The Cadillac Diaries: Episode 63

Ray surveyed the murder scene. At the construction site, marked off with police tape, blue uniforms surrounded Scott Baker’s body.

“Well that’s just great,” Detective David Crandall griped. “We had him at the church and he escaped right into that lunatic’s hands.”

Just then Ray saw his son-in-law Detective Richard Clay pull up.

“Richard’s here,” Ray said and opened the car door.

“Wait,” Crandall complained.

Crandall watched as Ray walked over to Richard and they began talking.

After a few moments, Crandall grumbled,

“How did that idiot get so far?”

Climbing out of the car, he hurried over to the body. Calvin Nash, one of the crime scene techs, was busy with his camera.

Nash was a creepy little pervert whom Crandall caught once taking pictures of the corpses. Crandall struck a bargain right then. He’d keep quiet about what he saw in exchange for Nash helping him out whenever he needed it.

“Nash,” Crandall called.

Nash looked up, flinched then answered,

“Detective.”

“What can you tell me about the scene?” Crandall asked.

“You know I can’t share that information until—”

“Nash,” Crandall scolded, cutting him off, “I don’t have time for this song and dance. Just tell me what you know before I turn you in.”

Nash looked around then nervously brushed the hair out of his face.

“All right. All right. Looks like Baker was tortured then shot once in the head. The killer buried him head first in a 5-foot hole, leaving his feet sticking out. Then he tied what appears to be kite string to his feet and threaded the string to other bodies buried throughout the property, each in a different state of decomposition.”

“So the killer buried his other victims here,” Crandall said.

“Possibly. But they were buried long before Baker was,” Nash replied.

“How long has this lunatic been dumping bodies here?” Crandall asked.

“Actually the pattern of digging doesn’t match the way Baker was buried,” Nash pointed out. “Looks more like somebody else buried the other bodies.”

Just then Crandall felt a drop of rain. Looking up at the dark clouds, he cursed his luck.

“Look, Nash, if anybody asks, the killer left the other bodies,” Crandall instructed as he headed back to his car.

“Killers,” Nash corrected.

Crandall stopped and turned back to Nash.

“Killers?”

“Yes,” Nash responded. “Looks like they stood on a board near the body to conceal their footprints. The impression the board left in the mud plus the tire tracks beside it suggest that the killer drove the car up here, got out, dropped the board, and then stood on it with somebody.”

“And you’re certain there were two people here?” Crandall asked.

“Two people or one gigantic man,” Nash suggested.

Crandall had heard the report of a red-haired girl who might be involved with this clown, but nothing had been confirmed until now.

“One man did this,” Crandall finally said.

“But—” Nash began.

“One man,” Crandall repeated, holding up his index finger.

Nash nodded submission.

Heading back to his car, Crandall looked up just in time to see Detective Clay handcuff Ray and place him in the back seat of a patrol car.

Crandall sighed,

“What now?”

“Hey, Clay,” Crandall called as he approached. “What’s wrong?”

“He’s interfering in an open investigation, and I’m tired of trying to convince him to stay out of it. Just taking him to my house where Deborah can keep an eye on him,” Richard explained.

“I’ll take him. You need all the men you can get to stop this mad clown. Besides, I’m headed home anyway,” Crandall suggested.

Richard considered the offer for a moment then said,

“Thanks. Actually, that will help out. But be certain he gets there.”

“I will,” Crandall replied.

Richard helped Ray out of the squad car then slipped off the cuffs.

“It’s straight to my house, Ray. Deborah’s waiting for you,” he said.

“Will do. You can trust me,” Ray replied.

Crandall took Ray by the arm and headed for Crandall’s car.

“Well that was certainly awkward,” Ray said.

“Awkward? More like stupid. Now we don’t have much time before Richard starts wondering why I never dropped you off at home,” Crandall said.

“You mean we’re not going home?” Ray asked.

Angry at being tangled up with this foolish old man, Crandall barked, “Of course not, you idiot!”

He was just about to snap again when his cell phone rang. After fishing it out of his pocket, he answered,

“Crandall. . .Yes, sir…I will, sir…Right away, sir.”

He ended the call and said,

“We may already be too late.”

“Who was that?” Ray asked.

“Douglas Burroughs is the manager of The Golden Calf. You know the place?” Crandall asked.

“Yes. I’ve heard of it,” Ray answered.

“Well shots were heard in the area, and nobody over there is answering the phone. I’ve been told to check it out.”

“That was Burroughs?” Ray asked.

“No!” Crandall snapped. “Burroughs is probably dead by now. We’ve got to get over there and confirm if he is or isn’t.”

 

 

*          *          *

 

 

When Crandall and Ray arrived, they found The Golden Calf empty, except for one person sitting at the middle table, his body leaning far back in the chair.

With weapon drawn, Crandall slowly made his way over to the body. Ray stayed behind watching as a growling Pete pressed against his pants leg.

When Crandall came close enough to the body, he saw that it was David Burroughs. He had a single bullet hole to the head, blood dripping from the wound onto the casino floor. A revolver and a six-sided die were on the blackjack table, and resting between them was a black knight from a chess set.

In the darkness came the sound of calliope music playing over the intercom.

Crandall looked back at Ray.

“Burroughs is dead. The clown again.”

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