“Hey babe.” Dan said. “What’s the story?”
“Its getting to be repetitious. I’m stuck here at Zephyr for the night prep shift. I may not get home till breakfast. There’s a major fund raiser here Sunday night and you know is overseeing all the dessert preparations.”
“Worse part is that some of them have to be gluten and nut free and cooked in a place not contaminated by either of those two nasty substances.”
“How do they get plated?”
“Oh, there’ll be separate rooms for everything and I suppose guests in one room will be forbidden to mingle with guests from the others.” Sanjay laughed. “Assault by walnut air kiss. I wonder if that is a criminal offence.”
“You love a challenge.”
“Quite true. Not seeing you is enough of a challenge for me. How was your day.”
He went through the trade-in business, the Cuppa’s take over of the nail salon, even the drop by visit from Warszawa.
“That him I hear in the background?” Sanjay teased.
“That’s just me beating off to the sound of your voice.”
“A pretty picture indeed. I better go they are calling for me. There are two cleaning crews here now and I have yet to find a space that is guaranteed gluten and nut free. Oh my head. Kisses.”
When he woke in the morning Sanjay was not in the guest bedroom. The times when he was caught in an all-nighter he would sleep at the restaurant so Dan wasn’t too worried.
He checked his email. Nothing of note. He couldn’t resist checking the V-Files. His post was now viral on the site, endless comments saying pretty much the same thing. Enough in his tip jar to pay for access to the site for a year. Some private comments had been posted to his mailbox there. A couple were invites by women to get in touch, one from a guy who claimed to be the man in the picture.
The way the site worked, to maintain anonymity as much a possible, was that locations were not cited on the actual clips or comments, but if someone posted you privately you would see where their post came from. Even if that information was unsure Dan knew how to reply posts via an off-island server. You never knew if anyone really was on line.
He deleted all the posts in his box there. He never replied to them. He wasn’t there to meet up only to share.
Dan arrived at the shop to find Ushio was already busily going through the pile of trade-ins. The day after the sale the shop was closed for inventory taking. Japanese Kpop blared from the store’s sound system.
“You’re here early.” Dan said loudly as he slipped off his shoulder bag.
“Much work to do.”
“So I see.”
The bin for Goodwill was already half-full.
“I forget to give you this yesterday. We were so busy.” Ushio handed Dan a dvd. “It is the movie you gave me to translate …. I mean transfer.”
“Thanks. I’ll look at it later.”
He went over the array of cameras that had been traded-in. The more complete they were – complete meant cables and rechargers – the better the trade in. Some were still in their original boxes. Too bad they weren’t top of the line.
He took several of the incomplete cameras up to the third floor worship where they kept a supply of various cables, batteries and chargers. At least once a day someone would into the store looking to replace cables that been lost, eaten by the dog, dropped in the washing machine. Their complaint was invariably why wasn’t there a universal plug like the usb that could be used on any device. But each company had its own connector and even those weren’t consistent for all devices made by the same company.
He could tell at a glance what cable was needed. Occasionally they’d get some freakish foreign model that had no North American equivalent and no adapter would fit it.
He glanced at the first camera got the correct cable and plugged it into the computer. The memory card was blank and the battery began to recharge automatically when he plugged it in.
The next was an Olympus that had no battery or memory card. Sandy probably took one look at the brand name and accepted it. He put it to one side to deal with later.
It took him about thirty minutes to go through the ones he had brought up to test. He tagged each one with a post-it note as to what cables, batteries, memory cards they needed. With some he did a test shot to make sure the circuits were working. One memory card had several wedding pictures left on it which he cleared off. If they traded in the camera they probably traded in the bride or groom too.
Once that was done he played the dvd that Ushio had transferred for him.
At first he wasn’t sure what he was looking at. It was blur of out of focus coloured lights. The camera pulled back. It had been pushed into a Christmas tree. The lights and ornaments became clearer. He had shot this himself. His father had kidded him about trying to be too arty.
There were closeup of reflections in shiny Christmas balls. His mother drinking a cup of tea he’d shot though the needles of the tree, weird angles on gift wrap, some clearly shot with him lying on the floor. There was his sister looking down at him then pretending to stomp on him with her foot. The last of it was him rolling in the snow with someone. Timmy!
Right. Timmy had arrived that year on Boxing Day. He had a black eye from a snowball fight before he came to visit. No wait that wasn’t a visit. From what Warszawa found out that was Timmy running away from something. Surely his parents must have known that all along.
That was when Timmy would sneak into his bed and snuggle up to him. That was the first time he played with Timmy’s cock while Timmy played with his.
The reel came to an end. He reversed it to see what he had missed in the surge of memories.
Once the bulk of the trade-ins had been sorted and tested and were ready to be tossed, kept or okay to be donated, Dan let Ushio out the back way.
Dan started to push the store’s garbage bins to the nook. He recalled the first time he became aware of the activity that happened back there.
The family was living on the third floor of the building. His bedroom was the corner room and had two windows – one on each wall. One window overlooked the lane way. He was coming on fifteen and aware he was gay.
In those years there was a bar on the corner where the office complex now stood. Rafters Bar and Grill. He could never figure out why it was called Rafters. Loud with rock on weekends his mother called the police more than once after midnight about the noise.
The laneway behind the photo shop was used by men and sometimes women late at night who needed to take a leak after a night of drinking. He would sometimes hear them knocking over the garbage cans, swearing, even fighting with one another.
More than once he spied on couples making out down there thinking they were safe. Or did they hope to be detected. If they were too noisy in their making out his mother would open a window and shout down at them that she had called the cops.
If he was restless at night he’d sit at the middle window on the second floor that gave an ideal view of the nook. He’d hope for someone to wander in to relive themselves. If he was lucky he’d have a ring side seat for a make out session.
To see a man’s cock appear out his pants got him hard. So hard he’d off ejaculate without having to touch himself.
His mother was so disgusted with the ‘abuse’ the lane way got she wanted it properly fenced and gated to stop people from using it, but as it was a shared lane she’d need to get all the other buildings on either side of it to agree. All she managed to do was to get that nook boarded over.
Dan wasn’t sure what the old factory warehouse next to his building was being used for these days. It had gone through many hands over the years. For a time it was used for raves. Several years it was a performance space, sometimes artist lofts would appear then go, a gallery. Last he heard it was to be converted to condos but that hadn’t happened yet.
After this sister married and his Dad moved them to real house, the renovations of their shop space began in earnest. One thing Dan saw to was getting the laneway fenced and had the hoarding his mother had put up to cover the nook removed.
He said the space was the perfect spot for garbage bins, which is was. He also made sure was kept clear of bins except on nights when garbage was to be collected.
His cell rang. It was a text from Sanjay. “Out front. Want a lift home?”
Dan texted back. “Round back.”
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