Jeffrey Holmes was a voracious reader. He read books from a variety of genres and especially loved reading the old, classic science fiction stories such as The Mysterious Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells. What Holmes liked best about the book was that it was now conceivable for scientists in the twenty-first century to experiment with human and animal cloning possibly resulting in hybrid species. Jeffrey Holmes thought of H. G. Wells as a prophet of future events.
Mr. Holmes thoroughly enjoyed having Caleb Jacobson as his science lab clean up helper. Not only was Caleb polite and charming, he was also very intellectual for a boy of thirteen. Caleb already possessed the academic interests of a highly educated adult. The young student spent hours at a time doing research on the desktop computer in his room. When Caleb was not educating himself on his PC, he occupied his free time by reading e-books and listening to audiobooks. The young lad shared the same fascination for the old science fiction classics that his grade seven science teacher had.
Episode Eight Mr. Holmes:
Caleb Jacobson adored his grade seven science teacher, Mr. Holmes. Caleb liked Jeffrey Holmes so much that he volunteered to help his teacher clean up and organize the science lab after school three times per week. Mr. Holmes was old, very old to a thirteen year- old boy. The junior high science teacher was a thin built widower who had suffered from almost unbearable pain from his arthritis and comorbid fibromyalgia for over ten years now. The only thing that made his life bearable now was medical marijuana.
Jeffery Holmes stumbled upon the efficacy of marijuana for pain management by way of his neighbour’s son Jordan, or Jordy as his friends referred to him. Jeff was just returning from a boy’s night out at The St. Vital Hotel. While enjoying shooting the breeze with his friends Jeffrey managed to put away a few brews. Feeling a little happy, Jeff heard a loud party going on in Jordy’s back yard and leaned over the fence to investigate what all the excitement was about. He noticed a young teenage girl wearing only her skimpy, red underwear bouncing on a trampoline. Although she was likely quite impaired she still got to demonstrate her athleticism. The young beauty was somehow able to smoke a cigarette and drink a can of Budweiser while simultaneously bouncing on the trampoline.
Jordy took his eyes off the girl just long enough to see Mr. Holmes appearing to be mesmerized by what he was witnessing.
“She sure is a looker. Now ain’t she Mr. Holmes?”
A somewhat startled Jeffrey Holmes responded by saying, “Now that’s not fair Jordy to ask an old man that. Now, if I was about forty years younger I’d feel more qualified to render my opinion. She sure has great balance. I can say that much. Is that a joint that you have in your hand Jordy?”
“Sure is. You want a hit?”
“I haven’t smoked pot since I was your age. Oh. what the hell. Give the old man a couple of tokes.”
“Way to go Mr. Holmes. Why don’t you take the rest of the joint? Feel free to join the party. My folks won’t be back from their trip until tomorrow evening,” Jordy said.
“Ill tell you what. I’ll gratefully accept your offer of the remainder of the joint, but I’ll have to pass on joining your party. I’m very tired and my fibro and arthritis are killing me. I think I’ll just finish the joint and head to bed.”
“I’ll bet you’ll get a great night’s sleep and will wake up with less pain in the morning. See you tomorrow Mr. Holmes.”
Jeffrey Holmes thanked Jordy and sat down on his back door steps to smoke his joint. He inhaled deeply with each hit off the joint. He remembered the proper technique for getting the maximum results from smoking weed from his youth.
When Mr. Holmes awoke he glanced at his alarm clock and saw that the clock read 11:12 AM. Thank God it was Saturday and he wouldn’t have to go to work. Jeffrey had slept for almost twelve hours! He usually only got four to five hours of unrefreshing sleep because of being woken up several times a night from the pain., Mr. Holmes got out of his bed slowly and carefully but did not experience the jolt of pain that he was used to. He walked towards the bathroom with relative ease. “I don’t believe it. Could this be the result of smoking marijuana before I went to bed?”
Being the scientist that he was, Jeffrey asked Jordy if he could procure some more grass for him. The grade seven science teacher had to find out whether he would get similar results if he were to try the cannabis again. Jordy laughed and said, “I thought you’d like it. Yeah, I can get you some more weed today.”
Mr. Holmes gratefully thanked Jordy and assured his young friend that he would pay him generously for his product and services.
