The Cadillac Diaries: Episode 61

Rory Tavish sat with his back to the street, letting the traffic drown out any ambient noise so he could think clearly.

“Rory,” Mavis said.

Rory didn’t respond. Seated in a metal chair outside the coffee shop, he sipped an espresso and smoked a cigarette almost down to the filter.

“Rory!” Mavis barked.

Snapping out of a daydream, he looked over at her.

“What, love?”

“We’ve been sitting here for over an hour. What’s the plan?” she asked.

Rory looked down at his watch and laughed,

“Well shave my legs and call me Sharon. You’re right. We should go.”

“Where?” Mavis asked.

“He doesn’t know,” Tommy complained. “One too many hits to the head. His mind’s all clouded.”

“I may not be much of an investigator like Raymond Slats, but there is one thing I’m good at and that’s tracking down criminals. In this case, crazed clowns.”

Rory reached over and laid his hand on Mavis’s shoulder.

“Go back to the bar, love. There’s no safety where I’m headed.”

He stood and walked back to the Bronco, Roddy at his heels.

“No wait,” Mavis protested.

“Love, I promised your daddy I’d look out for you. Can’t let you follow me on a hunt for a sociopathic killer in a clown mask,” Rory insisted.

Mavis looked stunned as Rory opened the Bronco’s door for Roddy then hopped in. Starting up the engine, he gave a wink and drove off, disappearing into traffic.

“Don’t worry,” Tommy said, patting her back. “I’ll keep an eye on him.”

Tommy quickly stepped to the curb and flagged a cab. When it pulled up, he opened the door and looked over at Mavis.

“You know he’s right, Mavis. Go home where it’s safe. Leave this to us old dogs.”

 

 

*          *          *

 

 

Bertram Ford leaned against the wall of a rundown building, his hands buried deep in the pockets of his worn out coat. He was still holding for eight more customers. It had been a long steady day with all the regulars coming around looking to score. His usual deals were cash only, but if a customer down on his luck needed a fix and had the right amount of information to sell, he’d make the exchange.

Just then a Bronco turned the corner and came rumbling up the street towards him. The Bronco looked familiar, but Ford knew this wasn’t a regular. He waited for the big spender he hoped was behind the wheel. The Bronco pulled up and the driver cut the engine. After a moment, the window came down.

When Ford saw the grizzled grin of Rory Tavish, he felt a cold shiver run down his spine.

“No way, man,” Ford said.

“Berty! How’s my favorite crack dealer?” Rory asked, slipping out of the front seat.

“I got nothing to say to you,” Ford answered.

“That’s okay. I just want to show you something,” Rory said.

Before Ford could recoil, Rory had one cuff on his wrist and the other free in his hand.

“What are you doing?” Ford protested.

“Just a small question,” Rory said, dragging Ford around to the back of the Bronco.

“Let me go, man,” Ford complained.

Rory leaned over and snapped the other cuff to the Bronco’s bumper.

A mute Ford stared in horror.

“What can you tell me about the killer clown who been wiping out the other members of your fraternity?” Rory asked.

“Fraternity?” Ford answered. “I never even went to college, man.”

Rory rolled his eyes, “It’s a figure of speech, mate. What can you tell me about the sociopath who been killing off criminals and common street trash like you.”

“I don’t know, man. I stay clear of that side of town,” Ford said.

“Berty, Berty, Berty. Now you know I don’t like hearing that kind of answer,” Rory said.

“That’s all I got, man,” Ford replied.

Rory shook his head in disappointment and walked over to the driver’s side of the Bronco.

“Hey, man! Cut me loose!” Ford yelled.

“What?” Rory asked, looking back.

“Let me go!” Ford begged.

“I’m on a tight schedule, Berty. No time. I need to get across town to see this other guy who can help me,” Rory explained, opening the Bronco’s door.

“So what about me?” Ford asked.

Rory paused and asked, “How fast can you run?”

“Come on, man. Get me out of this!” Ford snapped.

“No time, mate,” Rory responded, pulling out his car keys.

With his free hand, Ford dug into his coat and pulled out a pistol. Before the pistol had cleared his jacket, Rory was alongside him, wrenching the gun free.

“Now why did you go and threaten me like that, Berty?” Rory asked. “That’s not nice.”

“You can’t drive off with me cuffed to your bumper, man. You’ll kill me,” Ford pleaded, shaking his throbbing hand.

“You see, it works like this. Unless you give me something, I have no choice,” Rory said.

“They’ll kill me if I talk, man.”

“Yep, but the difference is if you don’t talk to me, I’ll torture you first,” Rory said with a grin.

Ford felt nauseous as his stomach muscles tightened.

“All right, all right. I can’t say much, but I’ll tell you what I know,” he surrendered.

“Good lad,” Rory said, patting Ford on the back.

“But if my gutted corpse is found hanging upside down from a bridge, that’s on you.”

“I hear you, Berty. Tell me what you’ve got,” Rory said.

“He goes by the name Captain Bonkers, after that comic book that ended when one of its biggest fans was murdered. Story goes the father made the wrong person angry and his whole family was kidnapped. Tied them to a chair and set them on fire and made him watch. Then they put one in the back of the dad’s head and burned him up too.”

“What’s that got to do with the clown?” Rory asked.

“Word on the streets is the clown wants vengeance for the murdered family. My grandmother says it’s a wraith,” Ford said.

“A wraith?” Rory asked. “You mean like a ghost?”

“No, man. A spirit out for vengeance,” Ford explained.

“Okay I’m gone,” Rory said.

“I’m serious, man!” Ford swore.

“I think you’ve been snorting some bad dope, Berty. Give me something I can believe,” Rory said.

“What about an address?” Ford offered.

Rory thought for a second then said,

“That’ll work.”

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