Episode 42 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 … Continue reading Winter Dreams Episode 42 by Ken David Stewart
The referee dropped the puck and Norberry center, Milt Hamilton won the face-off draw. He immediately passed the puck back to his teammate, defenceman, Russel Stein. When Stein saw a Cougar forward rushing toward him he immediately dumped the puck along the boards. The puck careened behind the Cougar’s net and Rick Miller left his net to stop it. Glenn Davidson saw his opportunity and charged towards Rick using all of his two hundred pounds to smash the Cougar’s goalie into the boards. Rick didn’t see the hit coming and slid down the boards laid flat out on the ice.
A few seconds after Davidson levelled Rick an enraged Eric Coswell raced in front of the Knight’s enforcer and dropped his gloves. Davidson did the same and an epic battle appeared inevitable.. Coswell matched Davidson in height, weight and power. Eric threw the first punch a powerful round house right that brought the Knight’s power forward to his knees. A stream of red blood started to stream out of Davidson’s mouth. By this team the referee saw that Davidson looked injured and with the help of two linesmen restrained Eric Coswell from any further aggression towards his opponent. Norberry’s trainer came out to examine Davidson and Maplewood’s trainer arrived beside Rick Miller. The fans let out two audible gasps. One when Davidson bulldozed Rick Miller into the boards and another one when Eric Coswell pole-axed Glenn Davidson.
With the help of the trainer and a teammate a wobbly Davidson was taken to the Norberry Knights bench. Maplewood’s trainer didn’t want Rick Miller moved until the paramedics arrived with a stretcher. As soon as she saw what happened to Rick, Misty climbed down towards the Cougar’s bench. She turned to Susan and wept when she saw the paramedics arrive.
Rick attended and participated in two more private training sessions with Brent Peterson and Coach Reynolds. Rick had absorbed a lot of new strategies to help his individual play. On a Thursday night following his last practice Rick saw his newly acquired skills start to pay off. The Cougars were playing a team from the north end of the city. The Cougar’s opponents were ranked very close to the Cougars in the league standings. Northwood’s strategy for the game was to intimidate the Cougars with a punishing physical confrontation. The Northwood Raiders did everything in their power to engage the Cougar players into fights. They hacked, slashed, tripped and tried every illegal tactic to draw the Cougars off their game. The Cougars were a relatively small hockey team that was not known for physically aggressive play on the ice. The Cougars really had only one player that was a scoring threat and a Raiders player managed to engage him in a fight during the first period that led to his expulsion from the game.
By the start of the second period Northwood had the Cougars on the run. The smaller team was by now totally intimidated and their one scoring threat was out of the game. The Cougars now did not believe that they could win this game. Their revised goal was to get out of this arena alive. The game officials appeared to have been bought off by the Northwood Raiders. They refused to call penalties on even the most egregious infractions. Several of the Cougars white road jerseys now displayed blood stains.
Amazingly, after all this mayhem the game was still scoreless going into the third period. The reason was the outstanding play of Rick Miller in goal. Rick stopped shots from every conceivable angle including three breakaways. This heroic effort by the Cougars goalie caused Northwood to become frustrated and dispirited. It was as if Rick’s superb play had drained the fight right out of the Raiders.
The Cougars capitalized on some late game lackadaisical play by Northwood and sored two quick goals. With time running out the Raider’s coach chose to pull their goalie in order to acquire a sixth attacker. This strategy backfired when the Cougars scored an empty net insurance goal.
At the final buzzer the Cougar players left the bench and mobbed Rick. They knew who won the game for them.
Winter Dreams (the Continuing Adventures of Rick Miller)
Sequel to Summer Dreams
Rick Miller was sitting alone in a booth at The Red Top Restaurant. The year was 1969 and it was a cold, windy December morning in the Canadian Prairies. He had just arrived as his geography class at Maplewood Collegiate ended. It only took him a few minutes to walk across the street from the high school to the restaurant. He lit up a Rothmans cigarette and began to daydream about Sasha, his former summer love. He had to admit that he missed her now that all was said and done, but he was beginning a new chapter of his life. Shirley, the waitress approached his booth.
“What will it be today Rick, the usual?”
“Yep, my favorite. Hot chocolate,” Rick answered with a smile.
Rick figured that Shirley was in her mid-forties. She had gained a bit of weight over the years but was still relatively attractive for someone her age. Rick noticed that Shirley had a short pinky finger on her right hand. The finger must have been amputated but Rick didn’t allow his curiosity over-ride his impeccable good manners. He had never asked Shirley about what happened to her finger.
Rick’s high school was just across the street from The Red Top. Just as Shirley brought Rick his hot chocolate someone walked in the door of the restaurant. The new customer was a very thin young man roughly Rick’s age. He had long, dirty, unkempt strawberry blond hair. He stopped in front of Rick’s booth and asked if he could join him. Rick was a little surprised as had never seen this fellow before, but he motioned for him to sit down.
“Thanks for letting me join you, man. My name is Peyton Ramparts. I have a spare this period and felt like I needed a cup of java. I was up until two in the morning last night. My band had a really bitchin’ good practise.”
Peyton wore a long black coat with gold striping on the side. It looked like he could have stolen it from Jimi Hendrix.
“What’s your band’s name?” Rick asked.
“Winter Dreams,” Peyton answered. “Hey man can I bum a smoke off you?”
