The first night on the job two guys started heckling the LaSalle’s house band, Blind Rage. Godzilla didn’t waste any time. He grabbed both those idiots by the back of their collars and carried both of them out to the back parking lot. One of the hecklers turned to the other one and said, “We can take him. It’s two against one.”
As soon as one of them made a move toward him, Godzilla grabbed both of them and dropped them in a nearby parking lot dumpster. That’s how Godzilla likes to take care of business. As Winter Dreams were all there to watch Blind Rage that evening, we were very impressed with Godzilla’s ability to handle a dicey situation. That night the band called him over to our table and asked Gordon to be our road manager. The rest is history as they say,” Peyton said.
“What does Godzilla have to do with Misty’s problem?” Sabrina asked.
“Oh, in a very creative way, he can put an end to Linda Saunders badmouthing Misty and Rick,” Peyton answered.
“I’ll ask Godzilla to pay a surprise visit to see Miles Meyers after hockey practise tomorrow. Rick told me that Miles is always the last player to leave the arena. Miles’s physical conditioning is not that great and due to exhaustion following a practise or a game he needs to take off his goalie equipment very slowly. He stops for brief rest periods each time that he takes off a piece of equipment. After undressing, Miles will take a long, hot, soapy shower. He will then put an extra large towel on a bench and lie down for about fifteen minutes. After that Miles slowly and methodically puts on his street clothes.
When Miles leaves the arena he will stop off at the 7-11 convenience store around the corner from the arena. Miles’ usual post practise routine normally takes forty-five to fifty minutes.
“I will estimate the time of Meyers’ expected arrival at the store and will ask Godzilla to wait outside the doors until Miles arrives. When Meyers leaves the store with his banana flavored Slurpee in hand, Godzilla will tell Myers that he is a big fan and would like to have a smoke with him in the back of the 7-11. Once there, Godzilla will inform Miles Meyers of the real reason for his visit. He will let Meyers know in no uncertain terms that he is to stop his girlfriend, Linda Saunders, from spreading around anymore malicious rumors about Misty Roberts and Rick Miller. Furthermore, Miles will need to convince Linda that it is in the couple’s best interests to call an emergency meeting of the hockey wives. During this meeting, Linda will take back all the vicious rumors that she said about Rick and Misty, informing the other girls that they are all lies. To top matters off, Linda will make a public apology to Misty and Rick. To make sure that Miles Meyers gets the message, Godzilla will manhandle and rough Miles up enough that he realizes the seriousness of the matter.
“I really appreciate your offer, Peyton. Sounds like your plan might work, but I have some concerns. What if some of the other players on Rick’s team blame Rick for the incident?” Misty asked nervously, brushing some snowflakes from her hair.
“Got that one covered too, Misty. Godzilla will let Miles Meyers know in no uncertain terms that if he tells anyone about their little conversation that they had behind 7-11, he will pay Miles another visit. During this meeting Miles Meyers can expect enough of a beating to keep him out of action for the rest of the season,” Peyton explained.
“You would actually do that for us? Peyton?” Misty asked
“Absolutely, you and Rick are two of our best friends. I’d do anything I can to help,” Peyton answered.
After their conversation on the park bench, both Peyton and Sabrina walked Misty home.
After Rick Miller was released from the hospital, Brad Keenan gave him a phone call. “So what did you decide about playing hockey this year Rick?”
“I’m going to take the recommended three weeks off, Coach and then will play it by ear from there,” Rick answered.
“Are you sure that you shouldn’t just take the rest of the season off?” Brad asked.
“No. I don’t want to do that Coach. We still have a good chance of making a run for the playoffs this season.
“Yes, we do,” the coach said. “I’m just hoping that the rest of the team puts their full support behind Miles Meyers during the next three weeks or however long your recovery takes. They don’t seem to have much confidence in Miles right now.”
“I wouldn’t worry about it Coach. I’ll be coming to watch all the games. While I’m there, I’ll encourage the players to backup Miles. In fact, I’ll insist upon it. I’ll also be in the dressing room between periods to give Miles advice if he starts to struggle,” Rick said.
“I knew that I could count on you Rick. You are definitely a team player.”
