Picture Perfect 14

He noticed a heavy-set woman peering into the Lyphend display. She tried to slide the door open and was clearly dismayed that it was locked.

He went over with the key.

“Is there a camera you’d like to look at.” He asked her.

“Not particularly. But I didn’t think in this location you’d need to worry about security.’

“With security there is no ned to worry, regardless of the location.” Dan slid the cabinet open.

“Who would pay such prices for a … a camera.”

“People who respect craftsmanship. There is a difference between the quality of picture you get with one of these and one of those no name digitals you can buy at any drug store but only camera fanatics could tell that difference.”

“So these are more for status than anything else. More waste productivity. The cost of that camera in the window could feed a lot of children.”

“I’m sure it could.” Just what he needed some rich snowflake who had taken one too many sociology classes and was now here at the most expensive mall in Canada on a mission to shame people. “But so could the money poured into those TV commercials begging for us to save them.”

“Awareness is key.” she went on.

“Who pays the camera people, the lighting guys, to shoot those ads. They don’t use cellphone cameras. Do the administrators of the funds have nice pension packages?”

“I don’t really know.”

“So actually feeding those children is an after thought, isn’t it.”

“Good God! Mr. James you are a bigger cynic than I am.” She shook his hand. “Stephanie Carter. I’m head researcher from Canada Cold. I think Baxter told you I’d be in touch.”

“He said you’d be calling to set things up, not ambushing me on the job.”

“That’s how Quintex works. Catch’em unawares. But seriously what’s up with that outrageous price tag?”

“The top of the line are made to order. Each one of a kind. Handcrafted.”

“You mean like my handcrafted espresso drink from Starbucks?”

“Everything is done from scratch, even the camera body. The costs go up with the materials, the casing, the lenses can easily double the cost of any camera. Lyphend’s are hand-ground as needed. Even the glass is hand-mixed, poured, and their glass formula is a guarded secret.”

“Like KFC.”

“I take you aren’t going to be making a purchase.” Dan said. “Perhaps I could interest you in one of these.”

He opened the Lyphend case again and took out a travel mug.

“I was curious about that.”

He squeezed the handle and a screen lit up around the mug.

“What the …” Stephanie stepped back slightly alarmed.

“Yes. That is you and me.”

“The mug is a security device.”

“Of sorts. Think of it as an undercover reporter.”

“Wow!” she reached for the mug.

“Just a prototype. But that’s how Lyphend started. Making devices during WWI. You didn’t come here to buy overpriced equipment.”

“No. I’ve been told how dangerous it can be going into any electronics store. Now I see why. You are smooth too. Must make a lot of sales.”

“Enough.” Dan walked to the entrance with her.

“Is there someplace we can talk.” she asked.

“I’m at work so the answer is no.”

“Lunch break? I can expense it.”

“Why not. I’ll let David know.”

They walked the concourse to the Atriumata Bistro. The maitre D’ sniffed when they had no reservations but the restaurant had some empty tables.

“Would like the Clifton Room or La Terrazzo?”

“Terrazzo,” Dan said. He’d eaten there a few times with Linda and the Clifton room was dark, plush and even though there was no smoking one felt as if everyone around was smoking, even if the room was empty. La Terrazzo was a faux glass enclosed patio and as a result brightly lit patio that over-looked the parking lot and the tract housing beyond that.

They both declined wine, opting for imported mineral water that was nearly as expensive as the wine. Each ordered a different pasta dish.

“Baxter was quite taken by you. Which isn’t unusual for him. He sometimes makes decisions with his lower head.” Stephanie laughed. “But in your case he may be right.”


“About hosting. You handled me very well. I was trying to throw you off-balance a little. We like interviewers who can flow with things rather than get thrown off course easily. I really liked the way you segued to the travel mug. Very smooth and you didn’t miss a beat. I would have bought anything from you. If I was buying, that is.”

“This was an audition for something that isn’t actually real. Right?”

“We’re building a package. The network likes a package not a concept.”

“Are you actually a researcher or a casting agent?”

“Oh, Dan are you trying to throw me off-balance?” She laughed. “You are a cynic.”

