Category: sabbaticals

Excerpt Ten From The Lake Demon by Ken David Stewart


Chapter Nine
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.
Chapter Ten
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.” 20150822_120241[1]

Revised Edition of The Lake Demon Chapter Fifty-Two


Chapter Fifty-Two:

On Tuesday morning the university students led by Kyle Winter were seated outside Dean Sanderson’s office. Ryan and Monique arrived a few minutes later. They were directed to take a seat and wait for Dean Sanderson to call them. Dr. Phelge was already in Dean Sanderson’s office seated in the red leather chair.
“I’m eager to meet your students Lionel. I’ve probably seen most of them in the cafeteria at one time or another. I’d like to hear what their ideas are,” said Dean Sanderson.
“I think that you will be pleasantly surprised Edward. They are a very intelligent and creative group of young people,” said Lionel.
“As I told you earlier they will be accompanied by two summer vacationers who would also like to be part of the project.”
“All right. Let’s get the young people in here and hear what they have to say,” said Dean Sanderson.
As the group of young people entered Dean Sanderson’s office he directed them to have a seat on a long maroon sofa.
“I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about you people from Dr. Phelge. I’ll first ask Kyle to explain how you guys came up with the idea for your research project,” said Dr. Sanderson.
“Well, to tell you the truth sir, we were sitting in the university cafeteria discussing how boring the articles are in the student’s university newspaper,” answered Kyle.
Dean Sanderson burst out laughing after hearing Ryan say this.
“I’m glad it was a student and not me that said it. I’ve read the student’s newspaper so I know what you’re talking about. I understand that you have recruited two extra people who are visiting form out of province,” said Dean Sanderson.
“Yes, that would be Ryan and Monique. They are here for their summer vacations and have shared some very interesting information about the Ogopogo,” said Ryan.
“Well, I’d be very happy if they shared this information with Dr. Phelge and myself. What about it, Monique?” said Dean Sanderson.
“Ryan and I had just met as we were going on a jog on a trail near Lake Okanagon. We’d just run a short distance when I turned to my right and saw something unusual on the lake. I saw a large black hump that was undulating on the water,” answered Monique.
“Then I stopped to have a look. It appeared to be a large creature of some sort but I’d never seen anything like it on the lake before. Two fishermen also saw it albeit from a much greater distance. The object submerged after a few minutes.”
“It was definitely Ogopogo you saw,” said Dr. Phelge barely able to conceal his excitement.
“I managed to take two pictures of the creature,” added Monique.
“Can we see the pictures?” asked Dean Sanderson.
“We don’t have them now,” said Ryan. “We lent them to the reporter, Bobby O’Conner. He’s taking them to a photography expert to get them analyzed.”
“Get them back immediately,” said Dr. Phelge. “Try to get a written report from the expert that analyzed the photos as well.”
“As you people know Dr. Phelge is taking a year’s sabbatical leave. He has been an excellent teacher and researcher for this university and we wanted to reward him with a year free of his teaching duties. During this time Lionel has told me that he wants to do an intensive research project about The Ogopogo,” said Dean Sanderson.
“I’m hoping to write a series of articles and perhaps a book on my research,” explained Dr. Phelge.
“We are also hoping to write some great articles about our research on Ogopogo for the university newspaper,” said Kyle.
“And we would like to join an expedition with you to search for Ogopogo,” said Ryan.
“I believe that an expedition would be a crucial part of our research on The Lake Demon. That’s what the aboriginal people called the creature. Of course, we would also be looking at any previously written articles and would want to interview people who claim to have seen Ogopogo,” said Dean Sanderson.
“We’ll need to brainstorm everything we’re going to need for this project as well as knowing who can perform each job.” said Dr. Phelge.
“Not to mention the financing for the expedition,” added Dean Sanderson.
“A project like this could cost a fortune, Lionel.”
“I’m well aware of that, Edward. That’s why I think it’s critical that we make up a wish list of all the equipment we would like to have for our expedition. From there we can do some research and get an estimate of how much money we’re looking at,” said Lionel.
“The university will give us some money but I don’t think it will be a lot,” said Dean Sanderson.
“We may be eligible for some government grant money,” said Lionel.
‘We may have to come up with the majority of the expense from private sources,” said Kyle.
“I think you’re right, but where could we find some wealthy private donors?” asked Dean Sanderson.
“I don’t know, but why don’t we put out some ads asking for financial assistance. You never know. There could be a rich eccentric entrepreneur out there somewhere who could be interested in a project like this,” answered Kyle.
“It’s worth a try,” said Ryan. “Kyle could be right about the eccentric private donor just waiting for an opportunity like this.”
“It’s also going to depend on how well we sell the expedition. Someone out there might want the fame or publicity,” said Jasmine.
“That’s what I like about working with young people. They are so creative in generating ideas,” said Lionel.
“Not to mention enthusiasm and a positive attitude,” added Dean Sanderson.
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Revised Edition of The Lake Demon Chapter Thirty-Four


