Educational Justice -chp9

Educational Justice


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.


This is a work of fiction an any persons in this work are purely fictional.

Chapter 9

Billy’s Big Pizza Barn…

After Officer Junior Tease had handcuffed and secured Alice Farley in the back of his partner’s cruiser, he turned to ensure that the EMT’s were taking care of David Longmire and Mike Else. He had already called in for backup and one more ambulance. Once he had the needed personnel to handle the situation safely, he pulled the eight girls off to one side. It didn’t take long before he had the full story from the girls. When Joe Beatty came out with the video surveillance of what had transpired in the parking lot, Junior knew had an open and shut case.

He only had one problem that needed to be sorted out, the weapons the two Spanish girls were carrying. “Look ladies I know that you think the U.S. is someplace where everyone goes around carrying concealed weapons, but nothing is further from the truth. I am afraid that you’re going to have to hand over the shock gloves. They are illegal for civilians to carry. The batons are questionable so I ASK that you hand those over as well. Now hand them over please?”

“Excuse me officer, but that won’t be happening.” Kasey told the man. Then she handed over her Diplomatic Credentials. “Those say we can carry whatever we want for our defense. To take our weapons is tantamount to an International Incident. I do not believe that your supervisor would wish such a thing?”

For one of the few times in his young life, Junior Tease didn’t buck the situation. He had spent 8 years in the Marines before becoming a cop. He had served three years at the U.S. Embassy in Israel and saw more than a few of those little wallets during that time. He knew for a fact that these two teenage girls could kill someone and all the U.S. Government could do is ask for their return home after six to nine months of discussion, if a scapegoat hadn't been found to take the blame. For anyone else, those weapons may be illegal, but not for these girls.

“Seeing as how this is a purely a case of self-defense, and in the spirit of diplomacy, ladies I’ll wish you a good day and hope that your Embassy doesn’t wish to become involved in the matter any further.” Junior said, in hopes it could stay a local matter.

Kasey nodded. “We understand Policia. However, if we should see those two men and that clearly deranged woman again, I am afraid that we will have to report the matter to our Embassy and your State Department. If only for our own safety. Tu entiendes, si?”

“Comprendo. Don’t worry ladies, by the time the D.A. and the Judge get done seeing this video; they’ll never see the light of day for a long time.” Junior closed his clipboard and headed out to his cruiser. Once he was clear of the door and in his car Junior made one phone call. When the call was answered, Junior got straight to the point of his call. “Uncle Tim you know I normally don't try to tell you how to do your job. But this time, you need to listen to me.”

The Chief sighed. “Junior, I have told you a thousand times that I will not show you, or any family member, preferential treatment.”

“Shut up and listen to me uncle! Alice Farley is on her way to lockup on attempted kidnapping charges, endangering a minor, and a shit-load more charges. Whatever happens, the Henley’s or Gilroy’s cannot bail her out! If they do; the Department and your office are going to facing serious shit from the U.S. State Department, at the minimum! The same goes for the Henley and Gilroy pet monkey-fucks; David Longmire and Mike Else. They’re on their way to the ER, as we speak, by the way. Trust me; do everything in your power to keep those people in the can and out of the light of day.” Junior Tease instructed

Tim demanded. “Junior, what in the name of God is going on? What did they do? Try to kidnap the First Kid or something?”

Junior groaned. “They might as well have Uncle Tim. In fact, it would have been better, they could have been shot and all done with. They tried to nab a pair of Embassy kids for Christ sake. I mean, how stupid could they be? We’re talking about an International Incident here. One that could damned well have started a war at most. At the least, EVERY alphabet agency in the country would come here and tear up the whole damn county!”

“Holy shit! Okay. I’ll make sure that Farley, Longmire and his guy never see a courtroom or the light of day again, Junior. Now I better get off this phone and head down to processing and make sure Farley understands her situation. I’ll send Gladys over to the hospital to deal with Longmire.” The phone went dead in Junior’s hand and he sighed. He had done what he could to keep things from escalating out of control, and it was in his uncle’s hands now.

Inside Billy’s Big Pizza Barn; the teenagers were putting in their order for an extra-large deep dish meat lover’s pizza with extra cheese. To keep their cover story from being blown, Sam and Annette were standing off to one side waiting to place their own order. Seeing them standing there, Kendra reached into her purse taking out a bag of M&M's and stepped over to where they were. She smiled as Annette and Samantha watched her. Carefully Kendra poured some M&Ms into her hand then sorted them out. Slowly she held out her hand, a group of two blue on one side and a group of three blue on the other.

