Picture Perfect 86
Dan clicked on his other caller. Sanjay came up on the screen.
“Back to you, John.” Sanjay laughed. “But seriously are you okay?”
“We heard about the accident. I was worried about you.”
“No need to worry. I wasn’t in that car.”
Most likely they made sure it got some press to create buzz for the show.
“I know. The first reports mentioned unnamed fatality. Unnamed until family was contacted.”
“The was awhile ago now. Quintex is using it to create buzz for the show.”
“Whatever. Dan it made me pause. I don’t want to lose you. I’ll drop all legal proceedings if you …”
“Sanjay speak to my lawyer.” Dan resisted the temptation to say yes. He could feel Sanjay’s hairy belly against his, as they pushed each other up against a kitchen counter. He could taste Sanjay’s tongue in his mouth. He was aroused.
“Every day I regret what I did. Hitting you was unspeakable. But I’m not the one who …”
“You hit me before Peter happened. You hit me because of the money not because of love.”
“No! It was because you didn’t believe in me, in my dreams, my possibilities.”
“Right. I said speak to my lawyer. Don’t force me to get a restraining order.”
“You can’t restrain this any more than I can.” Sanjay moved back so his cock and balls filled the screen. Dan ended the connection and hit the block caller button. He checked his cloud saved to make sure Sanjay’s call had been recorded and stored there. He considered contacting his lawyer. Did he want to escalate the friction between him and Sanjay. It wasn’t going to disappear but making it worse wouldn’t help things either. If he heard from Sanjay again he’d have to take some action.
His cell beeped with a text alert.
The text said: “Where are you? We’re waiting in cabin one for you.”
“On my way.” He replied as he left his cabin.
The production crew were using cabin one as their temporary conference room. It was the largest of the rooms with its own tiny kitchen. One of the king size beds was set up as a low conference table. It was already littered with pizza boxes.
“Hope I didn’t wake you from your beauty sleep.” Baxter said.
“You didn’t.” Dan sat on the edge of the second bed facing the improvised table. There wasn’t enough room between the beds for chairs.
“Stephanie has your interview set for tomorrow.”
“Ten a.m. sharp. I know. I’m expecting Morrison to be different from the others.” Dan put a copy of Trail Mix Trivia on the table. “The man may have background information about the context of the case.”
“Interesting.” Jennifer flipped through the book.
“Wolf and Seal Morrison are his sons.” Stephanie said. “I’ve done more checking on them. Wolf has also written a book. One you may have heard of – Sister Gone.”
“He wrote that!” Baxter said. “The movie option went for millions.”
“Right. And you know who is slated to direct.”
“His brother Seal. After his second Oscar nom last year he can afford to do what he wants.”
“Sister Gone?” Cameron asked.
“Yes.” Jennifer said. “It’s about a sister that vanishes one day.”
“But the boys were only about two years old when that happened.” Dan said.
“He didn’t write it then.” Stephanie said.
“Is it about this abduction?” Baxter asked.
“Not according to what I’ve read on line. Clearly it’s based on this even if it isn’t a case history. I’m sure he did his research.”
“Will Morrison know?” Dan asked.
“Now there’s something to ask him.” Baxter said. “It could the perfect way to start a buzz for the movie version. Does Quintex p.r. know about this connection?”
“I don’t know.” Stephanie said. “What if they don’t want a buzz. Do you think they might try to shut us down to protect their creative rights.”
“Maybe they have already.” One of the crew said pretending to steer a car.
“Please!” Dan said. “That’s not funny.”
“Exactly.” Brenda said. “Legal checked into this at the very start. Sister Gone is a work of fiction, we are investigating a work of fact, as it were. Besides if they were at all bothered we would have heard something by now.”
Back in his room Dan downloaded a sample chapter of Sister Gone. It was not a true crime novel but one about a family’s sense of loss, not about the search for the sister. Poetic not hard edge or, at least in what he read, graphic. On-line reviews were about the emotional content, no mentions of violence, or of other missing children. The point of view was of the mother Moon Star, a full-blood Mi’kmaq. Was their actual mother Native? That would explain their names.
