On Tuesday morning Rick got a surprise visit from Peyton Ramparts and his girlfriend, Sabrina Davis. They walked into Rick’s hospital room and threw their winter clothing onto a chair besides Rick’s bed. It was snowing outside and there were still snowflakes on Peyton and Sabrina’s parkas.
Rick had been up for a couple of hours already. He had a bad dream during the night in which his coach, Brad Keenan had told him that he couldn’t play for the Cougars anymore due to medical concerns.
Previous to Rick being hospitalized, he, Peyton, Sabrina and sometimes Misty went for coffee at The Red Top Restaurant every morning. Rick found out that Peyton used to play organized hockey in the past, but quit because he had more interest in forming his own rock band. Peyton told Rick that he used to play center for The Norberry Knights and that his coach and teammates told him that he was a really good player. Whenever his band, Winter Dreams had an evening off, Peyton and Sabrina would come to watch Rick’s hockey games.
“Hey Rick, how are you doing buddy?” Peyton asked while putting his hand on Rick’s shoulder.
“My head still feels kind of foggy. It’s like having cobwebs on your brain,” Rick answered. He groaned as he sat up in his bed as his muscles were still very sensitive.
“I’m sorry to hear that, but I kind of expected you would still be hurting after your injury. That dick, Davidson took a run at you on purpose. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that his coach put him up to it,” Peyton said, his face starting to redden with anger.
The league’s convener wrote a letter to both Maplewood’s coach, Brad Keenan and Norberry’s coach, Jeff Hadley. The letter was to inform the two coaches that the previous game that the two teams had played would be declared. ‘no contest’ and that a make up game would be scheduled. It also stated that extra security measures would be taken. Four security workers from the Garda Security Company and one Winnipeg Police Services constable would be hired for the rematch. It was agreed that the Garda Security guards would check every fan in attendance for concealed weapons prior to the start of the hockey game.
Coach Brad Keenan folded the letter up after he read it and placed it in its envelope. He put it in the right hand corner of the desk drawer in his office at the Maplewood Community Center. Brad got up from his well worn executive chair and walked towards a window. The weather looked sunny and bright, but Brad had a bad feeling about the rematch. He had kept a close eye on Miles Myers performance in goal during last night’s practice. The coach realized that Myers was struggling to make some of the more difficult saves that Rick Miller would easily have stopped. Brad wasn’t the only one to notice. The rest of the Cougar players had also observed the same weaknesses in Miles’s performance.
Misty arrived about ten minutes late for her afternoon gym class. She was finishing her cigarette at the smoking pod behind Maplewood Collegiate and was talking to a new girl who had just enrolled in the high school that day. While they were talking Misty lost track of the time. When Misty arrived at the lockers about five minutes late, the other girls were already in the locker room getting changed. Misty waited outside the entrance to the locker room and could hear the other girls talking. The girls’ voices were loud enough that Misty could overhear what they were saying. The dominant voice that drowned out the rest was that of Linda Saunders. Linda was a strong personality that attracted her own group of followers. At this very moment Linda was holding court with a group of four other girls. She had just overhead one of the other girls singing the praises of Rick Miller.
“Rick is such a great goalie. His play is the only reason that our hockey team is still competitive. I just hope that his injuries don’t keep him out of the line up too long. The Cougars have some key games scheduled for the next two weeks,” Sandra said.
“That’s for sure,” Tristan said. “I hate to say it, but I don’t have much confidence in Miles Meyers’ ability to lead the team.”
Sandra and Tristan were so busy talking that they hadn’t noticed that Linda Saunders had walked up right behind them.
“You two are full of crap,” Linda yelled. Her face was beet red. “Yes, I agree that Rick Miller has played well so far this year, but consider how much experience Rick has. This is his third year playing for the Maplewood Cougars. This is just Miles first year and he has been working very hard at improving his skills.”
‘That may be true Linda, but let’s face it. Right now, Rick Miller gives the team the best chance of winning,” Sandra said.
“That’s only so long as Rick and his slut girlfriend, Misty manage to stay away from drugs,” Linda said as she put on her red gym shorts.
The odor in the girl’s change room was bad enough, but it appeared to be getting worse due to the tension in the room.
“What drugs?” Tristan asked.
“Pretty well any drugs those two can get their hands on. Stuff like weed, hash, acid, peyote, downers and bennies just to name a few.” Linda answered.
“How do you know this for sure?” Michelle asked sceptically.
