LCD Underworld Legend

LCD Soundsystem produces almost hypnotic, multilayered pop-electronica. I have cds of the first double, Sound of Silver, 45:33, & This Is Happening. I could play all the cds in a row & not really be able to tell one from the other – which is a good thing. Consistently listenable music though that is great for typing to, also fine sex throb. Much like jazz song titles are arbitrary in relation to the music (much like the relationship to my photos to actual content of a blog post.)

LCD owes a lot to the British dance/electronica duo  Underworld. I first heard Underworld on a CMJ completion cd – it was the track River of Dub – a deep bass throb with voice deep in the mix & I loved loved it. Finding the cd was another story though but I finally did. I have as stand-alone’s dubnobass, Dirty Mix, everything everything, Beaucoup Fish, a Hundred Days Off, Oblivion With Bells, barking, as mp3 Barbra, & a fun spoken-word ep with Iggy Pop.

 

 

Both LCD & Underworld make excellent moody writing music. Some tracks by both have shown up in movie soundtracks for tension or romantic interludes.

 

Back to L (& also great for romantic interludes) is John Legend. I have stand-alones: Get Lifted, once again, Evolver, Wake Up! (with the Roots). Sweet smooth soul music that almost drifts into easy listening. The albums flow nicely into one another. Some with disco flavours, others with hip-hop vibe. Legend has an old school vibe that, despite being so heteronormative, is so gentle one doesn’t mind. Plus he is easy on the eye 🙂

Report to the Electoral Steering Committee 

We wanted to sway the people. We want to convince them that they aren’t powerless voices. We have to get them out to the polls in the next election or they will lose the right to vote. That is one of the planks of the leading party – why give people the right to vote if they don’t want to use it. ‘Use or lose it’ is their slogan. All the people have to do is use it. It doesn’t matter which party they vote for as long as they voted. If we can get voter response up from the paltry 6% it was in the last election perhaps change can happen.

But the people didn’t care. They saw the election as being  less interesting than sports scores. Politicians were just self-protecting business men and the people were powerless to do do anything. Some brfied that no matter how loud they voiced their opinions no one was listening anyway. No one cared. Not even them. 

House after house we ran into the same apathy and hopelessness. The people were happy as long as they had food shelter and entertainment. Politics wasn’t entertaining enough. The drab tired supposed scandals of secret deals, slush fund theft bored them. They didn’t care about the sexual peccadillos of high ranking officials or how they used their power to cover up criminal activity, dunken car accidents. The people had seen it all on YouTube once and even there it wasn’t as compelling as movie star break downs in the washrooms of local designer outlet direct to the public malls. Now that got them going. Why couldn’t we get that star to run for office. That could hold some interest, maybe.

We must persist. It can’t be a lost cause. 

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

January

Sunday –  January 26 – 1:30 – feature: The Secret Handshake Gallery, 170A Baldwin (Kensington Market) – 1:30https://www.facebook.com/events/498405247456842/

March
March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April
April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June

Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee

at Ted’s Bulletin in Washington DC

at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

The Off-Guard Room

The Off-Guard Room

the last thing I expected 

was for this to last

beyond the first blush brush of heat

so when I found myself

looking around

a room I didn’t know I’d entered

I was caught off guard

 

while you 

remained unaware 

as if this sort of thing

happened so often

my being caught off guard 

didn’t draw your attention

 

I wasn’t looking 

to finding a way out

but wanted a way 

that would take me deeper


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Real After Midnight

Only Real After Midnight

he didn’t understand

that too late is too late

that too late had nothing to do

with my desire for him

with my affection for him

it was about my desire for sleep

my affection for walking up

clear headed and well-rested

 

he insisted that it was proof 

of my lack of real interest

that midnight wasn’t that late

only boring guys

went to bed that early

gay life didn’t get into full swing

without moonlight

 

I recalled my disco days

when getting to a bar before eleven

made one look desperate

the place would be empty

filled with loud music

get there at midnight

and the crowd was starting flow

by 1 a.m. it was a packed house

 

that was the gay life

I left to those that enjoyed it

just because I was man enough

to take it

didn’t mean I had to take it

like I didn’t have to take 

his definition of desire

being only real after midnight

Based on a true story 🙂 More than one ‘he’ has presented this illogical definition of real desire – if you don’t want to have sex when they want to have sex then you really aren’t interested. Sure I understand the role ‘availability’ can play is sex but to take non-aligned schedule personally is a bit much. It is a ‘red flag’ in fact. Just like men who take my no drug boundary as personal affront.

