Flag on my Backpack: Part Fifteen
All Along You Knew
Dom rolled over in her bed as her alarm went off. A day off, a glorious day off from work. She turned off the alarm and slowly crawled out of bed, not giving her body time to lay back down and succumb to more sleep. Even though it was a day off, she still had a busy day ahead of her. Music practise, it was pay day as well, check in with Frechette and Kowalsky in the afternoon. And there was the talk she needed to have with her parents about this sting operation. While the two officers told her secrecy was of the utmost importance, she felt she still had to inform at least her parents. Besides, she felt she owed it to her father after the small chit chat the previous night. They never had a chance later to talk about it.
She’d have to do it this morning.
She trudged downstairs and smiled as she saw her parents finishing their breakfast. Her father looked up and smiled as she sat down in front of the plate of bacon, sausage, eggs and hash browns. She thanked her mother as she poured a glass of orange juice and looked over to her father as he displayed the entertainment section, opened up to the club scene. “You guys got a decent review, Dom,” he said as he set the paper down beside her.
Dom stopped eating and slowly picked up the paper, reading the comments and laughing from time to time. “Yves gonna like dis, for sure,” she said with a chuckle. “It nice we’re gettin’ decent reviews.”
“I thought you guys just wanted somet’ing to do for a hobby,” her father said with a smirk.
“Eh, it’s fun, you know,” Dom replied as she shovelled some hash browns into her mouth. “You know, keep us outta trouble. An’ we get out from time ta time.”
“Speakin’ o’ trouble, Dominique,” her mother stated flatly. Dom could tell the tone meant a serious discussion was about to begin. “Where you go las’ night?”
Dom stopped eating and looked between her father and mother for a moment, then wished she could shrink behind the newspaper and just eat her breakfast. No such luck, however, as she always knew exactly what her mother was speaking of. And she always knew that her mother never let anything go that was as serious as what Dom did last night. Especially since she was considered a costumed vigilante.
“Jus’… you know,” she said with a shrug as she tried to find the words. As Canadiens, Dom could stop bank robbers, thwart kidnappers and haul in muggers. But her greatest weakness was her mom. “… ‘elped out de police a bit. Tryin’ ta find dat attacker. De one in de papers.” Her mother just looked at Dom, as though the look in her eyes said everything. “Wha’, de officers I workin’ wit’ tell me ta jus’ scout, no’ get involve directly, you know. I’m no’ out ‘untin’ dis guy or nut’in’.”
“So, de police are sanctionin’ you, Dominique?”
“Well,” Dom replied slowly as she cut up her bacon. “Jus’ Frechette an’ Kowalsky. De ‘ead inspector, dey say dat ‘e no’ exactly a fan o’ costume vigilantes an’ stuff.” She took another drink from her juice glass hoping that the short description was enough. The look from her mother answered that question quickly. “Frechette ask me!”
“Dominique,” her mother began, her voice trying it’s best to hold back an angry tone. “Dis man is very dangerous. You ‘ave to be careful, dis isn’t some game you are playin’, you know. It very important dat you realize dis.”
“Mama!” she exclaimed defensively, then looked to her father. “Di’n't you do anytin like dis?”
“Oui,” Jean Pierre answered with a calm nod. “Bu’ den, FLQ terrorist a little diff’rent den rapists…”
“Now ‘old on,” Dom interrupted quickly. “Frechette say dat dis guy ain’t actually a rapist. Police jus’ feed dat to media in a way to prevent odders from ‘appenin’. She say if dey feed dat information den chance o’ a copy cat is decrease. Especially when dey say dat patrols increase. De attacks jus’ ’round Bishop Mountain ‘All.” She looked between her mother and father for a moment, hoping this new information would sink in.
Her mother set down her fork and cleared her throat, a signal she was about to speak. Usually, it wasn’t something that Dom wanted to hear. “I don’ need to tell you that doing this will not make me pleased, Dominique,” she began in a quiet tone. “But I also know dat you are extremely stubborn, so no matter what we say, I think you gonna do what you want. Sayin’ dat, I know you can protect you’self. I seen you on TV a few times… an’ God know my heart jump into my throat when I saw it… but I know you can protect you’self. We can’t tell you not to go an’ do dis. It would be double standard. Just be careful.”
There was a solemn silence as Dom took in her mother’s words. Finally, she nodded and offered a small smile of thanks. “At least I not gonna do more ‘n what de police ask o’ me, you know,” she reassured her mother. “Hey, you never know, maybe dis be a perfect opportunity to enrol in police protective services or somet’ing.”
