“Someone was by to see you, bossman.” Sandy handed him an embossed business card.
It said. ‘Cyrtys Baxter – Quintex Canada – Executive Producer’ with a phone number, fax number, email address and web site printed on the back. As the light played on it a man’s face appeared momentarily.
“It’s pronounced Curtis.” Sandy explained. “He says he’s from Canada’s Cold Cases.”
“WTF?” Dan tried to steady the reflection on the card to see the face more clearly.
“Amazing.” Ushio took the card from him. “It’s that new Laser 3-D printing. I have never seen anything like it.”
“Did he say what he wanted?” Dan asked taking back the card.
“Nope. Just that he was returning your call in person.”
“Right. I called them about the show I saw last night.” He quickly told them about the missing children and the photo of him and Timmy Dunlop.
“You sure it wasn’t you that disappeared.” Ushio joked. “You do vanish from here often enough.”
Ushio was ribbing about the hours he and Sandy often spent in the top floor lab developing software. It was with her help that he had worked out the bugs in the program that helped with the image work for the porn case.
“Did he say when he’d back.” He looked at the card as if it would tell him. It was a little thicker than the usual card and as he squeezed the face image sort of hovered over it. “Wild.”
“He asked you call the number on the card when …”
Dan’s cell phone rang.
Dan was a bit stunned. He stared at the card and then his phone.
“Hello Dan? I’m at Carafe (the coffee shop next door). I’ll be right there.” The line went dead. A few minutes later he came into the store.
Dan wasn’t sure what to expect when the tall, heavy set, black man came over to shake his hand.
His voice was deep, slow and slightly insinuating.
“Pleased to meet you.”
“How did you know I was here?”
“I saw you drive your bike into the back lane. Gave you a few minutes to get in. No magic, really.”
“Crap.” Ushio said. “I was hoping your biz card has some sort of GPS built into it.”
“Good idea.” Sandy said.
“We got your call about the show and I figured I’d answer it in person.”
“We can go up to my office.” Dan lead him to the stairs to the second floor. “I didn’t expect such a prompt response.”
“You weren’t too far from our offices.” Cyrtys follow him up the stairs. “I also knew who you were and figured why not follow up directly.”
“Who I was?” he sat behind his desk.
“You work with the RCMP sometimes. You got mentioned in that article about busting the child porn syndicate.”
“Syndicate might be pushing it some. Network is more like it. The cells are everywhere we just pulled out a few strands of the web, as it were.”
“Don’t be so modest.” Cyrtys sat in the chair in front of the desk. “Nice set up you’ve got here.”
He found himself staring at Cyrtys’s face. There was something familiar about him.
“You had that look. I haven’t seen it for a while. That look of ‘who are you?’ That’s what you were wondering, right?”
“Yeah. Mix-a-Mud? From The Slime Ball Bunch?”
“Got on the first try. That was me. I was a lot younger and … thinner then.”
The Slime Ball Bunch was a kids after school show where contestants would get slimed with various colors of goo if they got a wrong answer.
“I always wanted to be on that show.” Dan said.
“I’m not surprised. But it was a fucking horror show to produce. Can you imagine what it took to keep the studio clean. Young boys and girls in shower rooms with chaperons. The sexual tension was as slimy as the slime.”
“Wow. I never thought of that. But I remember you now. Man, I so wanted to be a DJ and spin records the way you did.”
“Pre-recorded you know. I just twiddled.” Cyrtys mimed fiddling with records on two turntables. “You can’t imagine the number of girls who thought I was totally hot. It was as if they hadn’t seen a cute black boy before.”
“Not only girls.” Dan said.
“You thought I was totally hot?” Cyrtys laughed. “It was usually much older guys who made that known to me. That’s one of the reasons I stepped from in front of the camera and to behind the scenes.”
“A natural enough progression.”
“What more can you tell me?” Cyrtys asked. “About the tip you called in.”
Dan took the folder of photos out from his file drawer. He put a couple of them on the desk.
“As I said in my message I’m the other boy in the picture you used on the show. My Dad took these. They must have been taken shortly before Timmy Dunlop was taken.”
“This episode has generated more interest than any so far in the series. Lost children are like cute kitten pictures. The public can’t seem to get enough of them. There have been more calls in the first forty-eight hours than any of the other cases.” He didn’t take his eyes off Daniel as he spoke.
“I don’t know if I’d equate missing children with cute kittens.”
“Sorry. I guess that did sound a little … cold.” Cyrtys grinned. “I’m a business person after all.”
“People’s misery isn’t a business proposition Mr. Baxter. I don’t think I have anything more to say to you.”
Dan got up and went to his office door.
“Please.” Cyrtys stood. “I didn’t mean to seem unfeeling.”
In the closed space of the office Dan found it hard to breath with Cyrtys’ cologne wrapping itself around everything. He noticed it when Cyrtys first came in but in the store it wasn’t as pervasive.
“I do have things to do.”
“I realize that. You have another RCMP case don’t you.”
“I’m not at liberty to discuss such matters. But I do have a business to run here.” Dan opened the office door.
Cyrtys stepped back.
“What are you looking at?” Dan asked.
“You’ve been studying me since we met.”
“Yes. You have an appealing quality about you. Sort of sexy but serious. Very television.”
“What are you talking about?”
“We’re looking to replace John Kilpatrick. Actually he wants to leave the show. Not enough money.”
“Me as the host of Canada’s Cold Cases?”
composition in orange and black
This section is from day 3 of my Nano writing. I’m still getting used the characters, introducing another major player in Cyrtys. Looking over it now I feel their conversation needs more work but the basic elements have been sketched in. I’m not sure about the name Cyrtys – maybe I’ll go with just one y to make it easier for reader to adjust to without bing pulled out of the story every time it gets used. I needed a name that told us lots about the character.
I’m also still playing with the name of the TV show – I know there are a couple already on TV and don’t want a name that is so close to any of them. The one I’m presenting using is just too similar.
composition in yellow and black
Here I also enter into fantasy/wish fulfilment – I doubt if a business card such as the one I’ve described actually exists – one that project a sort of holographic 3D image but one day it could be, right. It’s like some of the electronics and other camera stuff that I bring into the story – plausible but probably not real – wish fulfilment time.
I had fun creating a backstory for Cyrtys though. The Slime Ball Bunch references something real but adds my own spin. As I was creating it the thought of how did those kids get washed up after being slimed occurred me – that lead to the need for showers, chaperons and a sort of uneasy hint of sexuality. Which sort of foreshadows later events.