‘How about you, Tamara?” Keith asked. “I don’t know anything about you yet.”
“Well, I just moved in with my grandmother,” Tamara answered.
“You mean Brenda Dawson? I’ve talked to her many times. She’s a really nice lady. She is still known as the pet rescue lady in the neighborhood. Brenda always has at least two stray animals that she keeps until she can find good homes for them. Where were you living before you moved in with your grandma?” Keith asked.
“I was living with my boyfriend, Blake Edwards in Orlando, Florida, not too far from the Everglades,” Tamara answered.
“Where’s Blake living now?”
“He’s in Manitoba right now getting free room and board in The Headingly Correctional Facility. He originally moved to Winnipeg with me and got himself a bachelor suite on Furby Street. After living there for only two days Blake tried to rob a Chinese restaurant two blocks away. The truth is that Blake is not a very smart criminal. It only took the cops about an hour to arrest him,” Tamara answered.
“When is he going to be released from jail?” Keith asked grabbing another corned beef sandwich.
“They’ll probably keep him for a few months as Blake gets into trouble with the law a lot. I think that Blake made a poor choice when he decided to be a career outlaw. The truth is that he is not very good at it, but he hasn’t figured that out yet.”
“Are you in love with Blake?” Keith asked as Tamara took a sip from her glass of water.
“It’s hard to say. I don’t really know what love is. If you are talking about a physical, chemical attraction to Blake, yeah, it’s there. I don’t approve of his lifestyle though. I wish he’d grow up, get a job and have some positive direction for his life.”
“It sounds like you want a quality life. How did you end up moving to Winnipeg?”
“That was Marilyn’s idea. She’s my stepmother. She didn’t want me living that close to the Everglades. Marilyn is worried that it’s too dangerous a location for me. About a month ago, she was watching tv and saw a story about a nine foot Burmese python that wandered into one of our neighbor’s yard in Orlando. The snake had eaten their dog. Marilyn phoned Brenda, my grandmother, and asked if I could live with her for awhile until I found a place of my own in Winnipeg. Marilyn didn’t know that Blake was coming to Winnipeg with me.”
“Yeah, I heard something about that,” Rick answered.
“Well, it’s true, but the story has been greatly exaggerated. I spent about two weeks in a psychiatric rehabilitation facility in San Francisco. I was there basically for observation so that the doctors could make a diagnosis,” Misty explained.
“So, what did the doctors come up with?” Rick asked.
“At that time they told me it was manic depression. My psychiatrist in Winnipeg changed the diagnosis to schizo-affective disorder.”
“Yeah, I remember you telling me about that. Do you need to take medication?’
“Yes, lithium. For a long time, I wasn’t really taking it. I just lied to my doctor and my parents telling them that I was taking the lithium regularly. I got busted when they eventually took a blood test. The test showed that there was no trace of lithium in my body.”
“Why didn’t you take your medication?”
“Because it made me feel worse. To be more precise I didn’t feel any emotions at all when I first started taking it. Plus, it was making me gain weight.”
“So, do you take lithium now?” Rick asked.
“No. My new psychiatrist in Winnipeg put me on chlorpromazine after he changed my diagnosis to schizo-affective disorder,” Misty answered.
The restaurant was starting to get very smoky. It appeared that most of the customers were puffing hard on their cigarettes while they sucked back the strong Salisbury House coffee. The smoke in the air was starting to make Rick’s eyes water.”
“Let’s go back to Memorial Park. It’s getting too smoky in here for me,” said Rick.
Rick and Misty started walking back across the Osborne bridge. Misty thought she saw the shadowy figure of a man trying to climb up on the railings of the bridge.
Rick said, “It looks like that guy is going to try to jump over the bridge.”
Both Rick and Misty started yelling, “Hey man, stop! What are you trying to do?”
“Leave me alone. I’m going to jump,” the man answered.
“Let’s talk a bit first,” Misty said.
“Talk about what?” the man asked.
“About anything. Misty and I have been looking for someone interesting to talk to.” Rick answered.
“I’m not an interesting person and anyway you’ve got each other to talk to,” the man said.
“Let me be the judge of that. How about the three of us go to the Sals and get a cup of coffee? It’s starting to get chilly out here.” Rick said.
“I don’t even have enough money for a coffee, man, and I just smoked my last cigarette,”
“What’s your name?” Misty asked.
“Norman or just Norm.”
