After his last class of the afternoon was over Rick headed home. It was about a three block walk from Maplewood Collegiate to his home. There was a light snowfall. While the snowflakes landed on the branches of the trees Rick revelled in the beauty of the winter scene. The sun was shining brightly and this added to Rick’s aesthetic joy. He loved the snow and he loved the winter season, He even liked the crunching sound that his boots made when they pressed down into the snow on the sidewalk.
As it was a Friday with the weekend to look forward to, Rick had a spontaneous idea. He would walk to the neighborhood library and look for something to read when he got some free time on the weekend. Very few people knew how much Rick loved books and libraries. It was just a few blocks out of his way to the local branch of The Winnipeg Public Library.
When Rick arrived at the library he stomped his feet on the red carpet at the entrance. He was careful not to bring any snow into the library. As soon as he stepped inside Rick was overtaken by the captivating scent of books. He had very acute sensory perceptions. These senses would either produce a positive or negative emotional response in Rick. The special smell that one encountered only in libraries always gave Rick’s spirits a lift.
He had developed am interest in a wide variety of topics. The subjects that Rick liked to explore included history, literature, politics and psychology. His pattern was to study a specific topic for about a month at a time. Over the summer months Rick had become engrossed in the topic of current political, social and cultural changes that were presently taking place in The United States. He devoured the pages of the new underground magazine, Rolling Stone. Rick not only found the stories to be fascinating. He loved the look and smell of Rolling Stone. It was a magazine that looked and smelled like a newspaper.
The phone in Sheriff George Anderson’s office rang loudly. George picked it the receiver on the first ring.
“Hello, Sheriff’s office. This is Sheriff Anderson. How can I help you?”
“Hi George. It’s Bobby O’Conner from the Kelowna Daily Courier.”
“What can I do for you Bobby?” the sheriff asked.
“I just called to give you guys a head’s up. I got a phone call from a woman telling me that her group is planning a big demonstration for this afternoon at 2:00 PM.”
“So did she say what they would be demonstrating against?” George asked.
“Yes, their group is called Save Ogopogo. They are protesting against all the people who are on the lake hunting for Ogopogo. The group wants all these weekend warriors off the lake. She sounded very concerned because many of the would- be hunters are packing pistols, rifles, harpoons and any other weapon they can get their hands on. Some crews are bringing along large nets and iron cages in hopes of capturing Ogopogo alive.”
“Yeah, we’ve been getting a ton of complaints here at the sheriff’s office. The phones have ringing off the hook,” George said, with a sigh.
“What I’m really concerned about is the hunters finding out about this demonstration. If they catch wind of this, and they very likely will, there is the potential for a show down and possible violence,” Bobby said.
“You are probably right Bobby. That scenario could very well play out,” George said.
“The woman told me that she has already contacted the local radio stations, television stations and other media outlooks. I know that she’s telling the truth because I have been checking the local blog sites and there are a lot of posts both for and against the Save Ogopogo campaign. I’ll be going to see the demonstration because I have to report what goes down for the newspaper. I just wanted to pass the tip onto the Sheriff’s Office because I don’t want to see anyone get hurt,” Bobby explained.
When Sheriff George Anderson, Deputy Bill Rollins and William Everett arrived at the location of the demonstration it was only 1:30 PM. They took a look at Main Street in the center of town. Already a crowd was forming.
“Wow, there’s quite a large group of demonstrators out here already,” George said.” “How many demonstrators would you estimate are out here, Bill?”
“I would guess at least a hundred, Sheriff,” his deputy answered.
“My guess would be around one hundred and fifty,” William Everett added.
“Well, any way you slice it, we’ve got to make sure that this is going to be a peaceful demonstration. If the crowd gets much larger they are going to be that much harder to control,” Sheriff George Anderson said.
“I hear you,” Bill Rollins said.
“To the people in this town, Ogopogo is a very emotional issue.”
