Chapter One Hundred Three
“Now, back to the demonstration,” Winston said. “What went down?
“At first it looked like there was going to be trouble and even violence,” Stephanie answered.
“A lot of wanna- be Ogopogo hunters were out in full force. Many of them were carrying weapons like tire irons and baseball bats.”
“That sounds like what we were just watching on tv,” Winston joked, referring to pro wrestling.
“Yeah, only this was going to be for real. Those good ole boys were looking for a showdown with the demonstrators. All the Save Ogopogo people had were placards to defend themselves,” Garry said.
“That brings back bad memories of the demonstration in Chicago outside the Democratic Party’s Convention in 1968. I know. I was there and took a few good shots to the head from the billy clubs that the police were so freely swinging around.” Winston said.
“So, did anything like that happen at the Ogopogo demonstration?” Wally asked, as he put his can of Coke back on the coffee table.
“No, ironically, this time it was law enforcement that saved the day,” Stephanie replied.
“Sheriff Anderson got up on the stage and let the good ole boys know, in no uncertain terms, that he and his crew weren’t going to tolerate any violence. He told the demonstrators that the local law enforcement crew wouldn’t hesitate to start making arrests at the first sign of violent activity. The sheriff also told the crowd that if the situation got out of hand he would definitely call in the RCMP for back up,” Garry said.
“Sheriff Anderson is a good man. He’s very level headed and knows how to take charge of a situation very quickly and efficiently,” Winston said.
“The Head of the Department of Fisheries also spoke to the crowd,” Stephanie said. “He told the crowd that any boats seen on the lake would be stopped by The Harbor Patrol and searched for weapons of any kind.”
“So, tell me, Stephanie. How did you get interested in the Save Ogopogo group?” Winston asked.
“Oh, you can just call me Steph, sir. Everybody else does.”
“And you can call me Winston. I feel old when people call me, sir. So give us the story about how you became interested in Ogopogo.”
“Well, it all starts with my father, John Richards,” Stephanie answered.
“Is he the Canadian author?”
“How did you know that?”
“As you may have noticed, reading is one of my favorite past times. All you have to do is look around my house. As you can see I have wall to wall bookcases packed with books in my living room. Even my small study has full book cases. I have read two of your father’s fiction novels. He is a very good writer,” Winston said.
“I’ll have to tell my dad what you said about his writing. He will be very pleased to hear your compliment. Like a lot of novelists he has doubts about his own talent,” Steph said.
“My father has been interested in Ogopogo since he was a young boy. He wants to write his next novel about Ogopogo so he got approval from Dean Sanderson to join the university sponsored expedition to look for Ogopogo.”
“Then, perhaps I shall meet your father and ask him to autograph my copies of his books,” Winston said.
“He would be very happy to do that for you. My dad loves his fans. The only concern that I have for the expedition is that it is being financed for the greater part, by the entrepreneur, Blake Riley. I don’t trust the man. Riley would just love to capture a live Ogopogo,” Steph said.
“So you will be going along on this expedition, too, I imagine?” Winston inquired.
“Unfortunately, not. Dean Sanderson has told my father that they are now at full capacity and will not have room for any more crew members. I am very upset about this,” Steph answered.
“Well, then. I have a proposition to offer you. How would you like to join our expedition? It will be on a somewhat smaller scale than the university’s project, but it still offers plenty of excitement. In fact, we have seen Ogopogo up close already,” Winston said. “Of course, I will need you father’s permission to allow you to participate.”
Stephanie was jumping up and down in her chair and yelling, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”
A phone call was made to John Richards and after Winston assured him of all the safety precautions that he would be taking, John gave his approval for Stephanie to join Winston’s expedition.
“I still love professional wrestling,” Winston said leaning back in his Lazy Boy and reaching for his pipe and tobacco. It’s been about twenty years since my last match but sometimes I still miss it. I mean I don’t miss waking up and feeling like I’ve been run over by a semi or all the hours spent travelling, but I do miss the pure adrenaline rush of performance art.”
“Tell me more about your career as a pro wrestler, Winston,” Garry said while petting Winston’s dogs. “Life as a pro wrestler is certainly much different than working a nine to five job,” Winston said. “You spend a lot of time on the road. I only had a handful of matches in the WWE. For most of my wrestling career I worked the independent wrestling circuit.”
“What was the biggest difference that you found between the WWE and the independent wrestling promotions?” Garry asked.
“That’s easy,” Winston answered. “The money. The second thing would be the lack of job security in independent wrestling organizations. And then there was the travel. Professional wrestlers spend a lot of time travelling whether they work in the WWE or for the independent promotions. The fact is you spend a lot more time travelling between wrestling gigs than you actually do wrestling,” Winston said packing some high grade pipe tobacco into his Sherlock Holmes meerschaum pipe. “
Winston owned five pipes that he kept in a wooden pipe holder that his ex-wife had given him as a present for one of his birthdays.
“We almost always car or van pooled as wrestlers. The big difference was that in the WWE the wrestlers could afford new, roomy SUVs. Some of the top talent even had Hummers. In the independent promotions the wrestlers usually travelled in an uncomfortably packed van or a rusted out car that was at least twenty years old. Vehicle breakdowns between gigs was common. It wasn’t unusual to have to leave our stalled car and thumb a ride the rest of the way to a wrestling show.”
