Chapter One Hundred Thirty-Eight:
“I believe there is still room on the couch for you Ms. Richards,” said Winston.
“You can just call me Susan,”
“Then that’s how it shall be, Winston and Susan.”
“That works for me,” said Susan.
“Mom, what are you doing in Kelowna?” asked Stephanie.
“I have had a couple of tele phone conversations with your father that have made me very worried about you and Ryan. Your father told me that you and Ryan are going on separate expeditions to search for Ogopogo. I am very concerned about your safety,” answered Susan.
“I can appreciate your concern, Susan, but I can assure you that Ryan and Stephanie will be well taken care of,” said Winston.
“First of all, I am taking my grandson and his friend with me. If I didn’t believe that they would be safe I wouldn’t take them. Secondly, I own a very large vessel. Even a very large creature would have a very difficult time over powering it,” answered Winston.
“I take it that you believe that Ogopogo is real,” stated Susan.
“Absolutely, I’ve seen it with my own eyes and so have Wally and Garry. We managed to get some excellent pictures and video footage of it two days ago,” said Winston.
“Wow! How close did the creature get to your boat?”
“I would estimate it was within fifty yards of us.”
“Did any of you get injured?”
“No, the animal didn’t get close enough to my boat. Even if it did, if it made any attempt to attack us, I would not hesitate to shoot it. I own some high powered weaponry,” said Winston.
“I don’t know if that makes me feel any better. The mere fact that you got so close to Ogopogo freaks me out,” said Susan. “And what about Ryan’s safety? I heard that he and his father will be going with a different expedition.”
“I don’t think that there is any serious reason for concern there either,” answered Winston. “The other expedition is sponsored by The University of British Columbia. There are several university students going on that expedition and I know one of the marine biologists who will be helping to direct the project. His name is Dr. Lionel Phelge and he has an excellent reputation as a marine biologist. Their expedition is co-sponsored by the entrepreneur, Blake Riley. Mr. Riley has an even larger and more elaborate boat than I have and he can afford to hire the best crew on the planet. He has will have at his disposal nothing but state of the art equipment for his voyage. Would you consider joining my expedition, Susan?”
Winston Standfield arrived at The Kelowna Mental Health Center promptly at 7:00 PM on Friday evening. Wally and Garry were waiting eagerly for him and ran out to meet Walter who was inside his 1994 white Ford Tempo. Winston had bought the Ford Tempo at a rather shady looking used car lot two years ago. He managed to buy the car for two thousand dollars. Winston had always liked old Fords but had no idea why. It certainly wasn’t because of their reliability. He also owned his beloved white 1997 Ford Taurus. This car was constantly in need of repairs but Winston knew had to do most minor repairs himself. He would go to Canadian Tire and pick up the year and model for the car’s repair manual and would figure out the rest from there. Winston opened the back passenger door for the two young men.
“Hi Grandpa this is my friend, Garry Phelge.”
“Pleased to meet you Garry. Are you related to Lionel Phelge, the professor of marine biology?” asked Winston.
“Yes, he’s my father,” answered Garry.
“What a small world. Lionel and I go back a long ways. We’ve known each other since our university days. We’ve kind of lost contact the last few years, but I would certainly like to meet the old boy again. We have a lot of catching up to do.”
“How’s your dad doing these days?” asked Winston.
“I really can’t say,” answered Garry. “My dad and I really haven’t been in touch for about two years now. Around this time I foolishly stopped taking my meds and caused my family a great deal of embarrassment in the neighborhood where they live. Since that time my mother has passed away and my father doesn’t want me staying with the family anymore.”
“I’m sorry to hear that son. I also knew your mother. She was an esteemed scholar of English literature.”
“Yes, both my parents were very educated people. I, unfortunately, could not carry on the family tradition when I became ill with my first episode of psychosis.”
“I know something about that illness with Wally being my grandson.”
“Gramps also knows a lot about schizophrenia as he has researched the disease extensively,” Wally interjected.
“Gramps, did you read in the paper about the old woman and her dog who disappeared recently?” The article said that they were last seen close to the lake,” said Wally.