All went as Peyton Ramparts had planned. Godzilla had his little meeting with Miles Meyers behind the 7-11, and as instructed, Godzilla gave Meyers a good working over and let him know in no uncertain terms that if his girlfriend, Linda Saunders, didn’t stop tormenting Misty this would be just a small taste of what was in store for Miles’s if his girlfriend didn’t comply with the instructions.
Godzilla also reminded Meyers that a public apology from Linda was non-negotiable. Right after the Miles Myers incident with Godzilla, Miles phoned Linda Saunders and told her what had transpired.
“I can’t do that!” was Linda’s initial response. “I would be totally humiliated and would lose all credibility with the other girls.”
“It will be a lot worse for you if you don’t comply,” Miles told her. If the rest of the team and the girls find out that you are the reason I got beat up, they would blame you. Think about it, Linda. If Godzilla gives me a much worse beating than I took tonight, I could be out of the lineup for weeks, just when the team needs me the most. Then what are the Cougars going to do? They only have two goalies and we will both be out with injuries.”
“You’re putting me very tough position, Miles. It’s like being between a rock and a hard place,” Linda said.
“But I’m right. Aren’t I Linda? And anyway. whose idea was it to spread those nasty rumors about Misty and Rick in the first place?” Miles responded.
“Okay I’ll do it! I’ll call the girls together for an emergency meeting just before the game tomorrow.”
Linda Saunders arranged a meeting with the hockey wives one hour before the Cougars game against the Norberry Knights. She had a difficult time keeping it together as she made her speech in front of the other girls. Her hands appeared to be shaking and she was very red in the face.
She began her statement by telling the other girls that she had been very mean to both Rick Miller and especially Misty Roberts.
“Girls, I am ashamed to say that my behaviour towards Misty Roberts has been both hurtful and cruel. She doesn’t deserve to be talked about the way that I have recently been talking about her. My cousin, Rudy is not the most trustworthy individual that I know. I should not have used him as a source when spreading those horrible rumours about both Misty and Rick Miller. I’m very sorry and ashamed about hurting Misty. With that being said, from now on we are going to take the high road where Misty is concerned. I ask that all of us will do our best tonight to be friendly and loving towards Misty. We need to make her feel that she is one of the girls. I will be the first one to greet Misty tonight and I will offer her a very sincere and heartfelt apology.”
The girls were all sitting on the long benches in an empty dressing room. They were all quite shocked by Linda’s speech. Most of them shook their heads in agreement as Susan, Eric Coswell’s girlfriend said, “Let’s do it.”
As Linda Saunders left the meeting she went out in the parking lot to clear her head. She was very angry with Miles for making her give this speech to the girls. Linda was starting to re-evaluate her relationship with Miles Meyers. She thought:
If Miles was a real man, wouldn’t he have taken the beating from Godzilla to protect his girlfriend’s honour and credibility?
If the circumstances were different and she didn’t value being the leader of the hockey wives, Linda would probably have broken up with Miles on the spot. The problem was the Linda Saunders enjoyed her prominent position in the hockey wives circle. If she dumped Miles, there wouldn’t be any more players on the Cougars that she could date. Linda sat down and thought about her alternatives after tonight’s game was over. She knew that she was a smart girl and if she waited patiently a good idea would come to her.
Four weeks had passed and Rick had begun practising with his team again. His lightening sharp reflexes had returned and he felt good about his performance during practise. Coach Brad Keenan was hoping to have Rick start in goal in the upcoming make-up game against the Norberry Knights.
Although life was looking up for Rick Miller, the same could not be said for the Maplewood Cougars. They had lost all but one game with Miles Myers as their starting goaltender. Rick had given Miles some good pointers, but Miles was still too inexperienced to play at a winning level in this league. The young goalie had the potential and the talent and time was on his side, but for the rest of this season, the Cougars only chance of capturing a play-off berth was with Rick Miller playing goal in every game.
The evening of the make-up game had arrived. In the Cougars’ dressing room, their head coach was pacing nervously back and forth as he addressed his team.
“I don’t have to say it. You all know how much tonight’s game means. We have to win it in order to retain any mathematical hope of making the play-offs this year. Even a tie won’t save us. We have to win tonight.”
Due to the brawl in the stands that took place during their last outing, security was very tight at the St. Vital Arena. Three uniformed police constables were on duty reinforced with six guards hired from the Garda Security Company.