Chapter Thirty-Four:
Dr. Lionel Phelge decided that it was time to give Dean Sanderson a phone call. “Hello Edward. I have some ideas about my sabbatical research project. When can we meet?”
“I wasn’t expecting to hear from you so soon, Lionel. I thought you would be at home resting up and enjoying your holidays for a few days,” replied Dean Sanderson. “If you feel up to it we could meet for lunch this afternoon. There is a new Chinese restaurant not far from the university that I’d like to try out. You just drive to the university and we can go in my car. Can you be here by noon?”
“I sure can. I’ll come up to your office at noon,” answered Lionel.
At around 12:15 PM Dean Sanderson and Lionel arrived at The Shangra La restaurant. A waiter took their order and then brought the two men some Chinese tea.
“I’m amazed that you came up with a project idea so quickly, Lionel,” said Dean Sanderson.
“Actually, so am I. After our last meeting I walked over to the university’s pub and decided to have a couple of drinks to celebrate my sabbatical leave.
After about fifteen minutes one of my students sat down next to me at the bar and said that he had an idea for a research project that he wanted to discuss with me. The student’s name is Kyle Jackson.”
“Oh, yes, our university’s star quarterback. I’ve talked to Kyle on a couple of occasions. He’s a very determined young man. I imagine he’ll go a long way in life.”
“That’s the impression I got. He’s sure not shy. That’s for sure,” said Lionel.
“Well, you certainly have me curious, Lionel. What idea did Kyle have for a research project?” asked Dean Sanderson.
“A thorough investigation into the possible existence of Ogopogo in Lake Okanogan.”
“Wow. Are you and Kyle going to work together on this project?”
“That’s the plan. Kyle mentioned that he also has some student associates of his that are also interested. The next thing I’ll do is arrange for a meeting to be set up where I get to meet his friends and start planning our project.”
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Revised Edition of The Lake Demon Chapter Twenty-Nine


Chapter Twenty-Nine:

After Roland and Natasha finished telling Ryan and his friends their Ogopogo story it was time for the couple to leave. They had a dinner date scheduled at Natasha’s parents place that evening.
“Do you believe their story?” asked Ian.
“I think they’re telling the truth. I noticed that Natasha turned pale and her hands started to tremble when Roland told the story,” answered Ryan.
“Yeah, the chick was scared out of her wits, probably traumatized by the experience,” offered Jasmine.
“I have some exciting news for you guys,” said Ryan.” I was just talking to Professor Phelge and-”
“Did you call him on your cell phone when you were in the bathroom?” asked Keisha.
Ryan laughed. No, he’s here on the other side of the pub. I had a chance to talk to him for about fifteen minutes and pitched our research project to him.”
“Man, you have guts, Kyle,” said Brendon.
“Yes, you are the man,” Brendon agreed.
“That’s why he’s the first string quarterback on the football team,” said Keesha.
“Thanks for the vote of confidence guys. Now let’s get serious. It turns out that Dr. Phelge is starting a one year sabbatical today,” said Kyle.
“That’s really fortunate for him especially if it’s his performance review year,” added Ian.
“Yeah, the old guy hasn’t been himself since his wife passed away,” said Keesha.
“Are you taking any of his classes this year?” asked Jasmine.

“Yes, I’m taking a second year marine biology class with him. Last year I took his introductory course. You wouldn’t believe the difference in him from last year to this year,” said Keesha.