“Yeah, no problem. I hope you like Rothmans. I smoke whatever brand my dad is smoking at the time.”
Peyton started to laugh as he pulled out a cigarette from Rick’s pack.
“How did you come up with the name Winter Dreams for your band?”
“I can’t remember for sure. A guy from my band came up with it during a break from practise. We were all passing around a joint at the time while looking out the living room window. All I remember is watching a heavy snowfall. Then Pick said, “This is sort of like a winter dream and Chevy said that it sounded like a great name for our band.”
Rick was just about ready to ask Peyton another question when both boys felt a sudden rush of cold air breeze through the restaurant. They both looked towards the door and saw a young attractive female come through the door.
“Sorry I’m late Peyton. I had to ask Mr. Pearce for an extension on my research paper for history class. Who’s your friend?” a the girl asked.
“I don’t know his name yet. We just met a few minutes ago. Peyton reached across the table to shake Rick’s hand. “Sorry I should have introduced myself first. I’m Peyton Ramparts.”
“And I’m Rick Miller.”
“Let me introduce you to my girlfriend, Sabrina Davis,” Peyton said as Sabrina slid right next to him on the booth.
“I think I’ve seen you at school Rick. You’re in grade twelve aren’t you? I hear people talking about you in the halls all the time. You’re the Cougars star goalie,” Sabrina said brushing some snow off her navy blue coat.
“I don’t know if I’m a star but I try to play my best for the team,” Rick responded with true humility.
Peyton was already starting to feel comfortable with Rick. He felt that he could trust Rick and be real with him. Rick was sensing the same thing about Peyton. They both had the feeling that they could be honest with one another.
“So how did your meeting with Mr. Pearce go? Is he going to give you an extension on your homework assignment?”
“Yeah, no problem. I told him about my grandmother moving into our house and that she needed me to do things for her. I told Mr. Pearce that my extra duties were causing me to get behind in my studies.”
“What did he say about that?” Rick asked as he put his cup of hot chocolate back on the table. He was starting to feel right at home with Peyton and Sabrina.
“Oh, he said that he understood and would give me an extra week to work on my paper. He said that there was a time in his life when his mother was very sick and he needed to help her out a lot. Of course, it also helps that I’m very cute. All the girls in my class have noticed the way that Mr. Pearce looks at us. He definitely has a thing going for young high school chicks,” Sabrina answered with a chuckle.
“You sure know how to play him,” Peyton said with a bit of admiration. He always felt that Sabrina was smarter than him. She certainly got much better grades in school than he did. Peyton had very little interest in school. He attended the minimum of his required courses basically to keep his parents off his case and to be with Sabrina.
“Rick, do you know that Peyton is in a band. He plays lead guitar as well as writing some original material for the band. His group is called Winter Dreams and one day they are going to make it big. Record a single and an album. The whole nine yards,” Sabrina said proudly.
“We’re not as great as Sabrina says, but we’re not bad for a group that’s only been together for three months. We’re playing a gig tonight at Maplewood Community Center. Why don’t you drop by and check us out, Rick?”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world. It’s been a blast meeting you guys, but I have to get back to the school for my American History class.” Rick said as he put on his white down filled parka and got ready for a biting rush of cold winter air.
After his last class of the afternoon was over Rick headed home. It was about a three block walk from Maplewood Collegiate to his home. There was a light snowfall. While the snowflakes landed on the branches of the trees Rick revelled in the beauty of the winter scene. The sun was shining brightly and this added to Rick’s aesthetic joy. He loved the snow and he loved the winter season, He even liked the crunching sound that his boots made when they pressed down into the snow on the sidewalk.
As it was a Friday with the weekend to look forward to, Rick had a spontaneous idea. He would walk to the neighborhood library and look for something to read when he got some free time on the weekend. Very few people knew how much Rick loved books and libraries. It was just a few blocks out of his way to the local branch of The Winnipeg Public Library.
When Rick arrived at the library he stomped his feet on the red carpet at the entrance. He was careful not to bring any snow into the library. As soon as he stepped inside Rick was overtaken by the captivating scent of books. He had very acute sensory perceptions. These senses would either produce a positive or negative emotional response in Rick. The special odor that one encountered only in libraries always gave Rick’s spirits a lift.
He had developed am interest in a wide variety of topics. The subjects that Rick liked to explore included history, literature, politics and psychology. His pattern was to study a specific topic for about a month at a time. Over the summer months Rick had become engrossed in the topic of current political, social and cultural changes that were presently taking place in The United States. He devoured the pages of the new underground magazine, Rolling Stone. Rick not only found the stories to be fascinating. He loved the look and smell of Rolling Stone. It was a magazine that looked and smelled like a newspaper.
As Rick entered the main foray of the library he was greeted by Denise Carr the librarian. Rick had been to this branch of the library so many times that Denise knew Rick by name.
“So what are we looking for today Rick?” the attractive thirty-five-year-old brunette asked.
Rick answered in a distracted manner, “I’m not sure yet. I’ll probably be checking out the new releases. I want to see if I can find anything on the cultural revolution happening in the States.”
“You’re such an intellectual, Rick. I’ll have a look myself to see what I can come up with,” Denise said.
