Picture Perfect 92
Dan looked around the Chambers’ parking lot for a familiar car then remembered everything had been impounded by the RCMP. The Amethyst Court was now a crime scene. It was cool and he wished he’d had time to grab his jacket before they went to the Chick Frick.
There was coffee & granola breakfast bars at the motel’s check in office. Bad coffee, whitener and expired breakfast bars. None of the crew was to be seen as he sipped from the paper cup.
“Good morning, sir.” A short, overweight woman came into the office. She had a box of muffins from Tim Horton’s. She put them on the counter & ran her hands over her arms.
“Kathy Stevens.” She reached out to shake his hand. “Manger. I hope these will be sufficient. I was no way prepared for so many guests at any time. It is horrible, just horrible what happened to you people there at the Amethyst. Such a shame they had spend a fortune, a fortune, renovating it last winter. The place was a total dump, a dump I wouldn’t let a dog sleep it. No one could believe how good it looked. Really! I thought they’d spent too much. And look all that money down the drain, up in smoke. All that money. Where did they get it from? The money I mean. Now this. Let me tell you people aren’t going to forget this. No siree.” She stopped talking and looked inquisitively at him.
“Do you know which cabin Stephanie Carter is in?” he asked.
“Oh, no sir. People arrived and took what keys we gave them. Grabbed them. No one officially checked in expect for that black guy, Baxter. He signed for all the rooms. Not how we usually do things around here but the Corporal said it would be okay and besides under the circumstances it seemed the fastest way to do things.”
Things were so confused after the explosion Dan couldn’t place things in order. The RCMP had escorted them over to the Chambers Motel. He’d stayed on the fire truck while the arrangements were made. Brenda had brought him the key to his cabin and walked him to its door.
“Hows the coffee?” Kathy asked. “Not too weak? I maybe should have picked up some actual cream while I was out too.”
“It’ll do.” Dan said. “Is any sort of car rental place around here?”
“That’s right! You folks will be needing transportation. There’s the one in Port Hawkesbury.”
“How about a Bell store.” He’d replace his cell as fast as he could.
“Oh yes sir. There’s one in Hawkesbury too.”
Perhaps he could get someone from the detachment to drive him there. The Amethyst Court would be a fifteen minute walk. There was bound to be someone there to secure the scene who could help him out.
“Airport, too.” She added. “Not a big one like Hal-e-fax but them movies stars sometimes flies in on their own little planes. Charters sort of stuff. Showing off I thinks. Some of’em have never driven a car themselves in their lives. Always got someone else to do for them. Spoils their kids. One bunch that stayed here last summer. I can’t begin to tell you the mess they left behind. If you can have kids of your own why adopt so many more. And if you do, why don’t you get ones that speak English for Christ sakes.
“It’s not as if was m’fault we couldn’t keep up with the amount linen’s they needed. Fresh sheets every day for all of them. Plus,” her voice dropped to a whisper. “they didn’t even leave a tip. Lest ways your boss already gave us a handsome one when by rights he didn’t even have too. Payed for all them rooms too for three nights but’ll only need’em for two, he says. That’s a man who appreciates good service. Guess being black and all he’d be more sensitive to people like us who run around to someone else’s beck and call all day long. Should I make you some fresh coffee?”
“No, no, this is fine.” He put the cold, soggy cup on the table by the percolator. “I’m going to find the … boss … see what’s up.”
Looking out the window he’d seen some of the crew (find out how many would be on such a crew and what their jobs might be) exiting their rooms and heading for a laneway that divided the motel’s strip in half.
“You know which room the boss took?” he asked.
“Oh yeah, that I do know. He took Cupid Cottage one of the honeymoon suites out back of the motel. There’s three of ‘em. Fully detached you know so as to guarantee privacy.”
Dan started laugh as he looked around ate the motel. Each of the cabins had cute name plaques over the doors: ‘Jack & Jill’ ‘Adam & Eve’. The first of the detached cottages, Venus Vale, was directly at the end of the laneway so it was framed by the curved arches on either side. The arches almost formed a heart. Cupid Cottage was well to the left of it. ‘ Behind the cottages was a swimming pool and some children’s swings and slides.
He turned around directly in front of Venus. The view through the arch was a perfect one of the mountains. Someone had done careful planning when they built this motel. Too bad they didn’t think of wifi.
“What the hell is keeping you?” Curtis shouted from the doorway of his cottage. “I’ve sent you a dozen texts. Stephanie has called you at least two times.”
Dan gestured with palms up. “No phone. No answer.”
“No phone!” Curtis said as Dan came into the cottage.
“Evidence.” Dan said.
“No phone!” Brenda said slightly shocked.
“No wifi here either.” Dan cocked his head at Curtis.
“Pardon me.” Curtis said. “We didn’t have time to find a five star hotel for you.”
“Even Amethyst Court had wifi.” Cameron said.
“Listen up.” Curtis raised his voice. “We have more pressing issues than wifi. The first of which is ..”
“Some decent coffee?” one of the crew called out.
“Honey there ain’t no Starbucks in this unwashed neck of the woods.” Curtis replied. “once the cars get here we can sort out coffee. They’ll be here by eleven.”
“One of them will stop at that Tim’s.” Brenda said. “I just texted them.”
“I said decent coffee.” Cameron said.
Curtis quieted the laughter. “It might even be hot when it arrives. But I have some bad news QTel has decided to shut down the shoot.”
“What the fuck!” someone called out.
“Temporarily. A pause to consider what direction to take things. The insurers are nervous as well. Too many ‘accidents.’ Have any one you worked on a show that had so much bad luck?”
“As soon as the RCMP says we can leave we’ll get you all back to Halifax. Flights home will be booked then.” Stephanie said.
“Fine but what will we do for clothes!”
“All our stuff is back at the Amethyst Court. When can we get back there. I need my meds.”
“I’ll go over to the Amethyst Court.” Dan said. “I know something about crime-scene protocols. If any of you need medication I’ll see what I can do. There’s bound to be a Shoppers near enough.”
“Use my Optimum card I want the rewards points.” One of the crew said to a round of relieved laughter.
“I’ll need someone with a working cellphone to come with me.”
“I’ll tag along.” Cameron guy said. “I still have my mobile pack with me. All charged up. As long I keep it running I’ll get paid.” More laughter.
“As long as you’re on camera you’ll get paid too.” Curtis. “Hiatus doesn’t start until we’re back in Toronto. If QTel doesn’t like that they can … they can blow me.”
“Maybe it was them who tired to blow you …. up.”
“Right.” Curtis sagged. “All those files, our equipment. Fuck I hope we don’t have to start from scratch.”
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