Picture Perfect 132
Dan exited Dr. Grey’s office pleased with results of the examination. The past two weeks of nightly self-treatment had paid off. The damage was repairing itself & this eyes were no worse from John Kilpatrick’s assault two months ago.
After his vacation he was eager to get back to work. It felt good to be planning a ‘Boss’s Back Sale’ at the Depot instead of worrying about his lines for yet another Cold East promo. He wanted the show to be history but with each new market there were new calls for interviews. The drama of events subsequent to the end of the show kept him in the public eye in ways he didn’t enjoy.
As he rode his bike into the lane between the Depot & the building block next to it he saw that while he was out it had been fenced off with chainlink hoarding. There was a sign inviting people to a community meeting to discuss proposed redevelopment of the lot. It would be a multi-storied apartment with retail in the bottom floor. He hoped the residents would enjoy the view of the apartment block across the street as well as the roof of the Depot.
Inside he helped Ushio & Len unpack boxes of various camera equipment they had ordered just for the sale. Len had been hired some months ago to take up the slack with Dan away on Cold East.
“What are these?” Dan pulled out a shoulder bag made of clear, heavy plastic.
“Camera bags?” Ushio glanced at the bag.
“Or portable aquariums.” Len suggested.
“Right.” Dan gave a short laugh. “Who ordered this? I certainly didn’t.”
“I did, boss.” Ushio said. “You told me to find things we could sell fast & cheap. They were in the Shutter Storehouse catalogue.”
“No serious photograph would use these.” Sandy said. “They keep their ten thousand dollar lenses hidden.”
“It’ll be a fun give away.” Dan said. “Free with every purchase. That way there we should be rid go them quickly.”
They worked in relative silence for the next couple of hours. The only interruptions were customers that Len attended to.
“Two p.m. Coffee break.” Sandy announced as a chubby, dark-skinned man came into the store with their standing afternoon order from the Carafe.
“Hola,” the man said. “I am Camilo Villas. Jill says you are her best customers.” He smiled broadly. “Now your Columbian will be brought to you by a real Columbian.”
“Thank You. I’m Ushio Tanaka.”
“Jajaja. Don’t tell me, you are the maestro?” Camilo turned to Dan. “I am to make sure you get this one.” He gave Dan his coffee first. “Whole milk and a shake of vanilla. Right?”
“Right on both counts, Camilo.” Dan took his coffee and scone.
“Everything is okay?” Camilo said. “I am just learning how to do so many things.”
“You haven’t been in Canada long?” Ushio asked.
“Yes. Four years now. I was in Vancouver, then Calgary. But there weren’t places for me. I am certified registered nurse but do not have degree in your country so cannot practice. Soon I will write tests to practice here. I must get back to Carafe.”
“Thanks Camilo. You can tell Jill I’ll be by before she closes.”
“Yes, maestro.” Camilo made a half bow & left.
As Dan was finishing his coffee Cliff Silver came into the shop.
“I was hoping you’d be here.” Cliff said. “Things always run better when when the Maestro is here.”
“So you’ve met Camilo.” Sandy said. “His accent thick enough for you?”
“Sandy, please, I am a Christian woman.” Cliff adopted a South accent, then dropped back to his normal voice. “Besides he’s too short for me. Married with children, as well. Married I don’t mind. Children, count me out. I dropped in with the picture you had me frame & to give you these.”
He took two calendars out of his portfolio case. “I just got these proofs from the printers. Let me know what you think, Dan.”
The first set was a year of his Cape Breton cloudy day pictures taken at various spots around the island. The second was of his Dad’s Scenic Cape Breton.
“These were a James tradition since my dad started his business. When he died we didn’t keep it up.”
So many people had mentioned the James calendars when Dan was on the east coast he decided to revive them. He was hesitant about using his own pictures though as he never considered himself as good a camera man as his Dad. Cliff had convinced him otherwise after Dan showed him the photographs he had taken.
“Have you seen the zoning notice?” Cliff asked.
“Yeah. Going be a lot of noise when they start that tear down.” Dan shook his head.
“The developers visited me this morning making inquiries about who owns the property.”
“Figures.” Dan said.
“They … uh … made me an offer.”
“What to but this building?”
“No. To be one of the first to lease space in the new building.”