“That’s not an answer.”

“Okay, let’s get down to it.” She took a small digital recorder out of her purse. “You don’t mind if I record this. It means I don’t have to make notes as we go along.”

“Sure.” He fumbled with one of the buttons on his shirt. “Then I can turn mine off.”

“What!” Stephanie pushed her chair back.

“Just kidding. Really.”

“You sure?” She took a note pad out her purse and flipped it open the table. “These are just the general questions we ask.”


Two waiters brought their meals. A moment later a third showed up with a pepper grinder and then after her, a fourth with another bottle of the mineral water.

“I best start before they change the cutlery between bites. You know one of the missing children.”

“Yes. Timmy Dunlop. Stellerton. He was the fourth child to be abducted. There was one more after him if I remember correctly. David McPherson.”

“You knew David too?”

“No, but I’ve watch that particular episode a few times. Making notes. A professional habit.”

“Right. You are the photo specialist. How did you get into that field? If you don’t mind me asking.”

“Kind of round about actually. After we’d living here a few years my Dad decided to add photo surveillance to what he offered. He sensed there was market for that, for good quality equipment. As a kid I loved cops and robbers and jumped in to help out as much as I could with installations and such.

“It seemed clear to me that the more I knew about security the more helpful I could be. I nearly got into law informant in fact after taking some courses as Loyalist. One of the prof’s there saw that I had a good eye for documents. He thought art forgery would perfect me but instead I went for forensics. I’m not boring you am I.”

“No not at all.” Stephanie said. “Maybe we should look at the dessert menu?”

“None for me.”

“You don’t mind if I do?”

“It’s not my credit card.”

She ordered a chocolate cheese cake for herself. “Go on.”

“Well – I already knew a lot about photography, different papers, developing techniques so it seemed logical I focus on that end of things. I can authenticate documents as well. You know, figure out if a deed or promissory note is real. But photo’s are my speciality. Which lead me inot the RCMP.”

“That was excellent.” Stephanie pushed the dessert plate away.

“Was that the chocolate cheesecake?” Linda pulled out a chair to join them.

“Stephanie Carter my sister Linda Tanaka – nee James. Stephanie is from Quintex.”

“The cold case?” Linda asked.

“One and the same.” Stephanie answered. “We were just talking about … Timothy Dunlop.”

“I wasn’t surprised at all. No one was. Except Dan here.”

“What do mean except Dan here. I was pretty shocked to learn about this this past weekend.”

“You still on about us holding things back from you.” Linda shook her head. “Don’t you remember his mother coming to the Arms asking if we’d seen him?” She turned to Stephanie. “He used to sleep over a lot. Tim’s Dad was a drunk.”

“The Arms?”

“The Wickham Arms.” Dan explained. “That’s where we would stay when we were in Stellarton. And no I don’t remember Mrs. Dunlop.” He thought a moment.

Linda signalled the waiter to bring her a coffee and the same dessert that Stephanie had.

“I remember she did drop by looking for him. But she did that often enough. She didn’t say he was missing. That he had been abducted.”

“No one knew that then.” Linda said digging into her cheesecake. “I guess in the rush to move we all figured you understood why we were heading out.” She looked at Stephanie. “You can imagine finding out that the kid who was playing with your kid had just vanished. You’d get out of there asap. Which is what we did.” She glared at Dan. 

“Your memory is clearly better than mine.” Dan said.

“What did you mean by not being surprised?” Stephanie asked.

“Timmy … was a bit of a handful.” Linda licked her fork. “He liked to sneak in where he wasn’t wanted.”

“What?” Dan said.

“There was that time you two got caught in the basement of  Gallagher’s store. Filling your pockets with bubble gum.”

“Oh that!” Dan could still feel the wax wrapped gum in his hand. “That was just one time.”

“Yeah the one time you two got caught, right?”
“Well, yeah. We did sneak into garages and houses but that was the first time we took anything.”

“Maybe you, but Timmy had a bit of reputation around Stellarton for that sort of thing. Which might have been another reason Mom thought he was a bad influence.”

