Picture Perfect 89

Picture Perfect 89

“You are right. There isn’t much residual energy of her here. Too much testosterone in this room since she was last here.” Jennifer went to the window. “Is that the tree she liked.” A tall maple dominated the view from the window. “I mean the one behind the maple. That maple wasn’t there when she was here.”

“What about the leaf in the envelope?” Dan asked.

“One of the twins put that there.” 

“Seal.” We planted two maples when they were born. We cut one down. But I …I don’t think she had a favourite tree. Paula was more an indoor child. Now that you mention, it I don’t think she had a favourite anything. No dolls or stuffed animals she had to have near her. Same with her clothes. What she wore was never a big thing.”

“Until the Banshees.” Dan said.

“Yes. That last year she became more … I guess the word is ‘aware’ of herself as a woman. She knew how much it aggravated her step-mother as well.”

“She wanted the attention.” Jennifer said. “I doubt if she was a real fan of any band. This one worked. If it hadn’t she might have tried Madonna to get the reactions she wanted.”

“I need a break.” David said and left the room.

“This is a wrap for now.” Brenda said. “Take, say, an hour. I’ll talk with Mr. Morrison and see what’s up.”

The camera crew went downstairs. Brenda motioned Dan & Jen to stay in the room.

“Do you think we’re getting anything here. I mean neither of you seem to be picking up any vibes or clues. No new information.”

“Perhaps not but he does confirm the ineffective way the constabulary dealt with things.” Jennifer said.

“We already know why these children were never found. That isn’t strong enough.”

“So we’re back to stretching things out for 90 minute episodes.” Dan said. “You want me to accuse him of molesting his daughter which forced her to run away.”

“My God.” Jennifer paled. “You mean she might not be one of the victims after all?”

“Abuse is something the RCMP would have suspected. They do that in all cases of missing children.”

“Now they do. Did they back in the eighties?” Brenda asked.

“I’d have to see the actual case file. You know, the files that the division has been unable to locate. I don’t get that vibe from him.”

“I don’t get that from the house either.” Jennifer said. “But the minute you suggested that it give me the sort of chill I get when an ugly truth is revealed. Someone was seriously traumatized in this house. Perhaps this room. But the weird shape of this house does things to energy.”

“He’s right about pyramid power?”

“Oh yes. This shape attracts and channels an energy your average house doesn’t.”

“I’m for talking with him some more.” Dan said. “At least to find out who saw her after she left here. Maybe, she did go the reserve. She’s the oldest of the children that went missing and was clearly more involved in a world outside of the home and school.”

“I’ll talk with Mr Morrison and see how he feels about going on.”

“I’m going to take a stroll around the grounds.” Jennifer said. “Do your eyes only work on photographs?”

“No. It took me a few years after I left the force to stop seeing all rooms as crime scenes. I don’t know if I want to get back into that head set.” 

They walked down to the first floor & outside.

“Did you ever wonder why it is your photo eye is so acute?” Jennifer asked. “You’ve had specialized training but you make connections that go beyond training.”

“You suggesting I might have some psychic powers?”

“Strong intuition …”

“I just remembered something.” David Morrison joined them. “Follow me.” They walked over to one of the domes. “When the RCMP decided to follow up on our fears they found her bicycle at her cousins. That’s when they concluded she had run away with them.”

He opened the door into a dome. 

It was stacked with plastic storage boxes, chairs, sofas, a covered rack of clothing, gardening equipment. He stepped aside to let camera man into the dome to take a shot of the interior.

“It’s back here. Give me hand with this.” With the help of the other camera person he slid the covered rack away from the wall.

Dan coughed with the dust and left the dome when the dust got into his eyes.

“It’s been decades since I moved anything around this far back in here.” David said. 

Dan’s eyes began to water as he sneezed repeatedly.

“You alright.” Jennifer asked him.

For a moment he couldn’t see anything. “I’ll be okay.” He blinked his eyes but they didn’t clear up. “I think I better wash my eyes out. That dust has done a number on them.”

Brenda lead him to the remote truck. “I’ll see if they have any water.”

“Bottled.” Dan said, “I don’t want to risk the well water.”

“How does that feel?” Brenda asked.

“Better. The stinging is gone.” He blinked tentatively. Things were clearer. One of the crew handed him a towel. He carefully dried his face and around his eyes. He could hear coughing and hacking as the others exited the dome. 

“Sounds like I’m not the only one.” he said.

“No.” she said. “Everyone had to get out of there thanks to that dust or whatever it is.”

“I hope it isn’t toxic.” He opens his eyes more fully. He took a deep breath. His heart was no longer racing. Cameron was placing a wet cloth over his eyes.

“Fuck!” David sat on the bench beside him. “Sorry about that. I guess there had been some pesticide stored in there. But I did find the bicycle.” He sneezed & his nose began to bleed. “Shit!” He dashed into the house.

“Maybe we should call it a day.” Stephanie said. “I’ll check with Morrison to see if he’s ready to go on.” She went into the house & came back a little later.

“What did Morrison say about continuing the interview?”

“If we can wrap it up today. Seal will be here tomorrow, Wolf the day after. It’s their birthday and this year they’re coming home to celebrate. Neither wants cameras around.”

“Let’s do it then.” Dan said.

He & Jennifer went into the house with the camera crew behind them. 

“Mr. Morrison.” He called out.

“Up here Dan.”

Morrison was in the glass peak of the house reclining on a day bed with a pyramid awning to protect it from the sun. It was in the centre of the room.

“I come here to focus the energy on me.” he said though an iceberg on his nose. “It works.”

“What about the bike?” Jennifer asked.

“I was found close enough to Whycocomagh for the investigators to assume she had been there before she took off. They also thought the guys were lying – you know the way native’s can’t be trusted. Talk to them.” He got up carefully.

“You might want to talk to her cousins.” Morrison walked down the stairs.

“The one she supposedly ran away with?” Dan asked.

“Yes. By the time they came back to the reservation no one wanted to question them about her. They did tell the RCMP that she wasn’t with them. They hadn’t see her that day either.”

“I’ll suggest that to the producers. We still have another family to interview. Once they are all done we’ll see where things stand for needing more information.”

“Okay. Stay in touch regardless.”

“Before we go I was wondering if you had any school photos of Paula. You know those portrait sets.”

“I don’t think so. I’ll ask my boys when they get here. They were so keen on her. In fact Seal has her notebooks. So he might have those pictures too.”

