Herbie Schultz experienced what could best be described as a long night of the soul. He was only able to sleep for a couple of hours and woke up in an agitated state. He arose from his well used mattress and began pacing around his small bedroom. Herbie had adorned his bedroom wall posters with his favourite rock bands like Metallica and Megadeth. He would have liked to have had a high school diploma hung on his wall instead. Herbie dropped out of high school halfway through grade ten. Herbie had just turned thirty-three and was starting to assess his progress, or lack of it, in life.
Herbie’s personal assessment did not paint a very, pretty picture and this was what was causing Herbie so much angst that he was unable to return to sleep.
Both of Herbie’s biological parents had passed away when a bridge had collapsed while they were driving over it. Herbie was only five years old when this happened. The next several years found Herbie living in a series of foster or group homes. As a result, Herbie was unable to grow up with any sense of consistency or safety. For him, the world was a very, dangerous place to be.
When Herbie was ten years old, he was very happy to find a foster care couple who wanted Herbie to live with them in a suburban area of Winnipeg. During the next five years Herbie had enjoyed the happiest days of his life. Both his foster parents Bill and Wendy Patterson were wonderful people and Herbie quickly became emotionally attached to both of them.
Herbie grew especially attached to Bill. Bill Patterson became the father that Herbie never really had. Bill had been retired for two years now and had run a group home for troubled youth for most of his working career. He was now very much enjoying his early years of retirement. Mr. Patterson was sixty-two years old and was still active and healthy for a man of his age. His latest physicals performed at his doctor’s office were mostly positive. Bill’s physician, Dr. Harrison, happily informed Bill that he was a healthy man for his age and could be expected to live a long life. Dr. Harrison had only one concern, morbid obesity. His patient was 6’3” tall and hit the scales at close to three hundred pounds. Bill stuck with a solid and regular exercise routine rarely missing a workout, but his physical workout routines could not make up for his terrible eating habits. He loved his pizzas, burgers, potato chips and other assorted goodies that contain too many calories, sugar and starch.
So far, his heavyset build had not caused Bill any discernible health problems as he was still a very physically active sixty-year-old man. He occasionally felt some arthritic pain in his knees, but this only occurred when Bill was overdoing his exercise routines.
Episode 50 of Street Dreams a Bloody Mess by Ken David Stewart
Episode 50 of Street Dreams
Eileen Drexler’s heart was filled with anxiety. She could feel her blood pressure rising as waves of pain kept assaulting her skull. She was trying to remember what happened and what her part was in this bloody mess.
Had she killed her boyfriend Stan Kowalski when they were embroiled in a fierce physical struggle? If so, that she must’ve struck him with the hammer in self defence. She kept on applying CPR while these thoughts rushed through her head. Where was her daughter, Pixie? Aileen called out for Pixie, but did not receive a response. Was it possible Pixie had assaulted Stan? She and Stan certainly did not get along and there was no love lost between them. Stan Kowalski did his best to tolerate Aileen’s teenage daughter, but found that he wasn’t able to relate to her on any level.
Whenever Stan would attempt to reprimand or discipline Pixie in any way, she would tersely remind him that he was not her father.
Stan Kowalski presented with an impressive physique. He was 5’11” tall and weighed 220 pounds. Stan had been steadily and rapidly losing his hair. so he now just shaved his head. He sported a black moustache, a goatee and an earring in his left ear lobe. His biceps bulged out of the tight black T-shirts that he liked to wear.
Stan was never an academic and dropped out of school, half way through grade ten. His lack of a secondary education caused Stan much consternation and embarrassment. Stan compensated for his lack of scholastic credentials by taking good care of his body. He worked hard at any construction jobs that came his way. When he was between assignments in the construction industry, Stan would pick up handyman jobs from clients who paid him under the table. When one totalled up the under the table cash payments that Stan received from his customers, he made a satisfactory income. Stan was also naturally gifted when it came to electronics. He possessed a natural gift for repairing and refurbishing old computers. This skill became a third source of revenue for Stan Kowalski.
A secondary benefit to many of his jobs was physical in nature. They heavy lifting required on his construction projects produced well-developed muscles throughout Stan’s body. Although this type of work yielded a great deal of muscle mass to his physique, Stan desired more muscular definition. In order to produce a ripped, cut up body, Stan had developed a workout regimen that was designed to produce muscular definition. This physical training routine could be practised in the rec room of Aileen Drexler’s home. Stan would often admire his impressive physique when he looked in the mirror and could probably say that he now had developed a body very similar to his namesake, Stanley Kowalski, played by Marlon Brando in the famous play A Streetcar Named Desire.
Reblogged this on Nelsapy.
Hi. I’m Rue Hamilton. Also a Wattpad author.
I Believe Mango Pepsi exists or maybe I’m just delusional
Metal health and Mango Pepsi..only in a perfect world!
