Category: fiction by ken david stewart

The Life and Times of Keith Ross by Ken David Stewart

Two months ago in the year 2017 Keith Ross turned sixty-five. Most of the time he wished that he had died ten years earlier. When he was fifty-five, he still thought he was doing reasonably well. Although he was about forty pounds overweight at this age, he was still relatively healthy and was functional most of the time. He held a job he liked, although he hated dealing with his supervisor.

Although he had been in debt for most of his adult years, his financial liabilities had never seemed nearly as ponderous as they were at present. The thing was that Keith never expected to wake up one morning only to find that he was now officially a senior citizen. He didn’t mind being sixty-five years old, at least on paper. Keith just didn’t like all the negative baggage that came with old age. He wasn’t happy about the fact that he was now approximately ninety pounds overweight and that his stretches of good health were now becoming few and far between. The truth be told, he felt like shit most of the time. Besides the limitations that come with obesity, his family doctor had informed Keith that he now had a mild case of COPD. After forty plus years of smoking a pack a day of cigarettes what else could he expect.

Episode Two

Keith took hold of his Roku remote and found the Creflo Dollar channel on his tv. He had now completed his substitute teaching assignments for the rest of this year. Keith was exhausted and he really hadn’t been feeling well since January of 2017. His doctors could not properly say what ailed him so Keith had to come up with a diagnosis of his own. Left to his own devices, after hours and days of personal research, Keith concluded that he was suffering with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia These medical conditions caused Keith to lack any significant and sustained energy to get done what he both needed and wanted to do.

He wanted to continue with his substitute teaching gigs in the fall, but this month he had found his assignments to be extremely exhausting to the extent that he was unable to do much but lie on the couch when he got home from work. Keith had managed to struggle through this year by relying upon sheer willpower, a doctor prescribed stimulant and a concoction of natural supplements. For a while his self designed treatment protocol appeared to be working. For about one month he felt relatively healthy and could occasionally string together two or three days in which he could actively pursue some of his extracurricular hobbies after work.

Unfortunately, he had ultimately neither discovered the secret to sustained energy nor the fountain of youth. He woke up one morning to find that his get up and go had got up and gone. He found this realization to be very troubling and depressing.

Keith surely didn’t need any more things to make him feel depressed. He suffered from what is clinically termed double depression for most of his adult life. Double depression means that one is mildly depressed most of the time, but will occasionally succumb to severe episodes of major depression.fantasy-42

Episode 128 of the Lake Demon

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Chapter One Hundred Twenty–Eight:
As Jack boarded The Viper, Blake brought Jack a rum and coke. He pointed to the large water soaked replica of Ogopogo trapped in the net. “I see that you snagged the big prize,” Jack said with a wide grin on his face.
“Yeah, it’s a beauty of a model,” Blake replied with a laugh. “I would sure like to meet the guy who put together that masterpiece.”
“That could be a problem,” Jack said.
“How so? Do you know the artist?”
“His name was Mike O’Grady,” Jack said.
“That name sounds very familiar. I think I knew a kid in school who went by that name,” Blake said.
Jack burst out laughing.
“Oh, come on. It can’t be the same guy,” Blake said.
“Do you remember who won first prize at the science fair in grade eleven?” Jack asked.
“Now I see the connection. Mike was the kid who built that small model of Ogopogo. It was a beauty. I remember that Mike spent weeks working on that model. So you’re telling me that Mike O’Grady designed and built the life sized model on the deck of my ship? Why would he build a full size replica and what was it doing on the lake?”
“I arranged the whole thing,” Jack said. “I paid Mike O’Grady to design and build the life sized model.”
“Why?”
“I was going to use the model to get back at you,” Jack said.
“What have you got against me?” asked Blake.
“Are you that obtuse, Blake? You mean to say that you don’t remember what you did to me?”
“No. I don’t remember what I did to you.”
“You quit our business partnership and took up with some sleazy married woman,” Jack answered angrily.
“She, somehow, talked you into leaving our business to become partners with her in her start-up enterprise. The worst part was that you left me entirely out of the loop concerning your new plans. I only found out about what you had done through one of our former business associates.”
“I can appreciate what you’re saying, Jack, but you are missing something here. In our previous business venture you and I were on the same page for a long time. Then, as time went by, our business ideas were starting to diverge to the point that we couldn’t agree on lunch. I didn’t see any rational reason why you and I should remain business partners. That’s why I jumped ship. I admit that I should have let you know of my change of plans in advance.”
“So why can’t I talk to Mike O’Grady?” Blake asked, changing the subject.
“Because he’s dead,” Jack answered.
“How did he die?” Blake asked.
“He had most of his right arm torn off by a junior size Ogopogo. Poor Mike died on the operating room table. I don’t think that Mike was in good enough shape to survive the surgery,” Jack answered.
“Are we talking about a real Ogopogo now?”
“Yes, it was a real Ogopogo, all right. The only thing was that this one was likely not a full grown member of the species. The little one decided that it would check out the full scale replica that we threw in the lake. Mike was taking pictures when he got too close to the railing of the boat. The creature grabbed his right arm and tore it right off. Mike was bleeding profusely all over the ship’s deck,” Jack said.
“Were you able to save the pictures that Mike took?”
“Yes, the pictures were very clear and sharp. I had them analyzed by a mutual friend of ours, Cam McDougall.”
“Wasn’t he the guy who had his own photography business?”
“Yes, that’s him.”
“Were you able to capture the small Ogopogo?”
“No, we had to rush Mike to the hospital,” Jack replied.
“Look Jack. I admit it. I did screw you around on our last business enterprise. I should have taken the time to try to work out our differences before I joined another company. And I should have told you about it. I’m sincerely sorry. It was just that Debra Lang had my head all screwed around. I allowed lust to over- take my rational mind,” Blake said.
“It didn’t take long for my relationship with Debra to blow up in my face. It took me awhile to realize that she was just using me both personally and professionally. The last straw was when I found out that she was still seeing her husband, Roman and was trying to reconcile with him. After I confronted her, our whole relationship, both personal and business, collapsed,”
Blake was trying hard to come up with a good story that would appease Jack’s wounded ego. Blake had even thought of a way to make it up to him.

