Category: Keith Ross, A Novel

Keith Ross Episode Nine by Ken David Stewart


Episode Nine

Keith and Brenda watched as the police car drove away with Tamara. As soon as the car turned a corner and was out of sight, Brenda sighed and looked desperately up at Keith.

“Keith, I need a hug,” Brenda said, as tears starting to run down her face. He hugged her and the two neighbors stayed in a tight embrace for over a minute.

 

When Brenda finally let go of Keith she asked, “Keith, can you come over to my house for coffee and maybe some pie or cookies?”

“I’m not working this afternoon. I’d be glad to come over. I think you need someone to talk to, my dear lady,” he answered.

“You couldn’t be more right about that,” Brenda said while letting out a huge sigh of relief.

Brenda owned a beautiful house in the Norwood Flats area of Winnipeg. She was now the sole owner of Brenda’s Cleaning Service. She had contracts with many major business offices in the city as well as having a solid base of residential clients. Brenda ran a successful janitorial service business that was known for its efficiency, reliability and charging reasonable and affordable prices for services rendered.

Before she set up her own janitorial company, Brenda had been a very successful and respected grade six teacher up until her last teaching assignment. During this time, Brenda was hit with a bombardment of both personal and professional crises. Her father had recently passed away after a long battle with prostate cancer and shortly after, the brother that Brenda felt the closest to was killed in a car accident by an impaired driver. That year the school that she worked at underwent a change of administration. Brenda now had to adjust to two administrators who had both decided that Brenda’s performance as a teacher was now below the minimum standards.

This series of crises, all coming together around the same time period, eventually pushed Brenda over the edge.

Things came to head on the day that one of Brenda’s colleagues found her in the staff shower room trying to hang yourself. A one -month compulsory hospitalization in a psychiatric ward, followed by two years of staying at home collecting long-term disability benefits effectively ended Brenda Cameo’s teaching career.047

Living With Depression by Ken David Stewart


Episode Four

 

In January 2017 a very unusual thing happened. I received a phone call from a teacher who taught a special education class. He asked if I could cover his class for two days. As the teacher’s medical condition was more complicated then he first expected, my assignment turned out to be multi-day assignment lasting seven teaching days. I probably had not taught seven consecutive full days in about fifteen years.

After two days, I was visibly tired. By the fourth day my wife almost begged me to cancel the remainder of my assignment. Although I knew that I was severely exhausted and that there was a real possibility that I could die if I finished the assignment, I told my wife that I was determined to teach the whole seven days, no matter what.

Although, I was able to fulfill my job commitment, I had not made a wise decision from the perspective of my own health.

Two weeks prior to accepting this assignment, I made another very foolish and risky decision which I would not recommend to anyone. I’ve been reading Dr. Peter Breggin’s books that talked about the dangers of taking psychotropic medication. Dr. Breggin had recommended embarking on a very gradual withdrawal of these medications only if one was under the close supervision of medical professional. For some strange reason, probably my propensity to take risks, I did not follow Dr. Breggin’s instructions. I attempted to stop taking all my medications at once. Consequently, I experienced horrible withdrawal symptoms for a couple of days. By the third day of drug withdrawal my wife became very worried about me and called for an ambulance. After spending several hours in the hospital the nurse said that I could go home. I have very few memories of this incident. I recall the paramedics talking to me before they transported me to the hospital and the nurse waking me up, but I don’t remember the medical technicians doing medical tests on me.

Shortly after this experience I made a rational decision to slowly and gradually resume taking my psychotropic medications. After I completed my seven day subbing extravaganza I contracted either a viral or bacterial infection. This illness was serious enough to require two rounds of different antibiotics. Even with this medical intervention, it took my body and mind three more months before I felt well enough to attempt a return to work.

My return to substitute teaching was successful, but painful.

 

I found that I constantly had to push myself to complete an assignment. As I needed the money, I probably accepted more teaching gigs that I should have. I was more than ready to go on holidays in June 2017.

I’m hoping and praying for the day that I would be capable of consistently working a succession of full days and still have the energy to pursue my hobbies after the work day is done.

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Episode Eight of Keith Ross, a Novel by Ken David Stewart


Episode Eight

“After lunch do you want to take your dog for a walk? We can take mine too. He’s an American cocker spaniel. I left him at Grandma’s house,” Tamara asked.

“That’s a great idea. I usually take Rex out for a walk just about every day. We only walk for about ten to fifteen minutes. Rex is pretty strong and I’m an old man. I’m planning to get myself in better shape this summer, though. Do you have a bicycle, Tamara?” he asked.

“Yes, I have a red and white Trek,” Tamara answered.

“Would you like to go for a bike ride with me? I like to cycle around St. Vital Park.”

“I would love to. That would give me more motivation to exercise,” Keith responded.

Just as Keith took a long sip from his glass of water, he saw two police constables walking up to his front door.

“I wonder why the police are coming to my house. I didn’t call them,” he said looking puzzled.

When Keith opened the door for the two police officers, a young male constable looked Keith in the eye. “Do you have a young lady named Tamara Cameo staying with you?”

Keith shrugged. “Yes, but I just met her. She just came over for lunch.”

Tamara stepped in front of Keith and confidently confronted the constable. “I know why you’re here. You’re going to pick me up for breaching my parole last night.”

“That’s right,” said the other constable, a young, attractive female police officer. We were just at your grandmother’s house and she told us you might be here. Place your hands behind your back. I’m going to have to handcuff you.”

“Just as the police constable was putting the handcuffs on Tamara, her grandmother crossed into Keith’s yard to see what all the excitement was about.

Brenda Cameo had a slim build and was an attractive lady who had just celebrated her fifty fourth birthday. She presented with a calm demeanor as she approached the police officers.

“Sorry about this, constables. I was just telling Tamara yesterday how important it is to meet with her parole officer.”

“I didn’t think that they would arrest me today. I just got caught for selling a little bit of weed,” Tamara said as an annoyed look spread across her face.

“The court takes skipping mandated appointments very seriously, my dear,” the young, blonde police officer said as she checked to see if she had positioned the handcuffs correctly.

“We came over to your grandmother’s house as soon as we were notified by your parole officer that you failed to attend this morning’s meeting.”

“I don’t know what all the fuss is about. I was going to phone Sarah, my PO, to find out if I could meet with her later today. What the heck. Prime Minister Trudeau is going to legalize marijuana next year anyway,” Tamara protested.

 

The young, handsome male constable took Tamara’s right arm and started to move her towards the police car.

“That’s all well and good, but you still have to wait until next year. Maybe by then, you can get a license to sell weed legally and open up your own shop,” Constable Williams said with a grin.

Tamara started to chuckle. “That sounds like a plan, but I guess you guys have to take me to jail today.”

“That’s right,” said Constable Humie, the attractive blonde female constable.

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Episode Seven of Keith Ross, a Novel by Ken David Stewart


Episode Seven

‘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.”images 17