When Herby Schultz awoke on the morning after the jukebox party at Harold Peyton’s house, he felt an emotion that he had rarely experienced in his life. It was somewhat like joy or even euphoria. Being an analytical person, Herby was grateful for this positive feeling, but was also worried and confused. The more that Herby sat up on his bed and thought about it, the more Herby became concerned that he was feeling a sense of hope.
Herby could hardly think of a time in his life when he was where a feeling even slightly optimistic about his future. For so much of his life, Herby Schultz felt only an enormous, overpowering sense of heaviness as if he was carrying a thousand pounds of concrete around with him.
He felt lighter today. Some of that heaviness started to lift. Herby concluded that his new state of mind was largely due to last evening’s visit at Harold Peyton’s house. There were such a sense of peace in Harold’s home and Herby marvelled at the apparent ease with which Harold had turned a potentially situation filled with negativity and even ugliness into a time of calmness and joy.
Herby did not have any close friends other than Tony Barrows and he certainly did not have a father figure in his life. There’s just something about the charismatic personality of Harold Peyton.
Herby had learned to be very sceptical of adults, but there was something genuine about Harold. Due to his low self-esteem, he had a difficult time imagining why any adult would accept him at face value and even take a sincere interest in him.
Harold had displayed a very sincere form of interest in listening to Herby. Harold was not just not being polite, he was truly interested in what Herby had to say at the party last night.
If one looked at Herby’s time spent with Harold, superficially, one could reasonably ask what was so special about the jukebox party. Harold and his very young guests had simply had fun playing a game and later listen to each other’s share their stories.
Herby became accepting of the fact that whenever he went somewhere with Tony there would certainly be alcohol and drugs involved. Perhaps, some illicit sexual activity and an almost inevitable physical fight would be on the agenda of the evening’s activities. There’d been none of that at Mr. Peyton’s house yesterday evening. Herby thought this was the only time in his life that he’d experience what was known as good clean fun. Like a very addictive drug, Herby now craved more of this positive experience. Did he dare phone Harold to see if they could get together for a one on one conversation? Herby did not want to impose on Mr. Peyton today. He would wait another day to see if he could get the courage to call this elderly charismatic man.
Episode 47 of Street Dreams
It was the morning after the jukebox party at Harold Peyton’s house. Herbie Schultz’s eyes opened to see an acrylic painting that he had been working on. It was only about two -thirds finished. A few days ago Herbie was browsing through a local thrift shop when he decided to check out the store’s used music collection. Sometimes, if one was very fortunate they might stumble upon an old LP that was a real gem, but was presently out-of-print. This rare find occurred to Herbie on very rare occasions, but like an eager fisherman, he enjoyed the hunt. Some of these albums and CDs that were available for sale on Amazon.com or on eBay, but usually had ridiculously expensive asking prices. For example one might find an out-of-print Larry Norman LP in near mint condition selling for $700. If the collector was able to find the same record in a thrift shop or at a flea market, they might be able to buy the item for two dollars or less. Therefore the excitement of the hunt.
Last Monday afternoon while Herbie was searching through a pile of LPs, he was shocked to see an album cover that Christian rock artist Larry Norman wearing what appeared to be a skin tight lion print body suit.
Herbie was not a Christian, but he once had a young male roommate who was a believer. His friend often played Christian rock records and CDs for Herbie. Herbie’s roommate had a few modern Christian praise and worship records, but most of his collection consisted of rock ’n’ roll. His friend’s favourite Christian rock ’n’ roll artist was the founder of Christian rock, Larry Norman.
Herbie didn’t realize that there was a sub genre of rock ’n’ roll music known as Christian rock. He discovered that he really liked a lot of the records that his roommate, Peter Edwards, played. Herbie was soon asking Peter many questions about the music and artists they listened to.
One afternoon, Herbie asked Peter about Larry Norman, “Hey Peter, what’s the story on this guy, Larry Norman. His music is really good so why haven’t I heard of him before?”
Peter was pleasantly surprised by Herbie’s question. He turned towards his nonbeliever friend and said, “The reason that you haven’t heard of Larry Norman before this is that his albums rarely gets any radio play and you won’t find his songs or his videos on Much Music. Larry Norman is rock ’n’ roll, but he’s also a Christian who is not shy about sharing his faith. I don’t think that a lot of secular radio stations are even allowed to play Christian music, with the exception of a few Christmas carols.”
There are, of course, several Christian radio stations, but they tend to play music by artists that they consider safe. They don’t want to upset their Christian listeners with songs that will make them think,” Peter answered.
“I think I’m beginning to understand,” Herbie said. “When I start thinking about the lyrics on some of Larry songs, they appear to challenge some of the practices of the church. Norman songs often are very political as well,” Peter added.
“You know something Peter? God has blessed me with a very sharp roommate,” Herbie said.
“Thank you. Now, answer another one of my questions, if you don’t mind. Why don’t Christians like rock ‘n’ roll music?” Peter asked.
