Lunch at the Red Top Winter Dreams eps. 12 &13

Episode 12:

After hockey practice was over, Rick called Misty.

“Hey, are we still on for lunch today?” Rick asked.

“You bet,” Misty answered. “Where shall we go?”

“I really like the chili and fries at The Red Top.”

“And I love their burgers and onion rings. So, we finally agree on something,” Misty teased.

“Yeah, miracles still do happen, I guess,” Rick said with a chuckle. “So, we’ll leave right now. I’m getting hungry after a gruelling hockey practice. Just meet me at my car.”

“Just what I always wanted. A man who takes charge,” Misty said.

In under five minutes the two neighbors arrived at The Red Top Restaurant. They were greeted by one of the weekend staff.

“What can I get for you guys? Do you want a menu?”

The waitress’s name was Marlene. She also attended Maplewood Collegiate. She was in Misty’s chemistry class. Many of the students at Maplewood held part time jobs in the evenings or on the weekend. Rick had passed Marlene in the halls several times. Rick found Marlene to be attractive, but he wouldn’t put her in the same league with Misty.

“Hi, Marlene. I’ll have chili, fries and a hot chocolate. And what will you order Misty?”

“I’ll have a Red Top burger, some onion rings and a Coke.”

“I’ll get your hot chocolate and Coke right away.” Marlene said.

“So does Sasha know that we’re having lunch together?” Rick asked.

“Oh yeah. I told her this morning at breakfast. She’s cool with it. She just started seeing this guy called Cole. He’s not as good looking as you Rick, but he’s very intelligent like you are. I think Cole might be a socialist or even a communist. He looks like one too. He is tall, skinny and has a black goatee and if I remember correctly, he wore a badge on his sweater that said Young Socialist Party of Canada. Cole brought over some books for Sasha to read. One was Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book and another one was The Communist Manifesto.  Sasha hasn’t shown much interest in politics before, but I think she’ll read his literature just because she likes Cole so much.”

“Well, I’m happy for her. I hope Sasha’s found herself a nice guy. And I’m relieved to hear that she’s not upset about us having lunch together,” Rick said.

“No, there’s no need to worry Rick. Sasha’s over you.”

Episode 13:

“So, Rick. How was your practice this morning?”

“It went very well. I am actually enjoying playing hockey for probably the first time in my life,” Rick answered.

“How long have you been playing hockey?”

Before Rick could answer Marlene had brought over Rick’s hot chocolate and Misty’s Coke. The sun shone brightly through the window highlighting the beauty of Misty’s face. Misty appeared so ravishing to Rick that he found it hard to focus on his answer to her question.

“Since I was seven years old,” Rick managed to get out.

“And you haven’t liked playing hockey until now?” Misty asked looking baffled.

“It’s what you call the power of peer pressure. My teammates wouldn’t let me quit. I was the only kid who wasn’t afraid of getting hit by the puck, so I was the only goalie they had,” Rick explained.

“So what’s changed it for you this year?”

“There are several reasons. For one thing we have a different coach this year. Our former coach developed heart trouble and his doctor ordered him to quit coaching hockey. So now we have a new coach, Brad Keenan. He goes to university and he’s a really cool guy. He’s taken most of the pressure right off me. Plus, I’m the oldest guy on the team this year and the younger guys look up to me.”

“Wow, I never would have dreamed I’d be having lunch with a jock,” Mindy said.

This made Rick laugh. “Yes, but a very enlightened jock.”

“I always wanted a guy with a good sense of humour,” Misty said, starting to laugh.

Winter Dreams a Novel by Ken David Stewart Eps. 2-4

Episode 2:

After his last class of the afternoon was over Rick headed home. It was about a three block walk from Maplewood Collegiate to his home. There was a light snowfall. While the snowflakes landed on the branches of the trees Rick revelled in the beauty of the winter scene. The sun was shining and this added to Rick’s aesthetic joy. He loved the snow and he loved the winter season. He even liked the crunching sound that his boots made when they pressed down into the snow on the sidewalk.

As it was a Friday with the weekend to look forward to, Rick had a spontaneous idea. He would walk to the neighborhood library and look for something to read when he got some free time on the weekend. Very few people knew how much Rick loved books and libraries. It was just a few blocks out of his way to the local branch of The Winnipeg Public Library.

