Picture Perfect 88
“Do you have any other photos for me?” Dan asked.
“There’s albums full of them. Most after the boys where born. Madeline wasn’t fond of pictures where as Rosemoon was.”
“Can you remember if there was there anything going on at that time. In the area I mean.” Dan asked as he looked over the family photos.
“Festivals.” Jennifer explained. “That sort of thing.”
“Happy Hippo?” Dan stopped at one of the photos. It showed Paula being helped into a ferris wheel seat. The helper was Winston Chamberlain.”
David took the album from him to check the photo. “That was in Sydney. Hippo never stopped at small places like this. They’d put up flyers as they drove through but never pitch a tent. This was the summer before anyway. I don’t even remember if they came through that summer.”
“If they had we would have skipped it anyway. We did go back to Sydney though but for a couple of funerals at Eskasoni.”
“The reservation outside of Sydney?” Dan asked.
“Yes. Some teens were found dead. Alcohol poisoning we were told. Come to think of it they had been reported missing too but were found in the woods a few weeks later. Rosemoon knew the family.”
“I sort of recall that incident myself.” Dan said. “We lived in New Waterford. My mom said ‘let that be lesson about drinking’.”
“Break time.” Brenda came into the house.
Dan glanced at his cell. He didn’t realize how much time had passed. He stood and stretched.
“They are right.” David said. “You forget about the cameras quickly.”
“If it’s a good interview you also forget about the passage of time. How do your sons feel about their past?”
“They were cool about it. Wolf started to write a book about Paula. The truth about the past made him too uncomfortable and so it turned into Gone Sister.”
“Yes I’ve read some of it. More about a sister who was never there than one who vanished.”
“Yeah. For me that was the one weakness about the book. You never knew anything about her. How she disappeared. Not even what happened after she disappeared. It felt incomplete. But critics loved it. The anti-mystery one of them called it. I found it anti-climactic and told him so.”
“I’ll have to read it for myself.” Dan said. “How much of break do we get?” He asked Brenda.
“Half-an-hour. We’re changing the set up for another location.”
“I’ll be outside if you need me.” Dan walked around the green-house domes. He contacted Warszawa.
“Robert can you find information about child deaths in eight-four? I don’t mean just suspicious ones but for any reason? …. It’s just a hunch but maybe missing children aren’t the only ones this killer came in contact with …. And could we find out about native children? Would they be included or are their records kept separate? … Yeah I know too many toes to tread on. I’ll be getting our researchers on it too.”
He went back to the porch. This time they were set up outside with a couple of the domes in the background.
“You going to tell people what these are?” Jennifer asked. “Otherwise they’ll think we’re on the set of some scifi movie.”
“All we need is an eye superimposed over the pyramid we’ll look like we’re on the American dollar.” Cameron said.
“True but the proportions are wrong.” David said. “The Eye of God on the dollar only takes up about tenth. My roof is exactly a third. It is the only part of the house that maintains the Egyptian ratio. The base isn’t pure. But the house does keep my razor blades sharp.”
Dan looked at Cameron then Jennifer for some sort of understanding of what David had just told them.
“What no one here up on their pyramid power?” David laughed. “Beside channelling energy to make plants grow, to keep me from growing older any faster than I am, true pyramids supposedly keep razor blades sharp.”
“How about your piano playing?” Jennifer asked.
“I don’t … oh I get it you’re pulling my leg.” David giggled. “Good one.”
After a fast dusting by make-up they were ready to continue.
“You were telling us about the days before Paula vanished?”
“Other than the tiff between Rosemoon and Paul it was fairly routine. Looking after twins was more of a challenge than we expected. Paula was too young to be of real help. The boys were squalling and sleepless. Paula had been much easier to bring up.
“It wasn’t any worse that their usual set to’s. I had become used to them by then and had learned not to come between them but to take the boys out of the house. Doors were slammed and Paula left the house. Her last words” … he faltered … “were ,’You never see me again.’ We never did.”
“Do you have any of her things? Clothes. Toys. Doc Martins?” Jennifer asked. “Dan can read photos, so can I to a certain extent. But it helps to be near things she actually handled.”
“Sure.” David got up. “I should have thought of that. The boys took over her room. Some of the furniture is still there. Bookshelves. Her desk. It took me a couple of years to dispose of her clothes. Even if she came back they wouldn’t fit her anymore.”
“That must have been difficult.” She followed him into the house.
Cameron hoisted his camera to follow them. Dan followed Cameron with Francie on camera behind him. On the wall by the stairs leading up to the second floor was a large framed photograph of a picnickers at a table by a lake over shadowed by a sheer mountain ledge. It was very familiar to him. None of the faces were distinct. The clothes set it in the later 40’s, as did the car parked on the grass.
“You coming up?” Cameron called down to him.
“You see something” Francie asked. She got a good shot of the photo.
“Not sure.” Dan shrugged.
“Paula’s old room is where my sons stay when they visit.” David opened the door.
Jennifer ran her hands along the bookshelf then sat at the desk. It looked out over the grounds.
“Much there?” David asked. “It’s been decades and lots of other butts and books have been in and out of this room.
“The desk used to be over there.” Jennifer said. “She liked it in that corner facing the door and the window. She needed to see who was coming into the room.”
“Right.” David said.
She pulled the desk away from the wall to look at the back of it. “This would have faced into the room.” She gently brushed that side of the desk. “Can I?” she sat and pulled out one of the drawers. It didn’t come out completely. She ran her hand on the underside.
“Paula liked to hide things, didn’t she. She needed her secrets.”
“Don’t we all.” David said. “She became more … introverted after her mother died. That’s one of the reason I remarried.”
“Find something?” Dan asked.
She pulled out an envelope. It was sealed.
“May I open it?” She asked David.
The two camera operators swooped down to her hands as she opened it.
‘Oh.” She frowned & shook the remains of a maple leaf into the palm of her hand.