It was Wednesday afternoon and Rick decided to skip his economics class that afternoon. Over the summer he went to the library and got a copy of the slim, brown, grade twelve economics textbook and read it all the way through in a couple of sittings. As Rick had already read several books from the library on politics and modern history, he found the concepts in the economics textbook easy for him to understand. Rick thought that missing one economics class was not going to impede his learning. He had a big game tonight against the Norberry Knights and Rick felt that he needed the afternoon to get himself both mentally and physically prepared for the game.
Rick had read about how some very successful professional hockey players prepare for their games. Rick knew that a great deal of the preparation for a game was mental and this meant ‘psyching yourself up’. He lay down on his bed, closed his eyes and visualized making great saves in the upcoming game. Rick would do this for about twenty minute before he walked down to the basement to do some warm -up exercises.
His routine started with some light stretching movements. Rick would then climb up on his stationary exercise bike and pedal at a moderate speed for about twenty minutes. After his bike ride, Rick moved to the spot on the carpet where he kept his free weights. He would then do some light resistance training. After following this routine with a five- minute break, Rick picked up a light green tennis ball. He used his right hand to whack the tennis ball against the cement wall in his basement. As soon as the ball rebounded off the wall Rick would catch it with his left hand. He completed this exercise in two five minute intervals.
Rick used an old towel to wipe off the perspiration while he jogged upstairs to the kitchen to make himself a corned beef sandwich and a glass of milk. After his lunch Rick got into bed and took a forty-five-minute nap.
Upon arising from a restful nap Rick started to think about the importance of tonight’s hockey game. Rick’s team, the Cougars had gotten off to a shaky start to the season, So far, they had played five games in which they won two, lost two and tied one. This was the worst season start for the Cougars during the last ten years. Rick was trying to figure out why this was happening.
One reason was that only a few players returned from last year’s team. Most of the veteran players were now declared ineligible due to their ages. The majority of this year’s team were younger and frankly, were not as talented as the veteran players the team had lost. Rick knew that he would really need to step up his game this year to make his team competitive. Once again his coach was trying to split the workload between his two goalies.
The other goalie was two years younger than Rick. His name was Brent Hawkins. Brent was shorter and didn’t have the big build that Rick has, but he was a very acrobatic young goalie. While studying Brent’s play. Rick surmised that Brent would be a top notch goalie with a few more tears of experience under his belt.
Winter Dreams (the Continuing Adventures of Rick Miller)
Sequel to Summer Dreams
Rick Miller was sitting alone in a booth at The Black Top 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 Black 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 walking 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?” asked the girl.
“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.
As soon as Jack finished his phone call with Bobby O’Connor he called Mike O’Grady.
“Hey Mike. It’s Jack Kimberly.”
“Who? Jack Kimberly? From high school?” Mike asked.
“The one and only. Look Mike. I was just talking to Bobby O’Connor. I have a big favor to ask you. Is there any chance I can come to visit you this afternoon?”
“I don’t see why not. I hope you won’t mind a very messy apartment that doesn’t smell that great,” Mike said.
“That’s no problem. I should be at your place in less than half an hour,” Jack said.
When Jack parked his new white Ford Fusion in front of Mike O’Grady’s apartment, he could see that he was definitely in an inner city neighborhood. He saw what used to be a corner grocery store with boarded up windows. An animal scurried across his shoe. It was moving too fast for Jack to see it. He shuddered and hoped it wasn’t a rat. He walked up the rickety stairs that he prayed would hold his weight. One of the handrails shook and vibrated as Jack grabbed a hold of it.
Mike O’Grady’s apartment was on the second floor. As Jack climbed the steps he could smell the faint odor of urine in the hall. He knocked on Mike’s apartment door. Mike answered the door promptly and invited Jack inside.
Mike was not exaggerating when he talked about his place being a mess. It looked like his apartment had been hit by a tornado. Mike’s dining room table was covered with computer monitors, hard drives and an assortment of old computer parts and tools.
