Monday, August 31, 2015

TRUCKIN' AND TICKS


Hello…U there?


No answer.

He waited in the cab of the truck while the guys in the warehouse unloaded the container. The A/C felt so good—the temperature in Brampton was a balmy 35 degrees.

He tried texting again.

It’s Drew. U home?

Still no answer.

He lay back and enjoyed the coolness.

She was on her way to school; her son had to get his timetable changed. She waited outside in the car while he went in and did his business with the counselor. She took her phone out of her pocket and turned it on. Right away she noticed the strange number. Then she recognized the name. A smile formed on her face and she texted right back.

OMG! Where R U?

Seconds later: Dixie and Shawson.

What you doin’?

Waiting to get unloaded. I’m in the cab enjoying the A/C.

She dialed the number and they had a chat while they were waiting.

“How’s it going, bro?”

“F**king hot up here, man.”

She laughed. “Hasn’t been too bad. It’s just this week that it got like that. So how long you up for?”

“Well, I gotta job in Guelph and then I got Wednesday off…Thursday…I’ll be heading back on Thursday.”

“Heading back home or heading back to New Brunswick?”

“Well, I gotta drop off the truck and then maybe the next day I’ll head back home.”

“Right on. So you got a few days with us. When can I pick you up then?”

“Well, they’re still unloading. I’ll text you when I’m ready.”

Her son got into the car.

“Okay, Jack’s done with school, text me when you’re done there.”

“Yah, okay, bye.”

“Bye.”

“So did you get everything all fixed up?” she said, starting the engine.

“Yah, everything is good. And he almost forgot to change my lunch break, but I got everything I wanted.” He sighed in relief.

“Good. Wanna stop for a pizza?”

“Sure. Who was that on the phone?”

“Your Uncle Drew. He got a few jobs up here; gonna spend a few days with us.”

“Great. I never saw him in a while.”

She smiled. He was excited.

She drove to the mall and he went in to get the usual: extra-large with extra cheese and garlic sauce.

Around 3pm Drew texted her that he was ready and she went to pick him up at the Petro Pass. She watched as he walked toward the car. She noticed right away that he had lost some weight since the last time they had seen each other over a year ago. He stood almost six feet tall and walked with purpose. He was the kind of guy you didn’t want to meet in a dark alley. He was compassionate at heart, but you never wanted to get under his skin; he didn’t take any shit from anybody.

He got into the car and his hearty laugh filled the small space.

“Holy f**k, who was sitting here?”

I laughed. His knees were pushing against the dashboard.

“The lever is on the side.”

He grunted, pressed the lever, and he fell back toward the back seat. “Aww, that’s better.”

“You must live awfully close, I just texted you five minutes ago. Either that or you drive like a maniac.” 

His belly let out another laughing fit. It was the kind of laugh that filled a room and made other people want to laugh along. His voice was deep and clear. He was very articulate and when he spoke you were compelled to listen. He was a great storyteller.

“Yah, our place is at Dixie and Clark. Not far at all.”

They made quite a raucous while driving back to the house, chatting and laughing. 

He had been a truck driver for about five years. He had a home and family back in Newfoundland and got a job in New Brunswick for the summer months, where he stayed with their brother. His trips were usually in the Atlantic, but occasionally he got a trip to Ontario.

Jack came out of his room when they entered and Drew was surprised to see how much he had grown. 

They sat down to the table and chatted the afternoon away. Dinner was cooked and served and still they chatted.

“On my last trip I got bit by ticks!” Drew blurted out.

Jack and his mother looked at each other. “What!”

“Yes, man…”

Drew continued while they listened, wide-eyed, fully engaged.

“I got this truck that was used by another driver and whenever that happens, I clean out everything. I use my own blankets and pillow and make sure the mattress is shaken out and covered up. But, this guy, see, he had a dog in the cab who was sleeping in the top bunk. I never really paid attention to the top bunk because I wasn’t sleeping there so I just left it alone. So, coming back from the trip—Dartmouth—I feel something on my neck. I didn’t pay attention to it because I thought that it was just a nipper (mosquito) because there was one in the cab. I kept brushing at it. So I’m driving along at 100 clicks, then I feel something on my neck. I put my hand there (he put his hand at the spot where he felt the tick, just near his right ear) and I felt something. Well, I took my fingers (still re-enacting) and I pulled it out of my hair, but I couldn’t see what it was. I pulled over right away and turned on the cab lights and when I looked down, it was a f**kin’ tick! And then I lost it, it fell on the floor, and let me tell you, when I started driving again, I put her on cruise control and drove with my feet off the floor (he replicated the stance) until I got to Al’s (brother).”

Jack and his mother were chuckling, but feeling squeamish.

“When I got to Al’s I told him what happened, but he just passed it off and laughed, thinking it was just a bug. But while I was talking to him something bit me again! (He touched his neck.) It was another tick! I showed it to him and then he believed me. Then another one bit me on the leg! (He slapped his right calf.) Al went and got a baggie and I put them in the baggie. We all got nervous then. He told me to go have a shower and get all my clothes and bed clothes and wash everything on hot water. And while I did that he started going through my t-shirt and shorts I had been wearing “with a fine tooth comb” but he didn’t find any more. His wife, Nell, got on the phone with the hospital and they told me that I should go in right away. So I went, and took the ticks with me. The doctor who examined me was so fascinated that he asked me if he could keep the ticks to show his students—he was teaching med students I guess. So I said to him, well, I don’t want ‘em, Buddy.”

Drew gave a big hearty laugh and Lily and Jack laughed right along with him.

