“I’m really starting to hate the fact that my boyfriend is the Cougars star goalie.” Misty said.
“Why?” Sabrina asked.
“It’s those damn hockey wives. They are such a clique. The worst of the whole bunch is Linda Saunders. She’s been spreading horrible rumours about Rick and I.” She’s just jealous that Rick’s a much better goalie than her boyfriend Miles,” Misty replied.
“What kind of rumours?” Peyton asked. All three friends could now sit on the park bench as Peyton had cleared off enough snow.
“Linda’s been telling the other girls that Rick and I are heavy stoners and that I’m a slut,” Misty answered.
“That is bad,” Sabrina said.
“Now that Linda has told the other hockey wives the rumours are starting to spread through the whole school,” Misty said and began to sob.
Peyton leaned over towards Misty. I’ve got an idea. Do you know Gordon Zender, our band’s security manager?”
“I don’t really know him, but I think I’ve seen him at band parties,” Misty answered stifling her sobs.
“So you’ve seen Gordon and know what he looks like. We call Gordon, Godzilla for a reason. He’s six foot four and weighs around two hundred seventy pounds. Most of it is muscle. He works out at the Iron Works gym three to four times a week. Before our band hired him, Gordon was a bouncer at the LaSalle Hotel. The LaSalle used to be a rough place with lots of fights, especially on the weekends. That all stopped a few days after they hired Godzilla as a bouncer.
Chapter One Hundred Twenty-One:
Cam McDougall didn’t waste any time getting to work on the photos and videos that Jack had provided. He called Jack over to have a look at some of the photos.
“Jack, these pictures you have are incredible. Considering that they were taken at night they show remarkable clarity and detail. I just have one question for you. Two, actually.” Cam said.
“Go ahead. Ask.”
“First question. Who took these photos and videos?”
“An old friend from my high school days, Mike O’Grady,” Jack replied.
“Would it be possible for me to meet him?”
“Unfortunately not. Mike passed away yesterday at the hospital. Mike got too close to the young Ogopogo and it tore his right arm off. Mike died in the operating room while he was being treated.”
“That’s terrible. His camera work was amazing.”
“We’ll miss him. That’s for sure,” Jack said sadly.
“Here’s my other question. Just an observation, but the smaller animal definitely appears to be an animate object, but something doesn’t look quite right with the larger creature. This is even more apparent on your videos. The little one appears to be moving around in a very life- like manner, but the adult creature looks stilted. The junior Ogopogo looks very much alive and appears to want to play with the larger one. The little one may think that the larger animal is its mother. The adult size creature doesn’t appear to be moving on its own. It looks like it only moves when the little one pushes on it,” Cam observed.
“The reason for that is that the adult size Ogopogo isn’t real. It’s made out of wood. Mike O’Grady designed, built and painted the replica of Ogopogo,” Jack explained.
“From what you have told me, this Mike O’Grady was a genius. Did he make a lot of money from his work?” Cam asked.
“Unfortunately not. Mike was getting older and suffered from numerous health challenges. He lived off his government disability cheque. He also made a little spending money by repairing other people’s computers. Mike died in poverty,” Jack said.
“Life is just not fair. That man should have died as a wealthy man,” Cam said.
“As brilliant as Mike’s work is, there’s going to be one major problem. It won’t take the experts long to figure out that one of the Ogopogos is a fake. That will start them wondering if the little one is real. People are going to suspect that all these photos and videos are a hoax,” Cam stated.
“The irony is that I originally planned for the replica to be a hoax played on Blake Riley. Then the real junior Ogopogo showed up and ruined all my plans to humiliate and disgrace Blake Riley,” Jack said.
It took Mike O’Grady almost five days to complete his model of Ogopogo. He took this assignment very seriously. For Mike, this was not just paid work. It was a test of his artistic abilities. It had been a long time since had been able to fully use his creative skills.
Mike received a phone call from Jack Kimberley.
“Hi, Mike. How’s your little project coming?”
“I just finished putting the finishing touches on it this morning. I usually don’t get up before ten, but I felt very motivated to get the job done,” Mike said.
“How did it go with the work crew I hired to work with you?” Jack inquired.
