The Cadillac Diaries: Episode 62

The Golden Calf, known as the church of gold, was an elitist gambling den set up on the top three floors of the most expensive hotel in the city. Bradford King wanted only upper crust patrons, so he kept costs high. King had said people will pay anything to feel special.

Men looking for an unencumbered evening told their wives and girlfriends they were going to church. They paid the price and in return got whatever they wanted.

To the patrons, Douglas Burroughs, owner and manager, seemed like a friendly guy. But beneath the polite facade beat a dangerous heart. With a thirst for money, he hated people, saw them as petty and selfish, scrambling to get as much as they could without moral restraint.

Before The Golden Calf, he had frequented blackjack tables, earning the name Blackjack Burroughs. Over the years, he became a seasoned player, one of the best in the country. But when Bradford King took him under his wing, Burroughs became a real somebody, a member of the King’s court. That’s what they tagged those who worked directly for King. Each member had their own totem. Burroughs was the black knight, so named because he was responsible for gambling that fell outside city and government restrictions.

Upstairs in his office, Burroughs rested in a high back cordovan leather chair and watched the evening news. He had had his fill of the rats down on the gambling floor, their disgusting cheering and chattering.

“This just in,” the news anchor announced.

“Philanthropist Scott Baker has been found dead.”

Burroughs leaned forward in the chair and pushed the volume button. Scott Baker was the white knight in King’s court.

“Baker was attending the Silver Citizens Awards ceremony held at Silver Springs Church when the kidnapping took place. About an hour after Baker was seen leaving the church, police got a 911 call about a clown who had been spotted downtown in an empty lot where Baker had a development project in the works.”

Burroughs laughed aloud, “What irony.”

That plot of land was supposedly for a state orphanage, but Burroughs knew better. It would be a slave market for Oscar Blake, a priest, a pedophile and the Black Bishop in the King’s court.

“How many people had Baker killed to secure that property?” Burroughs wondered.

“The discovery of Baker’s body lead police to sixteen other bodies buried throughout the property,” the anchor continued. “One witness said that a string tied to one of Baker’s feet was connected to the other bodies.”

Burroughs choked.

“Man,” he laughed, “that is one evil clown!”

Rising from his chair, Burroughs walked over to the wine and spirits bar for a refresher. When he passed the picture window, he glanced out over the gambling floor below and saw that the tables were full. After dropping three cubes of ice in the glass, he went to a locked cabinet behind the bar and removed his personal bottle of scotch. He filled the glass, sealed the bottle then slid it back in the cabinet, turning his key in the lock.

Taking a sip of the smooth liquid, he stepped out from behind the bar and headed back to his desk. As he crossed the floor, Burroughs once again glanced down but saw that the gambling floor was now empty. When he reached his desk, he knew.

Leaning forward to put down his glass, he missed the desk, sending the glass to the floor and spilling the rich, decadent amber liquid into the carpet fibers. Burroughs ran back to the window, pressed his hands against the glass, and looked down, searching the gambling floor. Suddenly the television flipped to static and the intercom began to play “Goodbye Cruel World,” a 1960s hit song. Burroughs felt his muscles go rigid as he turned to stare at the television screen.

A sudden thump on the glass of the window startled him, sending him staggering backwards. When he glanced up at the window he was that an arrow was stuck to the other side of the glass by a suction dart. The angle indicated that it had been shot from the gambling floor below. Attached to the shaft of the arrow was a note that read,

He is here.

Written in what looked like red paint, the words began to run down the paper as the suction cup lost its grip. Slowly the arrow and note fell away, leaving behind smears of red paint on the glass.

“This clown is evil,” Burroughs shuddered.

He knew he had to get out. . .now!

Running over to his desk, Burroughs grabbed his Glock pistol and bolted for the private elevator. Frantically, he beat on the call button until the doors finally opened. Just as he stepped forward, he saw that the elevator shaft was empty and attached to the severed cables hung a clown doll with a note taped to its chest.

Holding on to the button panel to steady himself, he slowly reached forward and took the note. Then moving away from the open shaft, he unfolded the note with trembling hands and read,

Not that way.

Just then Burroughs heard a swishing sound behind him and turned slowly to see a clown doll flying through the air towards him. With a gasp, he jumped out of the way and watched as the doll hit the floor, slid forward then fell into the open elevator shaft.

Suddenly, Burroughs began to feel a bit unsteady, woozy. He made his way over to the desk and braced himself against it.

