From Miss Mary Mack: A Meeting Of The Minds

Lilly From Miss Mary Mack
Image via Pixabay

Not knowing what to do, he went downstairs to ask and was met by the little girl he met outside in the chicken coop.  “Hi Oscar!  Why ain’t you in school with the other boys?”  Lilly asked.  Shrugging his shoulders, he answered, “I’m going tomorrow.”

“Good,” she said, “We don’t need anymore stupid boys in this place.”

“What about you?  Why aren’t you in school?” Oscar asked curiously.

“I don’t need it, I’m already smart.”  She declared.

Not believing her, he said, “Nuh uh, everybody has to go to school, Miss Mary said so.”

“She’s not the boss of me!”

“Oooh,” Oscar exclaimed, “You a devil child!”

“A what?” Lilly asked, rather dismayed.

“My momma used to say when a girl wasn’t right, she was a devil child.”

“That’s silly!  If I’m a devil, then you’re a devil too!”

Resisting the label, Oscar declared, “Nope!  I’m saved by the Lord, and one of his sheep.”

“You look more like a goat to me!”

“Baaah!” Oscar bleeted, having finished his closing argument.

Not quite sure what to make of him, Lilly began walking away and said, “Just another stupid boy.”

Advertisements

Where On Earth Did Miss Mary Come From?

pinterest_ec2bf98cb7

 

Last month I shared an excerpt of my recent novel Miss Mary Mack and I’m sure some of you are really confused.  I understand after Fedelta, Miss Mary seems very different and maybe even strange but I followed the muse and she took me in a different direction. A very different direction.

Miss Mary was based on an experience I had one hot, summer’s night.  In fact it was so hot that I decided to sleep with the window open and as I was falling asleep, I heard giggling and a little girl singing, “Miss Mary Mac, Mac, Mac all dressed in black…”  At first I thought I was dreaming but it was just some silly neighborhood kids who had snuck out and were playing around at 1 a.m.  Yeah, I live in that kind of neighborhood.  When I realized what was going on, I was angry but also, inspired.  I wondered, how would these kids have survived back in the days before child abuse was considered a bad thing?  What can I say, I was having a Stephen King moment!  As my mind swirled, it was then that I saw her.  A woman, standing at the end of my bed and she was dressed in a matronly 1930’s style dress with granny boots.  As she looked down on me, I could see the scowl on her face and I knew immediately what was going on.  The muse was speaking.  So I got up and scribbled on a piece of paper the words: Miss Mary Mack and went to bed.

The next day, I did write a brief paragraph outlining the idea but did nothing with it.  At that time, I just started writing for this blog and Fedelta was born, I was also finishing up Eternal Bond, so I didn’t have the time to start yet another project.  But fate has a funny way of making you do things because over the next few months, I started hearing stories about Orphan Trains on Youtube as well as ghost stories from the Civil War.  The spark that lit the flame was a story I read about a woman by the name of Rosa Carmichael who ran an orphanage and was alleged to have abused the children in her care.  So I sat down and grudgingly wrote a few paragraphs which I finally shared last month.

I don’t have any idea as to where this story is going, but I know it’s going to lead me down paths I’ve never explored before.  Most books do.  What a lot of readers don’t know is that sometimes our stories surprise us (the writers) as much as it does them.  Actually this is the fun part of writing where characters become real, and situations uncertain.  In any case, I hope you stay tuned for the next couple of excerpts from the book because something tells me that Miss Mary is going to be one of my most challenging characters yet.

Bio: Rachel Rueben is author of YA, supernatural as well as romance books.  Her work can be found her on the Cereal Authors blog as well as Wattpad.  She is also a blogger at Writing By The Seat Of My Pants where she discusses self-publishing and rarely refers to herself in the third person.  😉

