Bobby O’Connor wrapped up his interview with Harvey Perkins, got into his black 1997 Pontiac Grand Am and drove back to his office in the Kelowna Courier building. He was feeling very energized. This was a sensation that Bobby had not felt in a long time. He remembered feeling like this back in his hockey playing days. It reminded him of his prime years when he would be skating down the wing looking for an opening in his opponent’s defense. Bobby would experience a rush of adrenaline as he picked his spot and wound up for what famous hockey commentator Danny Gallivan would call a ‘cannonating’ slap shot. Of course, you couldn’t find the word ‘cannonating’ in the dictionary. It was a word that Danny made up to describe a particularly hard shot.
In just one day, Bobby had come out from under a black cloud of depression and a nauseating hangover.
Today was going to be a different day for Bobby O’Connor. His life was about to change. For today, he could forget about those miserable bus rides with the Kelowna Rockets hockey team. He would not have to listening to some young junior hockey player bragging about his latest sexual conquest. The sports reporter would not have to smell the sickeningly sweet aroma of testosterone and male body odour. Today was going to be different.
Bobby O’Connor entered the offices of The Kelowna Daily Courier and started making his way towards his editor’s office. He had to suck in his gut in order to squeeze by the secretaries and other reporter’s desks. Bobby now weighed close to two hundred fifty pounds and was starting to turn grey around the temples. He could see his editor, Jack Walby sitting back in his black executive’s chair. Bobby chuckled to himself when it occurred to him how much Jack Walby looked like the actor, Ed Asner. At times Bobby had almost slipped up and called Jack, ‘Lou’, the character played by Ed Asner on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Heck, Bobby was waiting for Mary to appear in Jack Walby’s office at any moment.
On Jack’s desk was a picture of his third wife and all his kids from his previous marriages. An opened box of pepperoni pizza was sitting on Jack’s desk. There were three slices of pizza remaining in the box.
Booby knocked on Jack’s door and Jack waved for him to come in. Jack was talking to someone on the phone while cradling a Diet Coke in one hand. A few seconds after Bobby entered his office Jack hung up the phone and motioned for Bobby to take a seat.
Bobby sat facing Jack’s long oak wood desk in a maroon colored leather chair with a slight tear in it.
“So, what’s up Bobby? You got the report on last night’s game?” Jack asked, taking a bite from a pizza slice. “Oh, man, where’s my manners? Help yourself to a slice of pizza, Bobby.”
“Not right now, Jack, but thanks for the offer. Now to answer your first question, I’ve got something much better than a report on a junior hockey game. I’ve started gathering material for a breakthrough series of articles,” Bobby said.
“What are you talking about? I’m already feeling that I might be sorry I asked,” the editor said cleaning his hands with a white napkin.
“We’re talking about cutting edge science, Jack. I’ve recently interviewed a few people who claimed to have seen Ogopogo. I’ve even got a couple of pictures that I had verified by a photographic expert.”
“Ogopogo? What does that have to do with The Kelowna Rockets? Are they looking for a new logo?” Jack asked chuckling as he threw his crumpled up napkin into a nearby dark green garbage can.
Booby sat up and leaned forward towards his editor’s desk. “I’m very serious about this one. It could be a great scoop for The Kelowna Daily Courier.”
“Come on, Bobby, you’re a sports writer. Shouldn’t you pass this material on to a reporter who covers science or the local news?”
“Absolutely not. This is my story. Anyway, aren’t you the one who told me I had to come up with more exciting stories?”
“Yeah, I am,” Bobby’s editor answered.
“Well, this is where it begins. Anyway, I’m tired of covering junior hockey. I’m a university grad and my interests and talents expand way beyond covering the sports beat.” Bobby said.
“So you’re telling me that you want to broaden your horizons?” his editor asked.
“Well, come to think of it, I was recently talking to the sheriff, George Anderson. We play on the same bowling team. He was telling me that there has been a record number of Ogopogo sightings this summer,” Jack Walby said.
“That’s what I heard too.”
Have you heard about Ida Rhodes? Jack asked.
“Isn’t she the old lady who went missing when she took her dog for a walk along the banks of Lake Okanagan?” Bobby asked.
“That’s the one. The sheriff told me that a lot of people in town think that Ida and her dog may have encountered Ogopogo. George’s deputy, Bill Rollins, also told him that his son and one of his young friends got quite a scare recently near the same area where Ida Rhodes and her dog disappeared. Why don’t you arrange an interview with the sheriff and his deputy?” the editor asked.
“You mean I’ve got your permission to work on my new field of interest?” Bobby asked twisting around in his chair.
“Yeah, why not? I’ve been thinking it over. I’ve probably had you working the sports beat too long,” the editor sighed.
Bobby couldn’t wait another second to get to his desk and start writing his first newspaper article on Ogopogo. What follows is Bobby O’Connor’s first draft of the article:
There have long been rumours of a mysterious creature or creatures that inhabit Lake Okanagan. This unknown animal is known as Ogopogo and first was mentioned in First Nations legends. They called Ogopogo, the Lake Demon. There have been many reported sightings of the creature since that time, often as many as ten per year. Most people doubt the existence of a sea monster in Lake Okanagan and claim that it is a mythical creature. They state that the reported sightings are either hoaxes or are reports of people who have mistakenly seen some other object or phenomena.
Then there are the true believers who claim to have actually had a real sighting or close encounter with Ogopogo. There have also been reports of persons who have gone missing while near Lake Okanagan,
This summer has seen an unusually high number of reports of Ogopogo. This reporter has interviewed some of the people that have had close encounters with the creature.
I have talked with two very credible young people known as Ryan and Monique. They told this writer that they had recently seen Ogopogo while they were out jogging near the banks of the lake. Monique was able to take two pictures of an unusual phenomenon that she and Ryan claim is Ogopogo. I have had a photographic expert check these photos out and he assured me that they have not been tampered with. Around the same time two local fishermen also sighted an unusual object approximately one hundred meters distant from their boat. I have had the opportunity to talk to one of the fishermen in person and he is firmly of the belief that what they saw was Ogopogo.