“Stephanie will be in touch with you if we need more for the interview. You touched on the same things the other parents did. The lack of cooperation on the part of the RCMP seems to come up a lot.”

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Danforth Potholes

In Toronto we’re at the edge of post-covid19 life as the retail world returns to life, within safety protocols, that is. Stores have signs that say maximum capacity 121, while others say no more than 4 at time. Some say ‘for rent’ not having survived the prolonged lockdown. I suspect some took the lockdown as a sign to close up a business that was merely breaking even. 

Some that did close were fairly popular coffeeshops that subsisted on their takeout business anyway. Maybe the per sq. foot costs weren’t being covered by the sale of elevated cupcakes? Some places that survived have cut back their hours – no longer opening a 9 a.m. but at 11 a.m., or in some cases not until 2 p.m. Others are ‘by appointment only.’ I suppose the $ saved in operating costs helps their bottom lines.

Several have been replaced by similar business, chains like A&W or Burger King. The most invasive had been, what I call potholes. Marijuana dispensaries – that have taken over video, buy-your-gold, stores. Some have obvious names – High Time, Natural High, Neighbourhood Joint – others aim for a different ‘class’ – Canvas, Tokyo Rose (?). At least one has gone ‘native’ naming itself after one of the original land-owners. Cultural appropriation or perhaps the owners are natives? I don’t care to find out because even if they are, it is still a marketing ploy.

Last summer I did several photoblogs of ghosts – stores that had shut down due the pandemic – without cash flow they didn’t survive. I stopped taking those pictures as it become increasing depressing to see that covid19 wasn’t merely killing people but also opportunity. I’d say killing ‘the economy’ but lets face it big pharma is raking in the bucks. 

As for the potholes that have shown up all over Toronto – I guess they are better than abandoned storefronts.

Kharis 

<>

is this the last wrap

or the first

the first wrap was a tissue

of lies

‘oh i’m fine’

I used that wrap

over & over

until the tissue

was a layer

layer after layer of

‘oh i’m fine’

‘i don’t mind’

‘how can i make you happy’

walking away

rather than add another layer

hoping nothing had caught

no thread was snagged

on a expectation

an exception

on resurrecting love

<>

I was protected

entombed by safety

by the fact

that all anyone wanted to hear

was ‘oh i’m fine’

‘this bandage solution will do’

‘you deserve to be fixed first’

<>

bound tight

peering at life though the slits

surrendering to the weight of history

pushed along by an unquestioned past

by ritual expectations

controlled by the clasp of gauze

layer upon layer after layer

some turned to dust

some turned to scar

some turned to face the sun

reaching for release

<>

decayed tissue 

dust motes settling in the moonlight

‘how can i make you happy?’

‘how can i unravel the book of life’

can i survive

without another layer

of this tissue

this scar tissue of lies

‘oh i’m fine’

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Picture Perfect 88

Picture Perfect 88

“Do you have any other photos for me?” Dan asked.

“There’s albums full of them. Most after the boys where born. Madeline wasn’t fond of pictures where as Rosemoon was.”

“Can you remember if there was there anything going on at that time. In the area I mean.” Dan asked as he looked over the family photos.

“Festivals.” Jennifer explained. “That sort of thing.”

“Happy Hippo?” Dan stopped at one of the photos. It showed Paula being helped into a ferris wheel seat. The helper was Winston Chamberlain.” 

David took the album from him to check the photo. “That was in Sydney. Hippo never stopped at small places like this. They’d put up flyers as they drove through but never pitch a tent. This was the summer before anyway. I don’t even remember if they came through that summer.”

“If they had we would have skipped it anyway. We did go back to Sydney though but for a couple of funerals at Eskasoni.”

“The reservation outside of Sydney?” Dan asked.

“Yes. Some teens were found dead. Alcohol poisoning we were told. Come to think of it they had been reported missing too but were found in the woods a few weeks later. Rosemoon knew the family.”

“I sort of recall that incident myself.” Dan said. “We lived in New Waterford. My mom said ‘let that be lesson about drinking’.”

“Break time.” Brenda came into the house.

Dan glanced at his cell. He didn’t realize how much time had passed. He stood and stretched.

“They are right.” David said. “You forget about the cameras quickly.”

“If it’s a good interview you also forget about the passage of time. How do your sons feel about their past?”

“They were cool about it. Wolf started to write a book about Paula. The truth about the past made him too uncomfortable and so it turned into Gone Sister.”

“Yes I’ve read some of it. More about a sister who was never there than one who vanished.”

“Yeah. For me that was the one weakness about the book. You never knew anything about her. How she disappeared. Not even what happened after she disappeared. It felt incomplete. But critics loved it. The anti-mystery one of them called it. I found it anti-climactic and told him so.”

“I’ll have to read it for myself.” Dan said. “How much of break do we get?” He asked Brenda. 

“Half-an-hour. We’re changing the set up for another location.”

“I’ll be outside if you need me.” Dan walked around the green-house domes. He contacted Warszawa.

“Robert can you find information about child deaths in eight-four? I don’t mean just suspicious ones but for any reason? …. It’s just a hunch but maybe missing children aren’t the only ones this killer came in contact with …. And could we find out about native children? Would they be included or are their records kept separate? … Yeah I know too many toes to tread on. I’ll be getting our researchers on it too.”

He went back to the porch. This time they were set up outside with a couple of the domes in the background.

“You going to tell people what these are?” Jennifer  asked. “Otherwise they’ll think we’re on the set of some scifi movie.”

“All we need is an eye superimposed over the pyramid we’ll look like we’re on the American dollar.” Cameron said.

“True but the proportions are wrong.” David said. “The Eye of God on the dollar only takes up about tenth. My roof is exactly a third. It is the only part of the house that maintains the Egyptian ratio. The base isn’t pure. But the house does keep my razor blades sharp.”

Dan looked at Cameron then Jennifer for some sort of understanding of what David had just told them.

“What no one here up on their pyramid power?” David laughed. “Beside channelling energy to make plants grow, to keep me from growing older any faster than I am, true pyramids supposedly keep razor blades sharp.”

“How about your piano playing?” Jennifer asked.

“I don’t … oh I get it you’re pulling my leg.” David giggled. “Good one.”

After a fast dusting by make-up they were ready to continue.

“You were telling us about the days before Paula vanished?”

“Other than the tiff between Rosemoon and Paul it was fairly routine. Looking after twins was more of a challenge than we expected. Paula was too young to be of real help. The boys were squalling and sleepless. Paula had been much easier to bring up.

