Picture Perfect 71
“How is Teresa? I haven’t heard from her for centuries.”
“A bit rough for wear but …”
“We used to caller her Teresa Tear-Off-A-Piece-A. She tell you about that?”
“This wasn’t a … social meeting. I was interviewing her about Timothy Dunlop.”
“Is that why she gave you those pictures?”
“That was the context, yes. We did reminisce some. She had lots of pictures of that summer. Whatever become of the ones you took. I didn’t find any in Dad’s archives.”
“To be honest I never keep them for long. I gave most of them way to whomever was in them. Dad was appalled when I told him I had discarded all the negatives too. I never saw myself a photographer anyway. Least ways not like he was. I didn’t realize that I was going to stay in the business.”
“Yeah, there’s a lot you don’t know about me. I really wanted to get into fashion. Don’t laugh because I know what a cliche that is.”
“I wasn’t going to laugh. Teresa didn’t remember the names of the men in the photos. Do you.”
He took his tablet out and pulled up the photos.
“There’s this one of me and Kevin.” She pointed to the one that Dan had added to the group. “He was the older man that Dad was rescuing me from that summer. Mom really disliked him for some reason too. You sort of got along with him, didn’t you.”
“All I remember is his name. Kevin. What was his last name?”
“O’Neill. Big Catholic family. Maybe that’s why Dad didn’t approve. He never could get into the Catholic school system to do class photos. Catholics only were allowed to do that.”
“These others?” He scrolled to the picture of the girls with the circus guys.
“That’s Terry with one of those circus guys she was so crazy about. Rocky, no Stoney! or some such. They usually had forgettable names. I think this the guy with the …”
“Big … reputation?”
“Yeah. Heard some nasty rumours about him too. But you always heard that about the circus people in general.”
“I remember that Kevin was one of those circus people, too. That’s what you always told me after we moved here.”
“Did I now.”
“What about the one of you and this other guy?”
“You mean Kevin? He was some friend of Stoney’s.” She dipped foam out her coffee with her finger. “They ran one of games of chance at the Happy Hippo. Games of fat chance. They practically showed us how they were rigged.”
“Linda you are the most accomplished liar I have ever met. Even when I was on the force no suspect was as convincing as you are when you are evading the truth.”
“What did you mean?”
“This,” He pointed to the picture of her and Hank’s circus buddy, “is not Kevin O’Neill in the other photo. Not unless you dated two guys called Kevin O’Neill.”
He put the photos of the men side by side.
“They don’t even look alike.”
“Then I must be mistaken. I don’t know. That first guy is definitely Kevin.”
“According to Teresa this other guy is.”
“She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”
“This is the back of that picture. I think that’s your handwriting. It says: Me and Kevin O’Neill.”
“I …” she was silent.
“This is the man,” he pointed to the other picture, “you brought home. You told us he was Kevin O’Neill. He was not. And you wonder why I have lost all trust in you.”
“It was all so long ago.” she teared up. “I didn’t know what to do. I was … pregnant. The real Kevin refused to meet the folks, refused to do anything in fact.”
“So you thought bringing a substitute would make things better?”
“No, not better. I was going to say he’d left me. That getting married was too much for him to face. I did’t want to just be pregnant without … I was ashamed. You don’t know what it was like. For girls. Even Terry didn’t know. So I brought this guy over so they wouldn’t think I’d gotten knocked up and the the guy had run out me.”
“Which is what happened? The real Kevin deserted you.”
“No. He hung around but refused to marry me. While I was here and you were traveling to Toronto I lost the baby. Honest. I didn’t do anything to terminate the pregnancy.”
Dan got up. “Linda. I don’t know what to believe.” He glanced this cell phone. “I have a plane to catch.”
He had a taxi drop him off the his house and wait while he got his carry on. On the way to the airport texted Peter a goodbye. Approved the Depot plan to give a 15% discount to anyone with a hundred dollar gift card from the Carafe. Texted a thank you to Jeremy for the pizza. Switched to his Quintex cell & texted Baxter that he was on his way back. By the time got out of the taxi he felt he accomplished something over the past couple of days. When he got to his seat he put both phones to silent & put his sleep mask on & tried to stay awake.
When he exited the plane in Moncton Sergeant Coster met him in the arrivals lounge.
“Leaving the area during a criminal investigation is a chargeable offence Mr. James.” she said to him. “Obstruction of justice.”
“Only if one has been informed of their need to be present for said investigation Sergeant.”
“You’ve been in court too many times for me to put a scare into you.” She shrugged.
“Probably. Why are you here?”
“I wanted to say I’m sorry we got off on the wrong foot last week.”
“I know protocol Sergeant. I know it too well to be that upset by what happened at the Waterside, Did you ever find out what was on those DVD’s in the bathroom ceiling.”
“Other than standard porn on the top three all the other’s were blanks.”
“Did you check the bathrooms of any of the other cabins?”
“Not the rest of the crew?”
“Yours was the only one specified in the tip.”
“I didn’t know which one was going to mine until I checked in. I hadn’t even opened my bag when you came busting in. So …”
“Whomever it was may have planted something in every empty cabin? That takes this beyond a crank call.”
“The one I skipped out of?”
“The accident that resulted in Roberto Hajla & Glaucia Vidro’s death. It is now a double homicide case.”
“The evidence points to tampering with the electrical system. What happened to the vehicle was not a ‘manufacturers’ malfunction. Not was it caused by the storm.”
“We’ve checked out all the other rentals and this is the only one that has been tampered with.”
“Targeted is more like it.”
“Clearly someone wants to derail this TV show.”
“Killing me wouldn’t derail the show.” Dan said. “Unsolved Cold is already running a promo with footage from the accident. My death would have turned into hype.”
Dan spotted Cameron entering the lounge.
“My drive has arrived.” He nodded to Cameron.
“We need an official disposition from you regarding the cars. How you ended up in the one you were driving.”
“I’ll try to get to the division as soon as I can. Can we do it on line?”
Cameron came over to them. “Baxter was more than a bit ticked at the way you beat it out of Dodge. He sent me to make sure you did’t slip out of his control again. Car’s outside.”
Dan put his carry on in the back seat and got into the front passenger side.
“Is this the same car I left in Halifax?”
“That’s why I’m ticked, having to haul ass there to pick it up and get here for you was a lot of endless driving.”
“Sorry.” Dan said.
“We’re back at the Waterside for tonight. Hope you don’t mind?”
“Any schedule changes?”
“Nope. You’ll be talking with that guy from the Museum in the morning. Then we’ll meet Jennifer Devereaux at the hospital to interview Mrs. O’Connor.”
At the Waterside Dan was glad to be assigned a different cabin that he’d had the last time. He couldn’t resist checking the ceiling tiles in the bathroom. Nothing but dust.