It didn’t take Rick long to find the case that contained the new releases. Over the summer Rick had read a variety of books both fiction and non-fiction. Although Rick was on the university entrance track at Maplewood Collegiate he would often be intrigued by what the students in the general course stream were reading as part of their prescribed curriculum. Rick discovered that he liked the novels in the general course better than he liked his university entrance novels. Classic novels like The Catcher in the Rye, 1984, Animal Farm and Brave New World intrigued him. As far as non fiction choices went Rick was drawn to any books that dealt with the burgeoning nineteen-sixties counter culture.
As Rick checked out the new releases he found a book written by one of his favorite authors, Norman Mailer. He eagerly picked up Mailer’s new book, The Armies of the Night.
As Rick moved onto the regular book stacks he noticed that he had lost track of the time. He realized that he would be late for supper if he didn’t leave the library soon.
Rick looked up to check the time on the library’s clock. It read 5:03 PM. Rick put on his parka and black toque and headed out the front door of the library. The wind was strong and it felt to Rick that it must be at least twenty below zero. He pulled out a cigarette from the side pocket of his parka and attempted to light it with a pack of matches, As the wind was high Rick moved close to the wall of the library and tried cupping his hands around the cigarette and matches, It took Rick three tries to successfully light his Rothman’s cigarette.
It was already dark outside when Rick left the library. He knew that he would have to keep up a quick pace to keep warm on his five block walk to his parents’ house. The street lights were already turned on and Rick liked how they reflected off the snowbanks next to the sidewalk. He also enjoyed the crunching sound that his winter boots made as they pushed into the snow.
When Rick arrived at his house he saw his father sitting on his favorite sofa while reading the paper. He heard his mother calling from the kitchen. “Supper’s ready. Move to the dining room.”
Rick and his dad immediately walked towards the dining room. They both knew how frustrated Mrs. Miller could get if her family waited too long before they got up for their meals. Rick’s mother was in her early fifties and still retained an attractive figure. She continued to wear her dark brown hair long as that was what her husband wanted. Rick was the eldest of the Miller children. He had a younger brother named David and an even younger sister called Beth.
As the family passed the turkey, stuffing, potatoes and peas down the line Rick was deep in thought. When he passed a bowl of peas over to his father he was reminded of the dreadful experience he had over the summer working at his dad’s printing plant. His father had tried to help Rick out by hiring him as summer help. Who knows? If things had worked out for Rick, he might still be working at the printing plant permanently.
Unfortunately, that’s not how things played out. Rick was just not cut out to be a blue collar, factory worker. He was not well coordinated and had great difficulty performing most manual labor tasks especially those that required fine motor skills. No matter what tasks his foreman assigned to him Rick could not get the hang of it and performed poorly on these jobs. Rick worked with a small crew of other young adults who laughed at Rick while he struggled with his assignments. They told him that they could train a monkey to do his job. After three frustrating and humiliating days on the job Rick told his father that he was quitting his job. He told his dad why he was resigning and apologized if he had embarrassed his father. His dad was very understanding and was not really surprised by Rick’s decision to resign his position.
After his family had finished supper Rick told them about his plans for the evening.
“I met two very interesting people today, a couple named Peyton and Sabrina. Peyton plays guitar in a local rock band and I was invited to see them play tonight at Maplewood Community Center. The doors open at 7:30 PM so I have to leave right now to make it there on time.”
His parents told him that they hoped he would have a good time this evening. They were pleased to hear that Rick had made some new friends as Rick didn’t socialize very much. They often worried about the amount of time Rick spent on his studies at school and hockey obligations. His parents were becoming concerned that Rick might one day crash under the pressure.
Rick walked the five blocks to Maplewood Community Center. As he was in good physical condition from playing hockey he was able to keep up a fast pace. When he arrived he saw that there was already a crowd of about ten people waiting for the doors to open. Rick thought that Peyton’s band, Winter Dreams must be very popular.
When the doors to the club opened even more people had arrived to see the band. Many young people were already lighting up their first cigarette of the evening. The houselights were still up while Winter Dreams set up their equipment. While checking how his Gibson Les Paul guitar sounded plugged into his Marshall amplifier Peyton turned around to see Rick in the audience. He waved at Rick and said, “Hey man. Glad you could make it. Sabrina’s helping set up the canteen.”
‘Thanks for inviting me. I love to hear live bands. I’ll go over to the canteen area and say ‘hello’ to Sabrina.
After a few minutes Peyton gave a thumbs up sign to the community club custodian. This was the signal to dim the house lights. Within seconds the community club’s halls, walls and floors reverberated with the heavily amplified sounds emanating from the band’s Marshall amplifiers. Winter Dreams lead vocalist sounded the sensual moan that opened Whole Lotta Love the first track on the second LP released by Led Zeppelin. Winter Dreams lead singer Vance Chessler was blessed with the same physical attractiveness and sexual appeal of Led Zeppelin’s front man, Robert Plant. He also possessed a voice that was eerily close to Plant’s. Peyton was a very proficient lead guitarist and had easily mastered the basic guitar riff to Whole Lotta Love. Some of the audience were already dancing or otherwise moving their bodies in rhythm with the pounding repetitious beat that was greatly enhanced by the deep thundering notes played by bassist Chevy Raines. The group’s drummer, Pick Harding tried hard to pound out the sonorous beat maintained by his hero, drummer John Bonham of Led Zeppelin.