“Hi, I’m Misty and this is my boyfriend, Rick.”
“Like I said, I haven’t got enough money to go to the Sals and I’m kind of busy here.”
“Okay. I’ll tell you what. You come down from the railing and I’ll pay for your coffee and anything else you want to eat. Don’t worry about cigarettes. I just opened a new pack. How about it?” Rick asked.
“Well, I guess I could have my last coffee and cigarette before I leave this world.” Norm answered.
“That’s great. I’ll give you a smoke right now,” Rick said.
When they got back the Salisbury House, Norm ordered a Big Nip, and an order of fries and a coffee.
“Thanks guys. I haven’t had anything to eat yet today. My dad kicked me out at around ten this morning,” Norm said.
“So what have you been doing all day to keep warm?” Misty asked.
“I’ve been riding the bus. My dad bought me a monthly bus pass before I got the boot,” Norm said. “I don’t know what to do or where to go. Two months ago my mom kicked me out of her place.”
“Don’t worry we’ll figure something out,” Misty said.
Norman Robinson was only nineteen years old, but he was already starting to take on the appearance of a homeless person. He was tall and very thin. Misty noticed that Norman had a missing front tooth. He had a large hole in the front of his navy blue parka that made it look like he had vomited on his coat. The hole was actually a result of Norman helping his dad remove a defective battery from his car. In the process of completing this task, Norman had gotten some battery acid on his jacket. The acid had burned the hole in it.
Misty turned to Rick and said, “Let’s take Norm over to my place. I think my dad might like to talk to Norman.”
“What makes you say that?” Rick asked, looking somewhat befuddled.
“My dad has changed a lot since the summer. I’ll tell you about it later, but he now has a job working at a homeless center,” Misty answered.
“Wow. Lloyd has a steady job now,” Rick said.
“Look you guys have done enough for me already. After I finish my coffee and smoke I’ll just walk back to the bridge,” Norman said.
“I don’t think that’s such a great idea,” Rick said. “You don’t have a place to go tonight, do you?”
“That settles it. You’re coming with us,” Rick said firmly.
Rick, Misty and their new friend walked back to Rick’s car that was parked on a street next to Memorial Park. When Rick tried to start his car the engine wouldn’t turn over.
“Damn,” Rick said. “I just put a new battery in two weeks ago,”
“Open the hood Rick and let me have a look,” Norman said.
“In less than a minute Norman asked Rick to try starting the car again. This time the engine turned over immediately.
“How did you do that?” Rick asked.
“It was just a loose cable. I was training to be an auto technician so I knew what to check first.”
“Wow, thanks a lot man,” Rick said, feeling both surprised and grateful.
One morning, Misty’s mother, Sheila Roberts was doing her morning devotions. As a devout Christian, Sheila had long established a habit of having a quiet time with the Lord before she started her day. Her devotional time included reading from her Bible, praying for herself and others as well as remaining quiet and waiting for God to speak to her. Today, Sheila heard the Lord speak to her spirit, “Sheila, I’m going to do a great work in your husband, Lloyd, because I love him very much. I am asking you to include Lloyd in your prayers every day.”
Sheila did not hear an audible voice, but she knew in her heart that she had heard from God. After the incident at the rock concert during the summer, Sheila had been thinking about Lloyd. By this time, she had forgiven Lloyd for allowing his daughters to get involved in a dangerous situation. She had loved Lloyd at one time, but since she became a Christian and Lloyd didn’t, Sheila felt that her husband would have a negative influence on their children. She could not say that Rick was a bad person. In many ways he was a good man, but she could no longer tolerate his immaturity and his harmful addictions. What she really wanted was a godly husband and Lloyd certainly was not. Sheila decided to call her pastor Randy Neufeld to discuss with him what the Lord had told her.
Lloyd Roberts was just waking up from a short nap he had after supper. As be reached for his pack of cigarettes, Lloyd could still remember the dream he had. He was in that zone where he was just coming out of the dream state, but was not yet fully awake. Lloyd was used to having many dreams while he slept, but there was something different about the ones that he had been having lately. His most recent dreams all seemed to have some spiritual or religious theme to them.
