The Cadillac Diaries Episode 45

Twelve hours after the explosion at the recording studio, Ray woke to find himself lying on a jail cell cot. His head was throbbing. Slowly sitting up, he gently touched the bandage on his cheek and began to turn things over in his head.

“First, they kill Pena. Then, they shoot at me. Next, they blow up the club and finally, they kill the one witness who could identify the killer.”

Ray let out a long sigh.

“Tommy in the hospital and me in jail.”

“I’m sorry, Ray,” Richard said walking up to the cell. “I have nothing to charge you with, but I can still hold you for twenty-four hours while I try to figure out who’s behind this.”

“How’s Tommy?” Ray asked walking up to the cell door.

“He’s fine. Mild concussion. Look, Ray, I’m really sorry about this but someone has shot at you and twice almost killed you in exploding buildings. If Deborah wasn’t breathing down my neck, I’d be more than happy to get you out of here.”

“That along with Darrin Chambers and Porter Daniels breaking out of prison. I know; I know. You’re just being careful,” Ray said dismissingly.

“Detective,” a uniformed officer called.

“Be right there,” Richard said.

Looking back at Ray, Richard apologized again and left.

“I’m going to have to have a serious talk with Deborah when this is all over,” Ray thought.

Ray returned to the cot and stretched out. He closed his eyes and tried to put everything aside long enough to rest his aching head. He had just dozed off when he heard a metallic noise and jerked awake to see the cell door standing open. Slowly Ray slipped off the cot and walked over to the open door. When he stepped out into the empty hall, he saw a large envelope on the floor.

Bending over, Ray picked up the envelope, opened it, and found his personal possessions along with a folded sheet of paper. He looked up and down the hallway and saw that at one end just inside the shadows a tall figure stood with his back to Ray. He was dressed all in black with a top hat balanced on his head. Opening the paper, Ray read aloud:

“Mr. Slats, I have set you free because I believe in you, in what you stand for. I also know that you will not last long in this place. You may be under the protection of your son-in-law, but even here the King can reach you. As another player in this game, your actions have distracted the horseman from my movements. Therefore, I must set you free. Continue your pursuit of the succubus and her fallen mate. For now, I have no interest in them and leave their fate to you. My sights are on bigger game. I am sorry your friend is injured, but his assailant will pay. He will be the herald of many deaths to follow. The next suspect you seek is the judge. He goes by Christopher Lawson. This afternoon you will find him golfing at Twin Pines. You will discover that he is innocent, but as I said, your investigation keeps the horseman’s attention so that I may move freely. This city in infected, and I am the retro virus.”

The paper was signed at the bottom with the initials CB drawn in ink that had run down the page before drying. Ray looked up at the figure and asked,

“Who are you?”

The figure made no sound but slowly turned around. Ray was surprised when he saw that the man wore a white clown mask that covered his head. Before Ray could say anything else, the man quickly disappeared, his long cloak lifting behind him.

Ray gathered his things and hurried after him. Leaving the holding cells behind, Ray stopped suddenly when he reached the main offices. The strange figure had vanished. Looking around, Ray saw that every officer was either asleep at their desk or lying on the floor where they had fallen.

“He must have gassed this whole place,” Ray thought. “How come I wasn’t affected?”

Hurrying over to Richard’s desk, he grabbed his arm and checked the pulse. Richard was alive, just knocked out like the others. On a sticky note, Ray briefly wrote down what had happened and where he was going. He then stuck the note to the letter from the cloaked stranger and headed for the front door.

When he had almost reached the door, he heard a muffled barking. Ray turned to see Pete standing on a table in the interrogation room. He hurried over to him and opened the door.

“Come on, stupid. We have a murder to solve.”

Pete lowered his head and sat down.

“Come on, Pete, ” Ray repeated.

Pete did not move.

“What?” Ray asked.

Pete circled, pulled his front paws in, and lay down.

“Oh come on. We need to move!” Ray insisted.

With his head resting on the table, Pete raised his eyes.

In frustration, Ray said, “Fine. Stay here.”

Ray closed the door and headed off. After a few steps, he stopped, grunted and turned around. Storming back to the interrogation room, he opened the door and said,

“Sorry I called you stupid. I missed you, boy. Now can we go?”

Pete lay still.

‘Please?” Ray asked.

Pete stood, barked and hopped down from the table.

“Seriously, boy, I’m on a timeline here,” Ray complained as they left the station.

Ray found the Cadillac in the police station parking lot and headed for the golf resort and  Judge Lawson.

 

 

*          *          *

Twin Pines was a premier golf resort reserved for the rich and powerful. Their ridiculously high membership fees kept them exclusive.

Ray pulled up near the resort gates and hopped out. Once Pete was beside him, he headed for the front gate.

“Now there’s a small chance they’ll let us in. I’m not a member here, mostly because I have better things to do with my money,” Ray explained to Pete.

At the gate, a black iron structure between brick columns, the guard lifted his head and watched Ray with suspicious eyes.

“Here’s what I’m thinking,” Ray said.

Pete barked twice and bolted away from Ray, running for the gate.

“Hey!” Ray snapped hurrying after him.

Pete ran full speed for the gate, slid under it, and ran past the parked golf carts and onto the green.

The guard exploded from his station running after Pete then stopped and looked back at Ray.

“I’m sorry about that,” Ray said before the guard could protest. “I wanted to ask you about getting a membership. I can’t believe my dog did that. I don’t have much of a front yard at my place, and he really loves grass. He’s not harmful, but if somebody startles him, he will bite. Could I just go get him? I promise I’ll be quick.”

The guard looked from Ray to Pete who was quickly disappearing into the distance and finally said,

“Okay. But hurry. I’m not supposed to let anybody who isn’t a member past this gate.”

“Thanks, man,” Ray said and hurried through the gate as the guard opened it.

Ray stopped at one of the carts, turned back, and asked,

“Could I borrow one of your carts? At my age, my legs aren’t so good anymore. That dog runs a whole lot faster than I can.”

The guard hesitated, looking wary.

“Besides, walking that kind of distance,” Ray said, pointing to the green, “isn’t so good for my heart, and I left my medicine back at the house.”

“Fine, fine. Just hurry,” the guard snapped, tossing a key to Ray.

“Thanks,” Ray said as he climbed into the golf cart and sped away.

Just over the hill out of sight of the guard shack, Ray spotted Pete lounging in the shade of some trees.

Pulling up next to him, Ray patted the seat and Pete hopped into the golf cart.

“Nice job, boy, but next time give me a heads up. Okay? You know how I hate improvising.”

With his mouth slightly ajar and tongue hanging loosely, Pete looked up at Ray.

Patting the pup’s head, Ray said, “All right let’s go find a murder suspect.”

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Published in: on January 16, 2014 at 5:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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