wouldn’t heed the warnings about mushrooms and clams. He had such a poor reaction to Death Cap mushrooms in boiled geoduck clam sauce. The good doctors had such a hard time with fighting that nasty paralytic shellfish poisoning caused by so much marine bio toxin being ingested in such a short time. Why I hear he suffered for three days before finally succumbing to the effects.” Anna smiled as she recounted one of the more remember able of contracts she had carried out on behalf of the DeMarco family.

Maria had to giggle at Anna’s description of the poisoning of a nasty and corrupt police official back in the old country over twenty five years ago. Maria knew that if anything Anna was just as deadly as she was. “Exactly, Anna. As for what brought that man to mind was that phone call. Whoever it was on the other end reminded me of that little toad. Heath had made almost the exact same threat before his untimely encounter with those shellfish.”

“So the Dove going to handle this problem then?” Anna asked with a smile.

“Only if it comes to that Anna. However I do believe that we have been remiss in our duties. I think it is high time I had a little sit down with the Gilroy’s and Henley’s. Past time in fact, do you think you can arrange for one of your special diners in time?”

“Oh it may take me a few days to get everything in order BUT I can have a five course diner ready by the weekend.”

“Thank you Anna, please see to the arrangements for diner, while I arrange for our guests. I believe that a traditional Italian diner should do nicely.” Maria smiled as Anna headed for the door. “Oh and Anna please make sure that we don’t have any unfortunate accidents with the clams.”

“I’ll make sure they are of the finest quality Madam Maria.” Was all Anna said before she close the office door.

“I’m sure you will old friend. I am sure you will, and the Gilroy’s and Henley’s shall benefit from your excellent skills in the kitchen.” Maria sighed and turned back to the window. “I had truly hoped that these people would be civilized about all this.”

Sighing Maria picked up the phone and made a few calls. The first was to the local SLED Captain. She wanted someone that wasn’t in the pockets of either the Gilroy’s or Henley’s to investigate the explosion. The next was to the area Supervisor of SLED for the Western regain of South Carolina. When the two SLED officers first balked at her suggestions she played a card that none of the others on her team thought she had. Needless to say the threat of US Deputy Marshals stepping in to take over and investigation was enough to get the proper response that she wanted.

Savanah River Military Academy 0600…

Bobby and Hunter stood at the front of the formation of students. As far as they were concerned with the exception of a few most of these kids were worth their time. Those few that weren’t had already be tagged by the two men. In total there were five punks in their eyes and they all belonged to either the Gilroy’s or Henley’s. For the last hour they had led the students in their daily Physical Training. Hunter smiled and called out.

“Company! Attenhut! Fall out!”

The cadets all came to attention then fell out for morning classes. The grumbling among the cadets as they walked past the two new teachers was universal. They all felt that the new guys were hard core in more ways than one.

“Damn dude I thought they would never give us a break.”
“Oh shut up already. I have aches and pains in places I didn’t know I had.”
“Bro, we’ve done some calisthenics before but never like that. Who do they think we are? Special Forces? SEAL’s? Don’t they realize we’re just students?”

That last one got both of Bobby’s and Hunter’s attention. Bobby wasn’t going to let that one go like the other complaints.

“CADET Corelli! Front and Center!” when the young man was standing in front of Bobby at attention Bobby tore into him. “I’ll tell WHAT we THINK you are. YOU are the next generation of LEADERS. Don’t you get it CADET?! You will most likely go from here to the Point or Annapolis. One day in the future you will be leading GOOD men in COMBAT. Those men will be looking to YOU for answers when the shit hits the fan CADET. We’re here to get you and your fellow cadets in shape for that day. That is what we think you are. If you can’t see that then do me and your other Instructors a favor and drop out NOW. If not you’ll get good MEN dead. Understand Cadet Corelli?”

Jeffery Corelli had never had one of the teachers here talk to him that way. In the past three years none of the teachers actually to the time to explain what they were teaching and why. These new guys were taking the time to really explain what they thought and how it applied to them.

“Yes Sergeant First Class Everbrite. Thank you for explaining, Sergeant.”

