Picture Perfect 42 (reboot)
Dan parked his rental in the parking lot across from the sub-division station. It was clearly one of those make-work government aluminium and slab boxes that went up fast during the 90’s. Post offices, Canada Manpower and RCMP buildings erected to ratify local communities, get votes in a coming election to repay voters for sticking with them. Utilitarian structures he always suspected were designed by engineers or siding salesmen, not architects.
Many of the post offices had been closed down and Canada Manpower was renamed & then had branches shut down as well. Not so with the RCMP. The number of officers serving each had been reduced. He had been a bit surprised to see four officers show up at the Waterside the night before.
Corporal Tyler was behind the desk in the small reception area. There was a closed room on either side of the room.
“Manning the fort on your own?” Dan said as he approached the desk.
“What do want?” Tyler looked up him.
“Here’s the Quintex shooting schedule for the next two weeks. Where we’ll be, who are expecting to be interviewing.” He held out the pages for the Corporal.
“We have that information already.”
He didn’t take the pages from Dan so Dan laid them on the desk.
“My cell number is there too. In case you need you contact us.”
“We have a contact numbers already. Stephanie Carter gave us her’s. As did Mr. Baxter.”
“I see. Is Sergeant Coster in today?”
“No. She’s not stationed here.”
“Oh!” So Dan was correct in assuming this was a sub-division. “She’s at the Moncton detachment?”
“What business is it of yours?”
“I don’t want to tread on the wrong boot toes.” Dan joked. “I’ve been through enough of that when I was in the ranks.”
“More like treading on the wrong jockey shorts in your case.” As Tyler stood up he raised his voice. “It didn’t take much for me to check you out Mr. James.”
“The past is the past. If you checked me out you’d know the tribunal found nothing to justify the charges.”
“Look,” He leaned towards Dan. “We both know how that system works. You were wise not to stick around after you were found so innocent. Even if you were innocent we don’t need pervs like you representing the Force.”
“If that’s an issue for you then I’ll recommend some sensitivity training for the division.” Dan wished he had been able to keep his mouth shut but whenever he hit this not-so-hidden hostility he found himself lashing out instead of being rational.
Tyler took a deep breath and came from behind his desk.
“Sensitivity! You big shot assholes come down here looking for publicity not for anything more.” He was about to push Dan in the chest with his index finger but stepped away. “It’s a fucking TV show out for ratings, so don’t act as if you have anybody’s interest in mind expect your own. Paid for by sponsors who don’t care about completion or whatever you want to call it.” He went behind his desk. “Digging up old memories that’ll upset people who have learned to live with the past just to make a couple of bucks.”
Dan stepped back as Tyler was nearly spitting on him.
“You doing this job because you have deep spiritual compassion & care about people or for your pay check?” Dan asked. “At least I’m not wasting tax payers money. It is them that pays your salary. Right?”
“You say we’re wasting tax payers money! You’re like every tourist who comes down here looking for quaint and then getting pissy with us for not wanting to to put on our dress reds and pose with you.”
“Look, just because you were led on some wild goose chase is not my fault. I know you had to follow up that tip. Now I’m trying to set things on the right track.
“As for the the dress reds I know that drill. I was stationed in Saskatoon for two years as a part of my training. There isn’t enough money to protect the public the way it thinks it needs to be protected by the fucking musical ride. That’s nobody’s fault.” Dan lowered his voice. “Sorry I didn’t mean to shout at you.”
“Yeah, well, I’m not sorry I did. Anything else I can do for you?”
“No. I’ll keep you posted if there are any last minute changes to this.” I tapped the production schedule he had put on the desk.
“Don’t expect me to thank you.”
“I don’t. By the way did you hear the tip that was brought you to the Waterside?”
“I’m not privy to that information. If I was I wouldn’t be allowed to divulge that to you.”
Dan went back to his car. The time he put in at Saskatoon was still fresh enough in his mind that he understood some of Sgt. Tyler’s irritation. The press would frequently question their procedures as if they knew better than the RCMP how to conduct an investigation or how to deal with criminals in general. Always clambering for services that there wasn’t money or manpower for, or that the Charter of Rights didn’t allow for in the first place. Every crime became the force’s fault for not preventing.
He could also imagine how he would have felt if some amateur film crew showed up to investigate something he had already looked into. Not that he was an amateur. Any new information they did uncover wouldn’t make the local forces look good for missing. All the more reason not to keep stepping on the wrong toe boots.
Sgt. Tyler must have been on his own in there. No one came out to see what they were shouting about. Even the sub-stations always had two officers on duty at the station at all times. As he pulled out he saw the branch SUV pull in to the division’s parking area.
Corporal Coster and another officer got out of the car. The man was probably the area staff sergeant. Did he want to talk with them? No. That was enough cooperation with the authorities for one day.