The Cadillac Diaries: Episode 65

Suzanne Taylor looked out her office window over the shipping yard. The night shift had just begun, and workers were coming in from the darkness into the bright lights. Punching in, they headed toward the containers and started moving them around to make room for tomorrow’s incoming loads. Suzanne wondered if she would last until morning. The television, radio and newspaper were filled with stories of how Captain Bonkers, the comic book clown, had crawled off the pages and was killing his way through the city. They said the murders were random, but Suzanne knew better. Although she wasn’t as young as she used to be, at forty she still had the looks of a college coed. But more important, she had smarts. Over the years, she had hidden her intelligence to give herself an edge over those who couldn’t see past her body. She knew the victims weren’t random. They were links in a chain, a chain that would end with Bradford King.

When she looked up at the wall clock, she saw that it was five till eight.

“Not much longer now,” she laughed.

Suddenly, it started raining, slowly at first. As she waited, the rain picked up until it worked into a steady drumming on the windowpane like hands applauding her demise.

Watching the night crew working in the rain, she realized how much she envied them. Only bills to worry about. Vacation. Although she knew she didn’t have much time left, she couldn’t help wondering who would pull the trigger.

Just then the phone rang, jerking her out of her thoughts.

As she reached for the phone, she looked up again at the wall clock. Eight o’clock.

“Right on schedule,” she answered.

“What do you want?” Bradford King grumbled.

King had just returned to his office after a long day and found the message Suzanne left. She knew he would see it when he sat down at his desk at precisely eight o’clock.

“You know what’s happening,” Suzanne said. “You know why the clown is hunting us down.”

“You’re paranoid, Taylor!” King barked into the phone.

“Call it whatever you like. I know he’s set his sights on me. I’m next in line. You can pretend all you want, but if I’m going to die for your sins, you’re coming along for the ride,” Suzanne informed him.

King went silent for a moment then said,

“What are you talking about?”

“I’ve already talked to the cops. Not your cops. A real detective I can trust.”

“What have you done?” King growled.

“I’ve set some things in motion. They may not take you down, but at least my conscience will be clear. I’m not the only one either. The rats are jumping ship, King,” Suzanne said.

“The cops have nothing without you. Come in and let me hide you, protect you,” King offered.

“You can’t protect me,” Suzanne shrieked into the phone. “Even if you wanted to. You can’t protect me from the demons you’ve created.”

“Yes I can! Don’t do anything stupid!” King pleaded.

“If I were stupid, King, I’d believe you. I’ve done the math. It’s cheaper to kill me than hide me,” she laughed hysterically. “You’d just replace me. I’m done falling for your tricks. I’ve already sold a part of my soul. I wont make the same mistake again.”

“You idiot!” King bellowed.

Suzanne held the phone away from her ear and waited while he sputtered and cursed. After he grew quiet, she put the phone up to her ear.

“Suzanne,” he said, his voice softening, Think about it. If I wanted to kill you, it would be easier where you are right now.”

“You can’t hurt me here, King. This place is my castle,” Suzanne said.

Suddenly she noticed that a handful of workers had stopped and were looking up at her.

“And this is my town. No one is safe unless I say so. You answer to me,” King reminded her.

“It won’t be your town for long. If the cops don’t come after you, the clown will. There’s no hiding from him. He’s after your soul!” she spat, slamming down the phone.

She knew she didn’t have much time before King’s thugs reached her. She had to get out. Get to a safer place. For days she had been preparing for this. She had an empty cargo container in the warehouse she could lock from the inside. Rigged with a sleeping bag, a battery-powered lantern, a cooler full of bottled water, and a duffel bag crammed full of a week’s worth of supplies, she would hide there until she worked out a plan to slip away to the detective who had dropped by earlier to talk to her.

Swinging her purse over her shoulder, she moved quickly to the door and opened it slowly. No sign of anyone in the hall. She had locked the door to the first floor to keep anyone from getting inside, and she had the only key. As quietly as she could, she ran down the hall to the back stairs. Grabbing the railing, she began to hurry down the stairs, but when the heel of her shoe caught in the metal grating, she tumbled down the steps, dropping her bag and striking her head. She reached up to touch her forehead, and when she pulled her hand back, she saw specks of blood on her fingers.

Don’t pass out,″ she told herself. ″You’ve got to keep going.”

When she reached over to pick up her bag, she counted three broken nails. She scolded herself for even noticing.

“You can deal with this when you get to the container,” she told herself.

Pushing herself off the floor, she got her left foot under her and tried to stand. But when she put weight on her right foot, a sharp pain shot up her leg.

“Oh that hurts. But you can stand on it, Suzanne. It’s probably just sprained. Once you get to the container, you can patch it up. Now move!″ she commanded.

Working through the pain, she stood up and slid the bag over her shoulder. She walked down the rest of the stairs to the first floor and fished the keys out of her pocket. When she unlocked the door, she stepped out into a light rain. No sign of King’s thugs. As quickly as she could, she made her way to the warehouse with the container. It wasn’t far. She just had to hurry and stay out of sight.

When she saw the warehouse up ahead, she realized there were no shadows to cover her. She would have to sprint to the door. Once she got inside, she would lock the door behind her, get to the container, and tend to her wounds. She kicked off her shoes, got a firm grip on her bag, and ran as fast as she could, her ankle throbbing with every step.

When she had almost reached the warehouse, she heard someone behind her yell,

“There she is!”

Terrified, she fell through the warehouse door, quickly slamming it shut and locking it behind her.

With a deep sigh, Suzanne leaned against the door. She was finally safe. The lights were off in the warehouse, and with no moonlight coming in through the windows, it was as dark as a tomb. Day after day as she prepared her hiding place, she had carefully memorized the way from the warehouse door to the container. She could find it blindfolded.

Suddenly a light switched on across the floor from her. She saw that under the light rested an old Victrola, a phonograph from the twenties. She took a deep breath and moved slowly across the floor toward it. When she looked inside, she saw a 78RPM with no label. Sitting on the record was a white bishop chess piece and a note on the horn that read,


Ignoring the warning bell in her head, Suzanne reached over and wound the old machine until it crackled and came to life.

As soon as she heard the music, she recognized the song. Dazed and exhausted, she mumbled the title as though she were answering a trivia question.

“Everybody Loves a Clown,” she said. “1965.”

Just then another light came on over the second floor balcony. Standing under the light was Captain Bonkers. Suzanne felt hot tears running down her cheeks. Bonkers looked down at her with red circles around his empty eyes and a silent sutured mouth on purple skin.

“Please,” she begged. “I made a mistake but I tried to fix it.”

Without a word, the clown turned out the lights. The only sound was the rain beating against the metal roof and Suzanne’s pounding heart.

Published in: on September 19, 2015 at 7:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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