“Good now if I hear anymore bitching out of you can expect a few hours of road PT and pushing South Carolina until it reaches sea level.” Bobby’s threat of extra PT and pushups until Jeffery collapse drove the point home. “Now get yourself some chow. You have classes in” Bobby looked down at his watch “forty five minutes. Get a move on Cadet.”

As Jeffery took off to get showered changed and feed. Bobby felt Hunter step up beside him. “You something bro I think you got through to the boy.”

“You think so Hunter?”

“You know for once I think we might have gotten to one of them before the academies screw them up. Hell I won’t put it past that young man to spread what you just told him to the other kids. We might do more good here than just take down a bunch of low life rich assholes this time.”

“I hope you’re right Hunter. God how I hope you’re right.” With that the two men headed inside to the teachers locker room to take care of their own needs for the day. A half hour later the two of them walked into the academy chow hall. As they sat eating at the teachers table they noticed serval students forming deferent groups. As they sat eating they observed the deferent factions forming.

When they had first arrived yesterday they weren’t able to really gage the student body. Now they had the perfect setting to observe. It didn’t take them long to spot the alpha crew. Just as they had thought there were the five they had tagged yesterday but as they watched six more joined their little party. Thanks to their uniforms each cadet wore a name tag making it easier for the two deputies to figure out who was who.

“I see that you have already marked our trouble makers Sergeants.” Bobby and Hunter turned to see the Gunnery Sergeant. “That Sergeants is the Rifle Drill Team. Each and every one of them is from one of the more affluent families here in the south. If it was up to me and the old man they would be out the damned door bag and baggage with down checks on their Evals.”

“So why aren’t they Gunny? This is a privately owned school after all.” Hunter asked the older man.

“That’s my fault Sergeant.” At the pulsed looks Gunnery Sergeant Jacob Hightower sighed. “About four years ago there was a massive shakeup in the juvenile detention centers and schools here in South Carolina. The upshot of all that was half of the State run schools were shut down. In response to this the Governor showed an uncommon show of common sense. The good lady decided to start a Scholarship program for the ones that she considered worthy of a second chance. Most of those kids were from the poorer neighborhoods and trying to get away from the gangs. Anyway I was the one to talk the Colonel and while my wife talked Miss Scarlet into allowing those kids into their schools. We figured that if we got those kids into our schools we could turn them around and maybe, just maybe, get those kids on the right path in life. Anyway one of the kickers is we can’t expel our students without reason. Another is the fact that if they can past the entrance exams we can’t refuse them out of hand. That is one of the conditions that the second, and last chance kids have to meet.”

“So the rich little shits are getting in by passing the exams and their parents money. That about sum things up, Gunny?” Bobby asked.

“You got it in a nutshell Sergeant Everbrite. Between me and my wife the Colonel and Mrs. Scarlet are paying for our mistake. I should never have tried to do something that put the school at the mercy of State requirements in this county.” Both deputies could tell that the old Gunnery Sergeant blamed himself for what was going in the two schools. “I should have never let my emotions get in the way of the mission.”

“Gunny How many of those second chance kids have you and the Colonel graduated and sent on to one of the Academies?” Hunter asked.

The question must have caught the older man off guard because he had to stop and think about what Hunter asked him. After a few minutes the Gunny had the answer. “Well, up until now we have gradated every last one of them. That is three hundred and forty seven so far. Of those all have gone on to one college or another, but twenty seven of them have gone on to one of the academies. Why?”

“Then you have not only succeed in the mission of the schools but improved it Gunny. Sure certain rich assholes are using the system to try and undermine your authority but now we know what to look for and can put a stop to them.” Bobby told the Gunny.

“Good plan one problem Sergeant. We lack certain assists to pull it off.” Gunnery Sergeant Hightower know what Bobby was talking about. “We don’t have any indigenes assists to turn against the power structure. In short we have no one to use a Force Multiplier. There are far too many of these kids that afraid of the Drill Team and their hanger-on’s.”

“Wrong Gunny we have them. You just haven’t looked hard enough at the right people.” Hunter stood up and smiled. “How many second chance kids are enrolled?”

“Currently there are twenty six between the high school grades and another sixteen in the middle school and elementary grades.”