For many of the students of Maplewood Collegiate the weekly canteens were the highlight of their weekends. There would sometimes be a house party or two to attend after the community center closed down at 11:30 PM. Some of the attendees would imbibe a couple of drinks and maybe share a joint before the canteen opened.
This evening was no exception. One young male was already intoxicated when he arrived at the community center. As he staggered backwards he almost knocked over a burly looking fellow who greatly took exception to this action. The big, heavy-set dude landed a perfect shot to the chin of the inebriated teenager who had bumped into him. The altercation ended right there as the victim of the assault was too drunk to get up and defend himself.
Vance Chessler stepped up to his mic stand and said, “Thank you so much people. We’ve had a blast playing for you guys tonight and we only have time for one more song. What do you people want to hear?”
An attractive big breasted blonde wearing a blue and white striped tee-shirt and skin tight jeans yelled out, “Play ‘Gloria’”
“Ah, an oldie but a goodie. A wise choice my sweet young thing,” said Vance. “’Gloria’ it shall be and because you guys have been so good to Winter Dreams tonight, Peyton’s been practising a fantastic guitar solo that will be included in this song.
When the band finished playing ‘Gloria’, the small but crowded and sweaty audience began clapping their hands, whistling, stomping their feet and screaming, “More! More!” Vance looked exhausted but he turned around to the band to check if they could do one more song. They nodded their consent.
“You are too kind, but if it is okay with the custodian we’ll do one more song.” Vance looked at Jack, the heavy set custodian who yelled, “Go ahead guys. Five minutes longer isn’t going to kill me.”
Vance said, “You know guys, around 1965-66, there was a show band that we really loved called Paul Revere and the Raiders. We’d like to do their first big hit, ‘Louie, Louie.”
With that Peyton hit the first three chords to start the band off. Despite the fact that the hour was growing late the kids took to the dance floor with wild abandon each doing their own thing while perspiring profusely. A line of boys stood up a few feet from the band wishing that they were one of the guys performing on stage.
When the song was over Peyton picked up a towel to dry off his perspiration and walked towards Rick,
“Well, what did you think of my band?”
“You guys are fantastic,” Rick said.
“Thanks. I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse. What if you help Jack with sweeping and carrying the trash outside? After the band is finished packing up our gear we’ll all go over to my place and have a few beers.”
“You’ve got yourself a deal. Thanks a lot, man.”
The band had two vehicles to load up their equipment. Chevy Kurtain, of course, had a Chevy van from which his name was derived. Peyton Ramparts had borrowed his dad’s white Ford Galaxie. Rick helped load most of the group’s gear into the van. The remainder of the musical equipment was loaded into the back seat and trunk of the white Ford Galaxie.
Rick rode shotgun along with Peyton.
“Wow, I had no idea you could play guitar like that,” Rick said. “Your band really put the crowd over tonight.”
“Thanks man. I was getting good vibes from the audience too,” Peyton said. “It always feels good when you feel rewarded for your work. I mean Winter Dreams has been practising two to three times a week for the last three months. Our sound is really coming together. We’re hoping to record a record soon as soon as I finish writing some original material for the band. Vance and I usually team up to write the songs. The stuff we’ve come up with already sounds pretty good.”
“How are you going to get your music recorded?” Peyton asked.
“Chevy’s dad works at CKRC radio station. He has made some good connections with the deejays. One of them said he would see if we could do some recording at the radio station.”
The boys noticed that it had started snowing heavily and that the wind had really picked up.
“I was listening to the radio at home and the forecast warned of a possible blizzard this weekend,” Rick said.
“It’s starting to look like the station’s weather predictions were right,” Peyton said. “I’m just glad that the bad weather held off to after our gig.”
Peyton had the windshield wipers going at their fastest speed but his visibility was still poor. Rick enjoyed the winter season, even the snowstorms. He actually liked shovelling snow at his house. Rick loved to watch the snow pouring down under the amber glow of the street lamps.
Within ten minutes Peyton’s car and Chevy’s van made it to Peyton’s place. Rick helped Peyton unload his car. He noticed that it was presently very cold with the added wind chill. His fingers were starting to freeze. The band had to be very careful unloading their gear as the ground underneath them was now quite slick. Ice patches were covered by the new snowfall and it was impossible to predict where you the slippery spots were.
As the boys finished loading the last of their equipment into Peyton’s house, a red Buick parked in front of the house and several people started getting out of the large car. Among the passengers Rick could see his neighbor, Misty.
When Rick and the band arrived at Peyton’s place they headed down to his parent’s finished rec room. They were greeted at the door by Peyton’s parents, Stan and Ruth Ramparts. Peyton’s parents were very cool people. They got married at a very young age and smoked marijuana. Stan and Ruth were both very proud of their son and were very supportive of his musical aspirations. They were unlike most parents as they actually listened when young people talked to them. They were actually happy that Peyton’s group and his friends liked to practise and hang out at their place. They reasoned that this way they knew what Peyton was up to most of the time.
Every successful band has fans, groupies and hangers- on and Winter Dreams were no exception. Young people felt that they were hipper and higher up on the social scale if they were considered to be intimates of a well known popular band.
Misty arrived with a car load of the privileged Winter Dreams insiders. To Misty being cool was everything and she always needed to be where the action was.