“Yeah, I remember reading about that. I doubt that she and her dog got eaten by Ogopogo, Maybe the poor lady has Alzheimer’s and simply got lost,” said Winston.
“But he would have been able to lead her home,” asserted Wally.
“That’s a good point but the old lady may have waded in the water until the water covered her head. She could have drowned,” said Winston.
“But her dog can swim. He could have saved her,” said Wally.
“You won’t give up. Will you Wally? Okay, it is possible that the old woman and her dog got eaten by Ogopogo,” chuckled his grandfather.
“I just heard on the radio that two bodies washed ashore. They could be the bodies of the old lady and her dog,” said Garry. “The Sheriff and the Deputy are at the scene now, conducting an official investigation.”
“Oh, man. You two guys sure stick together, don’t you?,” Winston responded. “The Sheriff’s office are required to do an investigation any time there are fatalities in their jurisdiction.”
“This discussion is starting to freak me out,” said Wally. “Can we change the topic of this conversation?” asked Wally with a pale look on his face.
“Don’t worry, Wally. I was just about to change the topic, anyway,” reassured Winston putting his hand on Wally’s shoulder.
After a hearty breakfast, Winston and his two young charges boarded Winston’s large white cabin cruiser.
“Wow, this boat is huge. You weren’t kidding Mr. Stanfield when you told us you had a large boat. It’s beautiful,” said Garry.
“Not Mr. Stanfield, Garry. Just call me Winston, please. Yes, it is an extremely large vessel but we’re searching for a very large creature, possibly fifty to sixty feet long,” said Winston.
“Do you really think we’ll see Ogopogo today, Gramps?” asked Wally.
“ It’s not likely, but who knows? At the very least we’ll have a very enjoyable boat ride. It’s such perfect weather to be out on the lake. These creatures don’t come up to the surface too often unless they spot some birds near the surface of the lake. Then it’s feeding time for these animals,” answered Winston.
“So the birds are prey for Ogopogo?”Wally inquired..
“Yes, Ogopogo feeds on birds and any fish that appeal to his taste buds, “answered Winston.
The boat was now moving at a slw, calm pace. and Garry couldn’t help taking in the beautiful scenery. They were presently passing through a part of Lake Okanagan that was populated with many cottages on the shore. Many tourists visited the lake on their holidays,
“Could we be prey for Ogopogo?” asked Garry when he had broken out of his reverie.
“It’s possible,” said Winston, “But only if the creature thinks we’re hunting him. “Fortunately there aren’t any reports of Ogopogo eating anyone but some people have claimed that they have been chased by the creature, There was a swimmer who was trainer for a marathon not too long ago. He told that media that he was certain that he was being closely followed by two animals that fit the description of Ogopogo. He said that he jumped in his rescue boat as soon as it passed by him. He told the press that he had never been more afraid in his life.”
Episode 113 of The Lake Demon by Ken David Stewart
“When I began my wrestling career I never had a boring day. There was no way of knowing what was going to happen on any given day,” said Winston. Plus we were young and we could tolerate a lot more physical and mental abuse. I could spend the rest of the weekend telling you guys my wrestling stories. Maybe I’ll tell you another one tomorrow, but now let’s watch some Friday Night Smackdown.”
The two boys had a good time watching the wrestling show with Winston. Winston provided a running commentary on the matches and explained the differences between modern wrestling and old school wrestling.
After watching Smackdown Winston made three bowlfuls of popcorn and served his weekend guests some more pop and coffee.
The next topic of conversation was the mental health system and living inside psychiatric treatment facilities. The present mental health system in North America is a disaster.
The only people it benefits are those who have fancy, important sounding job titles along with vastly inflated salaries, These are only the top bureaucrats that work for the government and the upper echelon in the pharmaceutical industry.” Winston stated. “From what I’ve heard, however, the place you guys are in has a reputation for being one of the best mental health treatment facilities in Canada,”
“That’s the truth Gramps. The front line rehabilitation staff is really cool and they work hard to provide us with a good program,” said Wally.
