Month: October 2016

Revised Edition of Winter Dreams Eps. 6 to 10


Episode 6:

Vance Chessler stepped up to his mic stand and said, “Thank you so much people. We’ve had a blast playing for you guys tonight and we only have time for one more song. What do you people want to hear?”

An attractive big breasted blonde wearing a blue and white striped tee-shirt and skin tight jeans yelled out, “Play ‘Gloria.”

“Ah, an oldie but a goodie. A wise choice my sweet young thing,” said Vance. “’Gloria’ it shall be and because you guys have been so good to Winter Dreams tonight, Peyton’s going to play a fantastic guitar solo that will be included in the middle of this song.”

When the band finished playing ‘Gloria’, the small but crowded and sweaty audience began clapping their hands, whistling, stomping their feet and screaming, “More! More!”  Vance looked exhausted, but he turned around to the band to check if they could do one more song. They nodded their consent.

“You are too kind, but if it is okay with the custodian, we’ll do one more song.” Vance looked at Jack, the heavy set custodian who yelled, “Go ahead guys. Five minutes longer isn’t going to kill me.”

Vance said, “You know guys, around 1965-66, there was a show band that we really loved called Paul Revere and the Raiders. We’d like to do their first big hit, ‘Louie, Louie.”

With that, Peyton hit the first three chords to start the band off. Despite the fact that the hour was growing late the kids took to the dance floor with wild abandon, each doing their own thing while perspiring profusely. A line of boys stood up a few feet from the band wishing that they were one of the guys performing on stage.

When the song was over Peyton picked up a towel to dry off his perspiration and walked towards Rick,

“Well, what did you think of my band?”

“You guys are fantastic,” Rick said.

“Thanks. I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse. What if you help Jack with sweeping and carrying the trash outside? After the band is finished packing up our gear we’ll all go over to my place and have a few beers.”

“You’ve got yourself a deal. Thanks a lot, man.”

Episode 7:

The band had two vehicles to load up their equipment. Chevy Raines, of course, had a Chevy van from which his name was derived. Peyton Ramparts had borrowed his dad’s white Ford Galaxie. Rick helped load most of the group’s gear into the van. The remainder of the musical equipment was loaded into the back seat and trunk of the white Ford Galaxie.

Rick rode shotgun along with Peyton.

“Wow, I had no idea you could play guitar like that,” Rick said. “Your band really put the crowd over tonight.”

“Thanks man. I was getting good vibes from the audience too,” Peyton said. “It always feels good when you feel rewarded for your work. I mean Winter Dreams has been practising two to three times a week for the last three months. Our sound is really coming together. We’re hoping to record a record as soon as I finish writing some original material for the band. Vance and I usually team up to write the songs. The stuff we’ve come up with already sounds pretty good.”

“How are you going to get your music recorded?”  Peyton asked.

“Chevy’s dad works at CKRC radio station. He has made some good connections with the deejays. One of them said he would see if we could do some recording at the radio station.”

The boys noticed that it had started snowing heavily and that the wind had really picked up.

“I was listening to the radio at home and the forecast warned of a possible blizzard this weekend,” Rick said.

“It’s starting to look like the station’s weather predictions were right,” Peyton said. “I’m just glad that the bad weather held off until after our gig.”

Peyton had the windshield wipers going at their fastest speed, but his visibility was still poor. Rick enjoyed the winter season, even the snowstorms. He actually liked shovelling snow at his house. Rick loved to watch the snow pouring down under the amber glow of the street lamps.

Within ten minutes Peyton’s car and Chevy’s van made it to Peyton’s place. Rick helped Peyton unload his car. He noticed that it was presently very cold with the added wind chill. His fingers were starting to freeze. The band had to be very careful unloading their gear as the ground underneath them was now quite slick. Ice patches were covered by the new snowfall and it was impossible to predict where the slippery spots were.

As the boys finished loading the last of their equipment into Peyton’s house, a red Buick parked in front of the house and several people started getting out of the large car. Among the passengers Rick could see his neighbor, Misty.