“Very well. Without their help I wouldn’t have been able to get the job done on time. Those kids were super. When are you going to come around to see the finished project?”
“Can I come over right now? I’m dying to have a look at your work.”
In less than twenty minutes Jack Kimberley arrived at Mike O’Grady’s door. As soon as Jack stepped into Mike’s apartment he looked straight at the replica of Ogopogo.
Jack’s face beamed with astonishment and pleasure.
“This is unbelievable, Mike! If I didn’t know better I would think that you caught a live Ogopogo and put it in your apartment.”
“I must admit I’m very proud of my work. As soon as I got started on the project I just knew it was going to be a masterpiece. I just kind of went into another dimension while I was building it and the ideas to make it awesome just kept flowing.”
Mike’s creation was indeed awesome. His model was built to a perfect scale and the paint job was incredible. Mike had used a variety of paints to give the model a blend of different shades of green. Everything from the head, neck, body, flippers and tail were done exceedingly well.
“I can’t wait to give our decoy Ogopogo her first swim on the lake. Here’s my plan. I’m going to rent a long flatbed truck and hire some more men to carry your Ogopogo out to the truck. I’m planning on arranging this for around two AM. Ideally, I don’t want anyone to see us moving the model. I realise that even in the wee hours of the morning someone may catch sight of us. I’m also going to buy the largest bed sheets and blankets that I can find. Come to think of it, I know a painter who will have plenty of drop clothes that I can borrow,” Jack said.
“What will we say if we run into somebody and they ask us what’s underneath all that covering?” Mike asked.
“I can’t see a problem if that situation arises. We’ll just telling them that we’re moving some very expensive, antique furniture that we’ll be selling to a dealer.”
“I have to hand it to you Jack. You sure know how to cover all your bases,” Mike said.
“Plan A goes into action as soon as we get the model loaded on the truck in the wee hours of tomorrow morning. After we get our wooden friend onto the truck we’re going to take it out to a very secluded part of the lake. The place I have in mind has a lot of trees, bushes and other vegetation surrounding it. Due to the early hour of the day it will be very dark and it is doubtful that anyone will see us unloading our treasure from the truck. Just in case, however, we will keep a close lookout for any potential bystanders.
I will hire a couple of guys I know that you have powerful portable lighting devices and know how to use them. I will also take along some high grade flashlights so that we don’t stumble on our way to the path to the lake,” Jack said.
“So you’re planning to take some pictures of my replica in the lake?” Mike asked.
“Yes, but only clear, crisp photos. I know that you have some high end video equipment in your apartment, Mike. You are going to be our official photographer and camera man,” Jack answered. “Don’t worry. You will be handsomely rewarded for your efforts.”
“I’m very willing to help you with this project, Jack, but with my health challenges and mobility issues I don’t know how I’m going to be able to get down to the shore of the lake,” Mike said, with a feeling of embarrassment and shame that only the disabled know.
“I’m always a step ahead of you Mike. You are this project’s artist and audio visual technician, but I am the project manager. I’ve thought of everything. I hired three huge body builder guys I recruited at a local fitness club. If worst comes to worst, these men can carry you down to the lake. I’m also bringing along a very sturdy wheel chair I bought at a medical supply store. With the help of my four strong lads we may be able to get you down to the lake front by means of the wheel chair,” Jack said.
“I have to hand it to you, Jack. You are a brilliant planner and tactician,” said Mike who was greatly in awe of his friend’s skill set.
“You sure must want to make a fool of Blake Riley. You aren’t sparing any effort or expense to make your little scam work,” Mike said.
“You are one hundred percent right about that,” Jack replied.
As soon as Jack finished his phone call with Bobby O’Connor he called Mike O’Grady.
“Hey Mike. It’s Jack Kimberly.”
“Who? Jack Kimberly? From high school?” Mike asked.
“The one and only. Look Mike. I was just talking to Bobby O’Connor. I have a big favor to ask you. Is there any chance I can come to visit you this afternoon?”
“I don’t see why not. I hope you won’t mind a very messy apartment that doesn’t smell that great,” Mike said.
“That’s no problem. I should be at your place in less than half an hour,” Jack said.
