John, Stephanie and Ryan hungrily ate the burgers that Meg barbecued. They all had time to catch up on what had transpired in each other’s lives since the last time they were altogether. After lunch everybody went for a nap.
Ryan was so exhausted after the long car trip that he slept for two hours. When he arose it was close to 4:00 PM. Ryan pulled a Rockstar Energy drink out of his back pack along with his mp3 player. While he drank the Rockstar, Ryan listened to Led Zeppelin’s, The Song Remains the Same. This had always been his favorite album by Led Zeppelin. His favorite track was the live version of Stairway to Heaven.
When he felt fully awake again, he headed downstairs to Aunt Meg’s living room. The others were all watching an episode of X-Factor that Meg had recorded. It was one of those episodes where the judges were auditioning potential contestants and some of the performances were horrible. Ryan wasn’t that interested in watching the show. He told the others that he was going out for a jog and would probably do some exploring.
A couple of minutes into his jog, Ryan turned around to see a very attractive young woman wearing a B. C. Lions jersey. She asked Ryan if he minded having some company on his jog.
Ryan told her that he would be delighted as he was just vacationing in Kelowna and really didn’t know anyone besides his family and relatives.
“Let’s stop for a few minutes and talk,” the attractive, young female jogger suggested. “We should introduce ourselves. My name is Monique Painchaud. I’m from Montreal, Quebec.””
Ryan stopped running and extended his hand, “Pleased to meet you. I’m Ryan Richards from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Obviously you speak English, Monique.”
“That’s right. I’m fluently bilingual in both French and English. I have just been in Kelowna for a week. My mother lives in Kelowna and I spend the summer months with her. During the winter months I attend university and live with my dad in Montreal,” Monique said.
“I hate to be so blunt, but are you married or do you have a boyfriend?” Ryan asked.
“Neither,” Monique replied. “How about you?”
“The same. I’m a free agent right now,” Ryan said.
“Free agent, eh,” Monique laughed. “You must be interested in sports.”
“I am. I played both hockey and football at my high school. I just graduated this year.”
“What are you going to do in the fall?” Monique asked.
“I’ve applied at The University of Manitoba and intend on trying out for both their football and hockey teams.”
“What area of studies do you want to major in?” Monique asked.
“Education. I’m signing up for the four year Bachelor of Education degree.”
“So you want to be a teacher?”
“That’s plan B. I’d rather be a professional athlete,” Ryan said.
“You’d make a lot more money. That’s for sure.”
“What do you study at university, Monique?”
“I’ll be starting my third year at The Faculty of Education.”
“Ah, so we’re looking at two future teachers here,” Ryan said.
“Hey, Ryan, there’s a diner about a mile from here. Do you want to stop there for lunch?”
“That sounds like a plan to me.”
Ryan and Monique jogged very well together as they were both in excellent physical condition. After about five minutes had elapsed, Monique glanced to her right to take a look at Lake Okanagan. About fifty meters away she saw a large object moving in the water. It appeared to be black in color and had a cylindrical shape. To Monique, it looked like a living creature. She knew it was not a boat.
Monique stopped jogging abruptly and turned to Ryan. “Stop Ryan. What’s that in the lake?”
Ryan stopped running and turned his head to look toward the lake. “I’m not sure, but it definitely looks like some kind of animal.”
“Look it’s moving in undulations and looks like some kind of whale,” Monique observed.
“As far as I know there aren’t any whales in Lake Okanagan. At least any that look like that,” Ryan said.
Ryan had a pair of powerful binoculars in his back pack. He took them out and got a close up view of the creature in the water. Ryan felt chills when he saw the animal’s head surface. “I know what it is now,” he said in a shaky voice.
“What is it?” Monique asked.
“It’s Ogopogo. The First Nations people called it the lake demon.”
“You mean it’s the real live version of the toy things they sell to tourists in the local stores?” Monique asked.
“It has to be. I’ve never seen a fish or other animal that looks like that creature in the lake. Do you have a camera, Monique?”
