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 smell 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.
Chapter One Hundred Sixty-One:
The smaller creature appeared to realize that the rifle that Stephanie was pointing at it would cause it significant pain. It turned its neck right around as if looking for back -up from one of the adults. This gave Winston, Wally and Garry enough time to throw a large net over the smaller Ogopogo. When the animal realized that it was trapped it squirmed and twisted around trying to break free from the net. As it became increasingly frustrated with its futile attempts to escape, it let out a loud, squealing sound that was as aggravating as a fingernail scraping along a chalk board.
The members of Blake Riley’s crew had watched in amazement what was happening aboard Winston Standfield’s boat. Blake’s video technicians were filming the whole incident.
A few minutes later Blake’s boat was attacked by one of the adult creatures. This animal was waving its tail around and had succeeded in knocking Dr. Lionel Phelge off the boat and into the lake.
Both Kyle Winter and Ryan Richards didn’t waste any time diving into the water in an attempt to save Dr. Phelge. Just as the two young men grabbed hold of Lionel and were dragging him to safety, the other smaller version of the species swam rapidly towards Ryan, Kyle and Lionel.
Fortunately, the two young rescuers and Dr. Phelge had a head start on the creature and were able to board Blake Riley’s ship on time. About a minute after the men were safely aboard the smaller Ogopogo found a way to manoeuver itself onto the main deck of the ship.
Blake, Peter Marks and John Richards were ready with their own large net. They struggled with the creature until they had it trapped. The smaller animal struggled as violently as the one aboard Winston’s ship. It, too, did not have any success escaping from the trap that had been set for it and started its own mournful wail.
Both adult creatures attempted to rescue the smaller ones but were met with a volley of gunfire by the crews of both ships. Being badly wounded the two adults were riddled with bullets and were bleeding profusely. Within minutes both of the adults sunk back into the lake.
Blake Riley, Dr. Phelge and Winston Stanfield knew they had the physical evidence that they came for. Their boats headed for the shore.
Chapter One Hundred Thirty-Four:
Blake Riley had finished speaking with Dean Anderson and Dr. Phelge. He had impressed upon them the necessity of getting out on the lake as soon as possible. Blake informed the two men that given all the recent publicity, they were likely to not be the only expedition searching for Ogopogo. He had also phoned John Richards to make sure that he and his son Ryan were ready to go. His last call was to Daniel to make sure that Peter Marks and his crew of professional divers would be joining them at the specified lake front location.
Within an hour all of Blake Riley’s crew had arrived and reported for duty. Although this expedition was supposed to be a university research exploration, it was clear who was really in charge. Blake Riley could not have succeeded in accumulating his considerable wealth unless he knew how to lead others. Blake new instinctively how to take charge and lead others.
The university crew was the first to arrive at the lake front. This group of students including Ryan and Monique were already very excited. Dean Sanderson and Dr. Lionel Phelge were probably as filled with nervous energy as the young people were. The two men of academia were very cognizant that they were about to embark on a journey that could make history.
Not long after the university crew had arrived Peter Marks and his trained professional investigative unit arrived.
John Richards was the last to arrive, being somewhat delayed and upset by his recent telephone conversation with his ex-wife, Susan.
Blake Riley instructed the groups and individuals to board his cabin cruiser. To say that his boat was luxurious would be grossly understating the obvious. All that boarded the vessel were now talking about the beauty and utility of Blake’s boat.
Once all were aboard Blake asked everyone to assemble on the main deck. With a huge smile on his face, Blake Riley began addressing all that were assembled on his craft.
“Ladies and gentlemen. We are about to embark on an expedition that is going to make history. In a few short minutes we will start heading out to the area surrounding Rattlesnake Island. As our two esteemed university professors are well aware, this is the location where the most sightings of Ogopogo have been reported. Some cryptozoologists believe that Ogopogo’s lair is to be found somewhere in the underwater caverns beneath Rattlesnake Island. As is the case with most, if not all of you, I am expecting at least one close encounter with this legendary lake creature. I am expecting that we will return with indisputable evidence of the reality of the existence of this exotic animal.”
In a few minutes Winston Stanfield returned with the boys’ coffees.
“I hope you guys like Tim Horton’s coffee with some International Delight creamer,” said Winston.
Garry was the first one to take a sip of his coffee. “Wow, this is delicious, sir. It’s much better than the coffee they give us at the mental health center.”
“What you get there is good old stock institutional coffee. I know. I have some acquaintance with mental health facilities myself. Oh, by the way Garry. You don’t have to call me, ‘sir’. It makes me feel old and much more mature than I actually am. You can call me Winston or just, ‘man’, as far as that goes. We’re pretty informal at my place,” said Winston
“I kind of invited myself over to your house,” said Garry “When Wally told me about your encounter with Ogopogo I wanted to meet you. He also told me that you’re a very cool guy.”
“Well, I do, indeed have an Ogopogo story to tell. The actual encounter with the animal was more, Cody’s, my assistant. He was diving in the lake after I got a digital image of a large object on my radar. The young man got quite a scare down there. He told me that he got a pretty good look at Ogopogo from a distance that was a little too close for his liking. Cody told me that he would never go diving in Lake Okanogan again.”
“Wow, Cody’s lucky. He’s probably one of the few people in the world that had a close up look at Ogopogo,” said Garry.