The head referee for tonight’s game was Steve Kowakski who had the reputation as the official who administered the most discipline to players who broke the rules.
Rick Miller was back in goal for The Maplewood Cougars. During the pre-game warm up, Rick had easily handled shots coming from all angles and had not allowed a single puck get passed him. The stands were packed on both sides of the arena with loud but cautious fans that were here to support their respective teams. The fans on both sides were very cognizant of the extra security officials. It appeared that none of the fans had made any plans to spend the night in jail following tonight’s game.
Head referee, Steve Kowalski skated over to both the Knights and the Cougars benches and read the riot act to both the coaches and the players. He explained, in no uncertain terms that he and his linesmen were going to call a very tight game and if he saw any player intentionally attempt to injure an opponent, he would personally make sure that the offender would be suspended for
the rest of the season including the playoffs. Both coaches nodded their heads by way of indicating that they clearly understood his stern message.
As head referee Steve Kowalski got ready to drop the puck, Bill Woodward, the center for the Cougars and Dennis Sharp, Norberry’s center positioned themselves for the opening face off of the game. At the drop of the puck the Knights center won the face-off and passed the puck back to defenseman Lyle Gaines. Gaines careened the puck off the boards in the direction of right winger Dale Hanson. Hanson turned on a burst of speed that moved him about fifteen feet from Maplewood’s goal. As Dale Hanson wound up for a blazing slap-shot, Eric Coswell, the Cougar’s star defenseman, moved in front of the goal to move Knights right winger Taylor King out of the crease area. Coswell was attempting to give his goalie, Rick Miller, a clear view of the upcoming shot. Unfortunately, Dale Hanson’s shot ricocheted off Eric Coswell’s shin pad causing the puck to take a change of direction.
The puck landed up in the bottom right corner of the Cougar’s net. Rick Miller had been screened on the shot and didn’t have any chance of stopping the puck that changed direction.
Only thirteen seconds of the first period had elapsed and the Cougars were down one to zero. Rick went for a short skate out of his net to regain his composure before returning to mentally prepare himself for the next face-off.
The same two centers lined up for the next face-off. Although Rick knew the first goal was not his fault, he felt his stomach muscles start to tighten like a knotted and twisted rope. The Knight’s center Noel Lamare won the face-off draw and immediately passed the puck to right winger Peter Stafford. Peter wound up for a one timer and put all of his two hundred pounds into his shot. He got excellent wood on the shot and Rick Miller didn’t even see the puck as it entered the right top corner of his net. Rick turned around in disbelief. This was the first time in his career he ever let in a goal taken from center ice.
The score was now 2 to 0 for the Norberry Knights and Rick began to panic. He wondered if he was still rusty after almost four weeks out of action. He also wondered if the concussion he suffered was now slowing down his reflexes. Rick knew how important this game was to his team and he didn’t want to be the player responsible for losing the game. He skated towards the Cougars bench, “Hey Brad. You can pull me and put Miles in goal.”
“What are you talking about? Get back in your net and do your job!” Brad Keenan yelled back at him. With an angry shake of his head Rick skated back to the goal. “How could Coach Keenan put me through this humiliation?” Rick thought.
The Maplewood Cougars bench almost visibly sagged after the second disastrous goal was scored on them. When Rick Miller got back in his net, he could hear the boos and cat calls coming from the Norberry Knights fans,
“Hey Miller, you suck! You couldn’t stop a beach ball.”
The laughing and derision only caused Rick’s anger to well up inside him. He was positively seething when the puck was dropped for the next face-off.
The face-off was won again by the Norberry Knights. The Knights set up a precision pass play that caused a two -on-one situation. This was a play that they had obviously been practicing for a long time. Fortunately, Rick read the play perfectly and stacked his pads to make an amazing save. The Knights bench just shook their heads in disbelief. The save that Rick had just made was nearly impossible. Eric Coswell skated over to Rick and tapped him on his pads.
“You still got it old man. Now we are going to start giving you some protection.”
