Alligators in the Sewers A Novel by Ken David Stewart
Russ Bridges was enjoying a long, restful nap on his new black leather couch. He was startled out of a deep sleep when he heard a loud pounding on his front door. Russ had just turned sixty-six was enjoying his first year of retirement as the former superintendent of sewers for the city of New York. It was 2:05 PM on June 11, 2017. He had been reading the novel It by Stephen King. It was not unusual for Russ to fall asleep on his couch while reading in the mid afternoon. Stephen King was Ross’s favorite author and It was his favorite novel by the most popular horror writer of the century. This was usually how people defined Stephen King as a writer, but the author hated this limited, restrictive view of his writing.
As the pounding on his door became louder, Russ managed to lift his substantial bulk off the couch. When Ross opened his front door he saw Sean Webb, the new superintendent of sewers. Sean took over Russ’s position when he retired. Sean looked very anxious when Ross opened the door for him. “Can I smoke in your house, Russ? I’m all stressed out and I need to talk to you.”
“Sure. Come on in Sean. Yeah, you can smoke in my house. I gave up smoking about ten years ago. Now I just vape like the young people do. You really look agitated. What’s up?”
“Thanks for seeing me on such short notice or rather no notice,” Sean said as his trembling hand reached into the front pocket of his shirt for his pack of Marlborough cigarettes.
“I got a serious problem at work and I really need your advice, Russ. Have you ever heard or seen anything to do with alligators in the New York sewer system?”
“Yeah, I know quite a bit about the problem, but I haven’t told anybody about it. Before I retired from your job, I had to sign a bunch of papers swearing me to secrecy concerning that topic,” Russ answered.
“Do you know how this container got in my study?” Isiah asked his little brother.
“Yeah, me and Rob and the rest of the gang went cray-fishing last night and caught a bucket full of these critters. I figured that I’d take one of them home with me,” Caleb answered.
Friday evening had finally arrived and it was crayfish season. Caleb walked to the family’s refrigerator and broke off a small slice of bacon and tied it on to a thread of string that was seven feet long. This was really all the equipment that he needed for a fun night of cray-fishing on the banks of the Red River.
Caleb heard a knock on his front door and as soon as he opened it he could see that Terrence, Aaron and Greg had their owns strings of bacon in their hands and were ready to roll.
“Let’s go Caleb. Ronny and Peter are going to meet us at the opening to the Monkey Speedway. The Monkey Speedway was a man- made or should I say a kid -made trail of trampled down mud, grass and brush that covered an area of the river bank.
Nobody remembers who originally named this terrain as The Monkey Speedway, but the derivation of its name likely belongs to a variety of boys who had tried to ride their bikes at top speed down this challenging path of brush. The ride itself could probably be compared to a smaller version of The Wild Mouse, a popular and scary roller coasting ride at the Red River Exhibition that arrived in Winnipeg every June.
Many of the boys who originally went for a test ride on the Monkey Speedway ended up being suddenly and violently ejected from their bicycles. When they shook off the temporary sense of disorientation resulting from their fall, they could cast their eyes upward only to see their partially mangled bicycles dangling from the branches of the nearby trees.
Some mischievous boys were not above setting potentially disabling and possibility fatally designed traps along the Monkey Speedway. Some adventurous children did indeed suffer injury resulting from these traps, but it was seldom worse than a bloodied and bruised elbow, a scraped knee requiring a few sutures at the local emergency ward or a fractured wrist.
Just let it be said, that the boys of the Norwood Flats were tough. I should more correctly say the boys and a certain girl, as there was a young lass named Tammy who was known to ask the boys if she could join them for a game of tackle football, one of their potentially life altering bike rides or a wild evening of Friday night cray-fishing.
My Third Book Has Just Been Released!
I just checked my Amazon.ca page and was pleased to see that my new novel, The Lake Demon has just been published and released for public sale. I have been working on this novel, in bits and pieces, for a few years now. It is presently available in both the Kindle and paperback formats. If you have a subscription to Kindle Unlimited Books you can read The Lake Demon for free. It took a lot of work to edit and revise this book as I had to look up all my previously written episodes and try to put them together into a finished product.
I really enjoyed writing this novel as I have been interested in cryptozoology since I was a young boy. The Lake Demon is about the search for Ogopogo, the legendary lake monster of Lake Okanagan. Of course, this book is a work of fiction, but I think it makes for a great story. I hope that readers find the characters in the novel to be intriguing. The Lake Demon is more than just a monster story. It is about people pursuing their hopes, dreams and goals and chasing after adventure. For some of the characters it is a second chance for redemption. I apologize in advance for any factual errors in the book, but after all, it’s all about the story.
