Canadian author and internet pastor Ken David Stewart talks about dealing with emotional pain and the role of the artist in society.
Wally took a long deep drag off his cigarette and turned toward Garry. “Okay, I can see that you obviously took a royal shit kicking. That explains why you’re in the hospital but it doesn’t explain why you’re in the psych ward.”
Garry stared at the ground and focused on the yellow and orange leaves on the ground. ”Well, obviously they think I’m crazy.”
“So what would give them that idea?” Wally asked.
“The doctors and nurses didn’t believe me when I told them what I saw on the bus.”
“So, what did you see?”
“I saw several people on the bus that had reptilian features.”
“You mean like snakes and alligators?”
“No, their heads were shaped more like flesh eating dinosaurs like T-Rex and Allosaurus.”
“I think I watched a documentary about people who could change their appearances back and forth from people to dinosaurs.”
“I saw that show too. What they were saying was true, Wally.”
“Have you ever seen these reptilian creatures before the bus ride?
“I see them practically everywhere I go. Even at home. My parents both have this power to change their appearance from human to reptilian. At least my dad does. My mother passed away about a year ago.”
“Sorry about your mother. Wow. That’s a far out story man. No wonder the doctors and nurses didn’t believe you
“So that’s my story? What’s yours?”
“Wally took a deep drag from his cigarette. “I tried to run away from the last group home I was at.”
“So why did you leave?” Garry asked as he ground his finished cigarette into the ground with his boot.
Wally laughed. “It would take about an hour and three or four more cigarettes to tell you.”
“That bad, eh?”
‘Worse, they run the place like a jail. It’s all about rules, regulation and control of the unit. In short, all the things I hate. I value my personal freedom and privacy above everything else.”
“So how did you get to the hospital?”
“The police found me wandering the streets so they picked me up. I hadn’t taken my meds in a few days so I was starting to hallucinate a lot and was pretty disoriented,” Wally explained.
“When you were telling your story about your parents it reminded me that I have some weird relatives, too. Especially my grandfather.”
“What’s weird about your grandfather?” Garry asked. “Do you want another cigarette?”
“Well my grandfather has quite the story. It easily rivals yours about the reptilian creatures.”. “Now you got me hooked. What’s his story?”
“Where shall I start?’ Wally wondered out loud.
“Up until about two years ago my grandfather worked for the provincial government in B. C.
He was a scientific researcher for The Department of Fisheries. That was Grandpa’s official title anyway.”
“What was your Grandpa’s name? I might have heard of him. My father is a marine biology professor at UBC and he may have mentioned your grandpa’s name.” Garry said.
Grandpa’s name is Winston Stanfield. His parents named him after Winston Churchill. His full name was Winston Churchill Standfield. Most people who know him think that he’s crazy, or if they have a gentler nature, they would say that he is eccentric.
Personally, I think he is the coolest guy around. He definitely marches to his own drummer and refuses to be confined by anybody’s rules. He had a diverse, eclectic set of interests and past times. If he were born about a century earlier he would have been admired as a rugged individualist or perhaps, a Renaissance man. He is the last person that should have been working for the government.”
“Wow, your grandfather sounds like quite a fascinating individual,” Garry interjected.
“A character would probably be a better choice of words. Gramps is like a character in a novel. What can I say? He’s my hero. I haven’t told you yet that Gramps was a Vietnam Vet and both a wrestler and an independent wrestling promoter.
“Wow, you could write a book about this guy?” Garry said.
“Believe me. I plan to someday.”
“I want to hear more about your grandfather another time but I see that the nurse is signalling for us to come inside,” Garry said.
“Yeah, next time you want to go for a smoke come find me in my room, 109. I think that we will be having some interesting conversations,” Wally replied.
Garry walked back to his room glad that he had made a friend. He sat alone in his room for a few minutes pondering his conversation with Wally.
Chapter One Hundred Sixty –Three:
Blake Riley was sitting alone in a chair on the main deck of his ship. There was a refreshing breeze coming off the water and Blake was enjoying watching the beautiful scenery on the shore line. The boat was now passing the forested area of Lake Okanagan.
The natural beauty had put Blake into a thoughtful mood. He was starting to re-evaluate his whole life. He had come to the unsettling conclusion, that up to this point, he had lived his life very selfishly. It dawned on him that he didn’t have any real friends. For most of his life he had only made acquaintances with people that he thought could further his own ambitions. Yes, Blake had an impoverished upbringing. Yes, he had felt unwanted and had been abused by those close to him. He asked himself whether or not this was a good enough reason to turn his back on humanity and to live only for himself. Had his extravagant and hedonistic lifestyle brought him any real, lasting satisfaction? Blake concluded that it had not.
He started to think about the way he had mistreated Jack Kimberly. Now that he had a few days of getting to know Jack Kimberly, he found that he had enjoyed Jack’s company very much. Blake had never really experienced the pleasure of bonding with another human being.
Blake also started to think about Dr. Lionel Phelge. He felt honoured to be in the company of such a renowned academic and scientist. He felt grateful for the mutual respect that Lionel had shown him.
Blake Riley was filled with self –loathing when he caught himself coming up with schemes to get the two live Ogopogos away from the rest of the crew. He had enjoyed working as part of a team and working toward a common goal. Blake had determined that from this day forward he would live his life differently.