“Send the oldest kids from the high school grades to the old study hall after classes this afternoon. Make sure that they’re the ones who are on their last chance and have a gang background.” Bobby said standing up with Hunter.

“Those are the ones that have the most to lose Sergeants. I will not endanger their chances at a better life to handle a bunch of spoiled little rich cocksuckers. They have worked to herd to get where they are now.” Hightower may be a hard ass about certain things but he wasn’t about to let a pair of new be’s screw with his kids and their chances at a better future.

“Don’t worry Gunny. We’re just going to give them some additional training. Like the old saying goes. Grab them by the balls and their hearts and mind will follow. We’re going to show your kids who to do just that.” The smile Hunter gave Hightower let the old Gunny know that the two men had the kids’ backs.

Gunnery Sergeant Hightower watched as the two new teachers walk away. There was something about the two former Rangers that made him think they really knew what they were doing. It was with a much lighter heart when Hightower returned to his office later that morning. Opening a drawer in his personal file cabinet Hightower pulled out six sealed files. These were the files for the six students that had made Hightower the proudest.

All six had come from the same street gang and had criminal records. Records that read like novels or resumes for criminal organizations. Yes, these were the ones those Special Forces Rangers were asking for. These four boys and two girls would put an end to Gilroy and the Henley’s. Just the right group of indigenes forces for this type of operation. Battle hardened in the worst streets of Columbia. Kids who had something to prove not only to themselves but the rest of the world. That they weren’t lost causes and could make a deference.

“Gilroy, Henley, you three started this little war. Now I have the forces to put a stop to your bullshit in my school.”

Across town at the former Hartwell Garage

Annie Shackle had made her way up through the ranks to lieutenant by hard work and deaddiction. She was one of the youngest woman to earn the title of detective in the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Department. For the past two years she has been assigned to Akin county and trying to take down the Hartwell’s. Today though looked like she was finally going to be able to do that.

For the last two years every investigation she started was met by some form of roadblock. As she stood looking at the burned out remains of the Hartwell garage Annie knew that would no longer be a problem. So far the Crime Techs had found evidence of meth production, illegal drug sales, stolen cars, a chop shop, illegal gun sales, and so much more. The kicker was the ‘trophies’.

In back of the office was a refrigerator. Even with the explosion and fire this one item survived intact. Annie wished it hadn’t but it had. When the Crime Techs first opened the refrigerator two of them ran from the room and throw up in the nearest trashcan. Even Annie was having to fight the impulse to follow their example. “LT we got the State District Attorney on the line.”

Looking over at the State Trooper Annie just nodded her head and held out her hand. “Shackle here.”

“DAMN IT SHACKLE! You were ordered to back off of the Hartwell’s!”

“And BECAUSE of YOU and YOUR politics we got a serial killer on our hands you SHITHEAD!” Annie lost her temper with DA Strongwell.

“Are you sure about that?” the surprise on the DA’s voice stopped Annie dead in her bitch out.

“Yes sir I am sure. I am looking at the evidence right now. One of the Hartwell’s is a ‘trophy’ collector.”

“What kind of trophies Shackle?”

“Eyeballs sir. From what I have been able to count thirty two so far, but there are some that still need to be counted yet. So that count could go over fifty.”

“Shit!”

“Care to tell why you’ve been protecting these scumbags now?” Annie knew that it was the DA Strongwell who had been protecting the Hartwell’s.

“Not over the phone Lieutenant. Met me at the High Patrol Station on I-20 in two hours at exit fifteen. I’ll explain it then. What do you need right now?”

“Get me an arrest warrant for Kelly Hartwell. Along with search warrants for their homes and other properties.” Annie figured she might as well go for broke.

“On their way Lieutenant Shackle. Take the Hartwell’s down.”

“Done sir.” Annie ended the call and handed the phone back to the Trooper. “Well it looks like we finally get to remove the Hartwell’s from the playground. Alright get this place bagged, tagged, we got a real life serial killer to round up and put away.” Annie turned and walked away from the refrigerator fill with glass jars holding nothing but embalming fluid and eyeballs. She was going to do what she has been needing to for the last half hour.