Isiah Jacobson had a famous relative known to the world by the moniker of ‘Dr. Feelgood’, a name that the media people of his era had stuck him with. Dr. Feelgood, whose real name was Dr. Max Jacobson, was the great grandfather of Isiah Jacobson. Isiah’s family rarely talked about their famous or infamous relative, contingent upon one’s approval or disdain for the deceased doctor’s controversial medical treatment protocol. Dr. Max soon became known as the ‘doctor of the celebrities’. Following his death it became public knowledge that Max treated an array of famous people including baseball star Mickey Mantle, actress Marilyn Monroe, and President John F. Kennedy.
Dr. Max Jacobson was known for administering to his patients ‘miracle tissue regenerator shots’ that consisted of painkillers, animal hormones, steroids, enzymes, bone marrow, human placenta, and methamphetamine. He refused to reveal the exact details of his medicinal cocktail to anyone. The physician’s ‘miracle tissue regenerator shots’ proved to be extremely addictive and most, if not all, of Dr. Max’s patients became very dependent on their injections and consequently, the doctor himself. This was due to the injection’s exclusivity. The fact was that Dr. Jacobson was the ‘only game in town’ when a patient was seeking his controversial, unorthodox treatment protocol.
The physician of the celebrities was about to suffer a devastating blow to his professional career. The Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs seized Jacobson’s massive supply of amphetamines. Consequently, ‘Dr. Feelgood’s medical license was revoked on April 25, 1975 by The New York State Board of Regents.
“Do you know how this container got in my study?” Isiah asked his little brother.
“Yeah, me and Rob and the rest of the gang went cray-fishing last night and caught a bucket full of these critters. I figured that I’d take one of them home with me,” Caleb answered.
Friday evening had finally arrived and it was crayfish season. Caleb walked to the family’s refrigerator and broke off a small slice of bacon and tied it on to a thread of string that was seven feet long. This was really all the equipment that he needed for a fun night of cray-fishing on the banks of the Red River.
Caleb heard a knock on his front door and as soon as he opened it he could see that Terrence, Aaron and Greg had their owns strings of bacon in their hands and were ready to roll.
“Let’s go Caleb. Ronny and Peter are going to meet us at the opening to the Monkey Speedway. The Monkey Speedway was a man- made or should I say a kid -made trail of trampled down mud, grass and brush that covered an area of the river bank.
Nobody remembers who originally named this terrain as The Monkey Speedway, but the derivation of its name likely belongs to a variety of boys who had tried to ride their bikes at top speed down this challenging path of brush. The ride itself could probably be compared to a smaller version of The Wild Mouse, a popular and scary roller coasting ride at the Red River Exhibition that arrived in Winnipeg every June.
Many of the boys who originally went for a test ride on the Monkey Speedway ended up being suddenly and violently ejected from their bicycles. When they shook off the temporary sense of disorientation resulting from their fall, they could cast their eyes upward only to see their partially mangled bicycles dangling from the branches of the nearby trees.
Some mischievous boys were not above setting potentially disabling and possibility fatally designed traps along the Monkey Speedway. Some adventurous children did indeed suffer injury resulting from these traps, but it was seldom worse than a bloodied and bruised elbow, a scraped knee requiring a few sutures at the local emergency ward or a fractured wrist.
Just let it be said, that the boys of the Norwood Flats were tough. I should more correctly say the boys and a certain girl, as there was a young lass named Tammy who was known to ask the boys if she could join them for a game of tackle football, one of their potentially life altering bike rides or a wild evening of Friday night cray-fishing.
The Crayfish That Destroyed Winnipeg
By Ken David Stewart
Earl Dawson rolled over on his side of the bed and through glazed and blurry eyes glanced over at his Sony digital alarm clock. Bright red numerals indicated that it was 3:03 AM.
“Oh shit,” Earl said as he rolled over in the king size bed that he shared with Edith, his wife of twenty years. It was July 25, 2017 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Earl and Edith owned a beautiful red brick home on Wellington Crescent in the wealthy area of the city. The successful couple’s home was flanked on each side by equally expensive houses. Wellington Crescent was populated by upwardly mobile professionals, doctors, lawyers and dentists and the like.
Earl rolled over toward his wife’s side of the bed. He knew from experience that this was likely to be a useless and frustrating course of action.
Sleep had not come easily for Earl during the last two weeks. He had recently turned fifty -eight and had not been enjoying the initial years on his journey toward old age. Wasn’t life supposed to slow down and get easier as one reached his age? Whoever told Earl this tidbit of wisdom was a fool. One’s body got older and slower, you had aches and pains that you never had before and you had less energy to fight your daily battles. This was an appropriate metaphor for Earl’s present life as he was increasingly feeling like he was a somewhat disabled soldier fighting in a war that he was no longer sure that he could win.