“You are right,” William Everett added. “Many people believe that the creature exists and is alive and well living in Lake Okanagan. They do not want their local legend tampered with,”
The three men looked up to see Kelowna Daily Courier reporter, Bobby O’Connor pull up in a silver van. He had a whole news entourage with him including a young attractive female junior reporter, a photographer and a camera technician. As soon as he got out of the van, Bobby huddled with his crew and drew out the game plan for them just like a hockey coach would do. He sent the junior reporter out to interview some of the people holding placards and posters. Bobby asked the video and audio technicians to follow him. They walked towards the sheriff’s cruiser car where George, Bill and William were all standing.
Bobby walked over to Sheriff George Anderson and asked George if he could interview him. Strangely enough, the sheriff was actually welcoming the opportunity of addressing the crowd and the media.
The organisers of Save Ogopogo had already taken over a large stage in the common area. It was beautifully decorated with pictures and artwork of Ogopogo. Large, colorful banners covered with slogans were also clearly visible. A few of the organisers were getting the microphones and speakers set up and were testing both the connection and the volume.
Sheriff George Anderson turned towards Bobby O’Connor and told him to gather up his crew and to follow him to the stage.
As soon as the men arrived at the main stage the sheriff walked up to a woman who appeared to be giving out orders to her charges.
George walked up to the lead organizer. She was a red haired woman with a shapely body that seemed to indicate that she worked out at the local gym on a regular basis. The lady looked like she could be in her late thirties or early forties. She was wearing a yellow tee shirt with red lettering that read, ‘Save Ogopogo’.
The woman saw George climbing up the stairs to the stage.
“What can I do for you, Sheriff? Of course you realize that this is a legal demonstration that has been given full approval by the town council. I have the official papers right here in my purse. I can show them to you.”
“Oh, that won’t be necessary. What shall I call you?”
“You can just call me Elaine,” the woman answered.
Bobby Conner took a few steps closer to the front of the stage. He looked up at the lead organiser and said, “Hello. My name is Bobby O’Connor. I’m a reporter with the Kelowna Daily Courier. I couldn’t help hearing you telling the sheriff that your first name is Elaine. May I ask you what your last name is for the record?”
“Oh, I know who you are, Mr. O’Connor. You used to report on the Kelowna Rockets when you were a sports reporter. My oldest son is a trainer for the hockey team. You are also the reporter who first broke the story relating to Ogopogo this summer. I must say that you created quite the stir in this town. My full name is Elaine Tanner for the record,” the lead organiser answered.
“Thank you, Ms. Tanner. Would it be possible for me to get an interview with you sometime this afternoon?”
“Certainly, Mr. O’Connor. Perhaps later in the afternoon. I need to have a conversation with Sheriff Anderson first. Oh, and by the way, you can just call me Elaine,”
“And you can just call me Bobby.”
“Before you start addressing the crowd I would like the opportunity to make a speech laying down the ground rules for this demonstration. I don’t want things getting out of hand,” Sheriff Anderson said.
“Oh, I can almost certainly tell you that you won’t have any problems with my organization,” Elaine said.
“That’s not what I’m concerned about. Just take a look at those guys getting out of their four by fours and pick- up trucks. Some of them are carrying tire irons and baseball bats. Those good old boys look like they’re aiming for a skirmish of some kind,” the sheriff said, shaking his head.
‘I think I better grab the microphone right now and make something clear to these would be brawlers.” George added.
George walked up the microphone stand and said, “Test, test.” When he was convinced that he had enough volume to be heard George began speaking to the crowd that was spread all about the town common.
“I can see that there are quite a few of you out here this afternoon. That’s all well and good. We have free speech in this country but I don’t want to see anyone here brandishing any kind of weapon. This is a peaceful town and I intend to keep it that way. All you boys that have tire irons, baseball bats and other assorted weaponry can take all your stuff and put it all back in your vehicles. After all, the demonstrators are only carrying placards and I don’t think it would be a very fair fight.” This remark heralded some loud laughter and applause from the Save Ogopogo demonstrators.
“I’ll now call up to the stage the Head of our Fisheries Department, Dr. William Everett.
William slowly and carefully walked the steps up to the stage. He first looked around the audience trying to get a rough idea of who he would be addressing.
“I’m not used to making many speeches but this afternoon I feel compelled to do so.