“Yeah, I’m in the same class with Keesha. Professor Phelge has definitely lost his spark. Last year he taught intro biology like a man possessed. He had such energy and passion for his subject. And this year the fire has gone out. He teaches like he’s in a daze most of the time. It’s as if he can’t wait for the class to be over,” said Ian.
“It sounds like he’s depressed. He’s probably still grieving the loss of his wife,” said Jasmine.

“So, how is the professor going to be of any use to us in the state that he’s in?” asked Brendon.
“When I first sat down with Dr. Phelge he did seem sad and preoccupied, but when I started telling him about our research project, he perked right up,” answered Kyle.
Picture 45

Revised Edition of The Lake Demon Chapter 18


Chapter Eighteen:

“Your input on this project would mean the world to us, “said Kyle.
“Who’s us?” asked Dr. Phelge.
“Oh, I already have a few friends who want to get in on this expedition of discovery. They’re in the pub right now. Would you like to meet them?’
“Some other time, Kyle. I would like to spend the rest of my first day of my sabbatical leave on vacation. Tomorrow morning I’ll give your proposition some serious thought. Why don’t you call me in a few days and I’ll tell you what I’ve come up with? And here’s my business card. It also has my home phone number on it.”

”Thank you, sir. I’ll leave you alone to relax now,” said Kyle.
Lionel Phelge finished off his beer, walked out of the university’s pub and walked across the street to the bus stop. His apartment was not very far from the university so he usually took the bus to work. Lionel didn’t want to pay the monthly parking rates charged by the university.
Life had changed drastically for the professor after the passing of his wife Edith. Within the fist month of her death Lionel figured out that he could not live in their family home any longer. The old house just had too many memories of his deceased wife and the wonderful life they once had. He knew that he would have to learn how to survive on his own and he thought that a fresh start in a new place would be the best thing to do.

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Revised Edition of The Lake Demon Chapter Fifteen


Chapter Fifteen:

“But how about you, Dr. Phelge? Do you believe that Ogopogo could exist in Lake Okanagan? asked Kyle.
“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,” said Lionel taking a generous gulp from his glass of beer.
“How can you be so sure that Ogopogo exists?” asked Kyle 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,” said the professor flicking a small ash from his tweed sport jacket.
“So 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 an amateur video, as I seem to recollect.”
“No, professor. I’m getting a group of students together to plan and execute a search for Ogopogo,” said Kyle boldly.
“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,”said the professor trying hard not to show any interest in this project. The truth was that Dr. Lionel Phelge 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.” said Kyle.
“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. Phelge?” asked Kyle unable to contain his excitement.
“Hold on. All I’m saying now is that I’m willing to help you with the planning.”

ibrown lake monster

Revised Edition of The Lake Demon Chapter Fourteen


Chapter Fourteen:
On his way to the washroom Kyle spotted Dr. Phelge sitting at the bar drinking a Heineken. As soon as Kyle had finished with the washroom he sat in a vacant bar stool next to Professor Phelge.
The professor seemed preoccupied. He looked like a man deeply engrossed in some heavy contemplation.
“Hello, sir. I’m Kyle Jackson. I’m taking one of your biology classes this term.”
Dr. Phelge turned around slowly in his seat and broke out of his reverie.
“What did you say your name is, son?” asked the professor.
“Kyle, sir, Kyle Jackson. 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,” explained Kyle.
“Well, 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, “said Dr. Phelge. Of all the professors in this university why did you pick me? From what I’ve been hearing I haven’t been winning any popularity poles lately.”
“It’s your knowledge, experience and expertise,” Dr. Phelge,” 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,” answered Kyle.
“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,” said the professor. “Oh, where did I leave my manners? What can the waiter get you to drink?”
“ A Jack Daniels and a Coke would be great,” said Kyle settling himself into his outdoor chair.
It was a beautiful day with plenty of sunshine and a refreshing breeze blowing.
“Well, Kyle this is my first day of sabbatical leave and here I am still talking shop,” said Lionel.
“If you would like to talk about my research project at a time more convenient for you, that’s not a problem sir,” said Kyle.
“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,” said Dr. Phelge 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,” said Kyle.
“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,” said the professor taking a few quick puffs from his pipe.
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