Take Your Witch to Work Day

It was just another manic Monday.  Complete with early morning alarm buzzing, crisp clean outfit freshly pressed and donned,  breakfast with coffee and the morning paper. It was almost normal.  Normal being a relative term of course, considering the business Matthew Halden tended to engage in.   What wasn’t expected was the doorbell suddenly being engaged before he had made it through his first cup of coffee.  Or, indeed the engaging figure that would present herself on the front step.  It was almost startling how out of place she looked.  The snow that covered the front lawn of his residence was a reminder of how bitter cold it was but the hen looked as warm as a sun kissed beach on a summer’s day.  Which was concerning as she was barefoot, had no coat, and was wearing her usual off the shoulder dress, this time a colorful pattern splashed with rich tropical hues. Mambo smiled at him sweetly with a hand on her hip as if she belonged there, despite how jarring a contrast she was to the world around her, and also... that she had never been told the address. 

“Good mornin’, mind if I be borrowin’ a cup a’ sugar?” She flashed an approximation of demure smile although it came across about as shy as a politician during campaigning season.

 

So, not his typical morning routine all of a sudden.

    • Lilly Teal
      Lilly Teal

      He paused, slightly stunned for exactly a fifth of a second.

      He was stunned longer than that, of course, but it only showed for that fraction of time, his eyes taking in her highly weather-inappropriate dress with a quick flick before they rested on her face and gave a smile.

      "Would you like it in some coffee? I was just finishing up a cup of my own. Come inside."

      I'm getting cold just looking at you.

      • Gladstone Gander
        Gladstone Gander

        “How very neighborly of ya.”

        Speaking of neighbors, the usually noisy ones were nowhere to be seen, how fortunate.  As for how she arrived here there seemed to be no indication that she'd even existed off the doorstep. No taxi, no foot prints, no sidewalk salt on the hem of her dress. 

        She entered the house, brushing his arm with her fingertips as she passed.  Mambo looked around the entrance way with interest.  It seemed despite her precognition she’d never seen the space before.  A clear indication that she was not as all knowing as she often seemed.  “Lovely.” She weighed in after a moment and slid her eyes sly to his. “But den again, ya do have an eye fer pretty tings don’t cha?” Not so much implicating herself as broadcasting it. “Yer lookin’ very handsome yerself dis mornin’ too. Hope I’m not interrupting.”

         

        She motioned for him to show her the way to the offered coffee.

        • Lilly Teal
          Lilly Teal

          That lack of any indications of how she arrived was also noted, not so much with suspicion as with bemusement. One of these days he really should ask. But for now, he was enjoying being surprised.

          "I do have good taste," he chuckled, closing the door before leading the way back to the neat little dining room. A small vase of flowers stood perkily on the tablecloth, clearly not his doing.

          And under the table game a small, sleepy growl, also not his doing. A vicious-looking animal snuffled before coming out from under the tablecloth, taking a very suspicious sniff of Mambo's feet.

          "Javert," Matthew said warningly, but the animal didn't take the slightest notice, only taking another sniff.

          And then, it looked up, all apparent friendliness. You smell dangerous. Let us be friends, oh mighty apex predator.

          "Good grief. He's never been this pleasant with anyone before."

          • Gladstone Gander
            Gladstone Gander

            With little regard to the species or apparent viciousness of the creature she scooped Javert up like he was a wobbly headed kitten and began to pet him almost like the villain in a Derek Blunt flick.

            “Whad a darlin' lettle devil ya are. “She cooed to the usual ball of rage. “ I be havin’ a way wit animals.” She commented lightly to Matthew, they know an alpha when they see one after all.  And perhaps something in her manner told them, play nice unless you want your existence to be repurposed to be part of the upholstery. Or maybe even more simply, that she meant none of their family harm. She smelled like "FRIEND", to animals and most people if we're being totally honest. She spotted where he had been sitting at the table and rather than take a seat herself hopped up to sit on the table beside him, her legs dangling off the side before she slowly crossed them.   As tall as he was she liked to take any advantage she got to look down on him. Literally of course.  

            “Ya have a beautiful home.” Her eyes continued their tour of the space, lingering on the flowers with a light smile before returning to him. “Very big. I wonder… are dere days dat go by where ya barely see Lilly? Whad wit her bein’ on one side a da house an’ you on de other, ya probably haveta schedule meetin’s fer meals. Send up flares fer tea time an’ all dat.”