Sheriff Anderson and I have received an untold number of complaints about all the boat traffic on the lake. Tourists have been coming to our city in record numbers that we’ve never seen before. Most of the town’s visitors have come for one reason and one reason only. They have come with the intention of hunting or capturing Ogopogo. Now, I’m not saying that I believe that this creature actually exists, but I am aware of the dangerous situation that is taking place on our lake. Let me remind you that Ogopogo, if he is real, is a protected species under our provincial legislation. That means, in plain English, that no one is allowed to harm the creature in any way. If you do get close enough to see Ogopogo, remember that you can take all the photos and videos that you like. You are free to conduct interviews with Bobby O’Connor and his news crew. However, you are not allowed to take any guns on the lake or fire any shots at the creature. I also don’t want to see any harpoons sticking out of Ogopogo’s sides either. I don’t know how many of you have read Moby Dick or how of you may think it’s just John Bonham’s drum solo. But I will tell you this. I don’t want to see any Captain Ahabs out there on Lake Okanagan. If you do feel the need for that kind of adrenaline rush, I suggest you buy yourself a copy of Herman Melville’s novel, Moby Dick at the town’s bookstore. If you find reading Moby Dick too much of a challenge, I suggest you buy a copy of Jaws by Peter Benchley instead. These statements were followed by much loud laughter from the Save Ogopogo demonstrators.
“Do you have anything to add Sheriff?” William asked.
“Only this. If I see any violent activity occurring this afternoon I will start making arrests and if this crowd gets out of control, I will not hesitate to call in the RCMP,” Sheriff George Anderson stated emphatically. “Elaine the mic is now all yours.”
Jack Kimberley walked over to his kitchen to make himself some coffee. He was still trying to think of a way to get back at Blake Riley. If only he could make a fool out of his former business partner. An idea occurred to Jack.
What if he could prove that Ogopogo did not exist or make it appear that Blake had really had the wool pulled over his eyes.
Then an ingenious thought crossed Jack’s mind. ‘What if he could find a fake Ogopogo? Who did he know who could build one?’
Jack realized that he and newspaper reporter, Bobby O’Connor had a mutual friend. Someone that they both knew from their high school days. His name was Mike O’Grady, the same man who had analyzed Monique Painchaud’s pictures for Bobby.
Jack remembered how Mike always liked to tinker with things when they were in school. He remembered the time that Mike had made a small scale model of Ogopogo for a science project in grade eleven. Jack wondered if Mike still had kept the model after all these years. He knew how he might find out. Jack would phone Bobby O’Connor to ask if he had kept in touch with Mike O’Grady.
Jack immediately got the phone number of The Kelowna Daily Courier that was printed near the bottom of the front page. He dialed the number and a receptionist put him through to Bobby O’Connor.
“Hey, Bobby. It’s Jack Kimberly, man.”
“Jack Kimberly? I haven’t heard from you since high school,” Bobby said, trying to finish chewing a piece of his lemon Danish.
Jack reached for his coffee while he sank back into his favorite black Lazy Boy chair.
“Yeah, it’s been awhile buddy. I was just thinking about you and Mike O’Grady.”
“Mike O’Grady? I just talked to him a few weeks ago. I asked him to look at a couple of photos and to tell me if he thought they were authentic or fakes,” Bobby said, finally having finished his piece of Danish. He sat back in his chair and loosened his tie getting prepared for some pleasurable reminiscing with an old friend.
“How’s Mikey doing these days?” Jack asked.
“Not the greatest. The last decade or so, hasn’t been very kind to him,” Bobby replied.
“Geez, I’m sorry to hear that. What’s been giving Mike trouble?” Jack inquired.
“Well, his health hasn’t been that good. He’s got arthritis in his knees and his back and he’s really obese now.”
At least that hasn’t changed. He and I were the two fattest kids in grade five,” Jack remembered.
“Mike also has emphysema, but he still smokes like a chimney,” Bobby continued. “Because of his poor health he now collects a disability pension. He also makes a little money on the side repairing computers for a few clients and doing some photography.