“It wasn’t any worse that their usual set to’s. I had become used to them by then and had learned not to come between them but to take the boys out of the house. Doors were slammed and Paula left the house. Her last words” … he faltered … “were ,’You never see me again.’ We never did.”

“Do you have any of her things? Clothes. Toys. Doc Martins?” Jennifer asked. “Dan can read photos, so can I to a certain extent. But it helps to be near things she actually handled.”

“Sure.” David got up. “I should have thought of that. The boys took over her room. Some of the furniture is still there. Bookshelves. Her desk. It took me a couple of years to dispose of her clothes. Even if she came back they wouldn’t fit her anymore.”

“That must have been difficult.” She followed him into the house.

Cameron hoisted his camera to follow them. Dan followed Cameron with Francie on camera behind him. On the wall by the stairs leading up to the second floor was a large framed photograph of a picnickers at a table by a lake over shadowed by a sheer mountain ledge. It was very familiar to him. None of the faces were distinct. The clothes set it in the later 40’s, as did the car parked on the grass. 

“You coming up?” Cameron called down to him.

“You see something” Francie asked. She got a good shot of the photo.

“Not sure.” Dan shrugged. 

<>

“Paula’s old room is where my sons stay when they visit.” David opened the door.

Jennifer ran her hands along the bookshelf then sat at the desk. It looked out over the grounds.

“Much there?” David asked. “It’s been decades and lots of other butts and books have been in and out of this room.

“The desk used to be over there.” Jennifer said. “She liked it in that corner facing the door and the window. She needed to see who was coming into the room.”

“Right.” David said.

She pulled the desk away from the wall to look at the back of it. “This would have faced into the room.” She gently brushed that side of the desk. “Can I?” she sat and pulled out one of the drawers. It didn’t come out completely. She ran her hand on the underside.

“Paula liked to hide things, didn’t she. She needed her secrets.”

“Don’t we all.” David said. “She became more … introverted after her mother died. That’s one of the reason I remarried.”

“Find something?” Dan asked.

She pulled out an envelope. It was sealed. 

“May I open it?” She asked David.

“Sure.”

The two camera operators swooped down to her hands as she opened it.

‘Oh.” She frowned & shook the remains of a maple leaf into the palm of her hand.

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Orange Sprinkles

Before heading to Stratford on September 30 I checked to make sure certain stores would be open as many across the province & Canada were closed for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. They weren’t but if they were I was ready with alternative plans. There were many people with orange t-shirts’s when we got to Stratford, even in the audience. Both acts of the show opened with a land acknowledgement – something the Festival has been doing for a couple of years now. https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/national-day-truth-reconciliation.html

In June I blogged ‘Membertou First Nation’

https://topoet.ca/2021/06/06/membertou-first-nation/. Since then there have been increased protests – toppled a statue of the founder of Ryerson College here in Toronto – as the anti-native actions of historical figures are revealed. Streets are being renamed for the same reason. Some of this reminds of 1984 int which the past is constantly rewritten so make the people of the present comfortable. I saw a documentary on the Russian Bolshevik revolution in which figures were removed from photos when they were no longer considered good party members.

A National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is an important step – though why September 30 isn’t clear? Why not co-opt the already existing Victoria Day?  A chance for the colonized to dethrone the colonizers. My fear is that like Remembrance Day it will become one of ceremony as opposed to a call to action to end war.  Will we get people selling lapel dreamcatchers to raise funds? Will wearing that be enough to assuage our personal guilts.

I see that Tim Horton’s is selling a time-limited orange sprinkle donut with proceeds going to native organizations: http://news.timhortons.ca/orange-sprinkle-donut-supporting-the-indian-residential-school-survivors-society/ . I’ve tried them – they are sweet, flavourless & without real substance – a # donut.

Psycho Zombies in the Rain

it was raining ballerinas

you know

rain so heavy

each drop created a splash tutu

as it landed

on its one toe

to join the corps du puddle

a literal rain dance

<>

wet ragged gene mutated zombie

staggering down the street

skin stinking in the rain

crumbling for the lure of brains

grabs a light pole

flings aimless decaying arm

drops into the gutter

eyes washed but not cleaned

lightening strikes

the unlucky char

washed down the sewer drain

<>

the rain not a sheet but a curtain

a shower curtain

lightening cuts through it

an electrified knife

stab stab after stab

screams drowned out by the rain

rain so heavy

we can’t see across the street

can’t see 

through the car window

wiper blades not cutting it

smearing rain like blood

on a steamy bathroom tile

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Picture Perfect 87

Picture Perfect 87

Morrison’s farm was a mile or so north of St. Peter’s in a wooded area. The dirt road to the house wound around a pond so that the house was unexpectedly revealed. Dan didn’t think the reveal was accidental. The building was a perfect pyramid with a deck along all four sides. Each face of the pyramid had its own entrance way set inside a triangle that was also perfect. Each entrance was was roofed with solar panels. The top third of the house was glass. Around the house were random domed sheds. Some fully covered. Two larger ones that could have been houses.

“Wow! I’ve never seen pyramid house like this before. Amazing.” Dan said.

“Not quite what I thought when I first saw it.” Stephanie parked the car by a domed shed to the left of the house. “I thought how much weed is that man smokin’.”

The remote truck was already there. A tall thin man came out of the back of the truck to greet him.

“You must be Dan James.” Laughing he shook Dan’s hand. “Over to you John. David Morrison. You guys are certainly well equipped. State of the art two years ago. Get QTel to invest in the Chrox image processors.”

“Uh … I’ll do that.” Stephanie said.

Dan knew from the bio information Morrison was nearing 80 but he looked like he was in his 50’s. 

“I’ve been reading your Cabot Trail book” Dan said. 

“Thanks. I had to do something to keep up with my sons.”

“This is some house.” Dan said as they walked up the steps to the porch.

“Thanks. I’d say I designed it myself but I think the Egyptian influence is undeniable.” He laughed. “It didn’t start out this large when I moved here in 66. Followed some draft-dodger pals of mine who wanted to get back to the land.”

“That was a big thing then, wasn’t it.” Dan said.

“Oh yeah. We were dreamers who woke up hard. I stayed. They went back when their folks cut off their credit cards. I had no folks to speak of so I stayed.”

He lead them around to what Dan supposed was the back of the house. The entrance here lead to a kitchen. The crew was set up there for interview.

“When did you expand to this?” Dan asked.

“Started it while Madeline was pregnant with Paula. We do a lot of the carpentry ourselves. I had a real construction background, unlike my buddies who came with dreams. Since then I’ve become a master carpenter, electrician.”