When Jack parked his new white Ford Fusion in front of Mike O’Grady’s apartment, he could see that he was definitely in an inner city neighborhood. He saw what used to be a corner grocery store with boarded up windows. An animal scurried across his shoe. It was moving too fast for Jack to see it. He shuddered and hoped it wasn’t a rat. He walked up the rickety stairs that he prayed would hold his weight. One of the handrails shook and vibrated as Jack grabbed a hold of it.
Mike O’Grady’s apartment was on the second floor. As Jack climbed the steps he could smell the faint odor of urine in the hall. He knocked on Mike’s apartment door. Mike answered the door promptly and invited Jack inside.
Mike was not exaggerating when he talked about his place being a mess. It looked like his apartment had been hit by a tornado. Mike’s dining room table was covered with computer monitors, hard drives and an assortment of old computer parts and tools.
Jack looked around the room trying to find a clear spot where he could sit down. Finally, Mike moved a box of books off an old easy chair. The chair was well worn and had an assortment of holes of various sizes. Most of the holes looked like they were from cigarette burns.
Jack finally cleared off a spot on Mike O’Grady’s ragged, old easy chair. This chair has seen a lot of mileage and probably hasn’t been cleaned since Mike bought it at a local flea market.
“So, how you been Jack?” Mike asked as he sat on an old broken down couch that appeared to be on a downward slant.
“I’ve been better,” Jack said. “And you?”
“I get by. I should have taken better care of myself when I was younger. Of course, back then, I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about my health. Now I’m paying the price. I’m fat, I smoke too much and I’m pretty well crippled up with arthritis. Fortunately, I collect a disability cheque every month. I make a little extra cash fixing up people’s computers and doing a little photography on the side. The government doesn’t know about this. If they did they would either reduce my pension or take it away altogether.”
Mike took a cigarette out of his pack. “Other than that I can’t complain.” Mike started a laugh that soon turned into an ugly, hacking, coughing spell.
“So has life been kicking you around a bit, too?” Mike asked. He was barely able to catch his breath long enough to get the words out.
“Life was actually treating me pretty well until our mutual former classmate, Blake Riley pulled the carpet from underneath me. I thought that Blake and I were pretty tight the last few years. We were very successful business partners until Blake decided to cut me out of the partnership. I thought that we had each other’s backs until very recently. I would even have said that we were close friends at one time, but Blake met a female entrepreneur that swept him off his feet. To paraphrase Marlon Brando, she made Blake a business offer that he could not refuse. Unfortunately I didn’t seem to fit into the happy couple’s business plans. Blake tossed me out like last week’s garbage.”
“You sound very angry. Are you planning to get Blake back for this travesty of justice?” Mike said.
“You bet I am and that’s where I need your help,” Jack said.
“Oh, where’s my sense of hospitality? Would you like a cup of coffee, Jack?”
“Yeah, I’ll have a coffee once you get your percolator all fired up.”
Mike got up and slowly and carefully manoeuvred his way off the couch to make the coffee in his small kitchen. Getting off the couch was an ordeal for him. There were so many dirty cups, plates, dishes and bowls that Mike had to move a lot of cookware out of his way in order to find the coffee percolator. He’d worry about finding a clean coffee cup after the coffee was brewed.
After he finished setting up the coffee maker Mike returned to the couch. It looked like the couch had swallowed the big man so far inside it so that he was now a part of it.
“Okay coffee’s on. Now how can I help you get revenge on Blake?” Mike asked, his ponderous weight sucking him into the ragged, old sofa like a black hole.
“Mike, do you remember that model of Ogopogo that you made in grade eleven, for the science fair?”
“Of course I do. I put a damn lot of work into that thing. At that time in my life I was fascinated by lake monsters. I took great pride in carving my model out of wood and then painting it.”
“Do you still have it?” Jack asked.
“You bet,” Mike replied. “It still has a place of honor on top of my bedroom dresser. I even dust it off once in a while,” laughed Mike.
“Can I see it?” Jack asked.
“Sure I’ll go get my little treasure from my bedroom.”
It didn’t take Mike long to retrieve the model and bring it into his living room. It was not hard to see that Mike had put a lot of hard work into his science project. Mike’s eyes sparkled as he held it. Ogopogo was carved to a very precise scale and its body was a blend of the colors gray, green and brown. The replica had two flippers and some glued on paint brush hairs that were painted emerald green and formed the mane on the back of Ogopogo’s head.