“Have you ever heard of a guy named Blake Riley?” Jack asked. While he was talking on the phone, Jack was staring straight ahead at one of his own abstract paintings that he had mounted on the wall in front of him. His living room was starting to smell a bit musty so Jack walked over to open up a window.
“Blake Riley? Anyone who is reading my recent articles on Ogopogo knows who Blake Riley is. He’s that rich, eccentric entrepreneur who’s funding the university’s research project on
Ogopogo,” Bobby said, throwing his Danish wrapper in the plastic garbage container to the left of his desk.
“It’s a small world, Bobby. Blake Riley was in our grade six class when we were in elementary school. I don’t know if you remember him from back then. Blake was a tall, skinny kid who always looked dirty. His clothes were worn out and always had holes in them.
“Now I’m starting to remember,” Bobby said, slightly surprised.
“When I interviewed Blake on the phone I never made the connection. Blake didn’t stay long in our class, as I recall,” said Blake, now sitting up straight in his leather upholstered chair.
“You’re right about that. Blake was only in our room for about six months or maybe less. Blake was a bully who used to threaten little kids for their lunch money. Eventually, Mr. Dole, our principal, called in Blake’s mother to discuss the situation. As Blake’s mom was behind on her rent payments she took this as a sign that they should move again to a place that charged lower rent. So Blake ended up having to change schools again,” Jack said.
“Poor kid,” Bobby said.
“Don’t feel too sorry for him,” Jack said, taking a sip of his coffee.
“No one in our class liked him. Blake was a bully, a liar and a thief. A lot of things went missing in our classroom during Blake’s stay with us.”
“Yeah, I recall losing my geometry set and my Batman comic books seemed to mysteriously disappear that year,” Bobby recalled while scratching his head. He now remembered the day that the school nurse found lice in Blake’s hair. “Life is full of surprises. I met up again with Blake Riley when I attended Business College. I couldn’t believe how different he looked. Blake now looked clean and was wearing a new sweater and an expensive pair of dress pants. I asked him about his life after he left our grade six class,” Jack said.
“I wasn’t aware of Blake’s change in character until it was too late. It wasn’t too long after we both graduated from Business College when Blake approached me with a business proposition. Blake had a lot of charisma, and still does in a devious sort of way. I ended up joining Blake’s business venture.
At the beginning our business took off like a rocket. Within a year we were both making more money than we’d ever seen in our lives. Things went smoothly for a few years, then Blake went turncoat on me. He started having an affair with a woman who persuaded Blake to forsake the business that he and I shared to join her in her new business venture. Blake didn’t even pay me the courtesy of letting me know what he had done. Heck, he didn’t even ask me to join the new company that he would help build,” Jack said angrily.
“So, the jerk double crossed you,” Bobby said.
“That’s a huge understatement. Blake was disloyal to me and almost ruined me financially,” Jack replied.
Jack was starting to get red in the face and his blood pressure was starting to spike. Even telling Bobby about this situation caused Jack to relive it.
“So, what are you going to do about it, and how does Mike O’Grady fit into the picture?” Bobby asked, becoming very intrigued with Jack’s story.
“I figure that the best way to get back at Blake is to make a total fool out of him. I want to see him totally humiliated,” Jack answered.
“And how do you plan to accomplish that?” Bobby asked.
“I’ve got a couple of ideas that I hope Mike can help me with.”
“Of course you know all about Blake’s participation and funding of the university’s research project,” Jack stated.
“Of course, I wrote several articles about it,” Bobby said.
“Well, I plan to make that project fall flat on its face.”
“And how exactly are you going to do that? You’ve got me really curious.”
“You’ll be the first to know, but first I have to run my ideas past Mike. Have you got his number handy?” Jack asked.
Bobby O’Connor got in his car and drove out to the site on the shore of the lake where the woman and her dog’s body had washed ashore. The surrounding area had been roped off with yellow police ribbon by the Sheriff’s Office.
The two bodies were already badly decomposed and the odor emanating from them almost caused Bobby to lose his breakfast. “You come to check this out, Bobby? See if there’s a story here?” Sheriff George Anderson asked making circles with one of his shoes in the sand.
“Well, is there? Have you been able to identify the bodies yet?” asked the reporter for The Kelowna Sun.
