I love walking through the snow. Whether it’s just flurries, snow showers or a full blown storm, I just love it. It drifts down, quiet as can be, silently coating everything. You don’t always see it until you pass a street lamp, the light illuminating the white specks falling, swirling when there’s a burst of wind. The sidewalk is covered, the snow crunching under my boats as I walk. It’s quite rhythmic, really. Crunch, crunch, crunch.
Someone is walking ahead of me. I am following their footsteps. About the size as mine, but with a longer stride. A runner? Maybe I’m following myself.
I get to the main road and the snow has picked up. Either that or it’s just more visible. There’s more lights, more traffic. The snow is just swirling around as it falls. Small fat balls, long white streaks. If your wearing something dark, sometimes you see a flake land on your glove or sleeve, showing all its beauty. Mostly it’s just white. Thousands, millions of snowflakes falling to the ground where they become part of one big whole. Snow flakes to snow. Beauty to danger. To annoyance.
So we’re decorating the tree last night and my four year old suddenly gets upset. Santa was mentioned and he realizes we don’t have a fireplace or chimney. “How is Santa going to bring my presents,” he wailed, eyes tearing up and everything. (It was past bedtime and he was tired. Always makes the blow ups worse.) So I say something about Santa being magic and can just magic his way in. He’s skeptical but buys it for now.
This morning, Santa was a guest on the CTV morning show and that very question came up. Santa showed everyone his magic key, which lets him in all the doors where there are no chimneys and fireplaces. And now I have a much relieved little boy. Well played, Santa man, well played.
Just a little something that came to me. I’m not sure if it works, guess it depends on whether you buy the killer actually being the killer. But it involves a couple things I wanted to try and maybe is a little noir-ish.
It was dark when I pulled up, the squad car’s lights shining off the tree as they spun. The uniforms had the crime scene tape out and were holding back the locals. I wasn’t sure yet what I was in for, but Loo said it would be bad.
I flashed my shield and the uniform lifted the tape so I could duck under. I stopped just on the other side, scoping the scene. The techs had thrown up some floodlights and were bustling about like ants on a picnic blanket. “What do we got?”
“Murder, it looks like. Dead baby.”
Shit. Loo was right, this was bad. The press would be ravenous once they got word. Especially Bilton over at the Daily Tabloid. Fucker always liked sticking it to the department.
“The father. Was home alone with the kid. Momma comes back from the store to find…this,” he waved a hand around. “He swears it was an accident but she ain’t so sure.”
“Must be some family.”
“Don’t recognize the address?” I shook my head. “It’s the Beddows. Must remember ol’ Commodore Beddow.”
“Indeed. But that’s why you make the big bucks, Detective.”
“And fuck you, too, Malone.”
I looked around again then went over to the grieving mother. The techs didn’t need me getting in the way and they would send me a report when they had it. “Mrs. Beddow? I’m Detective Campbell.”
She looked up at me, mascara running down from tear soaked eyes. Somehow they still shone like diamonds. Must have been the floodlights. Her hands were at her waist, twisting at a tissue.
“I’m sorry for your loss, ma’am, but I need to ask you some questions, find out who did this.”
“Find out? I know who did it,” she hissed. “That son of a bitch I’m married to.” The venom in her voice almost had me taking a step back. I made a note to never piss off Sabrina Beddow.
“You weren’t here, right? How do you know what happened?”
“Look, he’s a snake in the grass. A charming snake but still a snake. He was afraid I was about to divorce him and toss him on the street. With no money. John Curtis isn’t a man who does well without money.”
“How would killing the kid fix that?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe he thought I’d turn to him in my grief. Or maybe he thought it gave him some way into Charles’ trust fund.” She blinked long lashes at me. “I’m not really good with money, Detective, other then spending it.”
I sighed. Her husband wasn’t the only charming one. The chief would have my ass if I got involved with a witness. Again.
“The officer will drive you downtown and take your formal statement, if you don’t mind, ma’am.”
“Oh, don’t call me ma’am. It’s Sabrina. And yes I will go. I want to get this over with as soon as possible.” She left with Malone, hips swaying more than I thought a grieving mother would be capable of. But she was a Beddow, the Commodore’s granddaughter at that. A woman who knew what she wanted and exactly how to get it. She was definitely a person to not take lightly. Word was the Beddow’s came out of the womb scheming. The father was next, who at least seemed to be guilty of negligence.
