Picture Perfect 50

Picture Perfect 50

The week old newspaper headline read. “RCMP Pranked”

A local detachment was sent to that ratty hotel on a goose chase. Ha! That comes as no surprise does it. They were never that bright. Whoever it was picked the right bunch to annoy though. These Quintex snoops. Maybe that will discourage them because they aren’t going to find anything. I made sure of that. If the Mounties didn’t find a trace of their man then these TV snoops will never find anything now.

That summer it was such fun watching McKillop and his half-assed deputies asking questions. When they interviewed me I knew they were desperate, clutching at straws. I did tell them the truth. Perhaps if they asked the right questions I might have told them more but they were just as bad as the other men though.

Sick minded men who wanted children for their own twisted needs. I could see that. I could feel that in their touch, when I let them touch me, that is. It was amazing to see how they stopped thinking when they got aroused. How they’d let their guards down and tell me anything. Fools that were so easy to fool.

But it doesn’t look that being made fools of will stop them from snooping around. Digging up all these old memories from people who have put the past aside, left it wherein belongs. It’s not as if they can bring those children back to life. Resurrection isn’t possible. At least not in the flesh. That flesh is gone but there are their faces again in the paper, on the TV. 

I wonder who they’ll find all that willing to talk about what happened? Because there is no one who knows. They couldn’t find anyone then could they. Sure they talked to parents. The guilt they’ve lived is what they deserve for being so careless as to let their children wander, let them out of their sight long enough for me to scoop them up.

It was so simple too. So trusting in those days. Not gullible but eager for distraction. All so willing except for that one boy. He knew I was up to something. I could see it in his eyes but he took the challenge. Thought he could out smart me. None of them could out smart me. I knew that by then. 

The Mounties were too caught up in their little turfs, their own precious little pastures, to even trust one another. They made it so easy to hide anything from them. Hide it right under their noses. 

How kind of Quintex to make their plans so public. This map shows where they’ll be each step of the way. Digging and interviewing. I suppose they end up talking to cousins, school teachers? Yeah, a lot of old bats by now. 

I see they’ve brought in some psychic. What a con that is. Like that Madama Cabanalla in the circus that year. I saw her two times and she didn’t even recognize me the second time. Told me crap about tall, dark strangers, money from an unexpected source and travel.

I knew exactly where the money was coming from, he wasn’t tall or dark, but she was right about the travel. I was so happy to get out here when that summer was over. So happy to leave everything & everyone behind.

It must be true there is no way you can escape the past, it always catches up to you. At least I can see it coming back and heading it off wouldn’t be that difficult. 

Dan was surprised to see Robert Warszawa in the war room.

“After talking with the district commander it was decided that a liaison between the force and Quintex was needed. Someone not in the employ of Quintex, I might add.”

“And you were nominated.” Dan said.

“With the case being officially reopened, the force wanted some one with an unbiased eye to step in. So this is your war room” Warszawa walked around the table and sat at the head of it. “Someone’s been watching too much TV.”

Curtis Baxter & Glaucia Vidro came into the room. 

“If it’s going to be on TV it has look like it always does on TV.” Baxter explained. “Pleased to meet you. I’m Curtis Baxter. ” He reached out and shook Warszawa’s hand. “Stephanie told me you would be arriving. I hope there is no … animosity between out show & the RCMP.”

“Nothing that can’t be dealt with. And this is?” Warszawa nodded to Glaucia.

“This is our psychic advisor Glaucia Vidro. I take you already know Daniel James?”

“Yes we’ve worked on a few cases in the past.”

“Let’s get down to business.” 

They all sat around the table.

“What did you find out from Miss McKay?”

Glaucia filled them in on their meeting with the school teacher. Dan nodded in agreement. Adding a few details here and there.

“One thing I wondered about.” Dan said. “Is this lack of communication with the communities. I’m sure the sub-divisions weren’t that isolated from each – so isolated that they didn’t have any idea what was going on. Would there be any reason one would withhold information from the others?”

“You mean deliberately to obstruct the investigation?” Warszawa asked Dan.

“I didn’t want to say it that directly.”

“You mean the officers here might not have wanted the suspect caught?” Baxter said. “Why?”

“It could have been someone they knew. Someone they felt they had to protect?” Glaucia said. 

“That’s a wild accusation.” W said. “Allegations like that need more substance to be taken seriously.”

“It would make some sense though,” Dan said. “The cases got buried fairly quickly.”

“The fact that they couldn’t find anything doesn’t mean they were buried, Dan.” Warszawa said.

“How do we know that?” Baxter said. “It wouldn’t be the first time evidence was lost or falsified to protect someone.”

“Who was the lead investigator for the case?” Dan asked Warszawa. 

“All I know is who was serving during that time. Most of those records have been warehoused. You know that Dan.”

“I know.”

“Warehoused? A good way to bury something, wouldn’t you say?” Baxter said.

“It’s standard procedure. We’ve been through that already. Everything eventually gets funneled to Ottawa for archiving. Paper gets shredded after so many years. Yes, they were using paper in those days. Not bytes.

“It could be on microfiche.” Warszawa suggested. “They had started do that in the late 70’s when it was clear there was more paper coming in & none going out. Now that the cases have been reopened they’ll be looking through the archives for what they can find.”

“How quickly can that happen?” Glaucia asked.

“If my memory serves me well,” Dan said, “We’ll be using when filming the sequel. Years probably.”

“We do know some of the officers are still alive though and we’re already talking with them to see what they recollect. Sometimes they keep their notes from cases that don’t work out. They want to get their man.”

“Great.” Dan said.

“Can you give a day to coordinate with other detachments in Nova Scotia. It will be efficient if they are prepare to cooperate than me showing up at their stations flashing my badge.” Warszawa said.

Baxter consulted the interview schedule on the wall.

“Okay. I can get Stephany can contact the one we have scheduled for tomorrow. We can pick it up later.”

“That’ll give me a chance to check out the Circus Museum.” Dan said.

“Circus?” Glaucia said.

“Yes. The one me and Timmy had planned to see the day before … we left.” 

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Picture Perfect 4

I’m sorry I forgot your names. I’m sorry I forgot your faces but I have never forgotten you. I’ll never forget you. Never. I know it was bad of me to forget so much when I took so much from you but you understood I did that to protect you. To keep you from being spoiled, like I had been spoiled, by a world you couldn’t be safe from. There was no one to protect any of you or I wouldn’t have found you each so easily it was like you were coming to me.

I know you understood. See I have still something to remember each of you. I never forgot where I kept these parts of you. Now I have your names. Perhaps I never knew your names. That wasn’t a part of the bargain we made, was it. I wanted only to protect you. To preserve your purity. Without names you would be even safer.

Seeing your faces again on that show brought back so much. I could almost hear your voices, feel your skin. Now all I have are those socks, these buttons. You didn’t mind that while I stole your lives I also stole these mementos of you. I left your faces and names unrecalled, till now.

I wish I knew which of you owned these little socks, these red buttons, this sheriff star. Maybe it was you Timmy. You were the biggest of them all. Such a rough boy, too. You struggled but couldn’t resist the potion. None of you could, but he fought the hardest till it overtook him. In the last moment he knew what was happening but by then it was too late. Too late.

None of you could resist the lure I set out for you. The promise of internal life. Well, that’s not what I told you but that was what I was really offering. A life everlasting and free of any stain.

What stopped me was the commotion. Press. Police.  I’d found it too easy. No not easy. It was never easy to watch the life flicker out of your eyes, the breath leave your bodies. That part was never easy.

Believe me I’m sorry I had to do what I did. I know you understand. That you forgive me for forgetting your names, your faces. I didn’t forget you. But I didn’t remember you clearly until that show. The missing children. Dorothy with your braids; Madeline and your sweet little brother. You couldn’t understand how he fell so silent in my arms. Your grandmother must have thought you were a big girl to leave you to tend him like that. I watched till she had gone into the house. Waited five minutes then you came so eagerly to me with him. So eagerly it was a joy to bring you to everlasting purity.

See I do remember you. You are will always be sweet young children. Wrapped forever in my arms.

Paula were these your barrettes? You had so many questions. Now you don’t need to know anything. How much sweeter it is not to need to know anything. I wish I didn’t know so much, you know, Paula. Being an adult isn’t fun. It isn’t. You have be responsible. Pay the bills. Clean the house. It isn’t always playing house. I wish I could have joined you somehow.