Both beer and weed were in abundance at this after gig party. These post concert get gatherings somewhat resembled the press conferences that professional athletes would have after they played a game. Many of the group’s friends and followers would comment on the highlights of the bands performance and would ask questions about particular song choices.
Misty sat cross legged on a beige colored carpet and turned her head to look at Rick who was looking very relaxed sitting on a burgundy sofa.
She was very surprised to see Rick here but thought about her last contact with him. About a month ago she was taking the bus home when she spotted Rick seated about halfway down the length of the bus. Misty asked Rick if she could sit in the open seat beside him. Rick was also surprised to run into Misty and felt rather honored that she wanted to sit beside him. She was felt bad for both Rick and her sister, Sasha when they broke up, but she had to admit to herself that she now found Rick to be very attractive. Rick and Misty had a really friendly, enjoyable conversation during their bus ride home.
It didn’t take Misty long to make a move on Rick. She got up and jumped into a small space between Rick and another chick.
Rick was a little startled by his sudden proximity to Misty but he tried to look cool.
“Misty, I haven’t seen you since the bus ride. How’s it going?”
“I’m alright. It’s so great to see you here. Who told you about the party?” Misty asked.
“Peyton and Sabrina invited me.”
“Wow! How do you know Peyton and Sabrina?”
“I didn’t know them until this morning. Peyton asked me if he could join me for a coffee at The Red Top. A few minutes later Sabrina joined us and they ended up inviting me to the canteen tonight. I didn’t see you there. Did you get to see the Peyton’s band?”
‘Unfortunately I didn’t. Jim and I had planned to go earlier in the week but he phoned me from The St. Vital Hotel and told me that he was going to stay at the bar for awhile and party with his buddies from work. When he finally got to my place he was drunk and we had a big fight. We ended up breaking up and by that time I was upset and figured it was too late to come see the band any way. Shortly after Jim left my place I got a call from Sabrina. She said that she was expecting to see me at canteen and was worried that something had happened to me. I told her what happened with me and Jim. Sabrina said it would do me good to come to the party after the gig. So I called up my friend Carol and I asked her if she wanted to go. She said she did and that she’d give me a ride to the party. So that’s how I got here. How did you get here?”
“I helped the band take out their gear after the gig and Peyton gave me a ride here,” Rick answered.
“You are always surprising me. You didn’t see me but I was at the library this afternoon and saw you browsing the stacks. I saw you leave with a big pile of books. I was browsing for books in the stack behind you and looked through an opening. I was able to see some of the books you’d selected. You had Norman Mailer’s new book, The Armies of the Night, Steal This Book by Abbie Hoffman and a couple of other books about SDS and the Weatherman,” Misty said. moving so close to Rick that their bodies were squished together. “I didn’t know that you were such an intellectual and that you were so interested in American politics.”
Rick laughed and was enjoying having Misty so close to him. He too found her very attractive. He loved the scent of patchouli that Misty was wearing. “Well, what can I say Misty. The cat’s out of the bag now. Yeah, I read a lot. Mostly because I really don’t have much of a social life.”
“Not that many people know that I read a lot too. As I just found out you and I have very similar interests. Look, Rick I really want to get to know you a lot better. Why don’t I give you a call tomorrow? Maybe we can go out for lunch. Right now let me introduce you to some people at the party. I’d say let’s go talk to Peyton and Sabrina but it looks like they are holding court right now.
Rick really enjoyed the rest of the evening, He thought that several of Misty’s friends were really cool. People kept going over to Peyton’s record collection and put on their favorite albums. The record that got the most play was Led Zeppelin II. Although the music critics of rock journalism didn’t give the album very positive reviews, the people attending the party seemed to love it. The new Led Zeppelin LP got by far the most plays. Rick especially enjoyed the songs, Heartbreaker and Bring it on Home.As Rick smoked one of his Old Port Colts he thought about how much his social life had picked up in one day. He agreed to have lunch with Misty at The Red Top Restaurant. He was so excited about it and the way his whole day had played out that he knew he wouldn’t get much sleep tonight, but being only eighteen years old Rick knew he’d still feel great in the morning.
After the party ended Rick and Misty got a ride home from Misty’s friend Carol. Misty actually kissed Rick goodnight which surprised, but pleased him no end.
Rick was right. He didn’t get home until near 3:00 AM but he only managed a couple of hours sleep until he needed to get up to ready himself for hockey practise. This was Rick’s third year playing for The St. Vital Cougars. He didn’t play very well during last year’s play off run and he still felt bad about it. Last season Rick felt more stressed than a seventeen- year- old should have to be
. He had a very demanding coach who expected his team to win every game even if it was only an exhibition contest. Coach Reynolds would often yell at his players when they made a mistake or didn’t play up to his expectations. Rick often took the brunt of his coach’s wrath as he was the Cougar’s number one goalie and was often blamed if his team lost a game. Rick would burn with shame and humiliation whenever he was publicly called out by his coach. Rick had a very sensitive temperament and would be upset for days after a loss. He never questioned his coach or his tactics. The truth was that Coach Reynolds terrified him and he would have quit the team if he wasn’t so afraid of what the coach would do to him as a consequence. The amazing thing was that the majority of the team remained loyal to him in spite of the emotional abuse. The one thing that could not be denied was that Coach Reynolds always produced a competitive hockey team.
