The Cadillac Diaries: Episode 68

As raindrops hammered the sidewalk, eighteen-year-old Genevieve Myers tightly pulled the threadbare jacket around her thin shivering body and lowered her head against the chill of the night wind. She had started using again and had lost her job and the love of a man who stopped trying to save her. She knew life on the streets didn’t offer much hope, so she had been trying to stay clean and make her way back. She had to find shelter soon, get off the streets. It wasn’t safe. The news had been full of reports about a Captain Bonkers, some freak dressed like a clown moving through the city killing people. Grabbing the hood of the dark blue jacket, she slipped it over her head. Her long, brown hair fell in strings as she tucked it inside. What she would give for a warm bath and a hot meal. The nearest shelter was about six miles away, but she dared not hike it in this weather. Turning her face away from the pelting rain, she pressed her body against a nearby brick wall trying to squeeze under the narrow overhang of the building.  Nights like this one and dreams of food and a warm bed made selling herself make sense.

“If there was any other way,” she rationalized.

Just as the rain started to ease up and Genevieve found herself hoping it would last long enough for her to reach the nearest shelter, a clap of thunder signaled a second torrent on its way.

“This isn’t going to clear up any time soon,” she told herself, “so Plan B.”

Genevieve dropped her bag and pulled a soiled, wrinkled bandana from her hip pocket. She held it out in the rain for a moment then wiped at the dirt on her face. Gathering her hair into a ponytail, she tied it up with the bandana then worked a few strands loose, draping them over her face for that lost girl look that always got her a free bed for the night. Unbuttoning her coat, she rolled up the hem of her shirt then tied it in a knot at her midriff. A bare midriff always helped with the sale.

“I hate this, but I’ve got no choice. Freezing to death is not an option,” she thought as she stepped out onto the street.

Genevieve walked a block and a half to a corner she had worked before when she was desperate. It was getting late, but the gas station across the street was still open. After standing alone on the corner for over an hour, she decided that in this weather, the chances of someone stopping were slim.

“Should have known. Traffic’s been light all night,” she said aloud.

Something hung in the air, a heavy foreboding.

Across the street, a red truck pulled into the gas station followed close behind by a blue Taurus. When the door on the Taurus opened, an older man got out. Genevieve guessed he was somewhere around his forties. After a glance in her direction, he went inside the station. A few minutes later, the doors of the truck opened and two young men hopped out and went inside. As Genevieve watched, she made her plan, a clever approach. About five minutes later, the young men came out of the station each sipping a soda and enjoying some private joke. One of them spotted Genevieve across the street and leaned in to his friend to say something. The other man looked across the street then back, and the two started laughing.

From what she could tell, they were somewhat attractive, especially the brawny tanned one with light blonde curly hair.

“Surfer look. Nice,” she thought.

“Hey, girl,” the blonde called, motioning her over.

She hesitated for a moment then reminded herself that she had little choice.

“Well, at least they’re cute,” she told herself.

As she crossed the street, she exaggerated a swish in her hips and put a warm smile on her face.

“Hi,” she said in a shy and innocent voice.

“Hey. I’m Ken and this is Brandon,” the blonde said, motioning toward his redheaded friend. “What’s your name, baby girl?”

Genevieve lowered her chin then lifted her eyes as she demurely answered,

“Jenny.”

“Well, Jenny,” Ken said, “Brandon and I are headed to a party. Want to join us? Brandon here could use some help.”

“Shut up, man!” Brandon barked, prompting a laugh from Ken.

“I’d like that,” Genevieve answered coquettishly.

“Or,” Brandon said, crossing around the truck to stand behind her.

“We could have our own little party right here,” he said lustfully.

Forcing a laugh, Genevieve said, “Not here. I have to clean up first. I got caught in the rain.”

“I see that,” Ken said, looking her over.

“I don’t mind,” Brandon moaned, suddenly grabbing her from behind.

“Hey!” she snapped, dropping character. “Let me go!”

“Ooh! This one’s feisty,” Brandon said, prompting a laugh from Ken.

“Let me go!” Genevieve repeated, kicking out at Ken.

As Genevieve struggled against Brandon’s grip, the doors of the gas station opened and the man from the Taurus exploded out, carrying a small pistol in his hand.

 

“Let the lady go!” he growled. Pointing the weapon at Brandon, the man added, “Now!”

Brandon held Genevieve for a moment longer then let her go.

Raising his hands in surrender, he said,

“Okay, okay.”

When Brandon’s hands dropped, Genevieve ran behind the man for protection.

With the weapon trained on Ken and Brandon, he threatened,

“Now get out of here before I call the cops and tell them I shot you two in self-defense.”

Ken looked toward the gas station store to see if the clerk was watching.

“Oh he decided to take a trip to the back, so it’s your word against mine,” the man pointed out.

Finally, Ken slapped Brandon on the shoulder and said,

“Come on, man. Let’s get out of here.”

Ken climbed into the truck, but Brandon didn’t move.

“Come on, man,” Ken snapped.