Fedelta Parte 27: Snitches

Fedelta Part 27
Image via Pixabay

Warning: Language

All of the old hat detectives delighted in reviving their alter egos from yesteryear, “Hey you mutha fuckas ready to roll?” Jimmy yelled from the end of the hall.  “Aihhh, keep your toupee on!” Amato yelled at Jimmy.  As the others at the bar laughed at the exchange, Cassie kept checking her phone.  She got a call from her ex Stephano, over an hour ago, but couldn’t answer it without looking suspicious.  She already knew that Amato would figure things out eventually but how long that took would all depend on her ability to play it cool.  She had to make good on this one deal with Stephano because it could change her life.  As Cassie watched the boys chum it up, she was desperately waiting for them to just leave.  Finally her prayers were answered when the guys started filing out of the room, and as the door slammed behind them, she fumbled around in her purse until she found her phone.  Looking at the screen, Cassie saw that Stephano left a text that read, “Location, location, location.” With that text was a pic of an empty parking lot and an unguarded gas station.  Her heart leapt for joy, it was starting to look like she had a business partner. Getting up from her chair, she texted her location and invited him to the VFW.

There was no way Amato and Jimmy’s crew of grumpy old men were going to be able to pull this off without a little help.  Okay, a lot of help.  She hoped it wouldn’t come to this but it looked like her worst fears were about to come to fruition.  She would have to watch Amato get killed, or be killed herself.  Looking at their stupid corkboard, Cassie ran her hands over the pictures and chuckled.  She knew it would never be enough, because once you learned how the play the game was played, the rules would change.  And she could sense change in the air, it was a sudden decision but she had to seize the moment.  Cassie would return, back into the fold and take what had always eluded her father and brother—kingship.  She knew Stephano could get her that, and she had to try for everybody’s sake.

From behind the bar, she took out two Champaign flutes and borrowed a very expensive bottle of Dom Périgon Rosé.  She would pay Jimmy back later, today, she had a lot to celebrate, her rebirth and the Cosimo’s funeral.  She convinced herself this was the best for everyone, Amato would get what he wanted, and she would get off the hook, so it was win-win.  Putting the Champaign on ice, she smiled as she grabbed the glasses and put them on the counter of the bar.  This felt right, no longer would she be at the behest of Amato or the FBI and now she would have a new family, the Alunnis.  Once the money started pouring in, Stephano would make his move and she would help him rule over the entire family.  This was her chance to reclaim her family’s honor and to lead the next generation into a new era.  First however, Amato and Jimmy had to play their parts.

As Cassie planned her next move, Amato and his crew were parked down the street from Clark’s gas station waiting on Caruso to come back with the intel.  Info had trickled in via social media in the form of pictures and videos which he was sure to encode with hashtags and phrases like, #CarusosDayOut #OpReCon to be sure that the threads were vague and understood only by those it was meant for.

Things were going great and when Caruso returned to the surveillance van, Amato was relieved that the first part of their operation was done.  “I can’t believe how little security there was!” exclaimed Jimmy as he went through photo after photo of empty rooms accessed by Caruso.  “They’re getting very sloppy.” Amato answered back, “This would’ve never happened on Frank Fenetti’s watch.”  Surprised, Jimmy responded, “It sounds like you admire the rat bastard.”

“No, but I do admire a tightly run ship.” Amato replied.

“Well, we got what we came for maybe we should go back to base an…”

Amato cut him off and said, “No, we need to move now before they have time to redeploy.”

Thrilled by the response, Jimmy said, “Okay, we can throw down today but we need backup.”

“Let’s roll.” Amato said as he exited the shabby, white van.

Walking up the street to his car, an elderly woman approached him on the sidewalk and said, “Hey I know you, you’re the guy from T.V..” she said.

Confused and taken aback, Amato said, “I think you have me mistaken for someone else.”

“No, you were the cop.  The double-crosser!”

Laughing nervously, he replied, “Ma’am you got the wrong guy.”

That’s when another older woman who was sitting on a porch next door threw a glass jar at him and yelled, “Rat!”

Dodging out of the way, the glass jar shattered all over the sidewalk but Amato kept his cool and remained silent even though his cover had been blown.  Getting on his cell he called Jimmy and said, “Get the hell outta here, we’ve been made.”  As he heard the van start, he made it safely to his car, when a black SUV pulled up blocking the road ahead, trapping them all.  Bewildered, Amato stared in disbelief as four heavily armed men popped out of the SUV and proceeded to enter the gas station.  “Son of a bitch!” he muttered to himself.