Also just because the timing is right doesn’t mean I have to say – oh sure. ‘Looking right now’ doesn’t mean looking for anyone who is eager. When I first came out in Toronto that was the case for awhile though then I developed taste 🙂 When I tell someone that ‘we aren’t a good match’ I don’t explain, if they should ask why – that fact that they ask is another of those red flags. 

As the piece says I was once a disco dolly hanging round until as late as one in the morning, back in the day, & often would go home smelling like an ashtray. Many gay bars didn’t get busy until midnight at the earliest, even if they had a happy-hour 🙂 I got bored of the night bus. This was when my gay card was first demoted from first class – choosing sleep over cruising made me a less-than-queer.

The piece also echoes the ways in which we define ourselves & how others define us as a result. Someone who opts not to have sex at midnight is usually seen as an uncooperative tease or probably not that attractive after all. Sure I could wait around until midnight but that doesn’t mean I want to or will. 


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee at Capturing Fire 2020 – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Picture Perfect 3


3

Dan open the door to the archives. The smell brought back so many memories. His first real camera. The first time he developed one of his own pictures. He went directly to the furthest end where the pictures his father had taken while there were on the east coast were kept. Most them at any rate. 

They had transferred the backlog of money makers to digital. There was no need to keep all the prints or negatives of those school class pictures, expect for classes that included him or his sister. He ran his finger along the backs of the storage bins looking for 1984. Yes, there it was. He blew the dust off it before he remembered there would be no dust. The room was built and insulated to protect the negative and photos from any damage. 

He took the bin to a small table half-way along the wall. The dim light once there had been replaced with a set of LEDs that would cause no light damage. He opened the bin and flipped through the envelops of negative and pictures till he found the one marked Stellerton Summer.

He slid the content out onto the table. Several of the negatives had been developed. There was the one he had seen on the TV show. Him and Timmy. This one was in colour. He’d forgotten they were in colour. Why was his memory in black and white he wondered?

He took the strips of negatives and fed them into digital developer. It would create a set of contact sheets he could check on his computer. HighDef had made his job a lot easier in some ways. He’d also set it to print out 8 by 10’s of each of the two dozen pictures, including the ones that hadn’t been printed already.

As he scrolled through the the set he saw that some were in colour others in black and white. His Dad must have been using two cameras that day or did he finish one roll then pop in another? No, it was two different cameras. he could tell by the image quality. His trained eye could tell the difference. Cameras had a finger print.

There were some of him and Timmy in the rocky yard behind the boarding house his Dad usually stayed in when they were in Stellerton. Dan had on his cowboy costume. Chaps, vest, cowboy hat, cap guns and holsters. Man he loved that outfit. Timmy only had a cowboy hat, cap guns and holster but was wearing the sheriff’s badge that Dan had given him.

In a couple of the pictures they were looking for injuns. Some were of him and Timmy on the front steps of the house. It was one of these that had been on the TV show. Both with their cowboy hats pushed back, grinning at the camera, arms around each other’s shoulders.

Dan could see his Dad taking the pictures. There were washed out colour pictures of the nearly the same poses. Too much sun. Someone didn’t know how to shoot in the sun.

Right that was his sister Linda learning to use her new camera. The one he wanted so bad but because he wasn’t old enough she got it. It had been a bribe to reward her for breaking off with that guy his mother didn’t like. Too old for her his mother said.

What was that guy’s name? Cyril something.

So here were the pictures. His Dad must have given copies to Timmy’s family before they left for Toronto. No, the pictures wouldn’t have been ready that fast. Between the packing to move so suddenly and saying goodbyes, there was no time for his Dad to develop any pictures. He must have sent this to them later. By then his Dad must have known Timmy had disappeared. Was this the picture the police used in looking for him?

His cell buzzed.

“Dan, the good sergeant is here to see you?” It was Ushio.

