Roger had now been retired for five years. He had been a high school English teacher for twenty-seven years. He was now receiving a CPP pension, a retired teachers pension and was about to start receiving Old Age Security Benefits.
Roger only returned to drinking alcohol for one year after his wife’s passing. After the one year was over Roger returned to his old Alcoholics Anonymous group and was welcomed back with open arms.
When he turned sixty-five Roger realized that he had to get back on his feet. One year of indulging in self-pity and substance abuse was enough. As he gradually accumulated more sobriety his once brilliant mind had started to function again and he became very introspective. He began thinking about what he was going to do with the rest of his life.
After all, Roger was only in his mid sixties. He realized that he could have twenty more years in store for himself.
Roger had kept physically fit before his drinking got out of control. He got back in the habit of going for a forty-five -minute bike ride each day. He also worked out at Shapes, his local gym at least three times per week. When he started going back to Shapes he started with performing a resistance training circuit. Within a few months Roger was looking significantly better. By means of his weight training program Roger was starting to regain most of his youthful muscle definition. He was still approximately seventy pounds over according to his doctor’s Body Mass Index chart.
A good part of the problem was that Roger could not get himself motivated to learn how to cook healthy meals. While Beatrice was alive she did the majority of the cooking. The only type of cooking that Roger enjoyed was barbequing using an old circular shaped charcoal barbeque. He was afraid of using the newer gas powered grills. Roger would barbeque hot dogs, hamburgers and steak practically every day during the summer. Occasionally he would even barbeque outside during the winter months.
After Beatrice died Roger had to learn to fend for himself. He realized that he would have to eat something so he started to think of all the meals he could prepare for himself without having to cook. One morning Roger sat down and made a list of all the meals that he could make on his own. The list that Roger came up with included toast, various types of sandwiches, dry breakfast cereals, large bars of cheese, pizza pops, raw fruits and vegetables, pepperoni sticks, hot dogs, raw fruits and vegetables. Spam and assorted canned foods.
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, for a few years now. It is presently available in both the Kindle and paperback formats. If you have a subscription to Kindle Unlimited Books you can read The Lake Demon for free. It took a lot of work to edit and revise this book as I had to look up all my previously written episodes and try to put them together into a finished product.
I really enjoyed writing this novel as I have been interested in cryptozoology since I was a young boy. The Lake Demon is about the search for Ogopogo, the legendary lake monster of Lake Okanagan. Of course, this book is a work of fiction, but I think it makes for a great story. I hope that readers find the characters in the novel to be intriguing. The Lake Demon is more than just a monster story. It is about people pursuing their hopes, dreams and goals and chasing after adventure. For some of the characters it is a second chance for redemption. I apologize in advance for any factual errors in the book, but after all, it’s all about the story.
Episode Sixteen of Infinite Realities:
“What are your books about?” asked the industrial psychologist.
“Nothing- and everything,” Rick said.
“That doesn’t make sense. What do you mean by nothing and everything?”
“That’s a good question,” Rick began. “I’m not sure that I completely understand the writing process. Especially mine. I guess it could be described as some form of stream of consciousness writing like James Joyce used in The Portrait of a the Artist as a Young Man.
I find it very difficult to envision or to plan out my books before I write them. I suppose I use the fly by the seat of my pants approach. I am definitely not a plotter nor a planner. On most days I have a burning desire to write something. I have a great need to spill out the ideas that are in my head on any given day. I like to get up early in the morning around four or five AM. I have my Frosted Flakes and coffee for breakfast and then I sit down at my word processor and begin to write. I usually find it to be a very enjoyable experience. I find it to be more efficacious for my mental health than talking to my therapist. No offense to my psychiatrist. I believe that she sincerely wants to help me put my fragmented psyche back together and to get me back to work.
In my opinion writing is much like talking to yourself. The writer pulls down to earth some of the fascinating ideas that are buzzing around in the universe and transfers them to paper as best as he can. The hard work comes when you get near the end of the first draft. That’s when I try to find some organic unity in what I have written. I look for a unifying theme and start the painful process of deciding what to keep and what to throw out. Sometimes I have to give up the whole novel if I find that there isn’t anything that I can do to save it.”
“That sounds like hard work,” said Michael who at one time had aspirations of writing his own novel.
Episode Thirteen of Infinite Realities:
Rick had certainly enjoyed the new adventures that he was having with his new tablet, but it was time that he got back to the real world or his life as he used to know it. He poured himself a cup of Folger’s coffee topped up with his favourite brand and flavor of coffee creamer. Rick added a generous amount of International Delight Southern Pecan along with two Sugar Twin packets to his coffee. He liked his coffee sweet and chuckled to himself. That’s part of the reason you are so big Rick. You can never stick to a diet. You like your creature comforts too much.
Rick picked up his tablet and to his delight found that all his favorite Kindle book downloads were on his new tablet. At present Rick could choose among about fifty different titles. He scrolled down his collection to see what he would like to read now. The Devil’s Knot by Mara Leveritt caught his attention. This book is a true crime story about three young men who were found guilty of murdering three little boys. The accused were believed to belong to some kind of satanic cult. Rick had just started reading the first chapter of the book. Only a few books could entirely grab Rick’s attention but this was one of them. Just as he found the page that he had last read his phone began to ring. Rick put his tablet down and said, “Damn. What now? It should be illegal to disturb someone while they are reading.”
Rick reluctantly picked up the phone.
“Is this Rick Chandler?” asked the caller.
“Yes, speaking.” Rick was now trying to hide his annoyance about being taken away from the book that he was reading.
“Hi Rick. This is Michael Reeves. I’m an industrial psychologist and your insurance provider, Canada Life, assigned you to my case load. Are you free to see me this morning?”
“Yes, I’m free. Where do you want to meet?”
“I could come to your place. What time would be good for you?”
“You can come right now if you’re in the area.”
“That sounds great. I should be at your place in about twenty minutes.”
“I’ll be waiting for you. I’ll have a fresh pot of coffee waiting for you.”
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.
Chapter One Hundred Fifty -Six:
John knew that he was taking a significant risk by trying to save the other two divers. It had been a long time ago when he learned these skills in an optional naval training course. He had not enjoyed scuba diving to any great extent and hadn’t bothered to take it up as a hobby. This dive was his first in close to twenty years and this dive was for real. This was not a simulation. The stakes were extremely high. Three men’s lives could depend on the success or failure of his rescue attempt.
For the first part of his descent John could see clearly in the translucent green water. He did find it strange that he didn’t see any fish on his way down. As John descended further there was no sign or the clouds of sediment that had blinded the two professional divers.
When he got closer to the lake’s bottom John’s eyes beheld a gruesome sight. Pieces of arms and legs were now floating towards John.
John heard the voice of Captain Peter Marks speaking to him on the audio feed, “John, it’s time you headed for the surface. We just saw some human body parts move right by you. Our visibility on the monitor is very good now.”
“I’ve got to go further down. The two divers could still be alive,” said John.
Blake Riley’s voice could now be heard on the radio.
“Listen John. If there is anything left of the divers, they would have bled out by now. The creatures that comitted this atrocity could still be close by. Get out of there immediately!”