“I think we have enough.” Stephanie turned off her recorder. “We’ll be touch Mr. James.” She called the waiter over and gave him her credit card.

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‘falling in love while in love’

Hot Damn’s season 6 finale was via Zoom. For once I didn’t feel I was taking the best seat in the house 🙂 But it was a pretty quiet house of nearly 60 people from across Canada & possibly around the world as there is no way to tell where who is zoomin’ from. In fact one has the choice of being in the room & not being seen. Cool & the tool of  future social distancing.

Slam rules cover costume & props but may have to extend to backdrops 🙂 The picture quality is good, depending on the cameras of the users. Sound quality was excellent. The poets were all very comfortable in front of the camera & in fact some more confident without a live audience in front of them.

The work of the slam poets was excellent, I don’t envy the judges. I enjoyed the few pieces that took on covid19 in a practical way – what do you do when the voices in your head that use to force you to wash your hands compulsively are now really coming from your TV? Writing & performances were excellent. Scoring was quicker without flip cards to flip 🙂


Feature Jillian Christmas, in BC wearing polkadots & behind a drum kit, started her set by reminding us of what has been silenced in the covid19 clatter i.e. pipeline oppression of indigenous peoples. I’ve seen Jillian several times & her warmth & emotional vulnerability is a blessing. Singing, reciting & reading a few piece from her book ‘The Gospel of Breaking’ her set was too short. Her simple self-accompaniment reminded me of Jessie Mae Hemphill. Just a couple of lines of too many great lines ‘there are no renewable resources’ ‘falling in love while in love.’ If you want more, buy her book: https://arsenalpulp.com/Books/T/The-Gospel-of-Breaking 

The show was nimbly hosted by Robyn Sidhu, with an able assist by Charlie Petch. It was a great success without a venue 🙂 But I did miss the live reactions of the audience. There is no ‘hiss’ or ‘boo’ button to react to the scores. Texting those remarks doesn’t have the same energy.Scores were added up. A winner was declared. Who? You’ll have to follow Hot Damn to find out 🙂

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So this is a glance at my living-room. These two prints I picked up many many years ago at The Clay Room on the Danforth. I bought the veranda one first – I love the mood & sense that someone just stepped into the house. It sits over the mantle piece. A few years late I bought the bicycle one. Again the mood is relaxing. 


There is fine detail work in both that my camera doesn’t capture. They were both framed & under glass when I bought them. The fact that frames were a perfect match for the walls did play a part in my getting them. Both by the same artist whose name is scrawled unreadable (by me) on the bottom. The Clay Room no longer sells prints.


On the mantle piece is this scale model of a TTC bus. Here I’m showing it off out of its box but it does sit in its box on the mantle. Don’t want dust to demise its collector value. Made to scale. I ordered it from the TTC gift store. Hand painted, it also has a set of details int he box for various routes, which will remain in the box. I do have a spare one tucked away in a drawer too. Some day they may be worth enough to get some Stratford Festival tickets 🙂

The samurai is one of the posters for a 1989 show at the Beaux Arts in Montreal – ‘Le Japon de Shogun’ – which I bought when I went to the amazing exhibit there. It took a year or so to realize the person in the samurai was real & not a mannequin of some sort. I used to visit Montreal with a recovery friend who moved to TO & would go back for a week every summer. I loved the city & even learned a few helpful phrases – Mon hôtel est près d’ici. 🙂

Finally is this object that my partner bought at a sale at his school decades ago. It was made in one of the arts classes there & reminded him, for some reason, of Lord of The Rings. It is a grotesque & serves as a warning to negative energy to back off. It sits on top of shelf near the TV. 