Jack looked around the room trying to find a clear spot where he could sit down. Finally, Mike moved a box of books off an old easy chair. The chair was well worn and had an assortment of holes of various sizes. Most of the holes looked like they were from cigarette burns.
Jack finally cleared off a spot on Mike O’Grady’s ragged, old easy chair. This chair has seen a lot of mileage and probably hasn’t been cleaned since Mike bought it at a local flea market.
“So, how you been Jack?” Mike asked as he sat on an old broken down couch that appeared to be on a downward slant.
“I’ve been better,” Jack said. “And you?”
“I get by. I should have taken better care of myself when I was younger. Of course, back then, I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about my health. Now I’m paying the price. I’m fat, I smoke too much and I’m pretty well crippled up with arthritis. Fortunately, I collect a disability cheque every month. I make a little extra cash fixing up people’s computers and doing a little photography on the side. The government doesn’t know about this. If they did they would either reduce my pension or take it away altogether.”
Mike took a cigarette out of his pack. “Other than that I can’t complain.” Mike started a laugh that soon turned into an ugly, hacking, coughing spell.
“So has life been kicking you around a bit, too?” Mike asked. He was barely able to catch his breath long enough to get the words out.
“Life was actually treating me pretty well until our mutual former classmate, Blake Riley pulled the carpet from underneath me. I thought that Blake and I were pretty tight the last few years. We were very successful business partners until Blake decided to cut me out of the partnership. I thought that we had each other’s backs until very recently. I would even have said that we were close friends at one time, but Blake met a female entrepreneur that swept him off his feet. To paraphrase Marlon Brando, she made Blake a business offer that he could not refuse. Unfortunately I didn’t seem to fit into the happy couple’s business plans. Blake tossed me out like last week’s garbage.”
“You sound very angry. Are you planning to get Blake back for this travesty of justice?” Mike said.
“You bet I am and that’s where I need your help,” Jack said.
“Oh, where’s my sense of hospitality? Would you like a cup of coffee, Jack?”
“Yeah, I’ll have a coffee once you get your percolator all fired up.”
Mike got up and slowly and carefully manoeuvred his way off the couch to make the coffee in his small kitchen. Getting off the couch was an ordeal for him. There were so many dirty cups, plates, dishes and bowls that Mike had to move a lot of cookware out of his way in order to find the coffee percolator. He’d worry about finding a clean coffee cup after the coffee was brewed.
After he finished setting up the coffee maker Mike returned to the couch. It looked like the couch had swallowed the big man so far inside it so that he was now a part of it.
“Okay coffee’s on. Now how can I help you get revenge on Blake?” Mike asked, his ponderous weight sucking him into the ragged, old sofa like a black hole.
“Mike, do you remember that model of Ogopogo that you made in grade eleven, for the science fair?”
“Of course I do. I put a damn lot of work into that thing. At that time in my life I was fascinated by lake monsters. I took great pride in carving my model out of wood and then painting it.”
“Do you still have it?” Jack asked.
“You bet,” Mike replied. “It still has a place of honor on top of my bedroom dresser. I even dust it off once in a while,” laughed Mike.
“Can I see it?” Jack asked.
“Sure I’ll go get my little treasure from my bedroom.”
It didn’t take Mike long to retrieve the model and bring it into his living room. It was not hard to see that Mike had put a lot of hard work into his science project. Mike’s eyes sparkled as he held it. Ogopogo was carved to a very precise scale and its body was a blend of the colors gray, green and brown. The replica had two flippers and some glued on paint brush hairs that were painted emerald green and formed the mane on the back of Ogopogo’s head.
“Wow! That is a beauty! Can I handle it up and study it for a minute? I see now why it won first prize at the science fair,” Jack said. Mike slowly passed it to him and Jack held it carefully in his hands.
“Is there any way that you could build a large replica of this model, say fifteen to twenty feet long?” Jack asked.
“I could if I had the supplies,” Mike replied.
“What if I offered to pay for all the materials you would need plus pay you generously for your labor?” Jack asked.
“As long as you pay me better than my computer repair customers do,” Mike laughed.