Chapter One Hundred Nineteen
After the Harbor Patrol watched Luc and Guy get swept overboard by Ogopogo’s tail, they quickly put on their diving gear. Both of the officers were trained divers who had plenty of experience rescuing people who had fallen overboard.
The two young divers, Jayson Kilmore and Craig Hartley moved their boat to the location where they had spotted blood in the water. They decided that, for now, only one diver would go below the surface of the water to look for the two bodies of the men who had been swept overboard. The first diver, Jayson Kilmore reached the one hundred foot level when he saw the mangled bodies of the two criminals. Luc had his left arm torn off and Luc’s body was separated at the torso. As the two men were obviously dead Jayson came back to the surface.
As he rose to the surface of the lake Jayson felt as if something large was travelling in his direction. He turned around in time to see two large amber eyes staring intently at him. Jayson noted that the eyes belonged to an enormous, serpentine shaped animal. Fortunately, after having a good look at Jayson, the menacing animal turned around in the water and swam in the opposite direction. Jayson rose very quickly to the surface. His partner, Craig Hartley, helped pull Jayson out of the water and into the boat.
“So, what did you see down there. You look kind of shaken up,” Craig noted.
“It was horrible. You wouldn’t believe it. I found the bodies of the two men, all mangled up. I also saw Ogopogo while I was down there,” Craig answered with trembling in his voice.
The two Harbor Patrol constables decided that they would cast a large net under the water and would haul the bodies of the deceased to the surface. After this action was taken, the two constables headed for the shore. From there they took the two bodies to the medical examiner.
Chapter One Hundred Eight
Mike O’Grady was moving between his cameras and camcorders in an almost athletic manner. Jack and some of the crew could hardly keep from laughing out loud as they watched their three hundred pound visual technician dance acrobatically between his cameras. Mike was breathing heavily and perspiring profusely as he barked out directions to the divers telling them in which direction to move his wooden masterpiece. Mike was so engaged in what he was doing that he didn’t seem to realize that it was very unlikely that the divers could hear him. In an almost trance like state Mike paid meticulous attention to the pictures that he was taking. He wanted the model Ogopogo’s movements to look as life- like as possible.
Under the water, one of the divers was startled by a heavy object bumping into his body with considerable force. He quickly rose to the surface in time to see a very unusual creature come to the surface. One of Jack’s crew called out to him, “Jack, look to your right!”
“What?” Jack said as he was drinking a beer and had been joking happily with one of his lighting technicians. When he turned to look to his right, Jack dropped his bottle of beer on the deck of his cabin cruiser. It shattered in pieces.
“I don’t believe it! What is that thing? It’s trying to jump on the back of Mike’s model,” Jack said, his face registering extreme fright.
The lighting crew turned their lights on high beam in order to get a better look at the phenomenon right before their eyes.
The creature was small in relation to the size of the replica but it looked eerily similar to the model. It was greenish in colour and could be as much as ten feet long. It had a long neck and thick body with visible flippers. It was trying hard to get the model Ogopogo’s attention.
“You can call me crazy, but that animal looks like a much smaller version of Ogopogo,” Jack said, who was now pacing around the boat’s deck and was wildly gesticulating in the direction of the creature. Jack didn’t pay any attention to the shards of his broken beer bottle that he was stepping on.
“Why is it trying to get on top of the model’s back?” asked one of the lighting technicians.
“It’s trying to play with the fake Ogopogo. So far it hasn’t figured out that it’s not real,” one of the muscular crew members answered.
“Who knows? The little guy might think it’s found its mother,” Jack surmised.
“Move the boats closer!” Jack Kimberley yelled to the two men at the helm. “I want to get as close to this thing as we possibly can. I want Mike to be in a position to get the best possible video footage. Lighting crew, turn up the lights. I want this footage to be as clear as is technically possible.”
Mike O ‘Grady worked his video equipment like a man possessed.
“Jack, do you realize that this is going to be the most credible evidence ever of Ogopogo’s existence?” said Tyrone, on of Jack’s crew members.
By this time the Ogopogo, junior edition, had taken notice of the two boats. It had probably become cognizant of the fact that the wooden replica was not alive and was therefore not one of its own species. The bright lights and the cameras appeared to have angered the creature. It st moved rapidly in the direction of the two boats. It swam right up to the side of the cabin cruiser and began pounding one of its flippers against it.
With an unbelievable display of courage Mike did not leave his video equipment and kept his camcorder focused right on the creature.
Justin, one of the other crew members, screamed at Mike to stop the filming and to move away from the creature. Unfortunately, Mike was too mesmerized by what was happening to pay any attention to Justin.
Within a matter of seconds the creature raised its long head and neck out of the water. It opened its mouth revealing a menacing set of teeth. It wrapped its mouth around Mike’s right arm and in one swift bite tore it off.
Mike screamed in agony and passed out from the shock of his sudden amputation.
By this time the smaller crew of the speed boat had climbed aboard the cabin cruiser. As Jack and the crew members of both boats rushed to Mike’s side trying to attend to him, the creature suddenly submerged with the greater part of Mike’s arm in its mouth.
