Picture Perfect 95
Just then there was a knock at the door & Warszawa came into the cabin.
“Looks like someone with better than average hacking ability is trying to sabotage your show?” He said to Dan with a laugh.
“Or maybe someone who wants to get caught and doesn’t want to get caught. But why wait nearly 30 years?” Dan mused. “Unless the culprit is jailed for something else and picks up when they are released.”
“Have you done a criminal background search on the families you interviewed.” Warszawa suggested.
“Could we see who was convicted in the fall of 84?” Dan asked. “See what sentences they were given. Or are all those records stored and secured in some underground vault in Ottawa?”
“I’ll find out.” Warszawa said. “Thanks to the text that triggered the alert you’ll have our resources until it gets resolved.”
There was a knock at the door.
Evans opened it a crack.
“Sir, there’s a Mr. Baxter demanding to see whom ever is in charge.”
“Damn rights. I’m Canadian citizen and know my rights. First, we get told our cars no longer impounded, then we have to show credentials to get them when all our credentials are either in the fucking cars or in our off limit cabins. I tell you this is the limit.”
“I’ll deal with him.” Coster said. “It’ll be my pleasure in fact.”
“Inspector Warszawa tells me you’ve been consulted on the Travel case.” Phillips said.
“Travel Case?” Dan asked.
“That’s what we’re calling the file because you spotted those planted travel photographs.” Warszawa explained.
“Yes.” This is not what Dan was expecting. “Why? Is there’s a connection between that and what is happening here?”
“Peter Morrison has been on our radar for some time now. The connection is tenuous, perhaps coincidental. He was member of an America indigenous paramilitary group that blew up sections of pipeline.”
“Damn!” Dan snapped his fingers. “That photo in his house! It was one of the ones that were planted at the crime scenes.”
“In Morrison’s house?” Evans leaned closer.
“It’ll be in background the footage we shot of the interview.”
While he, Warszawa & Phillips looked through the footage of the Morrison interview the processing of the rooms the crew had occupied at the Amethyst Court was expedited so they could be checked out by 6 p.m.
Dan took a break & contacted the Depot, his sister and finally Peter to let them know he was alright & survived the explosion & that he would be returning two weeks earlier than expected. He resisted getting in touch with Jeremy Moxham lest Moxham insist on sending a private plane to Port Hawkesbury to get him.
Most of the crew headed back to Halifax as soon as they could. Dan longed to sleep in his own bed in Toronto but at the same time wanted a few days to himself. He hadn’t been by himself for months. He drove back to the Chambers Motel and booked himself into the room he’d had the night before.
The silence was complete. When was the last time he didn’t have to wonder when Baxter was going text him or some crew member would come knocking at his door?
In the morning he hesitated at the Causeway for a moment before taking the north turn that headed to Sydney. The sky was cloudless and the sun so warm he wished he’d had shorts. The warm breeze was fresh. Over lunch in Baddeck he made reservations at La Promenade on the boardwalk in Sydney.
He called Peter before he continued.
“Hi handsome.” He said.
“Hi yourself. What time will you be here. What flight are you one. Can I meet you at the airport, sir?”
“I’m not coming back as soon as that. I’m going on to Sydney then to New Waterford. I have to check out my old childhood stomping grounds while I have a chance.”
“As long as you’re not stomping old boyfriends.”
“I know your disappointed but I almost feel compelled to do this. I’ll make it up for you … say .. I’ll buy you a kilt.”
“A kilt! Really! I’ve always wanted a kilt.”
“You got it! I miss you.”
“Not a much as I miss you.”
The drive to Sydney was soothing & he arrived at La Promenade as the sun was setting. The manager checked him in with only one “Back to you, John.” As he unpacked Dan looked out over the harbour from his hotel room. There were some sail boats moving slowly with sea gulls swooping around their masts. Across the harbour he could make out Coxheath. On the boardwalk beneath his window he watched a pair of joggers dodging people, women pushing baby carriages, tourists taking selfies maneuvering to get the sail boats in the background.
Other than the signed and numbered prints of heather over his bed, the room was corporate hotel. They could have at least tied some Cape Breton tartan ribbon around the lamps. The coffee was passable but the packaged creamer was not. He dumped it down the bathtub drain.
The room service menu did offer cod cakes. Would they be like those fish fingers his mother used to fry up. He could taste the orange crust on them. Did they make those anymore. There had to be a Sobey’s to try.
After a quick shower he bundled his dirty clothes and took them with him down to the lobby. At the front desk he handed them over to be laundered, not dry cleaned. All of them smelled of smoke from the fire. Dry cleaning would not take that scent out.
As boy he hadn’t spent too much time in Sydney. Usually he accompanied his father to pick up photographic supplies. At the time he yearned for it as a big city though. He walked the Boardwalk to stretch his legs, stopped at fast-food kiosk for fish & chips & sent a cell pic of them to Peter with the message.
“The best fish & chips I’ve ever had.”
Peter replied a little later with pic of his cock. “Better than this?”
“That doesn’t need to be deep fried.” He replied.
He went back to the hotel, resisted his lap top. He put drops inot his eyes with a damp face cloth over them and feel asleep instantly.
In the morning he walked the downtown core. He saw that it more a big town than the big city from his childhood. The entire population of the Sydney could fit into the Eaton’s Centre at one time, with room to spare. There were probably more people living in Toronto’s St. Jamestown than lived on the whole of Cape Breton island.
Not as deliberately quaint as popular tourist spots like Baddeck, the city seemed caught between a decaying past and what? The new buildings he saw lacked anything beyond functionality.
The owner of the second hand book store suggested he check out the Whitney Pier Museum while he was in town. It was a short drive that passed through where the steel plant one was. He was shocked to see hardly a trace of the towering chimneys that would spew blast furnace dust over the city. That dust was the prime reason they didn’t live in Sydney.
The Museum was in a converted Synagogue. As he walked in a young woman greeted him.
“Whose yer father?” she asked.
“Richard James.” He answered laughing. “I’ve been on the east coast for over a month and that’s the first time anyone has asked me that.”
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