“That’s correct,” added Garry. Todd and Shelly really same to care about their clients and Dr. Wiesenthall is a good psychiatrist.”
“Then you guys are really fortunate to be getting treatment there. You are part of a very small minority of people with psychiatric disabilities that don’t fall through the cracks of our mental health system. Many mental health consumers, especially those living with schizophrenia, end up either being homeless or live in homeless shelters where they are warehoused and receive no treatment or rehabilitation programs whatsoever,” said Winston.
“Some also have to live in filthy cockroach and rat infested hotel rooms or tiny, private rooming houses,” added Wally.
“Whichever way you slice it your average mental health consumer is getting very little benefit from our present system,” said Winston.
“Do you think the system will ever change?” asked Garry looking in Winston Stanfield’s direction.
“I really doubt that’s ever going to happen. There are too many high salaried bureaucrats and too many corporations who are pulling in too much money from the way the present system functions,” Winston answered.
“This conversation is getting too depressing and I’m starting to get sleepy. I think I’ll be turning in for the night,” said Wally getting up from the sofa.
“I think I’ll do the same thing. I’ve really enjoyed myself this evening, but I think I’m too tired to stay up any longer. This has been a long day for Wally and I,” said Garry.
“I’ll also be turning in in a few minutes. I have some air mattresses for you guys to sleep on. I don’t have any extra beds since my wife left me and Wally left home,” said Winston.
“Have a good sleep and I’ll have a good breakfast prepared for us in the morning.”
“I kind of invited myself over to your house,” said Garry “When Wally told me about your encounter with Ogopogo I wanted to meet you. He also told me that you’re a very cool guy.”
“Well, I do, indeed have an Ogopogo story to tell. The actual encounter with the animal was more, Cody’s, my assistant. He was diving in the lake after I got a digital image of a large object on my radar.The young man got quite a scare down there. He told me that he got a pretty good look at Ogopogo from a distance that was a little too close for his liking. Cody told me that he would never go diving in Lake Okanogan again.”
“Wow, Cody’s lucky. He’s probably one of the few people in the world that had a close up look at Ogopogo,” said Garry.
Winston chuckled at this. “ Oh, I don’t think Cody considered himself to be that lucky. It was more like he was scared out of his wits. There’s likely a lot more people than we can imagine that have seen the lake monster. They don’t report their sightings because they don’t want to be laughed at.”
“Like what happened to you,” said Wally. “You actually lost your job over it.”
“Oh, it wasn’t the only reason they got rid of me, but I don’t want to talk about it right now. Let’s watch some wrestling. It’s just about time for Friday Night Smackdown.”
Episode 108 of The Lake Demon by Ken David Stewart
“Can I get you guys any coffee or pop?” asked Winston.
“I’d wouldn’t mind a coffee,” said Wally. “What would you like Garry?”
“A coffee would suit me too,” answered Garry.
There wasn’t going to be too much room for the boy’s refreshments on Winston’s coffee table. The long wooden table was covered with magazines like WWE Wrestling, The Marine Biologist, National Geographic, Guitar World and Rolling Stone. There were also recent issues of Men’s Health to be found somewhere in the mix. Winston also appeared to be reading at least three novels at the same time. The sofa that they were sitting on was well worn and was usually occupied by Winston’s two dogs who were both lying on the orange carpet by the boys’ feet. They both appeared to be very friendly dogs who were busy sniffing both Wally and Garr’s runners and blue jeans.
In a few minutes Winston Stanfield returned with the boys’ coffees.
“I hope you guys like Tim Horton’s coffee with some International Delight creamer,” said Winston.
Garry was the first one to take a sip of his coffee. “Wow, this is delicious, sir. It’s much better than the coffee they give us at the mental health center.”
“What you get there is good old stock institutional coffee. I know. I have some acquaintance with mental health facilities myself. Oh, by the way Garry. You don’t have to call me sir. It makes me feel old and much more mature than I actually am. You can call me Winston or just, man, as far as that goes.