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 … Continue reading Episode 41 of Street Dreams/Harold Meets Tony
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 … Continue reading Episode 40 of Street Dreams Novel/Jukebox
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 … Continue reading episode 39 Street Dreams the Proposition
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, … Continue reading Episode 38 Pizza Hut
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.
in this podcast Canadian author Ken David Stewart reads episode 31 of his new novel Street dreams. This is the podcast version.
“No wonder you’re scared. I can drive you to the Employment and Assistance office any time you are ready to go,” Harold offered.
“That’s awesome Harold. I’m ready to go right now if that’s possible,” Whisper said.
“Let’s get going then.”
Harold owned a burgundy colored 2006 Ford Taurus. He had a lot of problems with his car a few months after he bought it. The most expensive repair bill occurred when the transmission on the Ford Taurus crapped out. The total bill for having a rebuilt transmission came to close to three thousand dollars.
Fortunately, Harold’s stepson, Richard had a friend who was a licenced auto technician who did auto repairs in his spare time when he wasn’t working for Seabrook Auto Clinic. Richard’s friend was able to charge his customers very reasonable rates as he did his part time work under the table so that he didn’t have to pay taxes.
Whisper needed to go to the closest EIA office as she needed to inform social assistance that she now had a permanent residence. She also needed to fill out the rent information so that welfare would pay her monthly rent directly to Harold.
It was a chilly twenty-one degrees Celsius as Harold and Whisper walked to his car. Whisper shivered from the cold because someone had stolen her winter coat.
“After you take care of business at the social assistance agency I’m going to take you to Hangers to buy you a new parka,” Harold said.
“You don’t need to do that Harold. I don’t want you to spend your own money on me,” Whisper said, still shivering from the cold.
“Don’t worry. I can afford it and you can rest assured that there are no strings attached,” Harold responded.
When Harold and Whisper arrived at the EIA building Harold opened the front door of the entrance. Both Harold and Whisper were almost overwhelmed by the strong odour of poverty and homelessness. Whisper waited in line for the welfare intake worker for about twenty minutes before the worker typed in Whisper’s personal information. After this task was completed the worker asked Whisper to find a seat in the crowded, foul smelling waiting area.
Harold and Whisper found two empty folding chairs. Harold was seated next to an elderly man who reeked of body odour and was having an animated discussion with himself. “Probably schizophrenia,” Harold thought. He had a cousin who suffered from schizophrenia and Harold was very cognizant of the manifestations of this devastating illness. Auditory and visual hallucinations were common symptoms of this chronic and persistent mental illness. To Whisper’s left was a wall with four pay phones. A dishevelled and agitated young man who appeared to be in his early twenties was growing increasingly frustrated as he was trying to call a phone number that he had misread. He started to loudly utter obscenities until a burly security guard intervened and asked the man if he required assistance with dialing the phone number.
There were at least twenty people in the reception area. They were all people that our society would not or could not accommodate. Most successful and prosperous people would never encounter them and would only know about them on an intellectual level, probably by hearing about the poor and needy people by way of the media.
Only the truly marginalized would end up in a welfare office. Nobody could really understand this mass of unfortunates except the unfortunates themselves. Some of the most dedicated social agency workers would do some research and attempt to educate themselves about the plight of their clients. However, very few of them had personal experience with poverty, chronic disability and illness, addiction issues and homelessness.
People with some or all, of there issues helped create a billion- dollar industry. The irony was that the most marginalized persons in society were responsible for creating and maintaining full time profitable employment for a substantial number of professional workers. Those in administrative positions made the big money. The front- line workers didn’t make a living wage unless they had a strong union. The needy people in the province were responsible for generating significant employment but the tax payer picked up the bill.
Whisper by Ken David Stewart
It was back, Big Time. Harold Peyton found himself in the clutches of the most devastating episode of clinical depression that he had ever experienced in his sixty-five years. He was used to this. Harold suffered from the type of depression that was episodic in nature. He was not depressed all the time, but large chunks of his life had been lost. During these times, Harold would succumb to the vast darkness of depression. What Winston Churchill described as his ‘black dog’.
Harold just wanted to shut down and block out the whole world. He sat in a broken down office chair adorned with torn upholstery. Harold was a published author and was working on a new mystery novel. The problem was that he couldn’t get his muse turned on. Every time he tried to think of a new idea to move his plot along, his mind went blank.
Harold just stared at the blank word document on his computer screen. Everything that he attempted was hard. Harold was grateful that he had a month’s holiday left from his part time job as a substitute teacher. To do a job like that you have to be able to get yourself pumped up and be able to think very sharply. Right now, Harold could do neither.
Harold Peyton was exceptionally fit and healthy for a sixty-five year- old male. He was once a heavy smoker but overcame his addiction to cigarettes twenty years ago. Harold made his physical fitness regimen a top priority in his life. He rode his prized black and white Giant Mountain bike every day, even during inclement weather. On alternate days Harold would go to Shapes gym for a forty-five minute resistance training workout. Although he was still a bit pudgy, he carried his excess weight well and was still a physically attractive man. Harold looked at least ten years younger than his chronological age.
Harold lived in a modest home in the suburb of River Heights in the windy city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He loved animals and was presently the proud owner of two dogs and two cats.
Following the frustration of fifteen minutes of totally unproductive writing, Harold got out of his office chair and walked over to the burgundy colored drapes of his picture window. He tugged on the cord that opened the curtains and gazed upon the outside world. The city of Winnipeg experienced an early bitter winter during November 2013. The picture window was covered with intermittent patches of frost and ice. Snow was now falling very heavily.
Harold honestly enjoyed the winter season especially fresh snow falls. He loved the way the tree branches looked when they were covered by shiny, white, snowflakes.
Episode 3 and 4:
But today the beauty of the winter season had little effect upon Harold’s somber mood. When he was trapped in this mental state, he was unable to bring himself to experience joy in things and activities that had once brought him pleasure. It was as if his happy button had been turned to the off position.
Harold thought of his ex-wife Clarissa. They had been divorced nearly five years now. Harold missed Clarissa, but he did not blame her for leaving him. What woman could live with the frequent
intense darkness of his moods. During these times Harold would totally ignore her as he closed himself off from the entire world. After staring out his picture window for about two minutes, Harold could hear his dogs barking loudly and sharply. He soon realized what was upsetting them.
A white Ford 150 truck was parked directly across the street from Harold’s house. He could see the black hair of a large burly man in the driver’s seat. He was very angry at a young female who looked to be in her early twenties
Harold watched as the man pushed his female passenger out of his truck and onto the ice packed snow covering the road. He tossed a large orange and turquoise colored duffle bag onto the street. It almost hit the young woman who was lying prostate on the street. The angry male yelled a few vile obscenities at his female victim and then drove away in his Ford 15 Harold watched the young woman slowly and painfully rise to her feet. She was wearing only a grey hoodie sweatshirt, black, sweat pants with a tear in one knee and a pair of well worn red Converse running shoes. She was now standing in the street shivering on this cold day in March. A black Honda Accord honked loudly at her as he came close to colliding with the girl who now had tears streaming down her cheeks causing her mascara to run.