“How do I know? I got the scoop from my cousin Rudy. Rudy’s a real stoner who goes to all the Winter Dreams concerts. He also went to all the outdoor rock festivals this summer. Rudy told me that he’s seen Rick and Misty stoned out of their heads at these rock festivals. Further more both Rick and Misty are very tight with Peyton Ramparts, the lead guitarist for Winter Dreams. You can always see them having coffee at The Red Top Restaurant. Rick and Misty always attend Winter Dreams after concert who goes to those parties is a stoner,” Linda said.
“Why did you call Misty his slut girlfriend?” Cindy demanded.
“Because she is. I got that information from Rudy too. He told me that he saw Misty with some freak called Gypsy at The Lake Mariposa Rock Festival. Rudy says that Misty loves drugged out hippy guys. She’ll sleep with anyone she meets. Before Rick, Misty was dating this grease ball called Jim. Jim is such a slime that he used to beat up Misty regularly.”
Just then Miss Redding, the gym teacher, broke in on the discussion and ordered the girls to hurry and get on the gym floor before she started handing out detentions.
As soon as Miss Redding’s back was turned, Misty escaped through the back exit door of the girls’ locker room. With tears streaming down her face, Misty ran to her favorite local park about three minutes from the school. She used one of her green gloves to wipe some snow from a park bench. Once a spot was cleared Misty sat on the bench lowered her head and began to cry. She was still very upset by the way Linda Saunders had been talking about her. When Misty looked up there was a bright sun out that enhanced the beauty of the snow covering the branches of the trees. Misty was startled when she felt two hands on her shoulders. She turned around to see Peyton Ramparts and Sabrina Davis.
“Are you skipping gym class, too?” Sabrina asked.
“I tried to go to gym class but I’m very sorry that I did,” Misty said starting to weep again.
Peyton looked Misty on the eye and said, “So tell us what happened.” He started using one of his black gloves to clear enough room for he and Sabrina to sit down.
“I’m really starting to hate the fact that my boyfriend is the Cougar’s 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 continued 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.
The first night on the job two guys started heckling the LaSalle’s house band, Blind Rage. Godzilla didn’t waste any time. He grabbed both those idiots by the back of their collars and carried both of them out to the back parking lot. One of the hecklers turned to the other one and said, “We can take him. It’s two against one.”
As soon as one of them made a move toward him, Godzilla grabbed both of them and dropped them in a nearby parking lot dumpster. That’s how Godzilla likes to take care of business. As Winter Dreams were all there to watch Blind Rage that evening, we were very impressed with Godzilla’s ability to handle a dicey situation. That night the band called him over to our table and asked Gordon to be our road manager. The rest is history as they say,” Peyton said.
The longer the fight in the stands at St. Vital Arena went on, the more spectators participated, either as active combatants, or they were only there to shout out encouragement to their friends. One of the brawlers was thrown heavily against an arena pillar and had the back of his head cracked open. A thick stream of blood now trickled down the white pillar behind the man’s head.
Six burly police constables had now entered the arena. One of the spectators, a pudgy little man in his mid thirties yelled out a warning, “Hey you guys! Break it up. The cops are here. Run for the back exit!”
In under a minute all the fighting had ceased and the arena was clear of brawlers and spectators. The police just watched as the fight’s participants fled out the back door of the arena. The senior arena employee walked up to the police constables.
A somewhat, stocky constable appeared to be in charge. He looked to be in his mid-forties. The police officer turned to the head arena attendant, “Looks like quite the kafuffle you had going here. We’re not going to bother chasing those guys. There’s too many of them and it would be too hard figuring out which men we should charge. My men will just walk around make sure there aren’t any more fans hiding somewhere in the arena. I will need you to show me to your office so that I can ask you some questions for the police report.”
“No problem, Officer.”
The Maplewood Cougars were inspired by their coach’s speech, but were more motivated by their collective anger at the Norberry Knights. They were sure that Rick was injured with intent and they wanted to show Norberry that they were not about to be intimidated by the size advantage that the Knights had. They started the second period with every intention of winning the game.
The referee had just dropped the puck for the opening face off when an altercation started on the east side of the stands. A few of Norberry’s fans had crossed over to the Maplewood supporters’ bleachers. Three Norberry fans were returning to their seats after getting a coffee at the concession stands when they were accosted by three thugs from Norberry’s side. One of the brawlers said, “This is payback for Glenn Davidson, you losers.”