And Timothy. Yes, you were the boy with the sheriff’s badge. The cap guns. It was as if I had found Tom Sawyer, or was it Huckleberry Finn – all red hair and freckles. The perfect picture of a boy. 

Finally you David. The dreamer. Yes I think you were a dreamer. Afraid to leave your comic books behind. I let you bring this Spiderman. 

Yes I know there are more of you. I often wonder why no one missed those others. I spared you that indifference. You never felt it once I had rescued you. I hope not. Not a deeply as I did. No one will look for you.

I was scared, at first, when I realized someone was looking for any of you. As the show progressed I saw that I had done my work well. They had no idea. Not a clue. Wasn’t I clever. No, I didn’t have anyone to help me either. I didn’t realize I could be so clever. Fool all those people. Men. Women. All looking for what I saved. They never knew where to look. 

Maybe I should call them? Give them a clue about the others. How can I? There’s no way to be anonymous anymore. I see enough TV to know that. What with electric surveillance anything can be traced. Anything. All they need is one word. Is that enough for them to follow it back to me.

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#NaNoWriMo – a-gram – POV tango

Not enough hours in the day during November. Just passed the 40,000 word mark in my NaNo project – I’m happy with the way things are flowing and that I’m getting words down without being overly concerned with getting the right words on the first draft. In some spots I knew what emotional content I wanted so stated it baldly. I had make it more subtle in rewrite.

not the little pink sock

The same with inserting my research material. I have lots of facts and info on coal mining in the mid 1920‘s but rather than going to it constantly as I spew word I can put in correct terminology later. I  remind myself I’m not writing a how-to-manual either or a historical thesis on social life of the time – this is fiction.

I haven’t been able to find a way to fit in all my research – some of it would, I think, take over or call for more attention that my story needs – there had been an influx of blacks from the Caribbean imported to work in the coal mines – there is a great story there and I think even alluding to it would be unfair to their story.

little pink sock?

I’m also enjoying how scenes write themselves. When the miners went on strike they, at one point, rioted and looted & burnt down the company stores. My male protagonist gets caught up in this and we see events for his pov. In a later scene my female pov becomes an observer of the fire – but I wanted her to become more active but how? – well why not a burning building with a baby inside.

oh little pink sock – where are you?

melodrama that fits the writing of that era – she rescues the baby but gets snagged on the stairs trying to get out – my male protagonist steps up and frees her – information I didn’t have when I started the looting of the store. Now I can go back to his pov to add that rescue.nasample

It was night when they came to the surface with the rest of their level’s day shift. Birk headed straight to the wash up room after he hung his work clothes on their hook and pulled them up to the ceiling.

This was when he moved as fast as he could. The first in got the cleanest water. At first he wasn’t sure where the blood in the bowl was from then he recalled the dust up with Clancy. Showed him this little guy can’t be dealt with that way.

He glanced up at Clancy who was opposite him splashing water onto himself. He was trying to wash the grime out of his red hair.

“Yer hair will be black fer’ver m’son.”

“Only those don’t know how to wash have that problem.” Clancy replied.

“Get a move on,” one of the waiting miners shouted. “Some of us got dust to wash outta our arse hair too, you know.”

The miners laughed.

Birk dried himself quickly and got back into into his overalls and shirt. He could smell the clean of the shirt. His body ached for that big bed. Ah yes that almost made the day bearable now that he had that all to himself. Something to look forward too. No snoring Geo to deal with ever again.

“Same time tomorrow, soft arse.” Birk gave Clancy one last shove. “Keep pissin’ on them hands too or ya won’t last the week.”

Jake was at the exit gate waiting for him. Birk couldn’t wait to to tell him about the new guy he was breaking in.

When he got home he tugged off his work boots and socks. Tossed the socks and his face rag into a bucket and poured water over them. He’d scrub them out in the backyard later.

Blackie was home sitting at the kitchen table.

“Gotta another new guy. Why do I always get’ em. Manny got that sweet job in the yard. When’s the union gonna do something for me beside taking dues. I shoudda had that spot, you know. That Red Mac never liked me much.”

“My fault b’y.” Blackie nodded his head. “Should a been a mick. Not yer fault he takes his direction from the priest. Manny was the priest’s pet. You know that. Probably told Red Mac the devil would get him if he didn’t do right by Manny.”

