Picture Perfect 40

Picture Perfect 40

Dan sat in the lumpy armchair beside the desk. The blue leatherette cooled his back. What should he do first? He pushed his shoes off. That was better. Close the door? Nope, better leave it open in case the Corporal wants back in. Unpack more? They wouldn’t be there that long. In fact the first three interviews allowed for overnight stays and nothing more. No time unpack until they got to Stellerton. A shower seemed in order, but that would have to wait until he was sure the division was finished with him for the night. 

He went into the bathroom. The towels were scattered on the floor and the ceiling tiles Sergeant Tyler removed where in the sink. At least there wasn’t a big black foot print on the toilet seat. The motel sofas were lime-pine by Tarsly. They didn’t smell too bad.

He plugged the powercord back into the laptop. No use running the battery down. The flash screen for the motel wifi came back on. Did he have to re-buy the high speed? Nope. He went to google maps, put in the motel name, searched for food delivery. 

Only 3 places popped up. One that specialized in donairs? Dumphie’s Donairs. What was a donair? According the restaurant’s page it was something done to lamb – an east coast variation on Turkish dish. Why had he never heard of it before? Was it another of things hidden in his past? If he was going to re-immerse in the east coast a donair was as good a way as any. He place his order. 

Corporal Coster came back into the room. “You know who that was, right?” She glared at him. “I don’t appreciate anyone trying to go over my head to make a fool out of me.”

“That wasn’t my intention.”

“Quintex should be more … forthcoming. Contacting  the Force’s Public relations department would have been a smart move.” she said. 

“Agreed. Not my department. I’m just a hireling.”

“With connections.” she said.

“Your tipster didn’t have access to the whole picture.”

“Perhaps. But thanks to your buddy, Inspector Warszawa, we have more of it.”

There was knock at the cabin’s screen door.

“You okay?”

“Sounds like Sergeant Tyler is getting impatient. Newbie?”

“You could tell?”

“Been one myself. Lots to prove in front of the old hands.”

“Try to keep us posted of what’s going on.”

“Here’s the itinerary for the shoot while we’re here.” He handed it to her. “Subject to change.”

She read it over. “Ambitious. You got the sequence wrong though.”

“You mean the dates of the abductions. I know but that too isn’t my department. I go where I’m told. Their editors will make sense of it all. I’ll suggest they make someone a liaison with the local detachments.” 

“There’s a Dumphie’s here.” Tyler annoucned.

“That was fast. Send him in.” Dan said.

“I’ll leave you to your dinner.” She left the cabin as the delivery man came in.

“Hi! Carol busting another grow op?” He asked her as she passed him.

“Not tonight, Jim. If we need to fill our quota I’ll put a tail on you.”

“Yeah, right. You can’t afford the gas the way I run around some nights.”

“See you around Mr. James.” She let the screen door slam shut.

Dan paid for the food. 

“Something goin’ on out here?” the delivery man asked. “They don’t drop in for no reason.”

“Ask the Corporal next time you see her.”

The delivery man frowned. “Be that way.”

Once he was alone Dan levered the door shut and locked it. He untucked the bed and turned it down to air it out. There was nothing in his email to reply to. He went to his Lyfend storage to look over the pictures his camera had taken while he was in transit. 

The Capture/Send feature was one of his favourite features of this model. With that setting he could have it automatically take pictures every five seconds to five minutes and send them directly to his storage dropbox. Hands free photography.

Depending on where he pinned the lens it was as good as any bodycam and less obtrusive. Plus his storage box was bottomless.

The shots at the Pearson were clear but cluttered with people. He sorted them all into the No file. The ‘No’ meant they wouldn’t show up every time he checked his storage. The same with his flight though he did keep a couple of the handsome father and son getting into and out their seats a few rows ahead of his. 

His eyes quickly tired so he stopped looking at things. They were still recovering from the set to he’d had with John Kilpatrick at the Depot. He had used the drops the ophthalmologist had prescribed a few times then stopped. The swelling had done fast enough and his vision was clear. The hour of resting his eyes in the dark was impossible. He’d been lucky to manage ten minutes each time. 

He could never find a place where an hour of silence was possible. The apartment at the Depot would have perfect if no one knew he was there. He refused to shut his cell phone off in case he missed a call for his lawyers who had been dealing with Sanjay’s demands for some sort of palimony when he realized Dan was serious about ending their relationship and pulling the plug any financial support. He had another lawyer handling the split of James Photos so the Depot and the FairVista location were independent of each other in all matters. 