Episode 8:

When Rick and the band arrived at Peyton’s place they headed down to his parent’s finished rec room. They were greeted at the door by Peyton’s parents, Stan and Ruth Ramparts. Peyton’s parents were very cool people. They got married at a very young age and both smoked marijuana. Stan and Ruth were very proud of their son and were very supportive of his musical aspirations. They were unlike most parents, as they actually listened when young people talked to them. They were actually happy that Peyton’s group and his friends liked to practise and hang out at their place. They reasoned that this way they knew what Peyton was up to most of the time.

Every successful band has fans, groupies and hangers- on and Winter Dreams were no exception. Young people felt that they were hipper and higher up on the social scale if they were considered to be intimates of a well known popular band.

Misty arrived with a car load of the privileged Winter Dreams insiders. To Misty, being cool was everything and she always needed to be where the action was.

Both beer and weed were in abundance at this after gig party. These post concert  gatherings somewhat resembled the press conferences that professional athletes would have after they played a game. Many of the group’s friends and followers would comment on the highlights of the band’s performance and would ask questions about particular song choices.

Misty sat cross legged on a beige colored carpet and turned her head to look at Rick who was looking very relaxed sitting on a burgundy sofa.

She was very surprised to see Rick here, but thought about her last contact with him. About a month ago she was taking the bus home when she spotted Rick seated about halfway down the length of the bus. Misty asked Rick if she could sit in the open seat beside him. Rick was also surprised to run into Misty and felt rather honored that she wanted to sit beside him. Misty felt bad for both Rick and her sister, Sasha when they broke up, but she had to admit to herself that she found Rick to be very attractive. Rick and Misty had a really friendly, lively conversation during their bus ride home.winter 3

Episode 10 of Winter Dreams


Episode 10:

As head referee Steve Kowalski got ready to drop the puck, Bill Woodward, the center for the Cougars and Dennis Sharp, Norberry’s center positioned themselves for the opening face off of the game. At the drop of the puck the Knights center won the face-off and passed the puck back to defenseman Lyle Gaines. Gaines careened the puck off the boards in the direction of right winger Dale Hanson. Hanson turned on a burst of speed that moved him about fifteen feet from Maplewood’s goal. As Dale Hanson wound up for a blazing slap-shot, Eric Coswell, the Cougar’s star defenseman, moved in front of the goal to move Knights right winger Taylor King out of the crease area. Coswell was attempting to give his goalie, Rick Miller, a clear view of the upcoming shot. Unfortunately, Dale Hanson’s shot ricocheted off Eric Coswell’s shin pad causing the puck to take a change of direction.

The puck landed up in the bottom right corner of the Cougar’s net. Rick Miller had been screened on the shot and didn’t have any chance of stopping the puck that changed direction.

Only thirteen seconds of the first period had elapsed and the Cougars were down one to zero. Rick went for a short skate out of his net to regain his composure before returning to mentally prepare himself for the next face-off.

The same two centers lined up for the next face-off. Although Rick knew the first goal was not his fault, he felt his stomach muscles start to tighten like a knotted and twisted rope. The Knight’s center Noel Lamare won the face-off draw and immediately passed the puck to right winger Peter Stafford. Peter wound up for a one timer and put all of his two hundred pounds into his shot. He got excellent wood on the shot and Rick Miller didn’t even see the puck as it entered the right top corner of his net. Rick turned around in disbelief. This was the first time in his career he ever let in a goal taken from center ice.

The score was now 2 to 0 for the Norberry Knights and Rick began to panic. He wondered if he was still rusty after almost four weeks out of action. He also wondered if the concussion he suffered was now slowing down his reflexes. Rick knew how important this game was to his team and he didn’t want to be the player responsible for losing the game. He skated towards the Cougars bench, “Hey Brad. You can pull me and put Miles in goal.”

“What are you talking about? Get back in your net and do your job!” Brad Keenan yelled back at him. With an angry shake of his head Rick skated back to the goal. “How could Coach Keenan put me through this humiliation?” Rick thought.

 

The Maplewood Cougars bench almost visibly sagged after the second disastrous goal was scored on them. When Rick Miller got back in his net, he could hear the boos and cat calls coming from the Norberry Knights fans,

“Hey Miller, you suck! You couldn’t stop a beach ball.”

