My Third Book Has Just Been Released! I just checked my Amazon.ca page and was pleased to see that my new novel, The Lake Demon has just been published and released for public sale. I have been working on this novel, in bits and pieces, … Continue reading My Third Book Has Just Been Released!
As Rick entered the main foray of the library he was greeted by Denise Carr the librarian. Rick had been to this branch of the library so many times that Denise knew Rick by name.
“So what are we looking for today Rick?” asked the attractive thirty-five-year-old.
Rick answered in a distracted manner, “I’m not sure yet. I’ll probably be checking out the new releases. I want to see if I can find anything on the cultural revolution happening in the States.”
“You’re such an intellectual, Rick. I’ll have a look myself to see what I can come up with,” Denise said.
It didn’t take Rick long to find the case that contained the new releases. Over the summer Rick had read a variety of books both fiction and non-fiction. Although Rick was on the university entrance track at Maplewood Collegiate he would often be intrigued by what the students in the general course stream were reading as part of their prescribed curriculum. Rick discovered that he liked the novels in the general course better than he liked his university entrance novels. Classic novels like The Catcher in the Rye, 1984, Animal Farm and Brave New World intrigued him. As far as non fiction choices went Rick was drawn to any books that dealt with the burgeoning nineteen-sixties counter culture.
As Rick checked out the new releases he found a book written by one of his favorite authors, Norman Mailer. He eagerly picked up Mailer’s new book, The Armies of The Night.
As Rick moved onto the regular book stacks he noticed that he had lost track of the time. He realized that he would be late for supper if he didn’t leave the library soon.
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.
Infinite Realities Main Draft
Rick Chandler was a few feet from the door to his apartment. He was in a hurry to find his key as he could hear the phone in his apartment ringing. His son was probably calling him to see if his dad could take him to the next WWE live wrestling show. As Rick fumbled for his keys he was startled by an odd looking man that had come up behind him. The man looked very old with his long white hair and beard. He was very short and his face was deeply etched with the wrinkles left by living the hard life and his clothes looked like they were obtained from the Salvation Army or a thrift store. Maybe this strange little man had found his wardrobe in a dumpster.
Rick turned towards the man and said,” Look old man. I’m kind of in a hurry. The phone is ringing in my apartment and I need to answer the call.”
“I understand sir. This will only take a couple of seconds. I’m giving you a present, a new piece of technology that you will never wish to part with.”
Rick grabbed the object from the strange man’s hand and unlocked the door to his apartment.
When he got inside his apartment his phone had stopped ringing. All his attention was now focused on what he was holding in his left hand. The object appeared to be an eight inch Android tablet that did not have any logo or brand name. The borders of the tablet were florescent and changed color every two seconds. The colors were bold and beautiful. Rick was sure that he did not recognize some of the colors. He watched in amazement when the borders of the tablet turned translucent. The touch screen contained many apps with icons preinstalled. Rick was startled when he heard his phone start to ring again. He stumbled over a pile of books on the orange, threadbare carpet as he attempted to find his red mobile phone on his old, well- worn coffee table. The mobile phone was buried under a haphazard pile of magazines.
Rick figured that it was probably his stepson Blake calling. Since his recent separation from Blake’s mother, Rick made it a high priority to visit his stepson on a regular basis. He and Blake had formed a strong bond while Rick and his mother were together. This bond had remained intact with the now thirty-two year old Blake. Rick didn’t like living alone in his apartment and he missed his family.
As he was very curious about discovering more about his unusual tablet, he had to force himself to place it on the coffee table while he answered the phone.
As he punched the talk button and said ‘hello’ Rick could hear the excitement in his step-son’s voice.
“Hey, Dad. Did you hear about the next wrestling card on August third? It’s going to be at The MTS Center.”
“No, I didn’t hear about it until you told me. Who’s in the main event?”
“Roman Reigns against Brock Lesnar for the WWE heavyweight championship.”
“That should be a great match,” Rick said. “Do you want to go?”
“You bet Dad. Can you take me?”
“Absolutely. I like wrestling as much as you do, son.”
Rick Chandler loved professional wrestling, truth be told. He was actually continuing a family tradition. Rick’s father took him to watch wrestling matches. He still had fond memories of seeing wrestling legends like The Undertaker and Ric Flair.
Rick walked over to the coffee table and picked up the tablet. As he examined it he knew that this electronic device was a very new and advanced technology and could not as yet be purchased at your local Best Buy or Future Shop. He could not recognize any of the apps or icons on the touch screen. Rick wondered how the disheveled old man he saw in the hall acquired such a sophisticated piece of technology. Was he the inventor? And why would he give it to Rick, a total stranger?
Rick decided that he didn’t need to know the answers to these questions right now. He needed to see how the tablet worked and what it could do. It didn’t come with an owner’s manual so Rick would have to figure things out by randomly touching the icons on the screen.
Rick looked forward to the challenge. He didn’t consider himself to be a geek but he was very interested in technology. Rick owned an HP desktop PC, a Dell laptop, a PS4, a smart phone and a Samsung Galaxy tablet. When he wasn’t working or spending time with Blake, Rick was usually engaged with one of his electronic toys.
“I understand sir. This will only take a couple of seconds. I’m giving you a present, a new piece of technology with which you will never want to part.
Rick hurriedly grabbed the object from the strange man’s hand and unlocked the door to his apartment.
Rick walked over to the coffee table and picked up the tablet. As he examined it he knew that this electronic device was a very new and advanced technology and could not as yet be purchased at your local Best Buy or Future Shop. He could not recognize any of the apps or icons on the tablet. Rick wondered how the disheveled old man he saw in the hall acquired such a sophisticated piece of technology. Was he the inventor? And why would he give it to Rick, a total stranger?
Rick decided that he didn’t need to know the answers to these questions right now. He needed to see how the tablet worked and what it could do. It didn’t come with an owner’s manual so Bill would have to figure things out by randomly touching the icons on the screen.
Rick looked forward to the challenge. He didn’t consider himself to be a geek, but he was very interested in technology. Rick owned an HP desktop PC, a Dell laptop, a PS4, a smart phone and a Samsung Galaxy tablet. When he wasn’t working or spending time with Blake, Rick was usually engaged with one of his electronic toys.
Rick Chandler was sixty-two years old. He was five feet ten inches tall and weighed approximately three hundred ten pounds. He kept himself in tip top physical condition up until his early forties. At age forty-three Rick stopped smoking cigarettes and started to take medication for his depression. Despite working out with weights and going for daily rides on his beloved Giant mountain bike Rick continued to gain weight often at a rate of ten pounds per month. Although he still looked powerful and physically intimidating Rick was now obese and no longer took pride in his appearance.
Rick was on long term disability. His estranged wife Janine had dumped him about the same time that Rick encountered the most difficult class of his thirty year teaching career. Like a perfect storm, Rick’s’ life and mental health began to fall apart. His principal was aware that Bill was struggling with his new class of grade eights. He called Rick into his office. Worried about Rick’s health he told him that he should go on stress leave.
The first thing that Rick noticed on his new tablet was an orange and red icon that was noticeably larger than the others and was flashing off and on. The icon read ‘Press Here First’ and Rick complied. A rather soothing male voice began to speak.
“Hello Rick. You are one of the lucky individuals selected by our corporation to try out this amazing advanced technology that has come into your possession. We have only manufactured five models so far. We have selected four other people and yourself to give our amazing product a test run. After a predetermined period of time we will bring all five of you to a top secret location in which you will all provide us with valuable feedback on the efficacy of our product. All of the tablets are somewhat different. We are trying to ascertain which of the tablets will be chosen as the elite model for our first run of production targeted for release to the general public. We want to make sure that we have worked out all the bugs by this time based on the group’s feedback.
You are probably asking yourself, ‘what’s in it for me?’ As you get more familiar with your tablet the answer will become obvious. Also at the end of our experiment everyone in the focus group will get to keep their devices. The corporation estimates that these tablets will initially have a retail price of ten to fifteen thousand dollars. I know that by now your innate curiosity is sufficiently peaked to give your tablet a test run. I will not be providing you with any instructions or direction as to how to use it. You will have to find this out yourself through the process of trial and error.”
As soon as the audio message was over the touch screen changed. The background color changed to black and a new set of apps and icons appeared. Rick briefly scanned the touch screen determined to figure out how this unusual tablet worked. The first app that caught his eye was one called Time Traveller. After Rick touched this app a menu screen appeared that displayed a series of options. The first option that appeared was Select the Date. The next option was Select a Location in Your Universe. The app then asked whether or not Rick wanted to be part of the experience. The next question asked if Rick wanted an historically accurate experience or if he wished to alter it using his own imagination and input. Rick picked the option of using his own mind to alter and rearrange the experience. Rick typed in a message that indicated that he wanted to be at the Altamont Speedway in December of 1969 the day of The Rolling Stones free concert
Rick noticed another option on the drop down menu of the app that he had selected. It said, “What age would you like to be?” He typed in ‘twenty-two; on the virtual keyboard.
As if no time had passed Rick was on the grounds of the Altamont Speedway a few feet away from the stage. Standing to his right was a short girl with medium length blond hair. Rick guessed that she was a few years younger than him. He was not immediately attracted to her.
On stage The Jefferson Airplane were playing ‘The Other Side of This Life’. Rick found it strange that the main stage appeared to be only about three feet above the ground. A scuffle broke out among people close to the stage. There was a lot of pushing and shoving and a few punches were thrown. The short blond haired girl was pushed into Rick’s chest. She wrapped her arms around Rick and held on for dear life. He could feel her trembling with fear. Rick’s tablet had fallen to the ground in front of him. He quickly picked it up and stuck into one of the pocket of his jean jacket.
Rick dragged his new female acquaintance to a small open space in the crowd. For the first time she spoke to him.
“Hi, my name is Athena. I don’t know you, man, but I’m scared. Something’s wrong with this crowd. They’re not peaceful at all and I heard some freaks saying that some people are selling bad acid. I want to get out of here but I can’t see a way out of this crowd.”
Rick immediately thought of his tablet and pulled it out. He typed, ‘Can I take this girl with me if I choose a different time and location?” The tablet began to type an answer, ’Yes, you may take Athena with you. Where would you like to go next?’
Rick typed in, ‘Memorial Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada July 10, 1969.’
As if no time had passed Rick found himself in Memorial Park in Winnipeg with Athena beside him.
“What just happened, man? Where are we?” Athena asked as she looked around the park. She could see a band she did not recognize on a stage at the west side of the park. An audience of close to two hundred people were there to watch the concert. The vibe that she got was that this was a very mellow crowd that were probably stoned on the ample supply of joints that were being passed around the audience.
Up until the last year of her marriage, Melissa had never seriously considered leaving her husband. Although her marriage to David was not what she had hoped for it was still a better one than those of most of her friends. After fourteen years of marriage Mellissa’s life with David had become intolerable.
Melissa first met David at a popular nightclub in Fargo. She was shocked when David told her that he was a studying theology at a nearby seminary. He didn’t seem to have the DNA of your average Bible College student. David drank alcohol,smoked cigarettes and would occasionally swear. Melisa noticed that David’s vocabulary included the usual profane words, including the f-bomb, but he never took the Lord’s name in vain.
David was the life of the party. His personality exuded youthful exuberance. He was a young man who had ambition and was ready to take on the world. Melissa found that she could not help being attracted to him but she had the uneasy feeling that she was like a fly being drawn into a spider’s web.
At five minutes to twelve Jean Luc Lafrance and Jean Guy Larose arrived at the summer lake front home of the elderly couple who owned the boat they needed. The summer home was made from cedar logs and there was a full moon shining on it so both Luc and Guy had a little light to guard them. They proceeded cautiously as they didn’t want to draw attention to themselves. Both men were completely attired in black clothing. They wore black hoodies, black jeans and black balaclavas and black sneakers.
They wanted to blend into the darkness. If they happened to be seen by anyone as they took the boat they wanted to leave the witnesses with very little detailed description of their appearance to report to the authorities.
As the two criminals stood outside the old couple’s boat, Luc noticed that their victims had a mailbox attached to the back end of their home. His criminal instincts told him to check the mailbox to see if any of its contents would be of value to him. The couple had obviously not bothered with getting today’s mail. While sorting their mail, Luc noticed that there was a dim light coming from his victim’s bedroom. He moved very quietly and stealthily towards the bedroom window. Through a small opening Luc could see that the old man was sitting up in his bed reading a book. His wife was lying down beside him but appeared to be sound asleep. A small night light was on a dresser next to the bed.
Luc was not happy about the situation. As his odds of encountering the man was now very likely, Luc took a look at the letters that he was holding in his left hand. Through the dim light passing through the couple’s bedroom window Luc could make out the couple’s names. Luc took a mental note of their names in case he had to address either one of them. He motioned with his hand for Guy to move closer to him.
Luc started to whisper instructions to his partner.
“Look Luc. We are going to have to be as quiet as possible as we move past the house and start walking towards the boat dock. I would estimate that it is about fifty yards down a descending walk way to the boat dock. The old man is still awake and I don’t know how good his hearing is,” said Luc.
“What if the old man hears something and comes out to check out the situation? What if he comes out with a gun or a hunting rifle?” asked Guy.
“If that happens I doubt that he is going to fire a shot at us without warning. Did you remember to bring your gun along?”
Guy took out his pistol and showed it to Luc.
“Good. I brought along mine, too. Now here’s Plan B if we do encounter the old couple. I opened their mailbox and found letters with their names on it. If they start talking to us, we will address them by name. We will remove our balaclavas before they leave their home and will tell them that we are boat safety inspectors who work for the province,” said Luc.
“Oh, come on, Luc. Do you really think that they will believe a story like that? I mean, with it being so late out and all,” said Guy who was starting to get very nervous.
“Relax, my friend. Have a little faith in your partner. If they question the time of night, I’ll just tell them that we got over booked today and are way behind schedule. They just might buy my story,” answered Luc.
“Okay. This whole gig is your idea so I may as well let you be the leader,” said Guy.
Chapter One Hundred Twenty-One:
Not all the wanna be Ogopogo hunters had given up after Sheriff George Anderson and William Everett had read the riot act to the crowd at the town commons. Two ex -cons were on parole after serving lengthy sentences for armed robbery in Montreal, Quebec. They had already broke their parole by leaving the province.
Their names were Jean-Luc Lafrance and Jean- Guy Larose. As they both shared the same first name they called each other Luc and Guy respectively. Both men were in their mid -thirties.
Luc had long black hair worn in a pony-tail. With his gold earring and dark complexion he resembled a pirate which in fact, he was. As he was handsome enough to be a movie star and didn’t have any problems attracting the opposite sex. His partner Guy had short blonde hair. He had an athletic build that was offset by an easily perceptible limp that was apparent whenever he started to walk. He wore a red lumberjack coat over a Metallica tee shirt even in hot weather.Guy had suffered a severe leg injury from a motorcycle accident that he had in his teenage years.
Both men returned to their cheap, rather seedy motel. On the way to their room they stopped at a vending machine to buy some potato chips and soft drinks. Luc bought a bag of Old Dutch barbeque chips and a Doctor Pepper. Guy decided upon a bag of salt and vinegar chips and a Mountain Dew for his liquid refreshment. It was a very hot afternoon and the two criminals were happy to get to room number six which was an air conditioned unit.
Luc opened up the door and the two men both stretched out on their separate beds.
“It smells kind of stuffy in here,” Guy complained.
“Yeah, I noticed, but if we open the windows we won’t get the full benefit of the air conditioning,” said Luc.
Guy nodded his head in reluctant agreement.
“So what are we going to do now, Luc? About our plans to capture Ogopogo I mean?” asked Luc.
“There is no need to change our plans. Did the sheriff’s speech scare you?” asked Luc.
“Not really,” replied Guy.
“Good,” replied Luc. “We’re not the type of guys that get scared real easy. After all, we breached our parole already. What do we care if the sheriff arrests us anyway. I don’t mind it in jail, do you?”
“It’s not too bad. After all, you get a room over your head, there’s no rent to pay and our meals are all paid for by The Department of Corrections,” said Guy.
Both men laughed out loud.