Author’s Preface to Lake Mariposa
I started writing Lake Mariposa after I wrote a few episodes of The Cover Up. I have always wanted to write a coming of age story about the nineteen-sixties. Lake Mariposa’s episodes are now running concurrently with The Cover Up. I decided to write both novels at the same time as I found that I would need to take an emotional break from The Cover Up. The Cover Up is a hard hitting work of fiction that is emotionally draining to write. There is a lot of pain and darkness in The Cover Up and it mirrors only too well the present state of our mental health delivery system.
Lake Mariposa too, has it’s dark moments but is mostly a love story and a story about relationships. After a month of writing episodes for Mariposa I came to the realization that it is also historical fiction. This, of course, means that I am old enough for the time my youth to fall into this genre. This is indeed a sobering thought. Lake Mariposa has been fun to write perhaps as it beckons to a time of youth and of growing up in a time of hope. However, I have made sure not to romanticize this period in history as it certainly had its turbulent issues.
I must emphasize that above all, both The Cover Up and Lake Mariposa are works of fiction. I have attempted in writing both novels, not to be preachy. This can be hard to do. The characters and situations in both these works are
total works of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to persons either alive or dead is strictly coincidental. This does not mean, however, that some of the scenes in these stories will not be disturbing or offensive to some readers. I believe that if one is to create art one must be prepared to offend somebody. It comes with the territory. With this being said, I hope that you will enjoy reading both The Cover Up and Lake Mariposa.
Keep on rocking,
Ken David Stewart
“Exactly,” replied Rick. “There are other similarities to a prison. There is a pecking order among the residents. There are weak residents and strong residents. The stronger ones like Simon use manipulation and intimidation to control the weak ones.”
“Can you give me some examples?” asked Barnes.
“Sure, replied Rick. “ Most of our residents are heavy smokers and cigarettes are the equivalent of money to most of them. Several of the residents are on smoke plans where they are only allotted so many cigarettes per day for both health concerns and their financial limitations. Naturally, most of the residents run out of their daily supply of cigarettes long before their day is over. Then, the wheeling and dealing begins. Some of the weaker residents that still have cigarettes left over can be intimidated into giving their cigarettes to the residents that they fear.”
Barnes looked puzzled,”Can’t your staff do something about this
“They try their best. Often if they catch one resident trying to take advantage of another resident They will make the offender pay back the resident that they bummed the cigarettes off. The problem is that they can’t see everything. There is often only one staff on duty per shift. It’s like a referee at a hockey game. He can’t watch the whole ice surface all of the time.”
“That’s ridiculous!” said the detective. “One staff for twenty plus residents?”
“That’s all we can afford on the limited budget that they give us.”
“Okay, let’s get back to Bret,” said Barnes impatiently. “What kinds of things would Bret do to piss off Simon and Matthew?”
“Bret would spoil their game. If he witnessed anyone bullying the other residents Bret would quickly put a stop to it. Rick didn’t have to do or say much to get a bully to back down. A good stern look from Bret was usually suficient Bret still went to the gym four or five times per week and he had
Dr. Conrad Murray is the Fall Guy
Both Michael Jackson’s family and his fans require closure. I understand this. Was this accomplished by convicting Dr. Conrad Murray? I don’t think so. Closure will only be accomplished when all the people responsible for Michael Jackson’s death are convicted. This is not likely to happen. Who else is responsible? All the doctors who inappropriately prescribed medications for Michael Jackson. Who started Michael on the Propofal in the first place? Who prescribed Michael Jackson his Demerol? What was the role of the promoters in all this?
Should Dr. Conrad Murray have been convicted? Yes, but what about all the others? With Michael Jackson’s medical history it was just a matter of time before something went seriously wrong. Although Dr. Conrad Murray was definitely negligent in this case he was simply the wrong doctor in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Somewhere along the line Dr. Conrad Murray forgot about his professional obligations. He became both an employee and a friend of Michael Jackson’s. This overrided the fact that Dr. Conrad Murray was Michael’s doctor. Dr. Murray should first of all have been made this his number one role. I can easily see how Michael Jackson could convince Dr. Murray to give him the Propofal. I’m sure that Dr. Murray could understand Michael’s position. The problem was that Dr. Murray was too sympathetic to Michael’s situation. Michael Jackson had a serious problem getting to sleep at night. This wasn’t the first time that Michael resorted to extreme measures to try to get some rest. At 50 years old Michael Jackson had a lot on the line. There were many people who dependent upon him. They depended upon him to fulfill his contractual obligations to the promoters. I don’t think that Michael Jackson was near healthy enough to fulfill these obligations. Michael felt that the only way he would be able to get through his performances and rehearsals was to get some sleep by any means possible., Unfortunately, Michael Jackson convinced Dr. Conrad Murray to resort to extreme measures with tragic consequences.
Now that Dr. Conrad Murray has been found guilty Michael Jackson is now a sympathetic character. To his fans he is still a hero and a superstar. This was not true during the nineties when the media dubbed Michael Jackson as Wacko Jackson. The accusations of alleged inappropriate relationships with children defiled him in many people’s eyes. Even Michael’s most devoted fans had a hard time defending him. During this time Michael Jackson’s stock with America severely declined.