“Mr. Curtis? Detective Campbell. I need to ask you some questions, find out what happened here.”
He was sitting on a stump, head in his hands. He looked up as I spoke. His eyes were red, like he might have been crying but that was the only sign.
“What happened? My son is dead. The cradle fell and landed on him. Can’t you see that? Why is a detective here anyway? It was an accident.”
“Routine, sir. We have to dot all the I’s you know. Make sure nobody can come along later and accuse you of anything.”
“Accuse? What the hell? Anyone can see it was an accident.” He grabbed my hand and pulled over to the site, ignoring anyone in the way. “Look. This cradle thing was designed to hang up, let the baby look around or nap while its mom or dad was busy. It got a little windy but it seemed like a thick enough bough. Maybe it was rotted or something and with wind and the weight of the baby…” He trailed off, unable to finish. He seemed genuinely upset by the death of his child but one would act that way in front of the police. Not that I automatically believed Sabrina, er, Ms. Beddow. But something seemed off here. And what would the mother have to gain?
“We’re you and your wife about to divorce, Mr. Curtis?”
“What? How did you…” He sighed and rubbed his eyes. “Yes. She was accusing me of fucking around on her, with girls at the university. Like any girl could compete with that woman.”
“You would be left with nothing in the event of divorce, right?”
“Oh yeah. The Commodore’s lawyers drew up an airtight pre-nup. I’d be lucky to leave with a suitcase of clothes.”
“So what? You found some way to tap the baby’s trust fund if he died?”
His head rocked back as if he had been struck. And in a way, I guess he had. Anger flashed across his eyes and quicker then I would have thought, he swung at me. Caught me a pretty good clip too, knocked me on my ass. He rushed in for more but a few of the techs caught him, held him off.
“That was a fucking stupid thing to do, Curtis. Now I got you for assaulting an officer. And at this time of day, on a Saturday, you won’t see a judge till tomorrow or Monday at best. Jackson, take this shithead to the station. I’ll be along shortly.” The officer slapped on the cuffs and drug him to a car, Curtis swearing at me the entire way.
I straightened my tie and smoothed down my jacket. Was his actions the sign of guilt or an enraged father? There was no way to tell yet. Evidence was the only way to tell. If Curtis had planned this, surely there would be some sign. (For the first time, I also wondered why Sa…Ms. Beddow had never taken her husband’s name.)
The techs were finishing up, wrapping up evidence and putting away their equipment. I walked up to the ranking guy there. “Anything you can tell me, Green?”
“It’s been a slow day, I’ll have you a crime scene report in a few hours. Autopsy? Talk to their morgue.”
“Come on. I got to sweat this guy. Give me something to work with.”
“I don’t really have much. The limb was partly sawn through, up above where it couldn’t be seen. I think we found the saw in the shed but will verify when I get back to the lab. Same with finger prints. But nothing tying Curtis directly.”
“Damn. What do you know about these folks? The mother thinks he wanted the baby dead, was fucking around on her with college girls. She was going to divorce him and maybe he found a way at some money.”
“Sounds far fetched. How would that help? Besides, gossip is that it’s Miss Tight Ass Beddow that’s got some on the side. I hear its a boy in blue and the Commodore is none to happy about it. Curtis is a writer but at least he comes from good stock.”
“Where do you hear this shit?”
“My wife. She’s distantly related, gets invited to the family tea once a month.”
“There’s a family tea?”
“Yeah, the Commodore is big on that shit.”
“Heh. What are your thoughts on this?”
“Accident. I don’t see how anybody benefits. But I’ve been wrong before.”
I drove back to the station, the details of the case turning over and over in my mind. Only Curtis and Sabrina had been at home, the servants having been given the weekend off. And she had went on a trip to town, leaving Curtis alone with the child. He decides to work outside and the rest is history. It had to be him. A mother wouldn’t do that. And no stranger would benefit.