After a moment, Brandon turned and walked around to the passenger side of the truck and got in. The truck started up and tore out of the parking lot as Genevieve cowered behind the man with the weapon. When the truck was well out of sight, he lowered the weapon and deeply sighed.

“Are you alright, miss?” he asked, turning to Genevieve.

Kissing him on the cheek, she stepped away from him and smiled,

“Thank you so much.”

“It’s quite alright. A kiss from a lovely lady such as yourself is a nice reward,” he said.

From the looks of her, he figured she had been living on the streets a while.

“Can I drop you somewhere?” he asked.

He wasn’t what she had been looking for to get her out of the rain, but he had saved her, and he seemed like a nice guy. She decided to trust him.

“No. I don’t have anywhere to go,” she admitted.

The man nodded his understanding and decided to introduce himself.

“My name’s Gene,” he said, extending his hand.

“If you need a place to stay, there’s a shelter not far from here. You can get some hot food and a bed. It’s called Orchid Meadow, and it’s run by Father Oscar Blake. I’m doing some roofing work there, and I know he would take you in for as long as you need.”

Genevieve felt a great sense of relief. She wanted to thank this man for his kindness but couldn’t find the words.

“Okay,” she nodded.

Gene opened his car door and let her climb in. After closing the passenger door, he crossed to the driver’s side.

As he started the car and drove away, he told her more about the shelter.

“Orchid Meadow isn’t your typical shelter. It’s more down home. Everybody there is like family. They look out for each other. It doesn’t even have an official parking lot, just a large front yard. There’s a little area out back for sitting when the weather’s nice, and a big bay window on the second floor you can look out and see the front yard and the street.”

“Sounds nice,” she said.

Genevieve waited in silence as Gene drove down one street after another until he finally slowed down and pulled up into a big yard.

“This is it,” he said.

The place was just as he had described it, a two-story house with a large bay window on the second floor overlooking the front yard.

“You’ll have to forgive the state of the yard,” he said. “I was supposed to mow the grass, but the mower broke a week ago, and I’m still trying to figure out what’s wrong with it.”

“Oh it’s fine,” Genevieve said with a thankful smile.

After cutting off the engine, Gene slipped out of the car and went around to open her door. Extending his hand, he said,

“May I escort the lady inside?”

Genevieve took his hand and said, “You may.”

Gene walked her up to the front porch and knocked on the door. After a second knock, an elderly man, his hair turning white, opened the door and said,

“Why Gene, what brings you here at this late hour? Did you forget something?”

When he spotted Genevieve hanging back a bit, he smiled and asked,

“Well who is this lovely young lady?”

“Father Blake,” Gene said, “This is. . . I didn’t get your name.”

“Genevieve,” she said nervously. “Genevieve Myers.”

“Named after the patron saint of Paris, no doubt,” Father Blake said. “Now don’t listen to Gene. Just call me Oscar. I’m no priest.”

Genevieve smiled but still clung to Gene.

“Come on in, child, and we’ll find you some fresh clothes and some food.”

When they walked inside the house, Oscar Blake said,

“Gene, may I speak with you a moment?”

Gene started to pull away but found that Genevieve would not release her grasp. He looked into her eyes and patted her hand to reassure her.

“I’ll just be right over there. It’s okay.”

After a moment, she slowly let go and Gene followed Blake across the room. She watched as they talked, their voices too low for her to hear. Looking around, she noticed that the front door began to open slowly.

“Must be the wind,” she decided.

When she glanced out into the front yard, she saw a figure standing at the small wooden gate by the sidewalk.

 

 

*          *          *

 

 

“Are you certain she’s alone?” Blake asked Gene, his voice lowered.

“Positive. She was selling herself when I saw her,” Gene said. “Isn’t she perfect?”

“Yes, she is. King will be pleased, and I know some people who will pay a great deal for her. But listen, Gene, we have to be careful. With all that’s going on in this town, we can’t afford to take risks.”

“I know, I know,” Gene assured him.

“Where are Ken and Brandon?” Blake asked. “I haven’t seen them tonight.”

“Oh I had to mock chase them off to make the sale. You should have seen them. They played their part perfectly,” Gene smirked.

Blake thought for a moment then said,

“Okay. I’ll let her clean herself up and then have something to eat. By the time she comes to, she’ll be making some men very happy.”

“Excuse me,” Genevieve called from across the room.

“What is it, my dear?” Blake asked.

Without a word, Genevieve pointed toward the open door and the yard.

Blake and Gene walked over to the open door and looked out. When they saw the figure, Blake’s face went pale.

The figure was a man wearing a black coat and top hat with a clown mask covering his face. He stood in the pouring rain holding a cross made from rebar.

“Who is that?” Gene asked.

Blake gulped as the clown tossed something onto the porch. It rolled to a stop and when Blake looked down at his feet, he saw a chess piece, the black bishop.

Terrified, he could barely speak.

“Get her out of here and call the others.”

“Why?” Gene asked.

“That’s Captain Bonkers, and he’s here to kill me.”

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Published in: on December 16, 2015 at 7:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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