Sam took the two. "You look better now."

"Much better." Annette agreed and took the three.

Kendra then carefully placed more on her hand and gave them a hopeful look. Another blue. One, two and three greens. One and two browns. One and two yellows. The code was easy to understand. She was asking about the team that had taken down the ship.

Samantha decided to be truthful and took all, but the two and three greens away and put them in Kendra's other hand. "Just those. This time."

Kendra wanted to cry with joy. They were being rescued once more. Her friend KMasterson2000 had indeed kept her word and more. Not only did she come, she had brought the secret soldiers to save them again. After glancing around to check they were still alone, Kendra stepped close and hugged Samantha then Annette and motion 'thank you' in sign language.

"Do the others know?" Annette asked.

Kendra sniffed back her tears and shook her head. Only she had figured out who they were, but not told the others.

Sam nodded. "Good. Keep it that way. We'd prefer that you didn't know, but that's our own fault. Well, my fault. You needed to know that you hadn't been forgotten. Or what you had done wasn't overlooked. However, you should have told your handlers that you were in trouble before we got involved. We're here now, but nobody else can know that we are. Understood?"

Kendra nodded her understanding then smiled and curtsied again.

"Good. Off you go." Annette said with a smile to send her on her way.

Southern Costal Transport…

Maria DeMarco was just getting ready to head home for the day when Anna stepped into her office. “From the look on your face Anna, I take it we have a problem?”

“You could say that Maria. I just double-checked Gemini’s position and they are not at the school.”

“SHIT! Are you positive that they are in trouble?” Maria could just imagine the reaction of the girls’ parents. In fact, she didn’t have to imagine, as she would be just a bad. The problem would be her granddaughters’ reactions if they were in trouble. “Do you have a lock on their current location?”

“They’re currently in transit Madam Maria. I am only able to get this infernal thing to give me a moving dot on the map program.” Anna really didn’t want to tell her Donna that she was having problems keeping track of her granddaughters. The DeMarco Family were not known for showing mercy when it came to those who have failed them. And of all the DeMarco’s in the past two centuries, Maria DeMarco was legendary in her fury. The thought of someone hurting the two girls that have become her granddaughters, sent chills down Anna’s spine. The only thing that scared Anna more was Maria blaming her for the girls being hurt.

“NOW you know why I hate that damned thing!” Maria pulled her cellphone out and put it into secure mode then called Bobby. The call was answered before the end of the first ring. “StalkingHorse, do you have a lock on Gemini’s current location?”

Bobby chuckled. “Relax Madam, the Swans are with them as we speak.”

“Thank the lord. Now, where are they?” Maria relaxed.

“They went out for pizza with several of their classmates, Madam. It seems that Gemini had a run in with our bully suspects earlier today and decided that the best way to help their friends, was to take them out for pizza.” Bobby speculated.

Maria heard something in Bobby’s voice that sounded a little like strained laughter “I see. I hope that the girls are alright? That nothing has happened that I need to explain to Operations?”

Bobby broke with a snort. “Oh Shit! Um… I didn’t think about that.”

“Just how bad is it Stalking Horse? Please tell me that Gemini didn’t put one of their bully suspects in the hospital? I know they were cleared for that level of retaliation, but it could compromise the rest of our investigation at this point.” Maria reminded.

Bobby was barely holding back laughter now. “Negative Madam. Nothing like that. It seems that someone thought that they could kidnap our junior members and their friends, in front of God, everybody and video surveillance at Billy’s Big Pizza Barn.”

“I take it that our girls acquitted themselves admirably?” The smile in Maria’s voice let Bobby know that she wasn’t upset now.

Bobby did laugh now. “You could say THAT Madam. I am looking at the Facebook video of the incident now. If you want to see it for yourself; go to YouTube and enter KIDNAPPERS GET SCHOOLED! I have to say, our girls handled the matter in a professional and efficient manner. Even with putting a pair of wannabe thugs down, Gemini never once broke their cover. Our problem may be in how we explain their level of training to some of the other students at AEGS.”

Maria chuckled. “I don’t doubt that Gemini have already started thinking of a very plausible explanation for their fellow students. After all, they already have a built-in excuse for some of their less then lady-like behavior with their cover story.”