A few minutes ago, Lloyd had seen Jesus in his dream holding a little lamb in his arms. The other night he dreamed that he was sitting in a quiet, peaceful location by a stream. When he turned his head he could see a man who looked like Jesus waving for him to walk over to where he was standing. Lloyd scratched hic head before putting on his baseball cap with the Ford logo on it. He had started to notice a bald spot near the top of his head and thought that if he covered it up he wouldn’t have to think about it. What he was now thinking about was the significance of his dreams. His daughter, Sasha had been a Christian for awhile now, but Lloyd was wondering what kind of influence her new boyfriend was having on her beliefs. Lloyd expected Sasha would be home in a little while. He would ask her what she made of his dreams.
Lloyd had recently attained employment as a residential care worker at The Main Street Mission. He found that of the many jobs that he had worked over the years this was probably one of the few that he actually enjoyed. Lloyd liked the street people that he got to know and was starting to feel that his life was finally starting to have some meaning.
Lloyd was beginning to mature as he entered his mid forties. The incident that happened at the rock festival had shaken Lloyd up. It now occurred to him that he had some serious responsibilities as a parent.
Lloyd’s dog, Pigpen started barking loudly while scratching the front door with his paws.
“Hang on. I’ll be right there.” Lloyd hoped that his voice was loud enough to be heard outside the door.
When Lloyd answered the door he was greeted by Misty and Rick and a young man that he did not recognize.
Lloyd moved closer to Rick to give him a hug. “Hey, man, I haven’t seen you in a dog’s age. Pardon the pun, Pigpen.”
“Hey, Dad. I’d like to introduce you to our new friend, Norm. Rick and I just met him tonight at The Sals on Osborne,” Misty said, while brushing some snow off her coat.
“Why don’t you guys park yourselves in the living room while I put on some coffee. I’d offer you guys a beer, but I’ve been on the wagon for awhile now.”
“Yeah, Dad’s been sober for six months now. He joined Alcoholics Anonymous,” Misty said proudly, just before she sat down on the couch.
“At the last AA meeting they gave me my sixth month pin,” Lloyd said proudly as he walked towards the kitchen.
After the coffee had perked Misty brought out a silver tray with the cups, coffee and creamer.
Lloyd sat down in his black recliner.
“I’m sorry I haven’t been around to see you Lloyd. I’ve been keeping a low profile since Sasha and I broke up,” Rick explained.
“That’s what I figured,” Lloyd said. “Well you don’t have to worry about that Rick. Sasha’s cool with it. She says she still likes you, but she has a new boyfriend now. In fact, they’ll probably be here soon. Lloyd then turned his attention to the new guest.
“So how did you get to talking with Rick and Misty?”
“Actually, I first met them on the Osborne Bridge. I was getting ready to jump in the river,” Norm answered.
One day in August Rick walked to the Canada Employment Center to see if he could get some help finding a job. He was two credits short from attaining his high school diploma and realized that with this small amount of course work he would need to at least, get a part time job. At this time, he did not think that he would return to playing hockey for another season. Last year had been much too stressful for him and now he would have a lot of free time on his hands. Rick felt that he would need to get a job to keep his parents happy.
As he entered the employment center Rick was nervous. He had worked one summer at his dad’s printing plant and had a very negative experience while working there. Rick did not yet realize that he lacked the manual dexterity, fine motor skills and spatial reasoning required for most factory jobs.
Rick walked up to the reception desk and was told to pull a number out of a machine. He was directed to take a seat in the waiting room and wait until his number was called.
Rick found an empty seat and took a look around the main floor of the employment center. It was a very drab place that rendered a rather depressing mood. After waiting approximately fifteen minutes Rick heard his name called and was greeted by a young attractive female who asked him to take a seat in her work area. The employment counsellor did not have a closed- in office. Her office space was separated from her co-workers by grey rectangular partitions. This arrangement didn’t give the client any feeling of privacy as one could hear what people in other sectioned off work areas were saying.
The employment counsellor shook hands with Rick and said, “Hello Richard, my name is Arlene Johnson. What can I do for you today?”
“You can just call me Rick. I’m here to find a job.”
“What kind of work are you looking for?”
“I’m not sure,” Rick answered. “I don’t know what kinds of work are available to me.”
“Well, that all depends upon your education and work experience.”
“I’ve got my grade 11 and I’m just two credits shy of my high school diploma. I worked at my dad’s printing plant one summer and I used to have a paper route.
“Do you like working with your hands Rick?”
“Not very much. I’m not very good with my hands.”
“I have to be honest with you. Most of the jobs you could apply for require a grade twelve education and manual dexterity or fine motor skills. We occasionally get referrals from employers for manual labor jobs, but I don’t have any referrals right now,” Arlene said.