“There are likely several reasons. They may sincerely believe that rock ’n’ roll corrupts young people’s minds and puts sin into their hearts.”
“What kinds of sin are we talking about here?” Peter asked his roommate.
“Good question, Peter. They think that rock ’n’ roll promotes sins such as sexual immorality, the use of illegal drugs and the loss of respect for authority figures. Some of them honestly believe tht listening to Christian rock music and being a follower of Jesus is an impossible contradiction,” Herbie answered. Peter left the kitchen table to make some coffee. He turned his head toward Herbie and said, “Here is my next question . I’ve listened to several of your Christian albums, but I have yet to hear any lyrics that encourage any of these sins,” Peter stated.
Herbie laughed, I didn’t know that you paid that much attention to the content of the lyrics on my albums. You are right. There are many older Christians that have great problems with the musical sounds produced by rock music. These people believe that there is evil in the loud,pounding drumbeats, the thundering baselines and screeching lead guitar solos,” Herbie answered.
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.
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.
“I appreciate your apology Tony, but I’m going to need a little time and space to process it,” Whisper said.
“Yeah, I can accept that. Why don’t you give me a call when you’re ready to talk about our relationship,” Tony said.
I’ve got an idea,” Harold said. He was now comfortably seated in this white Lazy Boy chair.
“Why don’t you and Herbie stay here and join us for a game of Jukebox. “We’re kind of in a party mood tonight I have some potato chips, dip, Pepsi and coffee. Would you guys like to stay and help us party?” Harold asked.
Tony was seated next to Herbie on Harold’s couch. He turned his head towards Herbie to gage his friend’s reaction. Herbie shrugged his shoulders, “I’ve really got nothing pressing to do, if you’d like to stay,Tony” Herbie said.
“I’m in, too,” Tony told Harold.
“What’s your last name, sir?” Tomy asked Harold.
“It’s Peyton. I’m Harold Payton, but just because I’m an old guy I don’t want you guys calling me Sir or Mr. Peyton. Harold, suits me just fine. Whisper, could you find the chips, and the rest of the refreshments and bring them to the coffee table?” Harold asked.
|I’m sorry but I don’t have any alcoholic beverages in the house. Would you guys be okay with a couple of Pepsi’s or Tim Horton’s coffee, let’s say?” His gaze was towards Tony and Herbie.
“That would be just fine with us, sir, Tony answered. Sorry, I meant to say Harold,” Tony said looking a little embarrassed.
Harold laughed and said, “That’s okay. I can see that you’re a fast learner, Tony.”
“Are you good with the Pepsi or coffee too, Herbie? Harold asked.
” A cup of coffee would be great,” Herbie replied. Herbie did not have much in terms of a social life and he was not used to be being treated so well by other people. Harold stood up. “Ricky, could you explain the rules of the game to everybody while I use the washroom?”
When Harold had returned from the bathroom, Whisper had finished dispensing the nights refreshments and Ricky had succinctly explained the rules of the game to Tony and Herbie.
“Before we start our game, I want to ask, “what were you boys doing before you arrived at my house?” Harold asked.
Tony was a little taken aback by Harold’s query, which he started to answer after he popped the tab off his Pepsi can.
“Believe it or not, I was reading a book Harold. I know that I don’t look like the literary type, but I actually read nearly every day. When I’m in a good space I write some of my own fiction, too.”
“What book were you reading this afternoon?” Harold asked.
“The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald,” Tony answered.
Herbie Schultz started to laugh, “I know that my friend kind of looks like a thug, but he’s really smart.”
“That’s one of the things that attracted me to Tony,” Whisper said. “I’ve always liked the bad boys, but it’s not easy finding a tough -looking dude as intellectual as Tony is.”
“We’ve got some things in common, Tony. We both like books, writing and Whisper,” Harold said.
“What about you Herbie? What were you up to earlier today?” Harold asked.
I wasn’t doing much of anything when Tony called. I love music and I spend a lot of time on my Spotify app. Motorhead is one of my favourite rock bands and I was downloading one of their albums called, Aftershock, the Tour Edition,” Herbie answered and reached for a handful of salt and vinegar potato chips.
Harold started to laugh. “I’ve got something in common with you too, Herb. I would say that Motorhead is probably my favourite rock band. I know that it must sound strange to hear a senior citizen say they like Motorhead.”
“No, I don’t think that’s strange. I mean Motorhead hass been around since the 1980s and that was the only era that they had any real commercial success speak of,” Herbie responded.
There was something about Harold that allowed Herbie to be so loquacious this evening. Hw was normally so shy that he would rarely contribute anything to a conversation.
“Herb, I would guess that you are going to be very good at Ricky’s Jukebox game as you appear to have a vast store of knowledge about rock music,” Harold said,” as he took a sip from his Tim Horton’s coffee cup that had an engraved image of a bulldog on it.
