EDIE VAN HEELIN’S CANADIAN VACATION
Fanboy Mike had a roaring fire going. First fire of the season! Early spring was a remarkable time at the cottage. It was not yet too hot, but wearing shorts was still possible. Birds chirped above. Green was returning to the world. Peace was in the cool air all around him. Decked out in his best camo shorts, Crocs, and Croclights, Mike was preparing for company. For today he was expecting a visit from his good pal and all around superhero, Edie Van Heelin’. Her adventures kept her busy – retrieving lost Lego from the forces of evil, defeating a rogue Tommy Lee, battling aliens – but every hero deserves a vacation, and Edie Van Heelin’ set aside this whole weekend for just visiting. No hero-ing, no saving the animals this weekend, just hanging out and having a good time. Mike was looking forward to it.
On a laptop on the deck, he had the tunes blaring. Starting with Fair Warning by Van Halen, he thought back to the first time he met Edie at a club. Her tribute band Van Heelin’ were just starting to make a name for themselves and he was blown away with her technique on guitar. Every hammer-on and pull-off was perfect, and she didn’t even chip a nail. She had it all: the glam and the skills. This weekend was gonna rock! David Lee Roth warned of “Mean Street” while Mike smiled cleaning the grill, preparing for a weekend of steak and veggies.
Periodically as he worked (and played air guitar), he looked up to the sky. Edie should be rocketing here any moment. Where was she? It wasn’t like her to be late.
“We’re searching for the latest thing, a break in this routine, talkin’ some new kicks, ones like you ain’t never seen!” sceamed Roth.
“Yeah man!” whooped Mike as he punched the air. “This weekend will rock!” Back home, his beloved wife Jen had a girl’s weekend lined up, and was letting him cut loose a little extra hard this time. No compulsory Tim Horton’s runs, no hockey, and music as loud as he wanted it. But where was Edie?
It was then that he heard a honking in the driveway. He ran around to the front of the cottage to see a jeep towing a sizeable trailer pulling in! The sound of “American Girl” by Tom Petty poured from the windows.
“The heck? Who’s this?” he wondered.
The jeep squeezed in as far it could. With roof and windows off, the vehicle was prepared for summer. With its massive trailer, it took up virtually the whole driveway. The engine stopped, and driver’s side door opened.
Decked out in a short, low cut floral spring dress, and some cute wedges that tied around the ankles, stepped Edie Van Heelin’ in full Vacation Mode!
“Whoah Edie! You drove?” exclaimed Mike in shock.
“You bet I did!” she answered as they hugged. “Had to bring my new portable Shoe Shed. We have work to do!”
Mike stepped back. “Waaaaaaait a minute. We agreed. We’re not hero-ing this weekend. We’re taking it easy. That was the plan.”
Edie removed her shades. “You did tell me we’d take pictures, Fanboy! ‘Best sunsets in the world’ – that’s what you said right?”
“Yes, but…” he began to answer.
“Well this is how I take pictures!” she answered matter-of-factly. “How am I supposed to know which pair of heels to wear? Had to bring them all.”
Mike nodded his head. “Of course. Silly of me!” He motioned toward the front steps. “Please, follow me! I’ll put on some tea and get you settled. Oh, and I’ll put on some tunes for you – Fleetwood Mac?” Edie nodded yes, and Mike put on “Songbird”. As Christine McVie’s voice began to take over the living room, another sound began to creep through the walls. A loud vehicle outside.
Mike peered out through the windows.
“Ah, no. Renters! Crap!” he exclaimed.
“Renters, is that bad?” asked Edie.
“I guess we’ll see,” cautioned Mike as he saw a man get out of a large black pickup truck at the property across the road. “He’s already almost blocking the path to the lake, so that’s not a good start.”
“Ignore it,” advised Edie with a smile. “Let’s get the fun started!”
With that, tea was brewed, music was selected, deck chairs arranged, hammock installed, and heels selected. The weekend had officially begun.
“There must be some kind of way outta here, said the joker to the thief,” sang Bob Dylan from the front porch of the cottage. “There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief.”
Mike was seated at his laptop on the deck, while Edie had strung a hammock from the porch to the Shoe Shed. She was reading a book: Utopia by Saint Sir Thomas More. It was the perfect setup.
“Thanks for picking the Dylan version, Mike!” said Edie with a thumbs-up. She caught some sun in a bathing suit.
“I know what you like!” he answered. “Next up: CSNY!” Edie raised her tea in salute.
Then, from across the road, much louder music began to overpower theirs.
