Category: substitute teaching

Episode Four of Keith Ross, a Novel by Ken David Stewart

Episode Four

Keith started to think about going for a bike ride. He looked at his beautiful, black, Giant mountain bike parked a few feet behind his large flat screen tv.

Keith decided to make himself go for a bike ride. He now had too many days when he had to ‘push himself’ to do anything. Was he getting old or was it just that he’s out of shape and not eating nutritious meals? Probably Keith’s chronic fatigue was due to a variety of factors.

There was beautiful weather outside and Keith enjoyed his morning bike rides. He more or less rated his physical stamina by his ability to still go for bike rides year after year.

When Keith returned from his ride, he climbed onto his old, broken down orange and yellow couch. Whether it was just psychological or not, Keith found that taking short power naps during the day allowed him to get more accomplished.

It was June 30 today and Keith was officially finished his substitute teaching assignments for the year. He was now officially on summer holidays.

One of Keith’s favorite avocations was writing fiction novels. He had self published three of his original works so far, but none of them had made him any money. Nevertheless, Keith enjoyed the writing process and he found it to be very therapeutic. He found it amazing how the act of writing dredged up memories from the past and old traumas that you thought you had forgotten.

Keith was presently working on a novel that he had temporarily given the title, Chaos. Keith had just started his first rough draft of chapter five after re-reading and self editing chapter four.cropped-fantasy-11.jpg

Episode 2 of The Life and Times of Keith Ross

Episode Two

Keith took hold of his Roku remote and found the Creflo Dollar channel on his tv. He had just decided to call a halt to his substitute teaching assignments for the rest of this year. Keith was exhausted and he really hadn’t been feeling well since January of 2017. His doctors could not properly say what ailed him so Keith had to come up with a diagnosis of his own. Left to his own devices, after days and hours of personal research team Keith concluded that he was suffering with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Both of these medical conditions caused Keith to lack any significant and sustained energy to get done what he both needed and wanted to do.

He wanted to continue with his substitute teaching gigs, but lately he had found his assignments to be extremely exhausting to the degree that he was unable to do much but lie on the couch when he got home from work. Keith had managed to struggle through the majority of this year by relying upon sheer willpower, a doctor prescribed stimulant and a concoction of natural supplements. For a while his self designed treatment protocol appeared to be working. For about one month he felt relatively healthy and could occasionally string together two or three days in which he cold actually engage in some of his extracurricular hobbies after working all day.

Unfortunately, he had neither discovered the secret to sustained energy nor the fountain of youth. He woke up one morning to find that this get up and go had got up and gone. He found this realization to be very troubling and depressing.

Keith sure didn’t need any more things to make him feel depressed. He suffered from what is clinically termed double depression for pretty much all of his adult life. Double depression means that one is mildly depressed most of the time, but will occasionally succumb to severe episodes of major depression.2017-06-19 09.04.08

Episode 5 of Chaos by Ken David Stewart

images 14Episode 5 of Chaos:

Roger had a regular morning routine. On weekdays he would turn on his phone and wait for a call from the school division giving him a substitute teaching assignment for the day. Roger did not really want to accept an assignment today. He had just finished a three day assignment teaching English at Murdoch MacKay Collegiate. Roger had a good time teaching there as the class was reading and discussing F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby. Although Roger had thoroughly enjoyed his time at Murdoch MacKay, he was getting older and felt like he needed a day off.

He also felt guilty when he spent too many days away from his writing. Roger wrote fiction novels and found that the writing process was very therapeutic for him. He decided that he would decline any teaching assignments for today and would spend the day working on his current writing project, a novel titled Winter Dreams.

Roger’s morning routine seldom varied. He would get up and boil some water for his Valentus coffee. Roger would then fill up a large glass with water. The glass that he used to wash down his medications was actually a large holder for flowers that he had purchased at Dollarama.

As he got older Roger appeared to be taking more and more medications. He had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was in his late teens. His psychiatrist prescribed a cocktail of antidepressants. While drinking his coffee and taking his meds Roger would listen to one of his many Holy Bible audiobooks.

