Keith was just about to begin work on chapter five after rereading and editing chapter four. Keith was startled by a loud knock on his front door. When he got up from his comfortable, black leather office chair, he saw a young woman who appeared to be in her late teens or early twenties. The young female was dressed all in black and was probably a goth. Keith had run into the odd goth here and there when he subbed in some of his local high schools.
“Hey, I’m Tamara. I’m your new neighbor. I’ve been dying to meet you so I brought over some spicy broccoli soup and sandwiches. I thought that maybe we could have lunch and then hang out for a while.”
Tamara’s voice was a bit shaky and she probably had to really pump up her courage to knock on her new neighbor’s door. Keith noticed that Tamara was wearing the classic black Nirvana tee shirt, the one with a smiley face and gold lettering on it. She wore extra large, round, gold earrings and had several piercings through her eyebrows, nose and lips.
“Tamara, I’m pleased to meet you. My name is Keith Ross. I’m a senior citizen. There’s just me and my dog Rex living here now. I’d like it very much if we could have lunch together.”
“Cool,” Tamara said as she started arranging her food on Keith’s kitchen table. Keith’s furnishings were very modest. When he and his last girlfriend split up, she took all the good, newer furniture for herself. Keith and Tamara could hear loud barking coming from the backyard.
“That’s my dog, Rex. Do you mind if I let him come in the house?” Keith asked.
“No problem. man. I love animals. What kind of dog is it?”
“Rex is a German shepherd with a very sweet disposition. Rex loves people, especially young people.”
As soon as Keith opened his back porch door to let Rex in, he immediately started to bark at the stranger. Tamara held out her hand for Rex to sniff. He handed over to Tamara a plastic baggie filled with chopped up Rollover Sausage and asked her to give his dog a treat. Rex jumped up for the treat so fast that he almost bit Tamara’s fingers.
After receiving his treat, Rex was now ready to make friends with Tamara and to get some affection from her. Rex turned over on his back signifying the canine submission position.
“Are you ready to eat lunch now, Keith?” Tamara asked as she moved towards Keith’s black with orange polka-dots kitchen table. Which drawer is your cutlery in?”
“The second drawer on the left-hand side,” Keith answered. Tamara found two soup bowls and dished out some soup in Keith’s red bowl.
“Thanks, Tamara. It isn’t very often that someone brings me lunch,” Keith said as he put a large spoon in his bowl of soup.
“Don’t you have any family or friends?” Tamara asked.
“No one that visits me much anymore,” Keith answered.
“Why is that?”
“Well the truth is that I outlived my only real friend. He passed on from lung cancer last year.”
“Were you close friends?” Tamara asked while putting some crackers in Keith’s soup.
“Yes, we were. I knew Paul from our elementary school days. We lived on the same block and sort of grew up together,” Keith added.
“That must’ve been a terrible loss for you,” Tamara commented as she put one of her hands over Keith’s left hand. Keith wiped a tear from his eye.
“How about family, Keith?” Tamara asked.
“I don’t see or hear from any of them very often. I have a brother and sister who are quite a bit older than me. Both live in managed care facilities now,” Keith said.
“Did you ever have a wife or kids?” Tamara asked.
“Yeah, I was married once. About thirty years ago. My ex-wife and I had one son together,” he said reaching for one of Tamara’s homemade corned beef sandwiches.
“So you’re divorced?” Tamara asked.
Keith nodded his head.
“What about your son? Do you ever hear from him?”
“Not very often. Maybe once or twice a year. I think he still blames me for the breakup of our family.”
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.
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 so 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 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.
It didn’t take Misty long to make a move on Rick. She got up and jumped into a small space between Rick and another chick.
Rick was a little startled by his sudden proximity to Misty but he tried to look cool.
“Misty, I haven’t seen you since the bus ride. How’s it going?”
“It’s going good, Rick. It’s so great to see you here. Who told you about the party?” Misty asked.
“Peyton and Sabrina invited me.”