Rick was now feeling very uncomfortable. “So I guess you really don’t have anything for me today?”
“Not really. What do you do in your spare time?”
“I play hockey, watch tv, listen to music and read.”
“But you don’t do much work with your hands?”
“No, not really, but I read a lot,” Rick said feeling insulted.
“Listen Rick. Can I be blunt?”
“Yeah,” Rick replied feeling annoyed.
“You need to get your high school diploma and you need to take up a hobby where you have to use your hands. After you do that come back and see me.”
“Thank you for your time,” Rick said as he got up to leave Arlene’s work area. When he got outside Rick lit up a smoke and said to himself, “So that’s that. I’ll go back to school to get my two credits and I’ll play hockey for one more year.”
John, Stephanie and Ryan hungrily ate the burgers that Meg barbecued. They all had time to catch up on what had transpired in each other’s lives since the last time they were altogether. After lunch everybody went for a nap.
Ryan was so exhausted after the long car trip that he slept for two hours. When he arose it was close to 4:00 PM. Ryan pulled a Rockstar Energy drink out of his back pack along with his mp3 player. While he drank the Rockstar, Ryan listened to Led Zeppelin’s, The Song Remains the Same. This had always been his favorite album by Led Zeppelin. His favorite track was the live version of Stairway to Heaven.
When he felt fully awake again, he headed downstairs to Aunt Meg’s living room. The others were all watching an episode of X-Factor that Meg had recorded. It was one of those episodes where the judges were auditioning potential contestants and some of the performances were horrible. Ryan wasn’t that interested in watching the show. He told the others that he was going out for a jog and would probably do some exploring.
A couple of minutes into his jog, Ryan turned around to see a very attractive young woman wearing a B. C. Lions jersey. She asked Ryan if he minded having some company on his jog.
Ryan told her that he would be delighted as he was just vacationing in Kelowna and really didn’t know anyone besides his family and relatives.
“Let’s stop for a few minutes and talk,” the attractive, young female jogger suggested. “We should introduce ourselves. My name is Monique Painchaud. I’m from Montreal, Quebec.””
Ryan stopped running and extended his hand, “Pleased to meet you. I’m Ryan Richards from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Obviously you speak English, Monique.”
“That’s right. I’m fluently bilingual in both French and English. I have just been in Kelowna for a week. My mother lives in Kelowna and I spend the summer months with her. During the winter months I attend university and live with my dad in Montreal,” Monique said.
“I hate to be so blunt, but are you married or do you have a boyfriend?” Ryan asked.
“Neither,” Monique replied. “How about you?”
“The same. I’m a free agent right now,” Ryan said.
“Free agent, eh,” Monique laughed. “You must be interested in sports.”
“I am. I played both hockey and football at my high school. I just graduated this year.”
“What are you going to do in the fall?” Monique asked.
“I’ve applied at The University of Manitoba and intend on trying out for both their football and hockey teams.”
“What area of studies do you want to major in?” Monique asked.
“Education. I’m signing up for the four year Bachelor of Education degree.”
“So you want to be a teacher?”
“That’s plan B. I’d rather be a professional athlete,” Ryan said.
“You’d make a lot more money. That’s for sure.”
“What do you study at university, Monique?”
“I’ll be starting my third year at The Faculty of Education.”
“Ah, so we’re looking at two future teachers here,” Ryan said.
“Hey, Ryan, there’s a diner about a mile from here. Do you want to stop there for lunch?”
“That sounds like a plan to me.”
Ryan and Monique jogged very well together as they were both in excellent physical condition. After about five minutes had elapsed, Monique glanced to her right to take a look at Lake Okanagan. About fifty meters away she saw a large object moving in the water. It appeared to be black in color and had a cylindrical shape. To Monique, it looked like a living creature. She knew it was not a boat.
Monique stopped jogging abruptly and turned to Ryan. “Stop Ryan. What’s that in the lake?”
Ryan stopped running and turned his head to look toward the lake. “I’m not sure, but it definitely looks like some kind of animal.”
“Look it’s moving in undulations and looks like some kind of whale,” Monique observed.
“As far as I know there aren’t any whales in Lake Okanagan. At least any that look like that,” Ryan said.
Ryan had a pair of powerful binoculars in his back pack. He took them out and got a close up view of the creature in the water. Ryan felt chills when he saw the animal’s head surface. “I know what it is now,” he said in a shaky voice.
