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 dead 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.
The band had two vehicles to load up their equipment. Chevy Kurtain, 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 soon 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?” asked Peyton
“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 to 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 glow of the white street lamps.
Within ten minutes Peyton’s car and Chevy’s van made it to Chevy’s place. Rick helped Peyton unload his car. He noticed that it was presently very cold with the added wind chill. His fingers were started 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 you 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.
Chapter One Hundred Thirty-Seven:
When Winston Standfield arrived at Kelowna International Airport he only had to look around for a few minutes before he saw an attractive, well- dressed brunette holding a white poster with black lettering that spelled out the name, Susan Richards.
Winston held out his hand to greet the woman.
“Ah, it wasn’t hard to find you at all. I’m Winston Standfield.”
Susan shook Winston’s hand.
He did not look at all as she had pictured him in her mind. She thought it rather amusing that a man Winston’s age would look so cool. She found it hard not to stare at this man’s long white hair complete with a ring shaped golden earring. He had amazingly thick hair that was back combed but extended way past his shoulders and part way down his back.
Winston was wearing a black Metallica tee shirt, faded blue jeans and red Converse runners. He was the epitome of middle aged cool.
“I’m pleased to meet you Mr.Standfield. That you very much for coming to the airport to give me a ride.”
“No problem at all, my lady,” said Winston giving her a warm smile.
Susan’s original purpose had been to angrily confront this man for offering to take her daughter on a dangerous expedition, but she felt that she was beginning to like Winston. In spite of his outlandish appearance he was a real gentleman.
Winston walked Susan out to his prized white Ford Tempo.
“Does this car still run?” asked Susan.
“Runs like a charm. Don’t worry. I fully reconditioned it myself.”
Winston opened the car door for Susan to get in.
“How did you learn how to fix cars?” asked Susan.
“My father was a licensed mechanic. He would bring home old cars to fix up and resell. I used to help him so I learned a lot about repairing cars.”
“My ex-husband told me that you’re a marine biologist,” said Susan.
“That’s true. Up until recently I had worked for many years for The Department of Fisheries.”
“So are you retired now?”
“In a manner of speaking, yes, but I’d prefer not to go into that just now,” answered Winston.
In less than fifteen minutes they arrived at Winston’s house.
“I will apologize for the messy house in advance. I have a lot of books and magazines scattered all over my living room,” said Winston opening the front door of his house for Susan.
“Let me introduce you to my grandson Wally and his friend Garry Phelge, and of course, your own daughter, Stephanie.
All three young people were watching Friday Night Smackdown when Winston and Susan walked in the house.
“Wally and Garry I’d like you to meet a lovely lady named Susan Richards. Stephanie, of course, will not require any introduction.”
Act Seven Scene One:
Narrator: Dusty manages to convince Lloyd that he owes it to his fans to do tonight’s interview on Rick and Dwight’s Radio Show. Lloyd staggers down the sidewalk to the radio station. Before going in he realizes he needs to take a leak really bad. Lloyd pulls up in front of Dwight’s car and sets his sights upon the back passenger tire. Dwight is looking out the window trying to see if Lloyd will show up in time for his interview. He sees what Dwight is doing and runs over to the space where the door used to be. He yells at Lloyd.
Dwight: Hey Lloyd, what are doing taking a leak on my car’s tire.
Lloyd: Sorry Dwight. I couldn’t hold it long enough to make it to your washroom on time.
Dwight: Have you been drinking at Dusty’s, Lloyd?
Lloyd: Just in the afternoon.
By this time Rick has joined Dwight by the open space where the door used to be. He quickly catches the gist of the situation.
Rick: Lloyd, I’m cancelling your interview for this evening. You’re so drunk that you can barely stand up straight.
Lloyd: I’ll be all right. Just put me in a chair. I have a hell of a story to tell your listeners.
Dwight: Did something unusual happen on the set of The Andy Griffin Show?
Lloyd: No, but I didn’t come here to talk about The Andy Griffin Show.