 

The laughing and derision only caused Rick’s anger to well up inside him. He was positively seething when the puck was dropped for the next face-off.

The face-off was won again by the Norberry Knights. The Knights set up a precision pass play that caused a two -on-one situation. This was a play that they had obviously been practicing for a long time. Fortunately, Rick read the play perfectly and stacked his pads to make an amazing save. The Knights bench just shook their heads in disbelief. The save that Rick had just made was nearly impossible. Eric Coswell skated over to Rick and tapped him on his pads.

“You still got it old man. Now we are going to start giving you some protection.”

What Eric just said seemed like empty words as the Knights won yet another face-off and dumped the puck into the Cougars end of the ice. Taylor King, Norberry’s left winger, was the first man to recover the puck. He quickly passed the puck back to Rob Janson, a powerful Norberry defenseman who was setting up to take a wicked slap-shot from the point. All three Knights forwards positioned themselves to block Rick’s view of the oncoming shot. Rick skated a few feet ahead and used his hands to maneuver a Knights winger out of the way. As Taylor King let his blistering slap-shot go, Rick had a small opening to see the puck coming towards the net. Rick dropped to his knees and caught the low shot in his trapper. As there was so much traffic in front of his net, Rick held on to the puck for a face off.

Episode 11:

 

 

goalie 8

Revised Edition of Chaos Eps. 1-13


Chaos, A Novel by Ken David Stewart

Episode One:

On April 16, 2016 Harold Peyton turned sixty-five. He was troubled by the realization that he was now officially a senior citizen. His beloved wife, Camilla had passed away on this very date April 16, 2006. Harold remained living in their old house that had done without renovations and repairs for at least a decade. Although a friend had encouraged him to find a new place to live, Roger was too deeply overwhelmed by grief to change his living arrangements. His stepson, Jeff, had even asked Harold to come and stay with him and his family. Harold didn’t want to impose upon him and he didn’t want Jeff to know that he had started drinking alcohol again. He had eleven years of sobriety to his credit before he relapsed back into his disease of addiction. Harold started drinking again a few days after his wife’s funeral.

On a Friday morning Harold walked by the local Manitoba Liquor Commission. He had just finished going to the post office to mail in thank you notes to all the people who sent their condolences.

As soon as Harold opened the door to the liquor store and literally walked across the red carpet, Roger felt right at home. It was as if the last eleven years of his life had never happened. Harold decided to take a tour of the liquor store to check out all the different kind of alcohol on display. After about twenty minutes of exploring the store Harold decided upon the largest bottle of Jack Daniels that he could find. He walked out of the liquor store without the slightest feelings of guilt and shame.

Episode 2:

Harold had now been retired for five years. He had been a high school English teacher for twenty-seven years. He was now receiving a CPP pension, a retired teachers pension and was about to start receiving Old Age Security Benefits.

Harold only returned to drinking alcohol for one year after his wife’s passing. After the one year was over Harold returned to his old Alcoholics Anonymous group and was welcomed back with open arms.

When he turned sixty-five Harold realized that he had to get back on his feet. One year of indulging in self-pity and substance abuse was long enough. As he gradually accumulated more sobriety his once brilliant mind had started to function again and he became very introspective. He began thinking about what he was going to do with the rest of his life.

After all, Harold was only in his mid sixties. He realized that he could possibly have twenty more years in store for himself.

Harold had kept physically fit before his drinking got out of control. He got back in the habit of going for a forty-five -minute bike ride each day. He also worked out at Shapes, his local gym, at least three times per week. When he started going back to Shapes he started with performing a resistance training circuit. Within a few months Harold was looking significantly better. By means of his weight training program Harold was starting to regain most of his youthful muscle definition. He was still approximately seventy pounds overweight according to his doctor’s Body Mass Index chart.

A good part of the problem was that Harold could not get himself motivated to learn how to cook healthy meals. While Harold was alive his wife did the majority of the cooking. The only type of cooking that Harold enjoyed was barbequing using an old circular shaped charcoal barbeque. He was afraid of using the newer gas powered grills. Harold would barbeque hot dogs, hamburgers and steak practically every day during the summer. Occasionally he would put on his parka and barbeque outside during the winter months.

