Fifty: Collateral Damage


Episode 4, Part 3

Lonsdale Quay Hotel
North Vancouver, B.C.

Arseman sat on her bed playing the daily Sudoku when Jake rapped lightly on the door.

“Good morning, Sunshine!”

“Morning, Jake.  Hey, where are we meeting up with Matt tonight?”

“He’s gonna meet us in the lobby at 7:00.  How should we waste the time until then?”

“Beats me.  I guess we should behave like the tourists we are and consult the Leisure section.”

Arseman grabbed the copy of The Sun from her bed and her eyes fell on a front-page sub-headline she hadn’t noticed when she picked it up from the front desk.

“Hey, Jake?”

“What’s up?”

“Do you remember Chris from Hillside?”

“Of course.”

“Wasn’t his last name McDonald?”

“It probably still is.”

“No.  It isn’t.”

“What the hell are you talking aboot, Babe?”

“He’s dead.”


“Apparently, he was doing time at Kent and got murdered by another inmate.”

“Woah!  That’s crazy.  I, uh…I guess I’m not sure how to feel aboot that.”

“That makes two of us, but I know it doesn’t make me feel good.”

“Jesus.  Is it too early to start drinking?”

“Bloody Marys are a breakfast food.  Let’s go.”


The Venue – Downtown
Vancouver, B.C.

Dylan and Ashley parked their rented Geo in a metered spot around the corner from the café and walked to…

“What the royal fuck?”

“the venue??”

“Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose, eh?”

Dylan pointed at the marquee with a look of astonishment.

Woah, The New Pornographers are playing here next month?  That’s some big-time shit.  I wonder if Jerry’s seen this place lately.  I bet he’d be pretty pissed considering the best act he ever booked was Teenagers In Love.”

“let’s go inside and check it oot.”

Dylan pushed at the revolving door, but it wouldn’t budge.

“I guess it’s not a café anymore.  We’ll have to come back in the evening when it’s open.”

Just as they were turning to leave, Jerry unlocked the door and stepped ootside.

“You must be shittin’ me.  Long time no see, Dylan.”

“Jerry!  How the hell are you, Man?”

“Better than you’d probably believe.  What brings you back around here?”

“Well…let’s just say the rock and roll life ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

“Coulda fooled me.  Good to see you, Ashley.  Why don’t you guys come on in and have a drink on the house?”

“Wait, you own this place?”

“That’s what it says on the deed.”

Dylan and Ashley followed Jerry inside and sat down at the bar that had taken the place of the Avalon counter.

“What’ll it be?”

“Can you whip me up a White Russian?”

“Best in the city.  Ashley?”

“zinfandel, please.  thanks.”

Jerry disappeared behind the bar and reemerged a few moments later with the drinks.  He took a seat next to Dylan and detailed his recent spate of unexpected good fortune.

“A fucking Lotto Max ticket?!  That you found lying on the ground?!”

“I shit you not.  And that ain’t all.  I bought two other places on the east and west side, too.”

“Well, that explains a lot, but how the hell did you manage to book The New Pornographers?”

“Let’s just say that I have a benefactor with connections.”

“Unbelievable.  I guess good things do happen to good people?”

“Don’t kiss my ass, Dylan.  I have local acts in here on Wednesday nights.  If you’re interested, I hold auditions every Sunday afternoon.”

Dylan finished off his drink and flashed Jerry a wry smile.

“Sunday afternoon it is.  Ready, Ashley?”

Her eyes were fixed on the stage in the former pinball room as she idly circled her finger along the edge of her glass.


“sorry, dylan.  yeah, i’m ready.”


Granville Island
Vancouver, B.C.

Kelly awoke from a fitful sleep on her sister’s couch with Nia snoozing quietly by her side.  She got up carefully so as not to wake her daughter, walked into the kitchen and sat down, dropping her head wearily into her hands.  A few moments later, she was startled by the appearance of her sister by her side.

“Oh, hey, Valerie.”

“Get any sleep?”

“A little.  Nia’s still oot cold.”

“Do you know someone named Theresa?”

“Theresa?  I don’t think so.”

“Well, someone named Theresa knows you.  I got a really weird text this morning.”

“Weird how?”

“Here, take a look.”

She sat down and passed her phone across the table.  Kelly rubbed her eyes and looked at the screen.

My name is Theresa Morgan-Reid.  If you are sisters with Kelly Lavoie, I really need to speak with her and hope that you can supply me with her phone number or email address.  I’m an old friend from high school.

“Creative bill collector?”

“Worse.  Do you remember my friend Brooke you used to write papers for?”

“I remember her money.”

“Theresa’s her little sister.”

“What the hell could she want?”

“Not a fucking clue.  But I guess we’ll find oot soon enough.”

“Are you gonna call her back?”

“No.  You are.”

“If I remember correctly, the going rate for this type of favor is $20, but I’ll let you slide this time.  Give me the phone and let’s figure oot what the hell this is all aboot.”


Vancouver General Hospital
Vancouver, B.C.

Roxane finished packing her bag when the attending nurse appeared at her door.

“How are you feeling this morning, Ms. Lee?”

“Good, Jackie, thanks.”

“Think you’ll be okay at home?  I know you’ve improved a lot, but you’ll still need some help with anything strenuous.”

“I’ve got a friend waiting for me downstairs…he’ll look after me.”

“Okay, great.  Take care of yourself, Roxane.”

“You, too, Jackie.”

Roxane zipped up her bag and took the elevator to the lobby where Ben was sitting reading a magazine.

“Come on, Ben, let’s blow this place.”

Ben got up, grabbed her bag and followed her silently oot to the parking garage.

“So, what, you’re gonna make me guess?”


“Jesus, you’re fucking dense – is it done?

“Yeah.  He’s dead.”

“And Tony?”

“Solitary.  What the fuck did you think they’d do with him?”

“Oh.  That sucks.  Well, sometimes collateral damage can’t be avoided.  Now let’s get the hell oot of here.  I haven’t gotten laid in weeks.”

11 thoughts on “Fifty: Collateral Damage

    1. Thanks!! I wanted Roxane to have a pretty big role in this story right from the start, but the specifics of her story arc necessitated that she just languish in the hospital for a spell. Now she’s out and ready to raise hell!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Alright, I’m gonna need a cast list to accompany this growing scene-shotgun story line.

    Today, in As The COVID-Infected World Turns, we find at least two dozen characters all converging on some ancient Canadian dive-bar cum nightclub where mischief is rampant and we’re not seeing enough Deadpool-resurrected dialog. Bring in the Dancin’ Lobsters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know I actually did play around with the idea of bringing COVID into the story, then decided against it. I didn’t think it would work well in a soap opera. As soon as I finish this, I’m going to post the credits, where you’ll find the characters and the actors playing them. That will also contain my last ditch effort at getting Ryan Reynolds’ attention as I plan on listing all of the original cast members except in the case of Billy Simpson who will be played by…Hugh Jackman.

      Liked by 1 person

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