Monika rolled her eyes and sighed as she shook her head. “You jus’ concentrate on you music for now, an’ I’ll be happy with dat, oui.”
Able McIntyre unlocked the door to the music store as he always did since starting his job at AJ’s CD Bargain Bin. It took him only a couple of days to get the routine down pat, and found it easy after all. Every weekday at 10:30 he’d open, getting to work by ten in the morning and having the store ready to go by the time it was ready to unlock for the day. Of course, everyday he opened, there was always the same crowd that would gather.
The preppy girl that always chewed, what Able assumed, the same piece of gum. The emos, the ones who’d hang around the store and often ask exactly the same question. There was the geeky looking guy who’d always come in and trade his old CD’s for new ones. Able assumed he had a file sharing server and was just ripping CD tracks. The kid had been in every single day that Able had worked here, and he assumed the kid showed up well before that. There was the guys that Able and his co-worker Claude dubbed the creepers, guys who hung around the store just to watch the goth chicks come in. Usually there was a new creeper that would drift into the store.
As always, Claude showed up exactly when he was supposed to, 10:30, no earlier, no later. Claude could get away with it in a way, his older brother, Etienne owned the shop. And as always, Claude would ask the same questions.
“Cafe?” he’d ask in French. He did it at first just to bug Able, but once you do something over and over and over again, it no longer becomes teasing.
“In the back, where it always is, mate,” Able replied as he moved a box full of CD’s from behind the counter. He began organizing CD’s into the wracks as Claude fixed himself a coffee.
“You own a pair o’ pants at all?” Claude said as he returned to the front, coffee in hand. He smirked as he looked over Able’s usually green plaid kilt.
Able scoffed and pointed to Claude’s ripped jeans. “D’you, mate?” Ripped would be a compliment, as Claude’s jeans had holes in them big enough to put a fist through them with ease.
“Touche, mon ami,” Claude said with a laugh as he started up the till and turned on the computer. “Where were you yesterday? T’ought you were gonna be comin’ over to Henri’s for dat jam session. Claire was dere, askin’ ’bout you.”
“I got an invite ta go ta La Loft, watch Blanc Noir,” Able replied. “Got ta hang out with the band.”
“Where did you score dat?” Claude asked with an impressed, yet jealous look on his face.
“Went for a coffee an’ doughnut at a Tim’s,” Able explained as he finished loading up the CD wracks. “Found out the entire band works at that Tim’s. We got ta talkin’, Michelle give me a ticket.”
“Michelle Villeneauve?” Claude announced with some amazement in his voice. “Oh man, she’s hot. So, what you do? What you talk ’bout?”
Able grinned as he returned to the counter and hopped up to take a seat. “They asked if I wanna jam with ‘em some time.” He looked to Claude with a smile and chuckled as his co-worker nearly tripped over himself with disbelief.
“Jam wit’ dem?” Claude let out a heavy sigh as though he’d been told he won the lottery. “Dude, you gotta see if Michelle is seein’ anyone. Really, man. Do it.”
“Mate, I’m not gonna be yer wing man fer a band,” Able replied as he shook his head. “But, I will see if I can get ya tickets fer the next show.” Claude became speechless as he blinked twice, then stared wide eyed at Able. He finally broke his silence with a shout of joy, nearly dropping his coffee. “Yer welcome, mate.”
Things began to flow into routine as the first few customers entered. The emos first, followed by a couple of preps. Right on time, like clockwork, the geeky kid came in to trade a bunch of his CD’s. Claude and Able exchanged looks as the first of what they recognized as a creeper came in. They’d give the guy twenty minutes, then ask if he was going to buy anything. Fifteen minutes from noon, Claude saw a familiar face.
“Here come Claire,” he said as he passed Able and gave him a nudge. Able turned as the door bell rang out announcing another customer had entered. He smiled as he saw the young woman, her pink hair not the only unique thing about her.
“Hey! Able!” she called out as she spotted the young man. “Where were you yesterday?”
“He got invited ta La Loft las’ night,” Claude quickly announced as he moved around a few boxes of CD’s.
Claire looked to Able with a perked eyebrow. Able only smiled as he looked between Claude and Claire. “I got tickets from one o’ the band members o’ Blanc Noir. Went an’ saw ‘em last night.” Claire gave Able a similar look that Claude had given him earlier, but she still remained silent. “They asked me ta jam with ‘em,” he went onto explain.