            • Lilly Teal
              Lilly Teal

              Matthew snorted in amusement as he poured out another cup of coffee for her and settled down to finish his own.

              "Funny. But thank you. We spend most of our time at home together in the library." Slash music room. "I like to know she's comfortable," he added more soberly. "My living arrangements were much more modest before she began living with me."

              Maybe I'm trying to match her old home in some way.

              Javert just snuggled up comfortably with Mambo, quite relaxed, which was a startling change for him, all things considered.

              "Still, we'd never let a day go by without seeing each other. Would we, you murderous beast?" The comment with made in a warm, affectionate tone that didn't match the words at all, and the murderous beast gave a happy little rumble.

              • Gladstone Gander
                Gladstone Gander

                She graciously nodded when he handed her the mug and somehow the moment it entered her hand the scent of the beverage changed. There was a faint twinge of rum in the air as she took her first sip, and she licked a small amount of whipped cream from the tip of her beak as she pulled the cup away.

                “Ya have a very nice ting goin’ here. I kin see dat.  Not everyone likes da noise and craziness around dem all da time like I do. “ She sat very still for a moment her thumb stroking the content little creature in her arms. “I dun remember da last time I heard so much quiet.  Hm.” It seemed very lonely to her, but she could understand the appeal on paper. “Well yer home an' it's tenants aside,  I’m sure yer wonderin’ what good fortune brought ya such a pretty sight dis mornin’?  Well, I was thinkin’ you got t’ see how I run my business, an’ I guess whad I’m sayin’ is ... I showed ya mine now show me yars?  Unless yer too busy fer me? If dat were ever de case," She chuckled warmly before continuing. "If it's me bein'meself dat worries ya, I kin blend in real good, no one will even notice I’m dere.” She smiled as if the words were the most sincere thing she’d ever said, knowing full well how wrong they were. She drank her customized coffee again  before leaning down to kiss his cheek softly. “As I figure it... Dat’s about a teaspoon a’ sugar... gun’ take a long time to fill up a cup at dis rate. Maybe a full day's werk?”

                • Lilly Teal
                  Lilly Teal

                  Matthew smiled at the kiss as he set down his cup, fingers brushing against her leg on the way back from the table.

                  "I always have time for you, Mambo. But I'm afraid you're going to be very bored at my completely legitimate business." His eyes twinkled with mirth, but there was truth enough in the statement. His industrial machines were more paperwork and meetings these days.

                  At least they weren't gunshots and broken bones. But at least that had had some excitement to it.

                  The thing is, you can't really keep up that excitement when you're trying to keep a little family safe and happy. Some things need to be retired. The contacts and the reputation were never retired, of course, just the activity.

                  "I was thinking of taking a look at our new stock, so we can at least move about. But."

                  Another flick of the eyes, half appreciative and half 'blend in, huh?' "If you want to blend in, you might at least consider a scarf."

                  • Gladstone Gander
                    Gladstone Gander

                    “A scarf?” Thin eyebrows lifted slightly. “So yer tryin’ ta cover me up for a change are ya?” A small little hum of amusement issued from her as she placed her mug down and slid her hand along her throat. A silk scarf blossomed from the stroke to fall smartly around the base of her neck.  She gave him a playful look out of the corner of her eye as she acted out a little shiver. “Oh yes dat’s much better. So much warmer now.”   A giggle punctuated the statement and she rested her hand on top of his. “I’m only teasin’ ya.  If ya want me t’ go “plain clothes” ta not draw too much attention ta meself  I kin do dat.  Although we both know I’m gun’ get attention anyway.”  Unseen hands took Javert from her and placed him gently on the floor as she snapped her fingers and was suddenly in a smart looking pantsuit, the red comb on top of her head slicked back in a dramatic swoop. She put on a passable husky American accent. “Hello, my name is Ima Businesslady.”  Her eyes lit up and she patted his hand excitedly. “Oh! How bout dis one!” She snapped again and she was wearing worn out coveralls with a plaid shirt underneath, and a knit cap.  This time a thick southern drawl issued from her, as she leaned down to put both hands on his shoulders,  her eyes gazing into his in playful desperation.