Brenda woke him in the morning with his freshly dry cleaned interview look. Colours that looked good but not commanding on camera. Jennifer was with her.
“Two more interviews to go.” Jen said.
“Maybe.” Brenda said. “We’ve been getting more and more contacts who think they have useful information. Stephanie and I have been pre-screening them for possible interviews too.”
“Seems we’re getting more than enough from the families as it is.” Dan said as he put on his shoes.
“You know Baxter. There is no such thing as enough. He’s hoping to expand the show to 90 minute episodes if he can get some sensational stuff.”
“You mean if we can find more of what the RCMP missed.”
“We’ve already done that haven’t we.” Jen said.
“Exactly! That’s why Quintex is taking him seriously about expanded episodes. They’ve already okay a starter at 90 and a finale at 90 as well.”
“Hmmm.” Dan said. “I’ll have to check my contract. I’m pretty sure it’s for 60 minute episodes.”
“Oops.” Brenda covered her mouth. “I wasn’t supposed to let the cat out of the bag so soon. But now that it’s out, QTel has been really really pleased with how things are going. “Back to you, John.” was a bonus. The deaths of Vidro and Hajla, didn’t hurt either.”
“I don’t think they enjoyed it.” Jen said.
“Sorry I didn’t mean to sound so ….”
“Cynical.” Jen said.
“Calculating.” Dan said at nearly the same time.
“Only repeating what I’ve heard.”
“Anything else you aren’t supposed to tell us?” Dan asked as they got in the car.
“No.” Brenda said as they pulled out of the parking lot.
It was an overcast morning. Fog clung to the motel sign and the telephone poles along the highway. The hills on either side were barely visible.
“I hope you had the brakes checked.” Dan laughed.
“You think?” Cameron paled as he tested them. “No, they’re fine. Lights are working fine, too.”
“We’ll be fine.” Jen said. “This’ll be more productive than your visit to Nova Pentecostal.”
“You know about that?” Dan said. “I haven’t talk to anyone other than Warszawa about it.”
“Baxter knows everything that goes on.” Cameron said. “He follows us with drones.”
“Or plants them on us.”
“What took you to the Nova Pentecostal?” Jen asked.
“You can’t tell me?” Dan challenged her.
“I knew you were going to say that.” Jen laughed. “I’m not a mind reader. I figured you knew the difference by now. If I were to guess it was following something to do with the Hippo.”
“Right. The Reverend Hadley worked for Hippo the summer of ’84. She was one of the crystal ball readers, amongst other things.”
“Other things?” Brenda asked.”
“Yes. According to Jane Poitier at the Wickham.” Jen said. “The carnival men got to drink, carouse, set up rides while the women got to cook, clean and fend the men off. She hated that the seers sex-appeal was bait. The money was good but some only lasted a summer with them.”
“They had to shimmy off stage?” Cameron asked.
“Yes and the fact that when they shimmy on stage they had to have enough to shake. Even if you were the best seer they had.”
“Sounds like one of those forties carnival movies where the real seer pretends to be a fake seer.” Dan said.
“And the barker who pretends to love her ends up falling in love with her.” Brenda said.
“But it’s too late because she’s in love the with high wire hunk.” Jen said.
“Mmm … with those tight spangly tights.” Dan said. “Or is it his trapeze bar that she really want to swing on?”
“Dan!” Jen swatted at him. “That’s hilarious. Hippo never went in for the high wire.”
“No wonder the women didn’t stick around.” Cameron said.
“I’m sure the randy clowns were enough for her anyway.” Jen said. “Jane told me about a balloon animal specialist whose creations looked like harmless elephants or dogs or whatever from one angle but like … aroused beasts from another. She dusted his balloons with alum and man did he pucker up.”
“So he couldn’t get his pecker up.” Brenda said.
They had to stop the car until their laugher subsided.