Episode One Hundred Eighty-Eight (Conclusion):
The Harbor Patrol arrived and managed to transport the maimed diver to the closest hospital but unfortunately, the man died at the hospital. By this time Bobby O’Conner had found out about the aborted mission to capture a live Ogopogo. Before conducting his interviews with the key participants the veteran reporter decided that he would do the right thing and would inform William Everett, the head of the Fisheries Department and Sheriff George Anderson of the day’s events. Bobby figured that if he didn’t the Harbor Patrol surely would and he wanted to say on good terms with the authorities.
The major leaders of the expeditions collectively agreed to call a halt to their investigations. On talking it over at an undisclosed meeting sight, Blake Riley, Jack Kimberly, Dr. Lionel Hardy and Winston Standfield came to the conclusion that it was too dangerous to continue their mission to capture a live Ogopogo. They all felt that the human cost was too high to proceed any further at this point. They also knew that they would have to wait to find out if criminal charges were to be brought against any of the expeditions’ participants. They agreed that their mission was not a complete failure. A preponderance of new research data had been collected and the photographic and video evidence all pointed to the proof of Ogopogo’s existence.
John and Susan Richards decided to go out for coffee to discuss how recent events were going to effect their relationship. They both concluded that they should end their separation and give their marriage another chance. The decision on where to live was settled at a Richards family meeting. Ryan and Monique shared that they wanted to continue living in Kelowna as they both wanted to pursue their academic studies at The University of British Columbia. Stephanie informed her family that she too, wished to reside permanently on Kelowna as she wanted to continue her relationship with Garry Hardy.
Wally Standfield and Garry Hardy both decided that they would return to The Kelowna Mental Health Center to complete their therapeutic programs. Upon graduation, Winston Standfield suggested that the two young men should live with him.
As for the Ogopogo family, legislation was passed that ruled that any future research projects that involved either searching for or attempting to capture the creatures would be declared illegal.
Chapter One Hundred Eighty-Six:
After suiting up for his dive John Richards descended into the depths of Lake Okanagan. He travelled a long way down before he saw anything. John was both startled and grossed out to see a dismembered bloody arm drifting towards him. Common sense told John that he should head back to the lake’s surface. He dismissed the thought as he felt that if it was possible to save the two diver’s lives he should make that attempt. He drifted down quite a distance further when the underwater caverns of Rattlesnake Island came into view.
John could see an adult size Ogopogo coming out of one of the cavern’s openings. The creature was carrying one of the divers between his jaws. John could see the stump of the diver’s missing arm. The Ogopogo stared at John and for some unknown reason released the injured diver from its mouth. It proceeded to turn around and swim away from John and the diver. John knew that this was his opportunity to rescue the diver. He called to the ship from the communication device in his helmet.
“Does anyone up their copy?”
“Yes, we copy,” Blake answered.
“I’ve found one of the divers and he is seriously injured. If I can get him to the surface there may still be a chance that we can save his life I’m going to grab a hold of him and I need you guys to bring us up immediately. I also spotted an Ogopogo. He is gone now and may have disappeared into one of the cavern openings. I don’t know how much time I’ve got until the creature reappears.”
“Don’t worry John we are bringing you up as we speak,” answered Blake.
“Let’s walk back to the Red Top, Rick. I want you to drive me home. I think I want to be alone for the rest of the day,” Misty said. She was wiping her eyes with some tissue that Rick gave her.
“Sometimes it helps to talk things out with someone. You can’t let an asshole like Jim wreck your day,” Rick said giving Misty a hug.
“You don’t know the half of it Rick. I still want you to take me home, but let’s just drive around for awhile,” Misty said.
“Where do you want to go?”
“Let’s drive by Memorial Park. I’d like to see how it looks in the winter time.”
They got into Rick’s old Ford and headed downtown.
“I don’t want to lose you Rick but there are somethings that I need to tell you.”
“Like what? I’m a good listener and I don’t plan on dumping you anytime soon,” Rick said.
This made Misty laugh. “Now you got me laughing and crying at the same time. Are you proud of yourself?”
“It’s good to hear you laugh. I think we’re going to be okay.”
“You have no idea how much I want that to be true,” Misty sighed.
It was starting to get a bit dark and cloudy so Rick turned on his lights. He kept the windshield wipers going as the snow continued to fall.
“Are you warm enough? I can turn the heat up.”
“No. I feel warm enough.” Misty said.
“Can you handle it if I tell you my true story?”