“I’ll be right down.” He glanced at the time on his cell. He wasn’t expecting Warszawa until after lunch. Something must have come up.

When he left the RCMP they retained him as a consultant. He’d been called in on several cases where documents were concerned. Software he had developed enabled him to quickly ascertain if a photo had been doctored. In a couple of instances he had been able to remove the the alteration to reveal what was there before. He’d refined that to do the work on the child porn case.

He went down the back stairs to his office. Robert Warszawa was already sitting in front of his desk.

“Could you explain to Ushio I am not a good sergeant but a dogged Inspector.” He reached out to shake Dan’s hand.

“I’ve tried. He once asked why you don’t wear red.”

“That is what I’d call racial profiling.” Robert laughed. “I know our appointment wasn’t till this afternoon but …”

“You had to know what I’d found?”

Dan took a folder from side file drawer in his desk.

“Tech talk first. These are repros.” He put on a pair of cotton gloves and spread the photographs on the desk.

“You mean others made from the same negative?” Robert rubbed the scruff of beard along his chin line.

“No. These are copies of photographs. Clearly someone didn’t have the negative but wanted copies of them for some reason.”

“Copies of copies?”

“Not unusual. We used to do that fairly frequently here. Someone wanting to share family photos from an old album. These copies go back ten or more generations ago. From the quality of the image. Each such retake affects the image quality.”

“They weren’t scanned?”

“I doubt it. It was like taking a picture of a picture. Only we’d do it under very controlled conditions to get best possible quality. These are okay but not best possible, I’d say. Now I could venture as guess as to what camera was used to make the copies but I can’t tell what took the originals.”

“Anything else?”

“From the content? They’re just a bunch of vacation snaps. The sort a Dad would take. Beach. Amusement park. Probably Florida from the hotels in the background.”

“I figured that much.”

“But …” Dan pushed one of them from the others. “This one is of the crime scene.”

“Yes.”

“Where you found them on this coffee table at the crime scene.”

“That’s right.”

“Why aren’t there any blood spatters on any of them.’

“What do you mean?”

“Look for yourself. Here …”

Robert came over the desk and leaned over Dan to see what Dan was pointing out.

“There’s spatter on the napkins, glasses. If these were there at the time of the shooting there would be spatters on one at least. Nothing.”

“Fuck me! So they were put there after the murder.”

“Or the top ones were removed. There’s no spatter on any of them. You dusted them for prints?”

“No! We assumed they were there all along.”

“Which brings me to my next question? Did you find any other photos like these at the crime scene. An album of family photos?”

“Nope. Just these.”

“Hmm. Okay, then this will seem even odder to you. These are random. They’ve been made to look like a set but they aren’t.”

“What?”

“For one thing there are different families in each of them.”

“Different? How?”

“As in not the same people. Sure at first glance they all look like the same mom, pop and the three kids at the beach, at the amusement park, on the McDonald’s terrace. They are in fact three different sets of people.”

Warszawa took the photos and studied each of them carefully.

“Here’s a comparison I work up for you.”

Dan opened a file on his desk top computer that had isolated the faces of the families and placed them side by side.

“Holy fuck!” Warszawa said. “What the … ”

“I’d say these probably aren’t the victim’s at all but left there by the killer.”

“Interesting.” Warszawa got up to leave. “You have anything more surprises for me?”

“Not yet. But take them, as I have my back-ups to look at. I might do some location search to find out where they were taken.”

“You can do that?”

“Experimental at this point. A program I’ve been working on like Face Finder only for places. If these spots have been photographed before and uploaded, my spiders will find them.”

“Keep me posted. You’ll do a written to go with these.”

“Yeah, I’ll get something to you later today. Before you go …” Dan put the pictures of him and Timmy on the desk. “What do you know about Canada Cold?”

“The TV show? That’s always handled by the PR branch.” He gave little laugh. “Not all of us are pretty enough for them. They contact you about these?”

“No. But this one showed up on their show the other night. Children on the east coast who vanished. That’s one of them in the pictures with me.”

“You the cowboy?”

“Yeah.” Dan reddened.

“You were a cute kid. Not that that’s changed much.”

“For a straight guy you sure know to flatter.”