“Absolutely. One’s a human and the other’s an animal,” laughed the Sheriff sarcastically.
“You’re a real funny boy today, George,” was Bobby’s response.
“On this job you have to keep your sense of humor or you go nuts,” George said spitting out a long spittoon of Redman chewing tobacco.
“Well, if you want to get serious the medical examiner should be here in about ten minutes. Hopefully, she’ll be able to provide more specific details on the two victims.”
“Do you think that the two bodies washed ashore might have anything to do with the recent disappearance of Ida Rhodes and her dog?” Bobby asked.
“Who knows? It’s too early to tell and the details are too sketchy at this time. There’s been lots of speculation, though. The bodies washed ashore in the general vicinity in which the old lady and her dog were last seen.” The Sheriff answered. “Still, we have no way of making any positive identifications until the medical examiner does her thing.”
“The Sheriff’s right. We really won’t have anything to go on until the medical examiner completes her assessment,” Deputy Bill Rollins added.
“I heard that your boy and his friend got quite a fright about a week ago,” Bobby O’Connor said. “Did the boys see Ogopogo?”
“Well, for sure the boys saw something that scared them half to death. Neither one wants to go near the water now,” the Deputy answered looking down at the sand.
Bobby O’Connor was in a daze. He was reliving his recent talk with his editor. A sinking, nauseous feeling had come over him. His reverie was broken when he started to overhear the conversation that Ryan and Monique had just had at the next table. The two fishermen that they were previously talking to had now left the Tim Hortons. Bobby O’Conner overheard the word Ogopogo mentioned. He was listening to Ryan and Monique recap their adventure today.
Bobby moved his chair closer to Ryan and Monique’s table. He extended his hand to Ryan. “I know I don’t know you guys, but I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation. I’m Bobby O’Connor.”
“Yeah, I recognize you from your picture in The Kelowna Daily Courier. You’re the sports reporter,” Ryan said shaking Bobby’s hand.
“That’s me. Can I join you? I’d like to hear more about what happened to you guys today.”
“Ryan and I were jogging along a trail that overlooked Lake Okanagan,” Monique said.
“Monique told me to stop and take a look at the lake. She said that she saw something strange in the water,” Ryan interjected.
“We looked out upon the lake,” Monique continued. “We saw a large black serpent like object moving quickly in our direction.”
“Right. It appeared to move by rapid undulations. It was obviously a living creature of some kind” Ryan said.
“It sounds like the most common descriptions people give of Ogopogo. Do you think it really was Ogopogo you saw?” Bobby asked.
“If it wasn’t, I don’t know what it was. It really shook us up to see it,” Monique said.
“What did the fishermen see?” Bobby asked.
“They saw something that looked like a fast moving log, but they were a lot further away than we were,” Monique replied.
“Yeah, we showed them the photos that Monique took. Unfortunately, the creature doesn’t look very big in the pictures, although in one of them you can see it raise its head and neck,” Ryan said.
The two fishermen were kind of arguing over whether or not our pictures were of Ogopogo,” Monique said. “Henry was skeptical but Harvey believes we really may have photographed Ogopogo.”
“Can I see the pictures you took?” Bobby asked.
“Sure,” Monique said handing the photos over to the reporter.
“These pictures are better than I thought,” Bobby said putting his reading glasses on to get a closer look at the photos. “Although the pictures are taken from a fair distance you can tell that there is definitely a strange object in the water that appears to be moving forward. You can tell by the wave patterns surrounding the creature. Do you mind if I borrow your pictures for a day or two? I’d like to get a photography expert to analyze them. I’ve got a friend who does this sort of thing.”
“So you believe that we really saw Qgopogo?” Ryan asked.
“Absolutely. After you’ve been a reporter for a while you can sense who is trust worthy and who is not and you guys are the real deal.”
Bobby O’Connor got up to leave but not before he got the phone numbers where Ryan and Monique could be reached.
Bobby jumped into his black 1997 Pontiac Grand Am and didn’t waste any time getting back to his office at The Kelowna Daily Courier. He sat in his chair and immediately phoned his friend the photography expert.