“Say I do agree to build you a life size replica of Ogopogo. What would you do with it? You know. I think our coffee should be ready by now. I’ll go get it.”
Jack watched Mike try to extract himself from his couch. It was too painful for Jack to watch. Weighing in at over three hundred pounds Mike had to position himself so that he could use his hands to grab onto the coffee table in order to gain some leverage.
Jack couldn’t stand watching Mike struggle a second longer.
“Don’t try to get up, Mike. I’ll get the coffee for us.”
As Jack gave Mike his coffee he began answering Mike’s question.
“There’s a couple of ways we could go with this, once your life sized model of Ogopogo is completed.
I also have a plan in mind. I will hire somebody to phone Blake and tell him to immediately get to a certain location on the lake. The caller will state that he has been watching the lake demon for about ten minutes now. Blake won’t waste any time getting his boat and crew out to the specified location. Meanwhile, I will have hired a couple of divers to manoeuvre your model beneath the surface. Blake will be sure to take a ton of pictures that he will send to the Kelowna Daily Courier. I have no doubt that Blake and his crew will even try to capture the phony lake monster, but I will tell my divers to submerge the model and get it out of Blake’s sight.
If Blake’s crew does manage to capture the artificial Ogopogo I will have my own video crew nearby to film the look of shock on Blake’s face when he discovers that the Ogopogo he caught is a carved, wooden model. I will then send this video to Bobby O’Connor at the Kelowna Daily Courier. This time Blake will look like a gullible fool.”
“You sure want to get revenge on Blake Riley, don’t you Jack?” Mike said, with a chuckle.
“With every fibre in my being,” Jack replied.
“Wally, is there any chance that I could meet your Grandpa, Winston Stanfield, in person?” Garry Hardy asked.
“Well, you’ve bummed me a lot of Marlboroughs. I think that I could try to set something up for you,” Wally answered as was buttoning the top button on his blue lumberjack jacket. It was a little chillier than usual out in the courtyard this morning.
“I was hoping you would say that. Here’s another Marlborough as a sign of good faith,” Garry said. “I’ll tell you what. I’ll be seeing Gramps this evening. I’ve got a weekend pass to stay with him until Sunday evening. I could give Gramps a call right after our smoke and ask if he wouldn’t mind if I brought a friend along this evening. By the way, do you like watching pro wrestling, Garry?”
“Are you kidding? I used to watch Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown all the time. Most of the time I could even get my parents to order the pay per view events for me.”
“That’s great. There’s only two kinds of people in this world as Gramps always says. Those who love wrestling and those that hate it. Why I asked is because old Winston and I have marathon sessions watching both current and classic wrestling videos from the seventies, eighties and nineties.” Wally said.
“There’s only one thing you need to do before we can make this gig happen. You need to get permission for a weekend pass from the staff,”
“Who can I ask?”
“Either Todd or Shelly,” Wally answered. “They just need to get the okay from Dr. Weisenthal. They may tell you to give them more lead time in the future but they can probably make this happen for you.”
Garry Hardy was very happy to find out from Todd Finlay that he was approved for a weekend pass to accompany Wally Stanfield on his visit to his grandfather’s place.
“You’re set to go,” Todd said as he dropped by Garry’s room while doing his rounds.”Dr. Weisenthall told me that you’re doing really well and should be ready for some approved day and weekend passes. I agree with him. I’ve seen a lot of growth in you over the last month.”
“Thanks Todd. I really like it here especially your classes.”
Todd laughed, “I’m glad that you approve of my teaching. I wish you worked in administration. Some of the administrators find my teaching to be a little over the top. So all you need to do now is get packed for the weekend.”
“Do you like pro wrestling Todd?” Garry asked.
“I love it. I used to be on the amateur wrestling team when I was attending at university.”
“Who’s your favorite all time professional wrestler?”
“That’s easy; Mick Foley. He had three different personas and would attempt stunts that no wrestler in his right mind would dream of trying,”
“Of all Mick’s personas who was your favorite?”
“I would rank Dude Love third, Cactus Jack second and Mankind first,” Todd answered.