“What is it?” Monique asked.
“It’s Ogopogo. The First Nations people called it the lake demon.”
“You mean it’s the real live version of the toy things they sell to tourists in the local stores?” Monique asked.
“It has to be. I’ve never seen a fish or other animal that looks like that creature in the lake. Do you have a camera, Monique?”
“Yes, I do. I have a digital Samsung in my back pack. I’ll take a picture of it.”
Monique quickly took out her camera and snapped two pictures of the animal. Just after she took the pictures she saw a fishing boat about one hundred meters away. The creature then submerged back into the lake.
“Wow, you took those pictures right on time,” Ryan said. “Let’s have a look how they turned out.”
Ryan and Monique both studied the preview pictures on her camera. The creature appeared to be very small and a great distance away.
“Well, your pictures will never stand as conclusive scientific evidence of the existence of Ogopogo, but at least we know what we saw and have pictures to back it up,” Ryan said.
“Did you believe in Ogopogo before you saw it today?’ Monique asked.
“I did, although this was my first actual sighting of the creature. My dad and I have both been interested in cryptozoology for years.”
“What’s cryptozoology? Monique inquired.
“It’s the study of unknown species like Bigfoot and The Loch Ness Monster.”
About an hour later Ryan and Monique stopped running when they approached a Tim Horton’s coffee shop. When they entered the shop it was quite crowded. They managed to find two empty seats next to two middle aged gentlemen. The two men were engaged in an animated discussion.
“Henry, what do you think that thing was that we saw in the lake?” Harvey asked.
“It’s hard to say. It was too far away,” Henry replied.
“All I’m saying is that there have been several reported sightings of Ogopogo over the last month,” Harvey said.
“That doesn’t mean anything. A few years ago there were a bunch of ufo sightings over Brazil. Nobody captured any ufos.”
“That doesn’t mean that ufos don’t exist.”
“I suppose not, but I’m not going to go around telling people that we saw Ogopogo today,” Henry said.
“I agree that whatever we saw was over one hundred meters away, but it appeared to be approaching fast and then it suddenly submerged when our boat came around the corner,” Harvey said.
“That’s what is known as circumstantial evidence,” Henry said in response.
“Maybe not,” Ryan said turning around in his chair.
“What do you mean, son?” Harvey asked adjusting the blue lumberjack jacket that he wore over his black tee shirt.
“I’m sorry. We should have introduced ourselves. My name is Ryan and my new friend to my left is Monique.”
“Pleased to meet you,” Henry said. “But you still haven’t answered our question.”
“Was your fishing boat anywhere near Rattlesnake Island about an hour ago?” Monique asked.
“Yes, it was. How did you know?” Harvey said.
“Monique and I were jogging on a trail near the bank close to Rattlesnake Island. Monique had just taken two pictures of the creature you saw when your boat rounded the corner,” Ryan said.
“How do you know it was a living creature?” Henry asked. He pushed his chair closer to the table.
“Oh, it was a very large, living animal all right,” Ryan said also moving his chair closer to the round table.
“It certainly wasn’t a boat or a log. I managed to take a couple of pictures of it before it submerged,” Monique added.
“Fortunately I had a pair of professional grade binoculars. I got a good close up look when the creature raised its head,” Ryan said.
“You got a look at its head? Can we see those pictures?” Harvey asked.
“Yeah, no problem,” Monique said.
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.
Episode Seventeen of Infinite Realities:
“I can’t okay you for spending the next two years as a writer Rick. My supervisor, the plan administrator would never go for it. In your rehabilitation plan he will want to see some kind of a conventional job. There’s too little money to be made in writing. Not every writer is going to have the success of a Stephen King. Most writers don’t even make enough money to cover their writing expenses,” Michael said.
“I figured you’d say that, but that’s all right. I have a Plan B,” Rick said.
“Will it provide you with a liveable income?”
“Yeah, it should.”
“Okay, tell me all about your alternate gig.”
“I’ll be a substitute teacher by day and a writer at night.”
“Now there’s a plan that’s feasible. I can work with that and I think I can sell it to the plan administrator.”
“I have another appointment to get to Rick. I’ll have to close off our meeting now. I’ll phone you to set up another appointment as soon as I get a chance to talk to my supervisor about your proposal,” Michael said as he was closing the cover on his metal briefcase.
“I’ll be looking forward to your call. It was a pleasure meeting you Michael. I’m sorry about giving you a hard time.”
