Picture Perfect 48
Back in his motel room Dan logged on for a video call with Peter
“How is it going sir.” Peter asked.
“Good. Great. Now I nave a cohost though.” Dan typed Glaucia Vidro into search. Peter was able to see the results too.
“A psychic!” Peter said. “At least she doesn’t have a 1-800 number for instant tarot readings. What did she tell you about the case?”
“Nothing much but we’ve only just started. She seems … grounded enough though. Didn’t take any bs from Baxter.”
He told Peter about the war room and the list of suspects.
“Alien abduction? You have to be kidding. I … miss you, sir.”
“Good.” Dan found it hard to be so curt with someone else’s emotions. Sanjay was expressive at any opportunity. Love wasn’t about asking permission. Peter was the opposite. Asking him to housesit had been a no brainer.
“How are things there?”
“Nothing I can’t deal with sir. Mr. Kumar has come to the house twice to pick up his mail. I denied him entry as you instructed. I didn’t have to use the court order either. Just mentioned the name of your lawyer.”
“Sorry about that.”
“Don’t be. I don’t think he was prepared for me to be so … truculent, as he called me. He did threaten to kill me if we ever got married though.”
“No worry on that count Peter. It’s proving hard enough to rid myself of a man I wasn’t married to. Makes me grateful that I never tied that knot.”
“I understand. There is nothing to report from the Depot either. I stopped in at lunch and again before I came to ther house. Sandy says things are running smoothly but not as smooth a they would if you were there. “
“Sounds like Sandy.”
“Are you still planning to come back at the end of next week?”
“Yes. We’ll be moving the centre of operations, as Baxter calls it, to Stellerton after the first ten days. It’s more central to the other incidents. I’m sticking to my role as air personality as much as possible. If I’m not around there’ll no chance for them to get me to lug anything.”
“Heard anything more from Corporal Tyler?” Peter said. He pulled off his tee shirt. “Is it getting hot in here? Or is it just your eyes?”
“Nothing further from them. Warszawa has talked to the regional Staff Sergeant. I know enough about the politic of divisions that they’ll be more circumspect in future. He said they aren’t divulging anything about the tip that brought them to my door though. He’s not sure if there was a tip. They would have gone from cabin to cabin until they found the Daniel James they were looking for.”
“What!” Peter slid off his belt. “Why would something like that?”
“Probably pissed about the original Cold show that found connections they hadn’t realized where there. The studio didn’t alert them to it either.”
“So they found out the same way you did. When the show first aired?”
“Nope. When it was rerun a week later. Qunitex was forced turn over everything they had on the cases. Which wasn’t much as it turned out.”
Peter slowly unzipped his fly.
“Yes sir.” he pulled his fly back up.
“It’s nearly time for me to check in with my sister.”
“She hasn’t been to the Depot since you left.”
“Perhaps not in the flesh. Put your tee shirt back on.”
“I’ll call later if I get a chance.”
The screen went blank. Dan tapped the icon for his sister. He had made sure he would have electronic access to all transactions at both shops. Severing the contractual connections between the two branches wasn’t going to be as simple or as inexpensive as expected.
Looking over the figures he found himself nodding off.
Dan stood to the left and just behind Glaucia as she rang the door bell to the trailer. It took him a moment to realize that the foghorn sound was coming from inside. He could hear a radio or TV being turned down. The lace curtain in the door widow was pulled aside and a face peered out at them. The face smiled and the door opened sightly.
“You’ll have to step back for the door to open.”
He and Glaucia stepped down two steps to let the door open.
“Sorry about that.” The woman said. “Who ever designed this model didn’t think it through. Come in.” She held the door open for them. “Sometimes the wind will catch it and whack it against the trailer. That’s why there’s so many dents there. If I had known, about the wind, I mean, I never would have settled in here.”
Followed by Francie and Mike they squeezed past her and into the trailer.
At the front end there was a living room area with a couch, an armchair and a TV. The TV was on the weather channel but muted.
“I get all the news I need from the weather channel.” The woman sang. “Paul Simon – before your time I guess.”
“Yes.” Dan said sitting in the armchair. The couch was just large enough for two people. He didn’t want to be that close to Glaucia.
Clearly Stephanie hadn’t checked Mrs. McKay’s trailer for filming.
“Mrs. McKay, we’re from …” Glaucia began to explain.
“It’s Miss and I know, from the cameras, you’re from that TV show. I was told you were coming. My that’s a lovely shawl you have there Glaucia. I can call you Glaucia can’t I. I’ve read some of your articles in the Mystic Gazette. Is it from Richter’s. They make such lovely things there.”
“Yes, it is.” Glaucia answered.
“You must be Daniel James? You don’t look much like your father though. Then again, second-borns usually don’t. The first often do though. He’s passed away I gather.”
‘Yes but …” Dan began.
“Here, I’ve made us all some tea.” She stepped past Mike to the kitchen area of the trailer. “I baked scones. I do prefer the savoury ones, so I hope you don’t mind. It make them feel less like desserts. These are spinach and rosemary.” She put a tray on the coffee table.
Dan bit into one of the scones. It was still warm.
“You knew my Dad?”
“Not too well but he did come to McDonald Secondary for many years taking those student portraits. I only remember because the company that he sold out to sent such an idiot the next year. That man was a drunk. You know, he would show up smelling of alcohol at that time in the morning. He’d snap at the kids to behave when all they were doing was being kids. He only lasted that one year. So many of the schools complained. I don’t remember his name though. Your dad was so professional. Knew how to treat the children. I guess that came from being a father. It took us ages to get the pictures from the new company, too. They must that been sending them away to Scotland to be developed. Your Dad did his own work, most of the time, though maybe he sent stuff off too because there would have been thousands of him to look after so he wouldn’t have time, right.”
“You certainly like lighthouses.” Glaucia admired the lighthouse sun-catchers in the window.
“Oh, yes, ever since I was a little girl I wanted to live in one.”
There were various lighthouses around the trailer. Paintings, throw cushions embroidered with them, door handles on the kitchen cabinets, woven into the rug, even the table lamp in the corner.
“I know, it’s such a Maritime cliche but so am I, really. The spinster school teacher who never went further than a hundred miles from where she was born. It’s not that I didn’t want to travel mind you but once I graduated with my license I thought this is where I needed to be. I had parents to look after anyway. Plus I really did like the children. I couldn’t imagine moving away to leave these families behind. I mean, I did get to know the families. Often taught the mother, the father then the children, then the children’s children. Goodness me I knew some of them better than their own relatives.”
“How do remember them all?” Glaucia nibbled at her scone.
“Oh Glaucia I don’t. I only remember these because of what happened to them. It was terrible. When school started again that year the other children were so … scared … I tried to get them to talk about it but, well, we didn’t have any way to offer them emotional support. Things have changed, haven’t they, with all those school shootings in the States. Why one of the girls in my class started crying one day. Turns out her family was moving to Arizona and she was afraid she’d get shot in school. Imagine.” She got up, brushing crumbs off her lap onto the floor. “Don’t worry making a mess. Cleaning up will give something to do later.”
She went toward the back of the trailer. “I’ll get my file for you.”