“What the hell is goin’ on?” yelled Jimmy still on the speakerphone.

“I don’t know.” Amato answered.  However deep down he had a feeling Cassie had something to do with it but how, he didn’t know.  Scrambling to get inside the car, he started the ignition, and put the car in reverse, then Amato ordered, “Back to base boys.”

Author Bio:
Rachel Rueben is author of the bestselling YA novel Hag and The Eternal Bond Series both available on Wattpad. To keep up with Rachel, you can sign up for her frighteningly entertaining newsletter here.

Fedelta Parte 26: Checking Out

Fedelta Part 26
Image via Pexels

*Warning: Language*

It was all being set up, Jimmy and his crew were preparing to play supporting roles to Amato’s takeover of Clark’s gas station on 105th.  They surveillanced the station for the entire day coming back with photos of both the outside and inside of the building.  Jimmy pinned them to a corkboard next to the bar and as he finished, another group of his boys came in with the names and addresses of the men employed by the gas station.  Jimmy’s right hand man, began running these name through the PNC (Police National Computer) and even the NNCP (National Name Check Program) to see who they were.  As expect, most of them were petty criminals while a few were internationally known for drug dealing.  So they knew what they were dealing with now, a drug depository for the city.

Amato and the guys hypothesized that the drugs were imported from Sicily and flown into New York where some airport employee, would lose the cargo.  The drugs would most likely be taken by truck to the gas station and the dope would be dropped off at the local distributor.  Then the associates (drug dealers), would come by in droves all day long in vans, trucks and SUVs under the guise of filling their tanks.  “They gotta be making millions, easy!” Jimmy said astonished.  Amato looked at one of Jimmy’s men, a shady looking character wearing a black leather coat and aviator sunglasses.  He looked like a hood and Amato was going to us it to their advantage.  “Hey you, Sticks!” he said, referring to the man’s spiky hair.  “What’s your name?”

“Caruso, Enzo Caruso,” he answered standing up from his chair.

“I want you to visit our friendly little gas station and see if you find anything unusual.”

Caruso looked at Jimmy and he gave Caruso a nod in approval.  The loyalty these guys showed towards Jimmy surprised Amato.  In his unit, loyalty only came if it didn’t conflict with one’s own ambition.  He remembered what Cassie said about, being the best and it angered him.  He had spent his whole career going above and beyond and for what, to have his colleagues stab him in the back?  Yes, he had burned her, and he did it intentionally because he believed it was for the greater good.  He hoped she would see that one day but it was unlikely.  Recalling all that Fedelta crap she talked about, Cassie was most likely going to the grave with a chip on her shoulder.  Besides, vendettas were more fun than forgiveness, and for some people it even gave their lives a purpose.

Looking over at Caruso as he was being wired, Amato saw the cold stare in the young man’s eyes and it always frightened him to see it on someone’s face.  It meant they were mentally checking out.  As an undercover, you had to take all of your normal thoughts and compartmentalize them.  Caruso would no longer be needing them when he went into Super Cop mode.  Thinking as both prey and predator, Caruso would have to walk a fine line all the while looking natural.

“Brings back memories doesn’t it?”  Jimmy asked seeing the longing in Amato’s eyes.  “Yeah, don’t envy the fucker though.”

“Sure you do,” Jimmy said cracking a smile.  “And if you could, you would do it yourself.”

“Guilty,” Amato confessed.

“A good agent never leaves anything to chance, not unless he wants to end up iced in a dumpster.”

“Why are you here Jimmy?”

“The same reason you are,” Jimmy answered.

“Nah, that’s not what I mean, it seems like you want something more and I’m not sure this operation is going to give that to you.”

“Oh yeah?”

“I want to clear my name and clean up the department but you seem to need absolution.  Trust me, there’s no forgiveness in our game.”

Insulted by his psycho analysis, Jimmy coldly replied, “You got it all wrong brotha.  I don’t do this because I got sumthin’ to prove, I do it because it’s all I got!  I’ve been spat on, stabbed, punched and kicked…”

“We’ve all been!” Amato interrupted.  “And at the end of the day, sometimes it don’t mean shit.”

