The Cadillac Diaries: Episode 36

Hare and Hounds

May 1st  2008

 

“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.”
—Orson Welles

 

Darin Chambers sat on his cell bunk thumbing through the pages of an old magazine. He had been a wreck for the last seven months, barely eating, keeping his head down. His cell mate knew when to shut his mouth and stay clear of this ex-police officer.

Throwing the magazine against the wall’s gray peeling paint, Chambers barked, “I screwed up. I screwed up and he’s coming for me.”

“Who? Who’s coming?” Chambers’ cell mate took a chance and squeaked out.

Without looking up, Chambers said with a shudder,

“Death’s Messenger.”

“Who?”

“I made one mistake but it keeps getting worse,” Chambers mumbled without answering the other man’s question.

The cell mate made no response.

“I’m so dead, so dead,” Chambers cried as he paced back and forth in his cell, running his fingers through his hair. “He’s going to kill me and I can’t stop him.”

“Call the guards,” the cell mate suggested.

“The guards?” Chambers laughed hysterically. “They can’t help me. They have no power against him.”

“Then I’ll call them,” the cell mate insisted.

“Guard! Guard!” he yelled out.

“Shut up!” Chambers snapped, jerking the man off his bunk, sending him slamming into the wall.

“You’re flipping out, man, and I’m not staying in here to watch it.”

“What’s going on?” the guard bellowed as he approached the cell door.

Chambers turned from his cell mate and faced the guard.

“Everything all right here?” the guard demanded.

Before Chambers could answer, he felt a sharp pain between his shoulder blades that spread out across his back. As his legs folded, he fell to the floor.

The guard stood still and watched as Porter Daniels, the cell mate, stabbed Chambers repeatedly in the back. Then he looked up at the guard, glee filling his blood spattered face.

“Everything okay here?” the guard asked again.

“Just fine, sir,” Daniels answered with a smile.

“Good,” the guard said, tossing a cell key through the bars.

“Why thank you, kind sir,” Daniels chirped.

“Clean yourself up, Daniels. He wants to see you,” the guard instructed.

“Right away, sir,” Daniels saluted.

 

 

*          *          *

May 2nd  2008

Two weeks had passed since former Mayor Dylan Stevens took his own life in an explosion at his home. Now it was considered old news, so the papers finally dropped the story. Alone at the bar, Tommy quietly sipped a scotch trying to block out the pounding music that called the bar’s young clientele to the dance floor. They pressed their bodies together drinking in each other’s joy and forgetting their troubles. Some patrons stayed behind at the tables, struggling to hear each other above the noise as they waited for their turn on the dance floor. On the stage, gyrating his hips, Damien Pena, the club’s headliner and co-owner, caressed the microphone. Dressed in black leather pants, leather jacket, and a black shirt opened halfway down, he sang in a language that drove the women wild. Tommy finished his drink and looked up at the bartender, a grizzled old man with a face like a bulldog. William Cardenas was a Marine vet who had worked his way through the nightclub circuit saving to open his own bar. Tommy had helped him a little along the way, and for this, Tommy got special treatment.

“Refill please, mate,” Tommy requested sliding an empty glass across the bar toward William.

“What happened to Mavis and the horseshoe?” William asked. “She kick you out?”

“Don’t be daft,” Tommy said. “Acting class tonight. Her usual cover called in sick, so she closed the place.”

“I’d be glad to cover her,” William said with a wink.

“What? You and Mavis? She’d hurt you, old boy. No telling what she might take with her,” Tommy laughed.

William snorted as he filled Tommy’s glass with the light golden brown liquid.

“Explain something to me, mate,” Tommy said, turning to face the stage.

“What’s that?” William asked.

“How can he move like that?” Tommy asked, sipping his drink. “Makes me legs ache just seeing it.”

“That’s Damien Pena. He always moves like that. His style,” William answered.

“That response is like looking up ‘burn’ in the dictionary and finding the definition ‘the act of burning something.’ Tells me nothing. I know who is he, mate. Just wondering how he moves like he has no bones,” Tommy said.

“He’s the other half of Pena and Cruz,” William added.

“Oh well that explains everything.  You have told me exactly nothing.”

Tommy was beginning to slur his words. As he took another sip of the fresh drink, he wondered how many of these he had had.

“Come on, boy. Tell us. I’ll give you a treat,” he mumbled.

William grunted and stared at Tommy.

“I’d punch you if I wasn’t worried your face would cave in.”

“Go on! Mavis would finish you off. Do you in,” Tommy said, stumbling over his words.

“Damien Pena and Rosalie Cruz were a singing sensation for about five years. Most of their success was overseas. They never did break into the American music scene, so they started up this club.”

“Well that was nice of them,” Tommy said.

“Yea. That’s Rosalie there,” William said pointing to a woman just off stage.

Tommy swiveled the stool to take a look.

Rosalie Cruz was a tall beautiful woman. Her long black hair fell in a cascade of curls down the loose black dress that lay against her very pregnant body.

“Well she is lovely, and pregnant I see. She and her husband must be overjoyed,” Tommy said.

“They aren’t married,” William pointed out.

“Oh very modern of them,” Tommy replied.

“No, Tommy. I mean she’s married to someone else. Damien’s single, but rumor is they had a doomed romance while on tour,” William said. “Rosalie’s husband has a daughter from a previous marriage. He helps Rosalie run this place, and Damien provides the entertainment.”

As the song ended, Damien smiled to the crowd and walked off stage. When he reached Rosalie, the two began arguing then disappeared from Tommy’s view.

“Looks like they still have some unresolved issues,” Tommy said.

“Who doesn’t,” William replied.

The band had just begun a slow number, a cool down time for the dancers, when Damien stumbled on stage. At the sight of him, the audience cheered, but Tommy saw that something was wrong. Damien seemed disoriented and staggered to the edge of the stage. When he collapsed with a thud, the audience screamed. Sticking out of his back was the handle of a knife.

Immediately Tommy sobered up and snapped, “Call the police!”

 

 

*          *          *

Thirty minutes later, the police had crime scene tape across the entrance to the club and were busy taking witness statements. Tommy, still seated at the bar, waited for permission to leave. Suddenly a loud commotion from back stage brought a police officer running. A moment later, he reappeared calling for an EMT.

“We got a woman in labor.”

Tommy stood up and made his way over to one of the officers.

“What’s going on?” he asked.

When the officer turned around to answer, he said in surprise, “Tommy. What are you doing here?”

“I’m mixing things up,” Tommy replied in frustration.  “What’s going on?”

“Oh quite a  lot, Tommy,” the officer replied. “We got a dead guy with nine stab wounds in the back and a woman in labor.”

“Is that all?” Tommy asked.

“Nope,” the officer replied. “There’s more.”

“Oh yeah?” Tommy answered.

The officer added, “The woman’s husband just confessed to the murder.”

“He did?” Tommy said.

“Yep. Said the guy was attacking his wife, so he grabbed a knife and stabbed him,” the officer explained.

“Excuse me,” the officer said and disappeared backstage.

Close by, Tommy heard a soft sniffling. He followed the sound and found a small girl pressed in the corner under one of the tables. Bending down, he said in his most comforting voice,

“It’s all right, dear. They caught the man who did it. He can’t hurt you.”

The child looked up through tear filled eyes and said, “But he didn’t do it.”

“He didn’t?” Tommy asked.

“No. He’s my daddy,” she sobbed.

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Published in: on March 4, 2013 at 5:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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