The Cadillac Diaries: Episode One

Raymond Slats looked around. There had to be a way out. The red and blue lights danced across the walls in time to the sirens. His cane was gone, the doors were blocked, and the only other person in the room held his pistol.
“Isn’t this what you wanted, Detective? You wanted me, well here I am.”
The man standing before him was shadowed from the police lights outside. All Ray could make out was the pistol and part of the man’s shirt.
“Why me?” Ray asked.
“Don’t play games. You know exactly why. First, there was the church and then your actions in the play.” Ray didn’t know what he was talking about, and the man’s distorted voice made it difficult to understand him. “By this time, you were just an annoyance that should have been paid off, even though you thought you were too good for that. But what you did at the carnival, I’ll never forgive. She was mine. How could you have done such a thing?”
“I didn’t mean to,” Ray pleaded, trying to buy some time. “It was an accident.”
“I don’t care! It’s too late now!” the man yelled.
“But. . .” Ray began.
“No more excuses,” the man said. “That heart attack should have killed you. You’ve escaped death three times now, but no more.”
Ray glanced over at the wall calendar and saw that the date was January 18, 2008. He turned back just in time to hear the gunfire. The bullet slammed into his chest and threw him backwards.
Ray lay there watching as the lights decorated the ceiling, and slowly everything faded to black.
October 28, 2007
Ray awoke to a woman looking over him.
“Daddy, are you alright?” she asked.
It took him a moment to focus before he recognized the face.
“Hey, Sweetheart. What’re you doing here?” he asked.
“What am I doing here? After what happened, I had to come see you. You have me as your emergency contact.”
“Oh, yea,” he replied, “but I thought I was a goner. He hit me dead in the chest with that shot.”
Deborah looked at him confused, “Daddy, you weren’t shot. You had a heart attack.”
With a questioning stare, Ray asked, “Are you sure?
“We’re one hundred percent positive, Mr. Slats,” the doctor said standing in the doorway. “You suffered a standard heart attack. The good news is you’ll be fine. We’re going to give you some medication in case you have any problems, but you should be released in a few days.”
While Ray listened to the doctor, he thought about the dream he had. People don’t dream about the future. They dream about current or past events. It could have been just a nightmare brought on by whatever he had watched on television, but the last thing he remembered seeing was a cartoon with a dancing pig.
“So, Mr. Slats, you’re 71 years old, and your only family is your daughter. Is that correct?”
“Yea,” Ray answered absently.
The doctor turned to Deborah and asked, “May I speak with you for a moment?”
Deborah nodded and she and the doctor stepped out of the room to talk. Ray watched them for a moment.  Deborah looked just like her mother. Ray had been in his early thirties when he met Margaret, Deborah’s mother.  When he first saw her, he was convinced he had found the prettiest girl alive. He knew that she was far too attractive for him. Yet as he watched her talking with her friends, Ray had realized he was walking over to her.
Margaret was a nurse and found it bold that someone like Ray would approach her. Being a nurse meant chasing off most decent guys. They always assumed that she was involved or not interested in them. So most of her dates had ended with a slap to the face and a quiet ride home. She and Ray dated for over a year before he asked her to marry him. And when she accepted Ray’s proposal of marriage, his legs almost gave out on him.
About a year into their marriage Deborah was born. She was a spry little toddler, always getting into trouble.
“She gets that from you,” Margaret would tell Ray.
“At least she doesn’t look like me. That would be cruel. A rambunctious child with the face of a Rottweiler.”
Sixteen years later Margaret was dead from cancer. Ray knew how to raise a child, but Deborah spent more time taking care of him.
“Well, Mr. Slats,” the doctor said, snapping Ray out of his daydreaming, “a nurse should be along any minute with your medication.”
After the doctor left, Ray reached over and grabbed the phone.
“Daddy, who are you calling?”
“Tommy.”
“Who?”
Ray quickly dialed while he explained, “Tommy’s an old friend of mine. He helped me find the men who vandalized your house that time.”
“Tommy? How’s it going old man? … I’m in the hospital … Nope, heart attack. Look, I need you to do me a favor. See if you can find a rich guy with the initials D.C. … No, that’s all I’ve got right now … Oh don’t give me that retired nonsense … I know it isn’t cheap … How much then? … Alright, I’ll get it.”
Ray hung up the phone and struggled out of bed.
“Daddy, what are you doing?” Deborah asked anxiously.
“Getting dressed,” he answered.
“You should be resting,” she pleaded.
“And you should be watching out for the nurse. Now go.”
Deborah hesitated then stepped out of the room. After a few minutes, Ray knew it wouldn’t be long before his daughter returned with the doctor to stop him. He quickly grabbed his shoes and hurried out the door. As he hurried to the elevator, Ray could hear Deborah calling for him. He entered the elevator and hit the button for the lobby. The doors opened and Ray headed for the emergency room, the nearest exit. As he neared the doors, something caught his attention. Rushing in through the front door were two EMT’s and a woman on the gurney. Her shirt was covered in blood.
“Tell me what happened?” a nurse ordered as they rushed to her.
“Police officer with multiple gunshot wounds,” the EMT said.
“Is she going to be all right?” another officer asked as he hurried up to them.
The officer on the gurney reached up and grabbed his shirt collar, but he quickly took her hand and pulled it away saying, “Don’t worry; they’ll take care of you.”
The wounded officer was wheeled away as the second police officer leaned against the wall and let out a long breath.
Ray watched the officer for a minute. His words had expressed concern, but his body language had said something else. Most people who are scared reach for a hand. The wounded cop had gone for the guy’s throat. Ray knew something wasn’t right.
“Mr. Slats, we need to hold you over night for observation. You really need to get back into bed,” the doctor said as he and Deborah walked up behind Ray.
With no response, Ray continued to watch the officer.
“Daddy?” Deborah called.
“You’re absolutely right, ” Ray said backpedaling, “I should wait here and get some rest.”

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Published in: on January 1, 2010 at 10:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

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