After Janine died, Harold had to learn to fend for himself. He realized that he would have to eat something so he started to think of all the meals he could prepare for himself without having to cook. One morning Harold sat down and made a list of all the meals that he could make on his own. The list that Harold came up with included toast, various types of sandwiches, dry breakfast cereals, large bars of cheese, pizza pops, raw pepperoni sticks, hot dogs, raw fruits and vegetables. Spam and assorted canned foods.

Episode 3 of Chaos:

To Harold’s delight and with the help of drinking Valentus coffee, going for daily bike rides and going for regular workouts at Shapes gym, he was able to get his weight down to two-hundred thirty-five pounds. About a year ago Harold went to his doctor for a complete physical and weighed in at three hundred ten pounds. This was a turning point for Harold. He had been avoiding looking at himself in the mirror for quite some time now. Harold felt too much shame to see his reflection in the mirror. Although his present weight was still above his ideal weight according to the body mass index chart that his doctor showed him, Harold felt much better about himself. He could now look at himself in the mirror without fear of embarrassment. In fact, Harold thought that he now looked good. Not only had he lost a great deal of body fat he had regained a significant amount of muscle mass. Harold was now very proud of himself. With hard work he had achieved a major life goal. He now had a spring in his step when he went out in public.

Episode 4 of Chaos

Although he was officially retired Harold had not stopped working completely. He continued to work three to four days per week as a substitute teacher. Harold enjoyed substitute teaching much more than full time teaching, as he now didn’t have extra work to take home with him in the evenings. Substitute teaching also got him out of the house several times per week. This helped alleviate Harold’s loneliness as it gave him somewhat of a social life as he had an opportunity to visit with other teachers during prep periods and at lunch times.

Fortunately, Harold was rarely bored. He had developed several hobbies during his teaching career and he now had more time to devote to them. Harold also picked up a couple of new hobbies after he retired. He had always enjoyed learning new things and developing new skills.

He had truly loved his late wife Janine and believed that he could never again love a woman as much as he had loved her. Even so, he missed having female companionship. During one of his church’s weekly Bible studies Harold had met an attractive lady in her mid forties named Roxanne. They both felt a mutual attraction to each other and were soon going out for coffee after the Bible study had ended.

Episode 5 of Chaos:

Harold had a regular morning routine. On weekdays he would turn on his phone and wait for a call from the school division giving him a substitute teaching assignment for the day. Harold did not really want to accept an assignment today. He had just finished a three- day assignment teaching English at Murdoch MacKay Collegiate. Harold had a good time teaching there as the class was reading and discussing F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby. Although Harold had thoroughly enjoyed his time at Murdoch MacKay, he was getting older and felt like he needed a day off.

He also felt guilty when he spent too many days away from his writing. Harold wrote fiction novels as a hobby and found that the writing process was very therapeutic for him. He decided that he would decline any teaching assignments for today and would spend the day working on his current work in progress, a novel titled Winter Dreams.

Harold’s morning routine seldom varied. He would get up and boil some water for his Valentus coffee. Harold would then fill up a large glass with water. The glass that he used to wash down his medications was actually a large holder for flowers, like a vase, that he had purchased at Dollarama.

As he got older Harold appeared to be taking more and more medications. He had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was in his late teens. His psychiatrist prescribed a cocktail of antidepressants. While drinking his coffee and taking his meds Harold would listen to one of his many Holy Bible audiobooks.

Harold had been a Christian since his late twenties. When he first got saved he was really just buying fire insurance. Harold simply did not want to go to hell. For almost three decades he really didn’t have an intimate relationship with the Lord. When Harold was in his early fifties he was introduced to Charismatic and Pentecostal theology through a co-worker. Since then he had been baptised in the Holy Spirit and received some of the spiritual gifts, notably prophetic visions and words of knowledge.