“Damn, I forgot about that. Military brats do tend to learn more than one thing from their parents. Okay, I’ll let the Swans know about the cover story for Gemini. Can you contact Command and let them know about the YouTube posting? I think we need to get that taken down fast as possible.” Bobby suggested.

Maria agreed. “Oh damn. Yes, I agree with you on that matter StalkingHorse. How are you doing with your assignment over at SRMA?”

Bobby updated her. “We have been able to gain the support of local assets in our fight against the Ewing bastards. It took some convincing, but they came around. Our bully suspects are about to have a real hard time.”

“I take it that your local assets are less than conventional?” Maria asked.

Bobby chuckled. “Madam all I can say about these young men is, you don’t want to piss them off. There is funny thing about gang bangers. Whenever they are confronted by a common enemy they tend to come together. All Rumrunner and I did was give them a target for their natural aggression. That and showed them a set of standing orders that are older than we are. Orders that give them a free hand in dealing with the Ewing fuck sticks. We also promised to train them in the fine points of being a Special Forces soldier.”

“Stalking Horse I know that you know the significant of all that. Now PLEASE explain it to me?” Maria almost growled.

“The training we’ll give them will help them get into one of the Military Academy Colleges easier than just having a diploma from SRMA. We’re giving them a hand up and the tools for taking down the bullies over here.” Bobby informed her.

Maria said. “Thank you StalkingHorse. While I have you on the line, I need to update you on my own endeavors. I have been able to secure a sit-down with our primary suspects, tomorrow evening. I hope to be able to ferret out the reasons for their attacks on the schools. Before you ask; I believe there is more to their desires to control possible future political power. Too much of this feels like a personal act of revenge to me. As the White Swan would say, I have a gut feeling.”

Bobby thought about what Maria had just told him. He didn’t like the fact that his mother-in-law was going to be 'bearding the lion in his den' with these people on her own. He knew for a fact that Annette and Samantha really wouldn’t like it.

Bobby asked, point blank.“Madam are you sure that is a good idea? They could very well decide to just kill you then and there. These people are not Famiglia. They do not respect the old-world ways.”

Maria calmly reassured him. “Do not worry about this old woman, my dear boy. To use one of your phrases, I will ensure that my six is covered. I know my limits. I may be getting up there in years, but I can still handle these uncultured ruffians. However, to easy the minds of the rest of the team, I will send the Maid over to learn how to use certain apps on her phone. We really must sit down and ensure that ALL members of the team are trained in how to use our equipment.”

“I agree with you Madam. In fact, I’ll meet you and the Maid at your residence and give you both a block of instruction on the use of those apps.” Bobby replied.

“Thank you Robert. We would greatly appreciate the time and instruction. Addio per ora.” Maria didn’t wait for Bobby’s reply and just hung up.

“I take it Maria that Master Robert will be joining us this evening to explain how to use these infernal devices?” Anna asked with a smirk.

“If he wishes to see the light of day, he will have his 'happy ass' on our doorstep, waiting for us to get home. I told them all that I need more than just a twenty-minute class on how to use these phones. No, I take that back; it is my fault. I should have paid more attention while Krystel and Kimberly was teaching me about these phones. Oh, I know how to get into the secured area and access the programs in that area. I just never thought that I would have the need to run an operation in the field, while being in the field at the same time, again. I should be back on the island handling this Anna. I guess I am getting too old for this shit. I believe I see now, why Paul has taken a place behind a desk in Washington.” Maria confided.

When Anna heard one of the most popular movie tag lines coming out of Maria, she just had to start giggling. The idea of Maria DeMarco being too old to run a contract from the field was, in her mind, ridiculous in the extreme. This was the Dove, one of the most feared Mafia Donna’s to ever head-up a Mafia Family.

“Maria, you are far from your dotage my friend. While it is true, neither of us are spring chicks, we can still handle a simple contract. As for running a multi-target contract in the field; this is child’s play for the Dove. You just need to stop thinking like the police and start handling this like a Donna.”

Maria shook her head. “Oh, we have stepped far beyond that point Anna. And I’ll have you know that I have stopped thinking like a cop for some time now. In truth, I think that when we leave here tonight, we shall be taking a drive through the countryside before heading home. We really must return that poor rodent to his natural habitat.”

Maria, had noticed the white pickup truck sitting in the parking lot of the strip mall just after their arrival that morning. She had watched throughout the day as the driver would only get out to get coffee, cigarettes, and go to the bathroom. She could tell that the young man was nervous about something, and had a pretty good idea as to why.