Love’s Tangled Socks

what’s the word

you know the one

to call a kiss

that feels like walking into 

a dew jewelled spider web

on a sunny day

while looking in the basement 

for that lost sock


you know that word

that slip of the tongue

that tip of the tail

wagging excitedly 

yet with a vague damp unease

at the same time

wanting to give in

feeling it’s all too sudden

too sticky in your face

while one hand reaches

to brush the spider web off

the other wants to fondle the spider


what is that word

I have to get the right word

for that sensation

also one for that rapidly

elusive need for the right word

I have to tell you all this

in exactly the right tone

if I don’t 

it may never happen again

I may never find that sock

I’ll have to go with one foot bare

on this chilled concrete floor

while other is snug in a sock

trying to balance that tightrope

of grit under one foot

and comfy protection on the other


when did I lose that sock

when did I do laundry last 

I have pairs upstairs 

in neat rows in a drawer

but it has to be these socks

the ones you liked

to pull off my feet

you like to undress me

kiss each freshly bared part

trace my outline in your silver silva

draw me into to that web

the bed at the centre

where we would devour each other

without a second thought


the other sock has escaped 

I thought I had it trapped

like your tongue

held firmly in my grasp

yet it slips slides

elusive fleshy fragments

of tender mystery

and all I can think about

is the tender shock 

of this cobweb on my face

don’t want it to get in my eyes

it has caressed my lips

a dusty sooty taste


one hand darts up to brush it away

but stops when I see 

the spider scuttle away

into the dark

shocked by the size of this catch 

not ready to crawl across my shoulders

the way you do so well

not ready to take the seed

spray it into new shapes 

along my stomach

slithering cool trails

us laughing at the moment

turning over in the bed

looking for our clothes

time for clean socks

the other must be in the laundry

I’ll be right back

only I’m stuck here

caught in a loss for words

looking for a definition

that will wind you

around me forever



? Richard III – Stratford Festival



? All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

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Mask Mess

Woman wearing mask around her chin, smoking, clearly irritated she can’t smoke while wearing it. Two men in front seat of a car, masks around their chins, talking at each other. Woman pulling mask down to talk on cellphone. Me thinking maybe I should buy a beekeeper’s hat – which is probably as effective as a mask & will also be great for blocking uv rays for what is looking to be a socially distant, but sunny, summer.

Social distant stripes at registers, plastic shields at registers. I almost said cash registers but only cornerstores are accepting cash the days – bank profits will be sky high with the additional fees they collect on both ends of those transactions. Hey banks – how about waving credit/debit card fees for three months?

Walking around parked cars, into on coming traffic,  to avoid people on the sidewalks because patios, fruit market offerings are taking up so much room already. Which is worse hit by a car or covid? If they hit you will that driver’s insurance pay or can they sue you for damage to their paint job?

All these are the dilemmas of the new world we have been thrust into. I wonder how long before we have iDistance – a device that beeps when people get too close. One newish development has been the Zoom boom. Many 12 Step meetings have gone to Zoom so recovery people can stay connected – a great idea – I ‘belong’ to one such group, so far. Some wonder about online anonymity but I think in the end I’m powerless over who finds out I’m in recovery. I do think ‘the only requirement’ is sort of compromised – beside the desire for recovery one must also have a device to access online & a data plan.

We will survive but I doubt if lessons will be learned because the rich will get richer & the rest of us will be left to scramble.

(photos all north side Bloor to Danforth overpass & viaduct)
– April 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales – online



All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

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Lofgrin Makes Me Smile

I have a nice collections of lps by Nils Lofgrin – some are lp to cd transfers & others downloaded. In the 70s he made some of the sweetest pop/rock around but never hit superstardom – perhaps by choice. I have Nils; Cry Tough; I Came To Dance; No Mercy; Night Fades Away; The Loner. Rounding out one of the mp3 collections is Al Kooper: I Stand Alone; Steve Miller Band: Your Saving Grace, The Joker; Johnny Winter: Second Winter; Matt Hryhorsky: Hardest Last Name.

Nils has a pleasant voice, great song writing & a likeable springing bouncy guitar style that makes me want to dance. This is happy music without being corny or cloying. He’s played with Neil Young, he was a Bruce Springsteen Band member for decades too. The lps are full of great originals & lots of sweet covers of unexpected songs. The Loner are all covers of Neil Young songs. If you are unfamiliar start with I Came To Dance.


