Picture Perfect 115
Where is my memory? I’m not that old or am I? No matter how many times I look at those children’s faces I can’t remember them all. The ones I know, it could have been a week since I saw them last. How eager there were to follow me. I knew by their eagerness they had something to escape. I was the one who could lead them back to safety. Back to purity.
Now these men. Men, it’s always the men, who want to find these children. Men who I saved them from. Men who think they are smart enough to follow tracks, to follow traces that don’t exist. Looking for clues in photographs. Ha.
I had to laugh when I saw him looking at those pictures that showed him nothing. He didn’t know I was watching. They probably thought I was dead too, that I was too old to have read the newspapers, to see them on television. To see them walking down the street.
I wanted to stop them that day. Tell them they were wrong, but let them be wrong. My memory isn’t that bad. I saw children’s faces that I didn’t recall. I looked. I stopped the flow of pictures with the pause button but the image was blurred. Maybe that was why I couldn’t remember. If I pause my memory those faces blur.
What good would it do to tell them they are wrong. I don’t want to distract them from the wrong or they might get it right. No, they will never find me. They don’t know where to look because there is no where to look. Even when they were looking right it all those years ago no one saw what was there. Stupid men who only saw what they wanted to not what I had hidden.
All this fuss about the damn carnival has pushed that past out of sight for now. Happy Hippo! What a cesspool of abuse it was but now it’s some sort of temple for happy childhood memories. Children lured in to take their money, to strip them of their purity. No one will dare reveal it was mire of depravity that preyed on the innocence of children. That’s not entertainment.
As Dan found a spot to stand with his sign that said “Limo for Mr. Peter Eastgate” he thought it would a fun way to welcome Peter & perhaps get his picture taken by the press in the airport lobby taking shots of the famous arrivals. There was a mini-red carpet set up with a special backdrop for celebrities still arriving for the event.
From out of the crowd Robert Warszawa came over to him.
“Robert, what are you doing here?”
“Extra security. You know the Prime Minster is arriving this morning. He worked at the Hippo one summer.”
“Oh! That never came up in our research.”
“So you’re covering the pre-circus circus.” Robert asked.
“I’m meeting Peter.” Dan said. “I happy just to observe.”
“Security’ll cost the tax-payers more than they will raise with their gala.”
“Mr. Eastgate! Over here Mr. Eastgate.” Dan shouted when he saw Peter come through the arrivals gate.
Peter’s puzzled face lit up when he saw that it was Dan calling to him.
Peter was made to stop for pictures that were taken before anyone asked who he was.
“Wow!” Peter came over to them. “That was something.”
“Peter, you’ve met Robert Warszawa. My Forces boss.”
Robert reached out & shook Peter’s hand. “I don’t think we’ve properly introduced. You were able to get out of the Carafe?”
“Uh, yes?” Peter said looking to Dan.
“We’ve been keeping an eye on Mr. Daniels since the bomb attack.”
“You mean I’ve been under surveillance?”
“Think of it as protection. Speaking of which the Prime Minster is debarking.”
Robert stepped away and blended back into the crowd.
“Surveillance?” Peter asked. “You don’t tell me you were also a secret agent man.”
“Let’s just say parts of my work life are classified confidential. You car is this way.”
The lot at the Waterside already full. Dan drove around twice looking for a spot.
“Porsche. Porsche. Lexus. Lexus LX.” Peter practically shouted that last one. “My fuck! You sure you’re allowed to even be here? Is that a Silver Cloud? Am I going to need a tux for this event? All I brought was a change of clothes and that black harness you like.” He pulled up his tee shirt to show Dan that he was wearing it. “Set off the alarm at Pearson. Told them I was performing at the gala. The black jeans?”
A flower delivery van pulled out and Dan took the spot.
“We will be skipping the formal dinner.” Dan quickly told Peter about the most recent run in with John Kilpatrick. “I decided it would best if I wasn’t there. If he spilled a glass of water he would probably accused me of somehow doing.”
“Then jeans will be formal enough.”
“I have check for messages.” He handed Peter the card for the cabin. “I’ll be right back.”
George was dealing with an irate, well-dressed man, in his mid-50’s. Thanks to Jeremy, Dan knew the difference between off the rack; between custom made in New York, Paris, Hong Kong or Milan. This man was wearing condo’s worth of clothing. Maybe more when he caught a glimpse of the man’s watch and cufflinks as he slammed his open palm on the front desk.
“We’ve been to every hotel, piss-stained motel and flea-bag b’n’b within a hundred mile radius. You must have something. You fucking jack-off’s hiking prices on top of everything else.”
“Ah, Mr. James.” Clerk said over the man’s shoulder. “There are two messages for you. Plus these flowers, that just arrived.” He put a large floral display in a heavy crystal vase on the counter. “I didn’t have time to get it inot your cabin.”
The man turned and gave Dan a once-over and was clearly about to dismiss him when his eyes stopped at the Lifend camera. He looked at Dan face.
“Can I help you?” Dan asked the man as he read the card. They were from Jeremy.
“Not much anyone can do Mr. James.” George said. “Everything has been booked solid weeks. Good thing QTel had that reservation for the four cabins. I could have let them twice for twice as much, too.”
“What’s taking you so long, sir.” Peter came into the lobby with his tee-shirt off. He sat in one of the lobby arm chairs.
“Here, Peter.” He nodded to the flowers. “Compliments of the Jeremy Moxham.”
Peter picked the vase up carefully. “He must have had this Baccarat flown in for you. I can’t see any local florist carrying them.”
Dan couldn’t stop laughing.
The rich man was confused for a moment. He sat in the other lobby chair and began to text.
“George how many of the cabins is QTel using this weekend.” Dan asked quietly.
George checked. He leaned forward. “Only three. You have one, Baxter has one, Cameron and Stephanie are in the other.”
“Then let the gentleman have that one. It is the one with the crappy a/c,shitty TV reception.”
“If you mean 11b then you’re right.”
“Also the one closest to the highway.” Dan said. He turned to rich guy. “Mr. ?”
“Clarkson.” The man said.
“As it turns out I won’t be using all the cabins I’ve booked. I’ve cancelled my reservation for one of them for the next three nights.”
“That’s most … How can I thank you?”
“Don’t throw the TV in the pool for one thing. Tip clerk well too.”
“Peter.” Dan commanded.
“Yes, sir.” Peter stood at attention.
“Flowers to the cabin.”
“Thank you, sir.” Peter picked dup the vase and followed Dan out.
As he left Dan heard Clarkson ask. “Who was that?”