Jack spoke up. “Did he say they were the ticks that cause Lyme disease?”

“He examined the bite marks and luckily, none of them had burrowed in the skin. He gave me the pills (for Lyme disease) though, just in case.”

Lily and Jack shivered.

 “He said that they were American Dog Ticks. They don’t usually carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, but they can cause something called Rocky Mountain Fever.”

“Holy shit,” Lily said. “You vacuumed out the cab pretty good the next day, huh?”

“Damn straight!” he laughed again, slamming his hand on the table.

“But where could they have come from?” Lily asked.

“I don’t know, but it’s a wood tick, so it musta been on the dog. ‘Cause see when the driver let his dog out, he musta just let the dog roam around in the woods. And those ticks are smart, they stick to the leaves of small trees and brush and when the dog or other animal passes, they let go and hitch a ride. It’s all woods once you get on the other side of Montreal. New Brunswick is all woods, mostly, and Nova Scotia, too, even though it’s a big rock, it’s mostly woods. So that dog could’ve picked up the ticks anywhere.”

“It’s weird, eh? When we were kids we never saw bugs like that or even heard anyone talk about it. And we pretty much lived in the woods. It seems like it’s only recently that we are hearing more and more about these things.” Lily reminisced.

“I guess it’s the climate change or the media, or both I guess.” Drew surmised.

Jack started to yawn. It was late. Drew was looking pretty tired himself, and he had to get up early. They stayed up a little longer discussing ticks and bugs, and then went to bed.


Drew went to work in the morning and when he got home in the evening, they chatted and laughed the evening away again. Drew told some more truck-driving stories. Thursday came too quickly and before they knew it he was on his way again, eastbound. Lily and Jack missed him as soon as he was out the door, but that was okay, they knew that they’d see him again and by then he would have some more fascinating stories to tell.










https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dermacentor_variabilis

http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/geographic_distribution.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyme_disease

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocky_Mountain_spotted_fever

Friday, August 28, 2015

THE APARTMENT UPSTAIRS

When I first moved into my forever home, I was excited. In ten years, I had moved around six times. I was glad when that moving truck finally drove away. And I was relieved when all the painting and repairs, the putting away and cleaning up, and the final décor touch-ups were done. All I had to do now was live my life, take care of my family, and maintain my home. Sitting on the sofa with a big cup of herbal tea that night while my partner and child slept in their new motel-grade beds was the most relaxing night I had experienced in a while. I was so content.

After a few sips of my tea, I picked up the remote and browsed through Netflix. I tuned into Dexter and tucked my legs up under me. I finished my tea when the show’s credits flashed on the screen. I still wasn’t sleepy, so I decided to watch another episode. At 2 am I began to yawn. I was just about to get up when I heard a door slam, then yelling. A lamp or something was knocked to the floor and I heard a woman scream, and then nothing. I turned off the TV and listened; still nothing. I decided that it was just my sleepy brain playing tricks on me, so I just went to bed.

The next day I told my family what I thought I had heard from the apartment upstairs. They laughed at me. I laughed at me. I went on with my day and found myself with Dexter again later that night. And later that night, around 2 am, I heard the door slam, then yelling. Something was knocked over and a woman screamed. Then silence again.

At the breakfast table I told my family what I had heard and this time they took me seriously. It was a Friday night so my partner and I stayed up, watching Dexter. At around 2 am I turned off the TV. About a minute after there was a door slam and yelling. The sound of something smashed to the floor then a woman screamed. My partner looked at me uneasily. We kept listening for almost an hour, but after the scream, all was silent. We went to bed wondering and questioning what was going on. From what we heard, it sounded like someone might have gotten hurt. It seemed like something out of the ordinary was definitely going on. The next night we heard the same thing again. Silence after a woman’s scream.

The next morning, my husband saw the Super about so he questioned him about the apartment upstairs. Apparently, the unit was vacant, and had been vacant for months. The people who were living there, a man and woman, had just up and left. The rent had not been paid and when the unit was finally opened, the place was so dusty that it must have been abandoned for a while. The unit was cleared and everything was thrown out. The tenants who had rented the place were untraceable. Head office was unable to find them through the credit reporting agencies or anywhere on the internet. They had just disappeared. And the unit had been renovated and ready for new tenants.

My husband relayed the information to me and it didn’t make any sense. How can they just disappear? Wasn’t there a background check done when they filled out the application to rent? So who’s been into the apartment? Squatters? How come the people who lived here before us never heard anything?

The next day I heard footsteps upstairs. So, being the curious person that I am, I decided to go on up and see. The door was ajar and the Super was talking to a man in a suit. I turned to go, but the man called out to me. I turned to him and he invited me in. He introduced himself, shook my hand, and then asked me a few questions: How long have you lived here? Who do you live with? Have you heard any strange noises coming from the unit?

I told him about the noises that I had heard every night since moving in. He said nothing, only stared at me, well, through me was more like it. He asked a few more questions and then thanked me and I went back to my unit. Later, the Super knocked at my door. He told me that the man was a detective from Mexico who was following a lead regarding a missing woman. Her family had not heard from her in six months. His lead led him to the apartment upstairs. The detective had shown him a picture of the woman, but he did not recognize her. He could not remember what they looked like. We talked about the noises I had heard and so we decided to be detectives ourselves and stake out the place. He told me that the person who had rented the place before me worked the night shift, which was probably why he didn’t report any noises; he wasn’t home at the time.