Warszawa was silent for a moment. “What do you want to know about Canada Cold? For my money they’re a tax gambit by the channel. They get tax credits for the number of Canadian produced shows they do. This is just another one. All edited for effect not reality.”

“I’m thinking of contacting them but wanted to know if they actually passed information on when they got it. There’s that ‘call with tips’ number they have.”

“Automated. That much I know. You leave a number and they may get back to you. I’m sure they get inundated with the same crackpots as we do.”

“I suppose.” Dan put the pictures into his file drawer.

“I’ve never seen a tip passed on to us from them. I’ll ask PR though if you want.”

“Thanks.”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International LicenseHey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees 

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Secret Set Building 2

Set building is progressing easily for my Secret feature. I stopped selecting pieces when I got to over 2000 words. I did a light edit as I chose them, then another when reading them out loud. At this point I’m merely interested in the sound & flow of each individual piece, though in the back of my mind is what the sequence of the pieces will be.

 

The next step was to print them out for a more hands-on edit. Editing on screen is one thing, having a hard-copy is more intense & productive. Once again I read the pieces aloud, cutting lines that don’t add to clarity, or make things too clear 🙂 I generally remove things that sound good but aren’t really a part of the piece. I also listen for verbal stumbling points.

 

This read is my first chance to get a sense of how long the reading will be. I’m also looking at the flow of the entire set – is there a theme that I wasn’t aware of? I decide which piece will open & which will close the set. I will keep it in two distinct sections though – the 2008 material will be kept together, then the fresher Rules of Monks.

I will not be going into explanations of which Rule prompted the various pieces. The pieces are not explorations or comments on the Rules themselves but a sort of lens though which I’ve filtered my thoughts. In this read through I also decide which pieces to cut so the set doesn’t seem endless to me as I perform it 🙂 Of course listeners always want more.

this is a piece that may end up in the set 

Snapped & Slapped

some people

are just asking for a slap

you know what I mean

so I snapped & slapped 

it was so fast

I hardly felt it

but it worked

it shut them up

for a few scant moments of bliss

of silence

there wasn’t even an echo

of the slap

my hand hardly felt it all

you know what I mean

if it doesn’t hurt me

it surely didn’t hurt them

other than a bit of humiliation

in front of the others

I know to be slapped

is a social thing

if we were alone

I doubt if a slap would have happened

but with an audience

what else could I do

boundaries have to be established

so I slapped

I would do it again

only harder the next time

you know what I mean

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

January
Thursday January 23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre – featuring ‘Yes The Poet’ https://www.facebook.com/events/577900226377507/ 

Sunday –  January 26 – 1:30 – feature: The Secret Handshake Gallery, 170A Baldwin (Kensington Market) – 1:30https://www.facebook.com/events/498405247456842/

March
March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April
April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Tubs Plus

mega

not so hot anymore tub

blood stains are so hard to remove

such a Grinch

ring around the ring

(flower) bed & bath

your in luck

but is it art

https://wp.me/s1RtxU-diop

Sunday –  January 26, 2020 – 1:30 – feature: The Secret Handshake Gallery, 170A Baldwin (Kensington Market) – 1:30https://www.facebook.com/events/498405247456842/


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees. Thanks paypal.me/TOpoet 

Prokofiev

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953), is best known for a short movement in his Romeo & Juliette ballet suite, which I do have but was never that taken by. I have a double cd collection of The 5 Piano Concertos. As well as an 8.8 hr mp3 collection that includes his Complete Piano Sonatas, Complete Symphonies, & the Ballet Suites: The Buffoon, Love For Three Oranges, Waltz Suite, Romeo & Juliette.

 

At one time I had the Piano Sonatas as a MHS box set & an lp of one of the concertos. I upgraded to the Sonatas mp3 & found a double cd set of the Piano Concertos. I love piano music & Prokofiev straddles the gap between romantic & modern nicely. Not as lushly melodramatic as Tchaikovsky the concertos are excellent, the sonatas are emotional, lyrical but with a more mathematic sense of structure – not as florid as Chopin.

The Symphonies, which I have as mp3, become more modern & sweeping like Shostakovich but not as dissonant. Like many Russian composers Prokofiev makes use of stirring Russian folks songs that us delightful, somewhat patriotic & satisfying. If you are unfamiliar start with the piano concertos.