Anna looked surprised. “Oh? I thought that you were going to let the boys and girls handle the poor boy. Do you think that he is the other half of the local so-called talent that was hired to ‘talk’ with you?”

“Yes, I do. As for letting the children have all the fun; you’re mistaken, Anna. I tire of these fools and their heavy-handed attempts at being Mafiosi. They lack elegance, honor and above all; tradition. And I plan on starting with that thug out there in the truck. The DeMarco Family has always held ourselves apart from the other Families for a reason. We’re the ones they answer to when they cross the line. We are their Judge, Jury and Executioner.” The iron in Maria’s voice was harder than cold-forged steel. She was done playing with these Gilroy and Henley families. The very stupidity of trying to kidnap her granddaughters, was the final straw. Maria DeMarco was now going to war.

“Anna, be a dear. Contact Joey Piscalli for me.” Maria instructed.

“Maria, you are not actually considering bringing that madman in, are you?” Anna knew the hitter Maria wanted. Joseph ‘Joey the icepick’ Piscalli was not someone that most people wanted to deal with. He was one of those rare killers that made other killers leery. He earned his bones at the tender age of fourteen by using an icepick to kill three men in front of Don Alfred Bono. The young man was a true sociopathic killer that was colder than any person Anna knew of.

“Yes Anna, I am. We may need an outsider that I can control and is more than willing to disrupt the plans of our suspects.” The smile on Maria’s face let Anna know that she was thinking not like an Operations Chief, but a Donna. "It is something I would have previously done, therefore, I should do so now."

Anna deferred to her. “I’ll make the call now Maria. What account should I use for young Joseph’s fee?”

“One of the Cayman Island accounts should be adequate for this purpose. After all, this will be one expenditure that we cannot show a receipt for. Besides, I can always use the payment as a tax write-off.” Maria smiled.

Both women started to laugh at the fact that they had to account for every dime that they spent anyway. Maria had more money than most people would ever know about or she could ever spend. For more than three hundred years; the DeMarco family had been working as assassins for hire. One hundred and twenty-five years ago, Maria’s mother had started to invest the family money into more legitimate businesses. Now the family fortune exceeded most Third World Nations' national budget. Maria had added to that fortune during her time as an assassin and Prima Ballerina. Even after her dead husband’s mismanagement, she had more than enough to rebound from near bankruptcy.

Anna asked. “When do you want young Joseph here Maria?”

“No later than Saturday, Anna. If he is currently under contract, see if you can arrange for Stephon Bellerose to take handle the contract.” Maria instructed.

Anna nodded then thought. “Who else would you want Maria? I assume that this is war with the Gilroy’s and Henley’s. I know that the attack against the girls has you more than a little pissed off. I am sure that one of the other Dons or Donnas would be willing to lend you the needed Soldiers.” Anna knew that Maria was pissed if she was even thinking of bringing in Stephon and Joey.

“If I had my druthers; Thomas Kennedy, Markus Harmon, David ‘Domino’ Dempsey and Lisa Dunkirk. I know they are not A-list hitters, but they get the job done when it comes to this type of war.”

Anna was surprised. “I’ll do what I can Maria, but are you sure it such a good idea to bring that kind of firepower now?”

Maria corrected her. “No, Anna we are not bringing them in at this time. Just have them lined up, in the wings waiting. If we cannot handle this with the team, then I will call in the real Mafioso. I made a promise to Paul to walk away from that life Anna, and I mean to keep it. Yes, I know that sometimes we must kill in our new line of work. The difference now is, that is the last order of business, not the first.”

“I will make the arrangements Maria. Are we still having the Gilroy’s and Henley’s for dinner tomorrow night?” Anna checked.

“Oh yes. That dinner will be the deciding factor in how this all plays out.” Maria turned back to her window and spotted the young man from the pick-up returning once more. “It seems that our admirer has a small bladder. That should work in our favor when we leave. We’ll take the long way home. There is that nice red clay back-road, just past Grant and Lee, that we can use.”

“Yes, that would be a very good spot to have a private ‘talk’ with someone. There is even a nice little swampy area for getting rid of evidence.” Anna knew exactly where Maria wanted to talk the young man. “I am sure that the local wildlife will have a nice snack. I understand that hunting season is almost here.”