Rick: Then what are you going to talk about Lloyd? About the time you were so drunk you cut off a piece of a customer’s ear while you were giving him a haircut?
Lloyd: No, but I did that guy a favor. One of his ears was bigger than the other before I made the adjustment for him. I even took out a needle and thread and put stitches in what was left of his ear.
Dwight: Come to think of it, Rick, that is a pretty good story. Maybe Lloyd should tell it on the show tonight. If the mayor is listening he might even give Lloyd a medal for stopping the guy from bleeding to death.
Rick: Don’t be ridiculous Dwight. Lloyd would lose his day job. Who’s going to want to get a haircut from a drunk barber?
Dwight: You’re probably right. Maybe Lloyd should have trained to be a paramedic instead of a barber.
Lloyd: Look, I’ve heard enough from you two guys. I want to start my interview now, before I pass out.
Dwight: Do you think you might puke too, Lloyd?
Lloyd: Yeah, probably, just before I pass out.
Dwight: Thanks for warning us in advance Lloyd. I’ll go get a bucket from the janitor’s supply room.
Lloyd: But I’m not going to tell the story on the air about cutting off a piece of the guy’s ear. I gotta admit, though, it’s pretty funny.
Dwight: We better get started with Lloyd’s interview now Rick. It’s already past seven o’clock.
Narrator: Rick nods to Dwight in agreement and switches on the green light and the microphones.
Rick: Good evening listeners. We apologize for the late start to the evening show, but we had a few technical difficulties we needed to correct. It will be worth the wait, however. As promised, we’re going to do the interview with our very special guest, Lloyd the Barber, one of the stars of the Andy Griffin Show.
Lloyd: Not one of the stars of The Andy Griffin Show, the star of the Andy Griffin Show. The rest of the cast aren’t stars. It’s a stretch to even call them actors.
Dwight: I’m hearing some bitterness in your voice, Lloyd.
Lloyd: No, you’re not hearing bitterness you’re hearing the truth. It’s about time somebody told the truth about that show.
Rick: Aren’t you afraid of losing your job on the show, Lloyd.
Lloyd: Ah, come on, Rick. If they fire me they may as well shut down the whole show. Besides, I still have my day job at the barber shop anyway. It’s not like I’m going to starve to death.
Dwight: How about that guy who lost part of his ear in your barber shop?
Lloyd: Shut up Dwight! First of all, that’s an urban legend and secondly, I thought we all agreed we weren’t going to discuss that incident on the show.
Rick: Okay, chill out Lloyd. Loyal listeners I apologize for Lloyd’s temper tonight. He doesn’t appear to be in a very good mood this evening.
Lloyd: And you wouldn’t be either if you had to work two jobs all the time just to make ends meet.
Rick: Well said, Lloyd. You told us when you first came in the station that you had a great news story for us.
Lloyd: Great? Great story? It’s the most important story of the century!
Dwight: Go for it, Lloyd. We’re all ears and so are our listeners.
Lloyd: Well, let me tell you this. You guys are going to owe me big time after this.
Anyway, do you guys remember that rancher you had in earlier today?
Rick: You mean Mick Russell, our guest on the morning show who the military arrested twice today?
Lloyd: Yeah, that’s him. Well, he was telling the truth. At first, I thought he was some kind of whack job until I had his story confirmed. In fact, Mick only knew part of the story. He was right about the crashed flying saucer, but he didn’t know about the aliens in the space ship.
Dwight: What? Aliens? Creatures from outer space?
Lloyd: That’s right. It’s absolutely true. A space ship, possibly two of them crashed right here in Roswell and Corona. The army found four aliens, three were DOA but one is still alive. They were doing an autopsy in Roswell Hospital on one of the dead aliens two days ago.
Rick: Who told you this and why should we believe you?
Lloyd: Because I drew a sketch of one of the creatures right here on the sleeve of my shirt. I saw a nurse from the hospital draw it on a napkin when I was at Dusty’s Tavern the other night. She didn’t know that I was making my own copy of the drawing because I was hiding behind a palm tree.