                    Aw  please Mister Halden, ah can’t be losin’ mah job on these here docks. What will mah mother say? Isn’t there some way  ya’ll could see fit t’keepin’ little ol’ me on? Ah'd be willin' t'do anythang. Ah’d be ever so grateful.”  She burst into laughter and pulled the cap off her head, the action caused the spell to disperse and she was back in her normal attire… plus scarf.

                    “I be leavin’ dat tough decision to ya. I kin always jus’ use a glamor on meself so I look more normal t’ other people, dey’ll see whad dey wanna see kinda ting.” She lifted her eyebrows again with an excited little ‘ooo’ and shimmied her shoulders a bit. “Dat way we kin see whad kinda lady dey tink ya’d like.” She let out a girlish little squeak clapping her hands together. “Dat sounds like so much fun. Lets do dat one! An’ he’s tellin’ me dis gun’ be boring. Ya dun know whad borin’ is until ya have t’ help Len wid his monthly inventory. “ She gave him a little pout. “I be gettin’ so many papercuts handlin’ all dose books. Much rather be spendin' a borin' day wid yer fine self.”

                    • Lilly Teal
                      Lilly Teal

                      At her enthusiasm and playacting, Matthew actually laughed. Not an amused chuckle, or a brief, low laugh, but a full, delighted bout of laughter that shook him and the table he was leaning against. It felt, to him, as if it went on for a long, long time, and by the end of it he was still smiling, as if his face had gotten stuck that way. He hadn't laughed like that in a long while.

                      "I would say there isn't any need to disguise yourself, but you seem so excited about the prospect of the glamour. And I must confess I'm curious to know how people would see you then as well," he admitted, eyes bright with inquiry as he leaned forward to give her a gentle kiss on the cheek in his own turn. "Your being here is already making the rest of the day seem less boring, so I now have high hopes."

                      Rising to pick up his breakfast things, he gave her cup a sideways look to see if she was done. There was still some whipped cream in it. It still smelled of rum. How did she do that?

                      "Shall we?"

                      • Gladstone Gander
                        Gladstone Gander

                        As he laughed she watched him with a steady smile. Seeing him like this made her feel younger than she had any right to. When he gave her the okay for her little plot she flashed a dazzling smile and happily clapped her hands. During the small kiss she gently ran a hand along his snout reflexively closing her eyes for a moment. She was such a softie.

                        “Yes, let’s shall. An’ if it starts lookin’ like yer gun’ be bustin’ any heads today, I hope ya let me get in a few kicks. I kin be yer tough guy fer ya.” She drained the mug, ran her hand along the rim, and handed the clean cup to him as she hopped off the table. She rolled up her sleeve to flex a dainty bicep.


                        “Dere’s me credentials right dere try not ta be too intimidated.” She winked and followed his lead. Work was going to be fun.

                        • Lilly Teal
                          Lilly Teal

                          Again. How did she do that? But he only spared the clean cup a brief look as he had to give all his attention to the truly terrifying wall of power before him.

                          "Truly a startling display," he said with mock solemnness. "There certainly won't be anyone trying any funny business with you around."

                          Taking a brief moment to wash out his cup and set it to dry, Mathew pulled on his coat, applied a scarf, and then led Mambo outside, locking the door firmly behind him before letting her into the car like a gentleman.

                          "So how does this glamour work? You'd look the same to me, correct?" he asked curiously as they pulled out of the drive.

                          • Gladstone Gander
                            Gladstone Gander

                            “Dat depends...” She lounged comfortably in the passenger seat her fingertips walking along the center console and up his arm before prodding his shoulder . “Do ya wan’ me ta look different? I’ll be kind an’ tell ya dat de correct answer dere is ‘No.’ De spell is an easy one t’ customize. I kin set it ta  wark on everybody but dem dat already know me.  Never know when yer gun’ run inta a friend, after all, an’ me wanderin’ round wearing someone else’s face might make ‘em uneasy.”  Her fingers made a few spins in the air, crackling slightly with yellow light. She tapped her own forehead three times and once on each shoulder and in the center of her chest.  At the last action she muttered a word and a shimmer went across her form like a ripple of sunlight.  “Basically, whad it does is glosses over whad is dere, t’ make peeple see what dey tink should be dere.  Like ya tell me, ‘Dis is an apple’ an’ ya hand me a pear  wid the glamour I be seein’ a pear.  Until I bite inta it.” Matthew was suddenly on the receiving end of a flirty gaze. “Should I be expectin’ any bitin’ t’ happen today?”

