Picture Perfect 91

Picture Perfect 91

Dan locked his cabin door. He wasn’t sure who was driving Curtis’s rental when they left the Waterside. But they might have switched drivers at any point. Curtis was always happy to have someone else do the work. 

His cell was blinking. There was a series of text messages for him from and unknown caller. Why where they calling him & not the tips line? 

“I know where those missing children are.”

“You are looking in the wrong places.”

“You are talking to the wrong people.”

“I know what happened to them.”

“Meet me at the Chick Frick parking lot at 11.”

He made sure messages where saved so he could check the sources more throughly. No messages were untraceable.

It was twenty to eleven. Dan laughed out loud. G.P.S told him the Chick Frick was ten minutes away. It also said the diner had a five star rating. He pulled  his shoes on. Even if this was some wild goose chase Chick Frick sounded like a good idea after the day he’d had.

He attempted to text back but his text was returned as being undeliverable. Was that even possible? He forwarded the texts to Warszawa and to Brenda.

Brenda was at his car with Cameron when he got out to it.

“You expect an interview?” he said.

“It didn’t say come alone?” She shrugged.

“Chick Frick is cat nip to stoners.” Cameron guy said. “Uh … not that I’d really know.”

It was quarter after eleven when they got there. The clerk was putting up the closed sign. There were no cars in the parking lot. Dan got out followed by Cameron wielding his camera. 

“You’re going to scare them away.” Dan said.

Cameron did a slow pan of the empty lot.  

“I think we’ve been pranked.”

Dan went to the door and got the clerk’s attention by holding a couple of twenties to the glass. She let him into the store. He came out ten minutes later with a couple of containers.

“I caught her before these went into the trash.” He handed Brenda the containers.

One held several misshapen chicken pieces, the other had fries and some macaroni salads.

“She hasn’t had a customer since 10. There’s been no one hanging around the parking lot either. So as Cameron said it looks like we’ve been pranked.”

As they ate a van pulled into the lot, honked, the girl left the store and hopped into it.

“Who would have your number?” Brenda asked.

“Everyone we interviewed. I’ve been giving my card out. But I repeated the tips line for the radio interviews. It’s not listed on the website. So I must have been someone I gave it to.”

“What’s that noise?” Brenda said winding down the car window.

They could hear a fire engine sirens in the distance. Cameron got out his cellphone. “I’ve got a dispatch app here. Let’s see what it’ll tell me. Fire service called to an incident at … at the Amethyst Court.”

“Amethyst Court?” Dan said.

“That’s where we’re staying.”

“Oh! We’ve been in so many crummy motels I’;ve stop paying attention to their names.” Dan sped out of the Chick Frick parking lot.

The highway in front to the motel the motel was blocked by the fire truck that was halfway up the drive. One of the cabins was on fire. 

“Shit!” Dan said. “That’s my cabin!”

He pulled the car around the firetruck and parked on the lawn in front of the motel office. They ran over the the rest of the crew who were huddled around the back of the fire engine.

“My God. My God.” Stephanie rushed over to them. “Dan! Cameron! We thought you were trapped in there.”

“No. We were up the road at the …” A realization struck him. “Those messages where meant to get me out of here!”

“Messages?” Baxter said.

Dan showed him the texts.

“What the fuck!” Baxter read them twice. “What is going on?”

“I thought we were being pranked. There was no one there when got to Chick Frick.”

Two RCMP cars & an ambulance pulled up forcing them closer to the side of the engine. As the officers got out of their cars there was loud shattering of glass followed by an explosive fireball that soared high into the night sky. The ground underneath shook briefly. Other cabins were engulfed in flame. Car alarms went off. Stephanie began to sob. Dan held her. 

Cameron came over to them. “I got all that. I think. From when we left for the Frick. That explosion was right out of the movies. Wow. This must be what war is like.”

The RCMP questioned them. He surrender his phone so they could trace the messages. He let them know that Warszawa already had copies of them as well. If they could be traced Warszawa would see that happened.

<>

Chambers, nearby motel provided the crew emergency shelter. Dan slept fitfully in the cabin he was given. He felt uncertain without access to his laptop. His cell phone had been surrendered to the Force to check the texts he had received. Other than the motel phone he had no way to get in touch with anyone. He left the motel without putting anything in his shoulder bag other than what it usually held. His favourite Lifend camera and his travel mug.

Travel mug! right. He hoped the battery was charged enough for him to use it. All his cables were in his luggage. He unrolled the thin keyboard and turned it on. As he feared battery level was low. He hadn’t recharged it since the start of the shoot. The wireless Lifend looked for wifi signal to recharge. There was no signal to be found. He used the Lifend satellite signal, which drained the battery faster than it could recharge. 

It couldn’t connect with the ancient TV in his room without wifi so he was stuck with the small curved screen on the mug. He had several concerned emails all of the “why aren’t you answering your phone? are you okay” variety.

He sent short messages back explaining the situation, that he was well and that his phone was in the hands of the RCMP. There were two Skype calls as well but he didn’t want to drain the battery on those. He shut the mug down to recharge.

He didn’t feel so isolated but didn’t know how to do anything without a phone of some sort. He’d even left his person phone behind int he rush to follow up the lead. He didn’t even have a change of socks. He reached for his cell to check the time and realized once again that he didn’t have it. It was nearly 9 a.m. according to the clock radio.

He wet a face cloth in the tiny bathroom, laid on the bed with it over his throbbing eyes & drifted off to sleep.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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