The Crayfish That Destroyed Winnipeg
By Ken David Stewart
Earl Dawson rolled over on his side of the bed and through glazed and blurry eyes glanced over at his Sony digital alarm clock. Bright red numerals indicated that it was 3:03 AM.
“Oh shit,” Earl said as he rolled over in the king size bed that he shared with Edith, his wife of twenty years. It was July 25, 2017 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Earl and Edith owned a beautiful red brick home on Wellington Crescent in the wealthy area of the city. The successful couple’s home was flanked on each side by equally expensive houses. Wellington Crescent was populated by upwardly mobile professionals, doctors, lawyers and dentists and the like.
Earl rolled over toward his wife’s side of the bed. He knew from experience that this was likely to be a useless and frustrating course of action.
Sleep had not come easily for Earl during the last two weeks. He had recently turned fifty -eight and had not been enjoying the initial years on his journey toward old age. Wasn’t life supposed to slow down and get easier as one reached his age? Whoever told Earl this tidbit of wisdom was a fool. One’s body got older and slower, you had aches and pains that you never had before and you had less energy to fight your daily battles. This was an appropriate metaphor for Earl’s present life as he was increasingly feeling like he was a somewhat disabled soldier fighting in a war that he was no longer sure that he could win.
Recently, Earl Dawson had not experienced any slowing down in the speed of his life trajectory and the increasing number of serious issues that were crying out for his attention. After fitfully tossing and turning for nearly five minutes, Earl accidently rolled over onto his wife’s side of the bed. He had accidentally pressed his considerable body weight onto his wife’s left arm.
Edith, Earl’s wife of the last twenty years, greatly resented being startled awake from a deep and peaceful sleep. Edith had suffered from a frustrating inability to remain completely asleep over the total course of a night for most of her adult life. It was her pattern to have to get up and read for about one hour before attempting to fall back asleep again.
Episode Two- The Physical Presentation of Dr. Earl Dawson:
Edith stared angrily at Earl and began to unleash her wrath upon her husband, “Earl, this is the second time in three nights that you have bumped into me and have woke me up at this ungodly hour. What is wrong with you! I think that you should ask your business partner, David if he would take you on as one of his patients and provide you with some type of psychotherapy.”
“I am a psychiatrist, Edith. I’m more than qualified to diagnose and treat myself!” Earl snapped back.
“You know that you can’t psychoanalyze yourself, Earl. It is impossible for you to be objective about your own issues,” Edith argued.
“I would like to think that I know more about my personal issues than David does, with all due respect to his obvious professional abilities. Besides, he is not only a distinguished colleague of mine, David is also my business partner and best friend,” Earl stated as he stomped his left foot on the floor.
“Nevertheless, you need to be under the care of a professional therapist. Now that I consider the point that you made, I must concede that David Mylander is likely an inappropriate candidate for you, but you need to find someone who is.”
Earl got off the mattress and began to pace around the bedroom. At fifty-eight years of age, he still cast a vibrant and formidable figure. Earl was barrel chested but presented with a substantial amount of muscle mass. Although he was only five feet ten inches tall, he had thick muscular arms that he proudly displayed whenever he wore tank tops. His back and shoulders were also well developed often causing a casual observer to ignore Earl’s obesity.
Earl was very defensive about his excessive weight and didn’t like it being pointed out to him. He rode bike and pumped iron as much as his professional schedule and diminishing energy levels would allow him.
Earl was grateful for the fact that his entry into late middle age had not caused any significant hair loss. He had long snow-white hair tied back in a ponytail that ran half way down his back. Earl was grateful that his family doctor had prescribed the medication finasteride to treat his enlarged prostate. Earl was delighted when Dr. Lakewood informed him that finasteride worked like Propecia, the medication that delayed male pattern baldness. Earl was very proud of his long mane of hair and often strutted about like a peacock.
“This whole situation is ridiculous. My life is getting harder and crazier everyday. Its like it says in that Dan Hill song, “like a roller coaster riding out of control.” Earl Dawson complained while continuing to pace back and forth like the hyena he saw last year at Assiniboine Park Zoo.
I am fifty-eight years old and can no longer cope with my own life. I just want to get off this roller coaster. The irony is that my job is treating very mentally unstable people on a daily basis. I’m just asking for a decent night’s sleep occasionally. I don’t have to sleep well every night. My present sleep medication protocol is only marginally effective. During most nights I average only three to four hours of sleep. I’ve already reached the maximum dosage of my sleep management medication.
On the evening of July 27, 2017, Isiah Jacobs, the seventeen year old brother of Caleb Jacobs walks down the orange carpeted steps on his way to his basement rec room study. Elijah is a tall, scrawny red-haired teenager with a serious acne condition who looks like he could be the poster boy for a local chapter of Nerds United.
Isiah’s private study is in his family’s rec room. As he approached the door to his study, Isiah noticed that the door is slightly ajar. As he pushed the door open he sees a translucent, red colored rectangular Tupperware container on the right hand side of his expensive black office chair. He hears a loud, scratching sounds coming from the rectangular, plastic Tupperware container.
Isiah bent over and picked up the container for closer observation. He can now see past the glare emanating from the red translucent Tupperware container. He shivers with fright when a living creature attempts to move around. Isiah is so petrified that he immediately drops the container on the floor of his study. Two of Isiah’s fingers manage to lift off the lid of the container. Isiah notices that there is a narrow layer of what appears to be dirty river water occupying the bottom layer.
To his horror, Isiah sees enough to identify the species of the formerly imprisoned animal. It is a large, hideous orange crayfish.