“What’s happening Bobby?” Mike O’Grady asked, “I haven’t heard from you in a while.”
“I need a big favor Mike. I need you to give me your expert opinion on the authenticity of two photos. I’ll need the photographs enlarged as well,” Bobby added.
“What are the photos of?” Mike asked.
“I’m not certain. That’s why I need you to examine the pictures for me.”
“This sound interesting. I’m home all day today if you want to bring the photos along.”
“I can be at your place within the next hour,” Bobby said.
“I’ll put some coffee on when you get here,” Mike said.
Kyle, Jasmine, Ian and Keesha, all university students, were sitting at their usual table at the University of British Columbia’s pub. They are all good friends and are taking a break from their classes. The students had established a routine of meeting in the afternoon when everyone’s last class of the day was finished. Jasmine and Ian both had an evening class that started at seven PM, but they decided that a couple of drinks wouldn’t interfere with their learning.
Ian was reading a copy of the university’s paper. The university’s pub was painted a bright, flaming orange color and along with the dark lighting added to the ambiance of the students’ favorite watering hole.
“Man, these stories are lame. I’m bored out of my mind reading this rag,” Ian said reaching for his glass of Bud Light. With his other hand he tossed the latest edition of the university’s paper across the large round table.
“Yeah, it’s a waste of paper and a waste of our student union fees,” Jasmine said.
“The problem is their reporters. They can’t seem to come up with any interesting articles for the paper,” Keesha said.
“Yeah, they could really use a really sizzling story for their next issue,” Ian said.
“They allow students to submit stories to the paper, don’t they?” Jasmine asked, moving her chair closer to the table.
“Why don’t we submit a story?” Kyle asked leaning back on his chair.
“On what topic?” Ian asked.
“It would have to be a high interest story,” Keesha said, brushing a strand of auburn hair out of her beautiful blue eyes.
“What is British Columbia the most famous for? “ Kyle asked.
“Probably the Vancouver Canucks,” Ian said.
“No, probably the Rocky Mountains,” Jasmine said.
“You’re both wrong,” Kyle said. “It’s the monster in Lake Okanagan.”
“You mean Ogopogo?” Ian asked.
“What else?” Kyle answered.
“You guys don’t really believe Ogopogo exists, do you?” Keesha asked, taking a sip from her grasshopper cocktail.
“Well, lots of people claim to have seen it,” Ian said.
“Kyle’s got a great idea,” Ian said. “All we’d need to do is go on the internet and do some research. There’s got to be plenty written about Ogopogo and maybe we can find some photos and videos.”
“I believe there’s at least two documentaries on Ogopogo,” Keesha said.
“If I remember correctly I think that Arlene Gaal has written a few books on Ogopogo,” Ian said.
“Yeah, we could go to the library and look up sites like Wikipedia, Discovery Channel, the History Channel and maybe Animal Planet,” Ian said.
“That’s not really what I have in mind,” Kyle said. “My idea is for an actual monster hunt, a real expedition. Then we do our own documentary about our hunt for Ogopogo. That way we’ll not only get a fantastic article for the university paper, we’ll also make a documentary video that just might help pay down our student loans. Anyone interested?”
“We would also have gathered the material for a book about our expedition,” Jasmine said.
“Where would we get the money for an expedition? The equipment alone would probably cost hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Ian asked.
“We have plenty of options. For example, the university itself could help with some of the funding for our project. And we could always look for money from private benefactors,” Kyle said.
“We will need a lot of funding,” Ian said. We’ll want professional divers, photographers and boats. We’ll have to make a list of all the equipment and the specialized personnel we’d need to pull this off,” Ian said.
“I think I’m hearing some interest here, guys,” Kyle said, as a smile crossed his face.
“Let’s think about the university first,” Keesha said. “Which department and what faculty would most likely be interested in a project like this?”
“That’s a no brainer. Professor Hardy from the Biology Department,” Jasmine answered. “He’s the faculty member the media contact every time there’s a reported sighting of Sasquatch or Ogopogo.”
“That’s right,” Ian said. “Dr. Hardy often tells his students about how much the subject of cryptozoology interests him.”