Dwight: So now you’re telling us that Dusty has palm trees growing in his bar? Does he have a beach with sand there too?
Lloyd: How can you be so stupid, Dwight? It was the artificial palm tree that Dusty keeps near the front door of the bar.
Rick: Let’ see. I’m looking at the picture on Dwight’s sleeve now. The creature has an enormous head with large oval eyes. It’s probably only about three or four feet tall by the looks of it. It’s skin color appears to be a blend of gray and green.
Lloyd: No, that’s a mistake on my drawing. While I was shading in the gray with a pencil I had to sneeze. I didn’t have any Kleenex so I had to wipe my nose on my sleeve.
Rick: So does that mean its skin color is all gray?
Lloyd: Yes, that’s how Nurse Jane described it.
Dwight: What else did the nurse say Lloyd?
Lloyd: She said there were two men with cameras in the room and that they were taking pictures during the autopsy.
Rick: Keep going Lloyd. Did she say anything else?
Lloyd: Yeah, she said that there was a terrible odor in the operating room sort of like the smell in the restroom at Moe’s Garage.
Dwight: That’s disgusting. A couple of weeks ago I was there. I was on my way home from work when I had a bad case of the runs. I had no choice but to use Moe’s washroom. I thought of doing my business behind a big cactus in the desert, but I’m too scared of scorpions, rattlesnakes and tarantulas.
Rick: You said enough already, Dwight. Our listeners don’t need to hear any
more details. Most of them are probably eating their dinner now. Go on, Lloyd.
Lloyd: Well, like I was saying the smell in the operating room was so bad that Nurse Jane had to run outside to barf.
Lloyd: Oh no! I think I’ going to barf right now.
Dwight: Quick Lloyd. Puke in the garbage can by Rick’s shoes.
Nattator: Lloyd aims his head as close to the bucket as he can but some vomit still manages to splatter on Rick’s shoes.
Rick: Dang it Lloyd. Look at my shoes! Hold on. We have another caller on the line. I think it’s Moe Miller, the owner of Moe’s Garage.
Moe: What’s all this talk about the supposed bad smell in the washroom at my garage?
Dwight: Well, you have to admit it gets a bit funky in your washroom, Moe.
Moe: No, I don’t have to admit to anything right now, Dwight. I’m not on trial here.
Rick: You’re right, Moe, but it would help your cause if you took a little more time cleaning up your washroom more often.
Moe: Great suggestion, Rick. The problem is that I run a business here and my goal is to make a profit from it, not to go bankrupt.
Rick: How’s cleaning up your washroom going to make you go bankrupt?
Moe: Well, obviously, you know nothing about running a business. You’ve got your cushy, clean desk job as a radio station host because you married the owner’s daughter.
Now some guys like me have to earn a living the old fashioned way, by not being afraid to get our hands a little dirty.
Dwight: That’s a very interesting rant, Moe, but you still haven’t answered Rick’s question.
Moe: I was just leading up to that. It’s simple economics. I can only afford to hire two full time guys at my service station. One worker does all the mechanical repairs and a young kid pumps the gas for the customers. All three of us are working all the time and somebody uses the washroom about every five minutes. I don’t have the staff to clean the washroom every five minutes. It would help, too, if the customers treated our washroom with more respect. They pee on the toilet seat, pee on the floor, puke in the toilet and leave barf on the rim of the toilet. They also leave toilet paper all over the floor. So I don’t appreciate you guys putting all the mess and stench all on me.
Dwight: Hold on listeners. We have another caller on the line. At this time I would advise all of listeners who have kids at home to send them out to the barn to do their chores. We are having a very volatile and controversial show this evening and you may not want your children listening to parts of it.
Rick: That’s right Dwight. Our show is billed as a family show, but tonight it has evolved into a very heated and emotional show. Hold on, I think we have Mick Russell on the line.
Mick Russell: Yeah, this is Mick Russell. Will you guys shut up? I just took a bite out of my triple patty cheeseburger when I turned on the radio.