Offices of Gilroy and Henley Investments 0930…

Gray Gilroy could not believe what he heard from the morning news. With Billy Hartwell dead in that explosion it made things uncertain. That only left Kelly Hartwell to handle the matter. Even then it was not an assured thing. Kelly Hartwell was a crazed psychopath and everyone knew it. With his brother dead now things could get very interesting.

The knock on his door drew his attention as Malcom Henley walked in. “We got us a real problem Gray. One that we can’t use the local talent for.”

“You’re right Malcom. The problem is we still have Kelly Harwell out there and that boy is a loose cannon now. Have the police figured out what happened at that excuse for a garage of theirs?”

“No. Well not according to my man in the local homicide depart. The biggest problem is SLED has gotten involved. That Detective from Colombia what’s her name? Shackle, Scakle. Well whatever it is has been able to get assigned to the investigation. You know the one I’m talking about. The one that keeps sticking her nose in where it don’t belong.”

“Damn it, Malcom I thought we had her bosses in our pocket? And the name is Shackle. Annie Shackle, Detective Lieutenant Annie Shackle.”

“We do but someone else is pulling the strings on this investigation. Someone outside our normal channels. It’s not making any sense Gray.”

“What are you talking about Malcom?”

“I called our men over in Colombia when I found out Shackle was the one investigating the Hartwell garage explosion. Ten minutes after talking to Miller I got told that they can’t do a damn thing about it. That the orders came down from outside the Agency. Something about there being a bunch of Feds in the area. Either they use Shackle or the Feds take over.” The look Malcom gave Gray said more than words. The fact that the Feds could be getting involved was not something either family needed. There was just too much money and time involved with taking over those two schools.

“How in the name of hell did the Feds get involved? We’ve kept things quiet and our influence to State level. Sure we’ve been expanding that influence to Georgia, North Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama but we haven’t gotten stupid like those fools Law Order and God. Why are the Feds pocking around in our backyard? Can’t that worthless ass Hickman do something to put them in their places? He is a Congressman after all.” Gray demanded.

“Gray don’t you get it? We could be dealing with FBI or some other Federal Law Enforcement agency. They’re outside Hickman and the others we have in our pockets. Those agencies only answer to that bitch Attorney General. NO we got to get rid of Shackle and that DeMarco woman before things get out of hand now.”

“Well I could tell that she wasn’t going to be reasonable from my phone call this morning.” Gray was leaning back in his chair as he told Malcom this. “I informed her that she needed to leave South Carolina and the woman just didn’t take the hint. It seems that she just won’t back away from those schools. She said something about them being investments and we needed to stay away from them. Like that is even going to happen. The woman has no respect for her betters Malcom. We need to do more than just take over these schools. We need to put that uppity Yankee in her place.”

“Isn’t DeMarco one of those Whoop names?”

“Now that you mention it Malcom you’re right. DeMarco is a Whoop name. Not that it matters they’re all just a bunch of rock farmers and criminals. You know something that just might be the way to handle this.”

“What do you mean Gray?”

“I think we’ve been going about this all wrong. Everyone knows that Italians are a greedy lot. All we need to do is pay her off. It shouldn’t take more than a few thousand or so. It’ll be much easier and cheaper in the long run. Arrange for a nice diner with the woman. Once we show her the money she’ll take it and sign over her shares in the schools. We should have done this earlier. After all money is the universal language.” Both men laughed at the sad joke.

Gray’s intercom buzzed. “Yes Amy.”

“Sir there is Miss Anna Garcia on line one for you.”

“Thank you Amy, put her through please.” A few seconds later the refined voice of a woman came over the speaker. “Good morning sir. Am I speaking with Grayson Gilroy by chance?”

“Yes you are and to who do I have the pleasure of speaking with?” Gray already knew that the woman was the Guardian for the two transfer students from Spain. The woman was quick to answer any way.
“Please sir let us not play games. You know exactly who I am. As for why I am calling I am doing so on behalf of an old family friend. A friend that wishes to end this troubling matter between your two families and her. It is her hope that very one involved can be civilized about the matter.”

