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Chapter 20 – Mad Company

May 9, 2012

Chapter 20 – “Mad Company”

Ten to midnight, March 15, 1974 – Roarke’s Mansion, Gold Coast, Long Island, New York

“…he speaks through me still. His spirit lives on!”

“Very well, Anton.”

Roarke was more concerned that what the occultist had planned would keep his guests entertained for the entire evening than whatever mumbo-jumbo the man was going to be spewing tonight. Unlike the yacht, the contents of his home contained some irreplaceable object d’art.

There was a quick knock at the door. Roarke’s young assistant poked her head in.

“Yes, Cynthia?”

“Um. Mr. Roarke, sir…”

“What now…? Idi?”

“Yes, sir. He wants to…uh… He’s f***ing his goat already.”

Roarke looked to Anton.

“It’s fine. We brought some spares. We encourage such practices prior to the rituals to get warmed up.”

Roarke looked back to his assistant. Even though he largely hired and kept her around due to her skills with her tongue, she was actually intelligent and capable, a real boon to Roarke in multiple ways.

“Something else?”

“Charlie is… frightening some of the other guests. Apart from that—”

“Knew I should have kept Manson off the guest list. Tell him if he doesn’t mind himself I’ll have his ass back in prison instead of that doppelganger, his help on the Guyana project or no. We can find someone more cooperative if he prefers incarceration.”

Despite the small problems, which Roarke could handle, things were going very well. Multiple projects were in motion. He had even—at last!—found something he could use as leverage against Nema. He had need of him. The way things were going with the Watergate situation there was a very good chance that the next president would be a Democrat. Nixon had not been much help with that either, between SALT and reducing tensions with China. But that wouldn’t be a problem for very long. Getting in the way of Roarke’s business was not a good idea, no matter who you were.

Roarke needed something that would show the Democrats as weak in order to get things back on track with people more pliant in charge. An international incident of some kind could do the trick and Iran was ripe ground for it. The project in Guyana would also help in that regard as long as Manson was manageable enough to continue to advise Jones.

The satanist was still sitting there.

“Anything else, Anton?”

“No. I can go get started. It’s nearly the witching hour.”

“Excellent.”

The man just stared at Roarke. He did not move from his seat. There was something else…

Ah!

Roarke pulled the envelope from his desk drawer. Anton smiled as Roarke handed it to him.

“I assume cash it fine.”

“We love cash.”

Selling black magic was the greatest con of all and it had been very lucrative. The powerful brutes of the world were a superstitious lot. Making them believe Roarke held the keys to their continued success and protection from being overthrown or assassinated had made him plenty. If he had to watch a bunch of monsters getting their groove on with animals with Anton chanting some jibber-jabber in order to charge them beaucoup money, well that was just the price he had to pay.

The occult was the latest thing especially since gambling on costumed vigilantes was on the way out. It would be difficult in any case to top what had happened to Ebony Avenger the other night no matter what Roarke did.

Things would settle back down to normal for a while and he could start the whole entertainment process over again from small to large. Maybe he even pick up some new clients. Advertising and marketing were difficult with the things he offered. It was largely a word of mouth kind of business.

Roarke heard a loud crash coupled with excited voices coming from the main hall followed by gunfire. Roarke knew better than to assume it was just his guests having a bit of fun. No, this had to be the Red Fox and Phoebus.

Harold Roarke entered just in time to see his newest imported couch being hurled at three of his security guards. The others, most of them, were already strewn all over the place and immobile. He caught sight of his guests fleeing out one of the front bay windows that had been the source of the crash. A statue that had been in front was now a centerpiece in the main hall. Had it been planned and done correctly, it might not have been a bad place for it.

A lone goat was nibbling on some plant that had come in with the statue. The others were probably all over the house.

Roarke!

It was just Phoebus. Eli Schneider was nowhere to be found. This would be easier than he thought.

“I’m going to kill you, Harold…”

Phoebus took several slow steps forward.

—–

©2011, 2012 Christopher C. Knall

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