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Mark Dalton: Owner/operator Murder on Site: Part 2

The interview room at the OPP Communication Centre in Barrie was small, cramped and surprisingly clean. Mark had expected something right out of NYPD Blue, but then this was rural Ontario and such roo...

The interview room at the OPP Communication Centre in Barrie was small, cramped and surprisingly clean. Mark had expected something right out of NYPD Blue, but then this was rural Ontario and such rooms probably didn’t get as much use as their counterparts in midtown Manhattan.

“You were caught with the knife in your hand,” said Sgt. D’Allessandro. It was a statement he’d made a dozen times already. “There were no other fingerprints on the knife handle but yours.”

“I was pulling the knife out of the man’s chest,” said Mark, just as he’d done each of the previous times D’Allessandro had reminded him of the facts.

After you stuck it in.”

“No, I didn’t stab him.”

“Just tell me why you did it?”

“I didn’t kill him.”

“All right then, tell me what did happen.”

“But I’ve already told you 12 times.”

“So, let’s make it lucky 13.”

Mark let out a sigh. “After I arrived at the inn, I was told by the second unit director to drive up to the location…” He recounted the story just as it happened, never stumbling over any of the details, never changing anything about the story. It was easy since, when you’re telling the truth, the story is the same each and every time you tell it.

“All right,” said D’Allessandro, who Mark realized seemed as tired of this as he was. “He died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, which means he was still alive when you found him. Did he say anything to you?”

Mark hadn’t mentioned it up until now because what the man had said had seemed to be gibberish, and the cop hadn’t yet asked him anything other than why he killed the man. Now that it seemed like the cop was willing to admit that he wasn’t the killer, Mark was more inclined to help him with the case and tell him about the dying man’s last words.

“I can’t be sure,” said Mark, and he wasn’t. The man’s voice had been

pretty hoarse to begin with, and the holes in his chest didn’t help him any getting the words out. “He said something that sounded like Aide, or Aidee… something like that.”

“You sure?”

“That’s what it sounded like to me.”

The cop ran his fingers through his short black hair, letting out a long sigh in the process. “Any idea about what it’s

supposed to mean?”

Mark shrugged. “I don’t know… He knew he was dying, so maybe he was saying Adios.”

D’Allessandro shook his head, obviously not appreciating Mark’s line of reasoning.

Just then there was a knock at the door.

Another cop came into the room holding a sheet of paper in his hands. “You might want to have a look at this, Joe.”

D’Allessandro took the paper from the other cop and studied it closely. Finally, he looked up over the top of the page at Mark, a renewed intensity in his gaze. “According to this, you’re fairly well acquainted with a number of police forces across the country.”

Well, that much was true, thought Mark. “OK, so I’ve been mixed up in a few things I shouldn’t have been, but c’mon guys, I’ve never been charged with anything close to murder. Not even assault.”

The two cops looked at each other and seemed willing to concede the point.

Mark sensed he was getting somewhere with D’Allessandro and decided to keep talking. “And most of the times I wind up helping the cops…”

“Like in Vancouver a few days ago?” said the second cop.

D’Allessandro said nothing, ignoring the other cop’s question, and looking at Mark impassively, as if studying him.

“And as far as this guy who got killed goes-” Mark pressed on.

“Josh Pedon,” said the other cop.

“As far as this Josh Pedon goes, I never met him before, so I’ve got no motive. I just arrived in Collingwood, so I had no opportunity to plan a murder. And if I did do it, I would have used the bat I keep in my truck, not a knife.” Mark immediately regretted mentioning this last little bit, but nevertheless it seemed to have helped him make his point.

“Don’t go anywhere,” said D’Allessandro, following the other cop out of the room.

Two hours later he was released. Again D’Allessandro said, “Don’t go anywhere.”

“But you said I could go.”

“I mean, don’t leave town. We might need to talk to you again about this case.”

“But I’m a trucker, it’s my job to leave town.”

“Then I guess you’re going to be out of a job for a while.”

The police were kind enough to drive Mark back to his rig. It was still sitting there by the side of the road, the wind machines still up on the flatbed.

“You Mark Dalton?” said a voice as he unlocked the door to his rig.

Mark turned around. “Yeah, who are you?”

“Karen Fernandez,” said a short, black-haired woman. She offered her hand and they shook. “I’m the production manager on this shoot.”

“Ah,” said Mark. “You’re supposed to sign for my load.”

“I’d be happy to do that for you, but I want to talk to you about something else first.”

“I didn’t do it,” said Mark, getting his defenses up.

“I didn’t say you did.”

Mark felt awkward, realizing he was being a bit of a fool. “Well, all right then.”

She just looked at him, as if trying to figure out what planet he’d just arrived from. Finally she said, “Look, the cops mentioned to me that they didn’t want you going anywhere for a while.”


“Yeah, and so I was wondering if you might want to work for us as a driver for a few days.” She paused. “As you know, we’re suddenly short one driver.”

“What kind of driving would I have to do?”

“You’d be moving the wind machines around to wherever we need them for one, but mostly you’d be driving one of the vans that shuttle our people from the inn to the location shoots.”

Mark wanted to jump at the chance at hanging around a movie set for a few days, but didn’t want to look too eager. “What does it pay?” he said.

She told him, then added, “I know it’s not union scale, but this is a non-union shoot. That’s good for you because I wouldn’t be able to hire you otherwise.”

Union or no union, it was more than he would have been making sitting around waiting for the cops to let him leave town.

“Sure, I guess that’d be all right.”

“Good,” she said. “Now, let’s get these wind machines off the road and onto the site.” n

– Next month: Murder on Site, Part 3.

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