At 1:50 am I was standing on the balcony with the Super. All was quiet. I checked my watch: 2am. We watched and waited. A door slammed, but there was no movement in the apartment. An invisible man started to yell, but we could not understand what was being said, it wasn’t English. We heard a sound like something smashing. We looked at each other and there was nothing to be seen, only heard. We looked back inside. A small, but bright flash suddenly appeared and was gone in an instant. Did you see that? Yah, did you? Minutes later we went into the apartment. There was a weird feeling in the air, like being near a lighting storm. It smelled like morning after a rainstorm. We discussed the situation and the Super decided to call the detective. He had been staying at the Monte Carlo Inn not far away and came within minutes. He could still smell the faint aroma when he walked in. He made the sign of the cross and mumbled something inaudible.

The next day the local Police investigated the apartment upstairs. The newly renovated unit was practically torn apart. It was hard to find, but after lifting up the floor boards they found traces of blood. It turned out to be a match to the missing woman. I could not get many details, but the Super filled me in on what he had heard.

Later that night, we were playing cards at the table. The apartment upstairs had become a very busy place. People were coming and going from early morning to suppertime. All had been quiet for a bit, up until midnight when a stampede of footsteps once again came from the upstairs. More Police we thought, but then there was a steady hum, like prayer. Even though my husband had work in the morning, he stayed up. It was 2 am and we waited for the noises, but only a steady hum of voices coming from the apartment. We finally went to bed, drowning out the voices by turning on a fan.

The next night I waited up again to listen, but heard nothing. A few minutes later, a strange thing happened. I turned off the TV and went to get up, but someone had turned off the hall light; it was dark. I stumbled and lost my footing, knocking over a vase of flowers. When I got up, a shadow or something appeared and was coming toward me. My eyes had adjusted to the darkness and I found my way to the hallway and quickly turned on the light. I turned to look, but there was nothing there. Every hair on my body stood on end. I went to the kitchen and turned on the kitchen lights. There was nothing there but the broken vase. I cleaned it up and went to bed. The bathroom light stayed on.

A few days later when I saw the Super again he asked me if I had heard any more noises. I said I hadn’t been up late in a few nights. My insomnia had passed. He told me that the family of the woman had flown in and had a ceremony similar to a funeral in the apartment. They had hoped to put her spirit at rest. The Police assumed that she had been murdered. A few months later the detective had called the Super to let him know that the man had been caught and had made a full confession.

When insomnia hit me again the following month, I did not hear voices and I was glad, but a strange smell came to my nose. Or maybe it was just my imagination.










Thursday, August 27, 2015

MASON DIXON

Mason Davis woke up to the biggest headache in history, or so she thought. The clock on the nightstand read 6am. She let out a moan and turned to lie on her back. She stared at the ceiling, trying to remember last night’s events. She slapped the roof of her dry, pasty mouth with her tongue; she needed a big, cold glass of Coke. She lie still, her breathing labored, her head heavy.

Wait a second. Where the heck am I? She reached for the bedside lamp and turned it on. This is not my bedroom. She managed to drag her legs to the side of the bed and put her feet on the floor. She stood up. Her head throbbed and she fell to her knees, holding her palms at her temples until it passed. After a few moments, she hoisted herself up and went to the window to open the curtain. Her reflection stared back at her and she realized that she was naked. It was breaking daylight, the parking lot was full, and the Rocky Mountains loomed over the motel. She closed the curtain and looked around for the bathroom. She froze when she saw a hump on the bed. That is definitely not a pillow under there.

“Shit!”

The hump stirred.

She tip-toed to the bathroom and gently closed the door behind her. It felt good to relieve her bladder. She found her purse and found that everything was in order. She took two Tylenol. Her phone was dead so she couldn’t call a cab. She didn’t even know what part of town she was in. Her clothes were hung up on the bathroom door hook and she checked her jean pockets. She found two business cards. One was for The Banff Inn and the other must have belonged to the hump in the bed. The card read: Bobby McLaren, Fire Restoration. As she repeated the name, a flood of images came to her.

She had gone out with the girls from the office after work. They had found out that it was her birthday and they wanted to take her out for a few celebratory drinks. But, of course, one drink led to another and another until they partied the Friday night away. She remembered Bobby and his two associates had joined them at the table. But how she got to the motel was still foggy.

She got dressed and decided that she was going to sneak out. She slowly opened the bathroom door, listening for any movement; nothing. She spotted her shoes and jacket on a chair near the door and made her way there, stealth mode. There was a click when she unlatched the door, but the hump in the bed stayed still. She went out, slipped on her shoes and jacket, and ran for the motel office where she used the phone to call a cab. She then went to the far side of the building so that if Bobby, or she hoped it was Bobby—she couldn’t see the hump’s face—would not see her if he left the room. A few minutes later she was on her way home. A roadside sign read: Calgary 125kms. She closed her eyes and slept.

Mason’s dreams, as always, were haunted by visions of her husband—the man she thought she knew—and the life she left a year ago. In her dream, a dark figure followed her from the corner store, where she bought the same Marlborough cigarettes and the same Doublemint gum. As she would get closer to the door of her apartment building, the footsteps would get louder and closer, and just as she would turn around to look, the figure would jump back in the shadows, just out of sight. She woke up with her head pounding and wiped the beads of sweat that had formed under her eyes. The cab driver glanced back at her from the rear view mirror.

“We’re almost there, Ma’am, another few minutes.”

Mason looked out the window and recognized the view of the TransCanada Highway. When she first came to Calgary she made many trips to the mountains, trying to forget about her life in Brampton and the lying, cheating prick that she had been married to.  The drive to Calgary had been therapeutic, and seeing her younger brother and his family was wonderful. She had stayed with them for three months before closing a deal on a condo at Montgomery Place on 1899 45 Street West. Northern Calgary was beautiful, and it didn’t take long to get used to the city. It took her less than a week to find a job; she was hired at the Calgary Herald, writing for the Life section.

