Category: Street Dreams

Episode 45 of Street Dreams/Tony Spills His Guts

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. 

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Episode 43 of Street Dreams/Tony calls Harold

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.

Internal monologue:

“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.

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And so the game begins/Episode 42 of Street Dreams by Ken David Stewart

047“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.fantasy-23

 

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Episode 41 of Street Dreams/Harold Meets Tony

Episode 41
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.fantasy-10

Episode 40 of Street Dreams Novel/Jukebox

Episode 40
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.motorhead band picture 2

episode 39 Street Dreams the Proposition

Episode 39 The Proposition

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.”5511bd2993297bf7600bdd76396bb882

Episode 38 Pizza Hut

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.fantasy-201

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 somdrugs 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. 20190318_123936

episode 37 of street dreams a novel

Episode 37

After about a fifteen minute ride Kerry and Hartley Popovich could hear Aleister trying to speak. At first, all Aleister could manage was a few garbled words. His two friends were now starting to hear some words and phrases that were decipherable. Aleister attempted to say a few things that sounded like:

“Where am I? I’m in pain. I need help.”

Kerry turned around and said to Aleister, “We were just at a party. You got the crap beat out of you by a big dude that you were arguing with. Someone called the cops so we picked you up and got you into Hartley’s car. The grey interior of the old Ford Tempo was stained with the blood from the wounds in Aleister’s head. The good news was that the blood coming from Aleister’s head was now starting to coagulate.

Hartley was now doing over 110 km/h when the car skidded on a snow-covered patch of ice and fishtailed off to the right shoulder of the of Bishop Grandin Boulevard.

About thirty meters behind them was a red Ford Taurus with Harold Payton driving and Whisper Willows riding shotgun.

“Hey Harold, look to your right. There’s a car on the shoulder up ahead. Looks like they’re going to need help,” Whisper said.

Harold and Whisper were just returning from getting a late night supper at Pizza Hut. The driving was hazardous tonight as a heavy snowfall had just begun.

One of Harold’s personality traits was both a blessing and a curse. He was a nice guy. Too nice a guy. Whenever he encountered someone in trouble, he wouldn’t hesitate to try to assist them. No matter how much trouble a stranger might be in or how dangerous this intervention might prove to be, Harold would jump in to help them without any reservations. Harold Peyton could be very impulsive and perhaps even a bit self-destructive if he felt that the situation warranted it.

Harold drove his car right behind Hartley’s car. He and Whisper got out of the car and trudged through the snow toward the white Ford Tempo. Whisper could make out a bumper sticker that read, ‘Crash and Burn’. Harold approached the driver side door and knocked on the glass. He called out, “Are you people all right? Do you need help?”

Hartley was still in a bit of a daze as he hit his head on the steering wheel causing the car’s horn to go off.

“Yeah, we need help,” Hartley answered as he lowered his shoulder and banged the front door open. The passenger side door was old and rusty making it difficult to push open. The light in the interior of the car came on so Harold could now see inside the vehicle. He could see another young man occupying the passenger seat. He could make out a third young male who was trying to prop himself up in the backseat. This individual gave out a shriek of pain as he tried to move himself into a sitting position.

Whisper opened the back door of the car and made a quick visual inspection of the man who was in obvious pain.

“How do you feel, dude? What the hell happened to you?” Whisper asked Aleister.

Whisper could see that the injured man had bloodstains on his beige Slipknot T-shirt. He also had some bruises on his forehead. She asked Aleister to turn the back of his head towards her. Whisper noticed three small places where blood had previously been flowing from Aleister’s head.

“Whatever you do, don’t touch me, lady. My neck and back are killing me and I feel like I just got run over by a semi- trailer,” Aleister said in a low pained voice.

Kerry spoke up, “Don’t try to talk now, Aleister. Save your strength.”

Then he turned towards Whisper and Harold and said, “Look we just came back from Boogy’s Sports Bar. We were watching a wrestling pay-per-view and having a few beers when we noticed that Aleister had been in the washroom for a long time. Hartley went into the men’s room to check on him and found Aleister slumped on the floor. There were bloodstains on the wall behind him. Hartley and I got Aleister out of the bathroom and into our car.

Harold Peyton moved closer to Kerry, “Hey, my name is Harold and this is my friend, Whisper. Back in the day I was a medic during the war in Vietnam. Can I check on your friend’s condition?”