“Wow, That doesn’t sound like too much fun,” Wally said.
“Actually, it was, most of the time. You see when I was a much younger man I used to work factory jobs. That kind of work is total drudgery for eight hours per day.
When I first began my wrestling career, you never had a boring day. There was no way of accurately predicting what was going to happen on any given day or night,” Winston said.
“Plus, you have to remember, we were young then. We could tolerate a lot more physical and mental abuse. I could go on for days telling you guys wrestling stories from my past. But let’s continue with that tomorrow. Friday Night Smack down is just starting.”
The two boys and Winston had a good time watching Friday Night Smackdown. Winston provided an entertaining and educational running commentary on the matches, and explained the differences between present day wrestling and old school wrestling.
“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.”
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.
Excerpt Two from Infinite Realities
Bill figured that it was probably his stepson Blake calling. Since his recent separation from Blake’s mother, Bill made it a high priority to visit his stepson on a regular basis. He and Blake had formed a strong bond while Bill and his mother were together. Bill 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 put it on the coffee table while he answered the phone.
As he punched the talk button and said ‘hello’ Bill 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 Fargo Dome.”
“No, I didn’t hear about it until you told me. Who’s in the main event?”
“Roman Reigns against Brock Lesnar for WWE heavyweight championship.”
“That should be a great match,” said Bill. “Do you want to go?”
“You bet Dad. Can you take me?”
“Absolutely. I like wrestling as much as you do.”
“Now, back to the demonstration,” said Winston. “What went down?
“At first it looked like there was going to be trouble and even violence,” answered Stephanie.
“A lot of wanna be Ogopogo Hunters were out in full force. Many of them were carrying weapons such as tire irons and baseball bats.”
“That sounds like what we were just watching on tv,” Winston joked, referring to pro wrestling.
“Yeah, only this was going to be for real. Those good ole boys were looking for a showdown with the demonstrators. All the Save Ogopogo people had were placards to defend themselves,” said Garry.
“That brings back bad memories of the demonstration in Chicago in 1968. I know. I was there and took a few good shots to the head from billy clubs from the police,” said Winston.
“So, did anything like that happen at the Ogopogo demonstration?” asked Wally as he put his can of Coke back on the coffee table.
“No, ironically, it was law enforcement that saved the day this time,” said Stephanie.
“Sheriff Anderson got up on the stage and let the good ole boys know, in no uncertain terms, that he and his crew weren’t going to tolerate any violence. He let them know, loud and clear, that the local law enforcement crew wouldn’t hesitate to start making arrests at the first sign of violent activity. The Sheriff also told the crowd that if the situation got out of hand he would definitely call in the RCMP for back up,” said Garry.
“Sheriff Anderson is a good man. He’s very level headed and knows how to take charge of a situation very quickly and efficiently,” said Winston.
“The head of the Department of Fisheries also spoke to the crowd,” said Stephanie. “He told the crowd that any boats seen on the lake would be stopped by The Harbor Patrol and searched for weapons of any kind.”
Chapter One Hundred Eighteen:
It was a short walk from the town commons to Winston Standfield’s house. When Garry knocked on Winston’s front door, He was immediately greeted by the smiling visage of Wally’s Grandfather. Wally put down his Diet Coke and got off the couch too as he had a good view of the front door from where he had been sitting.
“Garry, I see you brought a very beautiful friend along,” said Winston as he extended his right hand towards Stephanie. Stephanie gave Winston a warm smile and shook his hand, “Pleased to meet you sir. Garry has told me a little bit about you and I’d like to learn a lot more from you.”
“That’s quite the compliment,” said Winston. “I’ll try my best to satisfy your curiosity.”
Winston was not repelled in the least by Stephanie’s punk rocker presentation. Colored hair and piercings had never upset him. He liked kids that showed a bit of attitude. After all, Winston Standfield was just a big kid himself.
“We were just watching wrestling on tv. Do you like wrestling, Stephanie?” asked Winston.
“I love wrestling. You could say I’m a wrestling fanatic,” answered Stephanie.
“Can I get you a drink from the fridge?” asked Wally who was having trouble keeping his eyes off Garry’s new friend. “Would you like a Coke, ice tea or a beer?”
“Oh, that’s easy. I’ll definitely go for a beer,” said Stephanie.
“I noticed your Save Ogopogo tee shirt. It appears to have a large ugly stain on it,” said Winston.
“Well, Garry and I had a little collision at the refreshment stand at the demonstration. Garry accidentally spilled some of his drink on me.”
“Garry has always been a clumsy oaf,” laughed Wally.
“So you two met at the demonstration. What was the demonstration like?” asked Winston.
By that time Wally had handed Stephanie her beer and she was popping the zip tab off her can of Kootenay.
“Can I get you a glass?” asked Wally.
“No way. I’m a punk rocker chick. I have attitude.” said Stephanie. “Sorry about the tee shirt. Garry offered to buy me a new tee shirt, but I told him not too. The stain will probably come out in the wash.
“That Orange Crush is like battery acid. It can burn a hole right through your tee shirt if you are not careful,” said Garry.
“I’ve always liked guys with a sense of humor,” said Stephanie.