“Thank you,” said Herbie. I’ll give it my best shot.” As Herbie’s social anxiety was decreasing rapidly he sunk into a more relaxed posture on Harold’s couch and took a big slug from his can of Mango Pepsi.
“Well, that’s enough chit chat for now. Let;s get the game started. Seeing as I invented Jukebox, I get to choose the first song of the evening. I need the rest of you to go to the kitchen and wait until you hear a song that I am about to play on You Tube.”
Ricky was feeling more happy and confident than was was usual for him. He loved spending time with her stepdad and was amazed by the way that Harold had changed the previously tense atmosphere in the house to one of calm anticipation.
Whisper Tony Harold and Herbie all moved into the kitchen area just a few feet away. They needed to move from the living room so that they could not see the information displayed on Harold’s 42 inch widescreen Samsung TV.
It wasn’t long before Ricky started using the search engine on YouTube to find his first song selection. Ricky liked to play his music loud and in under a minute those assembled in the kitchen could hear the opening chords of the song. Almost immediately Herbie yelled out his answer, “That’s Bang Your Head, otherwise known as Metal Health by Quiet Riot.”
“Bingo!” Ricky yelled back.
“Way to go Herbie!” Whisper said as she patted Herbie on the shoulder.
Tony Barrows was starting to feel lonely. He put down the novel that he had been reading, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. He thought to himself and started to laugh,
“Most people think I’m a punk and a loser. Just another greaser high school dropout. That may be true to a certain extent, but how many greasers would be sitting by themselves on a Saturday night reading a classic novel in American literature. Not too many would be my guess,” Tony thought. “Come to think of it, I’m probably the only one.”
Tony now felt restless as well as lonely. He decided that he would give his nerd buddy Herbie Schultz a phone call.
“So what’s happening Herb?” Tony asked while rolling himself an enormous blunt.
“Hey Tony. I’m on my PC right now. I’ve got the Spotify app open and I’m downloading an album by Motorhead,” Herby replied.
“Yeah, which album are you downloading?” Tony asked.
“Aftershock The Tour Edition. I’ll tell you Tony, Motorhead really rocks out on this one.”
“I will have to look up that one myself. I haven’t heard it yet. Remember when we went to see Motorhead a couple years ago?” Tony asked.
“Of course. The concert was awesome. We got really wasted that night. Motorhead played loud enough to make your ears bleed,” Herbie said.
“Louder than everything else, right Herbie. Listen up. I got an idea for tonight. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually miss Whisper. I wouldn’t admit this to anyone else Herb, but you’re my only real friend. How about you and me go for a drive in my truck tonight to look for Whisper?” Tony asked.
“I thought that you didn’t know where she went after you threw her out of your truck,” Herbie said.
“I’ve a strong hunch that I know where she is. As I drove slowly down the street that day I saw an old guy come to his door and ask Whisper if she needed help. Maybe she’s still with him now, Tony said.
|”Sure. I’m not doing anything tonight. Let’s go for a ride.” Herbie said.
Tony had a good memory was able to recall the exact street and house where the old man lived. Tony parked his white Ford 150 in front of Harold’s house. He and Herbie walked up to Harold’s front door and Tony rang the doorbell.
Harold answered the door not recognizing the two young men who were standing at the entrance to his house.
“Hey guys, how can I help you? Are you looking for someone?” Harold asked.He had a weird premonition that he’d seen one of these men before.
“Yeah, I’m looking for my girlfriend, Whisper,” Tony answered.
Harold now realized that the husky young man was the male that pushed Whisper out of his truck and threw her duffle bag on the road.
Whisper overheard Harold and Tony Barrows talking at the front entrance of the house. It was not difficult to decipher Tony’s unique baritone voice. She walked up to the right side of Harold and said,”What do you want Tony? I see that you brought your little buddy Herbie along.”
“I just want to say I’m sorry for pushing you out of my truck I’m sorry about our fight,too. It was all my fault. I was having a really bad day. I had a horrible migraine headache. Still, that’s no excuse for the way I treated you.” Tony said.
Tony put out his right hand and attempted to shake Harold’s hand. Harold reluctantly shook Tony’s hand. He wasn’t sure about Tony’s intentions toward Whisper and wondered how sincere his apology was. Harold was not totally surprised to see Tony. His intuition had told him that Tony would likely come to his house looking for Whisper one day.
Harold looked towards Whisper, “Should I let these guys in so that we can have a chat with them?”
“Yes, I think that would be okay,” Whisper answered.
As soon as Tony and Herbie entered Harold’s living room he asked them to be seated on his couch. Tony looked at Harold and said, “I hope that we’re not interrupting anything sir,” He saw the whiteboard, washable felt markers and felt eraser. Tony chuckled a little and said, “Are you guys in the middle of some kind of class?”
