The Cadillac Diaries: Episode 71

Over at the Horseshoe, Ray and Rory sipped their drinks at the bar while Pete curled up at Ray’s feet and Roddy slept in the corner.

“So let me get this straight,” Ray said. “Captain Bonkers is really a dead husband who’s come back to avenge his murdered family.”

“Yep,” Rory said smiling.

Ray rolled his eyes at Mavis, as she filled his empty glass, then turned the stool toward Rory and paused with a look of impatience.

“There’d better be a punch line to that or I’m having you committed.”

Lifting his head high, Rory answered, “Fine. Remember that coroner you worked with a couple of times? What was his name? Greg? No, Gordon somebody.”

“Gordon Garland,” Ray said.

David Gordon Garland was a coroner, among other things, who didn’t like working with Ray. The first time they met, Ray tricked him into handing over a patient’s file, and ever since then he’d been scared Ray’s antics would cause him to lose his job.

“Well the man still despises you, but in exchange for my promising he’d never have to work with you again, I got him to look at the original autopsy report for that man and his family who were found murdered in their home. Turns out the wife and child were both shot dead before their bodies were burned. Same thing with the husband,” Rory explained.

Ray mocked excitement, then said, “Sorry but can we jump to the punch line? There’s a madman out there killing people.”

“Not just people, Ray. He’s killing anybody connected with King. See I think he used to work for King. Um hm. Specifically, for someone called The Black Queen. But here’s the kicker. The body registered as the dead husband,” Rory paused for effect, “isn’t actually the husband. The original report was filed by some crackhead, one Calvin Nash. He’s under investigation for several improprieties involving corpses. Nothing vulgar, just weird. Turns out he is an unwilling informant of your buddy David Crandall who was the officer on the scene of the murders. I think Crandall had Nash falsify the reports so he could close the case quickly. I think Crandall is in Kings’ back pocket, and King didn’t want anybody looking into the case.”

“So—” Ray began but was interrupted by Mavis’ cell phone ringing.

“Sorry,” she said, crossing to the other side of the bar to answer the call.

“So King has this guy and his family murdered, but the husband survives, and now he’s hunting down the guy who did it?” Ray asked.

Rory nodded his agreement.

“Sounds like something Hollywood would come up with,” Ray said.

“No, Ray. Listen to this. What cements my theory is the boy who was murdered was a giant fan of a certain comic book. Can you guess which one?” Rory asked.

“I don’t have time for guessing games!” Ray growled.

“C’mon, Ray. Guess,” Rory coaxed.

Ray thought for a moment then asked,

“Captain Bonkers?”

“Bingo!” Rory responded.

“So you’re saying the husband, all dressed up as his son’s favorite hero, is out there hunting down the people who killed his family?” Ray asked.

“Precisely,” Rory said with a laugh.

As Rory finished his beer, he glanced toward Mavis for a refill and saw that she was arguing with someone on the phone.

“Sweetheart, what’s wrong?” he asked.

“Nothing,” Mavis yelled back then returning to the phone said,

“No, Jack. I’m not going to do that.”

Seeing that she was upset, Ray asked, “Mavis, who’s on the phone?”

Without answering, Mavis waved him off then quickly ended the call.

After walking over and dropping her phone on the bar, she grabbed Rory’s glass and filled it with fresh beer.

“Wrong number,” she smiled. “So what’d I miss?”

Just then her cell phone rang again, but before she could answer it, Ray snatched it off the bar.

“Ray, don’t answer that,” Mavis pleaded.

“Alright,” he said then tossed the phone to Rory who quickly answered and hit speaker before laying the cell on the bar.

“Who is this?”

Mavis covered her face and turned away.

“James W. Brannon, my good man, but you may call me Jack,” the caller said with a thick British accent. “I do wish I had more time to chat with you gents, but I’m afraid there is much to tell and very little time in which to tell it.”

“Brannon. . .Brannon. I know that name,” Rory said, his brow furrowed.

“I’m certain you do, Mr. Tavish, but for the present we must focus on pressing matters. It seems you have a mad clown loose in your city. Even though you are most likely aware of his identity, you still have the problem of determining where this killer may strike next. I am truly sorry Detective Crandall failed to assist you, but his sites are set solely on the salvation of his wife. If burning down the city means she will live, he will feel perfectly justified in doing so,” Jack pointed out.

Still wrapped up in struggling to recall where he had heard the name, Rory continued to turn it over and over as he searched his memory in exasperation.

“I know that name. Brannon. . .Brannon. Why do I know that name?” he wondered aloud.

“It seems your memory is like a leaky bucket, Mr. Tavish, though I’m certain you’ll recall in time,” Jack encouraged.

“Yea,” Rory said half listening.

Suddenly he looked down at the phone.

“Wait! What’d you say?”

“You have a memory like an elephant. I am certain you will eventually remember,” Jack said.

“To move on, the problem is that the remaining targets on the Captain’s list will not turn themselves in willing. However, if faced with the threat of violence, they may be willing to accept a lifeline tossed by a friendly face. You must go to each person on the list and quickly, I might add. It appears that the mad clown is increasing his tempo,” Jack explained.

“Yeah we already know this. What help can you offer?” Ray asked.

“I would love to sit and chat over a lively game of chess. Oh the things we could discuss,” Jack laughed.

“Jack, focus,” Mavis corrected.

“Correct,” Jack said. “You will want to make a note of this.”

“Ready,” Mavis said, grabbing a pad and pen.

“Let me see. Oscar Blake is dead, so those who remain are Ruben Ross, a drug dealer by the name of Jackson, then Rebecca Conrad, and finally Evelyn, the madam at a brothel known throughout the city. Saving them is entirely up to you. Just remember that they will be killed in that order.”

“Wait! Who did you say is already dead?” Ray asked.

“Oscar Blake. Just recently deceased. No need to bring in the authorities. These individuals will not accept police protection. Your best bet is to wait for the Clown to make his move,” Jack said.

Suddenly the line went dead.

“He said Oscar Blake is dead,” Ray said. “Who’s Oscar Blake?”

When the ringtone from Mavis’s cell phone indicated that a text message had arrived, she picked up the phone and read the message aloud.

“Oscar Blake is a slave trader and the Black Bishop.”

“A slave trader?” Ray asked. “What does that have to do with anything?”

Just as Ray began sending a message to Richard asking about Blake, Rory barked suddenly.

“Wait a minute. I knew I knew that name. Brannon, as in William Brannon. Right?”

Mavis looked down at her phone without answering.

“Was that the same guy on the phone?”

Continuing to stare at the screen of her phone to avoid eye contact, Mavis managed a small nod.

“I’m not taking advice from that nutter. He’s locked away in the bughouse up in Coldwater because no one can contend with him. He’s not stable, Mavis, and you should steer clear of him. He’s just the kind of guy who compliments you when all he really wants to do is wear your skin!” Rory barked.

“Guys!” Ray said. “Richard says that Oscar Blake was the proprietor of the Orchid Meadow shelter. He was found dead outside his facility, impaled on a cross, and the shelter was burned to the ground.”

Rory felt a twinge in his stomach.

“Maybe it’s a different guy,” he suggested.

“Little chance of that. A black bishop was found in his mouth,” Ray added.

Rory let out a sigh and said, “Let’s go.”

As Rory tossed back the last of his beer and stood to leave, Ray said,

“Mavis, let me have that list.”

“Thanks,” Ray said as she tore the sheet from its pad and held it out to him.

“Looks like the fruitcake may be right,” he smirked.

“Oh stuff it,” Rory grumbled as they left the bar.

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