Picture Perfect 102
The next day was a picture perfect day – overcast with a thick cloud cover over the harbour. Dan skipped breakfast to get down to the boardwalk. The pictures were spectacular though. Dark and forbidding. Ideal for a Storm Cloud calendar.
He went back to the hotel dining room for breakfast. The coffee was passable, the coffee cups were too small, the eggs were tasteless and the toast was equally as dull. As he ate he went over the events of the last couple of days. This get away to Sydney hadn’t turned out to be a stress reliever after all.
One thing he was reminded of was that casual sex was not for him as much as he fantasizes about it. He was incapable of the sort of encounters so frequently shown in gay porn. He needed something besides the rawness of opportunity. Even a body as perfect as Stan’s hadn’t been enough for him to let it happen.
He borrowed an umbrella from the front desk and walked up Charlotte St., the main street. All the shops that were still in business were opened but it was still and quiet. He checked his cell for the messages he’d been ignoring for the last couple of days.
The most recent two were from Brenda. As he checked another call came from her.
“Dan! Is that really you?” she said.
“It’s been so long we weren’t sure you were …”
“Okay! Okay! What’s so important. I’ll be in St. Peter’s in time for the big ceremony tomorrow.”
“Don’t bother. The Morrison clan has made that an exclusive event.”
“Don’t ask me how but only select invited press will be allowed.”
“Tell that to the drones.” He laughed.
“Very funny. So your travel plans have been …. updated. Instead of going there you’ll be flying back to Toronto tomorrow. We have to get some of the voice-overs finished for the episode one debut in two weeks.”
“Two weeks! Right.”
“Look we have enough footage to stretch out for six episodes. Baxter is getting more local colour to fill them in & bulk them up.”
“I get it.”
“Don’t sound so enthused. Along with your flight details I’m sending you the scripts for them. No need to to memorize them.”
“I know, I just have to say them like I’m interested or something like that. ‘A dark shadow cast itself over the sunny seaside Nova Scotia town of Digby when …’ Is it a town or a village?”
“Stop! Dan.” Brenda laughed. “It’ll be nothing like that but I’ll send that ‘dark shadow’ along to the writers.”
As he walked it started to rain lightly. He forwarded his flight information to Peter. He opened his umbrella and headed through a small park. His cell buzzed. It was Peter.
“Hi, handsome.” Dan said.
“Good morning, sir.” Peter replied. “You still coming home next week?”
“Nope. I just sent you the info. Things have changed. I hop a the plane in the morning.”
“Hold on. Just got it. Tomorrow! I saw the cloud photos you posted this morning. You must enjoying the sights there? They are amazing. You want me to pick you up at the airport? How did it feel going back into your old house?”
“One thing at a time. I can get myself home from the airport. The old homestead was weird. Turns out it’s still in the family. I figured my Dad had sold it when he sold the business years ago. I could almost smell my mother’s home burning.”
“She was fond of overcooking everything. So invariably something would be a little charred. Caramelized she said. She never did the knack of rice.”
“Have you considered what’ll happen with us when you get back? I don’t want to pressure you. I was just wondering, sir.”
“You wanting to move in full time?”
“I’m going to have to think about that. It’s not as if I’ve had time to think about much but Cold Canada the last few months. I’m still dealing with Sanjay as well. Can you stay put for a little while longer? It is rent free after all.”
“I’m still paying for my place.”
“I get the picture.”
It began to rain harder.
“It starting to rain here. I’ll have to call you later.”
A hand-drawn poster on a telephone pole announced a rummage sale a 100 yards away. Books. Memorabilia. Collectables. Live music. A fund raiser for the Island Historical Society. He followed the arrow and stepped into the hall as the rain became a full fledged storm.
“You can put your umbrella here, sir.” A teenage girl took his umbrella and gave him a ticket for it.
He filled in raffle tickets for handmade quilt. He bought tickets for draws that were to happen all-day on the half-hour. Prizes were dinners at local restaurants, massage sessions. Each draw would be from tickets sold in the last-half hour. Smart thinking to keep people buying for every draw. Grand prize was a spa retreat weekend for two outside of Baddeck. Transportation not included. He guessed they wanted tourists not to expect return airfare.
The hall itself was much larger than it appeared from the outside. The building was a former fire station, now community centre that adjoined a coffee shop. The wall diving them had been partially removed to make a large space.
It presented a fascinating repurposing as the fire station fixtures had been kept. One side had fire uniforms, hoses, even the fire pole & an old fire engine; while the other looked like a western saloon with the coffee bar at one end, wagon wheel chandeliers, marbled mirrors. Over the bar was a sign that said Gracie’s Kitchen. All that was missing were cigarette burned, beer stained tables. Perhaps they were being used to display the sale stuff.
More people were pushing in to escape the rain.
Tables were grouped in blocks of fours with space in the middle for sellers. Books had a section against one wall with shelves. Clothes had a wall with racks. Gracie’s Kitchen was selling baked goods, sandwiches, coffee, tea and local cider. There was to be an oatcake contest later in the afternoon.
“Cooking? Tasting? Or who can eat the most?” Dan asked the woman behind the counter dressed like a forties diner waitress. Her name tag said ‘Gracie.’
“Tasting.” She nodded. “Best gets the ribbon. These are by Dolly Dinty, last year’s winner. And the year before, too.”
He bought one & a cup of Gracie’s Blend Tea. Oatcakes had never been a big thing when he was growing there. Neither was the donair. Ditto for tea blends.
“No donair ribbon?” he joked.
“Nope. Not … Scottish enough. Too messy as well.”
“Ahh.” The tea was strong. The oatcake had an interesting taste.
“Dolly’s trying something new this year. Lemon zest.”
“How radical.” He laughed.
“Here.” she slid a card to him. “Judges will look at tasters reactions before coming to a decision.”
“Maybe I should try one of ..” he turned a glass jar of oatcakes around to read the label. “Clive Moffat’s.”
“You won’t be disappointed. Stick around & try them all. Money goes to a good cause.”