“What about right by me. I’s been there longer ‘n him, too. But I showed that new guy his place fast enough.”

His mother came in from the backyard with some carrots from their garden.

“Jus look at these.” She held up a some stunted roots. “Soil here’s so bad nothing grows. I tires every year and its the same.”

Maddy followed her in with some daisies.

“Thank you little miss.” Birk reached for them.

“They’s for Geo.” she hid them behind her back.

“I should a guessed. How long for we eat?”
“When they get here. Sheila bringing a fish stew she made to thank me for the cake I baked.” His mother wiped at the table.

“I’ll be above.” Birk went to the stairs. “How’s Sal?”
“Still the same. Sat up for a spell though to look out the window. Weather’ll be fine soon to take her outside for awhile. Sunshine’ll fix her up fast.”

Birk went up to his room. Before he went in he looked in on Sal. She was propped up with a couple of pillows stroking the hair of a rag doll his mother had made for her.

“How’s my sweet sister today.” He said gently as he sat on the end of the bed.

“Don’t” Sal flushed in alarm. “Don’t get that dirt on dolly.”

“I …” Birk stood and walked out of the room.

He splayed on his bed and stared at the ceiling. At least his room didn’t want to be rid of him like his sisters did, like his new workmate did.

He drifted off to sleep to be wakened by loud laugher from below. His brother had arrived with his new wife. Same old Sheila but new all the same. He went down to the kitchen.

Someone with his back to Birk was talking to Blackie. The someone turned around. It was Clancy.

“Good, great news come rejoicing.” His mother said happily. “Yer brother has found someone to board here. Say hello to Clancy Sinclair.”

“We’ve met.” Birk said. “Board here? Where?”
“My room,” Goe said. “Thas a big bed. Yer used to sharing it.”

“Yeah with me brother not some soft arse who thinks I’m no better than a rat.”

little pink sock happiness

point of view

pov = point of view – in my NaNo novel I use multiple pov – every other scene told from point of view of my hero Harris. Others told the pov of people who have interacted with him – whose lives have also been caught up in his family curse – not everyone who gets caught up in it get a pov scene, mind you, but I wanted to explore just how this curse effects others – those who don’t remember the event at all & one who does remember –

My pov never changes mid-scene. When this happens in books I stumble a little as I read. It can work but, maybe because I’m too aware of it, it always pulls me out of the story, no matter how well it is done – I’m currently reading Book of Tongues in which this happens – the only drawback to an excellent book –

As I edit I am very careful about my use of pov – first draft, who cares, really – cutting where needed – some I wasn’t sure on first write if I was going to need them or go back to them – so I cut two major scenes between Harris’s parents in which they discuss recent events and the history of the curse – I realized these added more pov’s than I wanted. They offered information while slowing down the story itself. Any important information in them will be placed into other scenes.

I hated cutting these darlings as I liked the intimacy between Harris’s parents – but that wasn’t enough to keep them there, plus the story isn’t about their relationship. I also made sure the pov’s were limited to two – my hero & his ‘antagonist’ – by the second half of the book.

As I do these edits I wish there was a way to ‘preserve’ the cuts the way they often include bonus material on DVD’s – there’s often a bunch of deleted or extended scenes. The ‘writer’s cut’ version like the ‘director’s cut.’

……….

here’s one of those parent scene that got chopped:

Harris’s Dad opened the bedroom door. Helen was still sleeping. He stepped in, undressed as quietly as he could and slipped in beside her. He enjoyed the warmth of the bed, the smell of her, the sound of her gentle breathing, the heat of her body.

“Tom, that you?” she muttered letting a hand drop onto his stomach as she rolled away from him and onto her side.

“It’s not the pizza delivery man.” he spooned close to her.

“That’s good ‘cause he barely speaks English. You and Harris seemed to have more to talk about than usual. Everything all right with him.”

“The usual young man unmarried stuff.”

“He’ll find someone.” she snuggled into him. Pulling his free hand to her breasts. “You did.”

Tom nuzzled her neck. “That’s for sure.”

“What time is?”
“You got some place better to be lady?”

“No, but supper has be started. Laundry to be done.”