Alligators in the Sewers by Ken David Stewart

Alligators in the Sewers A Novel by Ken David Stewart

Russ Bridges was enjoying a long, restful nap on his new black leather couch. He was startled out of a deep sleep when he heard a loud pounding on his front door. Russ had just turned sixty-six was enjoying his first year of retirement as the former superintendent of sewers for the city of New York. It was 2:05 PM on June 11, 2017. He had been reading the novel It by Stephen King. It was not unusual for Russ to fall asleep on his couch while reading in the mid afternoon. Stephen King was Ross’s favorite author and It was his favorite novel by the most popular horror writer of the century. This was usually how people defined Stephen King as a writer, but the author hated this limited, restrictive view of his writing.

As the pounding on his door became louder, Russ managed to lift his substantial bulk off the couch. When Ross opened his front door he saw Sean Webb, the new superintendent of sewers. Sean took over Russ’s position when he retired. Sean looked very anxious when Ross opened the door for him. “Can I smoke in your house, Russ? I’m all stressed out and I need to talk to you.”

“Sure. Come on in Sean. Yeah, you can smoke in my house. I gave up smoking about ten years ago. Now I just vape like the young people do. You really look agitated. What’s up?”

“Thanks for seeing me on such short notice or rather no notice,” Sean said as his trembling hand reached into the front pocket of his shirt for his pack of Marlborough cigarettes.

“I got a serious problem at work and I really need your advice, Russ. Have you ever heard or seen anything to do with alligators in the New York sewer system?”

“Yeah, I know quite a bit about the problem, but I haven’t told anybody about it. Before I retired from your job, I had to sign a bunch of papers swearing me to secrecy concerning that topic,” Russ answered.

Episode two

“Why don’t you find a place to park yourself in my living room, Sean?”

Sean was feeling faint so he was relieved to have a place to steady himself. He spotted a bright orange Lazy Boy chair in Russ’s living room. It was the first time that Sean had been in Russ’s house and he found it odd that Russ would have been orange easy chair and wondered where Russ got it.

“Where did you find an orange easy chair, Russ?

“On eBay. It’s a rare color for an easy chair but don’t ask me how much I paid for it. Would you like some coffee to go with your cigarette?”

Russ reached over to his fireplace mantel and took a very weird looking ashtray from the top of it. The ashtray was a beige color in the shape of an alligator. Russ placed it on the glass coffee table in front of Sean’s chair.

“You are starting to freak me out Russ. This ashtray looks a lot like a white albino alligator. This is like a prophetic symbol of why I’m here to meet with you,” Sean said.

“What do you like in your coffee?

“ Some coffee creamer and Sugar Twin would be great if you have it.”

“You’re in luck. That’s exactly what I put in my coffee. My favorite flavor is hazelnut. What’s yours?”

Sean managed a nervous laugh. “What a coincidence. That’s my favorite too.”

“My wife gets on my back quite a bit about using Sugar Twin. Ruth’s a nurse and she never fails to tell me that artificial sweeteners cause cancer. I told her that I don’t worry about that because I want to die before she does. I’m being serious, too. I don’t know how I would manage to get along without my wife.”

Russ hated the aging process. He didn’t like the fact that he could not do all the things that he was able to do at age forty. Russ had been somewhat of a high-energy freak of nature when he was younger. He was still trying to make a difficult adjustment to his new life as a senior citizen. This was not an easy transition for him. Since his retirement started he had put on about twenty very unnecessary pounds that he did not need that were causing him to slow down in his daily life activities. Russ found that with each passing year he seemed to either reduce or had to eliminate one of the activities that he had enjoyed doing the year before. Life wasn’t fair. A man of Russ’s intellect and drive could not understand or accept the inevitable fact that he was being forced to slow down in his senior years.

Russ wasn’t very happy with his life now that he was retired. It bothered him that he no longer knew how much time he had to live. His father had passed away at age forty-two after suffering a massive heart attack. This really shook Russ up, and he started thinking about his own longevity.

Russ had a lot of regrets even when he was in his prime. He had a poor self-image. He knew that he had excelled in his work for the city of New York, but felt that in most areas of his life he had been a failure.

Sean’s hand was still shaking as he took a long way drag from his Marlboro cigarette. “I’d sure like to hear any information you have, Russ. I feel like I’m going crazy. Sure, I heard some stories about alligators in our sewer system, but I thought it was just an urban legend. So did most of my coworkers until they started claiming they actually saw alligators while they were performing their sewer maintenance duties.At first, I didn’t believe them when a couple of my staff told me about their encounters with these reptiles. I just figured that seeing that I was their new supervisor they decided to tell me these stories as sort of an initiation prank.”

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