“I’ve got pretty broad shoulders. Yes, I can handle it. Where would you like to start?”
“I’ll start by telling you that I have a serious medical disorder called schizo-affective disorder. At least that’s how my doctors have diagnosed me.” Misty said.
“I don’t think I’ve heard of that one. What are the symptoms?”
“The most serious symptom is both auditory and visual hallucinations.”
“How often does this happen to you?”
“Fortunately, not as much as it used to. Since my bad trip this summer I’ve started seeing a psychiatrist and he has prescribed medications for me that greatly reduce my positive symptoms,” Misty explained.
“Positive symptoms? How can they be positive?”
“That’s just what the medical profession calls them. Positive means something that is added on that doesn’t usually exist in a normal person. Positive symptoms include both hallucinations and delusions.”
“That sounds scary,”
“Believe me. It is. You have no idea Rick” Misty said.
“How do you cope?”
“Well, you’re the only person I’ve told this to outside of my family.”
“I feel bad for you but that information is not going to make me run away,” Rick said.
“There’s one other thing Rick. I’ve been with a lot of guys and have had many short term relationships none of which have really worked out. In that sense what Jim was telling you was true. I have been around and I probably have a reputation, but I’m not carrying any STDs. I’ve had medical tests lately that show I don’t have any. What I really want now is a relationship without any sex.”
Rick laughed. “That’s fine with me as long as I can still hold your hand and hug and kiss you.”
“Of course you can,” Misty began to cry.
Chapter One Hundred Thirty
About thirty minutes later Blake saw another ship about one hundred metres away. What he saw was Winston Stanfield’s cabin cruiser. Winston’s crew which now included Stephanie and Susan Richards, was also headed in the direction of Squally Point. As the vessel got closer Blake realized that he did not recognize any of the crew on the approaching vessel.
Blake quickly called over Jack and Lionel. “I think we may now be encountering another vessel and crew with the same objectives as ours. Handing pairs of binoculars to Jack and Lionel he asked, “Do you men recognize any one aboard that ship?”
“Yes, I’m fairly sure who one of the crew may be. It is a well- known and controversial marine biologist who up until recently worked for The Department of Fisheries. His name is Dr. Winston Standfield,” Lionel said. You are quite right Blake, in your assumption that the vessel behind us is also searching for Ogopogo.”
Chapter One Hundred Thirty-One:
After Dr. Marsha Mitchell finished her autopsies on the two deceased criminals, Luc and Guy and the corpse of Michael O’Grady she called George Anderson.
“The wounds that I have found on all men were consistent with an attack by an unknown marine apex predator. The damage to their bodies is very much the same as those suffered by the late Ida Rhodes.”
“I was afraid that you were going to say that,” Sheriff George Anderson said with a long drawn out sigh.
“What are you going to do, Sheriff?” the medical examiner asked.
“My choices are now very limited. The creature that perpetrated these atrocities must be destroyed,” George Anderson replied.
Chapter One Hundred Thirty-Two:
While Blake, Jack and Lionel were all getting acquainted telling each other stories about their interest in Ogopogo, Monique called Ryan Richards over to an unoccupied place on the lower deck.
“What’s up, Monique?” Ryan asked.
“Something is bothering me. We need to have a heart to heart conversation.”
“Okay. What about?”
“About us Ryan. About our relationship. I’ve enjoyed being with you so much this summer.”
“That’s a good thing. Isn’t it? I feel the same way about you,” Ryan said.
“I’m glad to hear that, but we are both going to have to make some hard decisions before the end of the summer. What are your plans for the fall?”
“The original plan was to go back to Winnipeg to live with my mom until next summer,” Ryan answered.
“So does that mean that you want to break up with me at the end of the summer? Or does it mean that you want to make our relationship a long distance one until next summer?” Monique inquired.
“Neither option really appeals to me. I love you and I couldn’t stand to have only a phone and email relationship until next summer,” Ryan said. “So, what are your plans for the fall?”
“I feel the same we you do. I’m in love with you too and I wouldn’t want to have to settle for a long distance relationship for most of the year,” Monique said.
“So what should we do?” Ryan asked.
“It means that we both need to stay here when the summer is over. Another option would be for you to move to Montreal permanently or for me to move to Winnipeg.”
“My preference would be that we both decide to live in Kelowna permanently. Of course, it’s going to be very hard news for our parents to accept,” Ryan said.
“I know our parents are very likely to be upset about our plans for the fall, but it is never easy for parents to let their children go and allow them to grow up,” Monique said.
“That’s true, but we are both adults now and have the right to make our own decisions,” Ryan said.