Before Kerry could answer a police patrol car with its lights flashing pulled up right behind him. Constable Bill Noble and Constable Melissa Parks got out of the patrol car. Constable Bill took a quick check around the area to see if there was anything dangerous around the scene that he and his partner were about to investigate. The wind had picked up and Bill’s ears were getting cold. Hartley panicked and placed his car key in the ignition. Constable Noble saw what Hartley was trying to do and snatched the car keys out of his hand.

“What’s your hurry, Bud? Are you trying to get away from us? Let’s see your driver’s license and registration.”

Hartley remembered that he had put his bag of drugs in the glove compartment. He knew the cops were going to search the car. He gave Constable Bill a shove and was tackled from behind by Constable Parks. She quickly and efficiently put the hand cuffs on Hartley. 20180924_100134

aleister episode 34 of street dreams

Episode 34 Aleister Richter

The man that Tony Barrows had assaulted at the party on Beliveau Road called himself, Aleister, which served as his preferred street name. His real name was Zach Richter. He liked it better when people referred to him by his alias. Two of Aleister’s friends rushed to pick Aleister up and carry him out of the house once they realized that the people at the party were calling the police.

The two men who carried the limp body out of the house were the same two people who had bullied Herbie Schultz in elementary school, Hartley and Kerry Popovich. Hartley picked Aleister up by the head Kerry took hold of the victim’s legs. The two brothers, Hartley and Kerry were fortunate that Kerry’s old Ford Temple was parked near the back door of the house. They only needed to drag Aleister’s limp body a few feet. It also helped that Aleister was underweight and was very light to carry. Hartley opened the back door of the white 1994 Ford Temple while he and his brother slid Alister’s body along the back seat of the car.

Hartley climbed into the driver seat while Kerry rode shotgun. As Hartley turned the key in the ignition. he heard some moaning sounds coming from the back seat of the car.

“I don’t believe it. I think Aleister is still alive!” Hartley said.

“That’s great. But right now our immediate problem is to drive away from this house before the cops arrive. Step on the gas, Hartley,” Kerry ordered.

It’s cold out. This old car is going to need a minute or two to warm up so that I can get the engine to turn over,” Hartley countered.

“Fortunately, the night sky was now pitch black. If anyone leaving the party saw them, it would be nearly impossible to identify the car and its occupants.

Kerry and Hartley had known Aleister for about two years. They met Alister in a downtown pool hall where they went to try to score some weed and acid. Aleister was fairly well known in this area of downtown Winnipeg. One could say that he carved out his own territory. Aleister was just a year or two older than Kerry and Hartley. He was a sociable type of character and invited the two brothers over to an apartment on Furby Street that he shared with his girlfriend. Aleister sold Kerry and Herbie a few buttons of peyote, some acid and a seven- ounce bag of Purple Kush. That was a better-than-average sale for Aleister, so he thought, “Why not celebrate with my new customers? Who knows? They may even become my friends.”

Aleister had not always lived in a rundown apartment on Furby Street. His parents were both successful professionals. His father was a lawyer his mother was a veterinarian. Aleister was brought up in a large attractive home in the suburb of Tuxedo where all successful people in Winnipeg resided. Aleister loved both his parents, but soon discovered that they didn’t agree on very many issues and often had heated verbal arguments. When Aleister was just a young child he was very upset about his parents so-called disagreements. He was worried that one day they would divorce and would no longer look after him. Eventually his parents did divorce, shortly after Aleister’s fourteenth birthday. It was almost a relief for him when his parents finally went through with the divorce. As it says in the Bible, “What I have feared has come upon me,” a rough paraphrase from the book of Job, Aleister felt very insecure despite the fact that he lived a somewhat of a privilege childhood. He had a beautiful spacious bedroom all to himself. He always got the newest and coolest toys. Both his parents treated him well, but he was scared when they had fights.

So what did his parents Hugh and Deborah fight about? It was not one of the most common issues many couples argue about such as money and sex. His parents thought they were doing very well in both these areas. Their arguments were more about intellectual, political and religious issues.

Hugh Richter considered himself to be a very intelligent man who believed in God, was trying to live a good moral lifestyle and as a rational conservative thinker.

Many of Hugh’s disagreements with his wife were over political issues. Although they had both lived in Canada for several years, they both had spent their developmental years living in different cities in the United States. Hugh had grown up in Houston, Texas and Deborah’s formative years were spent in Portland, Oregon. Hugh’s parents were both committed Republicans and were devoted to their local Baptist Church. Growing up in Portland Oregon, Deborah’s parents were liberals, tried-and-true Democrats who believed that Bill Clinton was the best president that the United States ever had. When it came to questions of religion and spirituality, Deborah’s parents were basically atheists, although they would occasionally take up an interest in new age teachings. They would tend to follow the latest flavour of the month as their newest guru, but their pattern was to move on to a new spiritual movement leader as soon as they got tired of the previous one.

In the 2016 presidential election, Hugh had some personal reservations about Donald Trump but still voted for him. He would’ve preferred Ted Cruze as the Republican party nominee, but he accepted the fact that the Republicans chose Donald Trump as their leader.

Donald Trump was sort of an acquired taste for Hugh. There were many things he admired about Trump, especially his self-confidence and determination to get things done. He was not completely convinced that Trump was a committed Christian, but he was delighted to hear his candidate espouse many Christian values and beliefs and appeared to be a staunch supporter of the church and Israel.

Aleister Episodes 35 and 36 of Street Dreams

Episode 35

Aleister hated going to school. He wasn’t like the other kids. He often chose strange clothing to wear and a from his teenage years onward, Aleister came to the conclusion that the world is not a nice place to inhabit. He came to the conclusion that most people were mean and nasty. They seemed to enjoy hurting people that were a little different and could think for themselves. Aleister had an artistic temperament. He was quiet, sensitive and possessed an incredible imagination. He struggled in math and science classes, but received decent marks in English and history class. Aleister would skip the classes that he didn’t like very frequently, but he didn‘t leave the school. He would go to the school library as this was kind of a safe haven for him. The library had small private reading rooms where a student could either sit in a standard chair next to a little desk or lean comfortably against the wall on one of the room’s oversized cushions. Aleister preferred the large soft cushions and especially liked a pillow that had a picture of the cartoon character, Garfield, decorated on it. Aleister usually had the room to himself as the other students in the school thought he was weird and didn’t want to get too close to him.

Aleistair was very careless about his personal hygiene and after several days without taking a shower or bothering to change his clothes, he started to reek of body order. Aleister preferred being left alone. He did not want any distractions from others. He needed his own private space, with the accompanying peace and quiet, in order to enter into his own internal world. Within Alister’s personal realm, he was the only person that was allowed in. There were exceptions, of course. These were the characters that he read about in his favourite books. He chose books in the genres of true crime and mystery, science fiction and horror novels. His favourite author was Stephen King. He’d read all of King’s work at least once and there were several books that he had read two or three times. The Stephen King titles that he loved the most were, the Dark Half, the Stand and Pet Sematary. If Aleister could escape notice from the library teacher and or the library tech, he would remain in his literary, fictional, safe haven for two hours and occasionally for half the day.

When the school alarm sounded to signal class change at the end of every period, Aleistair would grab a few oversized cushions and a blanket that was available to the students and hide behind them for at least five minutes. He learned that the school staff usually only checked the private rooms during the class changes.

After Aleister’s parents separated when he had just turned fourteen Aleister began to act out at school. The dissolution of his family unit caused Aleister great emotional distress. He went through the standard stages of grief, but his anger was what got him in trouble at school. His anger towards the world and its human occupants turned into a burning rage.

Prior to his parents splitting up, Aleister had not committed any acts of school vandalism. When Aleister could no longer restrain the angst churning inside him, he would engage in acts of vandalism at school. Aleister got a pleasurable adrenaline rush from acting out and after he finished creating havoc, a beautiful sense of calm would envelop him.

There were a variety of malicious stunts Aleister liked to enact, One of these was to grab a handful of paper towels in the boys washroom and plug the toilets to the point where they would overflow when anyone pushed down the handle. On one occasion, he took out a cigarette lighter and started a garbage bin on fire. Aleister took great pleasure when he saw the fire trucks arrive and watched all the teachers and students scramble to evacuate the building. Aleister chuckled to himself when it was -30°C and he could see all the people outside the school shivering and jumping around in a vain attempt to stay warm.

These malicious acts pleased Aleister to no end, to cause a disruption in the school that he hated, and best of all, he was in control and held all the power. manson 1

Episodes 5-7 of Street Dreams, a Novel by Ken David Stewart

Episode 5:

Harold watched after the Ford 150 drove away. He stood and stared at the young woman and started to think what he was going to do about her. Harold didn’t even consider calling the police. Instead he opened the front door of his house and called loudly to the girl in distress.

“Come here young lady. You need to get out of the cold or you’ll freeze to death!”