                             

                            She smoothed her palms together and a thin book appeared in her hands. 

                            “I’ll be able t’ see in me mind’s eye how peeple be seein’ me but it wun’ be no fun if ya kan’t see it too. So I’m gun’ fill up dis lettle photo album a’ me mental images fer ya ta’ study wid me.” She patted it lightly. “Wan t’ take bets on de most common species I’m gun’ be today?”

                            • Lilly Teal
                              Lilly Teal

                              I BEG your pardon, he would NEVER want her to look different.

                              The comment on biting was met with amusement mixed with equal flirtation. "Well it's not on my schedule, but I'm sure I can squeeze it in." And a couple of other things.

                              Of course, she had a way of distracting him from how distracting she was. Possibly keeping him off-balance, who could say? He looked at the photo album with interest.

                              "While I would never want you any different, I'm frightfully curious," he mused. "I imagine what we see will say a lot about how others see me as well."

                              Now I'm not a gambling man, but...

                              "Normally I would say the same specie as me." A pause, since that was the obvious answer, and the real answer was never the obvious one. That would make the world too easy. "But I suspect it's something strong and predatory. Presumably to keep me in check."

                              The last was said with some amusement. As if brute force was ever going to keep me in check.

                              • Gladstone Gander
                                Gladstone Gander

                                “Oh not a tiny lettle ting like me dat’s fer sure.”  She agreed happily. Even he hadn’t expected her small stature, she hadn’t let on at the time when they met that she'd noticed but it’s easy to spot when someone looks a foot and a half over your head and sinks their eyes down to your level despite how quickly it happens.  

                                “But yeah I’m tinkin’ yer right. Big and tough t’ keep ya under control ya big hunk.” She tapped her beak thoughtfully. “I’m gun say at least one Rhino, an’ one bruiser of a canine.” A small nod confirmed her guesses. “Ya should feel so special bein’ in on dis lettle game dear Matthew. Only ya will know how short all dese impressions fall t’ de true majesty dat is me lovely self.” Said with a chuckle and only a sliver of modesty.  “Although, it will make fer some interestin’ talk in de break room when dey try to exchange notes on yer lady friend.”

                                The thought made her eyes twinkle with impish delight. 

                                “Dey’ll tink yer bringin’ around so many different women. Ya dog ya.” She slapped his arm gently. “Lookit me givin’ ya a reputation!”

                                • Lilly Teal
                                  Lilly Teal

                                  "They've started speculation circles about me for far less," he laughed, turning into his designated parking space. "There's probably a big cat coming in that album somewhere, just you wait. But none of them hold a candle to this."

                                  Since he had parked, he punctuated 'this' with a kiss on her shoulder before smoothly moving away and out, coming around to open her car door for her. And almost as if his arrival prompted people to start bustling around to show they were very busy and had been here for hours, people started bustling around, very busy and clearly having been here for hours, not having just gotten in.

                                  "There's already someone trying not to look," he added in amusement, not turning his head as he indicated the person far in the background behind him with a flick of his eyes. It was the most obvious display of 'I'm not looking at all' anyone had ever seen. If it was any more obvious the owl might have dropped his files.

                                  • Gladstone Gander
                                    Gladstone Gander

                                    A little melodic hum left her at the kiss, half a laugh, half a sigh.  Probably up to a tablespoon of sugar she figured.  She slid out of the car lavishly flashing some calves as her dress shifted, her eyes trailing over him appreciatively  and then immediately sliding to the owl.  A knowing smile spread across her face that could start several sexual harassment cases as she held the owl’s eyes and she winked. The owl dropped some of his papers, though to his credit, not all of them.  She laughed brightly and covertly showed an image of a leggy gazelle with abundant curves, in an indecently short skirt and plush looking jacket, neck dripping in pearls, to her companion. “Lookit us in matchin’ horns.” She muttered to him, wiggling her eyebrows, as she took his hand.