Sabrina Beddow was sitting at my partners desk, giving her formal statement to Loo. We ran a light unit on weekends and It was Adams turn off. Next weekend was mine, and I had a fishing trip in the Caribbean to look forward to. The hard part would be coming back when it was over. I nodded as I walked past, trying to ignore the smile Sabrina flashed me. Awfully friendly lady.
John Curtis was waiting in the interrogation room, head in his hands. Man looked awfully shook up. I slapped my hand on the table, causing him to jerk upright. “We found out what happened. How you cut through the branch so it’d be weak. All you had to do was wait. Now what? Sabrina takes comfort in your arms and forgets the divorce? How long before your banging college girls again?”
“What the hell? Why would I do that? I’ve never heard of a divorce. And I’ve not slept with anybody else.”
“Work with me here, Curtis. Help yourself and confess. Maybe get psychiatric treatment and a reduced sentence.”
“Detective, you sure are dumb for a guy who acts like he knows everything. Sabrina was the one screwing around, not me.”
“You expect me to believe that?”
He shrugged. “Doesn’t matter. Now I’ll remain silent until my lawyer arrives.” He turned toward the window. “You hear that? I’m asking for my lawyer.”
There wasn’t much to do after that. I left, fighting back the urge to smash his pompous face in. Fucking intellectual twat. Oh look at me, I teach writing at a university. Big deal. Some of us have to work for a living. Sabrina wasn’t in sight when I got back to my desk and Loo was just gathering some papers together.
“We have anything yet?”
“A tree branch sawn part way through. Tools in their shed that looks like the ones used. A husband that’s been cheating and a wife about to get a divorce.”
“Anything to take to a judge?”
I shook my head.
“Where’s this talk about divorce and the lady’s husband cheating come from?”
“Sa…Ms. Beddow told me. Said she had phone records and everything. He’d been messing around with students.”
“See, here’s the thing, Campbell. She says that never happened. She says she never told you that. That you came to her with this story, trying to get her husband out of the picture.”
“What? Oh, come on, Loo, that’s ridiculous.”
“Is it? There’s security footage of you visiting her house, during times when her husband was away.”
There wasn’t much to say about that. Not without sounding like a kook. “She had some security questions. Must have gotten my name from a friend.”
Loo crossed his arms. “Right. And how does that explain you scaring her into sex, and trying to convince her to run off to the Caribbean with all her money. Poor lass couldn’t see anyway out but to agree. And then you kill her child and try to frame her husband for it?” He shook his head. “I thought I knew you, Campbell. Hand over your weapon. Malone, cuff him and get him to a cell.”
There was no point in fighting. Not in a police station. And with no one to go. I didn’t talk much, pleaded guilty when it came to trial. Least that way I might get out before I’m a decrepit old man. She visited me once, before sentencing. Brand new designer dress on. Sweetest smelling perfume you ever caught a whiff of.
“Well, it all worked out in the end, Joe.”
“Not for me.”
She smiled, teeth blinding white. “Of course not. But dear John gets none of my money since he started the divorce proceedings. And Charles’ trust fund is all mine.”
“I could talk.”
“Sure and who would believe you now. They think you terrorized a poor mother and murdered her child. After that, who can blame me for moving away from this hellhole and the fucking Commodore.” Her voice had started to rise at the end and she stopped, taking a breath and calming herself. I never did know what she had against her grandfather but it ran deep.
“Have fun then.”
“Oh, I will, Joe. I imagine I’ll be a hit on those Caribbean beaches. Maybe I’ll even be able to find my groove again. Ta ta, Joe. I’ll send you a postcard.”
Then she was gone, leaving me with the scent of her perfume and a flash of legs and cleavage. Probably just to torture me while I was behind bars. “Rock a bye, baby,” I muttered as I watched her flounce away.
As the title says, there will be ranting. There may even be cursing, perhaps copious amounts. Click through if you want to read.
Buddy, Buddy, Buddy. The very definition of wide eyed innocent exuberance. I’m sure most of you know the story of Elf; a human baby crawls into Santa’s pack and is raised by Santy and the elves at Christmastown, North Pole. Finding out he is human, Buddy travels to New York City to find his father And this is where the story unfolds. I’ve never seen the movie the musical is based on so I had no expectations other then Neptune Theatre would deliver another great show.