“And published writer.” Stephanie added.

“You aren’t here to talk about me.”

“No” Dan said. “This house deserves a show of its own.”

“It has in fact. H&G Canada were here two years ago. I wasn’t so keen myself but anything that brings people to Cape Breton is a good thing. That host, what’s his name …. nope … escapes me now … was more interested in his camera time. Or he was spooked by my anti-American blather. Draft dodger’s is a different show.”

“Are you ready to start?” Stephanie asked.

“Sure.” Dan took a deep breath to relax while his face was made right for the camera. He still wasn’t used to being fussed over in this way. 

“We’ll start in here.” Stephanie walked into the living room. “We can make the most of this amazing light.”

The light from the multi-coloured glass roof was almost spectral thanks to the fog that hadn’t dissipated yet.

“We’ll start with the camera directly up to the peak while you three are talking. Is that enough light for you Phil?”

“It’ll be fine.” Phil muttered.

“I’m here in Cape Breton with Jennifer Devereaux.” Dan began motioning for Jennifer to join him

“We’re on Cape Breton Island with David Morrison. Father of the missing child Paula Morrison. Thank you for taking the time to meet with us.”

“I can’t say that it’s my pleasure, Dan, but I am happy to see that someone is finally taking an interest in this case.”

“I’d like to start by asking you if you remember anything about that day.” Dan knew the key to getting the details they needed was a direct start. 

“First, Dan & Jennifer I’d like you to tell me what you see in these pictures. I have never shown them to anyone. Not even my sons.”

He put four photos on the coffee table between them.

“Polaroids.” Dan said immediately. “We’ll need gloves to handle them though. As they age the surface gets more subject to cracking.” 

One of the crew handed him and Jennifer thin rubber gloves. While Dan was put his on the camera

Cameron moved behind him and over his shoulder to allow the viewers his point of view. 

Dan leaned over the pictures without touching them. “They are all of the same girl. This is Paula.” He moved one into a better light. “I recognize her from the police file photos.” The four picture were progressively closer to her, with changes in angle. “She’s showing off her oversized t-shirt I’d say, or maybe it was the haircut.”

“Both.” David said.

“She doesn’t seem too thrilled by one of them.”

“Or perhaps by how someone was reacting to them?” Jennifer said.

“Bingo.” David said.

“These were taken shortly before she went missing.” Jennifer said.

“Right again!”

“She a bit young to be a fan of Siouxsie and the Banshees.” Dan said.

“Wow!” David sat back. “I don’t think I ever told the investigators about that. How …”

“Eye shadow, haircut very early Goth look. Siouxsie was one of the first Goth bands to make it big.” Dan said. “Hair and makeup don’t go with her age though. Suggests conflict.”

“Rose didn’t approve at all. Thought it was too …  morbid for a girl that age.”

“And you?” Jennifer asked.

“Personally, I was happy she didn’t go the Madonna slut route. These were taken the day before she was abducted.” He said abducted with conviction.

“There’s some doubt about that?” Dan asked.

“At first no one was willing to connect her with the others. Though even we didn’t realize there had been as many as you’ve brought to light.”


“Willing?” Dan asked.

“She had a history of … I don’t want to call it running away … but when she got upset she’d take off to her cousin’s in Whycocomagh.”

“This happened after the boys where born?” Jennifer said.

“Earlier. When I remarried. I wanted her to have mother. I didn’t really understand father complexes. She was hostile from the get go.”

“You aren’t my mother!” Jennifer blurted out.

“Exactly.We realized after a week she was actually gone and not with her cousins. We called the RCMP. We’d contacted them once before and they were convinced she had run away. Perhaps with with a couple of the boys who were gone from the reservation.”

“Reservation?” Dan asked.

“Oh yes. I figured you knew that. Madeline was Mi’kmaq.”

“Hmm.” Dan studied the face closer. “Hard to tell here. None of the other photos I’ve seen show that sort of genetic marker. There’s usually something around the eyes.”

“My genetics are pretty strong. The boys other the other hand look more like their mother.”

“Your second wife, Rosemoon, was also native?”

“Oh yes. I have some in my background too. Grandmother who was Blackfoot. I also thought a native mother might be good for her. As it turned out it wasn’t. They fought about everything. The last fight was about her need to change her name. She wanted to become Raven Stone.”

“I wanted to change my name when I was her age too.” Jennifer said. “I was sick of people calling me Jenny. I wanted a name that couldn’t be shortened.

She wanted to fit in somehow.”

“Fit in?” Dan asked.

“Seal. Wolf. Raven. Not Paula.” Jennifer said.

“Right again!” David shook his head. “You guys are good.”

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Ah yes, I remember it well

Three Tall Women

Actually walking into a theatre for the first time in two years was a big part of the excitement of seeing Edward Albee’s ‘Three Tall Women,” directed by Diana LeBlanc with Martha Henry, Lucy Peacock, Mamie Zwettler & Andrew Iles, in the intimate The Studio Theatre, presented in two parts on the same day – think of it as a 3 hour intermission.

act 1

I wondered what changes there might be in safety protocols in the week before we would go to the show. Not having a smart phone our big fear was that only an e.ticket app would be acceptable – no paper – technology reinforcing class status so that only those with the right data plans could access entertainment. 

Before we arrived I wondered if it would be like boarding at the airport after one had gone through all the pre-boarding. Well, there was no X-ray or luggage screening to deal with but we had to have all our documents in order – what’s the point of a photo i.d. if we’re wearing masks? Anyway there was no trouble getting into the theatre. Getting to our seats was a different matter – the steep incline had many people struggling up the stairs – this venue is definitely not for the mobility challenged. 

act 2

So almost two years to the day we finally saw a performance at the Stratford Festival. As usual the production values were high for Three Tall Women. Good theme music, utilitarian & practical set, costumes that supported characters rather than create them. Strong cast, unfussy direction that let the play speak for itself.

The plot? In Act 1 she remembers, she gets lost in memory, a legal assistant taxes her short-term memory, her person care worker tries to keep her focused. In Act 2 the three are one person – much like the holy trinity – they are faces of her at different points in her life. Andrew Iles does a cameo as the son. The conclusion is well – I’m not sure – the conclusion is very Zen, our happiest moment is when we reach the end. Are we happy that life is over?

