in this podcast Canadian author Ken David Stewart reads episode 31 of his new novel Street dreams. This is the podcast version.
Episode 30 of Street Dreams, the Fight by Ken David Stewart
As Tony and Whisper started walking away from the young male and female on the couch, they could hear the young woman screaming at the man, “Hey, get your dirty hands off of me, dude. I came here to have some fun and not to get picked up by a stinking pig like you!”
The disheveled young man gave the girl a vicious slap across her face. “Don’t you ever talk to me like that, bitch. I thought you said you wanted some fun. Well, I was about to show you a good time, but you screwed it up. Get away from me, you ugly skank.”
The scraggly young teenage girl got off the couch in an awkward manner. She walked right up to Tony and Whisper with a bit of a stagger as she tried to get her balance.
“Hey, you guys, I’m Pixie. What are your names?”
“I’m Tony and this is Whisper,” Tony answered.
“Look, I know you guys don’t know me, but can I ask you a big favour?” Pixie asked.
“That all depends on what the favour is,” Tony replied.
“Here’s the deal. I hate this party and I want to get away from all these scummy guys trying to hit on me. “Do you have a car, Tony?” Pixie asked.
“I have a truck,” Tony answered.
“Great. Is there any chance that you can give me a ride home? I have some cash on me and half a bag of weed for you guys in exchange for the ride.” Pixie said.
“Yeah, we can do that,” Tony said. “Where do you live?”
“In an apartment block in Fort Rouge,” Pixie answered, “I live with my boyfriend, Ricky.”
With a bit of a struggle the lecherous young man on the couch got to his feet and put himself straight in Tony’s face. “What you think you’re doing, man? That little whore is mine for this evening.” He slurred his words as he tried to convey this message.
Tony didn’t waste a word on the creep who was confronting him. Tony Barrows grabbed the slimy dude by his shirt collar and pushed him into the nearest wall. Tony used so much force that the plaster on the wall started to crack. Tony proceeded to slam the young man’s head against the wall at least five times. He didn’t stop until he started to see blood splatter all over the wall and saliva starting to drool from his victim’s mouth. Tony watched as this dude’s eyeballs rolled back in his head and his body slumped to the floor. After the guy hit the floor, he appeared to be unconscious and a large pool of blood was now flowing beneath his head.
“Nobody talks to me like that,” Tony said. He didn’t appear to have any emotion in his voice.
Whisper could see people at the party calling 911 on their cell phones. Whisper grabbed Tony’s arm and said, “Let’s get out of here now before the cops arrive. We’ll take Pixie with us.” All three made a quick dash for Tony’s Ford 150.
Episode 26 Herby Schult
Herby Schultz lived in a bachelor’s apartment in the Fort Rouge area of Winnipeg. For the last two years, Herby had been in and out of homeless shelters in the Main Street area of Winnipeg. As he sipped from his first cup of no-name brand coffee, Herby started to reflect on his life. At thirty-three years of age his life could be seen as a long strange trip, a lyric from a Grateful Dead song called Truckin. Herby had never known what a stable home life was like. He has been adopted by his foster parents when he was very young. Herby lived with them for four years until his foster parents split up. From there, it was on to a series of residential group homes that took in young people.
Herby performed poorly at school because he had ADHD. At that time his teachers did not know about this disorder and just saw him as a student who couldn’t sit still, was easily distracted and was rarely able to complete any of his assignments. Herby quit attending school when he was sixteen. He was a high school dropout.
After he left school Herby needed to find employment. There would be the odd factory job that he could hold down for one or two months, but there were always problems. Although he tried hard, Herby had difficulty with the tasks required on his job and his coworkers often felt uncomfortable working with him. They complained to their supervisor about the issues they were having with Herby. It wouldn’t be long before the supervisor had to inform Herby that he was being terminated. Some employers were gentle when they had to inform the employee that he would have to be let go, others not so much. Herby always experienced job termination as an extremely painful and humiliating event in his life.
The main issue that Herby’s former coworkers mentioned was that Herby would often look like he was in a trance when a co-worker approached him. Some workers stated that when Herby would be at his work station he would be heard talking to himself. It wasn’t any wonder that his coworkers thought he was strange and that some were even afraid of him.
One night when Herby was overheard yelling and screaming in his apartment. His next-door neighbour called 911. When the police and paramedics arrived, they found that Herbie was experiencing a psychotic break. He did not respond when a police constable knocked on the door of his apartment. As Herby had not locked his door, the police officer just needed to turn the doorknob to gain entry.