“Ha! They haven’t even gotten zone permission.”
“Their agent told me that unless there was real objections they would start work by the firs too the month. They’ve also approached Jill at the Carafe.”
“Hey, Boss,” Ushio got his attention. “There’s Jeremy Moxham on the news.”
Dan turned up the volume. The footage was of Jeremy scoring the decisive goal in the Olympics several years ago. Other footage was of him on red carpets, shaking hands with heads of state.
“Legendary Canadian sport figure Jeremy Moxham shocked his fans today by coming out as a gay man.”
“At least he didn’t come out as a lesbian woman.” Sandy laughed. “Now that would have been shocking.”
“Shush.” Dan said. “What may be old news to us is fresh for most of the world.”
“In a press release Jeremy Moxham says – ‘In order to move on in my life I feel it is time for me to be honest with myself and my public that I am gay. I have known this about myself for several years but have refrained from sharing it publicly or even privately for fear of alienating my fellow athletes and my many loyal fans.”
“I guess he has enough money in the bank it’s safe for him to come out.” Sandy said. “He’s got nothing to lose now.”
“Full contents of the press release can be found on our web site. His ex-wife Elizabeth was unavailable to comment.” Under this there was shot of Elizabeth and Jeremy frolicking in the surf from a Sports Illustrated swim suit issue.
“In other sports news …”
Dan turned the volume down.
“I suppose than comes as no surprise to you.” Sandy said.
“That he was gay?” Dan said. “Or that he was going to come out.”
“I always felt he was bi.” Ushio said. “I think all those guys are anyway. David Beckham. Sidney Crosby. Any man who dates a top model does it to prove he is heterosexual.”
“Interesting theory.” Cliff said. “I’d better get back to the gallery. My back in ‘ten minutes’ is up.
“You can lock up here Sandy.”
“Ok boss. See in the morning. We do have a big sale on.”
Dan up to his office. He took the ring out of the safe, shook it out of the pouch into the palm of his hand. “You are making it hard to say no Jeremy Moxham.” He put it on his finger. He had worn it for about an hour after after that supper with Jeremy. Other than a camera around his neck he didn’t wear jewelry. Chains and bracelets annoyed him. He could’t even tolerate wearing watch. The ring fit perfectly. It looked at home on his finger, on his hand but after five minutes of working on his desk top it was distracting. He checked the time & went down to the Carafe before it closed.
“Cliff dropped this off today. It’s that picture of Peter him you wanted. Cliff had it framed for me.”
It was a shot of Peter serving coffee and muffin.
“Thanks.” Jill said with a catch in her throat.
“Yes.” He found himself turning the ring around and around on his finger. “You heard about Jeremy?”
“You know we don’t abide current affairs in here. No TV, remember. Rats want caffeine to get back into the race they are escaping from.”
“He came out, officially.”
“It’s about time. Does it bother you.”
“I’m not bothered. He …” Dan held up his hand for her to get a good look at the ring. “Popped the question moths ago. I told him I couldn’t deal with hiding this from his adoring public. I’ve been out so long in a city were nearly everyone I know is out.”
“So you think he did it for you?” Jill laughed. “I didn’t think you had that much power over men.”
“It seems I do. Look at my history. Sanjay. Peter. Jeremy. Stan. To name a few. They’ve all …”
“Stan? Who is this Stan?”
“Just some guy on the east coast who practically raped me.”
“So you’ve accepted or you wouldn’t be wearing his ring.” Jill laughed again. “It’s my party and Judy came in wearing his ring.” she sang.
“I’m trying it on. Rings turn to chains. I told him after dealing my non-marriage to Sanjay I wasn’t ready for the real thing.”
“I hear you there.” She said. “I don’t think you feel as strongly for either of them as you did for Peter either.”
“Peter was still young enough not to let expectations get in the way of his emotions.” Jill said. “He wasn’t a jaded.”
“A little silver bird told me the developers have been to see you?”
“Oh them.” She laughed. “You think any brand spanking new condo complex would have the ambiance this creaking old dump has you’re crazy. You’re not thinking of selling out them, are you?”
“They haven’t approached me yet.” His cell rang. “Opps spoke too soon. Hi Sandy … I’ll be right there.”
“They’re waiting for you?”
“Nope, it’s my sister with her lawyer.”