“Oh no. We were just getting things set up for a gamee my son Ricky invented. He’s named the game Jukebox,” Harold answered. Whisper sat on a chair that she brought from the kitchen. She sat across from Herbie and Tony, but was unable look them in the eyes. She felt awkward and uncomfortable, but she was relieved that she was not alone with Tony. She knew her boyfriend well enough to know that he would not get hostile or aggressive in front of Harold and Ricky. She was also not surprised Tony could talk his way into Harold’s home. Tony might be a greaser and a loser, but he could be very charming by acting polite in the presence of people that he didn’t know. It worked in Tony’s favour that Harold was very curious about people and tended to give strangers the benefit of the doubt.
Ricky was not intimidated by Tony and he could easily surmise that Herbie was not a fighter. However, he was quite willing to act as security for Whisper and his dad if Tony tried anything. Tony studied Ricky for a few minutes and he could sense that Ricky was not afraid to go toe to toe with him if the situation went south. That did not mean that Tony was afraid of Ricky. Tony had never lost a physical fight is his life and was certain that he could take Ricky if Ricky wanted to be a hero. Still, he respected a person that did not display any fear of him.
Harold was not easily intimidated either. He had to admit that he was looking forward to the day they would get to meet Whisper’s boyfriend.
“I realize that it may look a little strange having a whiteboard in my living room. To put you guys at ease, I assure you that I’m not going to teach a class this evening even though I am a retired schoolteacher,” Harold said with a mischievious grin on his face.
This caused Herbie Schultz to give off a nervous laugh. He was used to getting into bizarre situations when he went somewhere with Tony Barrows. He realized that life would never be boring as long as Tony was his best friend.
Ricky had been living with his stepdad and Whisper for about three weeks now. During this time, the three of them had been getting along well. Harold was overjoyed that Ricky was now living with him. Harold had never felt comfortable living by himself, but now he had both his son and Whisper around to mitigate his loneliness.
Last week Whisper had a You Tube app open on Harold’s Amazon fire stick. She went to the YouTube search engine and typed in Guns N Roses. She found her favourite Guns N Roses song, Sweet Child of Mine and started to play the track. Harold was sitting in his prized, white Lazy Boy chair. He was reading the novel, Cujo by Stephen King. Ricky was sitting on the couch across from his dad. He, too was reading his own paperback copy of the same book about the rabid St. Bernard. A cute little puppy was sitting contentedly on the floor at Ricky’s feet. Ricky had named the dog Buster and about a week ago asked his dad if he could keep the puppy. Buster had been sitting on the back steps of Harold’s house. The little pug was trembling in the cold and was whimpering with anxiety. Ricky had just returned from Pals, the corner convenience store when he saw Buster. In spite of the fact that Ricky had problems with his behavior, he had not lost part of his childhood innocence. Deep down, he was still a sweet kid who loved animals and little children. When Harold and Clarissa were still together, they took in an old stray tomcat that they named Beater. Ricky had loved the big old tomcat who was now staying with his mother, Clarissa. Unfortunately, Ricky had a very strained relationship with his mother and rarely visited her so he didn’t get to see Beater too much now.
Buster, like most puppies, was very lovable and had already grown very attached to Ricky. The dog liked Harold too, but appeared to have established a stronger bond with Ricky. This was likely because Ricky would take him for walks on a daily basis and would also play fetch in the backyard with Buster. Buster was a very cuddly and affectionate puppy would often come to sit in Ricky’s lap and beg to be cuddled. Ricky would often think the dog’s life was much easier and happier than the existence of their human owners. When Ricky petted and stroked Buster he would kind of be in effect be enveloped by a beautiful trancelike state where parents didn’t get divorced and no one had to go to jail.
Ricky turned towards Whisper and asked, “Do you want to play a game?”
“What game?” Whisper asked.
“It’s a game I just invented. I think I’m going to call it Jukebox.
“Howdo you play it?” Whisper asked.
“I’m making up the rules as we go along. You actually gave me the idea for the game, Whisper,” Ricky answered.
“Gee. Could I play too? Do you think I’m too old for this game, Harold asked with a grin on his face.”
“No, of course you can play, Dad. Actually the rules are very simple. One player uses the search engine on YouTube to find either the name of a song or the name of a band. Meanwhile the two other players go to the kitchen and listen to the song that has been selected. The first player to yell out both the name of the song and the name of the artist who performed it wins and is awarded either one or two points. You score one point for the name of the song and one point for the name of the performer. If the player is right on both counts they are awarded two points If you only get one of the answers right the player gets one point. Time is up at the end of the song and no points are scored,” Ricky explained.
“Hey, Ricky, this game sounds like it could be a lot of fun. Harold, I thought I saw a whiteboard in your office downstairs. Can I bring it up to the living room? We could use it to keep score.”