“Yes, I do. I have a digital Samsung in my back pack. I’ll take a picture of it.”
Monique quickly took out her camera and snapped two pictures of the animal. Just after she took the pictures she saw a fishing boat about one hundred meters away. The creature then submerged back into the lake.
“Wow, you took those pictures right on time,” Ryan said. “Let’s have a look how they turned out.”
Ryan and Monique both studied the preview pictures on her camera. The creature appeared to be very small and a great distance away.
“Well, your pictures will never stand as conclusive scientific evidence of the existence of Ogopogo, but at least we know what we saw and have pictures to back it up,” Ryan said.
“Did you believe in Ogopogo before you saw it today?’ Monique asked.
“I did, although this was my first actual sighting of the creature. My dad and I have both been interested in cryptozoology for years.”
“What’s cryptozoology? Monique inquired.
“It’s the study of unknown species like Bigfoot and The Loch Ness Monster.”
About an hour later Ryan and Monique stopped running when they approached a Tim Horton’s coffee shop. When they entered the shop it was quite crowded. They managed to find two empty seats next to two middle aged gentlemen. The two men were engaged in an animated discussion.
“Henry, what do you think that thing was that we saw in the lake?” Harvey asked.
“It’s hard to say. It was too far away,” Henry replied.
“All I’m saying is that there have been several reported sightings of Ogopogo over the last month,” Harvey said.
“That doesn’t mean anything. A few years ago there were a bunch of ufo sightings over Brazil. Nobody captured any ufos.”
“That doesn’t mean that ufos don’t exist.”
“I suppose not, but I’m not going to go around telling people that we saw Ogopogo today,” Henry said.
“I agree that whatever we saw was over one hundred meters away, but it appeared to be approaching fast and then it suddenly submerged when our boat came around the corner,” Harvey said.
“That’s what is known as circumstantial evidence,” Henry said in response.
“Maybe not,” Ryan said turning around in his chair.
“What do you mean, son?” Harvey asked adjusting the blue lumberjack jacket that he wore over his black tee shirt.
“I’m sorry. We should have introduced ourselves. My name is Ryan and my new friend to my left is Monique.”
“Pleased to meet you,” Henry said. “But you still haven’t answered our question.”
“Was your fishing boat anywhere near Rattlesnake Island about an hour ago?” Monique asked.
“Yes, it was. How did you know?” Harvey said.
“Monique and I were jogging on a trail near the bank close to Rattlesnake Island. Monique had just taken two pictures of the creature you saw when your boat rounded the corner,” Ryan said.
“How do you know it was a living creature?” Henry asked. He pushed his chair closer to the table.
“Oh, it was a very large, living animal all right,” Ryan said also moving his chair closer to the round table.
“It certainly wasn’t a boat or a log. I managed to take a couple of pictures of it before it submerged,” Monique added.
“Fortunately I had a pair of professional grade binoculars. I got a good close up look when the creature raised its head,” Ryan said.
“You got a look at its head? Can we see those pictures?” Harvey asked.
“Yeah, no problem,” Monique said.
It is now time to bring back two characters from a previous play, The Escaped Convict. The two characters are Steve Wyler and Harry O’Finsky. In my last play, Steven Wyler and Harry
O’Finsky are in a wrestling match with Hulk Hogan and Jake the Snake Roberts. There is mass chaos breaking out in the ring. Steve Tyler grabs Harry O’Finsky who is disguised as the Masked Mauler. The two convicts run backstage and enter an old storage room near the back of the arena.
Steve: We’ll be safe in here for a little while, Harry. I had to get you out of the ring before we both got arrested and even killed. As I was looking around the arena I saw the Warden as well as those two cons we stole the smokes from last month.
Harry: Man, its mighty dark and dusty in this old shed. Hey, Steve, look over there. What’s that big fancy wheel with all the fancy
Steve: I don’t know. Let’s check it out.
Harry: Wow, this thing is cool, Steve. It looks like some kind of antique car. It has two seats, a lever and a dash that’s all lit up.
Narrator: Steve and Harvey get into the seats of the car. Harry can’t resist pushing some buttons on the dash and pushing the lever forward. In a few seconds, the vehicle starts to shake and rattle and all Harry and all Steve can see is a swirling kaleidoscope of colors. In a few minutes their vehicle crashes in a farmer’s field.
Steve: What just happened? Where the heck are we?
Harry: Hey, look what it says on the dash. It says location Roswell, New Mexico, year 1947.
Steve: Harry, we just took a trip in a time machine! What luck! Who would’ve thought of a better escape?
Gary: Ha! Ha! I bet the Warden and Sam and Charles are looking all around the arena for us right now. Ha! Ha!
Steve: I can just see those two guys now. Sam and Charles running around all over the arena looking for us and the Warden and the guards chasing after them.
Harry: Meanwhile we’re in a different state fifty years in the past!
Steve: Man, I’m getting pretty hungry. We need to find a truck stop. Maybe if we do some walking around we’ll find a highway.
Harry: Good idea. We’ll wait for a trucker on his way into town.
Narrator: Jim, the security guard is now driving down the highway on his way to Corona to get the General his burgers, pepperoni sticks and cigars. He sees two hitch hikers trying to thumb a ride. Jim stops to pick them up.
Jim: Howdy boys, I’m going as far as Corona. Will that help you out?
Harry: It sure will. Are there any restaurants in Corona? We’re really hungry.
Jim: Well, there’s a Burger King and a 7-11. It’s about a two hour ride to Corona from here. If you guys are really starving I’ve got a couple of old, stale boxes of Animal Crackers in the car. Well, hop in boys. I’m running an errand for the General.
Steve: Thanks a lot, man. We really appreciate it.
Narrator: Harry and Steve get in the back of Jim’s old Volkswagen Bug. The two convicts introduce themselves to Jim.
Jim: Hey, Harry. How come you’re wearing wrestling trunks and boots?
Harry: Well, during my last match, two criminals broke into the dressing room and stole all my street clothes.
Jim: Man, you really have to be some kind of low life to steal another dude’s clothes. It’s really gets hot in the daytime but by nightfall it’s awful chilly out in these parts. We’ll find you a new set of clothes when we get back to Corona. It won’t be easy though, Harry. You’re a pretty big guy.
Steve: Harry’s stage name is the Masked Mauler. Put on your mask Harry.
Jim: Man, that mask is cool! When’s your next match?
Steve: I’m the Mauler’s manager. We’re out here scouting for a new territory for the Mauler to wrestle in. He’s barred from all our old territories because he has a nasty habit of hanging promoters over the
bridges of local rivers. Mauler gets really upset when promoters don’t book him in the main event. I’m going to register Harry for some anger management classes in the fall. Hey, Jim, do you know of any wrestling promoters out in these parts?
Jim: Yeah I do, General Kane. He’s the guy I’m running this errand for. He says that these wrestling cards are good for the troop’s morale. I’ll tell you what. You buys boys ride back with me to Roswell after I finish this errand. The General might be interested in booking the Masked Mauler. He likes to book wrestlers with lots of attitude.
Steve: Gee, Thanks Jim. We could sure use the work.
Jim: One thing I should warn you about. General Kane doesn’t believe that wrestling is fake. He wants to see plenty of blood and pile drivers done right on the cement floor outside the ring. Real hardcore Mick Foley type of wrestling.
Harry: Well the General has nothing to worry about. I’ll give him all the blood, guts and pile drivers he wants. Good to know that some people up there know the truth. Wrestling is not fake!
Garry felt very uncomfortable during the bus ride to Kelowna. He was starting to withdraw from the lorazepam in his system. The sudden withdrawal caused Garry’s state of anxiety to significantly increase. He also began to have both visual and auditory hallucinations during the bus ride as the residual effects of his anti- psychotic medications wore off. Garry was certain that the other passengers on the bus knew the secret about Garry’s parents. He also believed that a few passengers were also reptilians from the same planet as his parents. Garry’s auditory hallucinations involved other people on the bus talking about him. He heard the ones that he thought were extraterrestrials talking about how they would sabotage Garry’s efforts to talk to his aunt and uncle.
