Chapter One Hundred Fourteen
Blake Riley had finished speaking with Dean Anderson and Dr. Hardy. He had impressed upon them the necessity of getting out on the lake as soon as possible. Blake informed the two men that given all the recent publicity, they were likely to not be the only expedition searching for Ogopogo. He had also phoned John Richards to make sure that he and his son Ryan were ready to go. His last call was to Daniel to make sure that Peter Marks and his crew of professional divers would be joining them at the specified lake front location.
Within an hour all of Blake Riley’s crew had arrived and reported for duty. Although this expedition was supposed to be a university research exploration, it was clear who was really in charge. Blake Riley could not have succeeded in accumulating his considerable wealth unless he knew how to lead others. Blake knew instinctively how to take charge.
The university crew was the first to arrive at the lake front. This group of students including Ryan and Monique were already very excited. Dean Sanderson and Dr. Lionel Hardy were probably as filled with nervous energy as the young people were. The two men of academia were well aware that they were about to embark on a journey that could make history.
Not long after the university crew had arrived Peter Marks and his trained professional investigative unit arrived.
John Richards was the last to arrive, being somewhat delayed and upset by his recent telephone conversation with his ex-wife, Susan.
Blake Riley instructed the groups and individuals to board his cabin cruiser. To say that his boat was luxurious would be grossly understating the obvious. All that boarded the vessel were now talking about the beauty and functionality of Blake’s boat.
Once all were aboard Blake asked everyone to assemble on the main deck. With a huge smile on his face, Blake Riley began addressing all that were assembled on his craft.
“Ladies and gentlemen. We are about to embark on an expedition that is going to make history. In a few short minutes we will start heading out to the area surrounding Rattlesnake Island. As our two esteemed university professors are well aware, this is the location where the most sightings of Ogopogo have been reported. Some cryptozoologists believe that Ogopogo’s lair is to be found somewhere in the underwater caverns beneath Rattlesnake Island. As is the case with most, if not all of you, I am expecting at least one close encounter with this legendary lake creature. I am expecting that we will return with indisputable evidence of the reality of the existence of this exotic animal.”
It took Mike O’Grady almost five days to complete his model of Ogopogo. He took this assignment very seriously. For Mike, this was not just paid work. It was a test of his artistic abilities. It had been a long time since had been able to fully use his creative skills.
Mike received a phone call from Jack Kimberley.
“Hi, Mike. How’s your little project coming?”
“I just finished putting the finishing touches on it this morning. I usually don’t get up before ten, but I felt very motivated to get the job done,” Mike said.
“How did it go with the work crew I hired to work with you?” Jack inquired.
“Very well. Without their help I wouldn’t have been able to get the job done on time. Those kids were super. When are you going to come around to see the finished project?”
“Can I come over right now? I’m dying to have a look at your work.”
In less than twenty minutes Jack Kimberley arrived at Mike O’Grady’s door. As soon as Jack stepped into Mike’s apartment he looked straight at the replica of Ogopogo.
Jack’s face beamed with astonishment and pleasure.
“This is unbelievable, Mike! If I didn’t know better I would think that you caught a live Ogopogo and put it in your apartment.”
“I must admit I’m very proud of my work. As soon as I got started on the project I just knew it was going to be a masterpiece. I just kind of went into another dimension while I was building it and the ideas to make it awesome just kept flowing.”
Mike’s creation was indeed awesome. His model was built to a perfect scale and the paint job was incredible. Mike had used a variety of paints to give the model a blend of different shades of green. Everything from the head, neck, body, flippers and tail were done exceedingly well.
“I can’t wait to give our decoy Ogopogo her first swim on the lake. Here’s my plan. I’m going to rent a long flatbed truck and hire some more men to carry your Ogopogo out to the truck. I’m planning on arranging this for around two AM. Ideally, I don’t want anyone to see us moving the model. I realise that even in the wee hours of the morning someone may catch sight of us. I’m also going to buy the largest bed sheets and blankets that I can find. Come to think of it, I know a painter who will have plenty of drop clothes that I can borrow,” Jack said.
“What will we say if we run into somebody and they ask us what’s underneath all that covering?” Mike asked.
“I can’t see a problem if that situation arises. We’ll just telling them that we’re moving some very expensive, antique furniture that we’ll be selling to a dealer.”
“I have to hand it to you Jack. You sure know how to cover all your bases,” Mike said.
“Plan A goes into action as soon as we get the model loaded on the truck in the wee hours of tomorrow morning. After we get our wooden friend onto the truck we’re going to take it out to a very secluded part of the lake. The place I have in mind has a lot of trees, bushes and other vegetation surrounding it. Due to the early hour of the day it will be very dark and it is doubtful that anyone will see us unloading our treasure from the truck. Just in case, however, we will keep a close lookout for any potential bystanders.
I will hire a couple of guys I know that you have powerful portable lighting devices and know how to use them. I will also take along some high grade flashlights so that we don’t stumble on our way to the path to the lake,” Jack said.
“So you’re planning to take some pictures of my replica in the lake?” Mike asked.
“Yes, but only clear, crisp photos. I know that you have some high end video equipment in your apartment, Mike. You are going to be our official photographer and camera man,” Jack answered. “Don’t worry. You will be handsomely rewarded for your efforts.”
“I’m very willing to help you with this project, Jack, but with my health challenges and mobility issues I don’t know how I’m going to be able to get down to the shore of the lake,” Mike said, with a feeling of embarrassment and shame that only the disabled know.
“I’m always a step ahead of you Mike. You are this project’s artist and audio visual technician, but I am the project manager. I’ve thought of everything. I hired three huge body builder guys I recruited at a local fitness club. If worst comes to worst, these men can carry you down to the lake. I’m also bringing along a very sturdy wheel chair I bought at a medical supply store. With the help of my four strong lads we may be able to get you down to the lake front by means of the wheel chair,” Jack said.
“I have to hand it to you, Jack. You are a brilliant planner and tactician,” said Mike who was greatly in awe of his friend’s skill set.
“You sure must want to make a fool of Blake Riley. You aren’t sparing any effort or expense to make your little scam work,” Mike said.
“You are one hundred percent right about that,” Jack replied.