Harold sat up in his lazy boy chair. “Do you mean the whiteboard I used to use when I was active in Amway. I would take the whiteboard with me when we were showing the plan to prospects. Yeah, I believe there is still a pack of erasable coloured markers in my old desk to the left of the whiteboard. If I remember correctly, there is also a whiteboard eraser and cleaning spray in that old desk too. Why don’t you both you guys go downstairs and bring the game equipment up to the living room. In the meantime, I’m going to put a bag of popcorn in the microwave.We’re going to have ourselves a little party this evening,” Harold said.
When Ricky and Whisper brought the whiteboard and the supplies upstairs and got themselves comfortably seated once again, Harold asked another question.
“Can I add a new rule to the Jukebox game?”
“What’s the new rule?” Whisper asked. The sweet aroma of popping kernels was now drifting into the living room.
It’s more like an amendment or a rider placed on the original rules. Here it is. The song that is selected can only be chosen if it falls between the decades of 1950 up to the decade of 2000. You guys probably know a lot of the old songs, but I stopped listening to contemporary music when the Seattle grunge pop era ended sometime during the nineties,” Harold explained
“I think that Whisper and I can agree to that stipulation,” Ricky answered.” She and I discussed our tastes in music one day last week when you were out running errands. The funny thing is that neither of us likes the current music scene either and we both like old-time rock ‘n’ roll music from the 50’s, 60s,70s. 80s and the 90s. We even like several of the same bands such as Led Zeppelin. the Beatles, Motorhead and Bob Dylan. The list goes on and on.”
“Thank you guys. It sounds like we may have a very interesting and competitive game of Jukebox starting shortly. The microwave popcorn should be ready in under a minute,” Harold said.
Both Ricky and Whisper hadn’t seen Harold look so happy in a long time They gave each other the knowing nod.
When they arrived Pizza Hut Harold and Whisper were seated by a handsome young waiter. Their table was seated next to a window. The waiter spoke with bit of a stutter,” Are you ready to order?” the waiter asked with a stuttering pattern of speech.
Harold and Whisper both didn’t take long to study their menus and make up their minds as to what they wanted to eat.
” Do you see anything that you would like to order?” Harold asked.
“Yes, I like ham and pineapple pizza,” Whisper said casting somewhat of a flirtatious look towards the waiter.
“And I would like a bacon pepperoni pizza,” Harold said. “Could we order one large pizza with one half being ham and pineapple and the other half bacon and pepperoni?” Harold asked the young man.
“What did you say your name is?” Whisper asked the good-looking waiter.
The young man was still trying to mentally process the look of attraction that Whisper had given him a few seconds ago.
The waiter couldn’t respond to the two questions right away and it took him about twenty seconds before he could utter a coherent response.
“Oh, I’m sorry. My name is Michael and I’m very pleased to be your server this evening, he said with just a trace of a stutter. “What are your names” he asked.
“I’m Whisper and this is my friend, Harold,” Whisper answered.
“I believe, sir, that you asked if you could order a half-and-half ham and pineapple and pepperoni and bacon large pizza.”
“That is correct,” Harold answered. Harold and Whisper then ordered their drinks and handed the large laminated menus back to Michael.
Harold and Whisper sat across from each other at their table. The table was close to the window and displayed the heavy snowfall occurring outside. The decor at the Pizza Hut was fairly classy for a family restaurant. Harold looked out the window and was temporarily blinded by a car with its headlight brights on, that was just entering the parking lot.
Harold said, “I’ve been very curious about something,” Harold asked.
“About what?” Whisper responded.
“Shortly after you started living in my house you suggested that I should use your life story in my next novel,” Harold said a bit nervously. “Were you serious?”
“Absolutely!” Whisper replied. I have a fascinating life story and I would be flattered if you immortalized my character in a book.
Harold laughed, “I’m not exactly a famous author, Whisper, so I wouldn’t count on your story being immortalized. However, I do believe that you’ve led a very interesting life and I would be pleased if you told your story to me. Like I told you before, I’m kind of in the early stage of writer’s block right now and I believe that ghostwriting your biography to help me break out of it,” Harold answered.
“I was hoping that you would say that Harold. Let’s start working at it right now, Whisper said giving her head a shake revealing her beautiful streaked blond hair.”
Episode 38 Pizza Hut
“What should I cook for supper tonight?” Whisper asked Harold.
“Nothing,” Harold replied.
“Aren’t you getting hungry? It’s already after 5 PM,” Whisper asked as she sat up on the couch that was close to Harold’s white lazy boy chair.
“Oh, I’m hungry all right but I’m a little pressed for time this evening. I need to buy a new ice pick at Canadian Tire. I can’t find my old one. I was looking for it in the backyard woodshed, but it was nowhere to be found. Both the front and back steps are getting really icy and I’ll need to break up the ice with a pick. I was thinking about heading out to the Canadian Tire store in Southdale,” Harold said.
“Why do you want to go all the way to St. Vital? There’s Canadian Tire outlet on Regent. That would be your closest one,” Whisper said.