What Eric just said seemed like empty words as the Knights won yet another face-off and dumped the puck into the Cougars end of the ice. Taylor King, Norberry’s left winger, was the first man to recover the puck. He quickly passed the puck back to Rob Janson, a powerful Norberry defenseman who was setting up to take a wicked slap-shot from the point. All three Knights forwards positioned themselves to block Rick’s view of the oncoming shot. Rick skated a few feet ahead and used his hands to maneuver a Knights winger out of the way. As Taylor King let his blistering slap-shot go, Rick had a small opening to see the puck coming towards the net. Rick dropped to his knees and caught the low shot in his trapper. As there was so much traffic in front of his net, Rick held on to the puck for a face off.
Before the face off both teams had an opportunity to change up their lines. Coach Brad Keenan did not like what he was seeing on the ice. His Cougars were getting badly outplayed by Norberry and his team were just running around the ice like a pack of terrified mice who had just seen the cat appear.
The Norberry Knights were applying massive offensive pressure and Maplewood didn’t appear to have any answer for it. Brad turned his head toward assistant coach Vince Perreti.
“I’m going to take the first line off and send out the grinders. Let’s see what the fourth line can do during the next few minutes.”
“It’s worth a try,” was the response from Vince. “Right now we can’t seem to get the puck out of our own end.”
The Knight’s coach, Jeff Hadley saw what Brad was doing and called out his third line. Hadley’s third line were similar to Brad Keenan’s fourth line in that they were all role players. These guys knew that their purpose was to lay on the body hard. If injuries, penalties and fights resulted from their style of play, so be it.
Coach Jeff Hadley passed on a quick, to the point, message to his third line as they were preparing to jump over the boards.
“Look guys. Maplewood’s coach is hoping that a change in strategy will wake his players up. The going may get a bit rough out there, but I know that you’ll all do your jobs out there.”
Brad Keenan’s fourth line rarely got much ice time during a game. He sent this line out for brief periods of time when the opposition were starting to intimidate his scoring lines. The coach might also send them out when his offensive lines were getting tired or the Cougars held such a big league that the outcome of the game had already been decided.
Coach Brad Keenan had recently signed a new power forward named, Chad Barlow. Chad did not have much experience playing hockey, but he was a star linebacker with Maplewood’s football team, the Panthers. Brad was aware that whatever skills Chad still needed to develop as a hockey player, was more than compensated for by his positive attitude, desire, strength and aggressiveness on the ice.
Maplewood’s coach had not forgotten head referee, Steve Kowalski’s stern message, delivered before the game officially started, about keeping the game clean and under control. At this point in the game, Brad did not care. He realized that if he was unable to radically change the momentum of the game in his team’s favor, the Cougars would most likely suffer defeat in this pivotal hockey game. The Maplewood Cougars needed to win this game to maintain their mathematical chance of making the play offs this season.
A few seconds before Chad Barlow got a chance to climb over the boards, Coach Keenan whispered these instructions in his tough, power forward’s ears. “Look. Norberry has just sent Glenn Davidson out on the ice. Forget about what the head referee said. I want you to give Davidson and the rest of his team a strong message.”
“I gotcha Coach,” Chad replied while moving his tongue in a lizard like manner. “I’ll take care of Davidson or anyone else on the Knights who needs an attitude adjustment.”
“I know. That’s why I signed you,” Coach Keenan said with a smirk on his face.”
“Yeah, I heard something about that,” Rick answered.
“Well, it’s true, but the story has been greatly exaggerated. I spent about two weeks in a psychiatric rehabilitation facility in San Francisco. I was there basically for observation so that the doctors could make a diagnosis,” Misty explained.
“So, what did the doctors come up with?” Rick asked.
“At that time they told me it was manic depression. My psychiatrist in Winnipeg changed the diagnosis to schizo-affective disorder.”
“Yeah, I remember you telling me about that. Do you need to take medication?’
“Yes, lithium. For a long time, I wasn’t really taking it. I just lied to my doctor and my parents telling them that I was taking the lithium regularly. I got busted when they eventually took a blood test. The test showed that there was no trace of lithium in my body.”
“Why didn’t you take your medication?”
“Because it made me feel worse. To be more precise I didn’t feel any emotions at all when I first started taking it. Plus, it was making me gain weight.”
“So, do you take lithium now?” Rick asked.
“No. My new psychiatrist in Winnipeg put me on chlorpromazine after he changed my diagnosis to schizo-affective disorder,” Misty answered.
