The Cadillac Diaries: Episode 9

Ray slipped out of the supermarket and grabbed a cab home. He paid the driver and hopped out with Pete hurrying close behind.

“Hurry up, buddy. We don’t have long before Deborah gets here. We need to grab the Cadillac and get out of here.”

Pete barked.

“It’s too late to back out now. Come on,” Ray replied.

Climbing into the Cadillac, he quickly started the engine. As it rumbled, Ray turned and saw that Pete was still sitting in the driveway.

“Well make a decision. You gonna come with me or wait here and explain things to Deborah?”

Pete seemed to think things over before finally hopping into the car.

“Thought so,” Ray said as he backed the Cadillac out into the street.

At the corner, he turned left and aimed for the Horseshoe, a local bar and grill. When he reached the Horsehoe, he cut off the engine and headed inside. A cloud of smoke hit him in the face as he opened the door with Pete trotting alongside.

“Raymond Slats,” a shapely redhead behind the bar called out. “Where’s my boy?”

Pete barked and ran up to the bar.

“There he is,” the bartender said.

“Hey, Mavis,” Ray said. “Tommy around?”

“In the back,” Mavis said holding out a strip of beef jerky for Pete.

“You’re not helping his cholesterol,” Ray said as he watched Pete hop up onto the stool.

“He needs a reward after watching out for you all the time,” Mavis said.

“You’re as bad as my daughter,” Ray teased.

“By the way, does she know where you are?” Mavis asked.

Ray paused before saying, “Sure.”

“You are such a liar,” Mavis laughed.

Ray headed to one of the back booths looking for Tommy. Approaching his old friend, Ray said,

“Thomas Jeffery Howell, an eighty-one-year-old retired thief,” Ray sat down and continued, “who apparently has a thing for scotch?”

“Oh great,” Tommy said dropping his head.

“I didn’t know you drank,” Ray said.

“I didn’t till recently,” Tommy said.

“Is that my fault?” Ray asked.

“It’s not Pete’s,” Tommy snapped.

“Oh I’m hurt now,” Ray replied.

“I doubt that,” Tommy glowered.

“Yea, you’re probably right,” Ray said.

“What do you want?” Tommy asked.

Ray hesitated then after a moment’s thought said,

“Must be getting slow. Normally I’d have a snappy come back, but I got nothing,” Ray said.

“Look, Tommy, there’s a guy in jail name of Brian. . . .” Ray snapped his fingers trying to remember.

“Baker?” Tommy asked.

“Right. That’s the guy,” Ray said. “So you heard about it already?”

“Yeah. Soon as I heard about it, I figured you’d be showing up.  He’s under arrest in the fifth precinct charged with murdering his daughter,” Tommy said.

“Could you find out what exactly happened to his daughter?” Ray asked.

“She was beaten to death,” Tommy said.

“I mean beyond that,” Ray explained.

“I’ll take care of it,” Tommy said.

“Thanks, buddy,” Ray said getting up.

As he headed back to the bar, Ray whistled to Pete and stopped to have a word with Mavis.

“Water down his drinks, will you?” Ray asked.

“More?” Mavis asked. “He’s already drinking more water than liquor.”

“Thanks, Mavis,” Ray said and headed for the door.

As Ray pulled away from the Horseshoe, Pete barked.

“No, we cannot get jerky for the house. You ask me that every time,” Ray said as he drove to the fifth precinct.

When he reached the station, Ray leaned back against the seat and looked over at Pete.

“Buddy, I need you to stay here. Getting myself in is going to be hard enough. Do me a favor and watch the car, okay?”

Cocking his head to one side, Pete looked at Ray then pulled back his ears and sat down.

“Thanks, buddy. I owe you one,” Ray said then turned his gaze to the station.

“Now how to get inside,” he wondered.

Ray thought for a moment then slowly a smile worked itself across his face.

*          *          *

Brian Baker sat on the bed in his cell. For him, the world was coming to an end. His daughter was dead, and instead of catching her murderer, the police had arrested him of all things. It was more than one person could take.

“Baker,” the guard called. “Your lawyer’s here.”

Baker stood up and watched as an old man dressed in a suit and carrying a briefcase walked up to the cell door. Turning to the cop, the man said, “Some time alone with my client, please?”

The cop hesitated then turned and walked back down the hall.

“You’re my lawyer?” Baker asked.

“Only if you want to lose,” the old man said.

Baker looked at the man confused.

“Name is Raymond Slats, and I’m helping out your wife,” he explained.

“You’re an investigator?” Baker asked.

“Heavens no,” Ray said. “I’m just doing a favor.”

“Then what are you?” Baker asked.

“Retired cab driver,” Ray said.

“How can a retired cab driver help me?” Baker asked.

“I wasn’t always a cab driver,” Ray said.

“What were you before that?” Baker asked.

“Crocodile wrangler,” Ray said and sat down on the bed. “Now tell me everything that happened and talk fast. It won’t take that cop long to find out that the papers I showed him are actually job applications for a fry cook.”

Published in: on August 30, 2010 at 3:40 am  Leave a Comment  

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