Episode 6:

After Harold finished his devotion time, he returned to his writing by checking out his recent chapter of Winter Dreams. He would look for anywhere that editing was needed and started to think where he would take the story’s plot from here. Harold had also made up a separate Word document where he would list his ideas for potential future scenes.

While Harold had just started his next chapter, he heard a lot of noise emanating from outside his house. He got up from his black office chair and looked out his living room window.

There was still snow on the ground and Harold could see a burly man push a young female out of white Ford 250 truck. The driver appeared to be in his early thirties and looked very intimidating.The next thing to be tossed out of the truck was a large blue hockey duffle bag. It landed on the snow and ice covered ground with a loud thump.

Harold opened his front door when he heard the driver yelling obscenities at the girl. As the white truck pulled away Harold put on his Kodiak snow boots and stepped outside his house. He needed to see if the young woman needed any assistance. Harold helped the girl to her feet. She looked up at Harold, thanked him and began to cry. The young lady was wearing only a grey hoodie sweatshirt and a well worn pair of blue jeans. Her hair was black and scraggly and the tears pouring out of her eyes caused her mascara to run. She was shivering from the cold.

“Would you like to come inside to warm up and join me for coffee or hot chocolate?”

He helped the girl through the door. The young lady was feeling sore from being pushed out of the truck and landing on the hard ice and snow covered street. She was still shivering as it was unusually cold today and the girl didn’t have a winter coat to put on. Harold brought her duffle bag in. The bag was quite heavy but despite being sixty-five years old Harold was still very strong. He noticed a slight hint of body odor emanating from the girl. What really struck him was the thinness of the young lady’s face and her general emaciated presentation.

Episode 7:

Roger noticed that the girl had several piercings, one through her left eyebrow and two piercings in her nose.

As it was rather warm in Harold’s house, the young female took off her dirty grey hooded sweatshirt. Underneath she was wearing a black mid riff tee-shirt with Black Flag printed on it. Harold noticed that she also had a belly button piercing. She starting pulling off her black boots revealing two different colored striped socks.

“I should introduce myself. My name is Harold, Harold Peytoon. Would you like a cup of coffee or some hot chocolate?” Harold asked his guest. He thought that the girl would be attractive if she didn’t look so dishevelled and improved her personal hygiene.

“Oh, that would be awesome sir. I would actually prefer a hot chocolate if it’s not too much trouble for you.”

“That’s not a problem. By the way, what’s your name?” Harold asked

“My real name is Janine Jackson, but my street name is Streak. I also use a few aliases whenever I need to.”

“I’m pleased to meet you, Janine. Oh, by the way you don’t need to call me ‘sir’. Just Harold will be fine.”

Episode 8:

“Did you see that guy push me out of the truck and throw my duffel bag in the snow?” Janine asked.

“Yes, are you alright?” Harold asked with evident concern in his voice.

“Yes, I think so. Tony pushed me pretty hard out of the truck . I’ll probably be sore for awhile and have some nasty bruises,” Janine answered after taking a sip of her hot chocolate.

“That’s probably true. Look, I know its none of my business, so you don’t have to tell me your story,” Roger said.

“No, that’s not a problem,” Janine said. “You let me in your house, Harold, and maybe saved my life, so I should be honest enough to tell you what all went down. First, I need to give you some background information about myself. My real name is Janine Jackson, but I’m known by several aliases as you’re likely to find out. I’m twenty-two years old and I’m essentially homeless right now,” Janine said as she stretched out and made herself more comfortable on Roger’s well worn orange and yellow patterned couch. Harold sat in his brown Lazy Boy chair and smoked his pipe as he listened to Janine’s story.

“It sounds like you are having a very rough time of it right now,” Harold stated.

“Actually, my whole life has been a rough time, man. My father left when I was two years old, so I never really knew him. My mom and dad got married too young and the only reason that they got married was because Mom was pregnant with me. My parents never really wanted me. I was an accident.”

Episode 9:

“Wow. That must really hurt,” Harold said as he tried to light his pipe.

“Yeah, I guess it does, but I’m tough. I can live through a lot and I still am. Every day’s a struggle. I’ve never really had anyone I could trust in my life.” Janine’s eyes started to tear up.