“I know,” Harold replied, but an old friend of mine works the evening shift at the Southdale store. He was my neighbour for a few years but I haven’t talked to him for a while and I want to ask about how his new job is going. His name is James and he’s a nice young man. He was a schoolteacher for a couple of years, but found that he wasn’t cut out for the job. When his second year of teaching was over, he resigned and picked up a manager’s job at Canadian Tire.”
“So what are we going to do for supper? You said that you were hungry,”Whisper said.
“I’ve got that one covered. You’ve cooked a lot of good meals for us during the last two weeks. I think it’s only fair that I treat you to dinner at Pizza Hut tonight. We’ll eat supper before we go to Canadian Tire.
“You mean like a date or something, Harold?”
Harold laughed out loud. “That’s a good one Whisper. I’m 65 and you’re 22. Don’t you think there’s a bit of an age differential at work there?”
“I’m flattered anyway. I would love to go for supper with you.” Whisper said.
“Let’s get going then,” Harold said.
“You might need me to go out and clean the snow off the car. It’s been snowing quite a bit today and there’s probably two or three inches of snow on the roof of the car. Also, I need to shovel around the tires of the car so that we won’t get stuck,” Whisper said.
“You’ve only been staying with me a little while, but I’m now starting to wonder how I ever managed before I met you. I could clear off the snow myself, but I would feel pain every time I moved a muscle. This arthritis is really been giving me grief. The funny thing about osteoarthritis is that it won’t kill you, but it sure can make your life miserable,”Harold said.
Whisper put on her white downfilled parka that Harold bought for her at Hangers. She then started to pull on her new black leather snow boots that were also a present from Harold.
“My God,” Harold thought to himself. “Whisper is beautiful. So was Erica. She had a different kind of beauty. Harold turned on the ignition and started warming up his red Ford Taurus while Whisper brushed off the snow on the roof of the car. Whisper used the rubber broom with the long white handle. It is much easier to take off large clumps of snow with the rubber broom that she found in Harold’s cleaning supplies closet.
“Where did you get this broom Harold? It sure makes brushing the snow off the car much easier,” Whisper noted.
“I’ve had that white broom for ages now. I bought it for myself when I used to be a part-time Amway distributor.”
“What Amway?” Whisper asked.
“I’ll reserve my answer for another time. It’s too long a story,” Harold answered.
Once Whisper had removed all the snow from the car, she threw the rubber broom in the back seat and climbed into the passenger seat in the front close to Harold. As soon as they drove a short distance out of Harold’s driveway, he felt his car shake lightly for a few seconds. There are some wicked patches of ice under the snow,” Harold noted. “Thank goodness my neighbour recommended that I get snow tires installed during the winter season. Before I had winter tires, my car would often fishtail whenever I tried to stop at an intersection.I feel much safer safer now.”
As soon as Whisper climbed onto the passenger seat she automatically fastened her seatbelt. As she turned her head she noticed a zippered red binder in the back seat of the car.
“What’s in the red binder?” Whisper asked.
Some of my favourite CDs. The CD player and the old Taurus is still in good working order,” Harold answered.
“Can I look through it to check what CDs you have?” Whisper asked.
“Sure, but if you’re looking for any contemporary music you won’t find any. I pretty much stopped listening to modern music after the 1990s grunge era.”
“That’s awesome. I love the music from that era. Have you got any Nirvana in your binder?”
“Yes, I do. Nirvana is my favourite Seattle grunge era group,” Harold replied. As Whisper was going through the plastic sleeves in the red binder she found the Nirvana’s Greatest Hits CD.
“Do you mind if I put “Greatest Hits in your CD player?”
“Be my guest. I love Nirvana’s music. I was upset for a long time when I heard the news that Kurt Cobain killed himself,” Harold said.
“Some people don’t believe it was a suicide. They think that maybe Courtney Love was paying someone to put a hit on her husband,” Whisper said.
“Yes, it’s a very controversial topic. Apparently the surviving members of Nirvana don’t believe that Courtney had anything to do with Kurt’s passing.”
“The first track on the CD was You Know You’re Right. Harold and Whisper listened to the whole album with both of them singing along with the choruses on most of the songs.
The Plot of Street Dreams by Ken David Stewart December 22, 2019
Harold Peyton suffers from severe bouts of clinical depression as well as writer’s block.
Harold Peyton is physically healthy.
Location Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Elmwood. year 2019.
Harold had been divorced from his ex-wife Clarissa for nearly five years now.
A man named Tony Barrows had pushed a young woman named Whisper who is in her early twenties out of his truck and on to an ice- covered road.
Harold invited Whisper into his home.
One year ago, in 2018, Harold’s daughter Erica had been killed in a car accident by an inebriated driver.
Whisper suggests that Harold write about a strange young woman that arrives at his door.
Whisper has a criminal record for shoplifting and is presently homeless.
Harold drives Whisper to a local EIA office.