Al Kooper’s I Stand Alone is his first lp after leaving Blood, Sweat & Tears. It could be an extension of that lp in fact – similar experimental sound less horns. It was a disappointment at the time as fans expected it to duplicate BS&T. Steve Miller Band: Your Saving Grace, The Joker – lps from different decades of the band. Grace is more soulful while Joker is out & out commercial brilliance. Miller’s guitar work drives both but on Grace has more laidback context.

Now for some local CanCon Matt Hryhorsky: Hardest Last Name. This is an ep I bought years ago at some place like The Central of the Supermarket when Matt featured at an event. The sound quality is excellent, the songs are good & his guitar playing is superb. Finally here is the amazing Johnny Winter’s Second Winter – I remember think – three sides! when this lp was first released. Winter is a guitar genius blues & rock with a touch of soul. This is a stunning set that is merciless in energy & attack. If you haven’t heard it do so asap.

The Bill

Joe was feeling pretty good. Better than he had felt in several weeks. Better than he had felt when he finally broke off with the guy he’d met on line who turned out to be a physically abusive drunk. Better no love than a bruise he had to explain.

Today he felt specially good because he had gotten through to his cable provider on the first phone call. No waiting and waiting and even better the service representative spoke without an accent. Not that he was racist but sometimes side had to know what was exactly being said. Joe felt good about that and also because the cable provider upgraded his cell phone for free with no activation charge just to get him to renew his contract. It was always good to know who to ask for someone in customer retention. So simple.

Yes, Joe was feeling very good as he entered his favorite restaurant. His favorite booth was free – one of the few that only sat two people. He had a book he was enjoying and he couldn’t wait to tell his favorite waiter about his success with the cable company.

Joe sat at the booth. Ken came over and put a bill on the table and walked away.

Joe looked at the bill. It was over two hundred dollars with several entrees. He figured Ken had made a mistake.

“Ken!” he waved the waiter over. “This isn’t my bill. I haven’t even ordered anything yet.”

“Are you refusing to pay?” Ken glared him.

“This isn’t my bill.” Loe’s heart began to beat faster. “I just got here. I haven’t had time to order anything. See the table is clear.”

Ken glanced at the table. “The table looks clean to me. Even if it wasn’t that’s no reason not to pay your bill. We get enough assholes in here.”

“But … but …”

“Young man,” an older lady at a nearby table glared at him. “Don’t give the waiter such a hard time. Pay him so we can get some service too.”

“But I haven’t ordered anything. I certainly didn’t order all this or have time to order it. Fried chicken, roast beef dinner,’ He began to read the items off the bill.

“Let me see that,” the maître d’ snapped the bill out of his hand. “What seems to be the problem Ken.”

“This guy refused to pay his bill.”

“This isn’t my bill.” Joe took a deep breath and kept his hands relaxed. 

The maître d’ glanced at the bill. “Of course if sir is contesting the total, we will add it up again.”

“I am not contesting the total …”

“He said his table wasn’t clean enough so he’s not paying it.’ Someone from another table added their two cents worth. “The tables here are always spotless.”

“Oh, we get your type in here far too often. Order a meal eat it then find some petty thing to complain about.” The maître d’ sneered.

“I have been coming in here for year and have never complained about anything.” Joe’s voice rose.

“No need to shout, sir.” The owner came from behind the front counter. “This is a respectable family restaurant. We can’t have that kind of language.”

“Here! Here!” Cheered the old lady from the nearby table. “Let me eat in peace.”

“But I didn’t say anything offensive.”

“Then just pay up like a good guy.” The owner patted Joe on the shoulder.

“But this isn’t my bill. I didn’t order any of this. I didn’t have any of these drinks. Apple screwdriver. Kafka flip. What ever that is.”

“Oh so your are saying this isn’t your bill. Is that what you are saying.” One of the cooks had come out of the kitchen and picked up the bill.”

“Yes that’s what I’m saying.”

“He’s right. Ken this isn’t this man’s bill. He is at table 12 the bill is for table 21.”

They all looked over to table 21 and a large gentleman grinned and waved at them. “I say, can we pay up and get out of here. I’m in a frightful hurry.”

