Tofino Timeless is
a serial story by members
of the Clayoquot Writers Group. Chapters will be appearing over the next months in Tofino Time.
A movie shoot is coming to Clayoquot Sound, and with it, Danny Cubit, location scout for a major motion picture studio. What will he find at the end of the road? Shell Cohen?
A prophecy fulfilled? Certainly a volatile cast of picturesque characters!
Here is the first act, written by Scott Jones.
When Danny Cubit was asked where he was from, invariably his reply would be something along the lines of the last place he had been. Not where he grew up, or where he considered his home to be (no town qualified, really), but the last place he had spent what he considered to be a reasonable amount of time in which to form an impression of the place, and for the place to form an impression of him. Sometimes this was as much as a few years, or a month or two, even as little as a week in one best-left-forgotten case.
If you were to ask Danny Cubit what brought him to wherever he was, whether it was millions-strong metropolis, aspiring suburban blightscape, or one-horse town, invariably his reply would be something along the lines of location scout for a major motion picture studio. Which was true, technically. But when Shell Cohen asked him that question on his first day scouting in Tofino, his customary reply felt contrived and a little shallow, and it died on the tip of his tongue.
His answer, when it came, surprised him...
"I'm here to fulfill prophecy."
"Funny. For some reason, that doesn't really surprise me," Shell said. "I mean, it's not something you hear every day, in fact I'm sure I've never ever heard it said, and yet I think I know what you mean. It's that kind of place. New destinies around every corner, washed up with each fresh tide."
"Yeah, you're right. It is something like that. I feel, I dunno... mythical, I guess. Like I'm a story being told, somehow."
Shell laughed at that. "You and me both, dude!"
Danny liked Shell Cohen. He liked her close-cropped auburn hair, her thin wrists, her slightly crooked, engaging smile. He liked her clothes, which he supposed were probably considered hippie duds by the less evolved, but just seemed natural, comfortable and unpretentious to him. He liked the way she'd just plopped herself down across the table from a total stranger at the Common Loaf and asked him what he was doing in Tofino.
"Do you always interrogate new people to town?" Danny asked.
"Yeah, sure. Honestly. Why not?"
"Honestly, I just kind of realized that there were so many faces around recently that I don't know. And I grew up here. I know everybody. Or thought I did. The town has grown, keeps growing, for better or worse, probably worse but who knows? Anyways. So, when I woke up this morning I vowed to meet at least one new person today."
"Lucky me." And Danny meant it.
"Yup, lucky you! So, what are you really here for, Danny Cubit?"
Danny grimaced. "Uh... y'know, I almost hate to say it, but alright. I'm a location scout."
Shell's eyes got wide. "Movies or television?"
"Jesus. They shot that buddy-buddy road movie here a couple years back. Well, some of it, anyways. Canadian production.... I can't remember what it was called, but it wasn't very good. What's your movie about?"
"Well, it's not mine, understand. It's an adaptation of this horror writer's first novel. Pretty awful stuff, really. I mean, from what I've read so far in the screenplay.... there's this sea-side town and a cult leader who raises submarine demons, sort of like fish-men. Mer-people, I guess you could call 'em, only nasty. They breed with the townsfolk and steal their souls."
Shell was appropriately stunned. "Wow. That sounds like utter crap."
"It is. I'm sorry I mentioned it."
"Hey. I asked you, remember? What's it called? This cinematic crap-fest?"
"Well, the original book is titled The Waiting Deeps..."
"Ooh, spooky.... not so bad!"
"Yeah. But I'm sure the idiots in marketing will re-christen it The Wettening or something like that. They always do."
Shell seemed to get lost in her own thoughts. She fidgeted with a button on her coat, stared out the window, knocked back the last of her coffee. She did all this one thing after the other and very quickly, as if she were deciding something inside herself while her outside provided distraction. Camouflage. Danny worried that with this latest revelation he had become less interesting, or even an enemy somehow. She certainly hadn't seemed impressed with his work specifically or movies in general. Time for a change of subject, he thought.
"So. Shell. I'm wondering if that's short for Michelle?"
"God! I wish!" She made a face. "Michelle would be nice. But no, it's not. I mean, yes, it is short for something but not that. Not Michelle."
"Well then, I'm at a loss. What else could it be short for?"
"Look around you, man! You're on the edge of the continent! An edge-place, with edge-people. The westward road stops just a few blocks away from where you're sitting. And remember, I said I grew up here, which means my parents were here in the seventies, which means protests and alternative lifestyles and the birth of northern surfing and...." She made circular leading motions with her hands and Danny finally clued in.
"Oh. You're not serious?"
"Seashell? Seashell Cohen?"
"Uh huh. It's a pretty common phenomenon round here!"
"That's brilliant, actually. I like it."
"Sure you do, Mr. Location Scout. But never mind my oceanic moniker and let me ask you: Done much scouting today?"
Danny smiled. "None at all actually. Just got in last night. I was going to start after coffee, maybe drive around a little...."
"Your coffee cup, in case you haven't noticed, is empty."
"So it is. Huh. I hadn't noticed. Don't even remember drinking it."
"That's cuz I drank the rest. I didn't have a coffee. Some scout you are!" Shell giggled. It was true. She had stolen his coffee right out from under him.
"So come on!" She got up, grabbed his wrist, headed out the door with Danny attached. "I know just where you can start!"
"Tofino Timeless" is a serial story written by the Clayoquot Writers Group.
Read Chapter Two in the February issue of Tofino Time Magazine...
Previous chapters of Tofino Timeless are available online: