“You know what I feel like doing after lunch?” Misty asked after lighting up her DuMaurier cigarette.
“No, what would you like to do next Misty?” Rick asked.
“Look out the window. Can you see how beautiful it is outside? It’s not too cold and it’s snowing lightly. We could walk over to Cornation Park and check out the library. I want to see if they have the latest issue of Rolling Stone,” Misty said tapping the ash off her cigarette.
“Rolling Stone? That’s my favorite magazine. I think every book I’ve read lately I heard about through Rolling Stone. I always read their record reviews to check if there are any good LPs I should buy. Going for a walk sounds like a great idea. We’ll go as soon as we finish our cigarettes. I’m going to leave Marlene a tip,” Rick said.
“I’ll need to see the bill to see how much my burger, onion rings and Coke came to,” Misty said.
“You won’t need to check the bill. Lunch is on me. I don’t get out much these days and I don’t get to take a beautiful young woman out every day,”
Misty blushed and thanked Rick.
Rick and Misty said goodbye to Marlene as they put on their winter clothing. The sun was shining brightly and the snow was falling gently. Misty tied a bright red scarf around her neck. She was wearing a forest green parka that caused Rick to realize that Christmas would soon be upon them.
Misty offered her right hand to Rick after she put on her red finger gloves. The happy couple held hands and started walking down St. Mary’s Road. After a few minutes had passed Misty put her arm around Rick’s waist. A black car pulled up beside them and a scruffy looking young man rolled down his window and said, “You work fast Misty. It didn’t take you long to get over me now did it?”
“Ah, shut up Jim, you greaser,” Mindy shot back.
“Hey man. Be careful you don’t catch anything from your new girlfriend. Believe me she’s been around.” After saying this Jim pulled away and drove down the street.
Misty turned red and started to cry. Rick held her body tightly and wiped the tears from her eyes with a Kleenex.
More customers came, ate and left at The Red Top but Rick and Misty didn’t take any notice of them.
“I’m sorry that I haven’t come over to visit you and your family, but I thought that I should hang low for awhile until the break[-up between Sasha and I had time to blow over,” Rick said.
By this time Marlene had brought over Rick and Misty’s food. Misty took a small bite out of her Red Top burger and smiled at Rick.
“Man, this burger tastes great. How’s your chili Rick?”
“It tastes really good too. They always serve great food here,” Rick answered.
“Yeah, I hoped you would drop over at my place for a visit. I really admire how you handled yourself at the rock festival. That showed real character. I was very proud of my dad too. My respect for him went up about two hundred per cent,” Misty said.
“I really like Lloyd. He loves you a lot.”
“I know that now,”
“How have you been after that bad acid trip and your concussion?”
“Well, I was kind of shook up for awhile, but looking back at it today I think that the experience did me some good,” Misty answered.
“How’s that?” Rick asked.
“I think it taught me to use more discretion when it comes to what drugs I put in my body. I think my split with Jim wised me up a bit too. From now on I’m going to use a lot more discretion in the guys that I date. I need someone who will really care about me, not just want to get me wasted and take me to bed.”
“You’ve come a long way my friend,” Rick said.
“Well, I think I made a good decision going out for lunch with you. We’ve only been here for a little while and yet I feel like I’ve known you all my life. I was starting to think that I would never be able to have an intelligent conversation with a guy until today,” Misty said.
Rick thought he could see tears well up in Misty’s eyes.
Rick attended and participated in two more private training sessions with Brent Peterson and Coach Reynolds. Rick had absorbed a lot of new strategies to help his individual play. On a Thursday night following his last practice Rick saw his newly acquired skills start to pay off. The Cougars were playing a team from the north end of the city. The Cougar’s opponents were ranked very close to the Cougars in the league standings. Northwood’s strategy for the game was to intimidate the Cougars with a punishing physical confrontation. The Northwood Raiders did everything in their power to engage the Cougar players into fights. They hacked, slashed, tripped and tried every illegal tactic to draw the Cougars off their game. The Cougars were a relatively small hockey team that was not known for physically aggressive play on the ice. The Cougars really had only one player that was a scoring threat and a Raiders player managed to engage him in a fight during the first period that led to his expulsion from the game.
By the start of the second period Northwood had the Cougars on the run. The smaller team was by now totally intimidated and their one scoring threat was out of the game. The Cougars now did not believe that they could win this game. Their revised goal was to get out of this arena alive. The game officials appeared to have been bought off by the Northwood Raiders. They refused to call penalties on even the most egregious infractions. Several of the Cougars white road jerseys now displayed blood stains.