I didn’t end up feeling a lot of sympathy for any of the three faces, Zwettler didn’t have enough text to work with, Peakcock’s character was prone to placating – when Henry’s lapses into pro-racist language we are told she doesn’t really mean it (written 199, 2021 people are still doing the same thing – ‘can’t you take a joke?’). Over all, I enjoyed the show but don’t feel the need to see another production.

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Picture Perfect 86

Picture Perfect 86

Dan clicked on his other caller. Sanjay came up on the screen.

“Back to you, John.” Sanjay laughed. “But seriously are you okay?”

“Fine. Why?”

“We heard about the accident. I was worried about you.”

“No need to worry. I wasn’t in that car.”

Most likely they made sure it got some press to create buzz for the show.

“I know. The first reports mentioned unnamed fatality. Unnamed until family was contacted.”

“The was awhile ago now. Quintex is using it to create buzz for the show.”

“Whatever. Dan it made me pause. I don’t want to lose you. I’ll drop all legal proceedings if you …”

“Sanjay speak to my lawyer.” Dan resisted the temptation to say yes. He could feel Sanjay’s hairy belly against his, as they pushed each other up against a kitchen counter. He could taste Sanjay’s tongue in his mouth. He was aroused.

“Every day I regret what I did. Hitting you was unspeakable. But I’m not the one who …”

“You hit me before Peter happened. You hit me because of the money not because of love.”

“No! It was because you didn’t believe in me, in my dreams, my possibilities.”

“Right. I said speak to my lawyer. Don’t force me to get a restraining order.”

“You can’t restrain this any more than I can.” Sanjay moved back so his cock and balls filled the screen. Dan ended the connection and hit the block caller button. He checked his cloud saved to make sure Sanjay’s call had been recorded and stored there. He considered contacting his lawyer. Did he want to escalate the friction between him and Sanjay. It wasn’t going to disappear but making it worse wouldn’t help things either. If he heard from Sanjay again he’d have to take some action.

His cell beeped with a text alert.

The text said: “Where are you? We’re waiting in cabin one for you.”

“On my way.” He replied as he left his cabin.

The production crew were using cabin one as their temporary conference room. It was the largest of the rooms with its own tiny kitchen. One of the king size beds was set up as a low conference table. It was already littered with pizza boxes.

“Hope I didn’t wake you from your beauty sleep.” Baxter said.

“You didn’t.” Dan sat on the edge of the second bed facing the improvised table. There wasn’t enough room between the beds for chairs. 

“Stephanie has your interview set for tomorrow.”

“Ten a.m. sharp. I know. I’m expecting Morrison to be different from the others.” Dan put a copy of Trail Mix Trivia on the table. “The man may have background information about the context of the case.”

“Interesting.” Jennifer flipped through the book. 

“Wolf and Seal Morrison are his sons.” Stephanie said. “I’ve done more checking on them. Wolf has also written a book. One you may have heard of – Sister Gone.”

“He wrote that!” Baxter said. “The movie option went for millions.”

“Right. And you know who is slated to direct.”

“His brother Seal. After his second Oscar nom last year he can afford to do what he wants.”

“Sister Gone?” Cameron asked.

“Yes.” Jennifer said. “It’s about a sister that vanishes one day.”

“But the boys were only about two years old when that happened.” Dan said.

“He didn’t write it then.” Stephanie said.

“Is it about this abduction?” Baxter asked.

“Not according to what I’ve read on line. Clearly it’s based on this even if it isn’t a case history. I’m sure he did his research.”

“Will Morrison know?” Dan asked.

“Now there’s something to ask him.” Baxter said. “It could the perfect way to start a buzz for the movie version. Does Quintex p.r. know about this connection?”

“I don’t know.” Stephanie said. “What if they don’t want a buzz. Do you think they might try to shut us down to protect their creative rights.”

“Maybe they have already.” One of the crew said pretending to steer a car.

“Please!” Dan said. “That’s not funny.”

“Exactly.” Brenda said. “Legal checked into this at the very start. Sister Gone is a work of fiction, we are investigating a work of fact, as it were. Besides if they were at all bothered we would have heard something by now.”

<>

Back in his room Dan downloaded a sample chapter of Sister Gone. It was not a true crime novel but one about a family’s sense of loss, not about the search for the sister. Poetic not hard edge or, at least in what he read, graphic. On-line reviews were about the emotional content, no mentions of violence, or of other missing children. The point of view was of the mother Moon Star, a full-blood Mi’kmaq. Was their actual mother Native? That would explain their names.

Brenda woke him in the morning with his freshly dry cleaned interview look. Colours that looked good but not commanding on camera. Jennifer was with her.

“Two more interviews to go.” Jen said.

“Maybe.” Brenda said. “We’ve been getting more and more contacts who think they have useful information. Stephanie and I have been pre-screening them for possible interviews too.”

“Seems we’re getting more than enough from the families as it is.” Dan said as he put on his shoes.

“You know Baxter. There is no such thing as enough. He’s hoping to expand the show to 90 minute episodes if he can get some sensational stuff.”

“You mean if we can find more of what the RCMP missed.”

“We’ve already done that haven’t we.” Jen said.

“Exactly! That’s why Quintex is taking him seriously about expanded episodes. They’ve already okay a starter at 90 and a finale at 90 as well.”

“Hmmm.” Dan said. “I’ll have to check my contract. I’m pretty sure it’s for 60 minute episodes.”

“Oops.” Brenda covered her mouth. “I wasn’t supposed to let the cat out of the bag so soon. But now that it’s out, QTel has been really really pleased with how things are going. “Back to you, John.” was a bonus. The deaths of Vidro and Hajla, didn’t hurt either.”

“I don’t think they enjoyed it.” Jen said.

“Sorry I didn’t mean to sound so ….”

“Cynical.” Jen said.

“Calculating.” Dan said at nearly the same time.

“Only repeating what I’ve heard.”

“Anything else you aren’t supposed to tell us?” Dan asked as they got in the car.

“No.” Brenda said as they pulled out of the parking lot.

It was an overcast morning. Fog clung to the motel sign and the telephone poles along the highway. The hills on either side were barely visible.

“I hope you had the brakes checked.” Dan laughed.

“You think?” Cameron paled as he tested them. “No, they’re fine. Lights are working fine, too.”

“We’ll be fine.” Jen said. “This’ll be more productive than your visit to Nova Pentecostal.”

“You know about that?” Dan said. “I haven’t talk to anyone other than Warszawa about it.”

“Baxter knows everything that goes on.” Cameron said. “He follows us with drones.”

“Or plants them on us.”

“What took you to the Nova Pentecostal?” Jen asked.

