The Cadillac Diaries: Episode 14

Ray woke up, rope binding his hands to a chair. When he looked down, he saw that his shoes and socks were gone and his feet were free. Odd. Although his mind was a bit muddled, he was pretty sure he had slipped in and out of consciousness. Sometimes someone had been in the room with him; other times he had been alone. His aching head was spinning, and if he hadn’t been tied to the chair, he’d have fallen out of it. Opening and closing his mouth, he worked his jaw. His mouth tasted metallic and salty. Ray twisted his neck one way then the other, trying to work out the stiffness. Just as he closed his eyes, letting his head hang, he heard the sound of a key in the lock.

When the door opened, a man’s raspy voice called, “Mr. Slats.”

Light poured in from the door, obscuring Ray’s vision, but when the man came closer, Ray could see that his captor was bald with an ugly scar across his throat. An occasional puff of smoke rose from his cigarette as he stood and looked at Ray.

“Howdy?” Ray smiled.

“Do you know what happened to the cat?” the man asked.

“I hope it didn’t die from curiosity because that has been done way too much,” Ray said.

The man forced a laugh then asked, “Very well. How about what will happen to you if I don’t get what I want?”

“You’ll give me a stern warning then let me go with a swift swat on the fanny?” Ray asked, trying to smile through sore jaws.

“I like jokes, Mr. Slats, but too many will get you killed,” the man warned.

“So will eggs,” Ray replied, “or is the opposite true? I can’t remember because they keep changing their mind. First eggs are good then they’re not. Why can’t they make up their mind? And who exactly is “they” in the first place? You think we’re taking dietary advice from people who even care what we eat?”

The man stepped forward and fiercely slapped Ray across the mouth.

Ray’s head was spinning as he struggled to keep from vomiting. A few more hits like that and the contents of his stomach would jump ship.

“You have soft hands,” Ray said. “I moisturize but I can’t seem to get rid of that sandpapery feel. My wife was always complaining about my hands being too rough.”

“Well she’s not complaining now, is she?” the man sneered.

As his captor stepped forward again to reassert his dominance, Ray paused a moment then kicked up into the man’s groin. When he doubled over, Ray glared at him before kicking up and striking him in the forehead, sending him to the floor. Ray twisted his hands around, working the rope to pull his left hand free. Quickly, he freed his right hand and bent down to search the man’s pockets for a weapon.

Although Ray hated guns, he knew he might need one now. Stashing the pistol in his pants pocket, he quietly moved up to the doorway and listened. When he heard no sound from outside the room, he lowered himself and peered out. At the end of a long hallway to his right, one man stood looking out a window. To the left was a door marked Lobby. Ray didn’t like the idea of engaging the guard but figured he had a better chance outside than in the lobby.

He slipped out and crept slowly forward on the balls of his feet, keeping low in case the guard suddenly turned. As he neared the door, he spotted an empty beer bottle and lifted it up as a weapon, a trickle of beer running down his sleeve. Just feet from the guard, Ray heard his ankle pop. The man suddenly spun around and momentarily confused, stared at Ray.

Ray looked down at his ankle and shaking his head said,

“Stupid old age. I was so close.”

When the guard smirked, Ray smashed the beer bottle across his head. Stunned, the guard staggered forward and Ray grabbed his shoulders, ramming his head into the wall. Without hesitating, Ray opened the door and ran for a nearby open gate.

Just as he reached the exit, three bikers turned into the gate. Reacting out of reflex, Ray grabbed a nearby tire iron and hurled it at one of the bikers, knocking him to the ground. He pulled out the pistol, hating the feel of it, and pointed it at the other two bikers as he lifted the overturned bike.

“Sorry, I have to borrow this,” Ray said climbing onto the bike.

He revved the engine, spun the bike around, and pulled away, leaving the bikers with their hands in the air.

 

 

*          *            *

 

 

Richard sat at his desk on the phone chasing leads. The officers had gotten a description of Ray’s attacker, and the Cadillac had been brought in and searched for evidence. Raymond had been missing for two days now, and Deborah had been pacing the lobby, in between crying fits, and yelling at officers who had no answers. She had finally passed out from exhaustion in one of the interrogation rooms.

Just as Richard hung up, his phone rang.

“Homicide. Detective Clay.”

“Hobbs Garage,” Tommy’s voice said on the other end.

“Tommy?” Richard asked confused. “How do you know?”

“I’d rather decline to answer that question and protect my freedom. You want to interrogate me or go get your father-in-law?” Tommy asked, hanging up the phone.

Richard hesitated then hung up and grabbed his jacket. Yelling for two detectives, he hurried to the interrogation rooms and Deborah.

“Deborah?” he called softly.

Deborah snapped awake, her eyes bloodshot and swollen.

“Anything?” she asked hopefully.

Richard smiled, half at the good news he had for her and half at how beautiful she was despite the strain of the last two days.

“We found him,” Richard said quietly.

“Where? How?” she asked as she jumped up from the couch.

“A place called Hobbs Garage. Tommy found him,” Richard explained.

Deborah put on her shoes and grabbed her purse.

“Let’s go,” she said, pushing past the two detectives waiting at the door.

As he dug in his pockets for car keys, Richard heard Ray’s tired but round voice.

“Where you guys headed to?”

Richard looked up just in time to see Deborah run to Ray and grab him, almost knocking him down.

“Daddy!” she shrieked through tears of joy.

She held Ray tightly for a moment, cupping the back of his head, before she pulled away.

“I’m so glad you’re okay, Daddy,” Deborah cried.

Ray stood barefoot, abrasions on his wrists, but what everyone noticed was the blood on Deborah’s hands.

“Daddy?” Deborah asked scared.

“I may need a hospital,” Ray muttered before he passed out.

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Published in: on March 9, 2011 at 1:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

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