Nils, Lofgrin, Al Kooper, Steve Miller Band, Johnny Winter, Matt Hryhorsky


– April 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales – online



travel restrictions means no 😦

Capturing Fire 2020 – Wooly Mammoth Theatre -Washington D.C.


All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

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Working through the  227 Rules For Monks.

Who knew the simple life could be so complex.


what am I accepting

when I accept this gift

is it an emotional bond

I’m not interested in

that I haven’t instigated

it’s not that I don’t like them

as a person

but I’m more disinterested

than anything else


I know the gift 

comes from a good place

that one cannot have too many friends

but at the same time

one can be 

shall we say 


so if the gift comes with strings

no thanks

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The Chef’s Surprise

The Chef’s Surprise

the food looked delicious

smelled as good as it looked

I wanted to eat it

longed for a taste

had my fork in my hand

the waiter was watching

eager for my reaction

I wanted to be pleased

I hesitated

it wasn’t what I had expected


maybe this is how it was prepared 

in this restaurant

or maybe I had ordered the wrong thing

or my order had been misunderstood

something wasn’t right


why make a fuss

why not accept the choice of the universe

rather than be so set 

in getting my way

this was an adventure

an opportunity

to break out of my lock step pattern

take a little chance

but it wasn’t what I ordered

what if it was meant for someone else

could I be charged for it

as well as for what I ordered

what would they say

if I sent it back


I had eaten there before

had been served what I ordered

I sipped my water

hoping the waiter would realize

I’d been given the wrong meal

meant for another table

but he was smiling

I ate

Has this every happened to you? Ordered at a restaurant & been given the wrong order? Been given something that didn’t look the way you expected & thought it was the wrong order? Been given the wrong order then blamed by the waiter who is sure it is what you ordered? Asked for no fries & had it served with fries? All of the above had happened to me – not all at the same time, mind you, or in the same restaurant 🙂


I expect somethings to look pretty much the same when I order them anywhere: hamburgers, bacon & eggs, but other things have proved to be quite different. Cornish game hen can come like a little trussed chicken or like one that looks like it has been flattened by a steam roller. Hand cut fries that are chunky & unpeeled, or thin & almost potato chips.


I am not an overly picky eater but I do have some expectations when ordering food. I also know people in the food service industry & have heard enough about their end of things to know it can be a hassle when food get returned – for one thing the food has to be tossed out & sometimes the wait staff has to pay for it.

Being one of those polite Canadians I’m not into making a fuss over little things – I have a friend who would send a salad back if the lettuce looked at all wilted, I stopped lunching with him. Too much fuss is not a side dish that adds to my dining pleasure. But am capable of saying – I ask for this without … & let it go at that. It is easy enough to leave an unwanted hamburger bun, or fries on the plate. Particularly when the waiter smiles sweetly.


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March 2020 Recap

Over the past month TOpoet.ca my following grew to 386! Maybe I’ll hit 400 by the end of year, if the end of the world doesn’t come first. The only stat WP doesn’t give is where which followers are located but WP map does show most my hits have come Canada, USA second & in fourth place Italy!! I guess social isolation made them seek entertainment. Bangladesh & Kenya remain in the top 10, both above India! with Romania making an unexpected climb to ninth place! My Tumblr flowing is at 263. It would more but I block hetero porn & also gay shooting up drugs porn. Twitter is at 221 followers.

Otherwise March has been a fairly quiet month, except of course for the pandemic that spells the end of the complacent as we know it. What caught everyone off guard was how quickly it went from annoyance over there to threat at our front doors. A threat we don’t want to let in to wash its hands at our sink. It looks like my DC getaway for capturing Fire will have to wait until next year 😦 


March has been productive. Picture Perfect is being gradually blogged & I’ve been sufficient looks to keep it going. The Rules for Monks continues to produce great prompts. I’m at a set of food rules that are timely for the pandemic shopping panic. Artist’s Way is progressing slowly but surely. not rushing it makes a difference.