When Rick arrived at the library he stomped his feet on the red carpet at the entrance. He was careful not to bring any snow into the library. As soon as he stepped inside Rick was overtaken by the captivating scent of books. He had very acute sensory perceptions. These senses would either produce a positive or negative emotional responses in Rick. The special odor that one encountered only in libraries always gave Rick’s spirits a lift.

He had developed am interest in a wide variety of topics. The subjects that Rick liked to explore included history, literature, politics and psychology. His pattern was to study a specific topic for about a month at a time. Over the summer months Rick had become engrossed in the topic of current political, social and cultural changes that were presently taking place in The United States. He devoured the pages of the new underground magazine, Rolling Stone. Rick not only found the stories to be fascinating. He loved the look and smell of Rolling Stone as it was a magazine that looked and smelled like a newspaper.

Episode 3:

As Rick entered the main foray of the library he was greeted by Denise Carr, the librarian. Rick had been to this branch of the library so many times that Denise knew Rick by name.

“So what are we looking for today Rick?”  the attractive thirty-five-year-old brunette asked.

Rick answered in a distracted manner, “I’m not sure yet. I’ll probably be checking out the new releases. I want to see if I can find anything on the cultural revolution happening in the States.”

“You’re such an intellectual, Rick. I’ll have a look myself to see what I can come up with,” Denise said.

It didn’t take Rick long to find the case that contained the new releases. Over the summer Rick had read a variety of books, both fiction and non-fiction. Although Rick was on the university entrance track at Maplewood Collegiate he would often be intrigued by what the students in the general course stream were reading as part of their prescribed curriculum. Rick discovered that he liked the novels in the general course better than he liked his university entrance novels. Classic novels like The Catcher in the Rye, 1984, Animal Farm and Brave New World intrigued him. As far as nonfiction choices went Rick was drawn to any books that dealt with the burgeoning nineteen-sixties counter- culture.

As Rick checked out the new releases. he found a book written by one of his favorite authors, Norman Mailer. He eagerly picked up Mailer’s new book, The Armies of the Night.

As Rick moved onto the regular book stacks he noticed that he had lost track of the time. He realized that he would be late for supper if he didn’t leave the library soon.

Episode 4:

Rick looked up to check the time on the library’s clock. It read 5:03 PM. Rick put on his parka and black toque and headed out the front door of the library. The wind was strong and it felt to Rick that it must be at least twenty below zero. He pulled out a cigarette from the side pocket of his parka and attempted to light it with a pack of matches, As the wind was high Rick moved close to the wall of the library and tried cupping his hands around the cigarette and matches. It took Rick three tries to successfully light his Rothman’s cigarette.

It was already dark outside when Rick left the library. He knew that he would have to keep up a quick pace to keep warm on his five block walk to his parents’ house. The street lights were already turned on and Rick liked how they reflected off the snowbanks next to the sidewalk.

When Rick arrived at his house, he saw his father sitting on his favorite sofa reading the paper. He heard his mother calling from the kitchen. “Supper’s ready. Let’s get moving to the dining room.”

Rick and his dad immediately walked towards the dining room. They both knew how frustrated Mrs. Miller could get if her family waited too long before they got up for their meals. Rick’s mother was in her early fifties and still retained an attractive figure. She continued to wear her dark brown hair long as that was what her husband wanted. Rick was the eldest of the Miller children. He had a younger brother named David and an even younger sister called Beth.

As the family passed the turkey, stuffing, potatoes and peas down the line Rick was deep in thought. When he passed a bowl of peas over to his father, he was reminded of the dreadful experience he had over the summer working at his dad’s printing plant. His father had tried to help Rick out by hiring him as summer help. Who knows? If things had worked out for Rick, he might still be working at the printing plant today.

Unfortunately, that’s not how things played out. Rick was just not cut out to be a blue collar, factory worker. He was not well coordinated and had great difficulty performing most manual labor tasks especially those that required fine motor skills or spatial reasoning. No matter what tasks his foreman assigned to him Rick could not get the hang of it and performed poorly on these jobs. Rick worked with a small crew of other young adults who laughed at Rick and berated him as he struggled with his assignments. They told him that they could train a monkey to do his job. After three frustrating and humiliating days on the job Rick told his father that he was quitting his job. He told his dad why he was resigning and apologized if he had embarrassed his father. His dad was very understanding and was not really surprised by Rick’s decision to leave his position.

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