The room went silent, and all eyes were on Amato.  Jimmy got in his face and said, “Maybe it don’t mean nuttin’ to you, but it always means something to me.  This job is my life!  It’s my God damn’ religion!”  Tossing his drink at the wall, he yelled “If you ain’t got the balls anymore, maybe you should hide under that fuckin’ bridge with you mentor and powder your pussies!”

Not intimidated, Amato calmly asked again, “Answer the question Jimmy, what are you getting out of this?”

“I’m here because I hate every last single one of ‘em and I want to watch ‘em rot in hell for everything they put me and my boys through!  I want to watch them eat shit and die!  What does it matter to you anyhow?”

“Fedelta.” Amato answered.

“What the fuck does that mean?”

“Loyalty, Cassie, was telling me about it…. It’s the one advantage the Cosimos have over us. Speaking of that, where is she?”

“She took off for a smoke and hasn’t been back.”  said one of Jimmy’s men.  “Want me to go look for her?” the guy asked.

“Nah, it’s good.” Amato said rather nonchalantly.  However, it wasn’t all good, he knew she was up to something but he had to play it cool.  Meanwhile Jimmy was still holding his head as he tried to calm down so Amato decided to back off lest Mt. Jimmy erupt again.

Looking over at Caruso, Jimmy yelled, “Caruso, get the fuck outta here already!”

However before Agent Caruso left, Jimmy’s crew hooked him up with a body cam and gave him a smart phone to collect intel.  As Caruso was leaving, Cassie was entering the building.  Amato looked at her really hard as she made her way confidently across the room, when she smiled at him, he knew something had changed.  Disappointed, he smiled right back at her then said, “Hey, welcome back!”  When she came within range he hugged her tight and said, “It’s just like old times,” and he meant that in more ways than one.

Author Bio:

Rachel Rueben is author of the bestselling YA novel Hag and The Eternal Bond Series both available on Wattpad. To keep up with Rachel, you can sign up for her frighteningly entertaining newsletter here.

Fedelta Parte 25: Forget Me Not

Fedelta Part 25
Image via Pixabay

Cassie waited impatiently in the corner booth of Carmelita’s for Stephano.  Tapping her red nails on the table’s black, laminate veneer, she wondered what was the angle?  Either he had talked to his boss, or he didn’t want his wife Destiny, hearing what he had to say.  Perhaps it was a little of both?  Turning her head towards the window, she watched people passing by the restaurant, when finally she saw him.  Dressed in a long wool coat,  with his face barely peeking out from his black fedora was Stephano Rimaldi.  Flanked by his two bodyguards, he walked into the restaurant and was greeted instantly by a server who took his coat and hat then, carefully placed them on the coat rack in the corner.  Stephano looked over his should at one of his men and without fumbling, the man pulled out a fifty dollar bill and tipped the server.  Having made his day, the server smiled and said, “If you need anything Mr. Rimaldi, just give me a holler.”

“Just get me my usual.” Stephano replied.  Then without a word the young man ran off to the back to get his order.  Meanwhile Cassie, watched his entre and was not impressed at all.  Quietly ignoring him, she continued to sip her caramel macchiato, and only when he sat down did she even bother looking up.  Placing her cup on the saucer Cassie asked, “Why the change of heart Stephano?”  Shrugging his shoulders he answered, “Guess I’m just sentimental.”  She could see he was lying.  His boss got to him.

Playing the game, Cassie pretended to be sentimental too.  She forced her facial features from resting bitch face, to a more softer, gentler, look.  “We did have some good times back in the day,” she sighed as she looked around the room.  Smiling at her Stephano said, “Yeah, what I wouldn’t do for simpler times.”

“Simple?  I was the one who had to sneak around my father’s house like a crook.”

“Hey my parents weren’t so keen on you either.  I had to keep a lot of secrets from my father too.”
Intrigued Cassie asked, “Why am I just hearing about this?”

“Cuz, it didn’t matter to me, I would’ve walk on hot coals just to see you.”

“I was crazy about you too, ya know.”

“So what the hell happened to us?” Stephano asked.

“John happened that’s what.” Cassie said in an accusatory manner.

