Unholy Trinity: “Frank Harrow, Discount Occult Detective” By Joshua Ginsberg

Our church worships at the altar of the Unholy Trinity. Its gospels are delivered as a trio of dark drabbles, linked so that Three become One. All hail the power of the Three.

 

Frank Harrow, Discount Occult Detective

Got a supernatural crisis on your hands, but short of funds? More people than you could possibly imagine turn to Frank Harrow and The Four-Pointed Star Discount Occult Detective Agency to get the job done. Frank Harrow is a name you can trust. Mostly.

 

New Business Maybe

 

Frank Harrow appraised the couple through a hangover fog and five o’clock shadow that was getting on to midnight. At least they’d called ahead, giving him time to run a load of laundry.

He read the subtext of misery and desperation in their story and etched in their faces. It was all that ever brought folks to The Four-Pointed Star, Discount Occult Detective Agency.

“We just need to find our son,” the willowy blond said.

“…wherever, …whatever, he is now,” her dark-haired wife finished.

Frank didn’t want the case, didn’t like it. But he needed it.

“Give me twenty-four hours.”

 

Meeting at the Greenwood

 

It was for a favor that Frank had come to seek his former partner.

He refilled their rocks glasses, watched his old friend lift it to his blackened lips.

“Hey, remember that ghoul that couldn’t keep a low profile?”

Dylan laughed a cloud of dust. “Dumbass kept snatching bites from Hollywood Forever. Look folks, there’s Judy Garland! Oh, wait, there goes Valentino.”

The laughter faded. “Look Dylan, I got a new case, maybe. Can you run a background check for me?”

“Yeah, but you still owe me,” Dylan replied, poking a bony finger through a bullet hole in his shirt.

 

Case Accepted

 

The couple sat waiting on Frank’s decision.

“I’m different from other firms,” he began, “in that I’m a lot less money and a lot more still alive. I plan to stay that way.”

He gauged their reactions.

“Discount don’t mean free. Cash only, upfront. No credit, no souls, no exceptions. You want some other kind of help, there’s a crossroads down the way…”

 

From the cavernous, candle-lit cellar of a decaying mansion nearby, four hooded figures watched the deal conclude through an ancient mirror. 

“He’s taken the bait,” grinned the high priestess.

And the darkness whispered a promise of vengeance.

 

Joshua Ginsberg

Joshua Ginsberg is the author of Secret Tampa Bay: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure (2020), Tampa Bay Scavenger (2021), Oldest Tampa Bay (2022), and co-author of Secret Orland: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure (2023). His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications including Trembling with Fear (The Horror Tree), The Chamber Magazine, The City Key, 365 Tomorrows, and Atlas Obscura. He currently lives in Tampa with his wife, Jen, and their Shih Tzu, Tinker Bell.

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