Maria arched an eyebrow. “Which hunting season are you talking about Anna?”

“Why, alligator hunting season. I hear the meat is very tasty, but you need the right kind of bait to get the really BIG ones.” Anna, had a smile a mile wide as she talked about getting rid of the body and helping some local hunter at the same time.

Across the street from SCT…

Kelly Harwell was beyond being pissed off. In the last twenty-four hours; he and his brother had gotten their biggest contract ever, only to have things go terribly wrong, less than four hours later. He just knew what had happened. First; his stupid-ass brother got himself made by the DeMarco bitch. Then, instead of waiting and following the plan, decided to handle the contract by himself. So, instead of creating an accident, Billy decided to use one of his homemade bombs. Kelly could see it in his head. Billy figured that he could make DeMarco’s death look like a gas explosion. Sure, there would have been no witnesses, but the explosion would have drawn way too much unwanted attention.

The more Kelly thought about the explosion; the more he was sure Billy screwed the pooch with his little ‘firecracker’ of his. Kelly couldn’t remember the number of times that he had told his brother not to play with that shit inside the garage. The loss of his brother was nowhere near as bad as losing the lab. He could always get someone to replace his brother, but the loss of sixty grand in product was something he couldn’t replace. The loss of the garage, also as a cover for the meth lab and chop shop, was also one that he couldn’t afford.

On top of all that; there was the loss of his trophy collection. Years of practicing his calling gone, now in the hands of SLED. There was more than enough evidence in those trophies to send him to the ‘chair’. All fifty-seven jars, each one with the windows of the soul for one of his playthings and targets. Gone, all of it, gone. All because Billy had to get stupid.

All he had left was the contract on DeMarco. Thankfully, Kelly was sure that Billy didn’t have a chance to spill his guts to the cops or somebody looking after Maria 'the Dove' DeMarco. Kelly knew that if he had, those people would have been tearing down his mother’s door. As it was, he had just enough time to get away before the cops showed up at his mother’s place. Kelly, knew that he had to complete the contract before either Henley or Gilroy took a contract out on him.

He had been sitting in the strip mall parking lot since eight o’clock that morning. He watched as DeMarco and that other old bitch entered the offices of Southern Costal Transport. He knew that they had not left the building all day, not even for lunch. It was now well after the normal closing time for the SCT offices and he had seen the last of the SCT employees leave already. Kelly knew that only DeMarco and the old woman that had been seen with her were still in the building. He also knew that the loading docks were wide open for the evening arrivals. He could get in the backway, kill them both and be gone, before the security guard ever finished the first of his rounds.

Kelly didn’t like working on the fly like this, but this time he had to. His time was limited and getting shorter. He knew that he had to get this contract fulfilled then get out of town fast. The problem was he needed cash to run with, and the only way to get that needed cash was to fulfill the contract. Then just before he could exit his truck, the two women left SCT.

Kelly started his pick-up and followed the two women, through the city and out into the countryside. He couldn’t believe his luck was finally turning around. The dumb bitches were making it easier and easier for him the further they went out into the rural part of the county. Then he thought his heart would stop when their car turned down Shumpert Road. Of all the secondary or dirty roads in Akin County, this one road was prefect for his needs. Now all he had to do, was force their car off the road. Then, to his amazement, DeMarco just pulled over to the side and stopped. Not knowing what else to do, Kelly pulled in behind them.

As he was getting out of his truck, Kelly slid his .38 Saturday Night Special into the waist-band of his pants. It may only have five shots, but that was more than enough to handle two old women. With a smile that failed to reach his eyes, Kelly approached the two old women.

“Good evening ladies, having a bit of car trouble?” Kelly tried to sound casual.

Maria smiled over at the young man that was there to kill herself and Anna. “Unfortunately yes; we are. For some reason, the engine just cut out and won’t restart. Do you think you could look at it?”

Kelly knew that he had just been handed a golden opportunity. Walking to the front of the car. “Sure thing, ma’am. Just pop the hood latch under the dash and I’ll see if I can get you ladies on your way.”

Anna had already stepped around to the driver’s door and was reaching inside to release the hood latch. While Kelly was watching Anna, Maria had stepped around to stand behind Kelly. The last thing Kelly saw a cruel smile come to Anna’s face. The last thing he felt was the blow to the back of his head. Maria stood there with the leather black-jack in her hand, smiling down at the very unconscious Kelly Hartwell. Their hastily conceived plan had worked perfectly.