Garry walked up to the front of the bus to talk to the driver. ”Sir, I need you to stop the bus immediately. I have an important announcement for some of your passengers.”
“What’s this important announcement about?” asked the driver giving Garry a nervous look.
“I want to tell the passengers that I am aware that there are reptilian creatures from another galaxy on this bus. They are trying to stop me from visiting my aunt and uncle. I want to warn them that I have a large knife on me and will kill anyone who tries to interfere with my plans,” answered Garry.
The bus driver had once worked as a psychiatric nurse and could recognize the symptoms of a psychotic break.
“I understand, son. I know that there are reptilians on the bus and I know exactly who they are. When we arrive at Kelowna I will let you get off the bus first and I’ll wait ten minutes before letting off the rest of the passengers. Then I’ll send them off in the opposite direction. You will have a good head start on the reptilians and will arrive at your aunt and uncle’s place safely,” explained the driver.
“Thank you, sir. That sounds like a good plan,” said Garry.
Unfortunately, a passenger closest to the driver overheard the conversation. “Hey, people there’s a wack job up front who has a knife. He’s planning to kill us,” the man announced loudly to the other passengers.”
In a matter of seconds a burly man seated near the front on the other side lunged at Garry and brought him down to the floor. He starting punching Garry in the face until Garry passed out. The man then searched through Garry’s jacket and removed the knife.
The bus driver immediately called in for help. He told the supervisor that he needed the police and an ambulance immediately.
Garry Phelge knew what he had to do. He had to go to Kelowna, British Columbia to see his Uncle Ray and Aunt June. He had saved up enough money to purchase a bus ticket. Garry had many good childhood memories of traveling to B.C. with his parents to visit with his aunt and uncle. The residual effects of Garry’s last dose of medications were starting to wear off and he was beginning to decompensate or lose contact with reality. He kept it together long enough to buy a one way bus ticket to Kelowna. On a few occasions Garry had tried to tell the staff at The House of Hope in Winnipeg that his parents were reptilian creatures from outer space. He had also discussed this particular delusion with his psychiatrist. Both the staff at The House of Hope and his psychiatrist had tried to explain to Garry that his belief that his parents were extraterrestrial reptiles was a manifestation of his illness. Garry now felt that both the staff at the mental rehabilitation facility and his therapist were “on board” with his parents and were lying to him.
Garry desperately needed someone to believe his story. His delusion first started when Garry watched his father, Dr. Lionel Phelge, being interviewed by a local television network. The television show was about flying saucers and extraterrestrials and Garry’s father was considered to be an expert on this topic. During his interview on this show, Dr. Phelge had stated that he had once seen a UFO or more correctly, a squadron of UFOs flying in formation.
In Garry’s way of thinking, his father only said this because he and his wife are from another planet or another solar system.
Garry thought that both his Uncle Ray and Aunt June were somehow privy to this knowledge about his parents. He was sure that they would confirm his belief when he saw them in person at Kelowna.
After two long days of traveling, John, Ryan and Stephanie finally arrived at Aunt Meg’s place in Kelowna, British Columbia.
“Well, we made it here in one piece,” said John. “I told you that the old Taurus would get us here.”
“Yep, miracles do happen,” said Ryan grinning.
Aunt Meg owned a large beautiful house that resembled a log cabin. It reminded Stephanie of the main lodge at Camp Woodlands. There would certainly be plenty of room for everyone. The house was surrounded by trees on all sides except for the gravel road that led to it. The place was very peaceful and secluded with Lake Okanagan was very close by.
Meg heard the car coming and was already outside waiting to greet the family. The two dogs, Scruffy and Skippy leaped out of the car and ran up to greet Meg. They are both friendly dogs that like people.