 

One thing I enjoy about many of many eastern European composers is the use of their folk melodies to create amazing, emotionally commanding music that even without being from there myself I am filled with a sense of losing & nostalgia. I have found little North American classical music does that to me. Is there an epic, sweeping symphony based on, say, Native American musical themes?

Green

“Apples bin Irish peace.”

“Yes. Go on.”

“I can’t think of anything more.”

Dr. Clarke put down his pen. “I see.”

“Is that a problem?”

“I don’t know. You tell me?”

“I wish I could think of more. Really. Sometimes my mind just goes blank … or so many things flash that I can’t grab them all. Don’t know which ones to say and as I start saying them the others darken. Disappear. Blank. I’m left with a blank.”

“That can happen. Try to relax. Green?”

“Peace. Did I say that already? I’m so afraid of repeating myself that I can’t think of anything to say. Nothing comes to me. I want to go.”

“You can leave anytime. If you want to get well you have to try harder.”

“I don’t see how this helps.”

“It helps me to find patterns of thinking. What does peace mean to you?”

“Peace? I’ve never thought about peace. Really. I guess it means like gardens and butterflies. Quiet. No, maybe some birds singing. Yeah and kittens chasing the butterflies around. Yeah, that’s what peace means to me.’

“That’s a postcard picture of peace but go deeper than a picture.”

“Peace isn’t perfection, is it? that’s what you want to me say isn’t it. Peace is impossible, it only exists in my imagination not in the world out there. There is no peace. Never ever going to be peace. Peace would be boring as fuck anyway. You know that, don’t you? Impossible.”

“Take a breath. That’s not what I mean but peace has a cost. In your picture who mows the lawn? Who plants the flowers? Peace isn’t an abstract thing.”

“I’m never going to get well, am I”

“Ready for the next word?”

“Yes.”

“Family.”

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

January
Thursday January 23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre – featuring ‘Yes The Poet’ https://www.facebook.com/events/577900226377507/ 

Sunday –  January 26 – 1:30 – feature: The Secret Handshake Gallery, 170A Baldwin (Kensington Market) – 1:30https://www.facebook.com/events/498405247456842/

March
March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April
April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Ours Alone

Ours Alone

the tenderness here

must remain here

only for the two of us

to enjoy to cherish

 

the sight of it

in the open air

in a public space

would sully it

 

turn it into performance

it would cease to be sacred

it would be an assault

on common decency

 

for two men 

to hold hands in public

for them to kiss

in front of innocent children



Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee at Capturing Fire 2020- sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Squeeze Me

Squeeze

he was squeezing

something on his jaw line

near the left ear

he’d stop

then go back to it

an ingrown hair 

another time he was scratching

a dry patch on his back

scratched until it was raw

but not quite bleeding

sometimes gnawing at finger nail

another time biting at something

on the inside his cheek

not every time we were together

 

we get together every couple of weeks

for a movie & food

for making out

it took a few years

before this squeeze pattern emerged

one that I recognize

I was once caught up

in small acts of self harm 

the pinched pimple

the scratched spot 

I know the odd satisfaction 

that comes from inflicting

tiny persistent

pain

on myself

I have the scar tissue to show for it

 

I was never into big self-harm

burns to the hands

criss-cross slits on the arms

I was satisfied by my small

micro-aggressions against myself

against my body

I treasure the body

he harms

how do I call attention

his micro-aggressions

I’m not a professional

no one ever called my attention

to how I treated myself 

I kept it too hidden

no one would see

the spot I picked till it bled

eventually that need left

 

not that I’ve seen him bleed

not until he tells me something more

than let’s play

then I’ll know

he wants more than comfort

There’s a relationship theory that what appeals most to us is something of ourselves that we see in others – some commonality – not sure where ‘opposites attract’ fits into that theory 🙂 For me, sometimes, the reflection of me I see in someone else is more a red flag than a red cape. This piece is about a real person – a guy I’ve been seeing for a couple years now – so we are quite emotionally & sexually compatible. He is not my mirror though & comes from a very different cultural background.