When Herby finally acknowledged the presence of visitors in his room, he ran to his kitchen drawer and grabbed a large cooking knife with a black candle. As soon as Herbie lifted the knife to shoulder level height, a young constable sprayed Herby in the eyes with mace. As Herby was temporarily blinded, two police constables forced Herby to drop the knife and then put the handcuffs on. Herbie was placed in an ambulance and was transported to the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg. The police and the paramedics have encountered this type of incident many times before and knew that the young man that they had just arrested was either in a psychosis caused by ingesting illegal street drugs or had experienced a psychotic break as a symptom of his schizophrenia.
When they arrived at the ER, and intern treated Herby with an injection of Haldol and strapped him into a hospital bed. Herby spent two days in the hospital. A psychiatrist diagnosed his patient as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. He was sent home with a note providing him with the address and phone number of a psychiatrist and was advised to get in touch with the doctor as soon as possible. He was also given a prescription for Seroquel, an antipsychotic medication.
When Herby arrived at his apartment, the building supervisor called him into his office. “You caused quite a disturbance last week, Mr. Schultz. The police and paramedics were called you were driven away in an ambulance,” the supervisor a balding man in his fifties,” said.
“I’m very sorry sir. I have a grand mal epileptic seizure,” Herby lied.
“Are you presently seeing a doctor about your condition?” the apartment supervisor asked.
“Yes,” Herby replied shuffling around in his seat. My grand mal seizures occur very infrequently. The last time I had a seizure was about three years ago.
“Well, Mr. Schultz, you’ve been a good tenant over the last two years. You pay your rent on time and this is the only incident that occurred while you’ve been staying here. Furthermore, I can sympathize with your medical condition as I have a brother-in-law who has epilepsy. Are you feeling better now?” asked the kindly supervisor.
“Yes, I am sir. I’m very sorry for any trouble I may have caused you,” Herby said.
“I’ll tell you what Herby. Normally, I would be forced to evict a resident after an incident like you had last week, but I’ll tell you what. You strike me as a well behaved, polite, young man so I’m going to allow you to stay here,” the supervisor said.
“Thank you for showing me such compassion sir. I greatly appreciate it.” Herby Schultz sighed with relief, as he took the next flight of stairs back to his a[audio
Episode 45 of Street Dreams
When Tony and Harold had brought their refreshments from the kitchen and placed them on Harold’s glass coffee table, Harold settled into his white La-Z-Boy chair and Tony found a place on Harold’s orange and white leather sofa.
Tony took a few seconds to glance around Harold’s living room. He could see many things that were of interest to him.
Last night I was having so much fun playing jukebox with you guys that I didn’t pay too much attention to my surroundings. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions about your possessions?” Tony asked, biting off a sizable chunk of his extra-large oatmeal and raisin cookie. He added a sip from his coffee cup. Harold poured Tony’s coffee into a Motorhead coffee cup. Tony was amazed at how well the coffee and cookie combo tasted.
Harold also sampled this morning’s culinary delights and experienced the same sense of joy that Tony was experiencing.
“Wow, I didn’t know how well Whisper could bake cookies,” Tony said.
Harold looked Tony Barrows straight in the eye.
“I will gladly answer your questions about my possessions after we have a chat about other things,” Harold answered.
“When you get to be my age, Tony, I think one becomes much more proficient at reading people. In other words, you become much more observant and skilled at drawing inferences,” Harold said.
Tony started moving his fingers around in a nervous manner. He was hoping for a conversation about deep things, but he was surprised that Harold delved into that realm this early in the conversation.
“Tony, which artists created those two pieces of artwork that I’m pointing to on my wall?” Harold asked using his forefinger to point to two different paintings on the wall across from Tony.
“The one to your immediate right is by Jackson Pollock, the second one is by Picasso and if you’d asked me about the third I would say that it was done by Salvador Dali,” Tony answered with a look of self- satisfaction on his face.
Harold got caught in the middle of a laughing spell and spewed out a sudden spray of coffee and partially chewed cookie. This incident also caused Tony to laugh and had the effect of putting them more at ease.
“You just proved my point, son. You’re either self educated, partially educated or have a university degree,” Harold said.
“I don’t know how you figured that out, but you are right. I spent two years at the University of Manitoba. My major was economics. I also read a lot on my own if that’s what you mean by self educated.”
“I, too, do a lot of reading on my own, listen to audiobooks, watch Fox News and do a considerable amount of research on the internet. Why haven’t you finished your bachelor’s degree?” Harold asked.