“Wow! That is a beauty! Can I handle it up and study it for a minute? I see now why it won first prize at the science fair,” Jack said. Mike slowly passed it to him and Jack held it carefully in his hands.
“Is there any way that you could build a large replica of this model, say fifteen to twenty feet long?” Jack asked.
“I could if I had the supplies,” Mike replied.
“What if I offered to pay for all the materials you would need plus pay you generously for your labor?” Jack asked.
“As long as you pay me better than my computer repair customers do,” Mike laughed.
“Say I do agree to build you a life size replica of Ogopogo. What would you do with it? You know. I think our coffee should be ready by now. I’ll go get it.”
Jack watched Mike try to extract himself from his couch. It was too painful for Jack to watch. Weighing in at over three hundred pounds Mike had to position himself so that he could use his hands to grab onto the coffee table in order to gain some leverage.
Jack couldn’t stand watching Mike struggle a second longer.
“Don’t try to get up, Mike. I’ll get the coffee for us.”
As Jack gave Mike his coffee he began answering Mike’s question.
“There’s a couple of ways we could go with this, once your life sized model of Ogopogo is completed.
I also have a plan in mind. I will hire somebody to phone Blake and tell him to immediately get to a certain location on the lake. The caller will state that he has been watching the lake demon for about ten minutes now. Blake won’t waste any time getting his boat and crew out to the specified location. Meanwhile, I will have hired a couple of divers to manoeuvre your model beneath the surface. Blake will be sure to take a ton of pictures that he will send to the Kelowna Daily Courier. I have no doubt that Blake and his crew will even try to capture the phony lake monster, but I will tell my divers to submerge the model and get it out of Blake’s sight.
If Blake’s crew does manage to capture the artificial Ogopogo I will have my own video crew nearby to film the look of shock on Blake’s face when he discovers that the Ogopogo he caught is a carved, wooden model. I will then send this video to Bobby O’Connor at the Kelowna Daily Courier. This time Blake will look like a gullible fool.”
“You sure want to get revenge on Blake Riley, don’t you Jack?” Mike said, with a chuckle.
“With every fibre in my being,” Jack replied.
Jack Kimberley walked over to his kitchen to make himself some coffee. He was still trying to think of a way to get back at Blake Riley. If only he could make a fool out of his former business partner. An idea occurred to Jack.
What if he could prove that Ogopogo did not exist or make it appear that Blake had really had the wool pulled over his eyes.
Then an ingenious thought crossed Jack’s mind. ‘What if he could find a fake Ogopogo? Who did he know who could build one?’
Jack realized that he and newspaper reporter, Bobby O’Connor had a mutual friend. Someone that they both knew from their high school days. His name was Mike O’Grady, the same man who had analyzed Monique Painchaud’s pictures for Bobby.
Jack remembered how Mike always liked to tinker with things when they were in school. He remembered the time that Mike had made a small scale model of Ogopogo for a science project in grade eleven. Jack wondered if Mike still had kept the model after all these years. He knew how he might find out. Jack would phone Bobby O’Connor to ask if he had kept in touch with Mike O’Grady.
Jack immediately got the phone number of The Kelowna Daily Courier that was printed near the bottom of the front page. He dialed the number and a receptionist put him through to Bobby O’Connor.
“Hey, Bobby. It’s Jack Kimberly, man.”
“Jack Kimberly? I haven’t heard from you since high school,” Bobby said, trying to finish chewing a piece of his lemon Danish.
Jack reached for his coffee while he sank back into his favorite black Lazy Boy chair.
“Yeah, it’s been awhile buddy. I was just thinking about you and Mike O’Grady.”
“Mike O’Grady? I just talked to him a few weeks ago. I asked him to look at a couple of photos and to tell me if he thought they were authentic or fakes,” Bobby said, finally having finished his piece of Danish. He sat back in his chair and loosened his tie getting prepared for some pleasurable reminiscing with an old friend.
“How’s Mikey doing these days?” Jack asked.
“Not the greatest. The last decade or so, hasn’t been very kind to him,” Bobby replied.