“DUHR, DUHR, DUHR…DUHR, DUHR, DU-DUHR…DUHR, DUHR, DUHR…”
“Damn renters!” exclaimed Mike. He paused a moment to listen. “Is that Deep Purple?”
“‘Smoke on the Water’!” said Edie as he muffled her ears. “I hate Deep Purple!”
Mike grimaced. “I know, I know…but regardless of our differing opinions on the Deepest of Purples, I’ll go talk to the guy, this is ridiculous.”
“I’m coming with you,” said Edie as she swung her giant wedges 90 degrees and got out of the hammock. The pair made their way to the front door of the large white cottage across the road and knocked loudly.
A grizzled looking man with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other could be seen coming to the door. Tufts of black hair poured out of his too-small T-shirt. As he approached, so did the stench of sweat and alcohol.
“What can I do you for?” asked the renter in the stained white T-shirt. “Name’s Sooner. George Sooner.”
“I’m Mike and this is Edie,” I said as Edie nodded. “Can you turn down the Deep Purple? We can’t hear ourselves across the road there.”
The man looked Edie up and down. “Edie huh? You don’t look like you’re from around here,” he dismissed.
“Neither are you!” she countered.
He clenched his jaw and grit his teeth. “I’ll turn it down,” he spat as he closed the door and walked away.
“Gross! What a jerk!” said Edie. “Come on, let’s go. Ignore him. Let’s go take some pictures at the beach.”
“Good idea,” responded Mike. “I’ll go get my tripod and camera.”
Edie stood precariously upon a rock jutting from the shallows of Lake Huron, posing up a storm! Having selected a slightly less towering pair of wedges, she switched from leg to leg as she played to the camera. She was killing it. The lake was wavy, and though she was certainly getting splashed, she was steady and sure on her legs and perfectly in control.
“Pretend you’re playing guitar!” instructed Mike from his vantage point with the camera. “Rock your hair around and get the air guitar out!” Edie grinned and started strumming out a grooving rhythm in time with the waves, on her air guitar. “That’s perfect, keep going!” encouraged Mike.
A loud noise began to drown him out, a motorized vehicle nearby. Looking over his right shoulder, he spied George Sooner approaching in an ATV. Going far too fast for this little beach, he kicked up a wave of sand onto Mike he he passed.
Mike spat sand out of his mouth, and tried to get it out of his eyes. “What a dick!” he muttered, shaking more sand out of his hair. Edie stared at Sooner disapprovingly.
“Let’s go further down the beach,” shouted Edie over the waves. “Away from this guy.” Sooner was busy getting a jet ski ready to take out, and it seemed like a pretty good idea. Mike nodded OK, and Edie began stepping her way from rock to rock towards shore.
The roar of the jet ski engine warned them that it was too late, as Sooner ripped right past Edie, covering her with water. No longer able to balance, she slipped and fell into the spring-cold lake. Unsurprisingly, she screamed. “Yow!! That is cold!!” She got up and quickly hopped to shore, while Sooner shot off into the distance. “Shit that’s cold!” exclaimed Edie.
Mike raised his eyebrows in shock. “Edie! You swore.”
She covered her mouth with eyes wide. “I did! But that’s cold!”
“I told you Lake Huron didn’t get warm until summer,” said Mike as he handed her a towel, with a self-satisfied smirk. “You didn’t believe me. ‘I’ll jump in any body of water any time’, were you words. You said it yourself!”
“I may or may not have,” laughed Edie, some humour returning to the day now. “But this is seeming personal now with that Sooner guy.”
“I admit he does seem to be targeting us,” said Mike with a finger on his chin. “But let’s not jump to conclusions yet. Lots of people are just jerks, and renters are not usually the most considerate at this beach. Unfortunately.” He sighed. “The good news is, I have steaks for tonight and we have all day tomorrow as well. Come on, let’s get another pair of shoes and take some more photos before we pack it in. Get those orange ones. Those’ll look sweet on the beach.”
Edie smiled in approval as the pair set off across the beach to finish their photo shoot.
“Don’t wanna wait ’til you know me better! Let’s just be glad for the time together!” sang Paul Stanley from the speakers on the back porch as Mike worked the grill.
“Oh, nice pick Mike, ‘Lick It Up’!” approved Edie. “Remember when I did that photo shoot as the Candy Cane Queen? This was my song!”
“I know!” smiled Mike. “That’s why I picked it!” He flipped some of the veggies and started explaining to Edie the whole Vinnie Vincent saga with Kiss. He was like a wind-up toy; once you got him going you had to let him do the whole schtick to the finish. He wound up the tale with Vinnie being replaced by Mark St. John, but thought it would be wise to save the whole Animalize saga for tomorrow night.