“Did you know that Mick Foley is now a professional writer?”
“I sure do. In fact, I own and have read all his books including his books about his wrestling career, his two novels, Scooter and Tietam Brown and his children’s books.”
That’s why I like talking to you Todd. You and I share so many of the same interests.”
Episode Fifteen of Infinite Realities:
“I need to get to know you a bit Rick seeing as we’re going to be working together,” Mike said.
“Working together on what?” Rick asked.
“On you. Your employment situation. What you plan to do with the next three years before you retire. Are you planning to go back to teaching?”
“Not if I can help it.”
“So what do you plan to do? You can’t stay on disability until you retire.”
“Your group insurance plan won’t allow it.”
“But I like working on nothing all day as the song says.”
“Takin’ Care of Business by Bachman-Turner Overdrive,” Michael noted.
“That songs a little before your time isn’t it?” Rick asked.
“I listen to my father’s old records. You guys had much better music to listen to than my generation does.”
“That song was by The Who,” Rick said with a bit of a smirk.
“Okay Rick. Enough joking around. Let’s get serious and examine your options.”
“How can I do that? I’m crazy,”Rick said still enjoying his little game.
“Your doctor doesn’t say you’re crazy, just depressed. And you don’t appear to be that depressed right now.” Michael said. His tone of voice was now displaying a hint of annoyance.
“How’s your coffee?” Rick asked.
“It’s perfect. So if you don’t plan to teach what do you want to do?”
“I want to write books. I’ve actually started a couple already,” Rick answered.
Bill walked over to the coffee table and picked up the tablet. As he examined it he knew that this electronic device was 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. Bill 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 Bill, a total stranger?
Bill 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.
Bill looked forward to the challenge. He didn’t consider himself to be a geek, but he was very interested in technology. Bill 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, Bill was usually engaged with one of his electronic toys.
Bill Hainsey was forty-four years old. He was five feet ten inches tall and weighed approximately two hundred ten pounds. He was in the best shape of his life due to his extreme dedication to his self- created physical training program. He did resistance training and worked a different body part every day. Bill took every Sunday off to rest. This was also his cheat day in which he would eat anything he wanted. He usually treated himself to a hamburger or a pizza. During the rest of the week he ate only healthy foods. During the rest of the week he ate only healthy foods. This was known as ‘eating clean’. Bill also loved riding his Giant mountain bike through a local park. It usually took forty-five minutes for Bill to complete his route.
Bill was on long term disability. His wife Janine had dumped him about the same time that Bill encountered the most difficult class of his twenty-year teaching career. Like a perfect storm of stress, Bill’s life and mental health began to fall apart. His principal was aware that Bill was struggling with his new class of grade eights called Bill into his office. Worried about Bill’s health he told him that he should definitely go on stress leave.
New Book Will Be Available in Paperback Shortly:
My new book, The Wild and Hilarious World of The Roswell Gang will be available in a paperback edition shortly. My sample copy arrived yesterday evening. My wife, Martha Peters, read my play last night. Both she and I were very surprised that she liked it. I didn’t think that she would like the kind of humour in the book, but she actually laughed out loud a few times while reading it.
Martha said that she liked the book and saw it’s potential.
I also can see the potential that the book has. Most people will find the book to be both funny and entertaining. It makes for a good reading experience if you would like to escape from reality for an hour or two. For example, if you had a rough day either at work or at school, reading this play just might cheer you up. I think that a lot of middle school and high school students would also find it highly entertaining. Both middle school and high school ELA and drama/theatre teachers might like to have their students act out The Wild and Hilarious World of the Roswell Gang. Speaking as a retired teacher, I would definitely use this play(with some discretionary tweaks) with my class.
Check out the price. The Kindle version is now selling for only $1.12 as an introductory offer on Amazon. The paperback copy should also be released to the public shortly. The paperback edition also comes with a beautifully designed glossy cover.
My goal in publishing this book is to have people read it and to be greatly entertained.
Thank you for checking out my book and keep on reading!
Ken David Stewart