“Maria, if you’re still thinking about being too old for this shit; think again. You delivered that blow with all the precision and strength of a woman half your age. Why, I doubt that even your daughters or any of the other ladies back on Ram’s Rock Island could have done as well. Prima Lyssa, is the only one who can give you a run for your money.”

“Thank you Anna, but I believe young Tiffany could do as well herself. Now, let's not stand around. Help me get our friend into the trunk. We still need to find a place to question the boy before we get rid of him.” Maria had learned from a long life of crime and the other half of the O.I.C.A that first-hand Intel was the best Intel. She knew that this boy had answers to questions she needed answered. Maria changed their plans at the last minute. After securing Kelly in the trunk of their car Maria had Anna get in Kelly’s truck. “We’re going to that old property over in Lexington county Anna.”

“You mean that old farmhouse just across the county line off South Carolina state route 302?” Anna asked.

“Yes, that one. It is secluded enough, that no one will hear him if he screams. This boy has answers. I want them. We will be taking a page out of Lyssa's book.” There was a hint of iron in Maria’s voice.

Anna closed the trunk, with Kelly inside. “What do we do if he won’t answer your questions?”

Maria looked sternly. “I doubt we will have to go to the lengths she would. Either way, we finish what we started. We are done playing with these amateurs. We know that the Henleys and Gilroys hired this boy and his brother to kill me yesterday, but not why. I have a feeling that this one knows the answer to why they were hired, along with a few more answers.”

Anna had been Maria’s friend and employee for long enough to know when to follow her led. So, with no more questions, Anna got into Kelly’s truck and followed Maria into the evening light. A half hour later, the two vehicles pulled into the driveway for an old farmhouse just inside the Lexington county border.

Maria drove the car around to the barn, with Anna following in the truck. Once inside the barn, Maria and Anna used a pull and rope to lift Kelly from the trunk of their car. They then sat back and waited for Kelly to come around. They didn’t have long to wait. The groans of a person waking in an uncomfortable position drew their attention to where Kelly was hanging.

“It seems that our guest has finally decided to grace us with his presence Maria.” Anna quipped.

“Indeed, it does, my dear Anna. Shall we?” Maria stood up and walked over to where Kelly was hanging. Looking up at the local hitman Maria gave him a look of disgust. “I abhor amateurs young man. You have just three seconds to answer my questions. If you don’t answer, then my friend here will break one of your toes. If you lie, she will break one of your toes. If you use foul language, she will break one of your toes. If you are rude or crude in any way, she will break one of your toes. Do we have an understanding?”

Kelly looked down at Maria and knew that he had royally fucked up. He really was facing Maria 'the Dove' DeMarco, Mafia Donna, assassin and the nastiest bitch in the Midwest. He had hoped and prayed that it was another DeMarco. “Donna DeMarco, please understand this was all about business. There is nothing personal in this, I swear.”

Maria sighed and looked over at Anna. “Anna, be a dear and break the pinky toe on his left foot, please?” Anna just smiled and twisted Kelly’s pinky toe backwards until Kelly started to scream. There was a sickening crunch as Kelly’s pinky snapped. “I told you young man, if you lie Anna will break one of your toes. Now do you understand the situation that you are in?”

“Yes ma’am.” Kelly grunted out over the pain. He knew that these women would torture him if him didn’t answer the way they wanted. He may enjoy killing but he wasn’t into all that rape, and torture bullshit other serial killers were. No, he liked his kills to be neat and clean with only the eyes being removed after he killed his victims. “What do you want to know?”

“Ah, see I told you, Maria. The boy is not a total dummy.” Anna held her hand out palm up. “I’ll take my twenty now.”

“What are you telling me you had a bet going?” Kelly asked in horror.

“Well, yes, Kelly. Oh, we do know who you are.” Anna held up Kelly’s wallet. “Unlike you, boy, we are professionals. We do however, like to have fun when we can. Now when Donna Maria asks; you answer.”

“Now, now, Anna. There is no need to threaten the boy anymore. He has been properly schooled.” Maria looked back up at Kelly. “Who hired you?”

Kelly answered quickly. “Both the Gilroys and the Henleys.”

“Have they ever brought in outside contractors before?” Maria asked.