The naming of names was one of the contentious issues. Linda wanted full rights to James Family Photographers and Equipment. Dan was willing to drop the James from the Depot signs and advertising. He’d been calling it simply The Camera Depot’ for last couple of years. But he wasn’t willing to change the name of his personal business -Daniel James Documents and Photograph Restoration. If she had the right to capitalize on the James name for her business so did he.

It was the contractural complexity of the Lyfend relationship which named him as their sole North American agent at the FairVista location. FairVista was focused on exclusivity which Lyfend offered. The FairVista lease was with James Family Photographers not Lyfend. Did he need yet another lawyer?

He could smell something in the room & remembered his Dumphie’s Donair. He took the styrofoam box out of the bag. The pita wrapped sandwich was in silver foil which he unrolled & took a bite. He had to hold it over the box to keep the sauce from dripping on his laptop. 

Not too unpleasant he thought stepping into the shower. He’d have another. Maybe he’d enjoy the shoot more than he expected.

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Picture Perfect 39

Picture Part 2

Picture Perfect 39

Balancing his luggage Dan held his point and click camera to his eye and took a couple of pictures of the cabin door. The door opened slowly to the electronic key with an audible creak. Inside Dan put his suitcase down to shut it. The door wasn’t cooperating. He slung off his shoulder bag and put it on the bed and went back to the door. He had to lift it slightly by the knob to fit it into the door frame.

Just what he needed, another sign that things weren’t going to go so smooth. At least he was here in New Brunswick as the Waterside Motel. He opened his shoulder bag and took out the production schedule for the five weeks of the shoot. Places, distances, dates, times, drivers, motels, b’n’b’s, with no time-out between each. He was glad he’d had his breaks included in the contract.

Baxter talked big money but spent small. At least Dan wasn’t saddled with booking his own motels. If he was, they would have been half-a-star better. He was only here for two nights so he didn’t even bother unpacking more than his interview drag. Those sport coats couldn’t show a wrinkle for the HD camera. The pale blue shirt would need to ironed. That wasn’t in his contract.

He put his camera on the bedside table. He got his laptop out of his shoulder bag. Swallowed the last gulp of orange juice in his travel mug. At least this place had wifi. He turned on the laptop and while it was starting, found the outlet to to plug it in. He had to choose: did he want the TV or the laptop plugged in? At least there was a desk to put it on, too bad it faced the wall, while the TV merely blocked half the window.

The motel splash page came up first. There was free wifi but if he wanted higher speeds he would have to pay more for it. It would be charged to his room. As Quintex was paying for that, he opted for the highest speed.

There was a knock at his door. “You decent?”

It was Baxter himself. Dan pulled the door open. “Come in. I was just getting started.” He gestured to his laptop.

“Utilitarian,” Baxter glanced around the room. He breathed deeply. “Stuffy. Damp.”

“Lives up its name – Waterside Motel.”

“There’s a difference between being water side and being in the water.” Baxter brushed the quilt before sitting on the bed. “You ready for tomorrow?”

“Yeah. Interview is with the Forestier’s. I’ve read the background stuff. They have some photos I’ve never seen before. I’ll look at them to see what I might see in them. I have the set of questions your researcher has provided. Plus a few of my own. It’ll take more than a hour to get through them all you know.”

“No problem as long as you stick to them. We have to …”

He was interrupted by a loud knocking at the door.

“You order a pizza?” Baxter asked.

Dan stepped to the door when it was shoved open.

Two RCMP officers strode in.

“Daniel James?” A thick set, tall female glared at him. 

“Yes. What can I do for you Corporal?” Dan recognized her rank patch.

The other officer reached for the laptop. “Couldn’t wait for the filth, eh.” He muttered squinting at Dan then Baxter.

“John!” She silenced him. “I’ll do the talking.”

“What’s this about?” Baxter stood.

With all of them standing there wasn’t much space left for them to move in the tiny room. She handed Baxter a piece of paper. “I’m Corporal Coster. This is Sergeant Tyler. From the local RCMP detachment. We have a warrant to search the premises and to seize all electronic devices on a charge of attempting to purvey child pornography.”

“What!” Dan said.