“Yeah, but have you seen Professor Hardy lately? He’s in very rough shape,” Ian said.
“I’ve heard that he’s still pretty messed up about his wife’s death,” Jasmine said.
“A project like this might be just the thing to get the professor’s mind off his personal troubles,” Kyle said, feeling the call of nature and getting up to head for the men’s washroom.
On his way to the washroom Kyle spotted Dr. Hardy sitting at the bar, drinking a Heineken. As soon as Kyle had finished with the washroom he sat in a vacant bar stool to the left of Professor Hardy.
The professor looked like a man deeply engrossed in some heavy contemplation.
“Hello, sir. I’m Kyle Winter. I’m taking one of your biology classes this term.”
Lionel turned around slowly in his seat as he broke out of his reverie.
“What did you say your name is, son?” Lionel asked.
“Kyle, sir, Kyle Winter. I’m in slot two of introductory biology.”
“I think I recognize you Kyle, but I can’t be sure. There’s one hundred and twenty students taking that course.”
“Of course, sir, I understand. If you don’t mind sir, I need some advice on a research paper I want to work on,” Kyle explained.
“You’re a step ahead of me son. I have just started a one year sabbatical today. As a condition of my continuing to receive a pay cheque during my leave, I need to submit a proposal for a research project of my own,” Lionel said. “Of all the professors in this university, why did you pick me? From what I’ve been hearing I haven’t been winning any student popularity polls lately.”
“No one else has your knowledge, experience and expertise, Dr. Hardy,” Kyle answered.
“Okay, I’m half way through my second bottle of Heineken and now I’m curious. Do you smoke, Kyle?”
“Yes, I do, sir,” Kyle said.
“Why don’t we take our drinks and move outside to the court yard tables. I can remember a time when you could smoke practically anywhere. In the good old days we could even smoke in our offices and in the classrooms,” Lionel said. “Oh, where did I leave my manners? What can I get you to drink?”
“A Jack Daniels and a Coke would be great,” Kyle said settling himself into his outdoor chair.
It was a beautiful day with plenty of sunshine and a refreshing breeze.
“Well, Kyle this is my first day of sabbatical leave and here I am still talking shop,” Lionel said.
“If you would like to talk about my research project at a time more convenient for you, that’s not a problem sir,” Kyle said.
“Well, when I first got here my intention was to sit by myself and get completely hammered. But now it’s time for Plan B. I want to hear what you have in mind for your research project, so fire away,” Lionel said, carefully packing his Borkum Riff tobacco into his favorite white Meersham pipe, the one with the king’s head carved on the outside of the bowl.
“I want to do an in depth investigation of Ogopogo, sir,” Kyle said.
“Well, that topic will be a challenge. It’s been quite well researched already. And as you probably already know, or will quickly find out, the scientific community as a whole does not take the study of sea serpents and lake monsters very seriously. What they want to see is a captured live specimen,” Lionel said taking a few quick puffs from his pipe.
“But how about you, Dr. Hardy? Do you believe Ogopogo could exist in Lake Okanagan? Kyle asked.
“Not only could, it does. But there is more than one Ogopogo in Lake Okanagan. There needs to be a whole family of them to keep reproducing,” Lionel said taking a generous gulp from his glass of beer.
“How can you be so sure that Ogopogo exists?” Kyle asked lighting up a Player’s Extra Light cigarette.
“One of these days I’ll tell you, but not today. I have to build up some trust in you first,” Lionel said flicking a small ash from his tweed sport jacket.
“How are you planning to go about your research? You can find quite a bit of information on the internet alone. There have reported sightings, a blurry picture or two and a couple of amateur videos, as I seem to recollect.”
“No, professor. I’m getting a group of students together to plan and execute a proper search for Ogopogo,” Kyle said.
“You sure have ambition, son, but do you have any idea how much something like this might cost? Not to mention the amount of man hours required,” Lionel said, trying hard not to show any interest in Kyle’s project. The truth was that Dr. Lionel Hardy was already getting excited about Kyle’s plans.
“I fully realize that this will be a massive undertaking, but I’m hoping to put together a crew that will be up to the challenge.” Kyle said.
