The Cadillac Diaries: Episode 59

After David Crandall and Ray left the late Porter Daniels’ apartment, they headed downtown, stopping at a large red brick office building. The sign outside said “Face Card Financial.” When they entered the front door, with Pete at Ray’s heels, they stepped into a small lobby where a receptionist behind a glass panel was busy answering the phone. As they approached, she cradled the phone and looked up with a friendly smile of greeting.

“How may I help you gentlemen today?”

“Do you have a restroom?” Ray asked suddenly.

Crandall looked over at Ray with confusion.

Ray shrugged then said “What? I have to pee.”

“I’m sorry sir. We don’t have a public restroom,” the receptionist replied.

Getting to the point, Crandall said, “We’re here to see Rebecca Conrad.”

“Is she expecting you?” she asked.

“Not likely, but she’ll see us,” Crandall said, flashing his badge.

“I’ll ring her if you’ll just take a seat,” she replied, pointing to a small seating area.

Ray followed Crandall over to a sofa and chairs. Looking around at the small room, Ray asked,

“So this is like a waiting room?”

“Yes,” Crandall said.

“What’s it for?” Ray asked.

Crandall looked at Ray in irritation and asked, “Did you hit your head or something? You’re behaving like this is your first time outside.”

Ray chuckled and said, “Sorry. Guess I’m still a little fuzzy.”

Scowling, Crandall turned his attention back to the matter at hand.

“So?” Ray prompted.

“So what?” Crandall asked, without bothering to look at Ray.

“This room. What’s it for?” Ray asked again.

“Waiting!” Crandall snapped. “Look, is that dog going to follow us everywhere we go?”

Ray laughed and said, “Yep. Pretty much.”

Ray shook his head, walked over to the receptionist and tapped on the glass.

When she looked up from her work, he asked, “What’s this room for?”

“Here at Face Card Financial, we handle a great number of large transactions, so we can’t allow just anyone to walk in. We must protect our clients, so this room, which is lined with bulletproof fiberglass, is a sort of screening room. Visitors aren’t allowed to go through without an appropriate staff member,” she explained.

“Thank you,” Ray said then turned and sat down.

After a few minutes of silence Ray said, “That makes sense.”

“That’s what I said,” Crandall replied.

“Technically—,” Ray began but stopped when a door opened and a striking blonde woman about Crandall’s age entered the room.

“David?” she asked.

Quickly, Ray clicked his tongue, and Pete ran off with a bark, bounding past the woman and through the door.

“Pete!” Ray snapped.

“I’m sorry. I’ll get him,” Ray said standing up.

He thrust out a hand at the woman and introduced himself.

“Raymond Slats. Excuse me.”

“Rebecca Con—,” she began.

“Pete, get back here you bad dog!” Raymond barked as he disappeared down the hall after Pete.

“Who are they?” Rebecca asked Crandall.

“He’s helping me out on a case,” Crandall said.

“What are you doing here?” Rebecca asked.

“I’m worried about you. Some killer in a clown mask is murdering people,” Crandall explained.

“I know. I tried to hire someone to help, but he wouldn’t take the job,” Rebecca said.

“Then let me protect you,” Crandall offered.

“David,” Rebecca sighed, “we’ve been separated for a year now. I love that you want to look out for me. I feel safer at night knowing you’re probably out there somewhere watching. But you need to focus on finding this guy.”

“Are you sure? He’s going after. . . ,” Crandall looked around to see if anyone might hear, . . .”Mr. King’s employees.”

“I’ll be fine. This building has twenty-four hour surveillance and a private security firm that guards the place day and night. The windows and doors are bulletproof, and you need clearance to even get inside. I’ll be safe here,” Rebecca assured him.

“I have a few ideas where to start, but I don’t know how long this is going to take, Rebecca,” Crandall pointed out.

“Just get this guy,” Rebecca said.

When several minutes had passed with no sign of Ray, Crandall began worrying that he had ditched him. Sensing his distress, Rebecca put a hand on his arm and said,

“Look. I know you’re worried about me, but should something go wrong, I’ll either be here or at the carnival where we met. I grew up there. I can hide out for hours.”

Crandall nodded his understanding then breathed a sigh of relief when he saw Ray come through the door carrying the dog. He glanced at his watch and saw he had been gone almost ten minutes.

Crandall looked up at Ray and asked,

“What took you so long?”

“Sorry. Once I caught him, I remembered I still had to pee,” Ray explained.

He put Pete on the floor then looked at Rebecca.

“So Ms. Rebecca, how are you today?” he asked.