Harold has a stepson named Richard.
Harold has a younger brother who suffers from schizophrenia.
Tony Barrows lives on Spence Street in downtown Winnipeg. Tony is very macho.
Tony Barrows has one friend who is a nerd. He is called Herbie Schultz.
Tony has no problem picking up women as he has the persona of a tough guy.
Herbie Schultz is forever grateful and is fiercely loyal to Tony, as Tony once saved Herbie from taking a terrible beating from two elementary school bullies.
Whisper finds out how many medications that Harold Peyton takes daily in order to function.
Harold does not know how to cook for himself.
Harold suffers from severe arthritis.
Whisper offers to cook meals for Harold. During that time, she offers to teach Harold how to cook healthy meals for himself.
Harold allows Whisper to live with him for an indefinite time period.
Whisper learns that Harold has an extremely painful arthritic condition.
Whisper notices how many Bibles and Christian audiobooks Harold owns.
Harold is enjoying smoking the cannabis that Whisper has given him to try.
Harold tells Whisper that some of his friends worry about Harold’s spiritual condition.
Harold receives a phone call from his stepson, Ricky Kramer. Ricky asks if his stepdad, Harold, if he can pick him up when he is released from jail in a couple of weeks. Ricky also asks his dad if he can live with him on a temporary basis.
Harold admits to himself that he enjoys Whisper’s company. She is able to ease the pain of the loss of his deceased daughter, Erica.
During the last year, Whisper was a heavy crystal meth user.
Harold and Whisper go to the Grunge headshot/coffee shop. Harold buys a bootleg Bob Dylan concert album. While they are at the Grunge they listened to a musical set by a male who performed a Bob Dylan tribute set.
Harold reveals the dysfunctional nature of his relationships with his family. He is divorced from Clarissa, his stepson, Ricky is just getting out of jail, his two biological children, Jasmine and Derek, detest Ricky, their stepbrother. Jasmine and Derek are very much estranged from Harold. They live in two different cities in the United States with their families. Tim Kramer, Ricky’s biological father he is the violent and abusive man.
Harold bought himself a beautiful wooden walking stick with a black lab’s head as the handle carving.
Herbie Schultz’ back story. He has ADHD is 33 years old is live with foster parents in group homes for most of his life. Herbie is a high school dropout. He has been fired from several jobs where his supervisor and coworkers think that Herbie is acting too weird.
He suffers from schizophrenia and had a recent psychotic break. The police had to be called and they took him to the hospital ER.
Herbie lies to his apartment superintendent and tells him that he had a grand mal seizure, not a psychotic break.
Clarissa Peyton, Harold’s ex-wife’s back story. She is a Christian legalist. Clarissa is avery strong -willed person who despises weakness of any kind in others. Clarissa is a staunch conservative Baptist. She derides Harold for checking out a charismatic Pentecostal church.
Tony Barrows takes Whisper with him to a wild party on Beliveau Road. At the party Tony assaults a man then he Whisper and Pixie, a female guest at the party, flee the scene when the police are called. Pixie tells Tony that she needs a ride home. She says that she lives in Fort Rouge with her boyfriend, Ricky, who is Harold’s stepson.
Two police constables, Bill Noble and Melissa Parks drive to the house to investigate a report that a young man inside the house is badly injured. The two police officers search the house, but just see a lot of blood. The injured man has somehow been removed from the house.
Pixie Lambert is the young girl at the party that Tony and Whisper agree to give a ride home.
Pixie claims to have murdered her mother’s boyfriend in self- defence. Pixie killed Stan with repeated blows to his head from a hammer she found in his workstation. Pixie escaped by taking a Greyhound bus from Fargo, North Dakota to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. On the Greyhound bus Pixie meets Ricky Kramer. Pixie and Ricky share a common interest in the Charles Manson story and true crime stories in general.
Aleister Richter is the name of the young man that Tony Barrows viciously assaulted.
Hartley and Kerry Popovich bullied Herbie Schultz in elementary school. They fled from the house party and put Aleister in Kerry’s old car. Kerry and Hartley met Aliester at a downtown pool hall. boys wanted to score some drugs and Aleister had the supply drugs that they wanted. Aleister had been both their drug dealer and friend ever since.
Aleister Richter’s back story. Aleister’s parents separated just after his fourteenth birthday. Aleister hated school and skipped his regular glasses to go to the library and stay in one of the library’s private rooms until a staff member found him and kicked him out. While in school Aleister committed several acts of vandalism.
Hartley and Kerry drove along Bishop Grandin Boulevard. Their car skidded off the road and ended up on the shoulder. It was a cold winter night. Harold and Whisper stopped for them to see if the people in the stranded car needed help. Hartley’s glove compartment contained the drugs they had just bought. Constables Noble and Parks arrived shortly after. Hartley tried to push Constables Noble out of the way and tried to start the car to get away. He was tackled and handcuffed by Constable Parks.