They say revenge is a dish best served cold and this has never been truer than in Stephen King’s short story “Dolan’s cadillac”. Stephen King’s unparalleled imagination is in full force in this collection of four unabridged short stories originally found in the classic, “Nightmares & Dreamscapes“.
Wealthy crime-boss Jimmy Dolan brutally murders a woman who is scheduled to testify against him, and her husband spends the next seven years plotting his revenge. Haunted by the voice of his dead wife, he will stop at nothing to exact his vengeance and allow his wife to rest in peace.
His only shot at success is when “Dolan” is being driven across the country in his cadillac and it is on the road, laying the most incredible trap, that he makes his move. The personal pain and struggle our protagonist must endure in order to give his plan the best chance of success is grueling and torturous….but well worth it.
The initially unnamed protagonist, whom we eventually learn is called Robinson, is a schoolteacher from Las Vegas. He is pale and weak and balding. He is the type that people laugh of not laugh with as he himself points it out – but he has a strong soul and a desire to avenge his wife. So he volunteer to work in RoadWorks and learns all there is to know about paving and the detours system. Under the guise of writing a sci-fi book, he goes to a math teacher and asks him the best way to create a hole in the ground to trap a space ship filled with aliens who are trying to escape Earth who is going 50mph. He learns that just making a cubic hole in the ground is not enough, he needs to make it at an angle, like a funnel – to ensure that the aliens won’t come out through the doors and won’t be able to back out.
Each month, he scans the upcoming roadwork calendar for just the right repaving job. After nearly two years, he eventually notices a 30-mile stretch of highway scheduled over the 4th of July weekend, and begins to make preparations to put his plan into action. His hole digging is determined and his wife’s voice that kept on urging it on becomes like a demon asking for revenge. She beckons him on even after his back gives way and he continues digging though mounds of earth even with a few slipped discs.
His awaited moment arrives and he manages to get the Cadillac into the hole he dug.
It was like the road just opened up and swallowed the car whole.
After only a few sentences, Dolan is incredibly able to identify his captor, and soon makes a proposal: one million dollars, and a personal guarantee of safety, if Robinson lets him out. Robinson’s counter-proposal is that, if Dolan screams loudly enough, he may be freed. Of course, this does not happen, and Robinson proceeds with the burial.
You would say that even after a few weeks have passed he would have been relieved of having gotten rid of the bad guy, but Robinson is an anxious man. He goes to that stretch of the road to see his work and even tries to pee on it. But nothing comes out even though his bladder is full. And he keeps expecting to one day look in the rear view mirror and see Dolan’s decomposing corpse looking back at him.