The Cadillac Diaries: Episode 85

Captain Bonkers strode past Ray, taking out one guard after another before they could react, while Ray along with Tyler, Tommy, and Rory kept out of sight. Ray knew they would be safe as long as they stayed out of the way. After a few minutes, the gunfire stopped and a sickening hush fell over the hallway. Gathering courage, Ray and Rory risked a peek from behind the boxes.

Surrounded by King’s dead men, Bonkers brought down his weapons as his chest heaved.

Blood splattered across his mask, he turned to Ray and pointed to a nearby stairwell. Then he dropped his guns, grabbed two pistols and a couple of clips off the floor, and left through the door opposite the stairwell.

“He’s telling us to leave,” Rory said.

“Splendid idea,” Tommy replied.

“What should we do, Ray?” Tyler asked.

Ray thought for a moment then said,

“Tyler, you and Tommy head back outside and keep me informed as to where the cops are. Rory and I are going after King,” Ray said.

“You sure about that, Ray?” Tyler asked.

“Yes. Go,” Ray answered.

After Tyler hesitated a moment, he said,

“Okay, Ray. Whatever you say. Just keep your phone on.”

Tommy was the first out the door with Tyler close behind. Ray took a deep breath and stared intently at Rory.

“Rory, I need your help with this. I think Bonkers was letting us in on his plan. He’s going to distract the guards while you and I go after King.”

“Why would he send us after King?” Rory asked.

“I’m not exactly sure, but once I figure it out, I’ll let you know,” Ray assured him.

Just then Ray’s phone went off.

“Yeah,” he answered. “Got it.”

“Come on. Tyler told me where King’s office is,” Ray said.

The two men hurried to the stairwell then safely navigated the building until they reached the floor of King’s office.

“So now what?” Rory asked.

“You keep an eye out for security, okay? Warn me if they show and don’t get shot,” Ray instructed.

“I’ll be careful, but if they start something. . .” Rory joked, raising his fists.

“I know. I know,” Ray replied. “Come on, buddy.”

Pete’s ears shot forward and his body stiffened as he ran alongside Ray.

 

*          *          *

 

Up in his office, Bradford King grabbed a couple of bags and started filling them with cash. The cops were crawling all over the place, and Bonkers was probably in the building. Everything was falling apart and he had only a few minutes to get out before he was dragged under.

With ninety per cent of his funds deposited in offshore accounts, he had packed enough cash for two weeks. Hurrying over to his laptop, he inserted the flash drive that would wipe it clean, leaving the computer worthless against him.

He finished up, cut off the lights, and shut the door behind him. As he turned the key in the lock, he stopped when he felt someone nearby.

Slowly reaching for his concealed pistol, King heard,

“Bradford King, my name is Raymond Slats, and I’m here to help you.”

King left the pistol in its holster then pulled his hand back and slipped the key from the lock. He knew the name Raymond Slats. Slats was a retiree whose personal hobby was pestering King’s associates.

“Mr. Slats, this is not a good time. I’m on my way out,” King said, shifting his weight. “I’d ask how you got up here, but at this point, it doesn’t matter.”

“Mr. King, I’m here to save your life,” Ray said.

“I don’t need saving, old man,” King growled, picking up his bags.

“Yes. You do,” Ray pressed.  “I believe if you tell your men to stand down and you walk out with me to the police. . .”

By this time, King was close enough to Ray to see past him. A few feet back, weapons drawn, stood Captain Bonkers. Next to him lay an unconscious man, one of King’s bodyguards.

“. . .he might let you live,” Ray continued.

King held Bonker’s stare for a moment then said,

“You have more tricks up your sleeve than I have given you credit for. And to think this was all your doing. I didn’t know you were involved in mass murder.”

King paused for a moment staring at Ray in amazement.

“I knew someone was guiding him,” he said, nodding toward Bonkers, “but I never suspected it was you.”

Ignoring King’s accusations, Ray turned to face Captain Bonkers.

“If King agrees to be arrested and stand trial, will you spare him?” Ray asked.

Bonkers held his position for a long moment then slowly lowered one of his weapons to indicate his agreement to the terms.