The restaurant was starting to get very smoky. It appeared that most of the customers were puffing hard on their cigarettes while they sucked back the strong Salisbury House coffee. The smoke in the air was starting to make Rick’s eyes water.”
“Let’s go back to Memorial Park. It’s getting too smoky in here for me,” said Rick.
Rick and Misty started walking back across the Osborne bridge. Misty thought she saw the shadowy figure of a man trying to climb up on the railings of the bridge.
Rick said, “It looks like that guy is going to try to jump over the bridge.”
Both Rick and Misty started yelling, “Hey man, stop! What are you trying to do?”
“Leave me alone. I’m going to jump,” the man answered.
“Let’s talk a bit first,” Misty said.
“Talk about what?” the man asked.
“About anything. Misty and I have been looking for someone interesting to talk to.” Rick answered.
“I’m not an interesting person and anyway you’ve got each other to talk to,” the man said.
“Let me be the judge of that. How about the three of us go to the Sals and get a cup of coffee? It’s starting to get chilly out here.” Rick said.
“I don’t even have enough money for a coffee, man, and I just smoked my last cigarette,”
“What’s your name?” Misty asked.
“Norman or just Norm.”
“Hi, I’m Misty and this is my boyfriend, Rick.”
“Like I said, I haven’t got enough money to go to the Sals and I’m kind of busy here.”
“Okay. I’ll tell you what. You come down from the railing and I’ll pay for your coffee and anything else you want to eat. Don’t worry about cigarettes. I just opened a new pack. How about it?” Rick asked.
“Well, I guess I could have my last coffee and cigarette before I leave this world.” Norm answered.
“That’s great. I’ll give you a smoke right now,” Rick said.
When they got back the Salisbury House, Norm ordered a Big Nip, and an order of fries and a coffee.
“Thanks guys. I haven’t had anything to eat yet today. My dad kicked me out at around ten this morning,” Norm said.
“So what have you been doing all day to keep warm?” Misty asked.
“I’ve been riding the bus. My dad bought me a monthly bus pass before I got the boot,” Norm said. “I don’t know what to do or where to go. Two months ago my mom kicked me out of her place.”
“Don’t worry we’ll figure something out,” Misty said.
Norman Robinson was only nineteen years old, but he was already starting to take on the appearance of a homeless person. He was tall and very thin. Misty noticed that Norman had a missing front tooth. He had a large hole in the front of his navy blue parka that made it look like he had vomited on his coat. The hole was actually a result of Norman helping his dad remove a defective battery from his car. In the process of completing this task, Norman had gotten some battery acid on his jacket. The acid had burned the hole in it.
Misty turned to Rick and said, “Let’s take Norm over to my place. I think my dad might like to talk to Norman.”
“What makes you say that?” Rick asked, looking somewhat befuddled.
“My dad has changed a lot since the summer. I’ll tell you about it later, but he now has a job working at a homeless center,” Misty answered.
“Wow. Lloyd has a steady job now,” Rick said.
“Look you guys have done enough for me already. After I finish my coffee and smoke I’ll just walk back to the bridge,” Norman said.
“I don’t think that’s such a great idea,” Rick said. “You don’t have a place to go tonight, do you?”
“That settles it. You’re coming with us,” Rick said firmly.
Rick, Misty and their new friend walked back to Rick’s car that was parked on a street next to Memorial Park. When Rick tried to start his car the engine wouldn’t turn over.
“Damn,” Rick said. “I just put a new battery in two weeks ago,”
“Open the hood Rick and let me have a look,” Norman said.
“In less than a minute Norman asked Rick to try starting the car again. This time the engine turned over immediately.
“How did you do that?” Rick asked.
“It was just a loose cable. I was training to be an auto technician so I knew what to check first.”
“Wow, thanks a lot man,” Rick said, feeling both surprised and grateful.
One morning, Misty’s mother, Sheila Roberts was doing her morning devotions. As a devout Christian, Sheila had long established a habit of having a quiet time with the Lord before she started her day. Her devotional time included reading from her Bible, praying for herself and others as well as remaining quiet and waiting for God to speak to her. Today, Sheila heard the Lord speak to her spirit, “Sheila, I’m going to do a great work in your husband, Lloyd, because I love him very much. I am asking you to include Lloyd in your prayers every day.”