For the summer I’ll be looking at Distant Music, my Fiddlehead chap book, on Wednesdays & Thursdays – giving Rules a summer break. Currently I’m inputting the text & it is interesting to be pulled back into my creative east coast past. Some pieces I have fairly strong memory of, others are surreal mysteries. Coming soon on July 1. 

That’s the only real coming soon I can offer as a sneak peek. Stratford, Shaw seasons are up in the air though I wouldn’t be surprised to see them both canceled thanks to covid19. Same for the Hot Damn! finale – which will end up as a zoom slam, that can be viewed around the world. I hope my Romanian fans zoom in.

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Picture Perfect 13

Without looking at any of the other pictures he gathered them together and put them back in the envelope. Now where to put them? 

No! He couldn’t put them away until he saw what else was there. He took them out and quickly sorted through them. There were twelve from the whip shoot. In the last picture the man’s boxers were around his ankles and the whip marks on his ass were clearly bleeding. By that last shot the woman’s hair had become dishevelled, her nylons where loosened from the garter buttons.

He had sat on the chair in the pictures many times. His Dad used it when taking portraits of families. There was no doubt in his mind about where these were taken. The backdrop was the scrim he mother had ordered from a photo supplier in Montreal. It reflected the light just right and didn’t call attention to itself.

Time to put on my forensic hat. Had his Dad taken these or merely developed them and kept copies? Dan got one of the studio pictures he knew his Dad had taken of him and Linda. There they were by chair, each with a foot on the seat and grinning at the camera. The chair has the same smudge on the back left leg. He turned the paper over and it had the same subtle watermark as the whip pictures. They were taken by the same camera. 

He could see the camera set up on its tripod in the studio. He taken lot of pictures with it himself. Climbing up on that very chair to look through the view finder. Playing with the focus. His Dad didn’t want anyone to tamper with the tripod.

There were no colour pictures in the hidden envelope. Black and white could be easily developed by his Dad. Colour was possible but more expensive and had to sent away for developing. Racy stuff like this would probably be reported to the police if one of the reputable developers had gotten a hold of it.

That’s all what it was though. Racy. Nothing was really exposed. No genitalia, no faces. Just that big bare ass. Was this considered porn at one time? 

He took the photos over to the scanner and fed them in. He watched on the monitor as each was converted. He played them back as a slide show to which made him think of the gif program he’d tweaked so he transferred a copy of the file to that, instructed the program to do fill in – it would take what photos it had and create new versions that continued in an action. It worked best if the action in the originals was fairly similar from shot to shot. The program informed him it would an hour to complete the task.

He went back to the stills for one last close look. Something in them caught his attention but he wasn’t sure what that was as he flipped from one to the other. Then he noticed that the woman was wearing  a simple bracelet in the first four pictures but as the flogging proceeded it was gone. Did the clasp break? Or did fly off as she worked that guy’s ass over?

On the other workshop computer he isolated the bracelet and enlarged it and enhanced the image at the same time. He recognized it. He’d given it to his mother for mother’s day!

He pushed away from the computer. His mother? That couldn’t be his mother in those pictures! 

He dropped a proportions grid on the first of the pictures. He typed in the approximate dimensions of the chair and calculated the woman’s hight based on that. Even in heels his mother wouldn’t have been that tall. But to make sure he found a beach picture of the his mother from the time and had the Proportions program compare the two them. It concluded that they were not the same person.

Then why was the woman wearing his mother’s bracelet? 

He’d bought it at the Kmart that had opened recently in Sydney. They might have sold hundred of them, well at least dozens of them. He’d gotten the notion to buy it from one of the other boys in his class who had bought one for his mother.

He stood, stretched and walked to the window over looking the street. What did he know now? Other than the fact that his past was being seriously re-appraised, he was no further ahead in the finding out what had happened that summer. Right! He had forgotten to check his Dad’s travel records for that summer.

A quick search and he found them where he expected them to be. No secret symbols appeared in the notes for that summer. 

His notes for the abducted children said that Timmy was reported missing on Tuesday of that week. The family departed Stellerton Friday of the same week. That’s why the departure was so rushed. They left within days of the disappearance. The photos of him and Timmy were dated on the back for the Sunday before they left. These were probably the last pictures taken of Timmy.