“You can’t tell me?” Dan challenged her.

“I knew you were going to say that.” Jen laughed. “I’m not a mind reader. I figured you knew the difference by now. If I were to guess it was following something to do with the Hippo.”

“Right. The Reverend Hadley worked for Hippo the summer of ’84. She was one of the crystal ball readers, amongst other things.”

“Other things?” Brenda asked.”

“Yes. According to Jane Poitier at the Wickham.” Jen said. “The carnival men got to drink, carouse, set up rides while the women got to cook, clean and fend the men off. She hated that the seers sex-appeal was bait. The money was good but some only lasted a summer with them.”

“They had to shimmy off stage?” Cameron asked.

“Yes and the fact that when they shimmy on stage they had to have enough to shake. Even if you were the best seer they had.”

“Sounds like one of those forties carnival movies where the real seer pretends to be a fake seer.” Dan said.

“And the barker who pretends to love her ends up falling in love with her.” Brenda said.

“But it’s too late because she’s in love the with high wire hunk.” Jen said.

“Mmm … with those tight spangly tights.” Dan said. “Or is it his trapeze bar that she really want to swing on?”

“Dan!” Jen swatted at him. “That’s hilarious. Hippo never went in for the high wire.”

“No wonder the women didn’t stick around.” Cameron said.

“I’m sure the randy clowns were enough for her anyway.” Jen said. “Jane told me about a balloon animal specialist whose creations looked like harmless elephants or dogs or whatever from one angle but like … aroused beasts from another. She dusted his balloons with alum and man did he pucker up.”

“So he couldn’t get his pecker up.” Brenda said.

They had to stop the car until their laugher subsided.

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Valley of the Bras

After reading Stephen Rebello’s Dolls! Dolls! Dolls! I was keen to see the movie, again, & had planned watch it on my own on a rainy day but after seeing the excellent ‘Hitch’ which was based on Rebello’s ‘Alfred Hitchcock & the Making of Psycho’ my partner read ‘Dolls! Dolls! Dolls!’ also wanted to see it again. So we dug out the 2 disc ‘Special Edition’ – loaded with great extras. I had reread the novel earlier this year so I was eager to rewatch the film.

Where to start? The movie pales in comparison to the novel & I understand why fans were disappointed in the adaptation that removed 3/4 of the book. The characters are reduced to stick figures – gone is the fact they women live together for a time – in the film there isn’t one scene of the three of them together. Gone is Anne’s friendship with Helen Lawson – in fact Helen is almost excised from the script – Hayward’s performance jump starts the movie whenever she appears.

Don’t get me started the those songs – we get a glimpse of the Lawson’s Broadway show number ‘I’ll Plant My Own Tree’ & it is clear that no one involved in the film every saw, or was involved with a Broadway show. The song is clunky & staged with all the Broadway stage reality of a Busby Berkeley number but absolutely no sparkle. Hayward lip syncs it well enough. No Broadway set designer would ever ever use a mobile that covered the star’s face constantly.

Patty was not pleased to be dubbed & as result released the lp Patty Duke ‘Sings Songs from the Valley of the Dolls.. Yes, I have it thanks to iTunes & it fits perfectly with the music misfire of the movie. It did nothing to enhance her reputation as a singer 🙂 Nor did the film do much to enhance her reputation as an actress. In fact none of the cast’s career potential was increased by the film. Such is the harsh reality of life in the valley of the dolls.

I felt for Barbra Parkins when I saw those beige ‘office’ costumes when they matched the beige every wall she stood in front of. I laughed at the fab cosmetics commercial montage – a product supposed for any woman while she looks like an alien. But as she climbs the ladder to success her costumes do improve even as they remain impractical. 

Patty Duke bravely & brazenly barrels though Neely without taking a breath. Her few scenes with Hayward are rich – Duke noisily claws the scenery, Hayward demolishes it by simply putting on a scarf. Yes, this movie needed more Lawson. Sharon Tate is nearly invisible as her story line is gutted by the screenplay. 

How these actresses where treated by the industry is worse than how the characters they play are treated by the industry. I really think the guys who made Feud should consider this Making of Valleys as their next project. Oh yes my title ‘Valleys of the Bras.’ There is nothing lurid in the film but Parkins, Duke & Tate, at different points in the film, spend an inordinate amount of time emoting in bra & half-slip. 

Ready

it turns into a trade

this is what I want

this is what it’ll cost

is that the price I’m willing to pay

is the sacrifice worth the result

<>

why can’t I have it my way

is that too much to ask

I’m willing to compromise some

but when is enough enough

can I say no 

to losing more of myself 

to gain something I expect to get

by saying yes to

what I want to say no to

<>

can I say yes and no 

at the same time

how will you do

when I say yes I want what you offer

but not with the conditions you offer it with

do I want to give up

the comfort of abstractions

for the sake of superficiality of the concrete

if I’m ready for my close up

do I want to stand in front of the camera

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Picture Perfect 85

Picture Perfect 85

“Paula Morrison. 12 years old. The oldest of the girls to disappear. Father: David, step-mother: Rosemoon. One word.”

“Rosemoon?” Cameron asked.

“Hippy days.” She shook her head.

Dan nodded as Stephanie read the file to him. He’d gone over it several times already. He kept his eye on the road as they approached the Canso Causeway.

“How much more of this do you want to hear?” She asked.

“I’ll let you know when I’ve heard enough.”

“She’d been a runaway since the dad remarried two years earlier. Birth mother, Madeline, died of breast cancer. Father an American draft-dodger, birth mother from Whycoak …”

“Whycocomagh.”

“You say that like a native.” Cameron repeated the name.

“One of those place names that stuck with me. It’s a Mi’kmaq word means Head of the Waters.’” Dan repeated the name. “Feels good to say it too.”

“I suppose. Anyway she died and he remarried several years later. Paula was an only child until Rosemoon had twins.”

“Which was when the runaway business started?”

“Yes. Rosemoon has since passed away. Breast cancer again. Must be something in the water.”

“That’s a different investigation, Stephanie. I’m sure there’s some report buried somewhere that shows an alarming coincidences of cancer and the water in the area.”

“Un-huh. Her twin half-brothers, Seal and Wolf no longer live in the area.”

“Seal! Wolf!” Cameron giggled. “More of that hippy draft-dodger stuff?”

“Probably. Wolf is in BC and the other …” she read the file. “Is in Hollywood! Seal Morrison. The director! He’s from around here!”