“Oh and just who is this family friend?” Gray couldn’t figure out who this Garcia woman was talking about.

“Maria DeMarco does that clarify things for you Señor Gilroy?”

“Ah I believe that it does Mrs. Garcia. If you will hold for a few moments while I consult my partner Malcom Henley I will have answer for you in a few moments.”

“Please, do so Señor Gilroy I shall wait.”

“Before I do Mrs. Garcia will you let me know why you’re involving yourself in this matter?”

“The answer is simple sir. I am a Diplomat for the Spanish Cassoulet as well as the Guardian for the Colonel’s granddaughters. My first duty is to them but as they are now students of the Akin Equestrian Girls School I am acting on their behalf. I am merely the negotiator in this matter.”

“Ah so you have no personal interest in this matter. Very well thank you so much Mrs. Garcia please hold.” Not waiting for Anna to answer Gray punched the hold button. “Well my friend what do you think?”

“We take the meeting and arrange for someone to kill DeMarco if she refuses to take the payoff. We were going to give DeMarco an offer she couldn’t refuse anyway. This just makes getting together with her that much easier.” Malcom was already getting out his cell phone to find a hitter for the job.

“Who are you going for?”

“The one person that can insure the job gets done. The White Tulip. She handled that mess with Billings and that rabid dog Stevens for us.” Malcom was already composing a text the mysterious woman known only as the White Tulip. Gray smiled at his friend and partner then hit the hold button.

“Ah Mrs. Garcia I have just finished talking with my partner Mr. Henley. We have agreed to meet with Mrs. DeMarco. Do you believe that she would be welcome to having dinner with us and our wives at the Country Club for the Highlander Golf Corse? Our treat of course.”

“Just a moment Mr. Gilroy. I need to ask Mrs. DeMarco first.” This time it was Gilroy who was put ono hold. Grayson Gilroy had never before been treated like he was not worth talking to. “Mr. Gilroy, Mrs. DeMarco would like to extend an invitation to your partner and your wives. She has offered to serve dinner at the offices of South Coast Transit.”

Gray looked over at Malcom who nodded his head yes. “That will be fine Mrs. Garcia. What day and Time? And is it formal semi-formal, or casual?”

“Semi-formal sir, jackets and tie required. Mrs. DeMarco is rather strict over certain things. As for when seven pm this coming Friday night. Remember, Mrs. Gilroy this is a civilized meeting between rival business interests. Until then gentlemen good day.” The phone went dead.

“It seems that DeMarco is calling us out old boy. Have you gotten ahold of the White Tulip yet?” Grayson Thomas Gilroy was beyond pissed off.

“Not yet Gray. I just got the message off to her email server. It shouldn’t be too long before we hear back from the woman. How much of a price do you want to put on DeMarco’s head?” Malcom was just a mad as his counterpart. “We need to make it worth her while. You know how that woman gets if we go cheap.”

“How much did we offer the Hartwell’s?”

“Five hundred thousand. If we bring her in she is going to want more, at least two to three times that.”

“Fine whatever she wants to get the job done. Just make sure that DeMarco is dead by next week. We can hold off paying the DeMarco bitch for a few days that way. If I have to pay someone, I would rather it be to get rid of a problem than to buy something that should rightfully be ours to begin with.”

“What about that SLED Detective?”

Gray thought about for a minute. “Let her take care of that idiot Kelly Hartwell. With Harwell out of the picture we don’t need to worry about paying him for DeMarco and we can finally gain total control over the meth trade in Western South Carolina long with eastern Georgia. Leave her alone for now.”

“Very well Gray if you’re sure about that. If the little girl gets out of hand we can just have the Tulip take care of her as well.” With that Malcom got up and headed for his office. “Don’t screw this up Grayson. We can afford another one.”

“It is damn shame that we can’t get that one woman what was her name? You know the one I’m talking about. The one that killed those two families in one night.”

“You’re talking about the Dove, Gray, and no one has hear from her in over twelve years. But you’re right the Dove would have been prefect for this job. Too bad she has retired.”

------to be continued-------

Happy Thanksgiving to all our readers here at Big Closet Top Shelf and Happy Holly Days.



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