“Geez, I’m sorry to hear that. What’s been giving Mike trouble?” Jack inquired.
“Well, his health hasn’t been that good. He’s got arthritis in his knees and his back and he’s really obese now.”
At least that hasn’t changed. He and I were the two fattest kids in grade five,” Jack remembered.
“Mike also has emphysema, but he still smokes like a chimney,” Bobby continued. “Because of his poor health he now collects a disability pension. He also makes a little money on the side repairing computers for a few clients and doing some photography.
“Have you ever heard of a guy named Blake Riley?” Jack asked. While he was talking on the phone, Jack was staring straight ahead at one of his own abstract paintings that he had mounted on the wall in front of him. His living room was starting to smell a bit musty so Jack walked over to open up a window.
“Blake Riley? Anyone who is reading my recent articles on Ogopogo knows who Blake Riley is. He’s that rich, eccentric entrepreneur who’s funding the university’s research project on
Ogopogo,” Bobby said, throwing his Danish wrapper in the plastic garbage container to the left of his desk.
“It’s a small world, Bobby. Blake Riley was in our grade six class when we were in elementary school. I don’t know if you remember him from back then. Blake was a tall, skinny kid who always looked dirty. His clothes were worn out and always had holes in them.
“Now I’m starting to remember,” Bobby said, slightly surprised.
“When I interviewed Blake on the phone I never made the connection. Blake didn’t stay long in our class, as I recall,” said Blake, now sitting up straight in his leather upholstered chair.
“You’re right about that. Blake was only in our room for about six months or maybe less. Blake was a bully who used to threaten little kids for their lunch money. Eventually, Mr. Dole, our principal, called in Blake’s mother to discuss the situation. As Blake’s mom was behind on her rent payments she took this as a sign that they should move again to a place that charged lower rent. So Blake ended up having to change schools again,” Jack said.
“Poor kid,” Bobby said.
“Don’t feel too sorry for him,” Jack said, taking a sip of his coffee.
“No one in our class liked him. Blake was a bully, a liar and a thief. A lot of things went missing in our classroom during Blake’s stay with us.”
“Yeah, I recall losing my geometry set and my Batman comic books seemed to mysteriously disappear that year,” Bobby recalled while scratching his head. He now remembered the day that the school nurse found lice in Blake’s hair. “Life is full of surprises. I met up again with Blake Riley when I attended Business College. I couldn’t believe how different he looked. Blake now looked clean and was wearing a new sweater and an expensive pair of dress pants. I asked him about his life after he left our grade six class,” Jack said.
“I wasn’t aware of Blake’s change in character until it was too late. It wasn’t too long after we both graduated from Business College when Blake approached me with a business proposition. Blake had a lot of charisma, and still does in a devious sort of way. I ended up joining Blake’s business venture.
At the beginning our business took off like a rocket. Within a year we were both making more money than we’d ever seen in our lives. Things went smoothly for a few years, then Blake went turncoat on me. He started having an affair with a woman who persuaded Blake to forsake the business that he and I shared to join her in her new business venture. Blake didn’t even pay me the courtesy of letting me know what he had done. Heck, he didn’t even ask me to join the new company that he would help build,” Jack said angrily.
“So, the jerk double crossed you,” Bobby said.
“That’s a huge understatement. Blake was disloyal to me and almost ruined me financially,” Jack replied.
Jack was starting to get red in the face and his blood pressure was starting to spike. Even telling Bobby about this situation caused Jack to relive it.
“So, what are you going to do about it, and how does Mike O’Grady fit into the picture?” Bobby asked, becoming very intrigued with Jack’s story.
“I figure that the best way to get back at Blake is to make a total fool out of him. I want to see him totally humiliated,” Jack answered.
“And how do you plan to accomplish that?” Bobby asked.
“I’ve got a couple of ideas that I hope Mike can help me with.”
“Of course you know all about Blake’s participation and funding of the university’s research project,” Jack stated.
“Of course, I wrote several articles about it,” Bobby said.
“Well, I plan to make that project fall flat on its face.”
“And how exactly are you going to do that? You’ve got me really curious.”
“You’ll be the first to know, but first I have to run my ideas past Mike. Have you got his number handy?” Jack asked.