Sheila did not hear an audible voice, but she knew in her heart that she had heard from God. After the incident at the rock concert during the summer, Sheila had been thinking about Lloyd. By this time, she had forgiven Lloyd for allowing his daughters to get involved in a dangerous situation. She had loved Lloyd at one time, but since she became a Christian and Lloyd didn’t, Sheila felt that her husband would have a negative influence on their children. She could not say that Rick was a bad person. In many ways he was a good man, but she could no longer tolerate his immaturity and his harmful addictions. What she really wanted was a godly husband and Lloyd certainly was not. Sheila decided to call her pastor Randy Neufeld to discuss with him what the Lord had told her.
Lloyd Roberts was just waking up from a short nap he had after supper. As be reached for his pack of cigarettes, Lloyd could still remember the dream he had. He was in that zone where he was just coming out of the dream state, but was not yet fully awake. Lloyd was used to having many dreams while he slept, but there was something different about the ones that he had been having lately. His most recent dreams all seemed to have some spiritual or religious theme to them.
A few minutes ago, Lloyd had seen Jesus in his dream holding a little lamb in his arms. The other night he dreamed that he was sitting in a quiet, peaceful location by a stream. When he turned his head he could see a man who looked like Jesus waving for him to walk over to where he was standing. Lloyd scratched hic head before putting on his baseball cap with the Ford logo on it. He had started to notice a bald spot near the top of his head and thought that if he covered it up he wouldn’t have to think about it. What he was now thinking about was the significance of his dreams. His daughter, Sasha had been a Christian for awhile now, but Lloyd was wondering what kind of influence her new boyfriend was having on her beliefs. Lloyd expected Sasha would be home in a little while. He would ask her what she made of his dreams.
Lloyd had recently attained employment as a residential care worker at The Main Street Mission. He found that of the many jobs that he had worked over the years this was probably one of the few that he actually enjoyed. Lloyd liked the street people that he got to know and was starting to feel that his life was finally starting to have some meaning.
Lloyd was beginning to mature as he entered his mid forties. The incident that happened at the rock festival had shaken Lloyd up. It now occurred to him that he had some serious responsibilities as a parent.
Lloyd’s dog, Pigpen started barking loudly while scratching the front door with his paws.
“Hang on. I’ll be right there.” Lloyd hoped that his voice was loud enough to be heard outside the door.
When Lloyd answered the door he was greeted by Misty and Rick and a young man that he did not recognize.
Lloyd moved closer to Rick to give him a hug. “Hey, man, I haven’t seen you in a dog’s age. Pardon the pun, Pigpen.”
“Hey, Dad. I’d like to introduce you to our new friend, Norm. Rick and I just met him tonight at The Sals on Osborne,” Misty said, while brushing some snow off her coat.
“Why don’t you guys park yourselves in the living room while I put on some coffee. I’d offer you guys a beer, but I’ve been on the wagon for awhile now.”
“Yeah, Dad’s been sober for six months now. He joined Alcoholics Anonymous,” Misty said proudly, just before she sat down on the couch.
“At the last AA meeting they gave me my sixth month pin,” Lloyd said proudly as he walked towards the kitchen.
After the coffee had perked Misty brought out a silver tray with the cups, coffee and creamer.
Lloyd sat down in his black recliner.
“I’m sorry I haven’t been around to see you Lloyd. I’ve been keeping a low profile since Sasha and I broke up,” Rick explained.
“That’s what I figured,” Lloyd said. “Well you don’t have to worry about that Rick. Sasha’s cool with it. She says she still likes you, but she has a new boyfriend now. In fact, they’ll probably be here soon. Lloyd then turned his attention to the new guest.
“So how did you get to talking with Rick and Misty?”
“Actually, I first met them on the Osborne Bridge. I was getting ready to jump in the river,” Norm answered.
One day in August Rick walked to the Canada Employment Center to see if he could get some help finding a job. He was two credits short from attaining his high school diploma and realized that with this small amount of course work he would need to at least, get a part time job. At this time, he did not think that he would return to playing hockey for another season. Last year had been much too stressful for him and now he would have a lot of free time on his hands. Rick felt that he would need to get a job to keep his parents happy.