“Must have hit my head on something,” he thought. “No. That can’t be it. My head doesn’t hurt,” he thought, gently pressing his fingertips against his forehead and scalp.

When he pulled his fingers back to check for blood, he noticed something that sent a chill through him.

The private liquor cabinet door was hanging open, and his personal bottle of scotch rested on the bar with a purple and red umbrella floating on top the liquid.

“Where are you!” Burroughs demanded.

A second thump hit the window.

Burroughs spun around to the window and saw that another arrow was stuck to it. When he came closer, he read the attached note.

I’m down here.

His legs began to shake uncontrollably as he struggled to reach the stairwell leading down to the gambling floor.

“You want to play? Then let’s play,” Burroughs growled.

At the stairwell door, he pulled on the handle with one hand while gripping the Glock pistol with the other. The stairwell looked clear, so Burroughs cautiously made his way down to the gambling floor. When he reached the bottom, he kicked open the door and fired off a shot, but the room was empty and the bullet slammed into the opposite wall.

Burroughs stood still, letting his eyes search the room. He listened but the only sounds were of a light flow of traffic in the neighborhood streets. Just as he stepped forward, the lights began to flicker off and on, causing his eyes to strain against the flashes of light.

In the next flash of light, Burroughs saw the clown, standing by the roulette table. He’d been warned about this madman. They had called him Captain Bonkers.

“Well, Captain Bonkers, here’s a trick for you,” Burroughs thought with contempt as he raised his pistol and fired off a shot just before the lights went out again.

When the lights came back on, no one was standing at the roulette table. Thinking he had hit the mark, Burroughs glanced down at the floor but saw no body.

“What are you?” Burroughs demanded.

The lights went out then on again and Burroughs saw that Captain Bonkers had moved to the blackjack table. He was closer now, giving Burroughs a better shot. He raised his pistol and fired off three shots just as the lights went out again.

But when the lights came back on, Bonkers had disappeared and Burroughs felt his heart begin to race. He was sure he had hit him.

When the lights went out again, Burroughs raised his pistol and sweeping the room, fired into the darkness until the clip was empty.

When the lights came on, Captain Bonkers was standing right in front of him.

Scrambling to back up, Burroughs lost his balance and fell, striking his head against the hard floor. Just before he lost consciousness, Burroughs watched as Captain Bonkers leaned over into his face and stared at him with cold lifeless eyes.

*          *            *

As Burroughs came to, he felt his head pounding. When he tried to rub the back of his head, he discovered that he was strapped to a chair by the blackjack table. Sitting across the table was Captain Bonkers, his hand resting on a 357 Magnum revolver and a chess piece, a black knight. Next to his hand was a box of ammo and a six-sided die from the craps table.

Burroughs looked from the gun to Bonkers,

“This is about that family isn’t it?” Burroughs asked.

“That guy and his family. You’re here for vengeance aren’t you?” Burroughs continued.

A silent Bonkers just stared at him.

“Do something already!” Burroughs snapped.

Bonkers reached out and took the revolver in his right hand. With his left hand, he scooped up the die and rolled it in front of him.

Burroughs watched as the die bumped against the table’s felt surface and flipped to a one.             Laughing, Burroughs said, “Bad luck, chum.”

Bonkers took the die and placed it beside the box of ammo. Then he slipped one bullet out of the box and loaded it into the revolver. Placing his open left palm on the revolver, he spun it then pulled back the hammer until it clicked and pointed the barrel at Burroughs’ head.

“Hey wait!” Burroughs pleaded.

When Bonkers pulled the trigger, the gun clicked and Burroughs sighed in relief. His luck was still good at the table.

Bonkers opened the revolver and upended it, dropping the one unused bullet to the floor. Reaching out, he scooped up the six die and again rolled it across the table. This time the number came up four.

Slowly, Bonkers loaded four bullets, spun the revolver and cocked it, pointing the weapon at Burroughs.

“Please!” Burroughs pleaded, closing his eyes.

The gun clicked again, and Burroughs loudly exhaled as Bonkers emptied the four bullets onto the floor.

When Bonkers again rolled the six die, a two came up. He mechanically loaded two bullets into the gun, spun the revolver, cocked it and pointed it at Burroughs.

Burroughs slowly closed his eyes and waited.

The gun clicked, and Burroughs’ eyes sprang open.

As Bonkers rolled the six die for the fourth time, Burroughs boasted,

“This isn’t working, Chief. Lady Luck has always been on my side.”

The moment Bonkers released the die, Burroughs regretted his words.

The tumbling cube rested on six.


The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: