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 woodshed, but it was nowhere to be found. Both the front and back steps are getting very icy and I will need to break up the ice with a pick. I was thinking about heading out to the Canadian Tire store in Southdale,” Harold explained.
“Why would you want to drive all the way to St. Vital? There’s a Canadian Tire outlet on Regent. That would be your closest one,” Whisper said.
“I know,” Harold replied, “but a 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 how his new job is going. His name is James and he is 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 an assistant manager’s job at Canadian Tire.”
“That’s interesting Harold but what are we going to do for supper? You said that you were hungry,” Whisper said.
“I’ve got that 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?” Whisper asked mischeiviously Harold laughed out loud.
“That’s a good one Whisper. I’m sixty-five and you are twenty-two. Don’t you think there’s a bit of an age differential at work here?”
“|I’m flattered anyway. I would love to go out for supper with you,” Whisper replied.
“Well, let’s get going,” 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. I also 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 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 has really been giving me grief. The funny thing about osteoarthritis is this. It won’t kill you, but it sure can make your life miserable,” Harold said.
Whisper put on her white downfilled parka that Harold and bought for her at Hangers clothing store.She then pulled on her new black leather snow boots that were also a present from Harold.
“My God, Harold thought to himself. Whisper looks beautiful today. So did Erica, but she had a different kind of beauty.”
Harold’s turned on the ignition to start warming up his red Ford Taurus. Whisper brushed off the snow on the roof of the car. Whisper used the rubber broom with a long white handle. It was so much easier taking off the large clumps of snow with the rubber broom that she found in Harold’s cleaning supplies closet
“Where did you get this broom, Harold?” Whisper asked.
“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’s Amway? Whisper asked.
“I’ll reserve my answer for another time. It’s too long a story,” Harold replied.
Once Whisper had removed all the snow from the car, she threw the rubber room in the back seat and climbed into the passenger beside 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 said. “Thank goodness that my neighbour recommended that I get snow tires installed for 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 into 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.
It contains my favourite CDs. The CD player in the old Taurus is still in good working order,” Harold answered.
“Can I look through the binder to check what CDs you have?” Whisper asked.
“Sure, but if you’re looking for any contemporary music you won’t find any in there. I pretty much stopped listening to modern music after the 1990s grunge era ended.
“That’s awesome. I love the music from that era. You got any Nirvana in your binder?”
Yes, I do. Nirvana is my favourite Seattle grunge era band,” 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 play Nirvana’s Greatest Hits in your CD player?”
“Knock yourself out. I love Nirvana’s music. I was upset for a long time when I heard the news about Kurt Cobain killing himself,” Harold said.
“Some people don’t believe it was a suicide. They think that maybe Courtney Love paid someone to put a hit on her husband,” Whisper said.
“Yes, it’s still a very controversial topic. Apparently the surviving members of Nirvana don’t believe the report that Courtney had something to do with Kurt’s death,” Harold stated.
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 the songs.
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.