“So what happened after your dad left?” Harold asked while passing a box of Kleenex over to Janine.

“The only way my mother knew how to cope was to turn to the bottle. Mom also got stoned on weed a lot. She also took several kinds of benzos and antidepressants that she got from her doctor. Mom was always good at scamming her doctors.”

“How could your mother look after you while she was so impaired?” Harold asked.

“She couldn’t take proper care of me, my brother or my sister. That’s why Child and Family Services took all her kids away and placed us all in different foster homes,” Janine answered and then drank a bit of her hot chocolate. “You sure make a good cup of hot chocolate, Harold. This is delicious.”

 

“It’s Tim Horton’s, dear. Only the best for you.”

Episode 10:

“You have a very nice home, Harold. It’s a little cluttered and could use some cleaning, but, then again, this house is quite small,” Janine said. “I noticed that you have four bookshelves and possibly a couple of hundred books.”

“Actually, I have a lot more books than that. My eyesight is not as good as it used to be so I now purchase all my books in the Kindle format. That way I can adjust the fonts and the brightness levels so that reading the text is comfortable for me,” Harold explained.

“You certainly are a well read man,” Janine observed.

“For sure. I’ve been that way since I was a kid. I also like listening to audiobooks when my eyes need a break.”

“You are right, though. This house is a bit too small, but it was even more cramped when my wife was still alive. We accumulated a lot of stuff over the years. I still haven’t given away much of Camilla’s belongings. I get too emotional when I’m around her stuff.”

“I’m sorry to hear that your wife passed away. How long has it been now?”

“Over a year and seven months.”

“Are you over your grief now?” Janine asked moving a little closer to the front of the couch. Harold was a little uncomfortable with how Janine made him feel. He wished that less of her skin was exposed. As much as he hated to admit it to himself, Harold did find this strange young woman in his house to be somewhat attractive. It couldn’t be a sexual attraction. That was ludicrous. After all, Harold was sixty-five years old and this girl was only twenty-two. He was not a dirty old man. Harold had not even been sexually active with Camilla during her last few years as she was too exhausted from her cancer treatments to have sexual relations with him. There was something else going on.

“Are you still grieving, Harold?” Janine asked.

“Yes, but it’s getting better with time. At certain times of the day I still get very sad and will start weeping. Sometimes an old song that we both loved will be playing on the internet and that will stir up a deep sadness within me. Camilla and I had a very happy marriage. I can’t say that we did a lot of exciting things together. We didn’t do much travelling as we didn’t have much money. Camilla was not healthy enough to work, so we mostly relied upon my income. As we both liked our creature comforts and I have several hobbies, we ran up a lot of debt. I had to take out a second mortgage on this house. This caused a great deal of stress in our lives, but we both enjoyed each other’s company in a quiet sort of way.”

Episode 11:

Harold got up from his easy chair and walked up to his living room window to look outside. He continued to talk to Janine with his back toward her.

“I’ll be up front with you Janine. I’m an alcoholic in recovery. I’ve only been sober a little past a year now. I got sober in Alcoholics Anonymous and recently received my one year of sobriety pin.” Harold didn’t know why he was sharing such personal information with a stranger.

“Can I use your washroom, Harold? I need to pee.”

“Sure, the washroom is just upstairs, the first door on your right.”

Harold now had a couple of minutes to collect his thoughts and started to realize how bizarre this situation was. He had just invited a complete stranger into his home and was talking to her as if she was an old friend.

When Janine came back downstairs, and entered Harold’s small living room, it was obvious that she had tried to clean herself up. She had washed her face and her mascara was no longer running. Her freshly shampooed hair brought a very sweet aroma into the room.

“I know all about addiction myself, Harold.I’m hooked on crystal meth. I’ve also been diagnosed as having BPD.” Janine said matter-of-factly.

“What’s BPD?” Harold asked. “I may have read something about it.”

“It’s a psychiatric disorder known as borderline personality disorder. It makes me act really crazy at times. I just thought that I’d warn you,” Janine said.

Harold turned his head toward Janine and looked her squarely in the eyes, “I’m shocked that you would tell me that.”

