Picture Perfect 59
Dan looked around Cora’s Place for Teresa Dunlop. There were more people there than he had expected for a lunch time crowd at a small-town eatery. Eight tables with people at five of them already. Mostly couples and some families with children.
A waitress noticed him and the camera man standing there. “We have that window table for you.” she nodded in that generally direction.
“Do you know Teresa Dunlop? I was supposed to meet her here.”
The waitress did a fast look around. “Nope can’t say as she’s here. Take that table though she can’t miss you if she shows up. Remember now shots of customers in the restaurant.”
They sat at the table. Cameron, his camera man for the day, beside him. They was five minutes early. Dan glanced at the notes about Teresa on his phone. Married twice, no children, worked at various jobs, currently single, unemployed, trained as dental hygienist, worked as hair-dresser, lived in Halifax for several years before moving back to Stellerton to look after ailing parent. Parent passed away two years ago.
“Get you guys something while you are waiting?” waitress asked. “Beer?”
“Coffee will be fine.”
“Same here. Milk if you got it.” Cameron said.
The waitress brought their coffees. “You must be with that TV show that’s in town. The camera man is a dead giveaway.”
“That’s right.” Dan said.
“Down right sad about that Glaucia. I’d met her a couple of times. Funny how you can be here one day and gone the next.”
“Yes.” Dan stirred cream into his coffee.
“Wonder that she didn’t see it coming, though. Her being psychic and all that. Maybe you can’t see yourself in the picture, right?” The waitress gave a wry smile.
“Yes.” Cameron said.
She went to another table.
Dan sipped the coffee. It was weak. A table emptied, then another.
“Looks like you’ve been stood up.” The waitress came over with the coffee pot. “Top you guys up?”
“Not just yet for me. Too much coffee on an empty stomach isn’t good for me.” Dan looked over the menu. “I’ll have the soup.”
“Chicken noodle today.”
“Sounds good and a … grilled cheese. Whole wheat.”
“White only. But it’s enriched.”
“Bacon burger and fries for me.” Cameron said. “The works.”
Soup & grilled cheese was the sort of lunch Dan’s mother used to serve when they traveled. She’d always bring a hot plate and grilled cheese was easy and fast. He’d had a craving for it since checking in to the Arms.
He checked his phone for the time and Teresa was thirty minutes late. He figured she wasn’t going to show up.
The waitress brought his soup and sandwich and camera’s burger.
The chicken noodle was out of a can. Either that or the chef was able to duplicate that look and taste. It was salty. The sandwich was hot, the cheese was mild, tasteless and it had to be those processed slices not real cheese. He waved to the waitress.
“How’s the burger?”
“Filling.” Camera said. “Fries are decent. Needs something.”
“Yes?” she brought the coffeepot to the table. “Ready for this.”
“Yeah, sure. Do you have any hot sauce?”
“No.” she shrugged.
“What about dips for the wings?” Cameron asked.
“Oh yeah. There’s the spicy one. I’ll have to charge extra you for it though.”
“Dan James!” a woman called from the door, as she entered & walked to his table. She was about five four, though the fringe on her leather jacket made her look taller. Her tight jeans were tucked into the tops of calf-hugging dark red leather boots that came half way up her shins. Tufts of hair in a variety of reds, blues and blonds weren’t tamed by the Jay’s baseball cap she had pulled on her head. She bumped one of the tables on her way.
He stood to meet her. “Teresa Dunlop?”
“I’m she and she needs another drink. A Molson’s, Heather.” She shouted to the waitress as she sat. “A cold one this time, too.” She she slung her fringed purse on the empty chair opposite Cameron, pulled off her scruffy fringed jacket and sat. “They know me here.” She grinned at camera.
“This is my crew for the interview. Cameron Hall.”
She reached across the table to shake Cameron’s hand and knocked over Dan’s cup of coffee.
The waitress put a the beer on the table along with a glass and gave Dan his hot sauce.
“I’ll get a cloth for that.” she grimaced at the spilled coffee.
Teresa took a swig out of the bottle then poured the rest into the glass. “That first one tastes best out of the bottle. You have to decide what’s more important being a lady or having the right taste.”
Another waitress came over to wipe the table down. They lifted their food to make it easier for her.
The waitress brought a plate of fries with a dollop of gravy splashed in the middle of it and put in front of Teresa.
“It’s Barbra.” the waitress said timidly. “Heather’s been gone these two months having her baby.”
“Sorry to hear that. Guess I should look closer. Thanks Barbra.” She ate a couple of fries, had another swallow of her beer. “Look Dan, I gotta have a smoke. Can’t do that indoors anymore. I’ll be right back. Bring me another, Heather.” she called to the waitress.
“Mind if I join you,” Cameron asked.
“Sure! Nothing worse than smokin’ alone unless it’s drinkin’ alone.” She got a package of Export A cigarettes out of her purse. “You not takin’ that with you?” She asked gesturing to his camera. “Mighty small isn’t it?”
“Should I?” Cameron asked Dan. “It’s your interview.”
“Sure why not.”
“Swell, make sure you get m’good side.”
They stood on the sidewalk a few feet from the door. Teresa puffing, taking and pointing here and there. Someone stopped to talk to her and she introduced them to her cameraman. She flicked her cigarette into the street, slipped her arm under Cameron’s and they came back into Cora’s.
“I gotta take a quick, you know, to the ladies. I’ll be right back. Heather can you reheat this for me.”
The waitress took the plate of fries into the kitchen.
“You’ll have your work cut out for you with this one.” Cameron said.
“She have anything to say out there?”
“Telling me who lived where. She did want to know you were single. I told her you weren’t in the market just now.”
A microwave dinged and waitress put the reheated fries in front of Teresa as she sat back down.
“That’s better. So where do we start Danny Boy.”
“What do remember about that day.” Dan asked.
“Mama was a wreck. Pops was drunk, not unusual. Both of them are dead now, you know that? Anyway.” She was silent for a moment.
“Yeah, that’s all I remember. I was seeing that guy from Hippo. You know the one your sister had the hots for too, but I made sure she didn’t get more than her hands on him, and vice versa.” she sighed deeply. “I should have just stepped out of the way but I was tired of you folks coming here and getting all that attention. She was pretty enough. Acted better than she was because your Dad was so … rich. Yeah! We though you fellas were loaded. Staying the Arms and all that.” She picked at her fries.
“You weren’t like her though.”
“You mean after the same men as you?” Dan asked.
“Go on with you. No, I mean you acted like you was happy to be here. You and Timmy got on great too. You kept him out of trouble, most of the time.”
“My folks thought he was always getting me into trouble.” Dan said.
“It was pretty awful to lose him like that. You never know. Never.” She teared up. “We fought all the time but I liked him. Loved him. We was sorry to see you up and leave so fast too. Though can’t blame your Dad. He said it could have been you. For a long time I wished that it had been you. I hate to say that.”