Amazingly, after all this mayhem the game was still scoreless going into the third period. The reason was the outstanding play of Rick Miller in goal. Rick stopped shots from every conceivable angle including three breakaways. This heroic effort by the Cougars goalie caused Northwood to become frustrated and dispirited. It was as if Rick’s superb play had drained the fight right out of the Raiders.
The Cougars capitalized on some late game lackadaisical play by Northwood and sored two quick goals. With time running out the Raider’s coach chose to pull their goalie in order to acquire a sixth attacker. This strategy backfired when the Cougars scored an empty net insurance goal.
At the final buzzer the Cougar players left the bench and mobbed Rick. They knew who won the game for them.
Winter Dreams (the Continuing Adventures of Rick Miller)
Sequel to Summer Dreams
Rick Miller was sitting alone in a booth at The Black Top Restaurant. He lit up a Rothmans cigarette and began to daydream about Sasha, his former summer love. He had to admit that he missed her now that all was said and done, but he was beginning a new chapter of his life. Shirley, the waitress approached his booth.
“What will it be today Rick, the usual?”
“Yep, my favorite. Hot chocolate,” Rick answered with a smile.
Rick figured that Shirley was in her mid-forties. She had gained a bit of weight over the years but was still relatively attractive for someone her age. Rick noticed that Shirley had a short pinky finger on her right hand. The finger must have been amputated but Rick didn’t allow his curiosity over-ride his impeccable good manners. He had never asked Shirley about what happened to her finger.
Rick’s high school was just across the street from The Black Top. Just as Shirley brought Rick his hot chocolate someone walked in the door of the restaurant. The new customer was a very thin young man roughly Rick’s age. He had long, dirty, unkempt strawberry blond hair. He stopped walking in front of Rick’s booth and asked if he could join him. Rick was a little surprised as had never seen this fellow before, but he motioned for him to sit down.
“Thanks for letting me join you, man. My name is Peyton Ramparts. I have a spare this period and felt like I needed a cup of java. I was up until two in the morning last night. My band had a really bitchin’ good practise.”
Peyton wore a long black coat with gold striping on the side. It looked like he could have stolen it from Jimi Hendrix.
“What’s your band’s name?” Rick asked.
“Winter Dreams,” Peyton answered. “Hey man can I bum a smoke off you?”
“Yeah, no problem. I hope you like Rothmans. I smoke whatever brand my dad is smoking at the time.”
Peyton started to laugh as he pulled out a cigarette from Rick’s pack.
“How did you come up with the name Winter Dreams for your band?”
“I can’t remember for sure. A guy from my band came up with it during a break from practise. We were all passing around a joint at the time while looking out the living room window. All I remember is watching a heavy snowfall. Then Pick said, “This is sort of like a winter dream and Chevy said that it sounded like a great name for our band.”
Rick was just about ready to ask Peyton another question when both boys felt a sudden rush of cold air breeze through the restaurant. They both looked towards the door and saw a young attractive female come through the door.
“Sorry I’m late Peyton. I had to ask Mr. Pearce for an extension on my research paper for history class. Who’s your friend?” asked the girl.
“I don’t know his name yet. We just met a few minutes ago. Peyton reached across the table to shake Rick’s hand. “Sorry I should have introduced myself first. I’m Peyton Ramparts.”
“And I’m Rick Miller.”
“Let me introduce you to my girlfriend, Sabrina Davis,” Peyton said as Sabrina slid right next to him on the booth.
“I think I’ve seen you at school Rick. You’re in grade twelve aren’t you? I hear people talking about you in the halls all the time. You’re the Cougars star goalie,” Sabrina said brushing some snow off her navy blue coat.
Episode Twenty-Five of Infinite Realities:
Rick slowly made his way down the three flights of stairs using the handrails for balance. He painfully climbed into his red Mercury Sable. He needed to get an academic day planner for his upcoming job. As he would be receiving calls for different substitute assignments on a daily basis Rick needed to write down the job assignment details in a day planner. The closest office supplies store was Staples on Regent Avenue. It took Rick approximately twenty minutes to get there.
Staples is a large store that carries just about any kind of office supplies that one can imagine. Rick was having some difficulty locating the aisle that contained day planners. He saw a young woman that was on a step ladder trying to arrange boxes of file folders. Rick called out, “Excuse me. Do you know where I can find the aisle that has day planners?”
The clerk turned around and Rick nearly passed out. It was the same young woman that was the subject of the picture in his apartment.
“Yes, I do sir. You can find them in aisle five about half way down. Would you like me to show you?”
