The Cadillac Diaries: Episode 55

(Previously)

 

 

 

Detective David Crandall climbed the stairs to the apartment where Porter Daniels’ body had been found. A couple of witnesses had called in, said they spotted a yellow cab parked downstairs in the alley, so Crandall left the station and drove over. After that, he had to talk to Raymond Slats, orders from Bradford King. As he reached the final step, Crandall stopped to check his revolver then holstered it and exited the stairwell.

Just then his cell went off.

“Crandall,” he answered.

“Have you spoken with him yet?” King snapped.

“Not yet, sir. On my way. Just got to check out something first.”

“Well hurry up. Kinsky’s missing and I don’t have time to wait for him,” King barked.

“If you don’t mind my asking, sir, why hire Slats? He’s responsible for some of your own men being jailed,” Crandall said.

“He’s good at what he does. Why not use the bloodhound? Now hurry up and find him! And leave my name out of it,” King ordered before ending the call.

Crandall slipped his phone back into his pocket and headed for the crime scene. When he reached the apartment, he slowly opened the door and stepped inside.

 

 

*          *            *

 

 

Ray, Tommy and Mavis froze as the police detective slipped under the police tape.

“Mr. Slats. What are you doing here? This is a crime scene,” he said.

Ray and Tommy exchanged glances and Ray finally said,

“Sorry, Detective. Just thought I might be able to help.”

Crandall paused for a moment to collect his thoughts then took a step forward.

“Do you remember me, Mr. Slats? I work with your son-in-law Richard. David Crandall,” he said, extending a hand.

“Oh yes, Crandall,” Ray said, shaking his hand.

“I’m working with Richard on the vigilante murders, Mr. Slats, and I’ve been contacted by a. . . ,” he paused, “. . .neutral third party who wishes to remain anonymous. They want to hire you to help find the person responsible for these grizzly murders. I think it’s best that you stay out of police business myself, but they were adamant about your involvement. If you agree to help and keep their confidentiality, they’ll pay you handsomely.”

Ray glanced at Tommy and Mavis then back to Crandall.

“Detective, I’m an old man. I don’t really need to be paid handsomely. I do what I do because I enjoy it. If you don’t mind my asking, why is it that a police detective whom I’m certain has plenty to do is acting as an intermediary?”

Looking a bit uncomfortable, Crandall answered,

“The client is someone I owe a large favor to. Brokering this deal will help clear my debt,” Crandall explained.

With a sidelong glance, Ray asked,

“Is your client a mobster or a bookie of some sort?”

Ray thought that Crandall laughed a little too loudly.

“No, of course not. He’s just someone who helped me out when things were low, and now I’d like to help him out.”

Ray couldn’t help noticing that Crandall avoided eye contact.

“If you agree, then I could bring you in as an official consultant and you would have access to more evidence,” Crandall said almost in a burst.

Choosing to keep his wariness to himself, Ray decided to play along.

“I guess, since I’m already working on the case, it would make things a great deal easier to work alongside the police,” he admitted.

“Okay, Crandall. You’ve got a deal, provided I know who I’m working for.”

“Of course,” Crandall assured him. “But, one thing. You will be working just with me on this. There can’t be any external witnesses,” Crandall explained, nodding toward Tommy and Mavis.

“Ray,” Tommy cautioned.

“Don’t worry, Tommy. I’ll be fine. Thanks for getting me out of the hospital, but I’ve got this. If I need your help, I’ll let you know,” Ray said.

“But. . . ,” Tommy began.

“Raymond,” Mavis protested.

“Mavis, please. I’ll be fine. You two should go. Will you check on Deborah, Tommy? She’ll be mad at you, but if you apologize with a box of chocolate covered cherries, she’ll forgive you,” Ray promised.

Tommy stared at Ray, looking for any nonverbal communication.

Finally, he sighed, “Fine then,” and turned to leave the apartment.

“Come on, Mavis. Let’s go.”

Mavis shrugged and followed Tommy out.

“I’m sorry about that,” Crandall said.

Crandall watched as Mavis closed the door then turned to Ray and said,

“The client is Mr. Bradford King, and he is very careful about how his name is used.”

Ray at once recognized the name.

“It’s quite all right. They would have just slowed me down.”

“What about him?” Crandall said pointing to Pete.

Ray looked down at Pete. The pup stood pressed against Ray’s leg, his eyes held steadily on Crandall.

“You can try. But good luck getting him to leave.”

 

 

*          *            *

 

 

Tommy strode with determination towards the elevator and punched the button. Once the doors closed, Mavis said,

“I’m sorry, Tommy. I don’t know why he would say that.”

“Wonder what’s going on?” Tommy asked.

“He’s probably just eager to get the case solved,” Mavis replied.

Staring off into nowhere, Tommy didn’t seem to hear her.

“Where should I start?” he asked.

“Let’s just head back to the bar. I’ll buy you a drink,” Mavis suggested.

“What’s he hiding?” Tommy asked.

“He probably just doesn’t want you to get hurt,” Mavis said.

When the elevator doors opened on the first floor, Tommy stayed in the car, a blank look on his face.

“David Crandall? I wonder. . .”

“Tommy!” Mavis snapped.

Tommy shook his head and looked over at her, “What?”

“Have you even been listening to me?” she fussed.

“Sorry, love. Just trying to figure out what Ray was warning me about,” Tommy explained.

“What are you talking about?” Mavis asked.

“Back there. When he told me to leave. He was trying to tell me something was wrong,” Tommy said.

“I don’t understand,” Mavis said confused.

“Ray said I should bribe Deborah with chocolate covered cherries. Deborah hates chocolate covered cherries. Why would he say that?”

Mavis’s eyes lit up, “So he was trying to warn you off.”

“Right,” Tommy said, “and I think I know why.”

 

 

*          *            *

 

 

After the video ended, everyone in the room lost control, turning on each other, cursing and fighting. Chadwick Barnes, one of the doctors, grabbed David and shoved him into the projector, knocking it over and smashing it.

As the two men scuffled, Hooper noted that one of the people in the room was an escort, a woman who’d been busted more than once for solicitation, and pressed in the corner was another woman he didn’t recognize. Just as David pinned Barnes to the floor and raised his fist, Hooper jumped in and tried to separate them.

“Easy, David, easy. This psycho wants us to turn on one another. He can’t keep us here forever, and he can’t take us all at once, not if we work together,” Hooper pointed out.

Hooper pulled David off Barnes and stepped back to talk to the group, his hands held out in a plea.

“Listen, everyone. We’re all here because of a connection to the same man, a vigilante who has been leaving bodies strewn across town. I don’t have time to sugar coat this, but if we don’t trust each other and learn to work together, we won’t make it out alive.”

Hooper brought his hands into his chest and said,

“I’m Myron Hooper, chief of police. I have no intention of arresting anyone for anything that happens here. I want out just as much as you do. Okay? Let’s start by introducing ourselves.”

Everyone was silent until David said,

“David Hodges. I’m a reporter.”

The escort, a tall woman with chopped black hair, raised her hand.

“Mercedes. I’m an escort.”

Suddenly, Barnes grabbed a piece of jagged metal from the overturned projector and lunged at David, stabbing him in the neck. As David fell to the floor gasping, Barnes pulled the metal free and the room fell silent. Standing over David’s body, he looked up at the group and said,

“Chadwick Barnes. I’m a doctor, and let’s be honest. Only one of us gets out alive!” he sneered.

At David’s last breath, the door at the far end of the room clicked and slowly swung open.

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