Picture Perfect 123
In his Depot work lab Dan opened the calendar template and printed out a daily diary for 1984. He often found that working by hand – pen to paper – would make things clearer to him. The dates of events of that summer had become more & more unreal to him. He couldn’t figure things out in his head like the number of days between each abduction. He’d been through the information many times already he hoped doing it this way might reveal something he had missed.
Starting with June 1 he made notes of where his father’s travel journals placed him. Dan included the distances between places travelled & approximately how long it would take to drive those distances. He no longer believed his father had anything to do with the cases but these locations & distances would help in judging the actual locations.
He then entered where the Happy Hippo’s three carnivals had been during June, July & August. Next he put in the dates of the abductions as reported by the parents, as well as when they contacted the authorities. If there was Hippo near on those days he added a red plus sign & the distance between where the show was set up & the location of the abduction. He circled the date they left for Toronto. Finally he put in the dates when Cora was still in the carnival & the date of her death & the date of her obituary.
One fact jumped out him. All the abductions had taken place on a Wednesday. They were usually reported within thirty-six hours. Except for Paula which took seventy-two. Happy Hippo was within a hour’s distance from each of the abductions. The Wednesdays were all the second day of the Hippo’s run in an area. Most of the runs were for six days. A couple were for two weekends. Other than the Wednesday’s no other pattern appeared. It was never two Wednesday is a row. There was no relation to how long the Hippo was in the area. Six days or ten days. He’d need the Chamberlain records to know just who was performing at which of the shows. The fortune tellers, Tut handmaidens & belly dancers moved between the shows randomly. The records should tell him when Cora left the show.
Would they also show when the various mummies were added to the Tut sideshow? Would they tell when Winston was doing repair work? Or did he move from to show constantly, not travelling with any one in particular? He did know when Winston was in Truro thanks to Teresa’s pictures.
Even with data missing he saw that it was possible for someone with Hippo to do the abductions. Someone with transportation. Which Winston had. Someone with a motive. Surely making mummies wasn’t the driving force behind these acts.
Robert Warszawa came into the work shop.
“I thought you might want to see this.” He handed Dan a file folder.
“I have so much data now I’m not sure I can take any more. Give me some old wedding photos to restore for a change.”
“It’s the coroner’s report on Cora Murchison’s death.”
Dan read it twice. “Self-inflicted?” he said. “How?”
“My thought exactly. There’s no toxicology report so I assume it wasn’t poison.”
“So she what? Jumped off a building? Cut her wrists?”
“There are some photos too. Not pretty. She’d been dead five days before they found her.”
“Okay.” They were standard black and white shots of Cora’s remains on the mortuary table. “No visible bruising. No bullet to the head. Water in the lungs?”
“Doesn’t say. The organs were sound.”
“Then how did he conclude it was self-inflicted.”
“There was a note.”
“Why the fuck didn’t you tell me?”
“I wanted you to view these without that filter.”
“Fair enough.” He read the note.
“Mom & Dad,
I’m sorry for the pain this will cause you both but you always wanted what would make me happy. I’ll be happy leaving all this behind.
“They made sure this was her handwriting?”
“Yes, they had her diary.”
“Diary? I’d love to see that.”
“No trace of it. It must have gone back to the family when they were done with it.”
Dan read the report again. “This doesn’t mention that she was pregnant.”
“Perhaps she had aborted. Bled out and died.” Warszawa suggested. “Wouldn’t have been the first time.”
“There’s no mention of vaginal tissue damage here. We both know that’s a must for any female corpse.”
“Right.” After a few minutes of silence Warszawa said. “They weren’t as through when there is no visible signs of struggle.”
“There’s always something missing.”
“Beside motive?” Warszawa said.
“Right. I have hope that I’ll find what I need to know if I look hard enough at what we have now.”
“Sometimes you see better when you stop looking so hard. Why don’t you take a break and get away from this for a little while?”
“I wish I could. When I’m not here, I’m at Quintex recording new voice overs for the show to work in what’s been discovered since we finished the shoot. They had me shoot a new intro for the old Cold Canada show that started it all. They’ll be repeating that episode before the new series airs. At least I talked them out of doing it in my living room as I watched that show. Seems like years ago.”
“I’ve had cases like that too. They take up so much of your thinking you lose track of what life you had at one time. Lose track of that life, lose track of that wife.” He took a deep breath. “Lose that wife.”
“Shit, yeah! That reminds me I promised to take Peter for a drink after work. Want to join us?”
“For a drink only.” Warszawa said.
“The Crown & Broken Anchor isn’t too far from here. It is straight enough for you, isn’t it?”
“It’s is called the Crown not the Tiara.”
Warszawa only stayed for a beer at the Crown. Dan was sleepy after another one. Peter was ready for a third.
“I’m going to get us a cab.” Dan said. “I’m not waiting around for a street car feeling like this.”
“Feeling like what?” Peter laughed squeezing Dan by the forearm.
“I get the message.” Dan said. “I want the massage too.”
“Yes, sir.” Peter swallowed his beer. “All you have to do is ask.”
Dan couldn’t keep his hands to himself once they got into the cab.
“Dan! Sir, you should have a few drinks more often.”
“I’ve been cooped up with the Cold bunch for the last sex, I mean, six months, or is it weeks. Your trip to Moncton was pretty much pointless from a lust point of view. Jeremy is a tease. That guy in Sydney was like a bull and I was a china shop. Yes, so I’m ready to rumble.”
“What guy in Sydney?” Peter asked as they got out of the cab.
“I’ll ask the questions.” Dan opened the front door and pushed Peter into the house.
“That’s more like it.” He pinned Peter to the wall by the front door; undid both their pants and pushed his to his knees.
“Thank you, sir.” Peter kissed him
“This is how you thank me.” He refused the kiss and pushed Peter to his knees. “I haven’t showered all day. So better lick me clean first.”
“I will sir. I will.”
Dan held Peter there then pulled him to eye level and kissed him. While they were kissing he reached between Peter’s legs and Peter gasped. Pushing his fingers deeper Dan crouched and sucked the head of Peter’s cock. Peter tried to push it in further but Dan would only allow the head.
“Sir! Sir! I’m going to … oh.”
Dan let the come fill his mouth and without swallowing stood to kiss Peter again.
“Thank you, sir. That was so … unexpected.”
“Upstairs.” Dan slapped Peter’s ass, hard. “Now. Shower.”
“Make sure your ass is washed before I get there.”
“What!” Peter stopped part way up the stairs.
“You heard me. I want something from you I haven’t had for awhile.”
“It’s all yours, sir.”
When his cell buzzed he was tempted to ignore it. He answered without even checking to see who was calling.
The connection was bad. “Dan! It’s Sergeant Coster.
Inspector Robert Warszawa said to call you. Winston Chamberlain’s body has been found about an hour ago. There’s evidence with it about the missing children you have to see.”
“I can get there in the morning. If I can get a flight.”
“No! You must get here as soon as you can. There’s a flight in an hour.”
The line went dead.
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