                                    “On to de business.  Show me yar savvy ways, I’ll be sure t’ keep an eye out fer corporate spies an’ assassins. “ All said in a warm and chipper tone, bring on the espionage! Or the water cooler talk! Work! What a delight! "An' fer others who be eyin' de boss's prize. I'll try not t' break too many hearts today, it'd be bad fer de morale I'm thinkin'."

                                    • Lilly Teal
                                      Lilly Teal

                                      A gazelle would not have been his first guess, but the matching horns did look fetching. Keeping his face very carefully neutral, he gave a owl a nod of greeting, who tried to nod back and collect his papers at the same time, resulting in a slightly flustered attempt.

                                      Matthew's large hand closed gently around Mambo's, his thumb lightly grazing the knuckles as they headed to the front door.

                                      "Good morning, Mister Halden." An old, comfortable looking bear with thick-rimmed glasses on a chain beamed from over the reception desk at their approach. Mambo was eyed with friendly, open curiosity, producing an image of a very sleek yet serious looking dog in a smart pantsuit that matched Matthew's.

                                      "Good morning, Yuki." He gave the woman a smile, a smile which faltered almost immediately at the sight of the ream of paper in her arms. "Oh Lord, are those for me?"

                                      "I'm afraid they are. You'll want to double check the contracts before you sign them?"

                                      "Of course, of course. I just thought I could conduct a bit of a tour first," he said, and the eyebrows on Yuki's friendly face rose as she smiled at Mambo.

                                      "Of course, Mister Halden!"

                                      "Ah. This is..." he gestured slightly, half preferring she introduce herself and half not sure if they were using her actual name.

                                      • Gladstone Gander
                                        Gladstone Gander

                                        Mambo straightened up, falling into the part.

                                         

                                        “Pleasure to meet you Yuki,  I’m awfully sorry to keep him from you.” It was a clipped, posh British accent this time, and she patted his arm. “I’m Verity Candor.”  She nodded primly. “I assure you I won’t let him dawdle too long. “

                                         

                                        Mambo’s eyes met his with only the hint of a smile, she couldn’t look like she was enjoying herself too much.  Verity Candor was a serious woman after all, it was clear she was not going to make this easy on him.

                                         

                                        “Come along Mr. Halden, the sooner you show me around this well oiled machine the sooner you can take this mountain of paperwork off this poor woman so that she can keep the gears moving smoothly.” She nodded in parting to the bear and pulled him along. 

                                         

                                        “Matchin’ clothes an’ everythin’. “ She muttered to him with a quick glance back at the bear.

                                         

                                        “Kin ya-“ her eyes quickly darted to a side room and she pushed it open without explanation. It was a storage room, boxes of paperwork were in neat stacks all around.  Her eyes scanned the space, hovering in a few spots before turning to him and tugging on his tie. “-come in here wid me for a minute.  Wid all dese thoughtful gazes I’m gun’ need a bit a’ somethin’ ta make dis all seem convincin’.” She fluttered her eyelashes at him wielding them with the refined grace of a courtesan’s fan.  “An’ I dun’ mean t’ insult ya but yer last two kisses have missed dere target.” She traced a finger along her mouth smoothly. “Jus’ a quick one, even Yuki wun notice yer gone.”

                                         

                                        Although it was a superpower of skilled receptionists everywhere to know precise location of their bosses at all time. And if Matthew hired her there was no doubt that Yuki was no slouch.  Unless if some unexpected and unwanted visitor arrived and then the answer was always “oh he just stepped out” or “Oh I think you just missed him”.

                                         

                                        "Unless yer afraid a' gettin' caught sneakin' kisses in de storage room?" 

                                        • Lilly Teal
                                          Lilly Teal

                                          Verity Candor seemed like a force to be reckoned with, serious and intelligent and... well, business-y. Clearly Yuki felt anyone getting friendly with her boss had to be someone who could match him not just in force, but good sense and style.

                                          Thank you, Yuki, that's a very kind opinion. He smiled a little to himself as he was yanked into the store room, wrapping his arms around Mambo and pulling her close.

                                          "Lack of practice," he said in response to her comment about missing his target. The fact that he needed more training was implied more that said, as he leaned in to kiss her properly. Very properly, in fact. His usual careful affection had a distinct heat to it. Still careful, but much firmer.

                                          We still have to go down to the loading bay and check on the delivery of the new parts, said the back of his mind.