As he entered the employment center Rick was nervous. He had worked one summer at his dad’s printing plant and had a very negative experience while working there. Rick did not yet realize that he lacked the manual dexterity, fine motor skills and spatial reasoning required for most factory jobs.
Rick walked up to the reception desk and was told to pull a number out of a machine. He was directed to take a seat in the waiting room and wait until his number was called.
Rick found an empty seat and took a look around the main floor of the employment center. It was a very drab place that rendered a rather depressing mood. After waiting approximately fifteen minutes Rick heard his name called and was greeted by a young attractive female who asked him to take a seat in her work area. The employment counsellor did not have a closed- in office. Her office space was separated from her co-workers by grey rectangular partitions. This arrangement didn’t give the client any feeling of privacy as one could hear what people in other sectioned off work areas were saying.
The employment counsellor shook hands with Rick and said, “Hello Richard, my name is Arlene Johnson. What can I do for you today?”
“You can just call me Rick. I’m here to find a job.”
“What kind of work are you looking for?”
“I’m not sure,” Rick answered. “I don’t know what kinds of work are available to me.”
“Well, that all depends upon your education and work experience.”
“I’ve got my grade 11 and I’m just two credits shy of my high school diploma. I worked at my dad’s printing plant one summer and I used to have a paper route.
“Do you like working with your hands Rick?”
“Not very much. I’m not very good with my hands.”
“I have to be honest with you. Most of the jobs you could apply for require a grade twelve education and manual dexterity or fine motor skills. We occasionally get referrals from employers for manual labor jobs, but I don’t have any referrals right now,” Arlene said.
Rick was now feeling very uncomfortable. “So I guess you really don’t have anything for me today?”
“Not really. What do you do in your spare time?”
“I play hockey, watch tv, listen to music and read.”
“But you don’t do much work with your hands?”
“No, not really, but I read a lot,” Rick said feeling insulted.
“Listen Rick. Can I be blunt?”
“Yeah,” Rick replied feeling annoyed.
“You need to get your high school diploma and you need to take up a hobby where you have to use your hands. After you do that come back and see me.”
“Thank you for your time,” Rick said as he got up to leave Arlene’s work area. When he got outside Rick lit up a smoke and said to himself, “So that’s that. I’ll go back to school to get my two credits and I’ll play hockey for one more year.”
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.
Canadian author and internet pastor Ken David Stewart talks about dealing with emotional pain and the role of the artist in society.
Two young paramedics came on to the ice. Two of the Cougars players grabbed onto the paramedics’ arms as they escorted them towards Rick. Rick was now slowly becoming conscious, but felt woozy. His vision was blurry.
Two other paramedics were at The Norberry Knights bench attending to Glenn Davidson. As soon as the paramedics finished their examination of Glenn, they put some ice in a towel for temporary treatment of a cut lip that would require suturing. They also wanted to take Glenn to the hospital so that the attending emergency physician could check for a possible broken jaw.
When Rick’s paramedics got ready to assess Rick’s medical condition, Rick was lying prone on the ice behind the Cougars net. Rick was able to answer the questions asked by the paramedics. He was feeling disoriented and slightly confused. Rick could tell the paramedic where he was, but wasn’t sure what had happened to him. The paramedics brought out a stretcher and carefully placed Rick on it. Both Rick Miller and Glenn Davidson were transported to St. Boniface Hospital.
After the ambulance left the referee and his linesmen huddled together to discuss what penalties needed to be assessed. In less than five minutes, the officials had come to a consensus. Glenn Davidson was assessed a boarding penalty, a ten- minute misconduct and a game misconduct. Eric Coswell was given a five- minute roughing penalty for drawing blood, a ten- minute misconduct and a game misconduct. The official knew that when they composed their game report at the end of the third period, they would have to describe the violent incidents in detail. The game report would be reviewed by the league’s conveners who would decide what would happen in terms of suspensions for both Glenn Davidson and Eric Coswell.
On the Cougar’s bench, Coach Brad Keenan told Miles Meyers to get on the ice and start taking some warm up shots from the teammates that were still on the ice.
