The Cadillac Diaries: Episode Seven

After Detective Richard Clay booked Chambers, he swung by and picked up his wife Deborah. They were to meet Ray and Tommy at a local diner for supper. Ray had said, “I’m buying.”

It was well after dark as Raymond stirred his coffee at one of the outside tables. “Pass me that sugar, Tommy,” he said.

“Daddy,” Deborah said, “I know you care for Pete, but does he have to sit with us?”

“You try telling him to stay in the car,” Ray said.

Pete sat panting as he looked back and forth listening to the conversation.

“Wait,” Tommy said. “I still don’t quite understand.”

Ray took a sip of his coffee and said,

“Alright. Detective Chambers had an average life with a wife who loved him. Everything was fine as far as he was concerned, that is up until he met Carrie Waters. They became close partners, like cops are supposed to be, but then they got too close. They had an affair. Now Chambers was riding high. He had a loving wife and an adoring mistress. I guess you could say he was having his cake and sleeping with it too.”

“Daddy!” Deborah snapped.

“Sorry.” Ray apologized “A friend of mine once said the time to be the most cautious is when everything is going your way. If Chambers had been a little more suspicious, things might have turned out differently. Like when Waters came to him and said she was pregnant.”

“But she wasn’t?” Tommy asked.

“Nope,” Ray said. “The home pregnancy test gave her a false positive. Now whether she knew this or not isn’t important. Chambers couldn’t have her telling his wife about the pregnancy. He knew he’d lose his wife and get stuck paying alimony and child support. So, he took care of the problem. He killed Waters.”

“Allegedly.” Richard added.

“Is allegedly cop talk for he shot her nine times?” Ray asked.

“No, it’s lawyer speak for innocent until proven guilty,” Richard explained.

“Fair enough,” Ray said.

“So when you saw Carrie Waters grab Chambers’ shirt collar in the emergency room. . .” Deborah began.

“I knew something was wrong. No one grabs a loved one like that. She was angry because he shot her,” Ray said. “Reasonable response, wouldn’t you say?”

“How did you know the silver ring I found in her apartment was Chambers’?” Tommy asked.

“Honestly,” Ray said, “I didn’t. That was just a shot in the dark.”

“I have to admit that was some pretty impressive detective work,” Richard said. “You’ve been driving a cab for how long?”

“Forty years.” Ray answered.

Richard thought for a moment then said,

“But you’re seventy-one. So you didn’t start till you were in your early thirties?”

Ray put down his coffee and said, “You did that all in your head without using your fingers or toes. I’m so proud.”

Richard smiled and asked, “What did you do before you drove a cab?”

Ray said, “I was a seamstress.”

Richard and Deborah both looked at Ray confused.

“What?” Richard asked.

“Yep, that was it.” Ray said. “Excuse me. Got to wash my hands. Pete, stay here.”

Pete barked, and a moment after Ray got up and walked inside the diner, Richard followed him. Pete jumped down from his chair and trotted inside after them.

Tommy watched the little dog and laughed, “He’s got his own mind.”

“Excuse me, Tommy?” Deborah said.

“Yes, sweetie?” Tommy answered.

“When I was younger, I asked Daddy what he did for a living before he met Mom, and he said he was a reporter,” Deborah said.

Tommy smiled and said, “I’ve known your dad for twenty-seven years, Deborah. In that time, I’ve asked him fifty-six different times what he used to do for a living, and do you know what he told me?”

“What?” Deborah asked.

“He gave me fifty-six different answers.”

Tommy looked up when he heard Ray, standing just inside the door, arguing with the waiter while Pete jumped up and down barking.

“I learned a long time ago,” Tommy said, “that whatever your father did before he met your mother, he does not want to talk about it.”

*          *          *

It was almost midnight when Ray headed for bed. Pete stayed close on his heels yawning every five minutes. In the bedroom, Pete hopped onto the bed, sat down, and barked.

“I know, buddy,” Ray said. “Got to take care of something first.”

Ray opened the closet and reached up to one of the higher shelves. He pulled down a leather bound book stacked next to several others just like it. Over at his desk, Ray clicked on the lamp, sat down, and picked up a photo of Margret.

“Maggie, I know before we married I promised you I’d never do anything dangerous or risky again. I said I’d leave that life behind. But now things have changed. Deborah is grown up, and she’s found a great guy, someone who loves her and will take care of her. I’m starting to atrophy, honey. I can’t take this day in and day out regiment of soup and game shows. I’m going crazy. I closed a case today. It wasn’t as dangerous as my younger days, but it was something. I just want you to know that in spite of this, I still love you and miss you.”

Ray wiped a tear from his eye then dusted off the black leather cover of the book. Opening it to the first page, he read:

The Cadillac Diary

Volume XI

Ray flipped to the last entry and glanced at the title:

The Angel and the Hawk

June 1967

He turned the pages until he came to a blank one. In the desk drawer, he found a pen and wrote:

Free Love and Bullets

October 2007

Ray read the title and scoffed, “That is just lousy.”

He looked at Pete and asked, “Am I that out of practice?”

When Pete barked, Ray said, “Oh what do you know?”

Turning back to the book, Ray began recording what had happened, starting with his dream.

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Published in: on July 1, 2010 at 12:45 am  Leave a Comment  

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