“You heard her, asshole.” The male office nudged Dan out of his way as he left the cabin with the laptop. “I’ll take this out to Sergeant Palmer.”

“Then you’ll be impounding the truck, too?” Baxter asked.

“Truck?” she asked.

“Yeah the remote studio we brought with us.”

“Studio.” The male officer exploded. “You ….”

“There must be some confusion,” Dan said. He took out his wallet and flipped it open to his RCMP consultant badge.

Coster looked at the badge carefully. 

“We have a report that members of a child pornography ring were setting up shop here.” She said.

“Where did you get this report from?” Dan asked.

“I’m not at liberty to divulge that.” She handed him back his wallet. “We’ll be taking that.” She nodded to his cell phone. “What?” Baxter said. “We start filming tomorrow.”

“Not our problem.” The male officer said. “We’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

“You can’t …”

“Read the warrant,” Coster cut Baxter off. “We can and we will and we have.”

“There must be some misunderstanding.” Baxter said reaching to stop her.

“Don’t.” Dan pulled him back. “Corporal … ”

“Listen,” she turned to face Dan. “I don’t care who you know or what you think will impress me.” She gave him back his wallet.

Dan’s cellphone rang.

“Hello,” The male officer answered it. “I’m sorry he can’t speak to you right now. … No! I won’t take a message …” He turned the phone off. It rang again. A different ring. Dan recognized it as Sanjay’s ring.

“Popular man.” The male officer said. “I guess your buyers network knew when you’d be getting here.”

“Of course people knew when we’d be getting here.” Baxter said. “I can give you a list starting with my pre-production manager who will be calling to confirm locations for tomorrow. We’re from Quintex Studios.” He attempted to hand his business card to the Sergeant. “Surely you’ve heard of us?”

“Look,” Coster glared at him. “Your cover story has been blown already. Just because we’re small town doesn’t mean we are stupid.”

“There’s a difference between being stupid and being wrong.” Dan said. “But finding out how wrong you are is up to you.”

The room phone began to ring.  Dan automatically reached to answer it. The male officer grabbed it up before Dan could get to it.

“Hello. Hello. They hung up.”

Dan read through the warrant. “You only have access to my laptop not my cellphone. And certainly not Mr. Baxter’s. The truck is also off limits. Not mentioned here.”

“It’s good for all electronic recording devices.” She said.

“That’s not what it says.” He read aloud the section that set out the perimeters of the warrant. “That’s pretty clear. Only the laptop in this cabin is liable for seizure. I’ll have my cellphone back, please.”

Reluctantly she gave it back to him. 

“Sergeant check the bathroom.” She said to Tyler. “That is listed is it not?” she said to Dan.

“Right. The premises is your. The laptop is yours to search. The warrant doesn’t even extend to my luggage.”

“Okay. So you know about search warrants.” She said.

“Who is the division captain?” Dan asked.

“Brian McKillop.” Coster said.

“Look, you can’t do this,” Baxter said. “We’ve been planning this for months now. I have all the permits, waivers from the families, you know, real documentation, not some trumped up goose chase …”

While Baxter was talking, Dan sent a text to Warszawa with McKillop’s name a question mark and a 411, a code for ‘contact this guy’.

“It was there.” Sergeant Tyler came out of the bathroom with a spindle of dvd’s. “They were in the ceiling where we were informed they’d be.”

“Shouldn’t you be wearing gloves Sergeant Tyler,” Dan said. “You’ve already contaminated the evidence.”

“I’ll contaminate you, you fucking perv.” Tyler pushed his face close to Dan’s. “You make me sick.”

“How did that get there!” Baxter exclaimed looking at Dan.

“Don’t ask me. I had barely opened the door when you came in, then these guys were right on your heels. Right?”

“You bet.” Tyler said.

“The tip told us your accomplices were here earlier in the week to leave this for you for pick up.”

“So, I guess you’ve checked to see who has rented this room recently?” Dan asked.

“Not yet.”

“Get back to me when you’ve done all your homework then.”

“Let’s check out this guy’s cabin.” Tyler said.

“Better get a warrant for that,” Dan said. “Yours only covers my laptop. It said nothing about other rooms. But we’ll let that pass, for now.”

Another officer came into the cabin with Dan’s laptop. 

“It’s clean.” He put the laptop back on the desk.

“Clean? Are you sure Palmer?” Tyler said. “He must have a flash drive somewhere.”