“It can wait.” he pulled her face to his. They kissed. “You know he doesn’t remember Clara at all.”

“My sister. You talked about her? Why?” she pushed herself away from him and sat on the edge of the bed.

“It sort of came up.”

“I told you how I feel about that bitch. She came here to pull us apart.”

“Helen that was decades ago.”

“She wasn’t your sister, sleeping with your family like that.” She stood and began to get dressed. “When we grew up she always wanted what I had, you know. Always. My Christmas presents would end up as hers if I didn’t fight for them. My parents never understood why I didn’t want to share. They never asked that bitch to share with me.”

“I know but …”

“Don’t start defending her. You know, that was only time we almost got a divorce. You know that don’t you. She almost succeeded in pulling us apart. Couldn’t stand to see me so happy.”

“Divorce!” Tom pulled his pants on.

“That’s right catching her in bed with Harris was the last straw after catching her coming on to you.”

“What! She never came on to me. Never.”

“You and Harris have one thing in common. Convenient memory.”

“When?”

“The first night she was here on that visit. She flirted with you right in front me and Harris. More than flirted.”

“Nah.”

“Believe me, a woman recognizes that sort of thing even when men don’t have a clue. You thought she was being nice I suppose.”

Tom recalled that first night. They went to the airport and picked Clara up. Came back to the house, got her settled into the spare room, had supper and then a blank till the next morning.

“She did seem a bit cool the next day, I suppose, but after the flight I figured she was just tired.”

“Tired! I was gone less than five minutes. She was pissed that I caught her with her hand down your pants. Saying something like she had find out what was making me so happy. I told her this was one thing of mine she couldn’t have. And you acting so innocent. I made sure you didn’t leave my sight. Then when we both caught her with Harris and you acting like it was nothing for Christ sake. She was a grown woman.”

“Harris was …”

“Not that again. He was an attractive lad and she couldn’t be blamed for not being able to control herself. Bullshit. You made it sound like it was his fault and I asked myself did I want to be married to man like you.”

Tom wondered did something happen between him and Clara? He had never considered it till now. This was the first time Helen had mentioned it. But he’d thought Helen was the end of his curse. Maybe she wasn’t?

“Once she was gone it was like nothing had happened. You’re right, Harris didn’t have any recollection of it. That made it easier for me to let of it too.” Harris’s Dad opened the bedroom door. Helen was still sleeping. He stepped in, undressed as quietly as he could and slipped in beside her. He enjoyed the warmth of the bed, the smell of her, the sound of her gentle breathing, the heat of her body.

“Tom, that you?” she muttered letting a hand drop onto his stomach as she rolled away from him and onto her side.

“It’s not the pizza delivery man.” he spooned close to her.

“That’s good ‘cause he barely speaks English. You and Harris seemed to have more to talk about than usual. Everything all right with him.”

“The usual young man unmarried stuff.”

“He’ll find someone.” she snuggled into him. Pulling his free hand to her breasts. “You did.”

Tom nuzzled her neck. “That’s for sure.”

“What time is?”
“You got some place better to be lady?”

“No, but supper has be started. Laundry to be done.”

“It can wait.” he pulled her face to his. They kissed. “You know he doesn’t remember Clara at all.”

“My sister. You talked about her? Why?” she pushed herself away from him and sat on the edge of the bed.

“It sort of came up.”

“I told you how I feel about that bitch. She came here to pull us apart.”

“Helen that was decades ago.”

“She wasn’t your sister, sleeping with your family like that.” She stood and began to get dressed. “When we grew up she always wanted what I had, you know. Always. My Christmas presents would end up as hers if I didn’t fight for them. My parents never understood why I didn’t want to share. They never asked that bitch to share with me.”

“I know but …”

“Don’t start defending her. You know, that was only time we almost got a divorce. You know that don’t you. She almost succeeded in pulling us apart. Couldn’t stand to see me so happy.”

“Divorce!” Tom pulled his pants on.

“That’s right catching her in bed with Harris was the last straw after catching her coming on to you.”

“What! She never came on to me. Never.”

“You and Harris have one thing in common. Convenient memory.”

“When?”

“The first night she was here on that visit. She flirted with you right in front me and Harris. More than flirted.”

“Nah.”

“Believe me, a woman recognizes that sort of thing even when men don’t have a clue. You thought she was being nice I suppose.”

