Garth had been watching Dawn very carefully during her spiel. When she had finished I looked over to him for a reaction.
"She believes it."
"Well big brother, after what I saw last night, I'm fairly certain I believe it also."
I looked back over at Dawn, "So Dawn, I'm sure you have a huge speech on what a 'Vampire Slayer' is and why Faith can do what she can do, and what a Watcher is and does. However, we tend to be a more results driven organization here. Last night, I would of chalked it up to yet another example of the weirdness that is our lives..."
Faith mumbled, "Preaching to the choir here..." and even Garth smiled a little at that.
"...But now you are here and, using my well-trained detecting skills. I can tell that you want something. No, no applause is necessary. Just throw money, " at that Dawn looked non-plussed and Faith snickered.
"He's got ya cold Little D, " Faith moved in front of the desk and sprawled bonelessly in one of the client chairs, "So Mongo an'associates, th'deal is this. Dawn did her research-fu on ya last night an'found y'can play nice with others but take absolutely no shit from anybody. Especially th'government. We kind o'like that attitude an'wanted t'see what ya were like in a non-combat zone plus I had t'ask ya th'most important question."
"Duh, Yankees or Mets?"
"Well, Mets of course."
She smiled again and pumped her fist, "Great! Now I don't have t'stake ya. C'mon Little D, we got what we needed, " she flipped a business card on to the desk as she stood up. "In case y'have problems in our jurisdiction." With that the two of them left the office.
Garth, Harper, and I sat there for for a few moments just staring at the closing door before we could speak. Finally I had to say something, "So what now?"
Garth looked over at my desk, "I think that card should go into the safe next to Lippett's."
Six months later I was enjoying a late supper in my office while finishing a final client report. Mary was on a limited concert tour, so Garth was with her, and Harper was at the Bronx Zoo assisting in an Anaconda exhibit design. David had left a few hours before, so I was peacefully eating my roast beef sandwich, and trying to think of a polite synonym for buffoon.
Then, as the usual at moments like this, the phone rang, totally disrupting my train of thought.
"Fredrickson and Fredrickson, Robert Fredrickson speaking. How can I help you?"
"Mongo? Thank God! It's Phil Statler!"
I straightened up instinctively. Phil was the owner/manager emeritus of Statler Brothers Circus. Garth and I, as well as Harper and a bunch of our cronies had purchased it from the holding company where it had fallen into receivership. Phil had run it for us until his retirement three years ago.
"What's wrong Phil?"
"I just got a call from Dave Rudy. He's the 24-hour man. He's been waiting in Sawshock Minnesota for the past day and a half waiting for the show to arrive. He just got word that the whole caravan was found parked along the highway and no crew or performers were there, just a whole lot of blood. He called me and I figured I'd better call you, Harper, and Garth."
"Thanks Phil, I'll let the others know, " I was logging on to the charter agency webpage to order up a plane, "Tell Dave I'm on my way, and to tell the cops that an owner is coming up ASAP."
"Got it Mongo, anything else?"
"Yes, email me the complete personnel roster, insurance, and payroll info. The locals are going to want that."
"Can do, you want me to fly up too?"
I thought for a second, "Not yet, if you're needed I will yell, don't worry about that, and I WILL keep you posted."
"You'd better. Good luck Mongo!"
"Thanks Phil, " I finished reserving a plane out at LaGuardia, then sent texts to Harper and Garth telling what the crazy dwarf was up to now. I headed up Harper's and my rooms and packed a bag while calling for a cab. Thinking a moment, I figured 'better safe than sorry' and opened my gunsafe to retrieve my Beretta. I had just made it down the stairs when the cab pulled up. As I was climbing in, my cell rang.
"Robby, you had better not have left without me!"
"Oh hi darling. I'm only going to be gone for…"
"Don't you dare 'Hi darling' me! I'll be at the main gate of the zoo, " with that she hung up.
Sighing, I rapped on the partition, "Instead of straight to the airport, we'll need to stop at the Bronx Zoo first."
The cabbie shrugged and nodded.
I had rented a Gulfstream and within an hour, Harper and I were winging our way west. We spent most of the flight looking through the paperwork that Phil had sent me. According to the documents, there were currently 35 people in the troupe of which 15 were artists. They were on a northern states loop that would have carried them through the Dakotas, Montana, Idaho, and Washington. Then they would have doubled back south and east through Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado. They had left for Sawshock from Minneapolis, and the caravan had last been seen driving through Moorhead, about 25 miles from where it had been found on an old logging road.
"Robby, what do you think happened?"
"I have no absolutely no idea, but according to this the accountant deposited the gate right before they left Minneapolis. The safe probably only had a couple hundred in it. If it was robbery, they would have been better off taking the trucks and equipment."
"What about the animals?"
I scanned through the report, "All of them were in their travel cages and stalls, two lions: Sadie and Mitch, one elephant: Tuxedo Dan, Beth Allister’s horses, " I continued scanning and then froze, "Oh God, Wile E. Coyote and Mitzi were on the tour!"a/n
I'm glad I'm seeing some sort of reaction to this and I am trying to ease down on the wall o'exposition. However, writing Mongo has meant I've been dropping into Chesbro's style verbiage, and one of the things that shown through was that wall of text love. That being said, there will be Slayers, magic, a dwarf, at least one poisonous snake, ninja, a possible appearance by a folk singer, and a former member of the Vietnam War era Phoenix Program.