Recently, Earl Dawson had not experienced any slowing down in the speed of his life trajectory and the increasing number of serious issues that were crying out for his attention. After fitfully tossing and turning for nearly five minutes, Earl accidently rolled over onto his wife’s side of the bed. He had accidentally pressed his considerable body weight onto his wife’s left arm.
Edith, Earl’s wife of the last twenty years, greatly resented being startled awake from a deep and peaceful sleep. Edith had suffered from a frustrating inability to remain completely asleep over the total course of a night for most of her adult life. It was her pattern to have to get up and read for about one hour before attempting to fall back asleep again.
Episode Two- The Physical Presentation of Dr. Earl Dawson:
Edith stared angrily at Earl and began to unleash her wrath upon her husband, “Earl, this is the second time in three nights that you have bumped into me and have woke me up at this ungodly hour. What is wrong with you! I think that you should ask your business partner, David if he would take you on as one of his patients and provide you with some type of psychotherapy.”
“I am a psychiatrist, Edith. I’m more than qualified to diagnose and treat myself!” Earl snapped back.
“You know that you can’t psychoanalyze yourself, Earl. It is impossible for you to be objective about your own issues,” Edith argued.
“I would like to think that I know more about my personal issues than David does, with all due respect to his obvious professional abilities. Besides, he is not only a distinguished colleague of mine, David is also my business partner and best friend,” Earl stated as he stomped his left foot on the floor.
“Nevertheless, you need to be under the care of a professional therapist. Now that I consider the point that you made, I must concede that David Mylander is likely an inappropriate candidate for you, but you need to find someone who is.”
Earl got off the mattress and began to pace around the bedroom. At fifty-eight years of age, he still cast a vibrant and formidable figure. Earl was barrel chested but presented with a substantial amount of muscle mass. Although he was only five feet ten inches tall, he had thick muscular arms that he proudly displayed whenever he wore tank tops. His back and shoulders were also well developed often causing a casual observer to ignore Earl’s obesity.
Earl was very defensive about his excessive weight and didn’t like it being pointed out to him. He rode bike and pumped iron as much as his professional schedule and diminishing energy levels would allow him.
Earl was grateful for the fact that his entry into late middle age had not caused any significant hair loss. He had long snow-white hair tied back in a ponytail that ran half way down his back. Earl was grateful that his family doctor had prescribed the medication finasteride to treat his enlarged prostate. Earl was delighted when Dr. Lakewood informed him that finasteride worked like Propecia, the medication that delayed male pattern baldness. Earl was very proud of his long mane of hair and often strutted about like a peacock.
“This whole situation is ridiculous. My life is getting harder and crazier everyday. Its like it says in that Dan Hill song, “like a roller coaster riding out of control.” Earl Dawson complained while continuing to pace back and forth like the hyena he saw last year at Assiniboine Park Zoo.
I am fifty-eight years old and can no longer cope with my own life. I just want to get off this roller coaster. The irony is that my job is treating very mentally unstable people on a daily basis. I’m just asking for a decent night’s sleep occasionally. I don’t have to sleep well every night. My present sleep medication protocol is only marginally effective. During most nights I average only three to four hours of sleep. I’ve already reached the maximum dosage of my sleep management medication.
On the evening of July 27, 2017, Isiah Jacobs, the seventeen year old brother of Caleb Jacobs walks down the orange carpeted steps on his way to his basement rec room study. Elijah is a tall, scrawny red-haired teenager with a serious acne condition who looks like he could be the poster boy for a local chapter of Nerds United.
Isiah’s private study is in his family’s rec room. As he approached the door to his study, Isiah noticed that the door is slightly ajar. As he pushed the door open he sees a translucent, red colored rectangular Tupperware container on the right hand side of his expensive black office chair. He hears a loud, scratching sounds coming from the rectangular, plastic Tupperware container.
Isiah bent over and picked up the container for closer observation. He can now see past the glare emanating from the red translucent Tupperware container. He shivers with fright when a living creature attempts to move around. Isiah is so petrified that he immediately drops the container on the floor of his study. Two of Isiah’s fingers manage to lift off the lid of the container. Isiah notices that there is a narrow layer of what appears to be dirty river water occupying the bottom layer.
To his horror, Isiah sees enough to identify the species of the formerly imprisoned animal. It is a large, hideous orange crayfish.