First off, the set. The set design was just genius. And it can’t be easy, bring a Broadway show to Halifax. But damned if they didn’t nail it and then some. Designed by the set designer to resemble a children’s pop-up book, they are able to show several locations and the mood of each, raising and lowering sets as needed. Then there was the music, performed live during the show which really adds to the complete experience.
But all that, while necessary, just adds to the show. The performance is the show and everyone here just shined. Walter Hobbs is played by Marty Burt, last seen in Bingo! and he’s just as good here, playing the weary, don’t have time for Christmas executive. Jenny Hall is great as the Macy’s manager and I really got a kick out of Shelley Simester as Deb, Walter’s long suffering assistant. And the only complaint about Blair Irwin’s Jovie is that we didn’t see more of her. (Alrhough I understand why.) But the show is about Buddy, isn’t it?
Mark Uhre makes his Neptune debut here(which is also to date the only place to catch Buddy besides Broadway). And he is absolutely brilliant in the role. I can’t see how anyone could do any better, including Will Ferrell in the movie. He is child-like (in the best sense of the term), good hearted and full of wonder. Both adult and child, he is the embodiment of Christmas cheer. And Mr. Uhre captures that perfectly, without ever veering over into caricature. He is able to convey so much with his eyes and facial expressions. Not that Buddy doesn’t run around a little crazy now and then. He was raised by elves, after all.
The choreography, the music, the singing, everything fit and worked really well. I’ve never really been a musical guy but I enjoyed myself and had a hell of a time. There are plenty of laugh out loud moments and others that will tug the ol’ heart strings. It’s a great show for the family and indeed, there were quite a few kids at the Friday night show. It runs about two hours and fifteen minutes, with a twenty minute intermission so judge for yourself if your children can sit for that long. If so they are sure to enjoy it.
In short, great show, great performances and a great time. The movie will pale in comparison to the live musical. Go see it if you can.
“Shit, you think that was crazy? Look, yesterday I was some broads bodyguard for Black Friday.”
“What’s that, some new terrorist group?”
“Goddamn, Joe, knock off that ‘I don’t watch TV’ shit. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving sales you dumb fuck.” Joe mumbled something and busied himself with his beer.
“Did she have a nice rack,” Paul asked.
“What, were they big?”
“Big, little, just…nice. All boobs are created equal, man. It’s in the constitution or something.”
“The consti…goddamn, Paul. Do you ever think of anything then tits?”
“Oy vey,” Landon said. “I’m going to get another pitcher. Can the comedy acts, eh?” The men at the table looked at each other and shrugged. Landon had always been a little different.
“So what about this gig,” Paul asked when Landon came back with the pitcher of beer.
“Like I said, it was this broad wanted to hit the sales. And yes she did have a nice rack actually. And no I didn’t hit it.”
Joe picked up the pitcher and started pouring. “So what the fuck was it?”
“People go bat shit crazy at these sales. Knock people over, yank stuff out of their hands, just fucking nuts. I guess she’d got hurt last year and didn’t want it to happen again. Thought a big scary dude might help. And if there was a need for a little violence, well I had that covered too.”
“Surrounded by crazed housewives? I’d only shoot myself.”
“It’s called restraint, Paul. So I pick her up and head out to the stores. It’s not even daylight and fuckers are lined up outside the doors like their giving out free blowjobs. And no they weren’t, Paul.”
He paused for a drink. “So we finally get in and she’s pushing the cart while I walk beside her looking menacing. And there’s all this shit on sale. Twenty dollar microwaves, dollar DVDs, all that shitty crap. She musta been studying the ads cause the lady had a list and knew exactly what she wanted. Microwave, blender, Xbox. I’m stomping alongside her and people eying me like I’m a fucking alien. We get back to electronics, last thing on the fucking list and there’s only one. I got my hand on it and some bitch snatches it away.”
“So what happened?”
“I popped her. You know I can’t handle fucking rude behaviour. Now who is going to chip in to help me with the fine?”
Did you know that the theatre has bars? Plural. As in more then one? Me neither but man that is awesome to find out. Not that we were there to check out available booze. Now me and my lovely wife were at the theatre to watch a play, courtesy of the great folks at Q Smokehouse Great food there folks, you should go check it out, specially if you like barbecue. If you don’t, you will. Anyway, after being given some free tickets to a play called Bingo! we go the theatre, not sure what to expect, me in particular. Never been to a play, not a lot of that amid the tobacco fields of Kentucky. Hell, I couldn’t tell you where my university’s theatre department is(but if you find yourself in Richmond and need to know where the liquor store is,let me know).
So. Bingo! Written by Daniel MacIvor. You can find more about the show Bingo! at Neptune Theatre. I went in this blind, having not seen anything on it or even knowing the writer. But after seeing the play last night, I’ll watch anything Mr. MacIvor does. He is that good. I think stories are in their blood up there in Cape Breton.
The show was just amazing. Great writing, wonderful performances. And the set guys at Neptune, you guys rock. And what is it about? Home. What is home? Can you go home again? Should you try? Boys who were princes, a girl who had her whole life ahead of her ‘when she graduated’,and another who enjoys the moments. At the reunion thirty years after high school, some things have changed and some never will. And the soliloquies. Ah those were my favourite parts. Hilariously funny, poignant, and all to real, all you really need to know is when you can catch the next showing.
As I said, this was my first play and an eye opening experience. I will definitely be back for more. And lord help us, it has me wondering if I could write one myself. These guys put on a tip top production from top to bottom and everyone should come watch Bingo!You’ll thank me. After all, you want to know where the name comes from. And besides, there’s nothing on TV to match it.
The best thing I ever did was stay in the dorms. Yes, part of that choice was to go to university but it would have been fairly easy to drive in for classes every day. We only lived about an hour away from Eastern Kentucky University and in 1999 gas was pretty fucking cheap. And that first year I drove a ’78 F100. But I chose to stay in the dorms, which was probably my first choice in the matter.
University was sorta my choice and sorta not. I was smart, didn’t play sports and didn’t spend time out of school working on daddy’s farm. What else would I do but university? He’ll I wasn’t even sure what I wanted to do. But I liked being outside in the woods and my family has a history of military and police work, so I figured game warden. So off I go.
My home town is a rural town. All of two thousand people in the town with most, including myself, living in the county. Lots of farms. Mainly tobacco. There’s a few dairy and beef outfits, and a horse farm or two, but it’s mostly tobacco. Salt of the earth country folk. Who like both kinds of music, country AND western. Farmers, hunters, conservative. And white. I’m not saying the people are racist it’s just that it’s a mainly white community. For whatever reason that is.
So I move to the dorms at EKU. Like I said, one of the best decisions I made, only behind marrying my wife. See, university ain’t so white. There are people of colour, both students and professors. There are gays and straights and everything in between. Being there helped open my eyes and expand my mind. Show me what more there is to the world. I didn’t really start to discover who I actually was until this happened. Started talking to and hanging around people, listening to different music.
The icing on the cake? Playboy. No really. First piece of mail at the dorms was an offer from Playboy to get a years subscription at a buck an issue. And every year they offered renewal at the same rate. Hell yeah I got it. Naked women, hello. But did you know there are articles in Playboy? Interviews? News? I read them from cover to cover and thought about what I read. When I wasn’t thinking about Miss Junes boobs.
So I’m glad I moved to the dorms. Now I wish I’d been more active on campus but if wishes were horses and all that. Still, what I did do, see, experience, it helped me grow. And the growth hasn’t stopped there but that was where it started. I may have learned more hanging around playing video games then I did in class. But that’s part of what it’s all about.
I just put my daughter to sleep, laying curled up beside her, one of her hands on her bottle the other wrapped around my finger. It doesn’t get much better then that.
She is nine months old now, and such a little person, with a personality bigger then her body. She doesn’t talk yet but she has no trouble communicating what she wants to. And, though it may be a cliche, she has a smile that lights up the room. She’s going to be a smart one and going to keep us on our toes. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I apologize if you’ve all ready seen this elsewhere but Beat To A Pulp: Superhero is now live. It’s available here for the price of .99. For thirteen stories. Hard to beat that. So if you are into superheroes, like the authors involved or curious what they do with superheroes, go check it out.
I’m really proud to be in this. There are great authors with stories here, including James Reasoner with a Revolutionary War era superhero. Intriguing, no? So now you know what to do. Just in time for the rest of the weekend.