“Yep. I’m not the only famous person from the backwaters of Nova Scotia.” Dan said.

As they drove under Welcome to Cape Breton sign on the Causeway, Dan half-expected to hear his mother say “Turn down the radio so we can listen to the waves.”

“Will you look at that!” Dan was tempted to roll down the car window & stick out his head.” I haven’t seen the Causeway since we left here. It was always a mini-adventure to drive across it. One year a storm blew waves over our car. Mom was terrified but Dad kept on going. All he said was roll up the windows.” Dan rolled down the windows to hear the waves.

“You sure that’s wise?” Cameron took a deep breath. “Don’t want to get lung cancer.”

“Very funny.”

Cameron followed the curve of the Causeway to the other side. 

“Pull off at the Souvenir Shop. Your first act here has to be one of shopping.”

“Dan this is not my first time at this .… cèilidh. You know we’ve already pre-interviewed people before you got here. Right?”

“Yes, yes, but did you drive across the causeway or fly into Sydney on the Quintex private jet?”

“As if a producer that insists ‘no four star accommodations’ could afford a jet.” Stephanie said.

Dan got out of the car. “What a view.”

“Yes.” Cameron said. “Just like a post card.”

Memories of Dan’s last summer there became clearer as he watched the waves breaking against the rocks that lined the roadway. Men fishing dotted the piers.

“I wonder what they’re catching?” Stephanie asked.

“Squid. Sometimes mackerel.” Dan said.

“You’re kidding?” Cameron laughed. “These are the squid jiggers like in the song? I gotta try that myself.”

The gift shop was a clutter of tartan objects. Coffee mugs made in China, tee-shirts from Bangladesh. One wall was devoted to local handicrafts and there was shelf of books about the area.

“Looking for something in particular?” The clerk came over.

“You have something without the Cape Breton tartan or a lighthouse on it?” Stephanie joked.

“Something like this?” The clerk handed her a roll of toilet paper. The wrapper said: ‘Cape Breton ass wipe doesn’t take shit from nobody.’

Dan laughed. “Maybe we should get a dozen for the crew.” He pulled out one of the books titled ‘Cabot Trail Mix Trivia.’ “Collected by David Morrison!”

“Let’s see?” Stephanie took the book from him.

“Is this the David Morrison from St. Peter’s.” Dan asked the clerk.

“Could be.” The clerk replied. “All of the books on that shelf are by locals.”

“It is.” Stephanie said. “According to the bio he’s a life long resident of St. Peter’s who had always been fascinated by local history. He is the proud father of Wolf and Seal.” She flipped to the inside front cover. “And it’s autographed.”

“Nice.” Dan took the book back. “You have many copies of it?”

“Just these three. We don’t tend to stock a lot of that sort of thing. Books, I mean.”

“Maybe if it had a kitten in a kilt on the cover. It would sell better?” Cameron said.

Dan bought all three copies. In the car he read through one of them. It was, as the title said, a collection of anecdotes, jokes, short historical facts about the area. No index and apparently haphazardly arranged.

“Wonder if he’ll sign them again?” Stephanie asked.

Cameron pulled into Amethyst Court, a motel just past the welcome to St.Peter’s sign. The remote truck was parked at the far end of the cabins. 

“I never thought I said this but thank God for a normal drive.” Dan got out of the car. “I was beginning to think these highways were jinxed for me.”

“If they were you know it would be part of the show anyway. Baxter expects you at six to go over the next week of shoots. You’ll see Mr. Morrison in the morning. 10 a.m. sharp.”

“Right.” He glanced at his cell for the time. “Give sme time to freshen up. Which cabin is mine?”

“Not sure. I’ll check with Brenda. She’s doing the production coordinating here.” She texted Brenda.

Brenda came out of cabin 3. “Took your time. We’ve been here since morning.”

“Dan took his time,” Cameron said. “A little shy after recent highway to hell events.”

“Highway to heck, is more like it.” Dan said as Brenda gave him a door pass card.

“Cabin 10. Baxter is in 9.”

“Yikes.” Dan winced. “Hope he keeps it down. He must be deaf from all that loud TV.”

“Whatever.” Brenda said. “I’ve done two series with him and I never knew how he could keep track of everything. Must in the volume.”

Dan grabbed his suitcase, shoulder bag and went to his cabin. It smelled so strongly of lavender when he opened the door, he propped the door open with a chair to see if he could air it out. He put his laptop out on the tiny writing desk. He wondered why these desks were always smaller than the TVs. At least the Court offered free wifi. He tried it but the signal wasn’t as strong as his Lifend connection.

He had email from both this lawyers. The one dealing with his sister, the other dealing with Sanjay. He made the Skype connection with the Depot.

“Hey Sandy.”

“Good afternoon boss. You’ll be pleased to hear that there is nothing major to report. Weekend sales were good. ‘While the boss is away’ made for a great promo.”

“More than good Sandy.” Dan looked over the sales figures. “Maybe I should stay away more often.”

“Please don’t.” she said. “You are our visible shield of protection from that sister of yours.”

“She been sniffing around again?”

“Nope. In fact the silence is ominous.”

“She has her hands full with the new contracts anyway. Thanks for the update.”

“I hope we can hold on until you get back boss. We can manage here without you but things go a lot better when you are on the premises. At least when you are in the city.”

“Go on. You angling for a raise?”

“Any more … rough spots?”

“No. I’m a bit surprised that the families we interviewed were so cooperative. I didn’t think their memories would be so clear about events so long ago. I know mine aren’t. Each day something new comes back to me about growing up here.”

“Such as?”

“Fishing. I look back on my childhood and all I recall is tagging around with my Dad, setting up cameras. But when we stopped earlier today I saw people fishing off the piers near the Causeway.”

“Fishing! Safe to eat?”

“It was back then. My Dad would sometime stop for a day there just to fish. He called it his summer vacation. Mackerel and sometimes squid. My mother hated the squid.”

He got a beep that someone else wanted to talk to him on Skype.

“Keep me posted. I’ll get in touch again in a couple of days.”

“Let us know when you’ll be back so we can have a ‘The Boss Is Back’ sale.”

“Will do.”

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Picture Perfect 84

Picture Perfect 84

“Other thing, which in fact was what lead me here.” Dan stepped back from Janis.

“Yes?” she cradled her hands over her stomach.

“We received several tips regarding a snake man.”

“Snake man?”

“They were about a man who would visit various farms buying baby pigs to feed to snakes.”