Tom recalled that first night. They went to the airport and picked Clara up. Came back to the house, got her settled into the spare room, had supper and then a blank till the next morning.

“She did seem a bit cool the next day, I suppose, but after the flight I figured she was just tired.”

“Tired! I was gone less than five minutes. She was pissed that I caught her with her hand down your pants. Saying something like she had find out what was making me so happy. I told her this was one thing of mine she couldn’t have. And you acting so innocent. I made sure you didn’t leave my sight. Then when we both caught her with Harris and you acting like it was nothing for Christ sake. She was a grown woman.”

“Harris was …”

“Not that again. He was an attractive lad and she couldn’t be blamed for not being able to control herself. Bullshit. You made it sound like it was his fault and I asked myself did I want to be married to man like you.”

Tom wondered did something happen between him and Clara? He had never considered it till now. This was the first time Helen had mentioned it. But he’d thought Helen was the end of his curse. Maybe she wasn’t?

“Once she was gone it was like nothing had happened. You’re right, Harris didn’t have any recollection of it. That made it easier for me to let of it too.” Harris’s Dad opened the bedroom door. Helen was still sleeping. He stepped in, undressed as quietly as he could and slipped in beside her. He enjoyed the warmth of the bed, the smell of her, the sound of her gentle breathing, the heat of her body.

“Tom, that you?” she muttered letting a hand drop onto his stomach as she rolled away from him and onto her side.

“It’s not the pizza delivery man.” he spooned close to her.

“That’s good ‘cause he barely speaks English. You and Harris seemed to have more to talk about than usual. Everything all right with him.”

“The usual young man unmarried stuff.”

“He’ll find someone.” she snuggled into him. Pulling his free hand to her breasts. “You did.”

Tom nuzzled her neck. “That’s for sure.”

“What time is?”
“You got some place better to be lady?”

“No, but supper has be started. Laundry to be done.”

“It can wait.” he pulled her face to his. They kissed. “You know he doesn’t remember Clara at all.”

“My sister. You talked about her? Why?” she pushed herself away from him and sat on the edge of the bed.

“It sort of came up.”

“I told you how I feel about that bitch. She came here to pull us apart.”

“Helen that was decades ago.”

“She wasn’t your sister, sleeping with your family like that.” She stood and began to get dressed. “When we grew up she always wanted what I had, you know. Always. My Christmas presents would end up as hers if I didn’t fight for them. My parents never understood why I didn’t want to share. They never asked that bitch to share with me.”

“I know but …”

“Don’t start defending her. You know, that was only time we almost got a divorce. You know that don’t you. She almost succeeded in pulling us apart. Couldn’t stand to see me so happy.”

“Divorce!” Tom pulled his pants on.

“That’s right catching her in bed with Harris was the last straw after catching her coming on to you.”

“What! She never came on to me. Never.”

“You and Harris have one thing in common. Convenient memory.”

“When?”

“The first night she was here on that visit. She flirted with you right in front me and Harris. More than flirted.”

“Nah.”

“Believe me, a woman recognizes that sort of thing even when men don’t have a clue. You thought she was being nice I suppose.”

Tom recalled that first night. They went to the airport and picked Clara up. Came back to the house, got her settled into the spare room, had supper and then a blank till the next morning.

“She did seem a bit cool the next day, I suppose, but after the flight I figured she was just tired.”

“Tired! I was gone less than five minutes. She was pissed that I caught her with her hand down your pants. Saying something like she had find out what was making me so happy. I told her this was one thing of mine she couldn’t have. And you acting so innocent. I made sure you didn’t leave my sight. Then when we both caught her with Harris and you acting like it was nothing for Christ sake. She was a grown woman.”

“Harris was …”

“Not that again. He was an attractive lad and she couldn’t be blamed for not being able to control herself. Bullshit. You made it sound like it was his fault and I asked myself did I want to be married to man like you.”

Tom wondered did something happen between him and Clara? He had never considered it till now. This was the first time Helen had mentioned it. But he’d thought Helen was the end of his curse. Maybe she wasn’t?

“Once she was gone it was like nothing had happened. You’re right, Harris didn’t have any recollection of it. That made it easier for me to let of it too.”

…………

stsml