Episode One Hundred Eighty-Eight (Conclusion):
The Harbor Patrol arrived and managed to transport the maimed diver to the closest hospital but unfortunately, the man died at the hospital. By this time Bobby O’Conner had found out about the aborted mission to capture a live Ogopogo. Before conducting his interviews with the key participants the veteran reporter decided that he would do the right thing and would inform William Everett, the head of the Fisheries Department and Sheriff George Anderson of the day’s events. Bobby figured that if he didn’t the Harbor Patrol surely would and he wanted to say on good terms with the authorities.
The major leaders of the expeditions collectively agreed to call a halt to their investigations. On talking it over at an undisclosed meeting sight, Blake Riley, Jack Kimberly, Dr. Lionel Hardy and Winston Standfield came to the conclusion that it was too dangerous to continue their mission to capture a live Ogopogo. They all felt that the human cost was too high to proceed any further at this point. They also knew that they would have to wait to find out if criminal charges were to be brought against any of the expeditions’ participants. They agreed that their mission was not a complete failure. A preponderance of new research data had been collected and the photographic and video evidence all pointed to the proof of Ogopogo’s existence.
John and Susan Richards decided to go out for coffee to discuss how recent events were going to effect their relationship. They both concluded that they should end their separation and give their marriage another chance. The decision on where to live was settled at a Richards family meeting. Ryan and Monique shared that they wanted to continue living in Kelowna as they both wanted to pursue their academic studies at The University of British Columbia. Stephanie informed her family that she too, wished to reside permanently on Kelowna as she wanted to continue her relationship with Garry Hardy.
Wally Standfield and Garry Hardy both decided that they would return to The Kelowna Mental Health Center to complete their therapeutic programs. Upon graduation, Winston Standfield suggested that the two young men should live with him.
As for the Ogopogo family, legislation was passed that ruled that any future research projects that involved either searching for or attempting to capture the creatures would be declared illegal.
Winter Dreams (the Continuing Adventures of Rick Miller)
Sequel to Summer Dreams
Rick Miller was sitting alone in a booth at The Black Top Restaurant. He lit up a Rothmans cigarette and began to daydream about Sasha, his former summer love. He had to admit that he missed her now that all was said and done, but he was beginning a new chapter of his life. Shirley, the waitress approached his booth.
“What will it be today Rick, the usual?”
“Yep, my favorite. Hot chocolate,” Rick answered with a smile.
Rick figured that Shirley was in her mid-forties. She had gained a bit of weight over the years but was still relatively attractive for someone her age. Rick noticed that Shirley had a short pinky finger on her right hand. The finger must have been amputated but Rick didn’t allow his curiosity over-ride his impeccable good manners. He had never asked Shirley about what happened to her finger.
Rick’s high school was just across the street from The Black Top. Just as Shirley brought Rick his hot chocolate someone walked in the door of the restaurant. The new customer was a very thin young man roughly Rick’s age. He had long, dirty, unkempt strawberry blond hair. He stopped walking in front of Rick’s booth and asked if he could join him. Rick was a little surprised as had never seen this fellow before, but he motioned for him to sit down.
“Thanks for letting me join you, man. My name is Peyton Ramparts. I have a spare this period and felt like I needed a cup of java. I was up until two in the morning last night. My band had a really bitchin’ good practise.”
Peyton wore a long black coat with gold striping on the side. It looked like he could have stolen it from Jimi Hendrix.
“What’s your band’s name?” Rick asked.
“Winter Dreams,” Peyton answered. “Hey man can I bum a smoke off you?”
“Yeah, no problem. I hope you like Rothmans. I smoke whatever brand my dad is smoking at the time.”
Peyton started to laugh as he pulled out a cigarette from Rick’s pack.
“How did you come up with the name Winter Dreams for your band?”
“I can’t remember for sure. A guy from my band came up with it during a break from practise. We were all passing around a joint at the time while looking out the living room window. All I remember is watching a heavy snowfall. Then Pick said, “This is sort of like a winter dream and Chevy said that it sounded like a great name for our band.”
Rick was just about ready to ask Peyton another question when both boys felt a sudden rush of cold air breeze through the restaurant. They both looked towards the door and saw a young attractive female come through the door.
“Sorry I’m late Peyton. I had to ask Mr. Pearce for an extension on my research paper for history class. Who’s your friend?” asked the girl.
“I don’t know his name yet. We just met a few minutes ago. Peyton reached across the table to shake Rick’s hand. “Sorry I should have introduced myself first. I’m Peyton Ramparts.”
“And I’m Rick Miller.”
“Let me introduce you to my girlfriend, Sabrina Davis,” Peyton said as Sabrina slid right next to him on the booth.
“I think I’ve seen you at school Rick. You’re in grade twelve aren’t you? I hear people talking about you in the halls all the time. You’re the Cougars star goalie,” Sabrina said brushing some snow off her navy blue coat.
Chapter One Hundred Fourteen
Blake Riley had finished speaking with Dean Anderson and Dr. Hardy. He had impressed upon them the necessity of getting out on the lake as soon as possible. Blake informed the two men that given all the recent publicity, they were likely to not be the only expedition searching for Ogopogo. He had also phoned John Richards to make sure that he and his son Ryan were ready to go. His last call was to Daniel to make sure that Peter Marks and his crew of professional divers would be joining them at the specified lake front location.