“That’s kind of a long and sad story. Just after I finished my second year courses, my girlfriend died of a drug overdose. Two weeks later, I get a call telling me that while my uncle and his girlfriend were driving on a trip down the highway, their car got squashed by a semitrailer. My uncle died immediately and his girlfriend was pronounced DOA when an ambulance took her to the closest hospital,” Tony answered.
“That’s horrible,” Harold said, as a tear slid down his left cheek.
“Were you close to your uncle?” Harold asked.
“Yes, very much so. I only lived with him for about a year and a half, but he was the closest thing to a father figure I ever knew. I worked for him as a plumber’s helper any he gave me a love of reading, writing fiction and participating in intellectual discussions. He was the one who inspired me to attend university,” Tony answered.
“Something here doesn’t add up. Why does a smart young man like yourself end up throwing his girlfriend out of his truck on a cold winter day?” Harold asked.
Tony’s face reddened and he hung his head towards the ground in shame.
“Somewhere along the line I didn’t develop a good sense of morals, but I think that I lost my temper and snapped when I decided to push Whisper out of my truck,” Tony explained.
“Do you lose your temper often, Tony?” Harold asked.
Harold moved from his La-Z-Boy chair over to the white leather sofa and sat right next to Tony. Harold put his arm around Tony’s shoulder.Tony began to weep and tried to stop what was turning into a deluge of tears.
“I’m sorry, Tony managed to say in between the falling of his tears. I have so much rage inside me that it scares me to death. I’m afraid I’ll kill somebody one of these days if I don’t learn how to control my temper.”
The two men just sat in silence for close to five minutes while both of them wept. Tony raised his head and looked at Harold.
“I can’t remember the last time I cried like that,” Tony said as he finally began to regain his composure. My biological father died from cancer when I was just five years old and my mother was an alcoholic who never wanted me. Still, there is no excuse for what I did to Whisper or for the other people I’ve hurt in my life,” Tony said as he gave Harold a quick hug.
Ken David Stewart reads episode 44 of street dreams
Episode 43 of Street Dream
Whisper borrowed Harold’s car to go and get some groceries and later to visit one of her friends. It was getting close to 10 AM when Harold Peyton heard his phone ring. It took a few seconds for Harold to recognize the voice at the other end of the line.
It was Tony Barrows calling on the morning after the jukebox party at Harold’s house.
Harold said to Tony, “If you’re looking for Whisper, she just left the house about twenty minutes ago. She went out to get us some groceries and I think that she wants to spend most of the day out and about.”
“Do you think that she’ll be out of the house for at least a couple of hours?” Tony asked. It is actually you that I want to talk to today, but I don’t want Whisper to hear our conversation,” Tony stated.
“All I think I can say is that Whisper will be out for at least two hours. Probably longer.” Harold answered taking a sip from his coffee mug with the pictures of his two dogs on it.
“That’s good. Can I come over to your house for a chat?” Tony asked.
“This is not like me. I basically hardly know you and yet I’m phoning you right out of the blue,” Tony said trying to make sense of things.
“It’s called intuition, son. The funny thing is that I just had a dream about you and Herbie last night. I dreamed that all three of us went to the Joint coffeehouse,” Harold replied. “How long will it take for you to drive to my house?”
“I can be there in under twenty minutes,” Tony answered.
“Good. I’ll put on a fresh pot of Tim Horton’s coffee. We can eat some of the oatmeal raisin cookies that Whisper baked earlier this morning.”
“Awesome. I’ll see you soon,” Tony said.
Tony pressed the power button on his I Shred cannabis vaporizer five times. This would allow the internal chamber of his vaporizer to heat up and then he would take some more puffs off it. Tony Barrows was very nervous while he made the phone call to Harold. Tony could feel one of his tension migraine headaches coming on. Cannabis would usually lessen his headache pain. Hopefully, it would calm down his nerves too. Tony really didn’t have any idea why he decided to phone Harold Peyton this morning. An internal monologue was travelling at great speed across Tony’s brain. In his head he could see a giant circuit board with brightly coloured knobs intersecting with many glowing strings of wire.
“I’ve been looking for an older man that I could talk to, especially about the deep stuff. My biological father passed away from cancer when I was only five years old so I can barely remember him. I had a couple of so-called stepfathers, but they were all losers who didn’t give a damn about me anyway. In other words, I didn’t have a real authentic male role model while I was growing up,” Tony said to himself.
Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com
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