Picture Perfect 80
Dan enjoyed the cool quiet of the back patio as he relaxed on a chaise lounge with the damp cloth over his eyes. He could still see the look on John Kilpatrick’s face from the night before. It went from suppressed rage to almost affable host as he realized he was back on camera. To make matter worse the camera quick zoomed for a closer shot.
Even though he had slept well when he went to bed he felt himself drifting off as slipped into the cool breeze.
“Sorry to disturb you sir but you really have to see this. Really.”
He went into the house.
Peter was seated over the desktop in the study.
“Look at this clip from the show last night.”
It was of him saying “Back to you, John.” with John’s face as he struggled to keep going despite his rage.
“Yeah, been there done that.”
“Look, sir, so far it has gotten over two million hits!”
“What!” Dan stared at the umbers as they continued to go up.
“Not only that but it’s become a meme.”
He switched to a page that showed a collection of gifs & stills of things like volcanos erupting, cars going over cliffs with either the words “Back to you John” superimposed or his voice say it.
“That’s crazy.” Dan was stunned.
“What has Curtis said about it?” Peter asked.
“I haven’t look at my phone since last night. I needed at least one night of sleep you know.”
He turned on both his phones. The Quintex phone has more texts than he could count. Most of them from Curtis, with some from Jeremy & Stephanie. One was a voice message from John Kilpatrick. Plus three voicemails from Curtis on his personal phone. He decided to start with those.
They were nearly identical. “Dan you amazed me. I didn’t think you were capable of such such fucking smarts.” Each added details. “Have you seen those numbers. That clip has gone viral.” “This is insane. Baxter’s Bits has never had such an online surge. QTel is everywhere too. You broke the internet.”
“Well, boss, you seem to have done good, sir.” Peter chuckled.
“All wanted was to follow up on Sarah’s snake man comment not break the internet.”
He rolled through his text messages & they all were raving about the response to his ‘Back to you, John.’ The one exception was from Stephanie
“Dan, thanks to you we’ve had a surge of tips about this Snake Man. You are definitely on to something new. Let’s face it John Kilpatrick is a personality not an investigator. lol.”
He was about to listen to Kilpatrick’s message when the phone rang. It was Jeremy.
“Good morning Dan.” Jeremy started. “The numbers for the launch are better than we anticipated.”
“Uh …thanks Jeremy. I was just following up on a lead. I learned that in my days on the Force. Act when you sense something because it you don’t it’ll slip away. Besides it’s John’s reaction not my action that’s making waves.”
“Can’t we meet for lunch?”
“Sorry I can’t. I have a plane to catch.”
“If you have to get to east coast for the show that can be changed.”
“Nope. I have something to follow up in Montreal.”
“Montreal? Does it figure into the investigation.”
“I won’t know for sure until I’ve checked into it.”
“Okay. We need to learn to trust your instincts.”
“Thanks, Jeremy.” He shut the phone off.
“Popular guy this morning, sir.”
“Fuck look at the time! I better get going if I expect to catch my flight.”
He double checked his carry-on & shoulder bag to make sure he had all things he needed – both cell phones, both cameras, Lifend travel mug, pad, recharge cables for each one, & printed confirmations of his flights.
“Your wallet, sir!” Peter handed it to him with a lingering kiss. “Your taxi is here.”
“Thanks. I miss you already.” He held Peter close.
The taxi honked.
At the Pearson Airport he checked in & found the departure gate for his flight. He turned his Quintex phone on to listen to John’s voice-mail.
“Listen you self-important asshole no one gives me orders when I’m on air & then turns my interview into a train wreck. I don’t know who you think you are but don’t expect to get away with such unprofessional backstabbing. I’ve in this business for decades & trust me I can fuck your career up so badly you’ll be lucky to own a TV, let alone appear on one. You don’t know who are dealing with & if you think this shoot has been plagued by bad luck it is only going to get worse.”
As Dan shut the phone off one of the overhead TVs caught his eye. There was the clip of him saying “Back to you John” with John’s grimace of emotional control. It was followed by a clip of himself receiving the commendation award for his work on child pornography. He glanced uneasily around yo see who else might be watching but everyone was busy with their own cell phones. The last thing he needed was to be recognized. Yeah, he thought, like that’s going to happen.
It sank in to him then that he would become more of a public figure thanks to Maritime Mystery. He wasn’t working behind the scenes anymore. He had always relied don the official RCMP spokesperson to deal with the public & the the press. This allowed him a degree of anonymity as he worked out of the public eye. He wondered if Maritime Mystery had an official spokesperson?
Boarding for his flight was called. He checked to make sure he all his gear & made his way to the boarding desk. The flight attendant scanned the code on his cell, then said “Back to you, Mr. James.”
He nodded & took his boarding pass made his along the entry way to the plane. He didn’t know if or how he was supposed to acknowledge being recognized.
He got to his window seat with any further incident. The sun was reflecting off the wings of the various planes around him. He pointed his Lifend out of the window & began taking pictures as the plane made ready for take off. Once it was in the air he began taking pictures again. With the increase in the amount of flying he was doing he discovered a love of clouds, of endless blue sky.
He relaxed back in his seat, closed his eyes & fell asleep.