What little was left of Mike’s right arm was spouting blood profusely all over the cabin cruiser’s deck. Fortunately, one of the crew members that Jack had hired, Brian Kelly, was a trained paramedic. Thinking ahead, he had brought his medical supply bag on board the boat. Brian immediately took a large bandage out of his bag and expertly applied a tourniquet to the stump of Mike’s arm. He then applied all of the large bandages and gauze that he had available to him.
Brian has successfully stopped the blood from gushing, but he knew that the crew had to get Mike to a hospital quickly if he was going to survive. Mike regained consciousness when Brian started giving him medical assistance, but was now rapidly going into shock.
Brian had now taken charge of the crew and started giving orders. Jack Kimberley was not about to invoke Brian’s authority realizing the severity of the situation.
Brian Kelly began to bark out orders. “We need to immediately get these boats back to shore. You two guys, who were manning the boats, get these boats moving immediately. Time is of the essence if we are going to save Mike’s life. He needs to get to a hospital emergency room as quickly as possible. Jack, do you have any blankets on board your boats?”
“Yes, I do. I think have three large blankets,” Jack answered.
“Good, let’s get them out now. Mike is in shock and we need to keep him as warm as possible,” Brian said. He was no longer acting as a crew member, but as the true medical professional that he was trained to be. Jack’s boat travelled to the lake front at top speed. With Mike’s life being in danger, no one thought of retrieving the replica of Ogopogo. The divers would not have been willing to risk their lives trying to get the model back on the boat. They did not know if Ogopogo was still in close proximity. The replica was to remain floating on the surface of the lake.
Infinite Realities Main Draft
Rick Chandler was a few feet from the door to his apartment. He was in a hurry to find his key as he could hear the phone in his apartment ringing. His son was probably calling him to see if his dad could take him to the next WWE live wrestling show. As Rick fumbled for his keys he was startled by an odd looking man that had come up behind him. The man looked very old with his long white hair and beard. He was very short and his face was deeply etched with the wrinkles left by living the hard life and his clothes looked like they were obtained from the Salvation Army or a thrift store. Maybe this strange little man had found his wardrobe in a dumpster.
Rick turned towards the man and said,” Look old man. I’m kind of in a hurry. The phone is ringing in my apartment and I need to answer the call.”
“I understand sir. This will only take a couple of seconds. I’m giving you a present, a new piece of technology that you will never wish to part with.”
Rick grabbed the object from the strange man’s hand and unlocked the door to his apartment.
When he got inside his apartment his phone had stopped ringing. All his attention was now focused on what he was holding in his left hand. The object appeared to be an eight inch Android tablet that did not have any logo or brand name. The borders of the tablet were florescent and changed color every two seconds. The colors were bold and beautiful. Rick was sure that he did not recognize some of the colors. He watched in amazement when the borders of the tablet turned translucent. The touch screen contained many apps with icons preinstalled. Rick was startled when he heard his phone start to ring again. He stumbled over a pile of books on the orange, threadbare carpet as he attempted to find his red mobile phone on his old, well- worn coffee table. The mobile phone was buried under a haphazard pile of magazines.
Rick figured that it was probably his stepson Blake calling. Since his recent separation from Blake’s mother, Rick made it a high priority to visit his stepson on a regular basis. He and Blake had formed a strong bond while Rick and his mother were together. This bond had remained intact with the now thirty-two year old Blake. Rick didn’t like living alone in his apartment and he missed his family.
As he was very curious about discovering more about his unusual tablet, he had to force himself to place it on the coffee table while he answered the phone.
As he punched the talk button and said ‘hello’ Rick could hear the excitement in his step-son’s voice.
“Hey, Dad. Did you hear about the next wrestling card on August third? It’s going to be at The MTS Center.”
“No, I didn’t hear about it until you told me. Who’s in the main event?”
“Roman Reigns against Brock Lesnar for the WWE heavyweight championship.”
“That should be a great match,” Rick said. “Do you want to go?”
“You bet Dad. Can you take me?”
“Absolutely. I like wrestling as much as you do, son.”
Rick Chandler loved professional wrestling, truth be told. He was actually continuing a family tradition. Rick’s father took him to watch wrestling matches. He still had fond memories of seeing wrestling legends like The Undertaker and Ric Flair.
Rick walked over to the coffee table and picked up the tablet. As he examined it he knew that this electronic device was a very new and advanced technology and could not as yet be purchased at your local Best Buy or Future Shop. He could not recognize any of the apps or icons on the touch screen. Rick wondered how the disheveled old man he saw in the hall acquired such a sophisticated piece of technology. Was he the inventor? And why would he give it to Rick, a total stranger?
Rick decided that he didn’t need to know the answers to these questions right now. He needed to see how the tablet worked and what it could do. It didn’t come with an owner’s manual so Rick would have to figure things out by randomly touching the icons on the screen.
Rick looked forward to the challenge. He didn’t consider himself to be a geek but he was very interested in technology. Rick owned an HP desktop PC, a Dell laptop, a PS4, a smart phone and a Samsung Galaxy tablet. When he wasn’t working or spending time with Blake, Rick was usually engaged with one of his electronic toys.
“I understand sir. This will only take a couple of seconds. I’m giving you a present, a new piece of technology with which you will never want to part.
Rick hurriedly grabbed the object from the strange man’s hand and unlocked the door to his apartment.