An uncomfortable silence lingered over them as the room buzzed with activity all around them.

Playing it safe, Cassie stuck to her original plan and just pitched the deal.  “The Cosimos are getting sloppy and right now a few of their gas stations are unprotected.  It would be a shame if someone absconded with those properties.”

“Okay, I’m listening,” he answered.

“Hey, I don’t anything for free.”

Laughing Stephano remarked, “I remember!  So what’s this gonna cost me?”

“40% of the loot.”

“That’s steep!”

“I know a guy who’s interested in selling some info,”  Cassie said.

“What kind of info?”

“Blue prints, names, and shifts of the soldiers in charge.”

“You’re talking about a takeover, that could start a war.” Stephano said rather uncomfortable.

“Yeah, it could but if the right person did the takeover, there’d be no worries.”

“God I miss you Cassandra but I don’t trust you.  Not anymore.  You’ve been talking to that FBI stronzo (asshole) and if you recall, that ruined both our lives.”

“Both of us?  As I recall you married a model and got a nice cushy, brownstone in Brooklyn while I was the one with the bullet in her head.”

“Yeah, and it didn’t teach you anything.”  He said looking over his shoulder when he heard the sound of cups clanking.  As the server approached the table, Stephano smiled and accepted his overpriced Illycaffè, placing it on the table in front of him.

“Anything else?”  The server asked.

“No, I’m good.” Stephano answered.  When the server left, Stephano leaned in, looking Cassie right in the eye and said, “If you were smart, you’d stop worrying about business and start…”

“What, get back in line?  Too late for that ain’t it?”  Cassie said then chuckled a bit.
“Well I hate to see anything else happen to you Cassandra.” Stephano warned her.

“How sweet,” Cassie said coldly.  Looking at the blank expression on her face, sensing her tone had changed from curiosity to heartless, Stephano asked, “Jesus, what happened to you?”

“A lot.” She said taking another sip of her macchiato.  “You know as I lay dying on the floor, I had a revelation.  I realized I had to trade in my tiara for the crown.”

Laughing rather nervously, Stephano said, “Come on, you’re talking crazy.”  When she didn’t react, he became intrigued, “So what, you’ve been playin’ everybody?”

“Are you in?” she insisted.

He sat in silence and began gulping his fancy coffee drink while Cassie looked on in anticipation.  “Okay, Meryl Streep, I’m in but if anything goes sideways, you’re gonna wished you’d bled out on Mira’s (Café) floor.”

So it was set, Cassie had an out but now she had to make plans for an ugly showdown.  Getting up from her seat, she walked out of the restaurant a free woman but for how long?  Flagging a cab down, she began the journey back home to her stronzo, Amato.

 

Author Bio:
Rachel Rueben is author of the bestselling YA novel Hag and The Eternal Bond Series both available on Wattpad. To keep up with Rachel, you can sign up for her frighteningly entertaining newsletter here.

Fedelta Parte 23: Duplicity

Fedelta Part 23
Image via Pixabay

“I think I found it!” Amato said with a gleam in his eyes. “That’s what you said three hours ago, what makes you think ya got it now?” Jimmy said rather annoyed. Pointing to a newspaper article, he said, “You remember that D.A. Ariana Del Fino?”

“Do I?” Jimmy answered rather excited, “How do you forget the first female District Attorney? And more importantly, how do you forget that a…” he paused, forgetting there was a lady in the room. Clearing his throat, he simplified his answer to, “Yes, yes, I do.”

Cracking a smile, Cassie watched as these two apes tried to piece together a mystery of who put the hit out on Amato. Leaning back in his chair Amato said, “She was the D.A. that put Charlie Albero and several other of the Cosmios away but look at this here,” he said pointing to a copy of the trial records, “His conviction was reversed when it discovered the D.A. was busted in a corruption sting two years later.” Not getting it, Jimmy said, “What the hell does that have to do with anything?”