 

Part of my history is cutting – which took many forms besides the ones mentioned here – nail biting, pimple squeezing – thought I doubt if his comes from the same emotional place. His turned out to be a reflection of work-place stress. I did offer moisturizer a few times in case the itch was dry skin – rather than say ‘stop doing that.’ 

 

When I’ve been tempted to say something, to him or anyone else, I think first about my motivation, about my own past – as the piece says no one ever ‘diagnosed’ my actions. Perhaps because I grew up at a time & place where children weren’t diagnosed for such habits – now-a-days nail-biters get medication to behave acceptably. Also I wasn’t much of listener.

Teachers would say stop biting & I’d think ‘bite me.’ As I got older the unwillingness to take heed increased, in some areas. You drink too much – only meant I had to find a better crowd to drink with 🙂 Knowing better I could ignore via rationalization whatever someone disapproved – after all culture was wrong wrong wrong about the sordid sickness of queer so it was wrong about everything else too.

I’ve become a grateful that my sweet friend is comfortable enough to be himself around me – his quirks aren’t mine to correct but his presence is for me to enjoy. Besides he squeezes me in the best ways 🙂


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee at Capturing Fire 2020 – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Sunday –  January 26 – 1:30 – feature: The Secret Handshake Gallery, 170A Baldwin (Kensington Market) https://www.facebook.com/events/498405247456842/

Picture Perfect 2


2

Dan got off his bike to wheel it up the laneway behind the row of shops that included James Family Photo. No drunks back there this morning, he was glad to see. His Dad had bought the three-story corner building lot of stores shortly after their move to Toronto. They’d lived in one of the second-story apartments until his sister got married and moved out.

In the mid-80’s the Queen and River area wasn’t considered prime but over the years it had become very prime. So prime, his sister felt it was time to sell. Dan was unwilling to let go of the real-estate. 

He unlocked the rear security gate, pushed it open, locked it behind him again, double checked to make sure it was in fact locked. Some mornings he had forgotten to make it secure and would come out to find a drunk or two sprawled in the back space behind the store.

He then unlocked the actual back door to their part of the building, chained his bike to the railing of the back stairway that lead up to the second and third floors. Stairs only used by himself and sometimes Sandy, his shop assistant. Both floors could be accessed by the public entrance. Double checking his bike he unlocked the rear door to his downstairs shop. 

Over the years the amount of security needed had increased. What took his Dad a few minutes, now took nearly twenty. He turned off the security alarm but made sure it was still set to go off if anyone came to the back via the laneway. Surveillance cameras covered the front, the back, and even the roof. The roof cams were good for keeping an eye on racoons.

He turned master switch on for the lights in the shop. It took a few moments for them to illuminate the various display stands, racks and street front. He always enjoyed the flicker to life of the business. No, as long as he could afford it, James Family Photography would be centred here and not at the FairVista Mall.

He unlocked the front door from the inside and stepped out to Queen Street. The Classic Carafe Cafe in the corner spot of the building had been opened for a couple of hours. He was still a bit amazed that selling coffee and cookies was a viable business. 

“Morning, landlord. Blueberry, coconut, fresh out of the oven. ” Jill Haverly, owner of the Classic stepped out of the cafe with a coffee and muffin for him. Her apron was already dusty with flour.

“Do you stand at your window waiting for me to show up?” Dan asked.

“Don’t have to watch. Your vibration is felt when you are five minutes from here.” She laughed as he took the mug from her. 

“French vanilla?” He held it to his nose.

“Just for you. Was reading about you in the Globe the other day.” Jill said.

“Yeah. Hope it’s good for business.” Dan sipped his coffee. Since leasing the corner spot to her five years ago Jill had made sure Dan had a fresh morning coffee. If he didn’t step out, she’d send a couple of mugs over for him and his shop clerks.

“I didn’t realize you were so i.technically inclined. I took you for just another wedding photographer.” Jill said.

“Weddings were always my sister’s end of things. The end that brings in the money. Weddings, babies and now pets. My restoration work … ”

“What you did in that child porn case was more than restoration.” Jill took his empty cup and dashed the last drops onto the sidewalk.

“Morning boss.”

A short, heavy-set woman stopped to talk with them. Jill slipped into the Classic.

