The Cadillac Diaries: Episode 67

Sipping his iced tea, Rory sat on the porch in an old rocking chair listening to the rain pelting the tin roof of Lenore’s house.

“What brings you way out here, Uncle Rory?” Lenore asked, returning from the kitchen with another glass of tea.

“Nothing,” Bertram Ford answered. “Nothing at all.”

Lenore looked over at Ford with a scowl and said,

“I’m still not convinced you’re the real thing.”

“Ella,” Rory said, “this is important. You need to focus, sweetie. I’m hunting a killer, and I could sure use your help.”

Her face lit up and she said,

“That’s great! I’ve always wanted to go on a hunting trip with you like Daddy used to. Who’s the target?”

“You’re not going with me. Not this time. It’s too dangerous,” Rory said.

“But Uncle Rory,” she protested.

“Now don’t start arguing with me. I can tell you that you’ll love the target, Ella. I’m hunting—” he began.

“Don’t say his full name!” Ford interrupted. “Not out loud! If you call a wraith by his full name, you summon him.”

Rory gave Ford a look of exasperation.

“You’re hunting a wraith?” Lenore whispered, her eyes wide.

“No. I’m hunting a man, a flesh and blood man,” Rory said, glaring at Ford.

“It’s a wraith, man,” Ford insisted.

“Stop it! There’s no such thing,” Rory growled.

“I’m hunting— ”

“A demon from hell,” Ford murmured.

Rory calmly set his empty glass on the porch, rose to his full height, and faced Ford.

“If you don’t shut up, I’ll bury you head first so deep only the soles of your feet will get sunburned,” he barked.

Ford squeezed into the corner of the porch and made a faint whimpering noise.

“Who is it?” Lenore asked, unfazed by Rory’s outburst.

“It’s,” Rory began then stopped and looked at Ford, daring him to interrupt.

His face pale, Ford shook his head and mouthed, “Please don’t say it!”

Rory turned back to Lenore and finished,

“Captain Bonkers.”

Ford covered his face with his hands, and Roddy’s ears dropped as he let out a low growl.

But Lenore’s face lit up and she asked excitedly,

“The killer clown, the homicidal harlequin, the bloody jester, purple face himself?”

“Yea. Him,” Rory said. “What’s his story?”

“The comic Captain Bonkers was written by Robert Burns, the same man who authored the Starfall Trilogy. Only thing is, Bonkers came through Burns’ own printing press. Didn’t have a lot of fans though. Critics said there was something disturbing about the clown, something evil and sadistic beneath the smiling purple mask. Even though fans were dying out, Burns kept the comic going for his biggest fan, a little boy named Jonathan Shiffer. Jonathan bought everything Burns printed about his favorite hero Captain Bonkers. Rumor was Jonathan’s father was involved with some pretty dangerous men. Burns finally decided to put his beloved Bonkers to rest and wrote one last story “Captain Bonkers and the Zombie Princess.” In this issue, a somber Bonkers, the mouth on his mask sewn shut, suddenly appears to save the life of a rich girl as she struggles to escape a horde of bloodthirsty zombies. At the end, the girl and her brother escape, but Bonkers, chased through the city by an army of zombies, is never seen again. The issue was such a success that fans pleaded for one more, and word is movie studios were even pushing for the rights. That’s when the horrible thing happened. Little Jonathan Shiffer and his parents were found murdered in their home, their bodies burned beyond recognition. Some say Jonathan’s father made the wrong men angry. Others say he couldn’t pay a debt. But I think he wanted to sever his mafia ties, and they decided to use him and his family as an example to teach the lesson that nobody leaves. Theory is, Jonathan and his mother were tied up then beaten and murdered while the father was forced to watch. Afterward, they set the mother’s body on fire then carried the dead child to his bed and burned him. Only then did the men turn and kill the father. They took his body to the woods and burned him so his spirit would never be able to find its way back to the house to join his wife and child. The tragedy ruined Burns. He disappeared and the comic book died. Nobody’s seen him since. Not too long after that, the rumors started about a clown, a killer clown moving through the streets slaughtering criminals and taking their bodies to the woods. The rumors spread out from the dark corners of the city and people began to whisper that the violence set upon that family that night cursed the house and called forth a vengeful spirit, a spirit that won’t rest until the men who killed that family pay for their sins.”

By the time she finished, Lenore was out of breath.

Without a word, Rory just looked at her in disbelief.

After a moment she asked, “What?”

“Where’s your medicine?” he asked, opening the screen door.

“I’m not crazy, Uncle Rory!” Lenore snapped.

“Then prove it,” he returned.

“Just wait a minute,” she said indignantly, brushing past him.

Rory released the handle of the screen door and sat back down in the rocking chair.

When Lenore came out of the house, she reached toward Rory with a thick folder.

“What’s this?” he asked.

“The police report. They recovered three bodies that night. The report was filed by a D. Crandall. So see. It’s for real. No one survived, so this killer clown has got to be a ghost,” Lenore argued.

When Rory looked through the file, his shoulders dropped. He had figured Bonkers was the father of that family, that somehow he had survived. Now he had nothing.

“I need a drink,” he said, rising from the chair.

Ford, still cowering in the corner, found himself too frightened to speak.

 

 

*          *          *

 

 

Mavis was behind the bar drying glasses as she cradled the phone between her head and shoulder.

Suddenly the door opened and Rory lumbered up to a stool, his head low. Happy to see Mavis, Roddy leapt up onto a stool beside Rory and braced his front paws on the bar.

“Hey, Roddy,” Mavis greeted, putting down the glass to pat the dog’s head.

When he held out his paw, Mavis gave him a treat.

Looking over at Rory, his head resting on the bar, Mavis told the person on the end of the line to hold on.

Then giving her full attention to Rory, she asked,

“What’s wrong, sweetie?”

“I hit a dead end. You know I’ve been hunting after Bonkers, the killer clown,” he said.

“Yes. I remember,” Mavis responded.

“Well I was certain the clown was the father or the mother or even the boy grown up. But nope. I have it all right here in black and white,” he said, holding up the folder.

“All three were killed, and all three bodies were recovered,” Rory said, dropping the file to the bar.

“Well maybe. . .” Mavis began then stopped and turned back to her caller

“What?”

After a moment of silence, she said,

“I’m not asking him that.”

Another moment of silence and she groaned, “Fine.”

Looking at Rory, she asked,

“How do you know they are dead?”

Rory looked confused for a moment then a light came on in his eyes.

“Is that him?” he asked.

Mavis paused then said, “Maybe.”

“Did you call him? I told you to leave him alone. He’s in that hospital for a reason.”

“He just wants to help,” Mavis pleaded.

“Fine. Then tell him I have the reports right here. All three were shot and their remains burned,” Rory snapped.

Mavis turned back to the phone. After a moment, she asked,

“Wait. What?”

She paused then said, “Okay, hon. Behave and I’ll come to see you soon.”

As she hung up the phone, she looked at Rory.

He could see she was trying to work something out in her head.

“So what’d he say?” Rory asked.

“Sometimes a dead body isn’t a dead body.”

 

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Published in: on November 19, 2015 at 9:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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