Picture Perfect 47
“Glaucia Vidro.” she said with a slight accent. “You should believe him, Curtis. There is nothing in those photographs.” Keeping Dan’s hand in her’s she sat next to him. “You do have more than good vision though, my friend. Not what you called e.s.p though perhaps b.s.p.”
“Glaucia, I asked you to call me …”
“Curtis, I will only use your real name. The other means nothing to anyone but annoyances. I am glad to see that you have also stepped outside of those other annoyances. The ones you wear to prepare people to be annoyed.” She released Dan’s hand.
“Okay, okay, enough about me.” Baxter sat opposite them at the table.
Dan resisted the temptation to wipe his hand on his pants & looked his desk screen. There was a split shot of the three of them looking a little lost. “Is this our first conference?” Dan asked.
“In a way.” Roberto answered. “Everything in the war room is recorded automatically. Right Harold?”
A fourth face appeared on their screens. “That’s right. Oops one more little fix.”
Instantly under each head appeared their names and locations. Harold Carmichael was in Toronto.
“As you can see we can use this for face-to-face conference calls just like CNN.” Harold explained. “Perhaps I should introduce myself. Harold Carmichael. Stephanie’s assistant researcher. I was almost a criminal lawyer but research suited me better.”
“Who’s paying for all this?” Dan asked. He knew at a glance this was not the standard issue equipment in their remote studio.
“Our … Asian sponsors …” Baxter said. “We are going to be a demonstration of their latest technology.”
“I see,” said Dan.
“Glaucia, what can you tell us from your meeting with Mr. Forestier, before we look at the footage of it.”
“Much like Mr. James, I found him to be direct and clear with his emotional feelings. He had no objects that belonged to the children, so I was unable to gather any vibrational information. The school photos did have a residual of their energy but not enough to form an image.
“It was clear to me that they are, in fact, no longer with us. If they were still alive somewhere I would have sensed that energy.”
“So, you sensed nothing.” Baxter said. “The editors we have their work cut out for them.”
“I did tell him that they hadn’t suffered. It was as if they went to sleep. There was none of the energy turbulence that comes from violent ends. I walked the path they took to the nearby farm and the one it was presumed they walked home.”
“Interesting.” Dan said.
“How so?” Baxter asked him.
“If … don’t take offence … what she says is true about no violence, they might have known their abductor. Someone they trusted enough to go along with willingly.”
“Like a parent?” Harold said.
“Yes, but not in this case.” Glaucia answered. “That energy was not there.”
“Or perhaps someone they had met a fews time before?” Harold asked. “Like … say … a tourist who had stopped to buy apples from their roadside stand a few times.”
“Yes.” Dan said. “That’s possible but not probable. Did they have a roadside stand?”
“Sounds like we have more questions to ask of Forestier before you move on to the next family.” Roberto said.
“See?” Baxter was beaming. “This is how the war room works. We share information and new ideas are produced.”
“New to us, perhaps,” Dan said. “But I’m sure the division looked into things like passing tourists.”
“We won’t know that unless we can see their original investigation notes.” Harold said.
“Fat chance.” Dan said.
“We’re working on it.” Roberto said. “It’s more a matter of finding where those notes might be. Dan you should know how much record keeping has changed since the 80’s. Things get misplaced, lost, even disposed of, that’s how they become lost cases not merely cold cases.”
“True. Small subdivisions only have limited storage space for old files or backups even. Non-active files more than five years old get shipped out to the regional centre, then those get subsequently shipped to the national depot where they are archived and often never seen again.”
“So the chances of finding them doesn’t depend on Staff Sergeant McKillop in any way?”
“Probably not. Digging up files that old presents its own challenges. But McKillop probably won’t be one of them. We’d have to pay the RCMP to have thos records searched. Unless …”
“Unless what?” Baxter asked.
“They decide to reopen the cases themselves. So Baxter what did you learn from your tipsters?”
“How little people really remember after thirty years. Stephanie and Roberto met with Dave Jeans. His family owned one of the orchards near the Forestier’s. He was a teen at the time and went on about how all the guys were so eager to fu … meet Mrs. Forestier. She was much younger than her husband. He was a part of one of the search teams that went through the orchards. They were all sure the father had something to do with it. He had a reputation for being hard on his pickers and they figured he was equally as hard on his family.
“You can watch the interview if you want. We may get a few thing out of it. The idea is to misdirect the viewers a little before reminding them that these weren’t the only children who went missing.”
“So the idea is to cast suspicion at every turn, at everyone, regardless of lack of substantial evidence.” Dan said.
“We present what evidence we may find not cast suspicion, as you put it. As far as any of us know now, any of these parents could be involved.”
“Or Martians?” Dan suggested. “Has any of your researchers checked out that angle? Strange lights in the sky on the days of the disappearances?”
Glaucia began to laugh. “He has you there Curtis. You could market the show to one of UFO markets as well. A simple re-edit for different ‘experts.’ I know of at least one couple in Digby who have been kidnapped by aliens and returned to their beds.”
“Okay.” Roberto went over to the area on the wall with ‘Suspects’ at the head of an empty space. He wrote UFO on it with a grease pencil. “While we’re at it let’s see if we can brainstorm any other sort of suspects. People who the children might trust.”
“School bus drivers.” Dan said.
“Whoah!” said Harold. “That is a good one. There’s a slant we had never considered.”
“Teachers. Priests.” Glaucia said.
“Ice-cream trucks.” Baxter said.
“Get serious.” Dan said. “We’re talking fairly rural areas. I can’t recall ever seeing an ice cream truck anywhere.”
“Doctors. Veterinarians.” Glaucia said.
“Vets!” Harold shouted. “I bet they travelled from farm to farm when called for, right. Did the Forestier’s have any animals? Cows. Horses?”
“None in the photos.” Dan said. “A couple of dogs.”
“Roberto you working on those leads right away. I’ll bet the local constabulary didn’t look for these sort of leads.” Baxter said.
“They were too busy looking for the children.” Dan said. “That was enough work for them.”
“Fuck, Dan give it a rest. We know how limited their resources were then. Maybe we can make up for those limitations now. Anything else?”
Both Dan & Glaucia shook their heads no.
“We’ll try to meet like this every night for a wrap up. Tomorrow we arraigned for the two of you to do an interview together.” He handed them each a folder. “It’s a Mrs. Laura McKay, a grade school teacher who taught both of these children, in different years of course. She says she has her records from the time. Put them aside when she heard news of the disappearances.”
“Records?” asked Glaucia.
“I don’t know exactly what. That’s up to you find out. Maybe she has essays, test papers. Stuff like that. Things the children handled for you Glaucia. Also more class pictures for you Dan.”