The medical examiner, Dr. Marsha Mitchell, arrived on the scene where the two bodies had drifted ashore. She was an attractive tall brunette twenty-eight years of age. Marsha had only been the local medical examiner for two years but she was already very professional in her approach to her job and was not easily distracted by unpleasant sights or odors, She took a very clinical approach as she started to assess the situation in front of her. Dr. Mitchell approached the two fragmented bodies in front of her and began her examination. There was very little flesh left on both the human and the animal carcasses before her. She had her two assistants take photos of the bodies at the spot where they had washed ashore. She then directed them to get the bodies ready for transport to her laboratory.
After about a ten minute ride to her office Marsha first contacted the dental specialist, Dr. Robert Raines who would attempt to locate matching dental records for the human victim. He started by contacting Ida Rhodes’ dentist for his records for his patient. Ida’s dental records were quickly couriered over to Dr. Mitchell’s office. After a thorough comparison of the dental records with the teeth on the decomposing body of Ida Rhodes, Dr. Raines concluded that there was a positive match. Dr. Mitchell was now free to start her autopsy with the knowledge that her deceased patient was indeed, Ida Rhodes.
A veterinary expert was able to determine from his examination of the dog’s skeletal remains that the breed’s identifying characteristics were consistent with the dog that the old lady had owned.
After about an hour and a half’s time had elapsed, Sheriff George Anderson and Deputy Bill Rollins arrived at Dr. Mitchell’s medical laboratory.
As the Sheriff approached Marsha Mitchell he found it necessary to cover his nose with a handkerchief in order to make the decomposition of Ida Rhodes’ body less offensive to him.
“Hello, Dr. Mitchell. What have you determined so far?” George asked.
“Well, the human remains are definitely that of the old woman, Ida Rhodes. According to the veterinarian’s report the decomposing body of the dog that washed ashore was most likely the pet that belonged to the deceased woman,” Dr. Marsha Mitchell answered.
“What will you officially declare as the cause of death?” Sheriff George Anderson asked.
“In my professional opinion, my most likely conclusion is that the elderly woman and her dog were the victims of a fatal attack by a very large marine predator. My assessment is based on the bite marks on the remaining flesh of the two victims. I have measured the length of the bite marks and they appear to indicate a very large mouth with sharp jagged teeth. They most closely resemble the type of distinct markings that would be left on a piece of fabric cut with sewing shears. They suggest that the attacking animal had at least two rows of very sharp jagged teeth,” the medical examiner replied.
“What species of large marine predator are we talking about?” Deputy Bill Rollins asked, wanting a more definitive answer from the doctor.
“At this time I cannot hazard a guess as to what kind of marine animal the predator might be. An expert in marine biology might be of more help in making a more precise determination,” Marsha answered. “My personal recommendation would be that you consult Dr. Lionel Hardy, the marine biology professor at The University of British Columbia.”
“Isn’t that the professor who believes in the possible existence of ufos, aliens, Bigfoot and the like?” Bill Rollins asked.
“Yes, Dr. Lionel Hardy does have a well-known interest in cryptozoology,” Dr. Mitchell said.
“What kind of zoology?” asked the Sheriff.
“Cryptozoology, the study of unknown and undiscovered species,” was Dr. Mitchell’s answer.
After Smackdown ended Winston made some more popcorn and offered the boys some more pop and popcorn. The conversation switched to the topic of mental health and life in psychiatric treatment facilities.
“The whole mental health system in North America is a disaster. The present system simply does not work. The only people it benefits are those who have important sounding job titles working in government bureaucracies,” Winston stated, pounding his fist on the coffee table. “From what I’ve heard, though, the Kelowna Mental Health Center is one of the better run mental health facilities in Canada.”
“That’s true,” said Wally. “The front line rehabilitation staff is really cool and they know what they’re doing.”
“I have to agree with Wally,” Garry added. Our rehab workers, Todd and Shelly really seem to care about us and our psychiatrist, Dr. Weisenthall is also very good.”
“Well then, you guys are in the fortunate group of mental health consumers that are getting adequate treatment for their mental health issues. Many people with mental disorders, especially those with schizophrenia, simply fall through the cracks of the mental health system. A lot of them either end up homeless or are forced into living in filthy, cockroach and rat infested hotel rooms or old broken down rooming houses.”
“Nobody cares. That’s the whole problem,” said Wally.
“You’re right, Wally, but there are a minority of people who do care, but these are usually the underpaid and underappreciated front line workers.”
“Do you think that this situation will ever change?” Garry asked Winston.