“You’re just in time for lunch,” said Meg. ”You guys must be hungry and exhausted.”
“We haven’t been eating very healthy the last couple of days,” said John. John, Stephanie and Ryan all loved junk food.
“Yeah, you should see our dad on car trips. He drives ten to twelve hours per day with very few pit stops,” said Stephanie.
“That’s right. Dad just stops for gas and we run into the convenience store to buy potato chips, chocolate bars, coffee and soft drinks. Around suppertime he’ll stop at some hamburger place along the way to have dinner,” said Ryan.
“It sounds like your dad hasn’t changed at all. That’s exactly how I remember it when I went on road trips with him,” said Meg. “Which hotel did you stay at overnight?”
“Motel 6,” said John.
“That’s just like you, too. John. Always trying to save a buck,” said Meg.
“That’s right. I’m not making the type of coin I used to when I was teaching public school full time,” said John. “Subbing pays poorly and writing fiction pays worse.”
“I thought you told us that your cousin Ronnie left you a substantial inheritance,” said Ryan.
“It was a pretty large chunk of money but I didn’t win the lottery. I’ll need to use some of the inheritance money to pay the bills that my subbing and writing efforts don’t cover,” John answered.
Chapter Twenty- Five:
The trip from Winnipeg to Aunt Meg’s in Kelowna, British Columbia was a tiring but enjoyable one for John Richards and his son and daughter. John drove long hours to make it to Meg’s in two days. Fortunately, both Stephanie and Ryan had their driver’s licenses and took turns spelling their father off when he became tired from driving.
The truth was that John, Stephanie and Ryan were all having the time of their lives. When you’re in the car for ten to twelve hours each day you have a lot of time to talk and catch up on what’s been going on in each other’s lives.
John asked his son and daughter what they planned to do after graduation from high school.
Ryan responded first,” Well, I’d like to continue my hockey and football careers after I graduate from Elmwood High. If you can make the pros that’s where the money is. Heck, you can make more than a surgeon working in a hospital.”
Ryan was a dedicated athlete who possessed both the passion and natural ability for athletics.
“Yeah, that’s great,” said John. “You’re very athletically gifted Ryan, but a lot of kids at your skill level still don’t make the pros.”
“I know that Dad,” responded Ryan.
“Also, you would have to make a choice between football and hockey. You won’t be able to make the professional ranks in both sports,” said John.
“Well, how about Gerry James who played for both The Winnipeg Blue Bombers and The Toronto Maple Leafs?” asked Ryan.
“And who else can you name who was able to go pro in both sports? Also, Ryan, Gerry James played in the nineteen-sixties,” said John.
“Are you trying to rain on Ryan’s parade, Dad?” joked Stephanie.
“Of course not. I believe that people should follow their dreams, as long as they’re being realistic,” her father responded. “What about you, Steph? What would you like to do after you graduate?” asked John. John kept his eyes on the road, resisting the temptation to look at Stephanie.
“Well, if you didn’t think that Ryan’s goals were realistic you are sure not going to like mine,” said Stephanie.
“Go ahead, try me. You might be surprised,” replied her father.
“Okay. Here goes. Back in Toronto me and a few of my friends have started up our own punk band. We’ve only had a few practices so far but things are starting to fall into place,” said Stephanie.
After the family finished breakfast Ryan and Stephanie washed and dried the dishes and John went outside to start loading suitcases and bags in the back of his white Ford Taurus station wagon. John’s two dogs ran out to the car with John and quickly jumped in.
It was fortunate that John had purchased the station wagon model of the Ford Taurus as it was able to accommodate all of the family’s luggage. As they started down the road Stephanie said, “It’s sure good to be with you again Dad. I really miss you when I’m living with Mom.”
“Yeah, me, too, Dad. We think you’re awesome,” added Ryan.
John started to get choked up and felt a tear trickle down his face when he said, ”I love you guys, too, and I miss you terribly when you’re not with me.”