                                          Oh shut up, said the rest of him.

                                          • Gladstone Gander
                                            Gladstone Gander

                                            Mambo smiled into the kiss the saccharine quota finally being reached  and probably overflowing. She was glad his business brain was trying to keep a hold of him, because she knew how kisses were the easily tossed aside as a  gateway to more physical activities for them. A part of her almost felt guilty for luring him in here knowing they wouldn't get that far, it was a small part... but a part all the same. 

                                            Keeping a hold on his lapels she walked him in a few more steps just in time for the door to open.  It would have opened into him without her intervention, and she wasn’t heartless after all.  There was a terrified squeak from the scrawny squirrel woman who was now filling the door, her tail twitching anxiously. A new face, probably only had one or two paychecks signed by the big boss so far, she was familiar in a “we need another body on the loading docks, and her resume wasn’t written in crayon” kind of way. Her hazel eyes darted from Matthew to Mambo and she ...recoiled with a strangled gasp. Mambo let out a dark little laugh.

                                            “Bingo.” She purred and went to move out of his arms. “Dun’ run.” She cautioned the girl but the wide eyed woman  bolted down the hallway the instant the hen moved. Her foot steps headed right for the loading bay. Mambo sighed and rolled her eyes. “She ran.” She slapped the book lightly against his chest, the picture showing Mambo as she truly was wrapped up in his embrace. “Ya should go try ta catch her before she be gettin’ too far.”

                                            • Lilly Teal
                                              Lilly Teal

                                              Fun interrupted, Matthew let out a heavy sigh.

                                              "Yes, I suppose I must." Exiting the storage room, he studiously ignored Yuki's interested, amused glance that was very visible out of the corner of his eye, and followed, his strides much longer than the squirrel girl's. Still, she did have a heads' start on him, and clearly there was something prompting the speed of her bolt.

                                              Strange. It was possible of course that she was just worried that she'd get into trouble for intruding. But her reaction, mixed with that fact that she had been able to see Mambo perfectly clearly was curious. Someone Mambo knew? Someone magical that the glamour just didn't work on? ... someone incredibly perceptive when it came to who he would be fooling around with?

                                              Most likely the middle one.

                                              She made it all the way to the loading bay before he caught up.

                                              "Young lady, wait."

                                              Something at the back of his mind was bothering him, though he didn't pay it much attention for now.

                                              Weren't we supposed to get more boxes than that?

                                              • Gladstone Gander
                                                Gladstone Gander

                                                The fur on the squirrel's neck stood up and she wheeled around to stare at the massive form approaching her. She put up her hands and backed the rest of the way into the open space.

                                                "I didn't see anything." She waved her hands wildly at him. " I swear I was just-" her eyes darted to where he was looking and her tail twitched again nervously. "-I was just looking for a pen! Someone took mine and-" 

                                                 

                                                "An' it's so hard t' forge delivery manifests widout one?" Prompted Mambo from a few steps behind the ibex. She wasn't much of a chaser, but she could amble along with the best of them.  The squirrel smiled weakly and tried to hide the trepidation on her face. 

                                                 

                                                "Aha, she's funny, uh I don't think we've met? is she... the uh.. new supervisor?"

                                                 

                                                "Maybbe I would be if ya hadn' interrupted me interview." 

                                                 

                                                “Oh, oh my apologies. Is that why… you’re chasing me?” Her face attempted a ‘oh my how sorry I am to have stumbled upon something so scandalous’ expression. “ I promise I won’t report it.  May I go back to work now?” 

                                                 

                                                Mambo folded her arms across her chest and gave Matthew a flat unimpressed look. They both had ample exposure to bad liars but this girl was a different level of amateur. She lifted an eyebrow at him.

                                                “Dis is yer turf, whatcha tink? I’ll keep an eye on her if ya wan’ take a look around.” She inclined her head to a shipment in the corner and the squirrel’s eyes widened again.

                                                “Madam please…”

                                                Mambo slid her eyes to the squirrel as if daring her to continue. She didn’t.  The hen snapped her fingers and the cardboard boxes shimmered as if bathed in sunlight for a moment before they returned to normal. It seemed as if she wasn't the only 'glamor'ous thing on the premises.