Roger had been a Christian since his late twenties. When he first got saved he was really just buying fire insurance. Roger simply did not want to go to hell. For almost three decades he really didn’t have an intimate relationship with the Lord. When Roger was in his early fifties he was introduced to Charismatic and Pentecostal theology through a co-worker. Since then he had been baptised in the Holy Spirit and received some of the spiritual gifts notably prophetic visions and words of knowledge.

Infinite Realities Excerpt 25 by Ken David Stewart

Episode Twenty-Five of Infinite Realities:
Rick slowly made his way down the three flights of stairs using the handrails for balance. He painfully climbed into his red Mercury Sable. He needed to get an academic day planner for his upcoming job. As he would be receiving calls for different substitute assignments on a daily basis Rick needed to write down the job assignment details in a day planner. The closest office supplies store was Staples on Regent Avenue. It took Rick approximately twenty minutes to get there.
Staples is a large store that carries just about any kind of office supplies that one can imagine. Rick was having some difficulty locating the aisle that contained day planners. He saw a young woman that was on a step ladder trying to arrange boxes of file folders. Rick called out, “Excuse me. Do you know where I can find the aisle that has day planners?”
The clerk turned around and Rick nearly passed out. It was the same young woman that was the subject of the picture in his apartment.
“Yes, I do sir. You can find them in aisle five about half way down. Would you like me to show you?”
“Yes, that would be wonderful,” Rick said trying not to look flustered.
The girl climbed down the ladder and started to lead Rick down aisle five. She turned to him and said, “I know you. You’re Rick Chandler. I live in a picture in the living room of your apartment.”
Rick nearly turned white with fright. He was starting to wonder if he had gone over the deep end. I mean with the strain he had been under, having an old man give him a tablet that could alter his present reality and now this.
“Don’t worry Rick. You’re not losing your mind. My name is Katalya. I got instructions to be here from Darren. I want to take you somewhere light years away from your present reality.”fantasy 20

Infinite Realities Excerpt Seventeen

Episode Seventeen of Infinite Realities:

“I can’t okay you for spending the next two years as a writer Rick. My supervisor, the plan administrator would never go for it. In your rehabilitation plan he will want to see some kind of a conventional job. There’s too little money to be made in writing. Not every writer is going to have the success of a Stephen King. Most writers don’t even make enough money to cover their writing expenses,” Michael said.

“I figured you’d say that, but that’s all right. I have a Plan B,” Rick said.

“Will it provide you with a liveable income?”

“Yeah, it should.”

“Okay, tell me all about your alternate gig.”

“I’ll be a substitute teacher by day and a writer at night.”

“Now there’s a plan that’s feasible. I can work with that and I think I can sell it to the plan administrator.”

“I have another appointment to get to Rick. I’ll have to close off our meeting now. I’ll phone you to set up another appointment as soon as I get a chance to talk to my supervisor about your proposal,” Michael said as he was closing the cover on his metal briefcase.

“I’ll be looking forward to your call. It was a pleasure meeting you Michael. I’m sorry about giving you a hard time.”

“Don’t worry about it Rick. This was mild compared to the grief I get from some of my clients.”

As soon as Michael Reeves left David retrieved his tablet and was looking forward to getting back to reading The Devil’s Knot. When he picket the tablet up he heard a sound alert notifying him that he had an incoming text message. David selected the text message and began to read it.

“Hi, David. I must apologize for not introducing myself. My name is Darren Ross and I work for Infinite Realities Incorporated. I have been assigned to be your personal coach, mentor and advocate. In short, I am available twenty-four hours a day seven days a week, including holidays, to assist you with the operation of your amazing new piece of technology. In essence I am your customer support. What are you planning to do next with your tablet, David?”

David texted back:

I am going to continue reading The Devil’s Knot without any further disturbance.