“Eleven times in the past fifteen years. Only twice have they used the same contractor. Some woman that no one knows what she looks like or what her name is. The only thing that anyone knows about her is her calling card. A White Tulip.” Kelly got a faraway look in his eyes. “Wait there was one other contractor they used more than once. Some joker called Jimbo Fisher. The Gilroy’s pulled him in to handle three jobs.”

Maria asked. “Why are the Henleys and Gilroys so obsessed with AEGS and SRMA?”

“That is something I don’t know. All I know is they want the two schools.” Kelly admitted fearfully.

Maria knew he was telling the truth. “Why do they want me dead?”

Kelly told what he had heard. “You kept them from securing the schools back in oh eight. That really pissed off the wives for some reason.”

“Where did they get the blackmail material on the Dorm-mothers?” Maria asked.

“The kids got the shit on three of the dorm-mothers. The last one was handled by me and my bother. I followed the woman over into Lexington county to Four Seasons Long Term Cancer Care-center. It didn’t take long to figure out who she was there to see. I just passed the info on to old man Gilroy.” Kelly admitted.

Maria zero'ed in. “Who really runs the two families?”

“What do mean by that? Everybody knows that Grayson Gilroy and Malcom Henley are the heads of those families.” Kelly figured if he could keep the truth of who the real power in the families was, he would be safe if he got out of there alive. His screams echoed of the walls of the barn.

“I told you not to lie Kelly. Anna please break another toe to ensure that he understands.” Anna, just smiled at Maria and broke a third toe on Kelly’s left foot. “Now, Kelly, who is the REAL power in those families?”

“The WIVES! For the love of God, it's the wives that run the families. Everybody thinks it's the husbands running the families, but nothing gets done unless either old lady gives the go ahead.” Kelly was sweating from the pain of his broken toes now. It had finally dawned on him that his only chance of getting out of this alive was to tell them everything. “After them, it's the oldest daughter of the Henley’s, Adaline Henley. She is the next queen bitch. She knows all the nasty little family secrets.”

Maria was convinced he was telling the truth. “Tell me about the local talent. Who do the two families use?”

“Depends on what they want done. If it's murder; they come to me and my brother or Danny House. Extortion, kidnapping or intimidation; they go to one of two guys. David Longmire or Steve Cox. Arson and blackmail they use the O’Kelly brothers, Tom and Clarence. For anything else; they stay in-house and use their employees that have records for small time work. You know strong armed robbery, drug dealing, the usual gang-banger stuff.” Kelly spilled his guts on the local talent, he saw no reason to hold back. After all, none of these guys ever did anything for him.

“Why weren’t the Marshals brought in after the covers were blown on those four girls at AEGS?” This was something that Maria really wanted to know.

“The local Marshals are shorthanded in a major way. Between me, my brother and Danny House; we’ve kind of made it easier for people to make a dishonest living around these parts. They just don’t have the manpower to investigate the deaths of those dead deputies. The Henleys and Gilroys paid us big time to make sure that the hitters for those jobs couldn’t be traced back to them.” Kelly admitted.

“Why haven't these murders been investigated? Every fool out there knows that killing a cop is tantamount to suicide.” Anna couldn’t believe what she was hearing. This fool was admitting to killing cops. “Don’t you know, never to confess to killing a cop boy?”

Kelly confessed. “I would never confess to the cops, but you’re the mob. I figure, if I’m straight with you, you might consider me for a position in your organization.”

Not even Maria could keep her anger under control at hearing this. This thug wanted to join her Family after having the audacity to try and kill her. “Anna, do you believe the STUPIDITY of this boy?”

Anna glared at him as well. “Maria, I cannot fathom the depths of the boy’s ignorance. It is truly beyond me. As it is getting late Maria, I suggest you get on with your questions.”

“Yes, you’re right Anna. Who was the low life that blew the cover of those girls?” Maria calmly demanded.

“All I know, or anybody knows for that matter, is Tracy Lee for the local rag got a tip about those freaks.” Anna didn’t need for Maria to tell her to break his toe. With four of his toes broken so far Kelly was having a hard time not pissing his pants as he screamed.

“Call those unfortunate girls freaks again and I will cut your balls off, Kelly! Now, who is this Tracy Lee?” Maria felt that they needed to find out where this woman got her information.

“She is the Editor and Chief for the Citizen Newspaper. Nothing gets printed without her say so. That’s all I know, I swear, about what happened with those kids over at AEGS. You want to know more about that mess, you got to talk to Lee. And if SLED couldn’t get anything out her, you won’t either. That girl has this idea in her head of being the next great Investigative Reporter.” Kelly was crying at this point. He knew that he wasn’t walking out of there in one piece anymore.