“You can search where you want Corporal.” Dan dumped the contents of his shoulder bag on the bed.

“They cannot,” Baxter exploded. “They …”

“Listen Baxter,” Dan said. “Why don’t you go back to your cabin and let me deal with this. There’s nothing …”

“You call these nothing?” Tyler shook the dvd’s at him.

“I’ll take those.” Sergeant Palmer took the container out of Tyler’s hand. “His laptop doesn’t have a dvd drive.”

Baxter laughed nervously. “What the fuck. I guess you’re right Dan, I’ll let you handle this.” He started to leave the cabin.

“Hold on.” Tyler followed him. “What’s this truck you were talking about.”

“In the parking lot.” Baxter said. “You can’t miss it.”

Tyler pushed past him and left the cabin. Baxter went after him. “Call me later.”

“Do you have any idea of what’s going on here?” Corporal asked.

“I don’t know.” Dan said. “I got off an airplane less than two hours ago.”

“Who knew you were coming here?”

“According to Baxter, millions of people.”

“Millions?”

“The reality show we’re making has been promoted on the History network for at least a month. Plus cross promo.”

“The one about the missing children?” she rubbed the back of her neck.

“Yep. I am that Daniel James.” He reached out to shake her hand.

“Christ, I never put that together. I’ll ask that again. Who knew you’d be here? Here at the Waterside?”

“Good question.” Dan had been too caught up in what was going on to wonder why it was going on. “I didn’t know what motel we’d be using until I got the plane in Toronto this afternoon. I didn’t even have time to tell my office manager or even Sanjay.”

“Sanjay.”

“My … lover.”

“Right. So only the production people would have known.” She asked. “Why would someone want to do something like this?”

“Someone who doesn’t want the show to go on.”

Sergeant Palmer came back into the room. “I did a quick look at random dvd’s and there is adult material on some of them – but as far as I saw no children were involved.”

“That fucking queer made a pass at me!” Sergeant Tyler stormed back into the room. 

“What?” Sergeant Palmer said.

“Yeah! He said I look good in a uniform and he was sure I would look better out of it.” 

The Corporal covered her mouth as she began to laugh. “Tyler! Tyler! What am I going to do with you.”

“What are we going to do with these pervs?” Tyler made a fist. 

“Nothing for now. It seems we have been misled. But …” she became serious. “Mr. James we will be keeping an eye on all this. I can tell when something isn’t right.”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees  sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

What am I worth?

According to amazon.uk my 1977 chap book Distant Music is worth £59.95 !! plus shipping – Even some US sellers. Who knew? I was just checking google/yahoo search engines to see what my name might pull up – mainly to see how high in those lists my blog would appear –

Planning to do a down east set at the Art Bar next month it seemed fitting that I’d get a reminder of the chap book that was published while I was still stranded there. I had attended the University of New Brunswick summer writing workshops a couple of years in a row. I got to workshop with Alden Nowlan, M. Travis Lane, even John Metcalf.  Fred Cogswell enjoyed my work and had Fiddlehead publish the chap book.

stairs to where

I slaved over the manuscript. Those were the days of retyping an entire page if there was one typo – very labour intensive – no spell check either – sadly I never saw the proofs before it went to publisher and the book was fraught with errata – some my fault, many were typesetting problems. But I was in print. I did my own cover design as well.

It has lots of that over emotive angsty young man stuff ‘Our voices/Heard as echoes/Over the windless/Barren plains of speech’  Lots of rambling, multi-part things & several rather short (for me) pieces. Some of it still holds up, I think, even though I was capitalizing every line & even using punctuation

I have read a few pieces from it at past features but given time constraints that is rarely feasible. I’ll have a copies with me for sale at my Art Bar feature. I’ve also put together a chapette book for the reading – all the pieces I read will be in it plus a few bonus cuts. I did this last year for a feature and it worked out well. $3.00 for the chapette or free if you buy the Fiddlehead chapbook at $10.00. (Update May 2019: I have a few copies left – $25.00 paypal.me/TOpoet )

……….

from Distant Music

Black Flies

Expectations

Reduced

To chance encounters

Stories to share

Suffering to compare.

Mysteries

Unfold

Careful scarves

Spare realizations

Fleshy destinations.

Darting black flies

Looking for blood.

……

blackcoat

@TorPoet

@TorPoet