Winston chuckled at this. “ Oh, I don’t think Cody considered himself to be that lucky. It was more like he was scared out of his wits. There’s likely a lot more people than we can imagine that have seen the lake monster. They don’t report their sightings because they don’t want to be laughed at.”
“Like what happened to you,” said Wally. “You actually lost your job over it.”
“Oh, it wasn’t the only reason they got rid of me, but I don’t want to talk about it right now. Let’s watch some wrestling. It’s just about time for Friday Night Smackdown.”
Winston Standfield arrived at The Kelowna Mental Health Center promptly at 7:00 PM on Friday evening. Wally and Garry were waiting eagerly for him and ran out to meet Walter who was inside his 1994 white Ford Tempo. Winston had bought the Ford Tempo at a rather shady looking used car lot two years ago. He managed to buy the car for two thousand dollars. Winston had always liked old Fords but had no idea why. It certainly wasn’t because of their reliability. He also owned his beloved white 1997 Ford Taurus. This car was constantly in need of repairs but Winston knew had to do most minor repairs himself. He would go to Canadian Tire and pick up the year and model for the car’s repair manual and would figure out the rest from there. Winston opened the back passenger door for the two young men.
“Hi Grandpa this is my friend, Garry Phelge.”
“Pleased to meet you Garry. Are you related to Lionel Phelge, the professor of marine biology?” asked Winston.
“Yes, he’s my father,” answered Garry.
“What a small world. Lionel and I go back a long ways. We’ve known each other since our university days. We’ve kind of lost contact the last few years, but I would certainly like to meet the old boy again. We have a lot of catching up to do.”
“How’s your dad doing these days?” asked Winston.
“I really can’t say,” answered Garry. “My dad and I really haven’t been in touch for about two years now. Around this time I foolishly stopped taking my meds and caused my family a great deal of embarrassment in the neighborhood where they live. Since that time my mother has passed away and my father doesn’t want me staying with the family anymore.”
“I’m sorry to hear that son. I also knew your mother. She was an esteemed scholar of English literature.”
“Yes, both my parents were very educated people. I, unfortunately, could not carry on the family tradition when I became ill with my first episode of psychosis.”
“I know something about that illness with Wally being my grandson.”
“Gramps also knows a lot about schizophrenia as he has researched the disease extensively,” Wally interjected.
“I wasn’t aware of Blake’s change in character until it was too late. It wasn’t too long after we both graduated from Business College when Blake approached me with a business proposition. Blake had a lot of charisma, and still does in a devious sort of way. I ended up joining Blake’s business venture.
At the beginning our business took off like a rocket. Within a year we were both making more money than we’d ever seen in our lives. Things went smoothly for a few years, then Blake went turncoat on me. He started having an affair with a woman who persuaded Blake to forsake the business that he and I shared and to join her in her new business venture. Blake didn’t even pay me the courtesy of letting me know what he had done. Heck, he didn’t even ask me to join the new company that he would help build,” said Jack.
“So, the jerk double crossed you,” said Bobby.
“That’s a huge understatement. Blake was disloyal to me and almost ruined me financially,” said Jack.
Jack was starting to get red in the face and his blood pressure was starting to spike. Even telling Booby about this situation caused Jack to relive it.
“So, what are you going to do about it and how does Mike O’Grady fit into the picture?” asked Bobby, becoming very intrigued with Jack’s story.
“I figure that the best way to get back at Blake is to make a total fool out of him. I want to see him totally humiliated,” answered Jack.
“And how do you plan to accomplish that?” asked Bobby.
“I’ve got a couple of ideas that I hope Mike can help me with.
“Of course you know all about Blake’s participation and funding of the university’s research project.” Said Jack.
“Of course, I wrote several articles about it,” said Bobby.
“Well, I plan to make that project fall on its face.”
“And how exactly are you going to do that? You’ve got me really curious.”
“How will we know if Ogopogo is close to us when it’s under the water?” asked Garry.
“I’m glad you asked,” said Winston with a twinkle in his eye. “I’m going to take you guys down to the lower deck so that I can show you guys something very interesting.
As soon as the boys were down the steps, They were dazzled by flashing, colorful lights and wall to wall technological instruments.
“Wow!” was all the boys could say.
“This is awesome, Winston. You’ve got electronic devices and computer monitors everywhere,” said Garry.
“Your next job, Gramps, will be to tell us what all this stuff does,” said Wally.
“That’s exactly what I was going to do next,” said Winston seating himself in a chair beside the closest computer monitor on the left.
“Now, let’s start right where I’m sitting. As you can see this computer monitor is divided into four screen sections. It gives us four different views of the lake. We’ll eventually take turns monitoring this device just in case one of our cameras picks up on any unusual activity near the surface of the lake, But as Garry asked, “What if the creature is near our ship but is below the water?” said Winston. When we’re back on the main deck I’m going to lower a sensor deep into the lake. The sensor has microphones that will pick up on any sounds emanating from under the surface. The closer an object gets to the sensor the louder it’s going tro beep. The sensor also has the capacity of detecting large objects coming near it and giving off an even louder signal.”
“Wow, you seem to have thought of everything,” said Wally.
“Who designed all this stuff anyway?” asked Garry.
“This boat certainly has it all, doesn’t it? “ asked Winston grinning from ear to ear. If I don’t have a piece of technology on this boat, it hasn’t been invented yet,” he laughed. “Actually, I helped design most of this equipment myself with the help of an IT expert I know.”