Every Sunday for the first six months, she would drive to Banff and hike the trails, trying to rid herself of the heartache of the divorce, and trying to understand why he did it, why he cheated on her. She wondered if he had felt any remorse. Nightmares of the police chasing her for beating up the girl still haunted her, and the images of them from the basement window was fresh in her memory. She had to go to the doctor to get Valium. With Valium it was better, with Valium there were no nightmares and sleep came.

After making friends with several of the Herald’s employees, she became confident again. She was a great person with a friendly and happy personality. Nothing kept her down for too long. It was easier when you had friends to talk to and do things with. She felt like she was finally letting go and living life again, and her brother and his family gave her a sense of belonging, something she had been sorely missing.

The cab stopped in front of her building. She paid him with a credit card and gave her thanks. Hunger pangs jabbed her stomach and the smell of fresh coffee was mesmerizing. She found herself sitting at the counter ordering a cup and a full breakfast, all the while praying that she wouldn’t throw it up.

When she finally got home, she took a shower, and went to bed. By the time she to up it was evening and the chill of the September air made her put on socks and a pullover. She got up, ran some errands, and watched an episode of Supernatural on Netflix before bunkering down for the night.  


At work the next morning, a large bouquet of red roses was on her desk. The card read: Can I see you again? Bobby.  A tiny smile formed on her face. Looks like Mason was going to make it after all.









Monday, August 17, 2015

CAIN'S MOTORBIKE REPAIR & REST STOP - Part 2


The wedding was held the following Labor Day weekend at the shop. Family, friends, clients, and every passerby on the Trans-Canada Highway that day were welcome. Bikers from all parts of the continent had dropped in to congratulate Cain and Julie and to give a monetary gift. The five acres of land that Cain had now owned was alive with well-wishers enjoying the food, drinks, and the live band. It was a spectacular event. Later that night, Cain and Julie took the red-eye to the Caribbean for their honeymoon and Cain’s parents took care of things while they were away. They had a fantastic honeymoon.

Everything was going well for Julie and Cain; the business was booming and Cain had hired an older friend to help with the repairs. Julie ran the business from the office and Cain ran the business from the shop. Cain felt that in another few years he could safely merge from his day job that he still held at Sutherland to finally running the bike shop full time. He would finally be living his dream. They loved to go camping and hunting together and Julie was an avid hiker. She loved the outdoors and she explored the woods surrounding their five acres. Julie would sometimes bring a small axe and make trails through the woods on Saturday afternoons when Cain was busy working on a bike. They had a deep love for one another and always had a great time together. They were happy.

Four years later, true to his plan, Cain finally retired from his job at Sutherland Honda. He was 38. The office staff held a Farewell party that afternoon and customers were invited to the free barbecue. All hated to see Cain leave, he was well-liked and an important part of the team. But all knew of his shop and they would call him with business. Everyone in the area owned ATVs, Ski-doos, motorbikes, and cars and trucks. Cain had worked on all types of engines, even small engines like lawnmowers. He was the best mechanic Sutherland Honda had ever known. It just wasn’t going to be the same without him. Later that night, Julie comforted Cain for he felt bad about leaving his job. It was going to take time to adjust. He felt better after Julie gave him some good news. She was pregnant.

That winter was one of the coldest ever recorded. Julie and Cain kept warm with a roaring fire. Every fall Cain made sure that they had enough firewood for the winter and that the freezer was full of meat. He would buy a full side of beef and pork, and he would hunt for the deer that would also get them through the winter.  Julie would go to the farmer’s market every weekend and the vegetables and fruit that could be frozen was piled in the freezer as well. Buying in bulk was cheaper and organic meat was better than what they put on for sale in the local supermarkets. There was always plenty of gas in the truck and the first aid kit was always full of supplies.

Business was slow. Travelers were light. Occasionally, they would get truckers looking for a warm bed and good meal. The rest stop was designed for bikers, but they would accommodate larger trucks in special cases. Well, it was only in special cases that truckers would have to stop, like in the middle of a ferocious snowstorm. A free breakfast was always included with the price of a room, but in the winter, a hot home-cooked dinner was always free. And Julie liked to cook and bake. It was nice to have company to dinner on those long winter evenings and truckers had such interesting stories to tell.

By the time spring came by Julie was doing the duck-walk; she was almost eight months pregnant and happily waddling around. The doctor had given her a clean bill of health at her last check up, but now wanted to see her every two weeks. She had the nursery almost finished and all the diapers and wipes had been piling up on the floor. She, just like Cain, was always prepared. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and the sun was shining. The temperature had come up from the -30s and was holding at -5. Cain was out in the shop working on a bike, so she got dressed and decided to go for a little trek in snowshoes around the property. Why she took the axe no one will ever know.

An hour later, Cain went outside to check on his wife. She was nowhere within eye distance. He went into the office to see if she was there, but no luck. He went to the house and called her name, but no answer. He walked around to the main rest stop, but no tracks. He was suddenly struck by a sense that she was in trouble. He headed out toward the trail to the back of the property and found her tracks going into the woods. He called her name, but she did not answer. The snow was deep, and he was having trouble; he was trying to hurry. He fell through her snowshoe tracks. He repeatedly called her name and got no answer. His heart started to race as he plowed through the snow. He fell a few times, face first in the snow. As he was getting up from another fall, he saw her up ahead, face first in the snow. He hurried over and turned her on her back, bright red blood pooled in the snow. The axe was stuck in her belly. He screamed her name and she did not respond. He picked her up and trudged back to the house, trying to hurry and trying hard not to fall. When he made it back to the main path, he ran to her car and put her on her side in the back seat. He ran to the shop, grabbed his cell phone, and drove as fast as he could to the hospital, dialing 911.

When they took her out of the car and put her on the gurney, she called to Cain. Cain told her that he loved her and that everything was going to be okay. Tears spilled from his eyes, he could go no further; they had her now. Her hand slipped out of his. He called his parents and her parents. They came. But it was too late. Julie and the baby were gone.

After the funerals, Cain roamed through his house, still in disbelief at his loss. His mother had stayed on to help Cain deal with his pain and sorrow, and help manage the business. There was nothing anyone could do. As the months went by, his mental and physical health deteriorated and his business suffered. Nobody wanted to bother a man who had just suffered such a loss. It was just as well, Cain had completely given up.


Many years later, I had been driving on that part of the highway, heading for Halifax, when I decided to visit the rest stop. I noticed the new signage right away. It still read CAIN’S MOTORBIKE REPAIR & REST STOP. I took the exit and drove into the parking lot. I got off my bike, and took a look around. A sign in the main office window read UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT. The main rest stop and office had been renovated, and the shop had a fresh coat of paint. A few other bikers were sitting on a large gazebo where Cain’s log cabin home used to be. I went to the office and inquired within. I found out from the owner that there had been a fire. They found Cain’s body inside the nursery, inside the baby’s crib. My heart sank. If only I had forced my hungover self to go into work that day, then Cain wouldn’t have been in the shop working on that bike; he would have been snug and warm in the house with Julie and their soon to be born baby. I thanked the lady and with tears in my eyes, I got on my bike and drove away. 






CAIN'S MOTORBIKE REPAIR & REST STOP - Part 1

          CAIN WINDSOR was born and raised in Dawson Creek, BC. While on vacation with his parents one summer in Fredericton—he was seventeen—he fell in love with its scenic beauty, and ended up moving there shortly after graduating high school. He worked at Sutherland Honda as a technician and saved every penny to fulfill his dream of having his very own motorbike repair shop. He had no formal training, but his father had a deep love for motorbikes and taught Cain everything he knew.

When Cain had finished high school, he knew what he wanted to do and was very determined. He was not a regular teenager; he was intelligent and mature beyond his years. He had been taught the value of a dollar. He liked having money and he liked what it represented; power and respect. His father had saved for a college education, but Cain was not interested in wasting his time figuring out what he wanted to do, he knew what he wanted and so, when he left for New Brunswick, his father gave him half of his college fund and trusted that he would use it to help make his dream come true. Five years later, Cain had purchased some land and a small trailer just outside of Fredericton. His mother and father were so proud of him that they flew in the next day to congratulate him. Cain was making his dream come true, and his father, who was very supportive of Cain, gave him the last half of his college fund, $25,000.00. Cain couldn’t have been happier.

Cain received a promotion that year and became the head of the service department. He started out as a picker, someone who picks the parts needed for the repairs, and a year later he was given the chance to put his knowledge into practice and became a technician. He was a very social person and customers liked him so much that he became Sutherland’s most wanted technician. It wasn’t a surprise when the owner called him into his office and offered him the job.

For the next five years, Cain worked hard and saved his money. He enrolled in a Business Management course with the extra money from his promotion and went to classes after work. When he received his Diploma, his parents came for the ceremony and celebrated with Cain. They were so proud of him. He was handsome, with sandy blond hair and blue eyes, and so smart with money, and such a hard worker. His mother bragged about him at her weekly knitting circle and book club meetings, and his father boasted about him to his workers at his construction company. 

Five years gave Cain time to save and when he felt the time was right, consulted with his father about his business ideas. His father took time from work and came to help him organize his business plan and when that was finished, Cain made an appointment to his bank and spoke with a Loans Officer. Because of his excellent track record and the money he already had in his accounts, he got a loan to start his very own motorbike repair shop without any problem at all.

Cain’s father helped with the plans and construction of CAIN’S MOTORBIKE REPAIR SHOP. Within a year the shop was up and running. Cain was still living in the trailer and decided to keep on living in it; he would save money that way. He also kept his job at Sutherland Honda. He knew that it would take time to grow his business so he forwarded calls from his shop phone and dealt with customers from both his business and Sutherland’s business, and after work went home and worked in his shop. It worked out great. Repairing bikes wasn’t like real work because he loved doing it.  

Cain lived a good life. He had many friends and a few relationships. Women were drawn to him because of his good nature and maturity, but he did not feel the need to trouble himself with a long relationship. For Cain, his business came first. He traveled within the Maritimes and liked to fish and hunt. New Brunswick was a beautiful place with flowing rivers filled with fish and forests filled with deer. He took care of himself and never got into trouble. He listened to his parents when they gave advice and never strayed from his plan.

Another five years went by and in that time he had built himself a beautiful log cabin style home and got another loan to expand his business. CAIN’S MOTORBIKE REPAIR & REST STOP became a popular spot along the Trans-Canada Highway. The Grand Opening was a great success. He had clientele from Sutherland’s popping in for a visit from morning until dark, not to mention the hundreds of bikers he saw that day dropping in to rest; Labor Day weekend was a great time for the opening as there would be many bikers and campers and people rushing to get that last long weekend in before school and the beginning of the cold weather. There was a free barbecue, drinks, and some of his regulars bought desserts and salads. His friends came to support him, handing out flyers and pamphlets. And there were clowns making balloon animals for the children. Cain’s parents had flown in for the opening, both beaming with pride at their only child’s marvelous accomplishment. Cain’s father was not at all disappointed that he didn’t want to go into the family construction business; he knew that Cain was meant to walk a different path. His mother teased him about grandchildren. Cain didn’t mind for he felt a little lonely at times and sometimes wondered about having a family of his own. He was now 33 years old.

The day’s events didn’t end until the wee hours of the morning; bikers drove all night. The next day at breakfast, Cain and his parents realized that running the repair and rest stop was going to be a full time job. Cain was a little nervous at the thought of losing his day job. His father suggested that he hire full-time help to run the rest stop while he worked his day job. They talked about it some more and decided it was the best thing to do. The business was doing well despite the downtime during the winter. Of course, winter was when Cain would find deals on used and broken bikes and then refurbish them for sale during the summer. He did not sell new bikes, but with his knowledge, he could put together a bike from scratch. That was the part that he loved best; seeing the brand new product after all that hard work. There lay the greatest satisfaction.

Cain’s father had to go back to work, but his mother stayed and handled the hiring, for she was the brains of the family business, while Cain’s father was the brawn. She interviewed many people; it was hard to find someone she felt could be trusted to work alone. A week had passed and she had only a few people out of many she felt good about. She was no fool, she had a strong sense for people, for she had hired many throughout the years to work at the construction business. It was the end of the day when she heard a gentle knock at the door. When she opened the door, a young woman was holding the paper in which the job was posted, as well as a resume. She apologized for not making an appointment, but had gotten laid off her job the day before and was frantically searching for another, ranting about bills and rent to pay. Cain’s mother liked her immediately. Two days later, after Cain’s mother did a background check and called a dozen references, she was hired.

Cain’s mother stayed another week to help Julie get settled in. It didn’t take long for Julie to get a feel for what she had to do, and by the end of the week Cain’s mother felt she could leave the shop in Julie’s capable hands. It was Friday morning when Cain’s mother headed out to see Cain at Sutherland’s. She had lunch with Cain and they chatted about the business and she told Cain that the person she had hired was doing fine and was perfectly qualified of handling the position. Cain didn’t ask many questions as he trusted his mother and he knew that she only wanted the best for him. He loved his parents deeply and respected them, just as they loved and respected him. Cain drove her to the airport and they said their goodbyes.

On the drive home after work, Cain became a little uneasy. He realized that he did not know anything about the person his mother had hired. It was going to be a surprise when he met the person in the morning, for the job was from Monday to Friday and a half a day on Saturday. It was a great surprise to him when he walked into the office that morning and was met with the aroma of the best cup of coffee that he would ever drink again. He went to the pot and poured himself a cup. His eyes rolled in the back of his head and he let out a loud sigh of delight. He heard boxes fall and ran for the supply room. Julie was in the process of picking herself up off the floor and brushing herself off when he rushed in. Cain saw a mass of long curly blond hair.  Julie was wearing a casual red knit sweater that fit in the right places and a short black skirt that showed off her long lean legs. She looked up, and when their eyes met, it was love at first sight.


Their courtship was the longest and most romantic each had ever known. Julie had been career-driven as well; although, she was nowhere near to fulfilling her dream. She had wanted to run her very own hotel. Three months later, after a whirlwind romance, they had an incredible night of passion. Then, another three months later, after a long heartfelt talk into the wee hours of a Saturday morning, Cain asked her to marry him. He had found the love of his life. She had found the man of her dreams.

Part 2 at:

http://1000wordserless.blogspot.ca/2015/08/cains-motorbike-repair-rest-stop-part-2.html




Friday, August 7, 2015

MY CAR ACCIDENT - PART EIGHT

Recently, a follower of my blog wrote to me about the car accident I was involved in back in July of 2007—I wrote about it, very briefly, in August of last year, and you can read about it on my blog, if you want. She wanted to know if the law suit was ever settled and how I was doing with the consequences of that life-altering event.

Now, I’m not going to rehash that awful part of my life—I’m still trying to get over the effects of it—but what I will do is continue from where I left off. I guess I’ll call it Part Eight, since there were seven parts of the whole when I wrote about it last year.

So, in May of last year, 2014, I had to go through a lot of assessments because the lawyer representing the insurance company wanted to get a thorough understanding of my current physical and mental state. And let me tell you it wasn’t easy talking about all that shit again, and having people poke and prod me like a cow in a slaughter house. The professionals who do these types of assessments are there to prove one thing and one thing only, that there’s nothing wrong with you. The morning of the first assessment I was so nervous I threw up, but after that first assessment was over, the floodgates opened once again and the other assessments were easier. It was a relief when I was finished the last one.

The first exam, May 7, 2014, was with an Occupational Therapist, who was, quite frankly, a bitch. The second exam, May 20, 2014, was with a Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist, who was fairly professional. The third exam, June 9, 2014, was with a Neuropsychologist. The fourth exam, June 12, 2014, was with a Psychiatrist, with whom I had met before, which was good, because he had background information; therefore, my exam was short and sweet. The final exam, June 19, 2014, was with a Physiatrist, who was a menopausal bitch.

After the assessments were done, there were a few phone calls from the lawyer’s office to discuss the results. Then, nothing.

My mother was invited up to see my son Confirmed and for his Grade 8 Graduation. When school was over we all went on vacation to Newfoundland. My partner stayed for one week and my son and I stayed for a month. It was quite therapeutic. When we got back we got ready for my son’s first year in high school. I was back in physiotherapy once again, and I was still getting Income Replacement Benefits from the insurance company, and my partner got a promotion and a better salary, so our financial situation improved.  

I felt better about my relationship with my son and I pray that this whole ordeal has not scarred him too badly. I tried my best to put his needs first, and I hope that this will not affect him later in life. I know first-hand that what a person goes through as a child impacts them later, when they least expect it. He is honest with me and has grown into a wonderful teenager with a life of his own. He is kind and considerate, loyal, and always adapting and changing to fit this ever-changing world.

My relationship with my partner improved as well. It is hard to trust someone again after an affair, but we chose to stay together and work on it. When he finally gave up the bottle, we spent more time together as a family—as you can see from some of my blog posts—than ever before. He is nicer to me and treats me better, and vice-versa. We have come to be a family, not perfect, but the road to recovery is never easy. This past Christmas was one of the best we ever spent together, so good in fact that I had to write about it on my blog.  

In February of 2015, I got a call from the lawyer’s office. There was a settlement offer and the lawyer had accepted it. It was finally over. Almost eight years caught in a whirlwind and I was finally free of it. There are no words to describe how I felt. It was not a great amount of money, but it got our debt paid. We were no longer in the red.

As for my injuries…things will never be the same, but I have managed to get myself off all the drugs, except for an occasional Advil. My back and hip still bother me, along with my shoulder and foot, but I have learned to live with it and have learned how to cope. The life I once knew is gone. It took a long time to accept.  I no longer go to the physiotherapy clinic, but I do attend a healing clinic that my friend opened up last year. I have learned how to meditate and exercise every day. I am hopeful that I will soon be ready to try to enter the work force again, if only on a part-time basis. Right now, I attend to my blog, take care of my family, and most importantly, take care of myself. I am trying to get better with my writing and am working on a novel, but it is hard, especially since I cannot sit as long as I want to.

The one thing that still keeps me awake at night is: why? Why did this happen to me? What purpose did it serve? So many things happened as a result of it, like a chain reaction, just one bad thing after another. Some people say that you have to go through bad things to get to some place better, and maybe that’s what it was, but who can say for sure? It’s all a mystery, and I guess a mystery it will remain, at least for now.

To the follower who wrote me and prompted me to write a final part for that blog post I wrote last August, thanks for inquiring, and I hope that you never ever go through such an ordeal.

Thanks for reading, thanks for following. God bless.


Monday, August 3, 2015

JESSIE TEMPLAR - DENISE'S DISTRESS

Denise opened her eyes and stretched her arms and legs out in the King-sized bed. Her head ached. She drank too much wine at last night’s dinner. She hadn’t noticed the new mirrored ceiling in Randall’s bedroom last night and was troubled by the sight of it now. She sat up and looked around for other things that were different: new leopard print sheets and linens on the bed, an unusual abstract painting on the wall, and even the old lamps were replaced by new, and quite stylish, lamps, with purple sheer cloths thrown over the shades. The whole décor of the room was different. The whole feel of the room was different, but not man different, woman different. A woman decorated this room she thought.

The shower, which was running down the hall, had stopped. She lay back down and covered her naked self with the sheet, pretending to be still sleeping.

“Get up, Lazy Bones, time to start the day.” Randall pulled the sheet away and caressed her body. She felt the tingle of his fingers as they found their way up her thigh, hip, and side. She turned to him and they kissed good morning. “Come on, you better get going or you’ll be late.”

“It’s a holiday, remember?” Her eyes pleaded with him to get back into bed.

“It’s inventory day, Denise.”

“Shit! Oh, I forgot!” She jumped up and began gathering up her clothes from the floor. In minutes, she was kissing Randall goodbye and was out the door. Even though today was the Civic Day holiday, she and the girls had agreed to go in to do inventory.

She pressed the Parking button once inside the elevator and searched her purse for her phone. The doors were just about to close when she stuck her arms between them and rushed back to Randall’s unit to find her phone. The front door was unlocked so she walked in and headed for the bedroom, certain that it would be on the floor somewhere. Just as she was about to walk in, she stopped. Eli was on the phone.

“I had a great time, too. When can I see you again?”

Silence for a moment.

“I have to work late tomorrow night. How about we have dinner on Wednesday?”

Silence again.

“Okay. See you Wednesday night at Tu Casa around eight.”

Eli got up off the bed.

“I love you, too.”

He turned and saw Denise by the door.

“Sorry, I forgot my phone.” Her voice was shaky. “Check under the bed for me, I’ll check the under the dresser.”

“Here it is, Babe.” He came to her with the phone and noticed that she was flushed. “Are you all right?”

“Yah, I’m just out of breath. I’ll call you later.” She grabbed the phone and ran out the door.

He stood there, in his Calvin Klein’s and wondered if she had heard him on the phone. Naw, he thought, and continued with his daily routine.

Denise got to her car and was on the way back to Brampton. She had plenty of time to get back to her place and shower before starting work at the flower shop. Her head was spinning: Who was he talking to on the phone? Is he seeing someone else? Why am I being so paranoid?

She shook off the doubt, but by the time she got to the flower shop her feelings got the best of her, and Jessie and Rose knew something was wrong the moment she walked in.

“What’s wrong? What is it?” Rose inquired from behind the rolls of wrapping paper.

Denise blew her breath out, making the sound of a horse. She went to the back room and hung her purse in the closet. Jessie and Rose just looked on as she put a cup of water in the Keurig and placed a K-cup in the machine. She plopped in the chair behind her desk and scratched her head.

“I just don’t understand men,” she said.

“It’s Randall? Did you guys have another argument?” Jessie said.

“No, not exactly,” she said and went on to tell them about the telephone conversation that she had overheard.

“Maybe it was family,” Rose said, trying to be positive. “His sister. Or his mother.”

“Yah, you’re probably right, Rose, but I just can’t seem to shake this feeling that he is hiding something.” She got up and dressed her coffee with cream and sweetener and sat back down. The taste of the hot coffee settled her nerves. “Maybe I am just overreacting. It’s just since that whole orgy incident I feel like there’s something not right.”

“I thought you were over that?” Jessie looked puzzled. “Perhaps it’s just residue from your old relationship, y’know? It took me a while to trust Eli, and I don’t think I’ll ever trust any man one hundred percent, I think that just goes with the territory. Ask any woman and I’m sure she’ll tell you the same thing.”

“Yah, we talked about that night and he did ask me to be exclusive, but I haven’t even met his parents and I probably wouldn’t have met his sister if he hadn’t been in the hospital with that crazy spider bite. I dunno. I just feel like he’s not being totally honest with me.” She ran her fingers through her hair, scratching her scalp.

Rose rubbed the site of the spider bite and spoke up, “I hate spiders.”

“Oh, sorry, Rose, I didn’t mean to bring that up.” Denise said.

“No, it’s okay, I’m glad the scar has finally healed. Denise, didn’t you say they were going to a restaurant?”

“Yah, some restaurant called Tu Casa, at least I think it’s a restaurant.”

Jessie was closest to the laptop and Googled Tu Casa. It was an upscale restaurant in Mississauga. She made reservations for herself and Eli at eight on Wednesday.

“There, no worries, Denise, I’ve got it under control.” Denise felt guilty, but a little relieved. New relationships were so hard.

After inventory was done, the girls closed up shop and went for a late lunch at Swiss Chalet. Each took turns talking about the highs and lows of their relationships. Rose and Denise were still getting over the fact that Eli had come back and was now courting Jessie, and Denise and Jessie were still shocked that Rose had not consummated her relationship with Alex.

“How long’s it been, Rose?” Jessie said.

“Almost six months.” Rose was proud of her abstinence.

“Rose, how do you string a guy on for that long? If it were me, I’d have been sent to the curb by now.” Jessie said, munching her Caesar salad.

“Oh, we’ve had oral sex and we’ve done a lot of petting, and let me tell you, it’s been hot and heavy.”

Jessie and Denise put down their forks. Rose seemed on the verge of telling some great secret.

“He’s asked me to go on a trip with him. Just up north, near Wasaga Beach. His parents own a cottage there.”

“And, and what did you tell him?” Denise said impatiently.

“I said yes…to everything.” Rose was ecstatic. She cupped her cheeks and rolled her eyes and smiled bigger than Julia Roberts ever could.

Their squeals of laughter and exhilaration were heard all over the restaurant. Rose was finally gonna get laid!

When lunch was over, Denise felt better about her situation, but when Wednesday evening came, she was back to being a bundle of nerves. Rose’s shift ended at seven, but she stayed on with Denise for moral support. And she also wanted to know what Jessie was going to find out.

It was now almost nine and Jessie hadn’t called.

At the restaurant, Eli and Jessie were finishing up wonderful gourmet meals.

“This lobster bisque is delicious.” Jessie said. “How’s the beef?”

“Tender. And the veggies taste awesome, and I don’t even like veggies that much.” He chuckled.

“Great wine choice, Eli. Do you know about wines?”

“A little. My father had a small cellar back home.”

Jessie looked around. There was no sign of Randall. She wanted to text Denise, but thought it rude to do so during dinner. She decided she would excuse herself once she ordered from the dessert menu and take a quick trip to the ladies room to call.

Denise answered anxiously. “Where are you? Are you at the restaurant? Who is he with?”

“Hold on, Denise, he never showed.”

“He’s not there?”

“No, he never showed, and we’ve been here since 7:30.” Jessie sensed the disappointment in her voice.

“Ok, okay. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“I’m sorry, Denise.”

“Don’t sweat it, I’m seeing him tomorrow. I’m sure it’s all innocent.”

“Okay, goodnight.” Jessie felt bad that it didn’t go as planned. She went back to Eli and finished her meal. Eli did not know anything.

Denise and Rose locked up and went home.

“Are you sure there isn’t anything I can do?” Rose said.

“No, it’s okay, thanks for staying. You’re a good friend.”

They blew air kisses and went on their way. Denise did not go home. Instead, she decided to face Randall and ask him just what was going on. A half hour later she was on The Collegeway, facing The Palace Condominium. She parked the car and the need for a cigarette boiled up. Ignoring it, she walked up the front stairs and headed for the elevator. The sound of Randall’s laughter echoed through the lobby. She followed the sound and found him in deep conversation with another woman. They were discussing the print on the wall. The woman had a stiff posture with a fine pair of legs and warm blond hair. Randall was dressed in one of his Harry Rosen suits. The two seemed very comfortable with each other. When Randall put his arm around the woman, Denise spoke up from behind him.

“I thought that was you.” She caught him red-handed.

Randall turned around surprised to see her. “Denise, what are you doing here?” He grabbed her and hugged her.

She was brimming and ready to tell him off for his cheating, but confused that he was genuinely glad to see her.

“I had to go to Sheridan to pick up an order.” It wasn’t the truth, but it could have been true. She eyed the other woman, seeing the fine lines around the eyes and mouth.

“Mom, this is Denise, the girl I was telling you about. Denise, this is my mother, Angela.”

Denise’s face turned red with shame, then relaxed with relief, and in her sweetest voice and most respectful manner, she whipped out a hand. “It’s very nice to meet you.”