“Wow! How do you know Peyton and Sabrina?”
“I didn’t know them until this morning. Peyton asked me if he could sit across from me at The Black Top. A few minutes later Sabrina joined us and they ended up inviting me to the canteen tonight. I didn’t see you there. Did you get to see Peyton’s band?”
‘Unfortunately I didn’t. Jim and I had planned to go earlier in the week but he phoned me from The St. Vital Hotel and told me that he was going to stay at the bar tonight and party with his buddies from work. When he finally got to my place he was staggering drunk and we had a big fight. We ended up breaking up and by that time I was upset and figured it was too late to come see the band any way. Shortly after Jim left my place I got a call from Sabrina. She said that she was expecting to see me at canteen and was worried that something had happened to me. I told her what happened with me and Jim. Sabrina said it would do me good to come to the party after the gig. So I called up my friend Carol and I asked her if she wanted to go. She said she did and that she’d give me a ride to the party. So that’s how I got here. How did you get here?”
“I helped the band take out their gear after the gig and Peyton gave me a ride here,” Rick answered.
“You are always surprising me. You didn’t see me but I was at the library and saw you looking for books. I saw you leave with a big pile of books. I was browsing for books in the stacks behind you and saw some of the books you were taking out. You had Norman Mailer’s new book, Steal This Book by Abbie Hoffman and a couple of other books about SDS and the Weatherman,” Misty said. moving so close to Rick that their bodies were now squished together. “I didn’t know that you were such an intellectual and that you were so into American politics.”
Rick laughed and was enjoying having Misty so close to him. He to admit it. She was very attractive. He loved the scent of patchouli that Misty was wearing. “Well, what can I say Misty. The cat’s out of the bag now. Yeah, I read a lot. Mostly because I really don’t have much of a social life.”
John woke up during the night and couldn’t get back to sleep. He went downstairs to make himself a coffee. He tried to motivate himself to think up some ideas for a new novel that he planned to write.
John walked over to the coffee table to get his pack of Pall Mall cigarettes. Due to his low and unstable income John only bought the budget brand cigarettes. He knew that he should try to beat his tobacco addiction, but he loved to smoke cigarettes when he was working on his writing. John sat in his red leather easy chair that was much the worse for wear. The leather upholstery was wearing out and there were cracks on the chair where some of the stuffing was starting to stick out. John didn’t let the condition of his chair worry him too much. After all he bought it for twenty dollars at a garage sale. He took a cigarette out of the pack and lit it up with his lighter, the one with the Harley Davidson logo. As John glanced at his lighter he thought about how much he would like to have his own Harley Davidson motorcycle.
Right now John would have to settle for finding pictures of Harleys in biker magazines. As he looked at these advertisements John would dream about riding his red custom built Harley along the highway. In his imagination he could see himself with a cigarette dangling from his lips and the wind blowing through his long hair as he passed cars and trucks along the way.
John enjoyed a few minutes of his reverie until he could hear the sound of the coffee percolator. It was now time to face the real world. John didn’t like living in the real world that much. He was happiest when he was living in his own imagination and was sitting at his desk writing his novels. John wanted his next novel to be about Ogopogo.
He was starting to envy the fact that his son, Ryan and his girlfriend, Monique would soon be going on an expedition to search for Ogopogo.
John Richards knew that this was his opportunity to make his dream come true. He often thought about having a close encounter with Ogopogo and proving the creature’s existence once and for all. Heck, if he could gain access to a camcorder he would love to make an amazing video of the creature at close proximity.
John was rather timid and introverted by nature and had never had too many friends due to his being painfully shy. He was also very much a lone wolf by nature. One of the reasons that John chose writing as a career was that he liked to work alone, without a supervisor looking over his shoulder.
This time he knew that he would have to step out of his comfort zone. He needed to be part of the expedition. John especially hated having to call people up and ask for their help. He knew that he would need to just bite the bullet and phone Dean Sanderson.