The Cadillac Diaries Episode 41

The Horseshoe saw most of its business at night. When Ray opened the doors, the place was crowded with men ordering drinks or hitting on Mavis, the resident pin up.

“You’re later than I expected,” Mavis said.

“You were expecting me?” Ray asked confused.

“Your son-in-law is looking for you,” Mavis informed him.

Ray nodded, “Yea. I figured he would be.”

Pete barked happily at Mavis and bounded toward a small stool at the foot of the bar. He hopped from the stool up to one of the bar stools and then onto the bar.

“Pete, get off the bar!” Ray snapped.

“Oh leave him alone,” Mavis fussed. “He’s cleaner than most of the people sitting at this bar.”

Pete trotted across the high polished surface over to Mavis then sat down at her elbow. She leaned over and kissed his forehead before reaching under the bar to pull out a long strip of beef jerky.

“Here you go, boy,” she said, rubbing the top of his head.

Pete clamped down on the prized treat then pulled it from her fingers. Pinning it to the bar with his paws, he began to tear at it.

“You know what that does to his system,” Ray said.

“Yep,” Mavis grinned. “Gives him wicked gas.”

“Hence my convertible,” Ray said.

Mavis laughed then motioned with her head,

“He’s at his usual table. Said he needed to borrow my phone to make some calls.”

“Thanks, Mavis,” Ray said.

“Why doesn’t he have his own cell?” Mavis asked.

“Multiple reasons. Mostly he’s one of those paranoid ‘government is watching me’ types,” Ray explained.

“They are watching us,” Mavis insisted.

Ray paused for a moment, shook his head then headed toward the back.

At an isolated table in a corner, Tommy sat with pad, pen and phone. Without looking up, he spoke.

“Three people had motive. Hated Damien Pena enough to stab him and burn down his club,” Tommy said.

“What about the sniper outside the police station?” Ray asked as he pulled out a chair and sat down.

“Still working on that. There was a prison break recently. Inmate may have had sniper skills. Not sure yet,” Tommy said as he studied a sheet of paper.

“As far as the murder goes, three people wanted Pena dead—a man who claims Pena got his daughter pregnant then refused to pay child support, a songwriter working as a security guard at a record company who insists that several of his songs were stolen and recorded by Pena, and a judge who was suspended pending a full investigation because a witness claims the judge was seen having drinks with a woman he had earlier that day cleared of all charges.”

Ray crossed his legs, leaned back, and thought for a moment.

“Hey, Pete,” Tommy called out with his head still down.

Looking for Pete, Ray glanced down at his feet then toward the bar. He saw that Pete was  wading through the crowd, still a good fifteen feet away from the table.

“We need to find a place to crash tonight, Tommy. I can’t go banging on doors at this hour,” Ray said. “Where’s Sabella?”

“Asleep in Mavis’ office,” Tommy said.

“Okay. We’ll get a room for the night. Pick this up in the morning. If Deborah or Richard find me, this investigation’s over.”

Tommy reached into his pocket and pulled out a receipt from a hotel less than a block down the street.

Ray looked at the receipt and asked, “Always a step ahead, huh Tommy?”

“Must be mindful of the bairn,” Tommy said as he packed up his belongings and pushed back his chair. “I’ll wake the wee one.”

Ray followed Tommy back to Mavis’ office and watched as he tenderly lifted the sleeping child. As they passed the bar, Tommy reached out and slipped the cell phone into Mavis’ outstretched hand.

When she tucked the phone into her pocket, a guy at the bar slurred,

” H-h-h-heeeeey! Ya said ya didnah hava phone.”

Mavis replied, “I don’t.”

“Take care of that child, boys,” Mavis ordered as they left the bar.

Ray and Tommy returned to the Cadillac and laid Sabella in the back seat. As Tommy slipped into the passenger’s side, Ray opened the driver’s door and Pete hopped in.

“Don’t wake her up, boy,” Ray instructed.

Pete looked up at his master with understanding and quietly settled down at Sabella’s feet.

“Tomorrow we have to find a safe place for her while we investigate this case,” Tommy said.

“She won’t be happy about that, but you’re right,” Ray agreed.

“Let’s just bring her back here,” Tommy suggested. “The Horseshoe is quiet during the day, and you know Mavis will take good care of her.”

“Is a bar the best place to leave her?” Ray asked.

“We can’t let Social Services know we have her. They’ll put her in foster care. If David Delgado is being forced to confess, Sabella may be at risk. Would explain why someone was shooting at you outside the police station,” Tommy said.

“I agree, Tommy, but a bar?” Ray asked.

“Think about it, Ray. She probably spent most of her nights at The Spotlight club, so she’s used to the environment. She’ll be fine with Mavis,” Tommy said. “It’s either that or I call in a favor.”

“Who?” Ray asked.

“Friend of mine. Gang leader a couple of cities over. Calls himself King Caldwell,” Tommy replied.

His eyes wide open in surprise, Ray quickly answered, “Mavis will be fine.”

“She’ll be real safe with him,” Tommy pressed.

“No. We’re leaving her with Mavis,” Ray asserted.

Starting up the Cadillac, Ray looked over at Tommy and asked,

“The leader of a biker gang?”

“Yea,” Tommy replied. “He controls a third of the city.”

“Only a third?” Ray asked sarcastically.

“Well right now he’s at war with these two sisters. Mean sort,” Tommy responded.

Ray pulled onto the street shaking his head in disbelief, “How do you meet these people?”

Tommy just grinned as they headed for the hotel.

After Tommy checked in, he returned with the key.

Once inside the room, Ray carefully laid Sabella on one of the beds, slipped off her shoes, and tucked her in.

“Been a long time since I did that,” he whispered to Tommy.

Pete jumped on the bed and curled up beside the sleeping child, pressing his little body next to her legs.

“I figured we should go see the father first,” Tommy suggested.

“Sabella’s father?” Ray asked. “You realize I can’t go back to the police station. Deborah will probably have me arrested. For my own good of course.”

“No. The first suspect. The father who claims Pena got his daughter pregnant,” Tommy corrected.

“Got it,” Ray said.

Tommy sat down on the edge of the bed near Sabella to slip off his shoes, and Pete’s head popped up.

When he started growling, Tommy quickly stood up.

“Sorry, Tommy. Pete’s pretty much taken it upon himself to protect her,” Ray explained.

Tommy mumbled something and headed to the bathroom.

“You realize we have to share this bed,” Ray pointed out. “If you get handsy during the night, I will bludgeon you to death with this lamp.”

Tommy gave no response, just whistled as he turned on the bathroom light and closed the door. Ray looked at Pete and said,

“I’m not getting much sleep tonight, not with that blanket hog.”

Pete just yawned.

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