Within an hour all of Blake Riley’s crew had arrived and reported for duty. Although this expedition was supposed to be a university research exploration, it was clear who was really in charge. Blake Riley could not have succeeded in accumulating his considerable wealth unless he knew how to lead others. Blake knew instinctively how to take charge.
The university crew was the first to arrive at the lake front. This group of students including Ryan and Monique were already very excited. Dean Sanderson and Dr. Lionel Hardy were probably as filled with nervous energy as the young people were. The two men of academia were well aware that they were about to embark on a journey that could make history.
Not long after the university crew had arrived Peter Marks and his trained professional investigative unit arrived.
John Richards was the last to arrive, being somewhat delayed and upset by his recent telephone conversation with his ex-wife, Susan.
Blake Riley instructed the groups and individuals to board his cabin cruiser. To say that his boat was luxurious would be grossly understating the obvious. All that boarded the vessel were now talking about the beauty and functionality of Blake’s boat.
Once all were aboard Blake asked everyone to assemble on the main deck. With a huge smile on his face, Blake Riley began addressing all that were assembled on his craft.
“Ladies and gentlemen. We are about to embark on an expedition that is going to make history. In a few short minutes we will start heading out to the area surrounding Rattlesnake Island. As our two esteemed university professors are well aware, this is the location where the most sightings of Ogopogo have been reported. Some cryptozoologists believe that Ogopogo’s lair is to be found somewhere in the underwater caverns beneath Rattlesnake Island. As is the case with most, if not all of you, I am expecting at least one close encounter with this legendary lake creature. I am expecting that we will return with indisputable evidence of the reality of the existence of this exotic animal.”
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.”
Infinite Realities Excerpt Five
The first thing that Bill 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 Bill complied. a A rather soothing male voice began to speak.
“Hello Bill. 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.”
“I want us to be partners again, Jack. Only this time we are not going into the new project to make money. Our objective will now be to be a part of history. We will be on the cutting edge of scientific discovery. I don’t know how much money we’ll make, but we are sure to be famous. I can see us ending up with book deals and movie rights offers,” said Blake.
As Blake was making his pitch to Jack, Dr. Lionel Phelge arrived from the lower deck where he had just finished lunch with his students.
Blake introduced Lionel to Jack.
“I’m trying to talk Jack into becoming a partner with us on this expedition. I was just explaining to him the great opportunity for scientific discovery we have before us. Jack’s skill set would make him a valuable addition to our project,” said Blake.
“That’s all true but so far all we’ve managed to accomplish is to capture a very well designed replica of Ogopogo,” said Lionel.
Jack and Blake both laughed.
“This is a sort of inside joke but Jack played a key role in getting us the fake Ogopogo.
It’s a long story but I will fill you in on the details later, Lionel,” said Blake.
“What am I going to do about my crew if I agree to join forces with you and Dr. Phelge. With all the personnel on your crew we certainly won’t need the members of my crew,” said Jack.
“You are absolutely right,” said Blake. “Your crew will no longer be needed. However, to make their disappointment easier to bear, I will reward each one of them with a five thousand dollar severance cheque.”
“I believe that that kind of offer will go a long way to easing their angst,” said Jack.
“Lionel, I haven’t had the opportunity to tell you this yet, but Jack has obtained some amazing photo and video footage of a smaller version of Ogopogo,” said Blake.
Jack’s crew definitely had trepidations about his plan to capture a live Ogopogo, but Jack didn’t give his crew time for any more questions. The boat was headed for Squally Point.
As they got closer to Squally Point and Rattlesnake Island Jack’s crew spotted a very large cabin cruiser in the distance. As soon as Jack Kimberley was alerted he picked up a pair of binoculars and had a look for himself. He could see two things. One was the large lettering on the boat that spelled out the name Viper. Jack recalled that when he and Blake Riley were still business partners, Blake would take Jack for cruises on his largest cabin cruiser called The Viper.
The second thing that Jack could see through his binoculars was Mike O’Grady’s replica of Ogopogo in a very large fishing net. He could see a few of Blake’s crew reeling it onto the deck of The Viper.
Jack couldn’t help but wonder when Blake would discover that it was not a real Ogopogo. Jack ordered his ship’s captain to speed up the vessel and head in the direction of the Viper. It occurred to Jack that he now had another chance to make a fool out of Blake Riley. All he needed was a few close up photos of Blake examining the replica and discovering that it was a fake Ogopogo.
As Jack’s boat approached the Viper, Blake picked up a set of binoculars. When he got the lens properly focused and scanned the deck of the boat he could see that Jack Kimberley was aboard the vessel. He remembered that Jack’s largest boat was named The Dream Catcher. Blake could read the lettering on the side of the ship.
Jack had reciprocated by taking Blake on a few cruises on his boat back in the good old days. Blake ordered his ship’s captain, Peter Marks, to slowly move The Viper closer to The Dream Catcher.
As the two boats met at the closest distance that they safely could, Blake called out to Jack, “Fancy meeting you out here my old friend.”
“I’m not that old and I’m not your friend. It seems that a new woman in your life and a business screw-job ended that,” said Jack.
“While we’re both out here on the lake, why don’t you come aboard for a drink and we’ll talk this out, just like the good old days,” said Blake.
“I just might do that. I have some questions to ask you and I could use a good stiff drink about now,” said Jack.