“It’s up to you now, King,” Ray pointed out. “If you refuse, I don’t think I’ll be able to stop him.”

Bradford King stood very still as he considered his options then slowly put down his bags.

“I’m just getting my cell phone,” he explained before he slipped his hand into his pocket.

Dialing the number, he waited for an answer. When it came, King said,

“Tell everyone to stand down. Let the police through.”

He ended the call and announced that he was returning the phone to his pocket.

After what seemed like the longest wait of Ray’s life, the elevator doors opened and Bonkers fled just as the cops poured in.

Before the police reached him, King sneered,

“Any charges leveled against me won’t keep. You know that. I’ll have to make some hefty donations, but they’ll send me to some comfy resort with bars while I think about the error of my ways.”

As the police arrested King and his men, Ray and Rory had to explain what they were doing in the building. Rory pretended that the bump on his head where Bonkers struck him was causing a great deal of pain and anguish, so the EMTs escorted him out to one of the ambulances.

With an exasperated look on his face, Richard walked up to Ray and said,

“I should have you arrested, you know. What if you had been shot?”

“Sorry, son. I had to risk it,” Ray said.

“What about Deborah!” Richard barked. “You know how she worries about you!”

Suddenly one of the police officers shouted,

“Detective, they have Bonkers cornered on the roof! He’s on the ledge!”

“Stay here, Ray!” Richard ordered then ran toward the stairs.

As soon as Richard was out of sight, Ray followed him.

Up on the roof, Bonkers balanced himself on the ledge as officers tried to talk him down. Ray noticed that Bonkers seemed a little woozy. Suddenly, Bonkers raised his pistol.

“Wait!” Ray yelled.

But he was too late. Police officers opened fire and Captain Bonkers took twenty rounds to the chest before falling backwards, tumbling end over end sixteen floors to the pavement.

 

*          *          *

 

On the street below, police officers put Bradford King and his security staff in patrol cars and drove away while EMT’s and fire fighters counted the victims. Richard and Ray stood over the dead body of Captain Bonkers as Rory, Tyler, and Tommy walked over.

After slipping his hands in latex gloves, Richard reached down and pulled off Bonkers’ clown mask. Although he didn’t recognize the face, Tommy quickly solved the mystery.

“That’s Alexander Kinsky. He was King’s right hand man and personal guard.”

“I guess that explains a lot,” Rory replied.

“He’s been missing for quite a while,” Tyler pointed out. “Now we know why.”

Ray wasn’t convinced but decided to keep quiet for now.

Placing a hand on Ray’s shoulder, Richard said,

“Come on, Ray. Let’s go home.”

Staring down into the face of Kinsky, Ray stood for a moment then said,

“I really didn’t want things to end this way.”

“I know. But they rarely end the way you want them to,” Richard comforted.

“Sir,” an officer called out as he approached. “We found David Crandall. He’s hold up in a motel room. Swears he’ll shoot anybody who tries to enter except. . .”

The officer trailed off.

“Who?” Richard asked.

The officer looked at Ray then back and said,

“He’ll only speak to Mr. Slats.”

“Let’s go,” Ray responded.

“No!” Richard protested.

“There’s no other way, Richard. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” Ray sighed. “It’s time to end it.”

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The Cadillac Diaries: Episode 58

Hooper walked to the edge of the platform and peered over the side. The floor below was a foot deep in water with frayed heavy-duty electrical cables stretched across. As electricity filled the air, the floor popped and crackled.

Studying the construction of bar and ropes, Hooper saw that it was indeed the only way across to the other platform. The recording had said that each rope could hold only one person, that someone would have to stay behind. Just as Hooper began a scan of the walls hoping to discover some way to shut off the electricity, Crystal frantically yelled,

“Hooper!”

He whirled around and saw Lena rapidly advancing toward him with her hands up, intent on pushing him off the platform while his back had been turned. He quickly took a few steps forward and grabbed her wrists. As the two struggled, Lena snarled,

“Just give up, Hooper! You’re not getting out of this!”

Hooper braced his foot on the platform and pushed back with all his strength. Lena was a strong woman, but Hooper had pinned criminals a lot stronger. He shoved her back and said,

“Lena, listen! This isn’t the way. We can get out alive if we just help each other.”

