The ugly concrete J. Edgar Hoover building sat nearly empty tonight. Special Agent George Witherspoon had his office and most of his floor to himself, finishing a report on his last case, a drug bust in
The ATF, the DEA, Homeland Security, the Texas Rangers, the Border Patrol, and a host of other local, county, and state agencies had participated in that one. It went off either completely without a hitch or almost without a hitch, depending on who you talked to.
Witherspoon’s aim in this report was to sway Chief Director Bannocek to the completely without a hitch camp. That was going to be difficult since the reason it went off so well was because he broke procedure.
Garza, the man in charge of the run, is known from our DEA reports to be a veteran runner, 68 years old, with grandchildren. His motives are to secure wealth for them, and his MO is to avoid confrontation, a notable difference from some of his younger cohorts.
He thought hard about the next sentence. With a sigh, he went for broke.
Sun Tzu warns us not to press a desperate foe too hard.
Yeah. That was gonna go over well with Bannocek.
If pressed from both sides, Garza might have dug in and fought. I gave the order that the agents at the west entrance of the warehouse were to give the east team a fifteen second lead. This gave Garza the illusion of the possibility of escape, and so only half his guards dug in to defend. The other half ran to the west entrance with Garza himself. DEA confirms that the half who went with him were his closest allies, former Mexican, Nicaraguan, and Columbian military, and therefore the most dangerous had they dug in with their fellows. Instead, they were caught in transition and unready by the western team.
All parties were arrested, with no injuries.
He hit save, and closed the document, resolving to edit it once more before sending it in. He took a moment to stretch.
Oh the joys of being thought a maverick. Fifteen years at the Bureau, and he was busting mid-level marijuana distributors. No one would have known the difference if it hadn’t been for that martinet Texas Ranger, who insisted on dressing him down in front of all the other agents for his decision.
But he took his lumps like a man. Relationships were important in this business, and you deal with all kinds.
His phone rang. “Witherspoon here.”
“Punk, what are you doin’ at the office at this time of night instead of at home with Margot?”
Witherspoon squinted, but the recognition of the voice beat his indignation to full awareness. He burst out laughing. “Joey, is that you?!”
Joey laughed. “Man, I woke Margot up just now, thinking any reasonable man would be home at this hour.”
Witherspoon sighed. “Oh you know me. If it’s not one thing its another.”
Joey Inez, senior detective, NOPD. The two had hit it off like a house on fire last time Witherspoon was in that neighborhood about three years ago, for an immigration scam. Since then, the good detective always called Witherspoon when he needed help with federal stuff.
“Well…this ain’t one thing, or another, Witherspoon. This is something else.”
“Oho. Something else. Alright. I’m up for a challenge.”
Joey sighed seriously. “Alright. Here’s the scoop. We got a detective here name of Conscience Velasquez. He’s a good man. Widower, raising a 12 year old daughter alone. Well, tonight they went shopping and they got ambushed by some really weird guys.”
“I…Look, I don’t know who or what they were, but they were after Maria.”
Witherspoon heard him sigh.
Joey went on. “Okay. You’re not gonna believe me, but I swear, I saw some weird shit tonight, okay? They came at them with swords and a bow and arrow. Conscience took an arrow to the leg that went all the way to the bone. They grabbed Maria and ran, but then, there were these three kids there, Tulane students, who also had swords, and tried to protect her.”
Witherspoon squinted in thought. “Swords.”
“Yeah, man. This was shit right out of a movie. Now that’s not the weird part.”
Witherspoon sat back. “I’m all ears.”
“They…” Joey sighed again.
“It’s okay. I promise I won’t disbelieve you. Whatever you saw has a logical explanation.”
“Yeah, that’s what I’m afraid of…I arrested this girl from Tulane. Grace McHugh. I swear she was carryin’ a sword as long as my sister, George. Big-ass two-handed thing right outta Braveheart.”
Witherspoon’s mind flipped through his mental catalogue of useless information and highlighted a giant sword in the hands of a blue-painted Mel Gibson. “A Scotts claymore.”
“Nevermind. Go ahead.”
“Anyway…she’s still got it. We can’t get her to give it up, because…when she’s wearing it…it doesn’t exist.”
Witherspoon blinked. “Doesn’t exist?”
“If she—look, she’s got it on her back, but…it’s only there if she pulls it.”
Witherspoon’s catalogue of useless information was devoid of any knowledge or experience that gave him any insight into this weirdness. “I…think you stumped me.”
Joey sighed. “I told you you wouldn’t believe it.”
“Joey, don’t be that way. I said I wouldn’t disbelieve you and I don’t. It’s only unbelievable at face value.”
“Well if you wanna come investigate, I’ll put you up on my couch and we’ll give you free home cookin’, ‘cause Conscience is like a brother to me, and McHugh swears her attackers are gonna come back. I wanna get to the bottom of this yesterday.”
“They went specifically for his daughter, huh?”
“Has he received any threats lately? Busted any well connected drug dealers?”
“They coulda killed him three times at that WalMart. They wanted Maria.”
Witherspoon went through all the questions of means, motive, and opportunity in his head, but finally said, “I’ll be on the first plane to
“Thanks, man. I owe you one.”
Witherspoon chuckled. “A good couch and some homecooked meals, we’ll call it even. I’ll be on the clock anyway. I’ll call you with my flight details.”
“Thanks George. See you there.”
“See you there.” He hung up.
Swords that disappear when released.
A targeted kidnapping, and defenders from a local university.
He sighed. None of it made sense at face value.
The Chinese had a curse: May you live in interesting times. In the time George Witherspoon had been alive, the times had never been without their interesting interruptions to the daily peace. Sometimes it truly was a curse. But what did not kill you only made you stronger. Exposure to the interesting was what made him so good at his job.
It was time to get stronger.
...Aaaand now I've got writer's block. Not so much where it needs to go, but how to get there without being boring. I think the next scene has got to involve tension between Wolf and Reiko over bailing them out--Reiko doesn't want to jeapordize anyone, and orders the rest of the coterie to stay back, Wolf won't because of Morrigan. Maybe a scene in central lockup, maybe a bailout scene, maybe more with Maria, like her trying to visit Morrigan.