Picture Perfect 114
Dan woke Saturday morning to loud knocking on his cabin door.
“One second.” he said as he shook himself awake. “Who is it?”
“Stephanie Carter.” was the reply. “I wouldn’t bother you but this is urgent.”
He pulled his pants on & opened the door.
“What’s so urgent?” he asked.
“I don’t know.” She was almost in tears. “But Harold Carmichael from QTel has flown in to talk to us.”
“The Cold East crew. He says we’ll be lucky to ever work again after what you did?”
“Did? What did I do?”
“Fuck! I have no fucking idea what this is all about. But he’s seen some video footage & well that’s all he’d say except he’d see us asap at the Regent.”
“Let me … get dressed anyway.”
“He also though you were at the Regent.”
A car honked.
“That’s Cameron with the rental. Come on.”
“Okay! Okay! Let me take a piss & get my shoes on at least.”
At the Regent Baxter met them in the lobby & took them one of the conference rooms. Jeremy Maxim & Harold Carmichael were already there with John Kilpatrick.
“We’re all here.” Baxter said. “Now what is this all about.”
“Show them.” Kilpatrick said with a sneering grin as he nodded to a tech guy who turned on a laptop that had a TV monitor hooked into it.
I was the tail end of the press conference from the day before. It was Dan inviting John stage to talk about Carnival Canada. The camera followed them leave & one of them shouting “Back to you, John.”
“That was me!” Baxter explained. “Not Dan.”
“For once it isn’t about you Baxter.” Harold said. “But about Mr. James. Carnival Canada was strictly top secret. No one was to know about it until QTel made the announcement. No one. Yet here we have Mr James ….”
“Trying to make a fool of me once again. You trumped up nobody. First you steal my show idea, then make a fool of me on national tv & now this. After covering the civil war in Gualanda & getting, in case you don’t know, medal for heroism, I’m not going to step back from a fight with you.”
“I … I didn’t know that it was a top secret show. I’m didn’t even know Cold East episodes were being expanded to two hours each.”
“What!” Cameron said. “Since when!”
“How did you hear about Carnival Canada?” John demanded.
“I told him.” Jeremy said. “What were you doing at the Cold East press conference John?”
“He was there to make sure he got compensation for the idea.” Baxter said. “The idea for the series didn’t occur to me, & I repeat ‘me’ until after I had met with Dan for the first time. I checked his credentials & it was clear me he would be perfect to investigate these cases, for us.”
“But …” John began.
“I don’t recall consulting you about it.” Baxter continued. “What I do remember though is you telling me you were looking forward to a break at the wrap of season party.”
“That has nothing to do with this … breach of confidentiality.” John said. “Wasn’t there some sort of nondisclosure clause in the contact?”
“Only for people directly associated with the series.” Harold said. “Dan isn’t associated.”
“It is definitely my fault.” Jeremy said. “I mentioned in passing to Dan when we flew in the other day.”
“What happened after we left?” Jennifer asked.
“Nothing.” The tech guy said. “I was part of that crew. Mr. Kilpatrick told what media remained that Mr. James was joking.”
“Has there been anything in the press? On line?”Jennifer asked.
“I’ll find out.” Stephanie spoke to someone on her cell phone. “I’ll know in a minute.”
“Don’t bother!” Kilpatrick pushed the door to the conference room open. “Fucking the executive producer has privileges.” He glared at Dan as he left. “You’ll regret this you asshole.”
They stood in silence as the door shut.
“Breakfast anyone?” Harold said. “That seems to be settled.”
In the dining-room Jeremy steered Dan to a separate table.
“You haven’t returned my messages.” He said once they had ordered.
“In case you’ve forgotten this is weekend is a work assignment.” Dan took his pad out of his shoulder bag. “I have to check what’s scheduled for me today.”
“That’s avoidance. Is my interest in you that … unwelcome?”
“No but there’s so much going on with there show, with my business. Its like a merry-go-round it only stops long enough for me feel dizzy. I don’t need anything more on it with me.”
The waitress brought their breakfasts.
“I could … oh shit …” Jeremy stared over Dan’s head.
Dan turned around. Della Kincade entered the dining-room & was walking direct to their table.
“Jeremy. The perfect breakfast companion.”
“Sorry Della but this is a business breakfast.” He held up Dan’s pad. “Before you go let me introduce you to Daniel James. Host of QTel’s Cold East.”
Dan stood to shake her hand.
“Oh yes,” she said. “I have heard of you.” She glance around the room. “Oh there’s David, the PM’s right-hand-man.” She waved & started in the direction. “Nice to meet you. I guess it’s ‘back to Jeremy’ for you.”
“Sorry about that,” Jeremy said.
A teenage boy stopped at their table.
“I is him! I told you it was.”
“More of your fans.” Dan said.
“Can I get a picture with you.” The boy asked.
“I ….” Jeremy started to get up.
“No not you. Him. Back to you Dan we call you.” The boy was beaming at Dan. “My name is, you won’t believe this, but it really is John.” He shook Dan’s hand.
Another teenage boy came over the table. “Here take this Sam.” He handed Sam his cellphone.
“Okay.” Dan stood.
“Here’s the thing,” John said. “I just want you to say it.”
“Say it?” Dan asked.”Smile?”
“No. Back to you John. We’ll post it on my web page. Maybe it’ll go viral, you know.”
Sam held the cell up. “Okay.” he said. “Uh … action.”
Dan waited a moment then said his line.
“Wow.” John exclaimed. “That was amazing. You sound just the first time we heard it.”
“Yeah.” Dan said. “Life is sometimes amazing like that.”
“Thanks again.” The boys ran out of the dining-room.
Jeremy walked Dan out to the parking garage.
“You have any plans for after this?” Jeremy asked.
“I have a real job.” Dan said. “I honesty can’t wait to get back to my routine life. Things like this are fun, I guess, but I don’t feel showbiz is for me.”
“I don’t know about that I’ve seen roughs of the first couple of episodes & you are a natural.”
“No thanks. Once I’ve finished with Cold East that’s it for me & TV. I don’t think I want to be one of those talking heads either. You know those ones that show up in nearly any show being asked what they think about aliens building the pyramids.” Dan stopped to look the rental. “Fuck!”
“Cameron drove us in for the meetings. We didn’t park in here.”
“Don’t worry I’ll that you get back.”
“Thanks.” Dan turned back to the stairs when Jeremy pulled him close & kissed him.