“Don’t be. I’m very straight up with people,” Janine replied.

“Do you have a place to live right now?” Harold asked.

“Not really. I’ve kind of been homeless for the last couple of months. I just sort of couch surf.” Roger looked at all Janine’s’s piercings and wondered if their installation caused her a lot of pain. Janine’ midriff T-shirt was sleeveless and Harold observed a pentagram tattoo on Janine’s right shoulder.

“What does couch surfing mean? Harold asked.

Janine smiled and laughed, “It means that I stay for short periods of time, usually a few days, at other people’s places and usually sleep on the couch, or sometimes I sleep in my own sleeping bag.”

Episode 12:

“It sounds like you’re living a very unstable life right now,” Harold observed. “How did you get addicted to crystal meth and opiates?”

“It all started in high school. I think I was around fifteen years old at the time. Crystal meth and opiates are not the first drugs I ever tried. I’m no angel. When I was twelve my friends and I started smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol. Sometimes we’d even steal some of our parents’ prescription drugs.

Then, at a party I met another girl and got into a physical fight with her. During the fight she pushed me down the stairs leading to the first floor of the house. I fell all the way down the stairs until I landed on my back in the stair well. I lied there and don’t remember how long I remained unconscious. When I finally ‘came to,’ I was lying on a hospital bed. I could see a doctor and a nurse standing over me.

When he could see that I had regained consciousness, the doctor began to speak to me. He was an older man, probably in his mid-forties. His hair was short and was a salt-and-pepper color. He wore dark rimmed glasses.”

‘You are very lucky girl,” he said. “You took a very bad fall and could have been seriously injured. There are a lot of nasty contusions on your shoulders and back, but there doesn’t appear to be any paralysis or permanent injury to your back or spine. I will be sending you for some x-rays just to be on the safe side. How is your pain?’

“I tried to move and let out a scream of pain. ‘Very bad,’ I told the doctor. He took out a prescription and wrote me a prescription for OxyContin. As soon as I took my first OxyContin I felt wonderful. The pain was still there, but I felt like I was floating on a cloud. I didn’t have a worry in the world. From that point on I was an opiate addict,” Janine said in way of explanation. “Harold, do you mind if I go outside for a smoke. A cigarette might help me to calm down.”

“No. go right ahead. Do you like dogs?” Harold asked.

“I love dogs,” Janine answered.

“My old dog Buddy is in the backyard. He’s a very old black Labrador retriever, but he still enjoys going for a walk. Would you be able to take Buddy for a walk while you are having your smoke break?”

“Absolutely. I’d love to. I didn’t know that you owned a dog, Harold. I could hear some barking outside, but I assumed it was a neighbor’s dog,” Janine replied.

“After your walk you can bring Buddy in the house. He is a little shy of people he doesn’t know, but after you’ve spent a bit of time with him, he’ll love you. Especially, if you take him for a walk,” Harold said getting out of his Lazy Boy chair.

“You don’t need to get up. I’ll find Buddy on my own and I’ll take him for a walk,” Janine said.

“Buddy’s leash is hanging up on a nail on the back door,” Harold said settling back down into his easy chair. Janine grabbed the chained leash and opened the back door. Buddy looked up at her and began to bark. Janine had owned a dog when she was living with her aunt and was very good at handling shy dogs. She found a box of dog treats on top of Harold’s refrigerator. Janine took a few treats out of the box to give to Buddy. She slowly walked up to the old black lab, spoke very gently to him and gave him a treat. Buddy took the treat very readily and Janine didn’t have any problem attaching the dog’s leash. Buddy wagged his tail to indicate that he was more than ready to go on a walk with Janine.

Episode 13:

As Roger watched Janine walk out the back door with Buddy he started to feel very confused. For a long time now Harold’s emotional life had been shut down. He was barely able to feel anything as he was trying desperately to bury his pain deep inside himself.