                                                • Lilly Teal
                                                  Lilly Teal

                                                  Matthew matched the flat, unimpressed look as he listened, quickly putting together the broad strokes of what was happening.

                                                  Ah.

                                                  I told you, the business part of his mind said smugly. Something is off, and something is up.

                                                  "Yes," he said, giving the squirrel a hard look. "Keep an eye on her."

                                                  Mambo could be trusted to watch his back, he knew that. And so it was with some measure of security that he  strode over to the boxes and opened one carefully.

                                                  His back was to them, but they would be able to hear the pause and then the heavy snort very clearly.

                                                  "Garbage," he proclaimed, turning around to show Mambo the once machinery parts that were now so much scrap metal and scrunched up newspaper. Easy to get rid of. In bins, down rubbish chutes, in the pile of scrap metal that grew slowly out of rare damaged parts to be recycled later.

                                                  The box he was holding up to show them had a distinct dent in it, around his hand, though his face was utterly impassive, not giving away at all, he would like to get his hands on the person responsible. With the same grip.

                                                  • Gladstone Gander
                                                    Gladstone Gander

                                                    "Oh! What -uh- what happened to the parts?!" The squirrel, on top of not being a good liar was also a terrible actress. The fact that she wasn't fooling them finally seemed to sink in, as her eyes lingered on that sizable dent and she made a quick motion in the air, her hand sizzling like a firecracker as she attempted to aim at Matthew.

                                                    It probably would have only been a stunning spell or something nonlethal had she been able to pull it off. Her hand was seized in mid movement and slammed against the metal railing of the loading dock platform. The lights flickered as the hen's eyes flared, a violet light glowed from her irises. She glared at the younger witch without blinking for longer than should have been possible, before the girl let out a weak little laugh and slumped against the beams.

                                                     

                                                    "Can't blame a girl for trying can you?" She asked desperately, which was answered with a slow narrowing of Mambo's eyes.

                                                     

                                                    No one takes a cheap shot at my man.  Especially not in front of me.

                                                     

                                                    There was another sizzle and the squirrel’s free hand attempted to unleash the spell on her instead.  This worked out as well as the last attempt. Mambo gripped the offending hand and twisted it roughly with a startled little yelp from the squirrel. Not breaking the wrist, but certainly making it very uncomfortable. The lights dimmed to near darkness before they winked back on to full power.

                                                    “Yer gun’ have a little chat wid Mista’ Halden now.” Mambo informed her levelly, the glowing in her eyes waning. “An’ if ya wanna try t’ run or- an’ I dun suggest dis- try t’ use magic on either one a’ us again… yer gun’ have  t’ learn how t’ feed yerself through a tube. Do I make meself clear?” Or at least get water through a tube, she'd make a very fine hamster. 

                                                    “As crystal.” Squeaked the woman. “I’ll tell you whatever you want!”

                                                    “Good gurl.”  Mambo tore her eyes away from her target to glance around the loading docks. People were carrying on business as normal despite what strange things had occurred. She frowned. “Ya got a knack fer glamours I’m seein’, so dat means dat ya were preparin’ fer a lot a’ people ta not see somethin’ soon.” She glanced at Matthew meaningfully. “Stealin’ right under dis kind man’s nose? Dat’s not very nice. Not very nice at all.”

                                                    • Lilly Teal
                                                      Lilly Teal

                                                      Not it isn't. And we should all be nice.

                                                      I like being nice, I really do. But if people are not nice to me... well, there isn't a lot I can do except to be the very opposite of nice. Some would even say downright nasty.

                                                      "Very cooperative." Mathew returned to the ladies and smiled, though the smile did not reach his eyes, which were hard and cold. "With such a cooperative attitude I'm sure we can have a very nice, civilised chat."

                                                      And nothing has to be broken.

                                                      "You there.... Barkley, isn't it?"

                                                      "Yes boss?" The bulldog paused on his way and tipped his hat to Matthew politely. "Something wrong?"

                                                      "Not at all, just doing one of my usual spot checks. I wonder if you could get me the details for this shipment," he held up the box, "that just came in."

                                                      "Right away, boss."

                                                      As the bulldog walked away, Matthew turned back to the squirrel, his expression showing no change. "So, young lady. May I ask where, exactly, these boxes come from? I don't mean the name you write on the manifests, of course."

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