Many of The Maplewood Cougars fans turned around to witness three of their own being manhandled by the opposition’s aggressors. Within seconds, several of the Cougars fans jumped in to help the victims of the vicious attack.
When Norberry’s fans saw what was happening in the opposite stands, many of them went around the arena to the Cougar’s side to join in the fray. After a few minutes had passed, approximately twenty people were pushing, shoving, kicking and throwing punches. Blood was starting to spill onto the arena’s floor.
As all this chaos was breaking out in the stands, both the players and the officials on the ice stopped playing the game and looked up into the stands. It was almost unnecessary when the head referee blew his whistle to officially end play. There were only three arena workers on duty. The senior worker said, “This fight in the stands is out of control and there’s no way I want to try to break it up. I’m calling the cops.”
The players that were on the ice both returned to their respective benches. The head referee skated over to both benches to talk to the coaches. He told both coaches that he was officially ending the game and that he would phone the convener to inform him of his decision. The two coaches both asked about the recorded out come of the game. The head referee stated that he didn’t know. The final decision would be up to the convener as to whether tonight’s game would go into the record books or declared, ‘no contest’. Whether or not the game would be replayed at another date he could not say.
Episode Twelve of Infinite Realities:
In his daydream Rick would become Dick Thornton the Blue Bombers punter and back -up quarterback. As soon as coach Bud Grant gave him the signal Dick put on his helmet and ran onto the field to form a huddle with his teammates. The Bombers were on the Hamilton Tiger Cats forty yard line. This was going to be the last play of the game. Dick’s team needed a touchdown to win the game. If they didn’t score six points or more they would lose the game and be eliminated from next week’s Western Conference playoff game against The Edmonton Eskimos.
In the huddle Dick Thornton called for a Hail Mary pass to any eligible receivers. As he broke up the huddle and took his position directly behind the center the rookie quarterback felt both fear and excitement. If his play succeeded, Dick would be the star of the game. If his play failed he would have let down the noisy home field crowd.
Dick dropped back to the slot. He deftly evaded two of Hamilton’s linebackers who broke into the backfield. Out of the corner of his eye Dick could see a receiver a few feet over the goal line that was a few steps ahead of the defensive back covering him. Dick threw a long accurate spiral that was easily caught by the open receiver. The crowd erupted in joy and Dick was mobbed by not only his own team but also by Bomber fans that had run onto the field. Rick was startled out of his delightful reverie to see his tablet flash a brilliant gold color and to hear the voice from the tablet talking to him.
Do you remember how easy that was when you were a kid, Rick? Do you remember how good you felt at that time? For a few moments you were no longer the fattest kid in your class who was regularly humiliated by the other students and teachers. You were now Dick Thornton, the unlikely hero of a crucial football game. Didn’t the applause feel better than the shame?
Now you have that same kind of power to change unpleasant experiences and circumstances into how you would like them to be. You are holding that power in your hands. It resides within this marvelous tablet. The emotions you feel will be the same. Your subconscious mind does not know the difference. You have the same imagination now as you did as a young child. I take that back. You now have a much more developed imagination than you did as a kid. Press on another application and see what happens.
Episode Eleven of Infinite Realities:
When Rick swiped the touch screen a new message appeared. It was displayed with a background collage of a beautiful blue and gold collage that was centered by a football helmet with the letter W on it. The message read:
Where do want go next and what do you want to do? Remember the possibilities are virtually limitless. Pun intended. Oh by the way Rick, I should have told you this before. I can read your mind. In fact I know more about you than you do. I can tell what kind of mood you are in. I know all about your past. I know what grieves you. I know that you wish you could go back and change things in your life and I can help you do that. You don’t give yourself enough credit Rick. You have a brilliant and imaginative mind. Just type in where you want to go next. Or maybe this time let me choose a time and place for you just to give you a demonstration.
Rick stood there in shock. He had moved to a grey and gloomy back lane shaded from the sunlight not far from Memorial Park. He did not want anyone to see his tablet and start asking him questions.
Rick had experienced a great deal of pain in his past. When he was a young child he liked to spend most of his time alone living in his own fantasy worlds. He would pretend that he was the rookie quarterback for The Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The local football team’s star quarterback had just gone down with a separated shoulder and would now be out for the rest of the game and possibly the rest of the season. Rick would play the role of the rookie quarterback who would have to save the day for his team. If he failed his team would not get into the playoffs.