We were on the road to a show in Tulsa when the detective called. She said that we needed to talk immediately. The fact that she didn’t swear or threaten to kill me was unnerving. I said we were talking right then. She said that phones weren’t safe.
We met at the Choctaw Casino in McAlester. While Gary and I were in the bar waiting for her, they were reporting on the news that a washed up ex baseball player had robbed a strip club and gotten away with $81,000 in cash. Is that how much cash there is at strip clubs? Crazy.
When the detective showed up she looked brittle. She looked frayed out somehow. She looked like someone who needed a beer and a shot and 96 hours sleep. When she saw Gary was there I thought she was going to flip her lid again but she didn’t. She just asked if there was somewhere we could talk in private.
Gary made comment about “scissoring”. I wondered how much I need to build him back up before I can smack him in the balls for saying things like that. He paid for the room though so I couldn’t say shit. Gary went to lose fifty dollars a hand at blackjack and I went to the room with the detective.
She told me the guy from the slaughterhouse wouldn’t do any time. I told her I figured he probably wouldn’t. She asked me how I even knew about him. I told her the whole story starting with Jenny Dreadful. She nodded. Like it was what she expected.
I told her that based on showing up in Florida and now in Texas, and her general state of unraveling that I thought she was trying to investigate magic on her own and it wasn’t going great. I guessed that she had stumbled across magic in a case and was trying to make sense of it on her own. I told her maybe I could help her if she trusted me just a tiny little bit.
She did something I never would have expected in a million years. She started crying. Ugly crying. Sobbing. It was awkward.
I tried to think of what people do in movies when the romantic lead starts bawling. Usually they have sex in the rain. In like a barn or under a bridge while standing up. Which doesn’t help me. The best I could come up with was to offer her some M&Ms from the mini-bar.
Before she started explaining anything, she did manage to insult me by talking about how part of the reason she was so upset was because she had no one she could confide in but me. She made sure to reinforce how little she thought of me before unloading emotionally.
She said that the slaughterhouse guy wasn’t going to do any time in prison, but not for the reason I thought. Because he’s part of “it”. She claimed that he was a member of a magic squad in the government. That’s why she was so startled when I joked about a magic branch of the FBI. Because there really is one.
She said that she found out about magic and instead of burying it so people wouldn’t think she was crazy, she reported it. Instead of being fired for mental health problems, she was approached by a guy who said he worked for a secret Paranormal Task Force made up of people like her that stumbled across the truth. Which I guess is how Men In Black started. The movie with Will Smith. Not the actual men in black.
Her report was “lost” and her co-workers were told that she was being assigned to a drug interdiction task force. However, she eventually figured out that the task force was bullshit. All the stuff they sent her to investigate was staged. By them. She decided the taskforce was designed to debunk anything that seemed magic by exposing frauds that were set up by her supervisors to be found out. Kind of a reverse X-Files false flag operation.
She figured that she was being manipulated by magic people in the government who wanted to make sure no one knew about them or magic in general. That’s when she started going tinfoil hat. If “they” were already in the system and working her like that, who could she trust? She’s been doing her bullshit taskforce stuff and on her own time driving all across the country trying to find out about real magic, doing her own investigations. She believed that the slaughterhouse guy was a “cleaner” for the magic squad – making bodies disappear. Such as hers if she got out of line.
I suppose I can understand why she’s so hostile. Assuming any of what she said is true. I asked her what happened to Sabrina the teenage theurgist, the one who killed her BF for fucking around. She said that she had her stashed away with her sister-in-law. She was determined to make sure she never did any magic again.
I told her that making something forbidden is possibly not the best way to keep a teenage girl from being interested in it. I might be the worst person in the world to give advice to a kid, especially one who’s super into Jesus, but I might be the only person who could talk about magic with her.
At that point she shocked me even more than when she starting crying. She asked me what she should do. Like I have a fucking clue about anything.
The best advice I could come up with was to play along with the phony taskforce and forget about the rest of it. I called it the not getting yourself killed plan. If an opportunity presented itself, maybe make a move then. But trying to do it all by herself seems like suicide.
Good thing this is real life and not a show because that would be a very unsatisfying resolution to that plot.