“So, she wants to be the next Maureen Dowd, but doesn’t have her ethics. Very well then, I will take your advice. Now; seeing as how you have been so accommodating, we won’t take up anymore of your time.” Maria reached into her purse and pulled out her switchblade.

“I told you everything you wanted to know. You don’t have to kill me. You said you would let me go if I answered your questions.” Kelly seeing the knife began to panic like all people facing death.

“When did I ever tell you that I would let you live? After all, you were dumb enough to accept a contract on a Mafia Donna, me to be exact.” Maria slide the blade of her knife up and under Kelly’s ribcage. With an ease born from years of experience, Maria pierced Kelly’s heart. The loss of blood would not be noticeable until Maria pulled her knife out. Kelly was dead before he felt the blade enter. “Anna, let the boy down. I’ll get a tarp to wrap him in.”

Anna began to release the rope. “Where are we going to dump the body Maria?”

“Just as we planned earlier, Anna. We'll use the local wildlife to get rid of the body. In fact, we can use that old trail along the South Edisto river to get rid of the body. There are more than enough gator sightings in that area.” Maria replied.

“Maria, how is it you know so much about this part of South Carolina?” Anna asked her old friend in wonder.

“You know me, Anna. I always learn as much as I can about an area before I buy anything. For AEGS and SRMA though, I didn’t consider the local politics. That was my mistake. As for SCT it was natural for me to look at places a driver could hide, or dump, a load if need be. With that in mind, I also picked up a few Foreclosed properties in a fifty-mile radius of the SCT terminal. This is just one of them. There are eight more that are owned by MMACS in this area.” Maria just smiled at Anna. “And yes, I visited each one before I bought them.”

Anna chuckled. “Once a Donna, ALWAYS a Donna. You will never change my friend.”

“Get his truck. We’ll leave it abandoned on that dirt road where we took him down. It will be another great mystery for the locals.” Maria giggled at the thought of driving the local police crazy with one more unsolved crime.

It didn’t take the two women long to reach the turn off for the South Edisto River. With Anna driving the truck, the two women could get further back along the river bank to a point where they could dump Kelly’s body. As Anna and Maria were unloading Kelly’s body, Anna spotted something in the mud.

“Maria, I don’t think that the alligators will get a chance to eat this boy.” Anna remarked.

“Oh, why is that?” In response to Maria’s question Anna pointed down at the mud wallow. “I see. Yes, they could very well make this a more fortuitous dumping point. If I am not mistaken, they are omnivorous.”

Anna nodded. “They are. My uncle used to use them to get rid of all manner of refuse.”

“Well if that be the case, let us make haste and return to Akin, leaving the animals to their meal. Though this could be considered a cruelty; to the poor creatures. How long do you think it will take them to get rid of the body?” Maria really wanted to know.

“Oh, depends on the size of the sounder, herd, and the size of the members of it. But to take a body of this size; one, maybe two, days. That is if the group is no bigger than one sow and two or three piglets. That wallow is big enough for a ten to fifteen head sounder with at least three boars, and four sows with piglets. So the body may last the night, at most.”

Maria smiled as they pushed the body into the mud wallow. Kelly Hartwell had made his living off the bodies of his victims. No one knew where those bodies where now. Most likely Kelly had used the very same method of disposal that Maria and Anna were now, to get rid of them. The irony of the situation was not lost on either woman. They could see Billy and Kelly Hartwell dumping the bodies of their victims in similar mud wallows all over South Carolina.

Over the last two decades; the wild hog problem had grown beyond the control of natural predators. It had become so bad that the SCDNR had placed a bounty on wild hogs and declare an open hunting season for them. The damage to crops and livestock caused by wild hogs were the number one reasons for these measures. Thankfully for Maria and Anna, the wild hog population was bigger than the Department of Natural Resources believed. Even as they were pulling out, they could hear the hogs returning.

Maria looked in the mirror. “We must have rung the dinner bell, Anna.”

“No we didn’t. I would have remembered if one of us called out ‘Suey!!! Here pig, pig!’.” Both women started to laugh at the very gallows humor of the situation. “Besides, I doubt that pigs are cannibals. From what I understand the only thing they won’t eat, is each other.”

----- To be continued -----

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