the sequence in my rough draft was out of order so I’m correcting it so this is a new Picture Perfect 41
“You’re up early.” Baxter said as Dan sat at the table in the Waterside’s breakfast diner. A sign in the window proclaimed “Breakfast only. Served from 6 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.”
Baxter was sitting with Stephanie and another woman. The rest of the crew was at another tables.
“You remember Stephanie. She’ll be coordinating the shoots. This is Brenda DeCosta our locations manager here on the east coast. She does things to set the scene.”
“You be shocked at the number of people who never clean their windows. Nothing looks worse on camera than dirty windows.” Brenda shook his hand.
“Our camera guys will be Cliff Hanson and Cameron Carter.” Stephane took over the introductions. “Yes, the one with the beard is my brother.”
They waved to him from the other table.
“That’s Roberto Hajla. Interning with us.”
“Be prepared for the breakfast basics here.” Brenda said to him. “All they do is fried things, meat things and cereals. That is if you consider Rice Crispies or Corn Flakes cereals.”
“What no almond milk?” Dan said.
“Honey, we’re lucky they have perked coffee here.” Baxter said. “But it is good.” He held up his cup to get the waiter’s attention. “The staff is …” he was interrupted as the waiter came to the table with a pot of coffee and a mug for Dan.
“Thanks.” Dan glanced up at the waiter. He was expecting a teenager but it was a man in his mid-30’s he figured.
“Great coffee George.” Baxter said.
‘Yeah. One of the few good things I learned in barista school.” George answered. He looked to Dan. “You ordering food?” he asked.
“That bacon smells good.” Dan said. “So all you offer is a basic breakfast?”
“Pretty much. Charlene can do pancakes if you want. Sausages or bacon … otherwise is eggs, bacon, toast. The eggs are local. Oh, yeah, and there are two grapefruit if you’ve a mind for one.”
“Three eggs, over easy. You have …”
“Local baked bread. White.”
“White’ll be great. Thanks.”
“He likes you.” Baxter said when George had left their table. “He didn’t offer me grapefruit. Either of you?”
“So, what was with those cops busting our chops last night,” Stephane asked. “You used to be one of them, right?”
“Still am in a way,” Dan answered. “They don’t have much choice but to act on a tip when they get one. Child porn gets quicker attention than say … weed … Harder to dispose of evidence with drugs. Anything on the internet can be erased fairly quickly.”
“But not without a trace.” Stephane said.
“I’m more curious about who set us up.” Dan said.
“What do you mean?” Stephane asked.
“The officers knew which cabin I was in.” Dan stirred his coffee. “That info was on the warrant they had. Takes a couple of hours to get the right judge to sign off on a search and seize. So the tip had to be more than just an anonymous call that said child porn at the Waterside.” Dan was speaking aloud. “Those details meant it also had to be someone who knew our itinerary.”
“Don’t look at me!” Stephane said. “Our original bookings got changed, like, the day before and this was what the agency replaced them with.”
“Changed?” Dan asked. “Why?”
“Happens often enough with on-line bookings. When I saw the changed I phone here to confirm to make sure we got here and there was no motel.” Stephanie said. “I figured Baxter found a cheaper rate handmade the change.”
“It wasn’t me!” Baxter held his hands up. “I leave all that up to the producers.”
“Without telling you?” Dan asked. “Would they do that?”
“You sure it wasn’t that lover of yours?” Baxter asked. “He sure was pissed at you last time I saw the two of you together.”
Was that why Sanjay had called? To see if his trap had been sprung? No.
“Pissed for sure but he’s not that … calculating or inventive outside of the kitchen. Whoever made that call knew before even I knew, where I’d be staying. I don’t even think we were assigned cabins, were we, Stephane?”
“Nope. The agency booked the whole motel. As far as I know the cabins were to be given out on a first come basis. I can check at the desk though.”
“Breakfast is served people.” George put dishes in front of each of them. “More coffee?”
After they had eaten and the tables had been cleared Dan looked over the the day’s work-sheet. The first actual interview was set for the next day with Mark Forestier, the father of Madeline and Gerrard, the first two children reported missing. It would be at his farm in the Annapolis Valley. He was to drive there with Cameron while Baxter and his intern were to stay at this end to follow up on some leads.
Quintex has advertised in several local newspapers for anyone who might remember anything about the summer when the disappearances happened. There had been some of that done when the initial Cold Case show was put together. Once it was decided to go ahead with developing the abduction cases into a series they had got the word out for more information.
The Forestier interview was to take a day, then they continue on to Stellerton.
“I’ll drop into the RCMP division,” Dan said, “to see if they have any more information on those cold cases and see if I can find out what happened last night.”
“You think they’ll tell you anything?” Baxter asked.
“Probably not but things will go much smoother for us if we are cooperative. I’ll let them know what our plans are and how to get a hold of me if they need me for anything.”
“The original Unsolved show didn’t put them in a good light.” Stephane said. “It practically accused them of neglect them didn’t it.”
“Neglect?” Baxter said.
“Did you watch it Baxter?” Stephane asked. “It practically said that if the local investigators had shared information they would have made the connections that it took us one show nearly 30 years later to be made.”
“I don’t recall that?” Baxter shrugged. “If that was so they should be grateful for us doing their work them.”
“They’d be more grateful if just kept our noses out of their work,” Dan said. “That’s why it’s best to keep them in the loop from now on. Anything we may find has to be relayed to them. We may need to get approval from them before releasing any information relating to the cases. You realize that don’t you.”
“Not as long as they remain cold cases.” Stephane said. “I haven’t heard anything about them being reopened or even considered related to each other.”
“That won’t get us very far with them.” Dan said. “Which car is mine?”
“Let’s go out and see what we have.” Baxter went out to the parking lot. There were four cars there. One a small sporty two-door Miata. The others were Suburban SUV boxes.
“I’m claiming the Miata.” Baxter said. “The perfect size for running round it. There’ll be plenty of leg room for me.”
“Then it’s one of the boats for me.”
“Boats for all of us.” Cameron said.