Darren texted back:

That’s wonderful David. A man who loves to read. I want to greatly enhance your reading experience. I don’t want you to read about Damien Echols. I want you to be in the courtroom with Damien as he hears the judge tell him that he has been found guilty and will be sentenced to death by lethal injection. You will feel every emotion that Damien is feeling.


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Revised Edition of The Lake Demon Chapter Seven

Chapter Seven:

“I’ve got that part covered,” said John. “That’s the good news. We’re starting on a drive to Aunt Meg’s place tomorrow morning. She wants our company until your Grandpa passes away. We’ll be staying at her place for most of the summer.”
“Did you say we’re leaving tomorrow, Dad?” asked Ryan.
“Yep, I want to get an early start. I want to be on the road by eight tomorrow morning,” answered John.
“Wow, this is short notice. We’ll have to start packing this evening,” said Stephanie.
“That’s the plan,” John replied. “We’ll start packing right after supper. I’m going to phone Pizza Hut and order us some pizza. What kind of pizza would you guys like?”
“Ham and pineapple for me,” answered Stephanie.
“Pepperoni for me,” said Ryan.
When their pizza delivery arrived John, Stephanie and Ryan got into a lively discussion.
“Are we going to have enough money for the trip? Dad, “asked Ryan.
“Yeah, do you guys remember my cousin, Ronnie?”
“Yeah, I remember him coming to visit you a couple of times,” said Stephanie.
“As I recall he was pretty well off, wasn’t he? He drove a really cool Porsche,” said Ryan.
“Yes, cousin Ronnie did very well for himself. He owned his own insurance agency,” answered John. “ I forgot to tell you guys Ronnie had a fatal heart attack in January. He didn’t have many family members left, so he left me a substantial inheritance in his will.”
At seven AM Stephanie was already up and was busy cooking the family a breakfast of bacon, eggs and sausages. The only times when John Richards ever got a home cooked meal was when one of his friends invited him over for supper. Most of the time John made himself a bowl of Frosted Flakes for breakfast, two peanut butter and honey sandwiches for lunch and in the evening would drive over to the A&W restaurant in the mall for supper. The one advantage to this is that John never gained any weight when his kids weren’t staying with him.

“When’s the last time you got your car serviced, Dad?” asked Ryan.
“Just two weeks ago. Got an oil change and had the technicians at Firestone check out the car for potential problems. They gave it a clean bill of health,” answered his dad.
“But it’s a Ford Taurus, Dad. I was just reading Phil Edmunston’s book, Lemon Aid and he ranked the Taurus as one of the worst cars on the road today,” said Ryan.
“I know,” I read Lemon Aid too.” said John. It’s great for Phil Edmunston that he thinks that Hondas and Toyotas are such great cars. He can probably afford them. Ever since my last full time teaching job I’ve never been able to afford an import vehicle. They are way out of my price range.”
“What if your car breaks down on the trip? After all it’s seventeen years old,”said Stephanie taking a bite of her slice of ham and pineapple pizza.
“I’m not worried about it,” her father responded. “ I’ve always had my car serviced on a regular basis and I’ve kept up with the repairs over the years. The only thing you need to worry about on the Taurus is the transmission. I had a re-built transmission put in it last year. We’ll be in good shape.”

Revised Edition of The Lake Demon Chapter Six

Chapter Six:

About ten minutes after Stephanie arrived home, Ryan came through the front door. John Richards rented a small house from his father. The plan was for John to inherit the house after his dad passed away. This would make it more financially feasible for John to do substitute teaching in the fall. The house was probably better suited to two occupants than three. It seemed that John, Stephanie and Ryan were always bumping into each other. John was accustomed to having the house to himself for most of the year. Whenever his two kids came to stay with him John found that he had quite an adjustment to make.
Ryan had just returned from doing some yard work for an elderly couple in the neighborhood. He arrived home dirty and sweaty. It was a hot day and Ryan’s first stop was the kitchen sink where he poured himself a large glass of water. Ryan was nineteen years old and was very good looking. He wore his long light brown hair in a pony- tail. Ryan had a strong, muscular athletic build. The girls at his high school found him to be very attractive. The only times that Ryan did not have a girlfriend was when he wanted some time to himself.

After a few minutes passed Ryan noticed that his dad was pacing around the small living room. “What’s up?, Dad. You look like you’ve got something on your mind.”
“Have a seat on the couch, guys. I have some good news and some bad news to tell you,” said John still nervously pacing the floor. “Which do you want first?”
‘Hit us with the bad news first, Dad,” said Stephanie with a worried look on her face.
“Okay. The bad news is about your Grandpa. I just got a call from your Aunt Meg earlier today. She told me that Grandpa’s cancer has gotten worse and that he may only have one or two months to live,” John answered.
“That’s terrible news,” said Ryan with a pained expression on his face.
“We have to visit him before he dies,” said Stephanie.
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Revised Edition of The Lake Demon Chapter One

The Lake Demon
John Richards was hard at work finishing up a short story that he was working on when his telephone rang. It was his sister Meg from Kelowna, British Columbia calling.
“John, I’ve got some terrible news for you. Dad’s cancer has spread to his liver and his oncologist has only given him a month or two to live,” said Meg.
“That is terrible news,” John responded. “Is there anything I can do to help?” asked John.
“Yeah, there is. I could use your company and support right now. My boyfriend Hank moved out two weeks ago so I got a lot on my plate right now.”
“I bet. Well, the timing is very good. My two kids Ryan and Stephanie just arrived two days ago. Susan’s leaving them with me for the summer. I haven’t seen my kids for months now and I’m sure that they’d love to go on a road trip. I just wish that it was under happier circumstances. You don’t mind if I bring my kids along do you, Meg?”
“No, of course not. I’ve got plenty of room for all of you at my place. I’d love to see Ryan and Stephanie again. And like I said, I don’t want to be alone during the short time Dad has to live.”
“You won’t have to worry about that. The kids will keep us both very active. They will be sad about their Grandpa being so ill, but at least they will be able to say good bye to him,” said John.
“That’s right. Stephanie and Ryan really love their grandfather, said Meg.
“They will have lots to keep them distracted though. My kids both love Lake Okanogan and they love going for boat rides on the lake,” said John.
“I also need to take a break from my writing. I might even be able to come up with some ideas for a new story while I’m at your place. We’ll make it a summer vacation for the kids and I.”
“When will you be leaving?” asked Meg while pouring herself a coffee.
“Tomorrow morning. The kids and I will need this evening to get packed. They are both out right now but I’ll tell them as soon as they get home.”
“Aren’t you even going to ask them if they want to go on a trip?” asked Meg.
“My kids are always ready for an adventure. And I know they’ll want to see their Grandpa one last time,” John answered.
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Episode 143 of The Lake Demon, A Novel

Episode 143:
Robert Richard’s was proud of his son for earning a university degree and becoming a certified teacher. John was hired by a school district and taught at both the elementary and junior high levels for several years. John started to dislike his job more with each passing year. He finally became so stressed that he had to take a year’s leave of absence and go on long term disability. After his leave was over John made a decision not to return to full time teaching.
Over the next few years John tried out a series of new jobs attempting to make a career change. He had a succession of jobs including stints as a car salesman and various positions that primarily involved physical labor.
On an occupational level none of these jobs really worked out for John. Realizing that he was still two decades shy of retirement age John signed on with a school division as a substitute teacher. To supplement his meagre income John also worked part time at a group home. Although he didn’t consider this to be an ideal situation he could live with it as he had found an avocation that he really enjoyed, that being writing fiction novels. John dreamed of one day having a successful self- supporting career as a professional writer.
John knew that his father was very disappointed that his son had for the most part left a respectable career as a teacher. He could not understand his son’s desire for a career as a writer. Robert knew that this was causing problems in John’s marriage and he wished that his son would give it up for the sake of his family if for no other reason. Robert thought that it was highly unlikely that John could ever make a decent living as a writer.
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