The young female looked towards Harold with a confused and frightened look. She wiped the snowflakes off her hoodie and walked awkwardly towards the door that Harold was holding open for her.

“Thank you so much Mister. You may have saved my life. May I come in your house?

“Step into the living room and make yourself at home,” Harold replied.

“Thanks. Hey, I should introduce myself. My name is Whisper,” the strange young woman said as she found a place to sit on Harold’s yellow and orange patterned sofa. Whisper admired the brass antique lamp to the left of the sofa. The full décor of Harold Peyton’s living room had the ambiance that could only come from a man who appreciated fine art.

“Could I interest you in a cup of Tim Horton’s coffee or perhaps a mug of hot chocolate?” Harold asked. “By the way, Whisper is a beautiful name. Who gave you that name?”

“My grandma came up with it if I remember correctly,” Whisper replied.
While standing in the hall, Harold now had a good opportunity to observe Whisper. Her hair was blonde highlighted by orange streaks. It presently looked wet and tangled. There were still some snowflakes in her hair. Whisper’s make up was smudged and smeared from her tears. Whisper had a gold rod piercing through her nose. She wore orange lipstick and had a pentagram tattoo on her left forearm. She was not very attractive and was slightly overweight giving her somewhat of a pudgy look. Harold thought that Whisper resembled a naughty, terribly neglected little elf.

Episode 6:

“I would love to have a hot chocolate, sir. What’s your name?” Whisper asked.

“My word, where did all my manners go? With all the excitement going on, I failed to recall that I haven’t told you my name. It’s Harold, Harold Peyton.”

“Could I ask a big favour of you. Mr. Peyton?” Whisper asked sheepishly.

“Oh, you don’t have to call me Mr. Peyton. I’d like it very much if you just called me ‘Harold’. What would you like me to do as a favour to you?”

“I would like to take a shower and get myself cleaned up,” Whisper asked as her face reddened with embarrassment. “But I would like to drink my hot chocolate first, if you don’t mind.”

“Of course, you can my dear,” Harold answered. Harold wondered why he had called Whisper ‘my dear’. After all he didn’t even know this girl yet.

“Did you bring a clean change of clothes to put on after you wash up?”

“Yes, I have some clean clothes in my duffle bag,” Whisper replied.

“I just asked in case you didn’t have a fresh change of clothes with you. I still have all my daughter’s clothes in a closet in her bedroom. You appear to be about the same size as she was and her clothes would probably fit you.” Harold’s countenance suddenly looked very pained.

“You said ‘was’ Harold. What happened to your daughter?”

“Today is the first anniversary of Erica’s passing. While getting a ride home from a party her friend’s car was involved in a head on collision. The driver of the other car was inebriated. Erica’s friend suffered severe injuries but survived. Unfortunately, my daughter did not survive the accident. As soon as he finished saying this, Harold Peyton sobbed, and his body began to shake uncontrollably.

Episode 7:

“Sit down in your Lazy Boy, Harold. I’ll make myself a hot chocolate. Would you like something to drink too?” Whisper asked.

“Yes, I would like a cup of coffee if you don’t mind making a pot,” Harold replied starting to regain his composure.

“No problem. I see that you’ve got the good stuff, Tim Hortons. It should be ready in a few minutes.”

After setting up and turning on the percolator Whisper returned to the living room.

“I’m very sorry to hear about you losing your daughter. It must be very painful for you.”

Yes, it is, but I should be an old hand at grieving by now. My wife Clarissa divorced me five years ago,” Harold said, causing another tear to trickle down his cheek.

“That’s terrible, man. Two major losses in five years! No one should have to suffer that much.”

“I agree, but it happened to me. It is what it is,” Harold said taking out a handkerchief to wipe away his tears.

“But I’ve told you enough for now about my problems. What happened to you out on the street. Who was that guy that pushed you out of his truck?”

“That would be Tony. He’s a real piece of work, man. He pushed me out of his truck after I told him that I wouldn’t have sex with him. Tony just figured that I owed it to him. He called it ‘taking it out in trade’. He said it was only fair because he let me sleep on his couch for a few nights.”

“Why did he drop you off in front of my house?” Harold asked.

“For no particular reason. Tony and I had been having a wicked fight for about fifteen minutes before he drove the truck down your street. Tony told me that I was giving him a migraine headache when he pushed me out on the road. We were just driving around in circles. I really don’t have any place to go anyway,” Whisper explained. ken-2018