Rick walked over to the coffee table and picked up the tablet. As he examined it he knew that this electronic device was a very new and advanced technology and could not as yet be purchased at your local Best Buy or Future Shop. He could not recognize any of the apps or icons on the tablet. Rick wondered how the disheveled old man he saw in the hall acquired such a sophisticated piece of technology. Was he the inventor? And why would he give it to Rick, a total stranger?
Rick decided that he didn’t need to know the answers to these questions right now. He needed to see how the tablet worked and what it could do. It didn’t come with an owner’s manual so Bill would have to figure things out by randomly touching the icons on the screen.
Rick looked forward to the challenge. He didn’t consider himself to be a geek, but he was very interested in technology. Rick owned an HP desktop PC, a Dell laptop, a PS4, a smart phone and a Samsung Galaxy tablet. When he wasn’t working or spending time with Blake, Rick was usually engaged with one of his electronic toys.
Rick Chandler was sixty-two years old. He was five feet ten inches tall and weighed approximately three hundred ten pounds. He kept himself in tip top physical condition up until his early forties. At age forty-three Rick stopped smoking cigarettes and started to take medication for his depression. Despite working out with weights and going for daily rides on his beloved Giant mountain bike Rick continued to gain weight often at a rate of ten pounds per month. Although he still looked powerful and physically intimidating Rick was now obese and no longer took pride in his appearance.
Rick was on long term disability. His estranged wife Janine had dumped him about the same time that Rick encountered the most difficult class of his thirty year teaching career. Like a perfect storm, Rick’s’ life and mental health began to fall apart. His principal was aware that Bill was struggling with his new class of grade eights. He called Rick into his office. Worried about Rick’s health he told him that he should go on stress leave.
The first thing that Rick noticed on his new tablet was an orange and red icon that was noticeably larger than the others and was flashing off and on. The icon read ‘Press Here First’ and Rick complied. A rather soothing male voice began to speak.
“Hello Rick. You are one of the lucky individuals selected by our corporation to try out this amazing advanced technology that has come into your possession. We have only manufactured five models so far. We have selected four other people and yourself to give our amazing product a test run. After a predetermined period of time we will bring all five of you to a top secret location in which you will all provide us with valuable feedback on the efficacy of our product. All of the tablets are somewhat different. We are trying to ascertain which of the tablets will be chosen as the elite model for our first run of production targeted for release to the general public. We want to make sure that we have worked out all the bugs by this time based on the group’s feedback.
You are probably asking yourself, ‘what’s in it for me?’ As you get more familiar with your tablet the answer will become obvious. Also at the end of our experiment everyone in the focus group will get to keep their devices. The corporation estimates that these tablets will initially have a retail price of ten to fifteen thousand dollars. I know that by now your innate curiosity is sufficiently peaked to give your tablet a test run. I will not be providing you with any instructions or direction as to how to use it. You will have to find this out yourself through the process of trial and error.”
As soon as the audio message was over the touch screen changed. The background color changed to black and a new set of apps and icons appeared. Rick briefly scanned the touch screen determined to figure out how this unusual tablet worked. The first app that caught his eye was one called Time Traveller. After Rick touched this app a menu screen appeared that displayed a series of options. The first option that appeared was Select the Date. The next option was Select a Location in Your Universe. The app then asked whether or not Rick wanted to be part of the experience. The next question asked if Rick wanted an historically accurate experience or if he wished to alter it using his own imagination and input. Rick picked the option of using his own mind to alter and rearrange the experience. Rick typed in a message that indicated that he wanted to be at the Altamont Speedway in December of 1969 the day of The Rolling Stones free concert
Rick noticed another option on the drop down menu of the app that he had selected. It said, “What age would you like to be?” He typed in ‘twenty-two; on the virtual keyboard.
As if no time had passed Rick was on the grounds of the Altamont Speedway a few feet away from the stage. Standing to his right was a short girl with medium length blond hair. Rick guessed that she was a few years younger than him. He was not immediately attracted to her.
On stage The Jefferson Airplane were playing ‘The Other Side of This Life’. Rick found it strange that the main stage appeared to be only about three feet above the ground. A scuffle broke out among people close to the stage. There was a lot of pushing and shoving and a few punches were thrown. The short blond haired girl was pushed into Rick’s chest. She wrapped her arms around Rick and held on for dear life. He could feel her trembling with fear. Rick’s tablet had fallen to the ground in front of him. He quickly picked it up and stuck into one of the pocket of his jean jacket.
Rick dragged his new female acquaintance to a small open space in the crowd. For the first time she spoke to him.
“Hi, my name is Athena. I don’t know you, man, but I’m scared. Something’s wrong with this crowd. They’re not peaceful at all and I heard some freaks saying that some people are selling bad acid. I want to get out of here but I can’t see a way out of this crowd.”
Rick immediately thought of his tablet and pulled it out. He typed, ‘Can I take this girl with me if I choose a different time and location?” The tablet began to type an answer, ’Yes, you may take Athena with you. Where would you like to go next?’
Rick typed in, ‘Memorial Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada July 10, 1969.’
As if no time had passed Rick found himself in Memorial Park in Winnipeg with Athena beside him.
“What just happened, man? Where are we?” Athena asked as she looked around the park. She could see a band she did not recognize on a stage at the west side of the park. An audience of close to two hundred people were there to watch the concert. The vibe that she got was that this was a very mellow crowd that were probably stoned on the ample supply of joints that were being passed around the audience.