Funeral Photos for #NaNoWriMo 16.11


I passed 75K on November 24 and decided to give myself a break, at least for a few days to let my fingers rest 🙂 I pushed, in the last burst, to get the main plot wrapped up. I’ve known how this would end when I started – a face off against a backdrop of carnival rides, calliope music, a raging thunder & lightening storm. Melodramatic enough?snowlamp03

To get there I wrote the actual ending – what happens after the climax. It certainly informed that climax with twists that I hadn’t anticipated. I did a mini-outline for the specific actions that had to happen in the climax – the big reveal of the killer & the motivation behind it all.

snowlamp02I’m not sure how much of the wrap up is a part of Picture Perfect and how much of it is actually the start of my hero’s next adventure but I can worry about that in rewrites. With the three NaNo’s focused on this novel I have over 180K words of rough draft to refine 🙂

This is a continuation of the sample I posted Saturday. When I lived in Sydney I saw open casket funeral pictures. If some of you are thinking – there’s no gay men in Sydney Nova Scotia! Think again. I’ve checked sites like Squirt, Bear 411 and there are quite a few.


“How are we getting on up here.” Stan said. “You’ve been very quiet.”

“Yes it’s been productive. Turns out my sister went to Riverview.”

“And not Glace Bay. That would have been closer.”

“Do you have much here from the Happy Hippo Carnival?”

“Some of their posters like the one on the wall here. There’s also some of their popcorn boxes. even a few of the prizes. Their new museum in Moncton has the best stuff. It is amazing.”

“Yes I’ve been there.” He put his tablet into his shoulder bag. “But this has a better feel. Less like a theme park …”

“And more like place people like to park?”

“I don’t think I’d put it that way. A place that invites you to take you’re time and explore.”

‘That’s what I said? Or don’t you take you’re time when you go parking?”

“Enough with the flirting Stan. It’s bordering on harassment.”

“Sorry. The mating pool is rather limited here you know. Before you go I do have something you’ll be interested in.”

There were several people in the main part of the museum. One couple was taking pictures of the old kitchen appliances. Another was studying the information on the first African church.

“Actually Jeannie thought you’d like to see these.”

Dan recognized the photo album covers as the one’s his Dad sold exclusively. They were wedding or baptismal photos.

The first one was an album of funeral pictures. A black family standing beside the open coffin, of people touching the hand of the deceased, the flowers, the carrying of the coffin to the hearse.

“I’ve never seen anything like this.” Dan said.

“It wasn’t that unusual in the black community here.” Stan said. “They would give copies of some of the pictures to the pall bearers as a way of thanking them.”

“It’s just creepy.” Dan reached for the next album.

“Not more of the same?”

“Oh no.” Jeannie said. “Though we have inherited a few more like that one. One is of a baby’s funeral. Very sad. I’m not sure what to do with except preserve as best as we can. Like I can’t see us doing an exhibition of them.”

“Funerary Photography and Other Expressions of Grief.” Dan said. “You must have some hair wreathes. My grandmother has two. Kept them in the living room.”

“If you ever need job.” Stan said.

The next album was a set of wedding pictures. In one the bride was standing by herself beside a painting of a sea storm.

“That can’t be a good omen.” Dan said.

The set covered the wedding from the bride getting out of the car. the walk up the aisle, slipping the ring on in extreme close-up. Bride’s hands were typical, the groom’s needed to be washed.

“Is that oil?” Dan asked. “He couldn’t have come to the wedding with dirty hands.”

“Of course!” Jeannie said. “I’ve always wondered about why they were so dirty. I never thought of oil.”

“Professional hazard.” Dan quickly looked through the rest of the pictures. “The storm picture must have been an omen after all as there are no other glimpse of the groom other than his hands.” He laughed “Some of the pictures had been cropped to remove the offending groom then resized to maintain uniformity.”

“I’ve never noticed that before either.” Jeannie said.

“No one has ever said that in fact.”

“They usually ask about the wedding dress?”

“You have e.s.p?” Jeannie said.

“I’m the picture whisperer.” Dan said. “It’s part of my training.”

“No!” she said. “There’s no such thing.”

“There is.” Stan said. “It’s no secret, is it?”

“I’m a certified forensic document examiner who specializes in photographs. I can tell you, pretty much, what exact cameras took what pictures. These …” he tapped the albums, “would be easy and I did work with my dad on weddings. But I could tell you, say, if pictures were taken with a 1950’s Brownie or a Duaflex.”

“You should have your own TV show like the Antiques Road show.” Jeannie said.

“He sort of does.” Stan said. “He’s with the Cold Canada show that’s investigating cases here in the Nova Scotia.”

“Cool. Gotta to work.” she said as a family came came. “Whose yer fadder?” she walked over to them.

“He is!” one of the children pointed to the adult behind him.

“Thanks for everything.” He shook Stan’s hand.

“If there’s anything else I can help you with …”

“There is one thing,” He pulled his hand out of Stan’s then walked to the front exit. “I’d really like a good feed of cod cakes. Yeah I know cod is not fished anymore but even decent fish cakes would do.”

Stan opened the door for Dan. “There is one place.”

They stepped out into the sunlight. It took Dan’s eyes a few minutes to adjust to the bright light as they walked to his car.

“One place?”

“Not on the tourist maps.”

Dan opened the driver’s door to let the heat out of the car.“Yes? Do I have to guess?”

“I’ll write the address down for you.” He took a business card out of his wallet and write on the back of it and handed it to Dan.

“412 Peter’s Avenue?” Dan read it aloud. “Is it a … oh, fuck am I thick or what … you’re asking me for dinner at your place!”

“Is this meeting cute or what?” Stan blushed.

The light caught his face and Dan recognized something in it. “Your Dad was on the team that won the regional soccer championship in 1986.”

“Uncle. Not Dad. How …”

“The yearbook.”

“That’s amazing. You saw a family resemblance. You must have e.s.p.”

“You’re not the first person who told me that. I still can’t tell you the lottery numbers, now that would be useful. Six o’clock?”

“Make it 7. I’m finished here at 5:30. I usually go to the gym after work but I’ll skip tonight. That’s my cell number. Call me if you get lost.”

“Here’s mine.” He handed his card to Stan. “Call me if you get home early.”

Cape Breton church

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