“But how about the money? Do you have any idea what an expedition like this might cost? The first thing you and I need to do is make a list of all the crew members, divers, and specialized staff that we will need. Then we have to find out what it would cost to rent some boats and some video and audio equipment.”
“So you’re going to join our expedition, Dr. Hardy?” Kyle asked unable to contain his excitement.
“Hold on. All I’m saying now is that, but I’m willing to help you with the planning.”
Chapter One Hundred Forty:
As soon as Jack finished his phone call with Bobby O’Connor he called Mike O’Grady.
“Hey Mike. It’s Jack Kimberly.”
“Who? Jack Kimberly? From high school?” Mike asked.
“The one and only. Look Mike. I was just talking to Bobby O’Connor. I have a big favor to ask you. Is there any chance I can come to visit you this afternoon?”
“I don’t see why not. I hope you won’t mind a very messy apartment that doesn’t smell that great,” Mike said.
“That’s no problem. I should be at your place in less than half an hour,” Jack said.
When Jack parked his new white Ford Fusion in front of Mike O’Grady’s apartment, he could see that he was definitely in an inner city neighborhood. He saw what used to be a corner grocery store with boarded up windows. An animal scurried across his shoe. It was moving too fast for Jack to see it. He shuddered and hoped it wasn’t a rat. He walked up the rickety stairs that he prayed would hold his weight. One of the handrails shook and vibrated as Jack grabbed a hold of it.
Mike O’Grady’s apartment was on the second floor. As Jack climbed the steps he could smell the faint odor of urine in the hall. He knocked on Mike’s apartment door. Mike answered the door promptly and invited Jack inside.
Mike was not exaggerating when he talked about his place being a mess. It looked like his apartment had been hit by a tornado. Mike’s dining room table was covered with computer monitors, hard drives and an assortment of old computer parts and tools.
Jack looked around the room trying to find a clear spot where he could sit down. Finally, Mike moved a box of books off an old easy chair. The chair was well worn and had an assortment of holes of various sizes. Most of the holes looked like they were from cigarette burns.
Chapter One Hundred Forty-One:
William Everett was looking out his office window that overlooked Lake Okanagan. With a look of disgust on his face he turned around to face his assistant, Max Turner.
“Come here, Max, you need to take a look at this.”
Max arose from his chair slowly and carefully. It was one of his bad days when his arthritis was especially painful. He joined William at the front window. “What’s up Will?”
“Look at all the yahoos out there in their speedboats. Most of them have their camcorders and cameras ready. Man, some of them even have weapons with them.”
“What are you going to do, Will?”
“I’m going over to Sheriff Anderson’s office to pay him a visit. This nonsense has to stop,” William said angrily.
Will went out to his car to drive to Sheriff George Anderson’s office.
When William arrived he found a very agitated sheriff talking to his deputy Bill Rollins.
“I don’t know about you Bill but I’m going nuts. I’ve been getting phone calls all morning complaining about all the traffic on the lake both on the water and on the surrounding roads,” said the sheriff.
“Same here,” Bill answered. “A lot of the people calling in are really riled up. Some of them are actually yelling at me. They are demanding that we take some action. They don’t feel safe.”
“I can’t say that I blame them. Every idiot that’s out on the lake thinks he’s the almighty hunter who’s going to capture Ogopogo. They are expecting to make a lot of money after they haul in the poor animal.”
Just then Bill Rollins turned around to see William Everett standing outside his office. “Come on in, Sheriff. What can we do for you?”
“I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation. As a matter of fact, that’s the reason I’m here,” George answered.
“You are referring to the disaster on the lake we’ve got on our hands,” William Everett said.
“Exactly. What are we going to do about it? Got any ideas,” Sheriff George Anderson asked.
“The first thing I would suggest is that we get the Harbor Patrol involved. We need to contact them and advise them of the severity of the situation,” William suggested.
“That would be a good start. Secondly, I think we need to have a serious meeting with the local media. We have to get the media on board to help us get the message across to the public that this situation is unacceptable and that law enforcement will take action if this type of behavior continues,” George said.