“Yes, that would be wonderful,” Rick said trying not to look flustered.
The girl climbed down the ladder and started to lead Rick down aisle five. She turned to him and said, “I know you. You’re Rick Chandler. I live in a picture in the living room of your apartment.”
Rick nearly turned white with fright. He was starting to wonder if he had gone over the deep end. I mean with the strain he had been under, having an old man give him a tablet that could alter his present reality and now this.
“Don’t worry Rick. You’re not losing your mind. My name is Katalya. I got instructions to be here from Darren. I want to take you somewhere light years away from your present reality.”
Episode 24 of Infinite Realities
Rick just sat on his sofa and stared at a picture on his living room wall. It was a picture of a beautiful female with orange hair. Rick would guess the girl’s age as being about sixteen. He had found it at a flea market several years ago. Rick had often had fantasies about the picture becoming real. These daydreams usually occurred when he was having a particularly bad day and wished that he was totally removed from his present life.
Rich had placed his tablet on his glass coffee table. Suddenly his reverie was broken when he heard Darren’s voice coming from the tablet.
You like her. Don’t you Rick? Would you like to meet her?
“What do you mean meet her? She’s just a picture drawn and painted by a talented artist,” Rick answered. He shook his head at the absurdity of the notion.
Darren’s image appeared on the touch screen of Rick’s tablet.
In your present dimension of reality you are right, but remember Rick, you are no longer compelled to remain in your present dimension of time and space. You still have your tablet. So it’s your decision. Do you want company this morning or not? Just pick up the tablet and put a check mark in the box where it says ‘Yes’.
Rick was still very angry about being removed from his wonderful fantasy where he was the lead vocalist and organist with The Pirates.
Rick texted Darren back;
Look buddy. Maybe later. Not right now. I have a few errands to run on this plane of existence. I’ll text you back when I’m ready for more Twilight Zone adventures.
Rick lived on the third floor of his apartment block. His health had deteriorated significantly over the last seven years. Due to his obesity, fibromyalgia and mild case of COPD, he now found it challenging to climb up the three flights of stairs to his apartment. Fortunately, going down the stairs was much easier for him.
Of all his numerous medical disabilities, the fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue syndrome bothered him the most. Only by taking prescribed stimulants and narcotic painkillers could Rick live a somewhat functional life. What he really hated was hurting all the time and having to carefully manage his daily activities to prevent total exhaustion from setting in.
Twenty-One of Infinite Realities:
For Rick Chandler this was a dream that had virtually come true. Darren was right. Even though this experience didn’t happen in his default reality, he could feel the emotional rush exactly as if it was really happening. What was even better was that Rick was able to experience this adventure from a fourteen years olds perspective. He had all the energy and hormones of a real teenager. For a brief period in time he would be able to enter another dimension where he was no longer living in an old person’s body and was suffering all the aches and pains that seemed inevitably to accompany living to the age of sixty-two.
Rick’s sexual desire was back in a way that he had long forgotten. This was another insult that one had to endure as they reached their golden years. He was almost mesmerized by the sexiness of Mikaela, their road manager and chauffeur for the evening. Mikaela had beautiful long strawberry blond hair. She was wearing a cherry red tank top and very tight stone wash jeans. Mikaela wore shimmering silver earrings that almost blinded Rick when a ray of reflected sunlight reflected off them. Rick knew that he was too young for Mikaela. Girls in high school always dated guys a couple of years older than they were. But what the heck, Rick would enjoy his daydream while it lasted.
The white van pulled up to the back entrance of River Heights Community Club. The recreation center’s part time caretaker, Slim Owens guided Mikaela as she backed the van to a spot where the band would have just enough room to unload the equipment. Slim was in his early seventies and he still enjoyed working at the community center. He liked young people and figured that keeping in regular contact with youth would increase his own longevity.
The band even had an unofficial volunteer roadie named Adam Roberts. Adam was a big kid about fifteen years old. Just last year Adam’s parents had bought him a bench press and a set of weights for Christmas as well as a Joe Weider resistance training manual. From this guide Adam learned all the basic exercises to turn himself into a weight lifter. As Adam had good genetics and his testosterone levels were high, within two months and with a lot of hard training, Adam had started to develop an impressive muscular physique. This made him a natural choice to be a band’s roadie. Adam liked being a roadie as it gave him some extra status in his local high school. He felt pride when kids would say that the big gut was ‘with The Band’. Adam also felt a strong attraction to Mikaela.
“You guys just go in the club and get yourselves a Coke. I can get all your gear in myself,” Adam said.