“Oh my.” Janis rubbed her hands. “There was always an issuing keeping the snakes fed. The Hippo never suffered from mice or rats while it had the snakes but I suppose they … Wait! Now that you mention it I remember some of the set-up crew would bring fresh …uh … food for the snakes. I never asked where it came from. I supposed it was from local butchers.”

“I see. If you recall anyone in particular us know.”

“Here.” Cameron handed her a business card. “This is a more direct line than that tips line.”

“I’ll do that.” Janis read the card.

<>

“I can drive for awhile.” Dan started to get into the driver’s side.

“Okay.” Cameron strapped his shoulder camera unit in the back seat. “Don’t forget we’re heading back to the Truro.”

“We are? Since when?”

“Got a text from Stephanie to get things back on schedule.”

“We’re not that far behind.” He glanced at the GPS. “It’ll take an hour or so to get there.”

“Don’t hurry on my account.” Cameron gave a little laugh. “What did you make of the good Rev?”

“Interesting lady. I think she was holding something back.”

“Besides that snake on her belly.”

“So that’s what that was.”

“Hard not to see it … rippling under her clothes.” Cameron shuddered. “It’ll fit in nicely though even if it doesn’t lead anywhere.”

“My buddy Timmy was excited about seeing those snakes when the Hippo came to town. All we’d ever seen were glimpses of ring-necks.” Dan thought a moment. “So seeing real live snakes would have been great.”

“Maybe you’ll get your chance if Baxter wants you take in a Nova service.”

“You don’t sound too enthused.”

“I’ll have nightmares tonight. Trust me I almost dropped the camera when that one slithered out from her sleeve. Didn’t it bother you?”

“I found it a bit weird.”

He dropped Cameron off at the crew’s motel & continued on to the Warwick.

In his room he checked his cell phones to see if he had missed any calls or messages while they were talking to Reverend Hadley. The updated shooting list had families to interview in Cape Breton.The Sheldons were new to the list but there was no background information. 

He played back the footage of the interview with Hadley. Cora suicide? Who was Cora? Winston Chamberlain hadn’t mentioned any suicides. He didn’t recall seeing more mentions of Cora in the Museum either, just the side-show banner.

<>

In the morning Warszawa was in the Wickham lobby as Dan came down for the breakfast part of the b’n’b.

“I have the the initial report on the cars.” Warszawa said.

“That was fast.” Dan shook his hand.

“Having me here gives them reason to be quick. They aren’t pleased with any internal investigation. You know how that is.”

“Yeah. Anything in the report.”

“Possible but not confirmable tampering.”

“Big help.”

“Possible is a code word for probable, ‘not confirmable’ means they know it happened but don’t know how it happened. Not enough to take to court.”

“I know how that is.”

“Part of the problem is the fact that the cars are rentals. No way of knowing if this was an unnoticed malfunction that was triggered by the rain storm.”

“The other cars?”

“Nothing out of the ordinary.”

“Small consolation for Vidro family.”

“None to speak of. Brother in Calgary. That’s it.”

“So, I’m not a suspect?”

“Suspect! More like target. You switched cars at the last minute, right.”

“Yes. But this isn’t news. What do you actually have to tell me?”

“You turned off?”

Dan double -checked his body camera. “Yep. Let’s go up to my room so I can get this stuff off.” 

They went up to his room. 

Dan draped the apparatus carefully on the back of a chair. “Feels good to take that off. I forget that I’m wearing it but I feel so much lighter when I take it off.”

“I want do to this off the book until we have something concrete.”

“I know! This isn’t the first case we’ve worked on.”

“Yeah, but the first one where you’ve been so directly involved.”

“Right.”

“The detachment has a file on Winston Chamberlain.”

“Underage girls?”

“You knew!”

“Not about the file. More than one person has mentioned his predilections.”

“There wasn’t much they could actually do. He was underage himself. They brought him in after the father of one of the girls insisted. Thought he was an adult. Didn’t believe he was only fifteen.”

“I believe that.” he showed Warszawa the picture Teresa had given him. “That’s him there.”

“Hmm. There was more than one complaint mind you. But no one was willing to press charges. He was an oversexed, underaged kid – no law then against that. His parents said they’d see to it that he got treatment for his problem.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. They sent him to Toronto to see some specialist child psychologist. He was gone less than a month. Two of the disappearances happened while he was away. Visiting an aunt.”

“So he has family in Toronto?”

“At the time.”

“He kept out of trouble when he returned from Toronto.” Warszawa said. “At least as far as the RCMP are concerned.”

“I feel he’s holding something back though.”

“That has to do with the missing children?” Warszawa asked.

“A gut reaction. We’ll have to ask Jennifer Devereaux. She’s the seer, I’m the … actually I’m not sure what I am. A photo reader investigator. Does the local detachment have anything on the Nova Convergent Centre?”

“I did a check when you said you were going there. A few complaints. Every time someone gets scared by a garter snake they point at the Nova cult. But other than that they’re pretty quiet for such an odd bunch. Apparently there are several religious communities through out the Maritimes. Catholic retreats, an Ashram or two, Sisters of Isis.”

“What about importing snakes? Aren’t there laws about exotic animals, that sort of thing.”

“No one’s made that specific complaint. You think it’s worth checking out?”

“No harm. I was just wondering. Where did the original Tut snakes come from? You can’t pick them up like … dogs or parrots.”

“Parrots?”

“The Hippo had a parrot show at the time.”

“You think they shipped those children off in trade or something?” Warszawa laughed lightly. “You are starting to sound like Baxter.

“All things considered that may not be so far fetched. If you can smuggle snakes into the country, smuggling a child out would be easy enough.” Dan said. “Anything on Janis Hedley?”

“Picked up for grass a couple of times. She pressed charges against some guy who roughed her up when she worked at the Hippo. She didn’t want to charm his snake and he took it personal.”

“I’ve seen some of the snakes she now handles. Not many men would compare.” Dan said. “And if there is one who does, I don’t want to meet him.”

“Not even to take a peek?” Warszawa laughed.

“Not even.”

“I’m heading back to Toronto tomorrow. Sergeant Coster is the official show liaison, She’ll will be on hand to help should she have to.”

“We’ve got one more real interview to do over in Cape Breton in St. Peter’s. I’ll be spending a few days in New Waterford. I haven’t been back since my Dad moved us to to Toronto.”

“I wish I had it so easy. The I.S. unit is looking into the travel photo cases.”

“Oh!” Dan had forgotten about the case. There’s been developments?”

“Another one murder, last week. In Edmonton. ”

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