“She was taking money on the sly from the Alunni,” Cassie chirped up. Surprised, Jimmy asked, “How you know?”
“Who else hates the Cosimos so much and have the pockets deep enough to bribe a D.A.?” Cassie responded. Both men nodded their heads in agreement and looked at each other in awe at her insider information. “They’re moving in for the kill, and think you’re on the payroll,” Jimmy concluded tilting his glass of scotch directly at Amato. “If they think you’re one of them, the Cosimos prawbably went with it to scare ‘em.” Jimmy chuckled then he looked directly at Amato and exclaimed, “Damn’, you must be real good at your job, brotha.”

Not knowing whether to smile or cuss, Amato sat in his rickety barroom chair silent. Meanwhile, Cassie attested, “He’s one of the best” then took a sip of her gin.

Seeing this was serious, Jimmy exclaims, “So whadda we do?”
“I don’t know, what do we do Cassie?” he asked with serious stare.
Playing it cool, Cassie responded, “Well you can spend the rest of your life on the run or you can use this to your favor. Play them against each other. Offer your services to the Alunnis.”
“How?” Jimmy asked.
“I know of a racket that a few of the Cosimos are involved in, that would be catastrophic if the wrong people got word of it.”
“Which one?” asked Amato.
“The gas stations,” she said then smiled devilishly.
“Ooh, that’s gonna hurt,” Jimmy laughed at the fiendish idea.

Amato liked what he heard and knew that the Cosmios would lose millions of dollars if they lost their gas stations. You see, like most of their businesses, they were just fronts for other things like drug dealing, prostitution, and gambling. It wasn’t unusual for one family to infringe on another’s territory especially if it was lucrative. But he had only one question, “How?”

“We do a little fronting ourselves,” Cassie explained, “Rattle the Cosimos a little bit and make them believe it’s the Alunni. That’ll start a war and…”
“Then roll in and offer our assistance,” Amato finished the thought.
“Playin’ them against each other, it’s friggin’ brilliant!” Jimmy said. “And once we’re inside, we can get all the intel we need.”

So it was settled, they would begin operation: Reconquest but first, they had to plan their strategy and while they did that, Cassie excused herself, and went outside for a cigarette. Once she was safe from prying eyes and ears, she made a phone call to an old boyfriend Stephano Rimaldi, consigliere to the boss of the Alunni.

Author Bio:
Rachel Rueben is author of the bestselling YA novel Hag and The Eternal Bond Series both available on Wattpad. To keep up with Rachel, you can sign up for her frighteningly entertaining newsletter here.

Fedelta Parte 22: Our Better Angels

Fedelta Part 22
Image via Pixabay

The halls of the VFW buzzed with activity as old men sprung to life coming and going while they rearranged the room.  “Bring in that chalkboard!” ordered a man pointing the way with his cane.  A door opened and a beam of angelic light pierced the dark room, making everyone in the room pause to look.  Seeing it was just Jimmy, they went straight back to work.  “Guess they thought it was the Grim Reaper” joked Amato.  His audience however was not appreciative.  Sitting right across from him was Cassandra Fenetti, the woman he bailed on less than twelve hours prior.  This was his third old geezer joke and like all the others before, all he got was a dead-eye stare.

“Okay Cassie, lay into me.  You know you’ve been wanting to.”  Again, all he got was silence and a stare.  “Go on, tell me I’m a punk ass or a p*ssy, I can take it but know this, I did it all for you.”

Rolling her eyes at the pathetic attempt, Cassie answered, “You did it because you thought you could take on the Feds by yourself.  Just like you thought you could take on the Cosimos, by yourself.  This martyrdom act is gettin’ old John, I thought we were in this together.”

“Cassie, if I can do something dangerous without you, I will.  If you’re waiting for an apology, then keep waitin’ sister.”

Cassandra didn’t like his tone, and in response she reminded him, “I don’t know if you’ve noticed but you don’t run shit around here!  You sure as hell don’t…”

 

Read the rest on the Cereal Author’s Blog: https://cerealauthors.wordpress.com/2016/06/02/fedelta-parte-23-our-better-angels/

 

Also available on Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/266871228-fedelta-a-romantic-suspense-chapter-22-our-better

Author Bio:
Rachel Rueben is author of the bestselling YA novel Hag and The Eternal Bond Series both available on Wattpad. To keep up with Rachel, you can sign up for her frighteningly entertaining newsletter here.