(This sample is from November 8, from about the 18k word mark (as I post this I’m nearing the 46k word mark)
Once he had finished his bagel he went into the archives storage and pulled out the two bins for 1984. All he had taken in his first look from there was for the month they had moved. Maybe there was something more that might shed some light on what was going on in the months before.
Linda had said the move was talked about at Christmas so he also took the bins for the previous year. Each year had been split into two bins – regardless of how little there was in one half.
His father had kept meticulous records of his travels – hotels, motels, school he’d worked for, endless receipts for restaurants, gas, even for clothes bought for them when they were kids.
Much of that had been discarded before his dad had died. Receipts were for tax purposes. But his Dad’s daily appointment books were there, in those he recorded, expenses, mileage and sometimes incidents. ‘Saw a deer.’
His dad opted to only keep family or other personal photographs. All the commercial stuff was discarded. Dan sometimes wished they had kept some of those early wedding photos though to compare them with what was being done now.
He shook the contents out of the envelop in the Dec 83 folder. Like most of them there were glassine envelopes of negatives, lots of developed photos in back and white, in colour, even a super eight. Did they have a projector? There was always the Stedman Transfer. When had they used that last? There had been a brisk business for awhile in transferring old home movies to VHS. Did they even have a VHS player on the premises?
He flipped through his father’s record books but saw nothing that jumped out to him. The writing was in both his father’s and mother’s handwriting. She had been the main receptionist when the store first opened.
Weddings. Parties. Business banquets. One of his Dad’s specialities was a super wide lens that could take a pictures of an entire ballroom of tables. The camera was huge and took two men to move and set up. Maybe it was time to haul that out of storage and set up in the store to contrast it with todays tiny digitals.
He looked the assortment of items from the bin. Why has his Dad held on to these paper napkins? Some party that only he could remember. Dan opened one of them up and there was a red lipstick kiss in the middle of it. Hmm.
The Shoreline Diner was printed in one corner in letters sticking in the sand. They had eaten there a few times for special occasions. He recalled standing at the huge plate glass windows that overlooked the Atlantic. One night there had be an amazing storm and he saw a boat’s lights bobbing up and down.
He had emptied the bin of the various folders, envelopes and photos. As far as he could tell there wasn’t much in the appointment books. Nothing that explained the decision to move.
He put the contents back in order. As he lifted it to move to the next box an envelop flapped from the bottom. The gum of the flap had adhered it there and gravity pulled it free.
On the front of it ‘04/79 – 07/83’ was scribbled. he couldn’t tell whose handwriting it was though. He squeezed the sides in to open it enough to see what was in it. More photographs and negatives. He cautiously tipped it so the contents slid out into the pool of light on the desk.
He couldn’t believe this eyes. The top picture was a black and white shot of a woman in bra, panties, buttoning her nylons to a garter belt. Her back was to the camera. Her face was turned toward it but not enough for him to see who she was. He recognized the chair she had her left foot on as one from his Dad’s studio.
He turned the photo over to see the next one. It was the same woman, in the same clothes, back still to the camera, head partly turned, standing wide legged, her hands on her ass as if about to spread the cheeks.
On the back of the the photo he had turned over was a hand drawn circle with an x through it. He’d seen that symbol before. He took one of the record books out of the bin and flipped though it till he came to day with that mark on it. Was that the day the pictures were taken?
Gingerly he went to the next picture. The same woman, the same chair, the same back to the camera only this time there was man on his knees, leaned over the chair. No face visible. Boxer shorts, shoes and socks on. The woman was wielding a cat of nine tails aimed at the man’s ass. In the next several pictures the whip went from hitting the man’s ass to being brought back up and down to his ass.
Dan squirmed uneasily in his chair. He got up and went to the window rubbing his eyes to relieve the strain of peering at the photos. This wasn’t the fun family Christmas memories he expected to find.
Had his Dad rented out the studio space for these? He couldn’t have taken them himself. Could he?
Without looking at any of the other pictures he gathered them together and put them back in the envelope. Now where to put them?
No, he had to see what else was there first. He took them out and quickly sorted through them. There about 12 from the whip shoot. In the last the man’s boxers were around his ankles and the whip marks on his ass were clearly bleeding. By the last shot the women’s hair had become dishevelled, her nylons where loosened from the garter buttons.
He had sat on that chair many times. His Dad used when taking family portraits. There was no doubt about where these were taken. The backdrop was the scrim that reflected the light just right and didn’t call attention to itself.
Time to put on my forensic hat. Had his Dad taken these or merely developed them and kept copies.
Dan got one of the studio pictures he knew his Dad had taken of him and Linda. There was the chair. He turned the paper over and it had the same subtle watermark as the whip pictures. They were taken by the same camera.
Here I introduce another of the major elements of the plot – the discovery of the saucy pictures. Not only do they change how Dan has thought of his parents but also adds even more to the questions about the past and their move to Ontario.
the red ball
We also meet Dan’s father in an indirect way. His dad died sometime ago – heart attack. In the process of exploring these bins I was also making discoveries – in a way more world building. I had only vague notions about how his Dad functioned as business person.
The keeping of records popped into my mind – two sets: one for travel work and one for non-travel work. This has forced me to work out distances, the time it might to travel those distances and other things in the area of the places I want to include.
not so light blue
There is a mention earlier of some native children also gone missing at that time but which were not included in the information the TV show had. So I needed to find a reserve that would fit into the story. The reserve will also give me the opportunity to explore some the relationship between the reserve RCMP etc.
I’m so in the flow that I didn’t have time to even prepare this post in advance, as I usual do. Feels good.
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