Harold tried to keep himself distracted by filling his day with his hobbies and his part time job. He would go out to do substitute teaching assignments about three days per week on average. He paid for a subscription with a company called Sub Alert. Harold would receive a phone call whenever a new substitute teaching job was available. Harold had the option of accepting or declining the assignment. He preferred to work with middle years and high school students. Harold became very popular with most of his students mainly because he was very cool for a man for his age. He had long white hair tied in a ponytail and dressed casually. Harold would either where a hockey jersey or a tee-shirt with a rock band’s logo covered by an unbuttoned denim shirt.

Harold looked forward to all his teaching gigs. He consistently had the attitude that he was going to make it a fun day for both himself and his students and it usually was.

Episode 14:

About thirty seconds after Janine closed the back door behind her and took Buddy for a walk, Harold’s phone rang. It was a call from Sub Alert, a private company that phoned Harold whenever a new substitute teaching assignment was available.images 12

Episode 10 of Whisper by Ken David Stewart


Episode 10:

When Whisper finished showering and was coming down the stairs, Harold saw how much more attractive she looked. Her shoulder length blond hair was slicked back and gave off a pleasant aroma as she descended closer to the bottom of the stairs.

Whisper was now wearing a Los Angeles Kings replica Jersey. It was the design the Kings wore when Wayne Gretzky was their team captain. On the back of the Jersey ‘Whisper 99’ could be seen. She wore a pair of shiny silver slacks. The looseness of Whisper’s Jersey helped conceal her extra upper body weight. Her silver slacks were also loosely fitted, giving the impression that her legs were not too plump.

As soon as she got herself settled on the couch Whisper said, “Thank you for letting me use your shower. I feel so much better now. Does your coffee need to be reheated?” Whisper asked.

“Oh no. It’s fine. I’m about three quarters way finished it anyway.

“If you want a fresh cup just ask.” Whisper said. “So you would like to know more about my housing situation.”

“Yes. It sounds like you don’t have a permanent place to live.”

 

“Yes. Unfortunately, that’s presently the situation I find myself in,” Whisper said.

“So I gather you can’t stay at Tony’s place tonight.? Harold asked.

“Oh no. He might kill me.”

You’re exaggerating, aren’t you?” Harold asked with genuine alarm in his voice.

No, I’m not. I can’t count how many times that Tony has beat me up this year,” Whisper answered.

 

So, where were you living before you stayed with Tony?” Harold asked

“At the Headingly Correctional Center for Women.”

“You’re kidding. What were you charged with?” Harold asked.

“Shoplifting,” Whisper replied.

“Why did you shoplift?” Harold asked.

“Probably because I didn’t have any money for food and cigarettes.”

Do you steal from stores a lot?” Harold asked.

 

“Yeah. Quite a lot, actually. I get a cheque from social assistance, but it doesn’t provide nearly enough, especially if you smoke like I do. Mostly I steal because I need stuff. I run out of money early in the month I don’t budget my money real well. Sometimes I just shoplift when I get bored. I get an adrenaline rush from it.”

“Do you ever feel guilty about stealing?” Harold asked.

“Not really. I mean I know it’s not right, but a person has to provide for themselves.”

“Have you ever had a regular job before?” Harold asked.

“Sure. I was the human resources director at Canada Life for about five years. Then I got fired.” Whisper answered.

“Why did you get fired?” Harold asked.

“For embezzlement. They found out that I was padding my expense account pretty regularly.” Whisper answered.

 

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A New Direction Podcast


Doing Life Together A New Podcast by Ken David Stewart

Some of my readers may be aware that I have been doing my own podcasts on Podbean.com and ITunes for several months now. The title of my podcast was formerly The Ken David Stewart Podcast. Its new name is Doing Life Together. I found that with my former podcast I was covering a variety of topics that did not appear to have much of a common theme. Doing it that way made it nearly impossible to reach a niche audience.

For my new podcasts I will be placing a greater emphasis upon applying spiritual principles to how we handle the tough challenges of daily life. The content will be from a Christian perspective, but will also be of value to non believers or anyone who is facing difficult situations in their life.

I am praying that this podcast will be very interactive by way of the listening audience providing both feedback and comments. In my podcasts and blogs I try to be very honest and open. I did a podcast last night and will include it in today’s blog post.

God bless you all,

Ken David StewartPicture 82