“Blanc Noir?” she finally gasped out. “You gonna be playin’ with Blanc Noir? You gonna jam with Yves Manderville?” she exclaimed as she began to swoon. “Yves is so dreamy.”
“If dat de case, Claire, we got some ‘dreamy’ new CD’s in your favourite punk rock section,” Claude announced with a laugh. Claire grinned in reply and moved over to the section she knew all too well. Able moved over to Claude and leaned against the counter by the till. “She’s really clingy, mon ami. Are you sure you wanna ask ‘er out?”
“I’m startin’ ta see what ye’ve been warnin’ me ’bout fer the past coupla weeks, mate,” Able said with a nod. “An’ Yves would break her in two. Lad works out, that’s no doubt.” Claude nodded but narrowed his eyes as something caught his attention. He tapped Able’s shoulder and motioned to the creeper. The man in the grey long coat was sifting through CD’s, but every now and then he’d look up in Claire’s direction.
Able looked to Claude as he furrowed his brow. “Yer not thinkin’,” Able said as Claude only nodded in reply, not needing to hear the full question. “Give it a few minutes.” Able said with a cautious tinge in his voice.
Both he and Claude shifted back to their usual candour as Claire returned with four CD’s in her hands. “Let’s see what you got ‘ere, Claire,” Claude said as he studied the CD’s meticulously. “Good choices,” he said with an impressed nod. “This should keep you going for a while. An’ total is 24 dollars an’ 75 cents.” He took a twenty and a ten with a smile from Claire and rang her purchase through, giving her change back as Able wrapped them up in a plastic bag.
Claire grinned, making sure to wink at Able, waving as she began to walk out of the store. Both Claude and Able turned their attention to the man in the grey coat. He took a look around the store, and quietly slipped out of the front door behind Claire.
“You thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’, mon ami,” Claude said with a slight grimace.
“You call the cops,” Able said as he grabbed his jacket. “I’ll follow ‘em an’ give ya a call where they go.”
Dom exited the bank as she counted a few of her bills, then placed them carefully into her wallet. Her wallet went neatly into the inside jacket pocket of her leather jacket. Bills, payed. Next stop was to gather material from McGill’s music department, classes were going to be starting soon and she needed to be ready. Fortunately it would be a short walk from the bank, and it was a warm day. She pulled her backpack up on her shoulder and began her walk.
There was a few people milling about for this Monday morning. She felt in a good mood and hummed lightly to herself as she walked. No need for the iPod today. Along the way, she’d greet passersby with a cheery good morning, and receive a smile in reply. It felt good to make people’s day a little brighter, even with something as simple as a smile.
As she rounded a corner, she nearly slammed into another pedestrian. A girl in pink hair, studiously looking over the cover of a CD. Dom reached out and caught her before they completely ran into each other. There was a chuckle and an exchange of apologies before each went on their way. As Dom watched the girl for a moment, she began to continue on her way, and was nearly run over.
The man in the grey coat shot a glare at her, and kept moving at a rushed pace. Again, Dom watched, but this time with concern. She saw the pink haired girl, then the man again. He would slow down a bit, take his time around a newsstand, then take off again in the same direction as the pink haired girl. It didn’t take complex math to figure things out, especially with the previous night’s sting still fresh in her mind..
“Merde,” she muttered as she took out her cell phone. She hit her speed dial for Frechette’s home number and waited until she heard the officer’s voice announce ‘morning’. “Officer, it’s me. Dom,” she said, then added in a whisper. “Canadiens.” She hoped Frechette’s attention would focus quickly with the announcement. She did work late shift with Kowalsky, so noon would still be early for her.
“Dom? What is it? You don’t usually phone me at home?” There was obvious panic in Frechette’s voice.
“I think I saw him,” she said in a quiet voice. “The guy you been tryin’ ta find. The one doin’ the attacks. He’s followin’ a girl right now.”
“Can you keep up?” Frechette asked quickly. “Where are you?”
“A block west o’ McGill University,” Dom said as she began walking in the direction of the man and the young girl.
“I’ll call Kowalsky an’ phone it into dispatch,” Frechette said as Dom could hear rustling in the background. “Keep me posted, Dom.” Dom rang off and pocketed her cell phone. It would be a lot easier to shadow these two from the rooftops. And the only way she could actually do that was in her uniform. Fortunately, that was in her backpack. She dodged down an alleyway quickly, making sure the man and girl weren’t too far ahead.
Less than half a block back, a young man in a green plaid kilt stopped in his tracks. “Was that Dom?”