I hear you guys talking about diarrhea, puking and the horrible stench in Moe’s washroom. I immediately tossed my cheeseburger out the window.
Dwight: What a waste Mick! You should have given it to your dog, Chopper.
Mick: You don’t have to worry about that. Chopper just ran out the back door to go look for it.
Rick: Mick, now that we’ve got you on the line what do you make of the story that Lloyd just told us?
Mick: Look, you guys, I got offers to tell my story on the Larry King Show. So you’re not going to get any more free information from me. Have a good evening boys.
The Writing Process (Part Four)
Most if not all people are born with the desire to create. I believe that all young children cannot help but have the desire to create something that began in their imagination. Just watch a child open a box of Lego and you”ll see what I mean.
Creativity is usually thought of as being solely related to the fine arts. When somebody says that someone they know is creative they will talk about their friend’s drawings, paintings, song writing, poetry, plays, novels, videos etc.
The fact is that this is too limited a definition of creativity. A person who knows how to repair household appliances or how to fix cars will always amaze me. We often don’t realize that people working in the trades frequently have to come up with creative solutions to problems related to their work. People who are entrepreneurs are often gifted with creativity in coming up with new and novel business ideas. Although writing is an excellent way to express oneself, we writers are not the only humans living on this earth who are gifted with creativity.
After two long days of traveling, John, Ryan and Stephanie finally arrived at Aunt Meg’s place in Kelowna, British Columbia.
“Well, we made it here in one piece,” said John. “I told you that the old Taurus would get us here.”
“Yep, miracles do happen,” said Ryan grinning.
Aunt Meg owned a large beautiful house that resembled a log cabin. It reminded Stephanie of the main lodge at Camp Woodlands. There would certainly be plenty of room for everyone. The house was surrounded by trees on all sides except for the gravel road that led to it. The place was very peaceful and secluded with Lake Okanagan was very close by.
Meg heard the car coming and was already outside waiting to greet the family. The two dogs, Scruffy and Skippy leaped out of the car and ran up to greet Meg. They are both friendly dogs that like people.
“You’re just in time for lunch,” said Meg. ”You guys must be hungry and exhausted.”
“We haven’t been eating very healthy the last couple of days,” said John. John, Stephanie and Ryan all loved junk food.
“Yeah, you should see our dad on car trips. He drives ten to twelve hours per day with very few pit stops,” said Stephanie.
“That’s right. Dad just stops for gas and we run into the convenience store to buy potato chips, chocolate bars, coffee and soft drinks. Around suppertime he’ll stop at some hamburger place along the way to have dinner,” said Ryan.
“It sounds like your dad hasn’t changed at all. That’s exactly how I remember it when I went on road trips with him,” said Meg. “Which hotel did you stay at overnight?”
“Motel 6,” said John.
“That’s just like you, too. John. Always trying to save a buck,” said Meg.
“That’s right. I’m not making the type of coin I used to when I was teaching public school full time,” said John. “Subbing pays poorly and writing fiction pays worse.”
“I thought you told us that your cousin Ronnie left you a substantial inheritance,” said Ryan.
“It was a pretty large chunk of money but I didn’t win the lottery. I’ll need to use some of the inheritance money to pay the bills that my subbing and writing efforts don’t cover,” John answered.
After the family finished breakfast Ryan and Stephanie washed and dried the dishes and John went outside to start loading suitcases and bags in the back of his white Ford Taurus station wagon. John’s two dogs ran out to the car with John and quickly jumped in.
It was fortunate that John had purchased the station wagon model of the Ford Taurus as it was able to accommodate all of the family’s luggage. As they started down the road Stephanie said, “It’s sure good to be with you again Dad. I really miss you when I’m living with Mom.”
“Yeah, me, too, Dad. We think you’re awesome,” added Ryan.
John started to get choked up and felt a tear trickle down his face when he said, ”I love you guys, too, and I miss you terribly when you’re not with me.”