“Stop your whining. Do you really think he’s going to let any of us live? King wouldn’t allow such weakness and—”

Suddenly Lena’s eyes went wide with surprise. Her lips were moving but no sound came out. When she turned around to face Crystal, Hooper saw a ballpoint pen sticking out of the base of her neck. As she groped at the pen trying to dislodge it, her knees buckled and she fell to the floor.

“Crystal?” Hooper asked.

Shocked at what she had done, Crystal gave no answer. She stood frozen to the spot, staring down at Lena’s dead body. Hooper reached out and touched her arms.

“Crystal?” he repeated.

When she looked up, her face held no expression.

“Crystal!” he said louder.

“I never killed anyone before,” she mumbled.

“I know. I know. It’s okay. But we’ve still got to get out of here alive. Don’t worry. I’ll protect you,” he comforted.

“Promise?” she asked, her voice trembling.

Hooper smiled and lightly patted her shoulder.

“Of course.”

Together they grabbed the ropes and swung across to the other side. As soon as each one landed on the opposite platform, the ropes disconnected from the bar in the ceiling and fell into the water.

The door opened and just as Hooper stepped forward to go through, Crystal grabbed his hand. He turned around to meet her eyes.

She smiled shyly then looked away.

Hooper returned the smile and suggested,

“How about after this we go for coffee?”

“I’d like that,” she said softly.

When they entered the final room, they saw a clown doll holding a knife with a 4-inch blade.

In a childlike voice it said,

“Only two left. Well that’s a shame.

I’ll miss our tawdry little game.

Two left with one knife. This should be a breeze.

One lives, one dies. All dead; one leaves.”

Checking to see that Crystal was safely behind him, Hooper looked around the room for the camera. Once he spotted it, he said defiantly,

“You’ve lost. Everyone else may be dead, but we’re not going to play your game. You’re nothing but a coward hiding behind glass and letting others dirty their hands instead of just doing it yourse—”

He was cut off by the gunshot. Stunned, he looked down at his sternum to see blood soaking into his suit from the bullet hole. Slowly turning around, he looked at Crystal in amazement and confusion. The shy, doe-eyed girl had disappeared, and in her place stood a confident, smirking woman holding a pistol. As if in a fog, Hooper remembered Lena claiming that one of them had a gun.

“I have to thank you,” Crystal boasted. “I knew I’d never survive the others. But the big strong policeman, well I knew he’d protect me.”

Without taking her eyes off Hooper, she threw the gun aside as though it were a used paper cup.

“Lena was right. I found the gun, but I knew I had to wait for the right moment. All I had to do was sit back and let you people kill each other.”

She drew close to Hooper and kissed him on the lips.

“Thanks,” she purred. “This was fun.”

Smiling at the camera, she pointed toward the door. When it opened, she walked out without looking back at a dying Hooper.

 

 

*          *            *

 

 

Captain Bonkers stared off into space as his mind filled with haunting voices from the past.

“Dad!” a boy yelled.

“It’s time for bed, son,” the father called back.

“Come on, Dad. One story,” the boy pleaded.

There was silence as the father considered the hopeful boy’s request.

“All right. But only one. And only because your mom’s visiting Grandma tonight.”

Already in his bedclothes and slippers, the father shuffled into his boy’s room and stopped a moment to notice all the posters, action figures and bed linens of a common theme—Captain Bonkers, his boy’s favorite hero.

“What story do you want to hear?” the father asked, knowing what the answer would be.

“Captain Bonkers!” the child exclaimed.

“Him again?” the father lovingly mocked.

Slipping out from under the covers, the boy stood proudly in his bed. Clad in Captain Bonkers pajamas, he held up his hand and recited his hero’s credo:

“Like the creeping hand of time,

You will answer for your crime.

You’ll barter, you’ll beg,

You’ll fry like an egg

Before I finish my rhyme.”

“You goof,” the father laughed at the nonsense. “Which Captain Bonkers story?”

The boy dropped and dove back under the covers.

“Captain Bonkers and The Zombie Princess,” he requested, a glow on his face.

The father looked at his son and said,

“Mom said you’re not to read that one, son. It’s darker than the other stories, and it will give you nightmares.”

