Blake Riley was rich, very rich. He made most of his money over a two year period during the early dot com. days. Blake was a visionary who had the foresight to see the endless business opportunities presented by modern scientific technology. When the dot com. boom was coming to an end, Blake had the foresight to see this in advance. He sold off his businesses at a tidy profit and set up an off shore bank account. At twenty-four years of age, Blake was a self- made millionaire.
Blake was far too young and much too ambitious to retire. The next opportunity he took part in was a business that involved importing exotic animals to The United States and Canada. He and his friend, Jack Kimberley became co-owners of the new business. Both men knew that there was a potentially profitable market for exotic pets. There were people who were willing to pay substantial sums of money to own exotic pets like pythons and Siberian tigers.
Blake was a high energy individual who became bored very easily. Once he had his new business up and running Blake felt comfortable allowing Jack Kimberley to run the day to day operation of the enterprise.
Blake loved to make enormous amounts of money, but he was not your typical workaholic. His philosophy of life was to derive as much enjoyment from each day as he possibly could. Blake was a risk taker who believed in pushing the envelope and was always interested in propositions that were high risk, high reward.
Blake had many hobbies and interests and now had the cash flow to indulge himself to the fullest extent. His personal belief was that one should never have a boring day. If someone does, it’s their own fault.
One of Blake’s favorite hobbies was collecting vintage guitars especially Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters, and Les Paul electric guitars from the 1950s and 1960’s. Blake presently had a collection of close to one hundred classic guitars. There were two guitars that Blake Riley was hoping to one day add to his collection. He coveted the white Fender Stratocaster that Jimi Hendrix played at Woodstock and the red Gibson double neck guitar that Jimmy Page used when he played the songs, Stairway to Heaven and The Song Remains the Same. Although he picked up a guitar now and then, Blake lacked fine motor skills and found it hard to play anything skillfully. He contented himself with practicing guitar scales, cranking up his Marshall amplifiers stack to ten and executing screaming string bends.
Blake’s passion was for collecting. He collected all kinds of things from sports cards to vintage cars. His most serious interest during the last year was collecting exotic pets. His goal was to have his own zoo right on his large property that stretched far out to a lake. So far Blake had a tortoise, a chimpanzee, a boa constrictor and a Siberian tiger cub. Blake had hired trained professionals to manage and care for his collection of exotic pets. Through his own business enterprise Blake knew several international business associates that could get exotic animals into Canada. He also wasn’t worried about outsiders finding out about his little zoo. Blake’s mansion and property was at least one hundred miles from his nearest neighbors. Blake also had a competent security staff watching out for him and his property at all times.
Blake was quite eccentric. Some even thought that he suffered from bipolar disorder. One thing was for sure. Blake was very moody. His staff rarely knew what to expect from him on any given day. Some days he would be friendly and jovial and on other days there seemed to be a heavy cloud over him.
On his bad days the only thing that could help Blake out of a deep depression was the thought of obtaining a new, but rare addition to his private zoo. When he went to sleep at night, Blake would often dream about acquiring an animal that no other zoo possessed.
Chapter One Hundred Seventeen:
It was about a half hour short of midnight when Blake Riley started making phone calls. He had been wired up for hours now and he wanted to get his project off the ground right after midnight. Blake was a man of action and could not bear to wait for the morning to set sail. His first call was to his head of security, Daniel Mason.
“Hi, Danny. I want to get an early start on our expedition. I know that we had officially announced our start time as four AM, but I can’t stand the excitement a minute longer. Can you call Peter and ask him to get his crew ready in about an hour’s time? They can meet at my place and we can begin loading my boat with gear. I’m going to make a call to John Richards. After that I’ll phone Dr. Phelge and tell him to get his university kids ready as there has been a change of plans and we will now be leaving a little earlier than originally agreed upon,”
“I got you. Chief. I would imagine that all our participants are having a hard time getting to sleep and will be happy about the change in plans,” said Daniel.
Robert Richard’s was proud of his son for earning a university degree and becoming a certified teacher. John was hired by a school district and taught at both the elementary and junior high levels for several years. John started to dislike his job more with each passing year. He finally became so stressed that he had to take a year’s leave of absence and go on long term disability. After his leave was over John made a decision not to return to full time teaching.
Over the next few years John tried out a series of new jobs attempting to make a career change. He had a succession of jobs including stints as a car salesman and various positions that primarily involved physical labor.
On an occupational level none of these jobs really worked out for John. Realizing that he was still two decades shy of retirement age John signed on with a school division as a substitute teacher. To supplement his meagre income John also worked part time at a group home. Although he didn’t consider this to be an ideal situation, he could live with it as he had found an avocation that he really enjoyed, that being writing fiction novels. John dreamed of one day having a successful self- supporting career as a professional writer.
John knew that his father was very disappointed that his son had for the most part left a respectable career as a teacher. He could not understand his son’s desire for a career as a writer. Robert knew that this was causing problems in John’s marriage and he wished that his son would give it up for the sake of his family if for no other reason. Robert thought that it was highly unlikely that John could ever make a decent living as a writer.