“Don’t worry about it Rick. This was mild compared to the grief I get from some of my clients.”
As soon as Michael Reeves left David retrieved his tablet and was looking forward to getting back to reading The Devil’s Knot. When he picket the tablet up he heard a sound alert notifying him that he had an incoming text message. David selected the text message and began to read it.
“Hi, David. I must apologize for not introducing myself. My name is Darren Ross and I work for Infinite Realities Incorporated. I have been assigned to be your personal coach, mentor and advocate. In short, I am available twenty-four hours a day seven days a week, including holidays, to assist you with the operation of your amazing new piece of technology. In essence I am your customer support. What are you planning to do next with your tablet, David?”
David texted back:
I am going to continue reading The Devil’s Knot without any further disturbance.
Darren texted back:
That’s wonderful David. A man who loves to read. I want to greatly enhance your reading experience. I don’t want you to read about Damien Echols. I want you to be in the courtroom with Damien as he hears the judge tell him that he has been found guilty and will be sentenced to death by lethal injection. You will feel every emotion that Damien is feeling.
Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Eight:
Stephanie leaned her back against the railing of the boat. Garry liked the way the wind moved through Stephanie’s hair.
“What about you Steph? What are your plans for the future?” asked Garry.
“Not so fast. You still haven’t told me what you want,” said Stephanie.
“That’s hard to say. When you have been ill for a long time and have been in and out of institutions like I have you don’t think very far ahead. You just take each day as it comes. I’m just happy that my condition has remained stable for the last couple of months,” answered Garry.
“Let’s pretend that it stays stable for years. Then what would you want from life?”
“I would like to live a normal life. I would like to stop living in treatment centers and group homes. I would like to have a steady job that I enjoyed and that paid well. And, of course, I would want a girlfriend,” said Garry.
“Those sound like good plans to me. And you’ve already achieved two of your goals,” said Stephanie.
“I have? Which ones?
“You are mentally stable now and you do have a girlfriend, if you want one,” said Stephanie.
“Are you my girlfriend?” asked Garry.
“Only if you want me to be.”
“Of course I do. I like you a lot,” said Garry with tears welling up in his eyes.
“All right. It’s official now. Garry and Steph are an item,” said Stephanie.
Chapter One Hundred Forty:
When Jack Kimberly was driving back to his apartment he knew the next order of business was to find another photo and video technician, who could analyze Mike O’Grady’s work. As he drove past a Seven-Eleven a thought occurred to him. He did know another video expert. His name was Cam McDougal. Cam was in Jack’s down line in his former network marketing business. Jack didn’t know whether or not Cam had joined Blake’s new business enterprise yet, but Jack really didn’t care. He knew Cam well enough to know that he had his own photography business on the side. Jack new that Cam had the skills that he was looking for.
Jack walked over to his computer and looked up his business contacts list that contained addresses, email addresses and phone numbers of all the people who had worked with him in the past. It didn’t take long for Jack to find Cam’s phone number.
“Hi Cam. It’s Jack Kimberly. I need a big favor, buddy.”
“Well, tell me what it is and I may be able to help you out,” said Cam.
“It involves your area of expertise. I need some photos and some video footage analyzed by an expert,” said Jack.
“That shouldn’t be a problem except that all the equipment I’ll need is at my place. Can you bring your photos and videos over to my place? Say within the next half hour?”
“That works for me. I’ll be at your place in half an hour or less depending on the traffic,” answered Jack.
Cam McDougal’s community was the polar opposite of Mike O’Grady’s. Cam’s house was located in the prime real estate area of Kelowna.
As soon as Cam let Jack in, he could see the excitement both in Jack’s eyes and his demeanor. Cam offered to get a coffee for Jack which Jack willingly accepted.
“So Jack. I heard that you really got stabbed in the back by Blake Riley.”
“How did you know?”
“Word travels fast,” said Cam.
“Well, that’s just a minor set- back for me. Many times in this life I’ve been kicked to the ground. But I’ll tell you what. I always get back up again.”
“That’s what makes you a winner Jack.”
“I know,” said Jack not displaying any sense of false modesty.
“I have a proposition for you Cam. If you do a top notch job analyzing my photos and videos, I’ll cut you in on the deal.”
“What deal?” asked Cam.
“I’ll let you have a look at the photos and videos that I brought over. Then I think you’ll see what I’m getting at,” answered Jack.