Ironically Michael Jackson’s tragic death will have a positive effect upon his legacy. During the Conrad Murray trial there was little mention of Michael’s past trial. The accusations against Michael’s alleged inappropriate conduct around children appeared to be forgotten. Michael will now likely be remembered as a tragic hero. The point is that the world loves to cheer for you when your at the top of your game. There is lots of cheering to be heard. Eventually though many heroes suffer a fall from grace. When this occurs a lot of the same people cannot wait to stomp all over their former heroes. The only thing that is different in the case of Michael Jackson is that he went up to the top, had a fall and came back up in popularity after he died.
Two Trials for the Price of One
When watching the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray we are actually getting to trials for the price of one. The first trial concerns Dr. Murray and whether or not he was criminally responsible for Michael Jackson’s death. The second person on trial is Michael Jackson. As much as possible the defense will portray Michael Jackson’s lifestyle in as negative terms as possible. They will try to convince the jury that Michael Jackson was a long time drug addict who would go to any means to obtain his required drugs. The question that needs to be raised is why Michael Jackson started taking prescription medications in the first place. I think that Mr. Jackson had some very legitimate reasons for taking pain killers. One extenuating factor would be the instance in which his scalp caught on fire. Anyone who has accidentally burned themselves has some idea of the pain of a severe burn. Is it possible that Michael Jackson became dependent upon painkillers after the initial pain had subsided.?The answer is yes. It has also been reported that Michael Jackson suffered from severe back pain. This is another instance where painkillers may be indicated. Was Michael self medicating? The answer once again is likely yes.
The question is can we blame Michael Jackson? The question then becomes can we blame anyone who is in severe pain from trying to relieve their discomfort. Anyone who has experienced extreme back pain or arthritic pain knows that any relief from the pain is very welcome. While this sometimes result in addiction? The answer is yes. What some people don’t realize however, is that some people require prescription medication to function in their daily lives. Some people have the choice of regularly taking prescription medications or tolerating a life of debilitating pain. Is it any surprise that some individuals choose to use prescription painkillers. Does this mean that they all become addicts? The answer is no. Some do and some don’t. Some people may need to take painkillers on a daily basis to function in their lives but they do not take these medications to get high. They take them so that they can live.
The same argument can be made for antidepressant medications. In this case a person may have the choice of living of very compromised life or taking antidepressant medications for the rest of their life in order to attain a better quality of life. Although I agree that addiction is a big issue in North America, let us not dismiss people who require medications to function in their daily lives.
This Is It
This week I watched the Michael Jackson video, This Is It. As I was watching this movie, I tried to focus upon clues to Michael Jackson’s physical condition and general health. I realize this video was edited to show Michael Jackson in his best possible light. From what I could gather from the video Michael Jackson appeared to be in good physical health for a man of his age. Michael was certainly not moving around the way he did in his 30s, but he was still putting on an active performance. He would obviously have to be in shape in order to do this. This personal trainer Lou Ferrigno, has also gone on record stating that Michael appeared to be healthy. I observed that Michael Jackson was using good common sense during the rehearsals. He was obviously saving himself and was not going full throttle. He even told the producer that he didn’t want to blow his voice in rehearsals. This was wisdom. One could surmise that Michael Jackson could have put on a more vigorous performance when he was in front of an actual audience. This leads me to believe that Michael may have been in even better physical condition then these rehearsals revealed.
Another interesting observation was that Michael did not appear to be under the influence of any drug or medication. This video showed Michael to be alert and very cold. When communicating with both the producer and the other staff. This raises a serious question. How could a man who appeared to be physically healthy and not under the influence of medication or drugs die so suddenly?
What Did We Learn About Dr. Conrad Murray Today?
Today the prosecution was very successful in portraying many undesirable character traits about Dr. Conrad Murray. The prosecution’s primary intention was to show that Dr. Conrad Murray made several phone calls while Michael Jackson allegedly passed away. It was demonstrated that Dr. Conrad Murray was busy multi -tasking when he should have been focusing his attention upon his patient. This demonstrated that Dr. Murray is a very busy man but is often unfocused. It appears that he has too much going on in his life at the same time. At this time this attention should have been completely focused upon his patient Michael Jackson. Instead, it was revealed that Dr. Murray’s attention was split between both taking phone calls from his former patients at the clinic as well as calling up his girlfriends.
The secondary motivation of the prosecution was to portray Dr. Conrad Murray as somewhat of the sleazy character. Although the prosecution was limited by the judge in what they could repeal about Dr. Murray’s personal life enough damage was done. It became clear to the jury that Conrad Murray enjoyed the company of younger women, likes to spend money, and have a good time. However, the prosecution was not allowed to inform the jury that Dr. Conrad Murray has fathered seven children by five different women. If this were known it would indicate that Dr. Murray is somewhat irresponsible. In fact, that is what he is accused of being in this trial. Dr. Murray is accused of being irresponsible in his medical duties towards Michael Jackson.