When the boy’s smile faded, it pained the father.

“It’s the last time anyone ever hears of Captain Bonkers. He’s angry and he returns to help a girl escape zombies. I already know all about zombies, Dad. I won’t have nightmares,” the boy promised.

“Sorry, son. I promised your mother I wouldn’t read that one. . .” the father began.

The boy’s face filled with disappointment, breaking the father’s heart.

“. . .so, you’d better not tell Mom I read it anyway.”

The boy looked up with a wide grin and pulled the quilt up. Poking his head out from under the quilt, he announced,

“Ready, Dad.”

Just then the alert of a text message coming in pulled Captain Bonkers from the past, chasing away the voices.

Opening his phone, he saw two words:

“It’s time.”

 

 

*          *            *

 

 

Very pleased with herself, Crystal made her way down the hallway. At the end, she saw a door ajar, opening onto a parking lot. When she stepped outside the building, she saw that she was in the warehouse district, down by the docks. Scanning the parking lot, she spotted a pick up truck with its door hanging open. She smiled and strutted over.

As she slipped into the truck, careful not to tear her pantyhose, she closed the door and adjusted the rearview mirror to check her makeup. Displeased with what he saw, she resolved not to look at any reflective surfaces till she got home and took a shower. When she brought her hand up to the ignition, she discovered that there was no key. She checked under the visor, on the passenger seat and in the glove compartment. When she slammed the glove compartment shut in exasperation, she spotted the keys on the passenger side floorboard. Stretching across, she bent down and grabbed the keys then jammed the key into the ignition. Just as she turned to stretch the seat belt across, she noticed someone outside the window wearing a clown mask and a top hat. When she saw that he held a pistol pointed at her head, she opened her mouth to scream. But before a sound could escape, the gunshot shattered the glass and drove her into a deep darkness.

The Cadillac Diaries: Episode 56

Ray waited as Detective David Crandall eyed Pete then began to relax a little, seeing no threat from the dog.

“Mr. King believes he is being targeted. Early in his career, he made some deals that at the time, let’s just say, were considered illegal.”

Ray nodded his understanding.

“Not unheard of. If you want to succeed in business today, you sometimes have to break a few rules.  But Mr. King has assured me that no one was hurt by his transgressions. . . ,” Crandall trailed off.

“But?” Ray prompted.

“Well it looks like somebody has targeted Mr. King, blaming him for something that he had nothing to do with. This person seems to believe that Mr. King has allied himself with criminals and needs to be terminated,” Crandall explained.

“And that’s where you come in,” Crandall continued. “Mr. King wants your help finding this Captain Bonkers, but he also wants you to identify those in his organization who are breaking the law. He hopes to have this cleared up soon, before any more lives are lost.”

Ray considered the proposition for a moment then asked,

“What’s in it for me?”

Crandall was taken aback.

“But you never ask for compensation,” he pointed out.

“That’s usually true. But the way I see it, if your client is coming to me, a retired cab driver, instead of hiring a professional investigator or even going to the police, he must be desperate,” Ray explained.

“And since desperate times call for desperate measures, I figure a small monetary reward is in order. Your client wants whatever I find to remain private, right? Or maybe I should just go ahead and call the police now. I’m certain they could help you out.”

Surprised by Ray’s revelation, Crandall was at a loss for words. Finally, he found his voice.

“I’m not sure what Mr. King will say, but I’ll ask about a payment arrangement of some sort. In the meantime, will you help?”

“I’ll need some time to think about it,” Ray said, “but if you’ll wait downstairs, I’ll join you in a few minutes with my answer.”

Crandall hesitated but when Ray assured him that he wouldn’t be long, Crandall turned and left the apartment, closing the door behind him. Pete, still pressed against Ray’s leg, watched the detective leave. Barking once, he growled then snorted as he looked up at Ray for a word.

“Oh I know, boy. He’s a big ole’ liar.”

Ray walked over to the nearest chair and sat down.

“Pete, isn’t it interesting that a man claiming to be clean and aboveboard is hiring someone as lowly as me—”

Pete barked.