“Late night Sandy?”

“No later than usual, bossman.”

Sandy Reynolds had worked for James Family Photography for several years. What she didn’t know about cameras wasn’t worth knowing.

“You kick start the shop?” she asked.

“For the most part. You can fire up the net.”

“This’ll help.” Jill came back out with an espresso for Sandy. “Extra slow.”

Sandy tossed it back in one gulp. “Thanks I needed that. See you inside.”

“I’ll be in in a few minutes,” Dan saw Cliff Silver arriving to open up the Oil On Silver Gallery that occupied the retail space on the other side of the building.

“Thanks Jill. See you for lunch.”

“The usual will be ready. Tell Cliff I’ll send Peter over with his morning booster, if he promises not to offer him a job.” 

“You still sore about losing Steve to him?” Dan handed his empty mug back to her. Steve was baker apprentice to Jill for a year when Cliff offered him a job at the gallery. Peter was his replacement.

“Just joking. Better commissions on art than gluten free muffins.”

“Morning, Cliff.”

“That it is.” Cliff gave Dan a quick kiss on the cheek. “DeVida?”

Cliff prided himself on not only having a nose for art but one for scent. 

“Yes. You like?” 

“I like a man who smells good.” Cliff laughed. “Good enough to eat.”

“Maybe later. How did the Ocean opening go on the weekend?” He followed Cliff into the gallery.

“Tsunami, baby, tsunami. Sold nearly everything within the first hour.”

One wall of the gallery was hung with four different sized paintings of waves; each a different season and diffusing different light patterns. All by the same artist.

“I wasn’t sure about these; the sea seasons, but they went first, in fact.”

“Not sure?” Dan asked.

“Yeah, Halakia insisted, and rightly so, they go as a set. One hundred and eighty grand seemed likes a lot of money, even to me, but fuck they were gone so fast I could have had an auction for them and gotten twice that easily. Live and learn.”

“I didn’t think there was much left for you to learn?”

Silver’s Gallery was the one original shop in the building. It had been there for ten years already when his father bought the space. Like Dan, Cliff had inherited the family business. Cliff had the second floor removed to make the two interior walls large enough for such enormous paintings. The other two were ceiling to floor windows.

“Now to see if I can firm up the offers for this now.” He gestured to a large canvas that took up most of the other side wall. “Most apartments aren’t big enough for something this size.”

“How do you even paint something that large?”

“One brush stroke at a time.”

Peter, from Classic came in with a coffee and bagel. He stood expectantly in the centre of the space.

“I’ll leave you to it then Cliff. Oh by the way, Peter is off limits. That is if you value your caffeine.”

Dan went into his shop. Sandy was, as always dusting the shelves. She claimed it looked good to be busy when a customer enters. 

“The James domaine in shape?” she asked.

“As always.”

“Globe was good to you?”

“Yeah, well, I’d rather keep a lower profile about that sort of thing.”

“Helping to bust up a child porn network isn’t a bad sort of thing.”

“Not the sort of business I want to develop.” Dan had worked on a case of a man who was posting sexually explicit pictures of a child, he claimed to be his daughter, from various hotels in the States. The sex acts were clear but backgrounds had been photoshopped into blurs. Dan was able to reverse that blur and traced the photos to an actual hotel and from there to the man.

When Ushio, his other clerk, arrived, Dan went up to his office on the second floor. He took the compact lift he’d had installed two years ago to accommodate handicapped access by-law. Usually he took the stairs but he used it at least once a day to make sure it was in running order. Access to his third floor workshop was only by the stairs.

His office took up the middle of the block of the building. His workshop covered the entire top floor. It was one of the reasons he wasn’t going to let his sister talk him into selling the building. 

The workshop has originally been his Dad’s idea.  for research and development. One part of it was a dark room for developing film and experimenting with various ways of of printing negatives. All of which was now pretty much passé thanks to the digital age. Another part was devoted to state of the art digital image manipulation and photo restoration. 

Running the length of the back walls on both floors was the company archives. Negatives of nearly every photograph he or his dad had taken. His sister removed what she considered her portfolio when the FairVista location had opened. Dan didn’t really care what she wanted. But he knew what she couldn’t have.

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