He stared into Timmy’s wide open eyes. Timmy was looking directly at the camera while he was looking directly at Timmy. Both were ginning like they had secrets. Good secrets.

Dan wiped away a tear. He’d lost a] his best friend at the time and didn’t even know it till now. Not only that but now felt his own past slipping away.



Friday was Dan’s least favourite day of the week. I was the day he worked at the FairVista location. It was his own fault for insisting that he be there at least once a week to run a ‘camera clinic.’

“Ms James isn’t here again today Dan. She called to say she might in by lunch time.” David O’Neill, her assistant manager apologized.

“Figures.” Dan shook his head. Since the Cuppa visit he’d been unable to make contact with Linda. He’d left messages, texts but so far no response. Not that he was surprised after the stunt she pulled to get him out of the way. But even this avoidance was bit much for her.

“Did she tell you anything?” Dan asked as he watched people arrive in the store.

“Just that Anne was feeling much better.”

“Anne?” Anne was the oldest of Linda’s children.

“Oh! I thought you knew. Anne is in Sick Kids. Fell off her bike. Hit her head. They were afraid there might be a concussion so she’s been at Sick Kids the last couple of days for observation.”

How convenient, Dan thought.

He had arrived at the FairVista shop that morning looking forward to finally confronting Linda about the Cuppa deal. 

He googled the Sick Kids number, called the patient inquiry number and asked for Anne Tanaka’s room. He was patched through and Linda answered.

“Hi Linda. It’s Dan. I’m at the shop and was surprised not to find you here.”

“Let me tell you, I’d rather be there.”

“How’s Anne.”

“Good. Very scared but as it turns out nothing to worry about. No concussion.”

“Is it Daddy?” He could hear Anne in the back ground.

“No, baby, it’s Uncle Dan calling to see how you are.”

“Hi, Uncle Dan.”

“Hi, Tiny. You gave us all a scare.” He didn’t want to let on this was all news to him.

“Me too. I loss consciousness for five minutes. Five whole minutes. I was just riding along on my bike when this dog dashed out in front me and I swerved to not to hit him and ran right into a car that I didn’t even know was there. Good thing the car was parked and I flipped off the bike and landed and hit my head and the dog was licking my face when I came to and he was so cute. And …”

He let her ramble on for a minute or so.

“I gotta go, Tiny. Tell your mother I’ll see her later.”

He looked around the store to see who might be there for the ‘camera clinic.’ If there was enough people he would show them the latest in technology, how to integrate it with what systems they already had. Each week they’d showcase a different camera. Ten people took the seats provided for his demonstration.

The presentation did sell a few items, some software. They often became Q&A with people wanting to know what the fuck to do with the cell phones and tablets that kept sharing information they didn’t want shared. He did his best to keep them focused on what he knew, not what they wanted him to know.

Friday was also the Lyphend ‘by appointment’ day where he discussed their line with prospective buyers. These he enjoyed greatly, as many people thought it was like buying a car. They would try to negotiate but there was no such thing as discounts even if they wanted fewer features. Lyphend did have a line of cameras for the public, along with other household electronics made to their exacting specifications. Not cheap by any means, but all designed to out-live their owners.

The morning session made Dan aware, once again, that too many people found it challenging enough to turn the flash off on their digital cameras that explaining how set fStops was almost a pointless digression. He did show them how easy it was to do on most makes but couldn’t answer questions such as ‘why don’t they make a digital that does all that for you,’ when he had, in fact explained how the auto setting did that.

The best he could do was say some camera can become intuitive about the most frequent users needs, none were mind readers. A camera still had to be pointed somehow to take a picture.

After the session was over he worked the floor. Stopping to chat with customers, answer questions. He aimed to make at least two sales whenever he was at FairVista to demonstrate to Linda he wanted the location to succeed. Plus he liked the rush of selling, especially when he could encourage the customer to upscale what they wanted. 

Selling $750.00 cameras was easy enough but getting them up to $1750.00 was rewarding. He also knew Linda liked to see their extended warranties sold.  These were usually pure profit.

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