Crandall shook his head and said,

“Come on.”

Grabbing Ray’s arm, he pulled him toward the exit then turned to Rebecca and said,

“Be safe.”

“I will,” she said.

Pushing Ray out the door, Crandall headed for the car.

“That wasn’t a guy,” Ray asked, “was it?”

“What?” Crandall asked.

“You said we were going to see a guy,” Ray replied.

Crandall rolled his eyes and said, “That’s where we’re going now.”

“Oh okay,” Ray said. “That was fun.”

 

 

*          *          *

 

 

After a quick nap on Mavis’ couch in the back and a cup of strong coffee, Rory Tavish said,

“Let’s go.”

Tommy and Mavis followed Rory out to his Bronco with Roddy trotting alongside.

“Who are we going to see?” Tommy asked.

“You don’t know?” Rory murmured sarcastically. “I thought you were the fortune teller.”

“Look, guys, I don’t have the strength to listen to you two bicker like old women,” Mavis protested. “Where are you taking us, Rory?”

“Tommy here is good, but word’s gotten around that he’s a snitch. I deal with the dirtier side of informants myself,” Rory said.

“Information expert,” Tommy corrected.

“Don’t get yer knickers in a twist, boy. You’re still the best, but I need an insider’s view.”

Rory slowed and turned the wheel, pulling up to a six-story tenant building.

“Like Ritchie, for example. He’s a slimy mug who would sell out his own mother for a box of Cracker Jack, but he’s pretty good with information about what’s going on in the criminal underworld. Keeps his ears open for anything he might exploit.”

Shutting off the engine, Rory climbed out and held the door open while Roddy jumped down to the street.

As they followed Rory and Roddy into the tenant building, Mavis asked,

“Where’s this Ritchie?”

“The roof. I called ahead and told him to meet me up there.”

“He probably ran,” Tommy said.

“Not this rat. Got proof he’s violated his parole. One word from me and he’s a prison bride,” Rory smirked.

When they reached the roof, they saw a small gaunt man with greasy black hair standing at the edge of the roof twitching.

Rory held out his arms and said,

“Ritchie, how’s tricks?”

The man turned and when he saw Mavis, his eyes grew large and a smile worked its way across his face. Rory followed his gaze and warned,

“I wouldn’t do that, mate. She might break off something.”

Ritchie recoiled and glared at Rory.

“What do you want, man. I’m in a bad place right now. The landlord’s just looking for an excuse to throw me out. He can’t see you guys here,” Ritchie said.

“Why I’m a respectable member of society. You’re the rat who stole a dead man’s identity then used it to forge a handful of checks,” Rory said.

“Look. I told you I didn’t know he was part of a murder investigation. I almost got the chair for that,” Ritchie snapped.

“I’ll make it fast and get out of your way,” Rory said.

He stepped in close to Ritchie, using his size to intimidate the little man.

“Rebecca Conrad thinks some whack job wants her dead. Tell me who and why.”

“I don’t know nothing, man,” Ritchie said.

“Tell me and I’ll let you go,” Rory said.

“You got to believe me. I don’t know nothing,” Ritchie repeated.

“Okay. We’ll try this another way,” Rory said.

Seizing Ritchie with both hands, he lifted him up and dangled him over the ledge of the roof.

Twisting his body, Ritchie reached out to grab Rory’s shirt, a look of panic in his eyes.

“Let me amend my previous statement,” Rory said, leaning in close to Ritchie’s face.

“Tell me or I’ll let you go.”

“Okay, okay,” Ritchie yelled, looking down at the street below. “I don’t know who the lady is, but some guy in a clown mask is killing whoever’s involved with this local boss called the King. Rumor is the clown man is taking people off the street and killing them in their homes. They’re all connected to this King somehow.”

After a stretch of silence, Rory looked at Tommy and said,

“I think he’ll bounce once if I drop him. You want the over or the under?”

“That’s all I know!” Ritchie screamed.

“Who’s the King?” Rory barked.

“Some local crime boss. He’s got eight lieutenants. I don’t go near him. Rumor is he murdered his own wife because she got a little nosy.”

“Rory,” Mavis scolded, “if you drop him, you’re cleaning it up.”

Without a word, Rory stared at the terrified little man.

“I swear, man. I told you everything,” Ritchie pleaded.

“What if you didn’t?” Rory asked.

He mocked dropping Ritchie then swung the screaming man up over the ledge and onto the rooftop. Slapping him on the back, he said,

“Just teasing. You should learn to laugh more.”

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