“Sorry, boy,” Ray said, rolling his eyes. “Hiring someone as lowly as us to solve his problems and find a sociopathic serial killer. And he’s so desperate for help that he’ll even pay us. This guy’s in deep.”

Pete studied Ray’s face then cocked his head.

“Don’t worry, Pete. I know he’s up to far more than he’s letting on, but this may be my best chance to find out what.”

With a grin, Ray slapped his legs and stood up, pausing halfway when his knees popped and he felt a twinge in his back.

“I’m not 100% yet,” Ray said with a grimace.

After a few slow stretches to work out the kinks, Ray said,

“Let’s go, boy.”

Pete barked his compliance and followed Ray to the door.

With his hand on the knob, Ray stopped and looked down at Pete.

“Now not a word of this to anyone, Pete. Except maybe Tommy.”

Pete barked, and Ray rolled his eyes,

“Fine. You can tell Mavis. But you’re not fooling me. I know you only like her because she gives you treats.”

He opened the door and headed down the hall. When he stepped out of the elevator, Ray saw Crandall pacing outside the building.  Pushing the front door open, he said,

“Okay, Crandall. I’ll help you no charge but only to a point. After that, I’ll need some form of compensation.”

Crandall nodded.

“Oh and should you tell anyone I’m helping out, you’re on your own. Deal?”

“Deal,” Crandall said.

“Good. Where are we headed first?”

“I’d like to take you to one of Mr. King’s business partners. We suspect he may be involved in criminal activities or at the very least knows who in the company is.”

 

 

*          *          *

 

 

Dr. Chadwick Barnes turned and ran toward the open door while the other four people in the room stared in shock as David Hodges bled out. Blood poured from the wound in his neck onto the floor, draining away into a nearby metal grate.

Barnes stopped in the hallway on the other side of the door and shouted,

“I’m not leaving any of you alone, so either kill each other or come on.”

The escort Mercedes was the first to leave the room. Close behind her was a woman who had kept quiet, standing apart from the others. Chief Myron Hooper reached out and caught the arm of the last person leaving.

“Look, I know things are scary right now, but like I said earlier, we’ve got to work together. What’s your name?”

The woman paused, glancing over at Barnes, then shyly said,

“Crystal. I sing in a small nightclub downtown.”

“Well nice to meet y—”

“You two can exchange phone numbers later,” Barnes interrupted. “Come on!”

Dropping the woman’s arm, Hooper turned toward the open door.

“Look, Barnes. Back off! I’m willing to overlook that murder of yours if we help each other. Let’s not play right into his hands! He wants us to turn on each other!”

Barnes looked Hooper squarely in the eye and said,

“Then he’s getting what he wants. Now go!”

The hallway turned left then right before ending at a door marked,

“The Pick Five”

Hooper stepped forward and cautiously opened the door.

The room on the other side of the door was cluttered with empty boxes and bubble wrap. Positioned in the center of the room was a clown doll propped up on a table. Once everyone entered the room, the door slammed shut and they heard the click of the lock.

Suddenly the lights went out and a single spot focused on the doll.

With a childlike voice, the clown said,

“In this room filled with mirth and dread are five objects that will make you dead. Pick one up and pass it around. The door will not open till someone’s in the ground. Should you decide that killing is bad, not playing along will make me mad. Somewhere I watch you holding a gun. I’ll kill one myself. Won’t that be fun?”

The doll started to laugh then the spot went out. For a second, everyone seemed frozen to the floor. Then they all began frantically stumbling around, scrambling through the boxes as they searched for a weapon. Just then the lights came back on and Hooper was standing in the middle of the room with Crystal cowering behind him. Everyone except Hooper and Crystal was holding a weapon, one a screwdriver, another a steak knife. His eyes darting right and left, Barnes gripped a wrench in his hands.

“Easy everyone. He’s trying to scare us,” Hooper declared.

“Grow a pair and do what needs to be done,” Barnes said, freeing one of his hands from the wrench to grab a hammer from a nearby box and throw it at Hooper’s feet.

“Kill that kid behind you and we’ll consider your idea. I’m not following anybody not willing to get his hands dirty.”

Hooper looked down at the hammer. He heard the room go quiet then shivered as he felt a chill pass over him.