“Alright, as ordered: Broccoli, carrots and red peppers. A little olive oil, fresh ground pepper, pink Himalayan salt, and this new chipotle lime salt that I’m quite fond of! And your steak, simply seasoned with the same salt and pepper, and a dash of Tobasco for some tang. All to order! Your beverage this evening is hot green tea with local honey. Please…enjoy. Would you like to eat inside or outside tonight?”
“Oh, outside,” answered Edie without hesitation. “Front porch. Sun’s going to set soon. Let’s go!”
The pair settled upon the front porch with the orange-red sun just about to kiss the horizon. It hung like a glowing hot nickel ball, dangling from a grey cloud. The steaks smelled beefy and delicious as the steam wafted into their noses. Simultaneously but unconsciously, they both inhaled deeply and enjoyed. Edie noticed they both had done this, and chuckled.
“This is why we’re friends!” she chuckled. “Your steaks, that’s the main reason!” Mike laughed.
Before either of them could take their first bite, a horrendous stench began to overtake them. They each instinctively plugged their noses, and looked questioning at each other.
“Dear God that’s awful!” gagged Mike as he tried not to barf.
“It’s like…rotten fish times a hundred!” croaked Edie.
Then Mike suddenly realized. He put two and two together in his head, and the math added up to one answer.
“Sooner…” he growled.
“No!” You think…?” questioned Edie.
“Let’s go find out,” spat Mike as he stood abruptly, almost spilling his ginger ale.
As the pair strode determinedly across the road, the smell intensified and they knew they were right. And there he sat, on the front stoop, eating fish from a can.
“Sooner?!” Edie stood back a fair distance with her red-tipped fingers over her nose. This was her first-ever confrontation with nose plugged. She was certain she sounded ridiculous as she yelled nasally at the man digging his fork into a can. “What the heck are you eating? We can smell it from his place, and we’re gonna barf in like two more seconds!”
The man lifted his fish-filled fork in the air and smiled. Edie and Mike took a step back at the intense smell. “Surströmming! Swedish delicacy! One of the most potent fermented fish in the world. Want a bite? Its smell is so strong, that it is traditionally only eaten outside.”
Mike barfed in Sooner’s driveway while Edie choked out a “No”. The pair retreated back indoors. Mike washed out his mouth while Edie hastily closed every window and turned on every fan she could find.
“This is a nightmare!” shrieked Mike. “It’s an assault on all our senses, one at a time! I’m gonna snap Edie, I swear, I’m gonna snap.”
Edie turned him around and began to rub his shoulders. He groaned in relief as the tension began to depart from his body. “It’s OK…let’s finish our beautiful meal that you made, and then we’re going live tonight on your show still, right?”
Mike’s face brightened. “Grab A Stack of Rock will go on as planned. That guy is not ruining my show tonight. No way.”
Edie smiled. “Good because you still have to help me pick my outfit for the show!”
“The Show Must Go On!” saluted Mike.
The laptop and microphone were set up in the kitchen. Edie was decked out in a purple dress and heels, while Mike rocked a Guns N’ Roses shirt. Of course, Mike had interviewed Edie before, but this was their first in-person interview, and he was excited. The press had been talking rumours about Edie working on new original music with some pretty big names, and tonight they were going to reveal all of it. The band members, the record deal, the producer, everything. This was going to be her biggest interview to date. They were live in five…
There was a beep, and Mike rolled the Grab A Stack of Rock show intro. His trusty co-host, Harrison from Australia, was logged-in and waiting in the green room.
“Grab A Stack of Rock, with Mike and the Mad Metal Man…” went the song.
Suddenly there was the sound of an electrical zap, and the room went completely black.
“Aww, fffff…” yelled Mike resisting the urge to swear in front of Edie.
“Blackout?” asked Edie.
“The power does frequently cut out, because of the trees. Fortunately, however,” responded the resourceful Mike, “I have headlights on my Crocs!” He activated the lights, and the two made their way out to the front porch by Croclight. They scanned the dark trees for light.
“Look!” exclaimed Mike. “That friggin’ Sooner has power!” He looked side to side around the street. “But nobody else!”
“Let’s go!” said Edie, as she was already halfway down the steps heading to Sooner’s place without the aid of Croclights.
“Edie! Wait for me! You need my Croclights! For safety! Come on, wait up!”
A second later she was banging on Sooner’s door. She whipped up a big huge smile as the big stinker opened it. Mike was just coming onto the patio now, his Croclights illuminating the way. Sooner gave him a dismissive laugh at the sight of it.
“Yeah? What are you all dressed up for in those heels, lady? I’m all out of Surströmming.” Mike nearly barfed again just at the mention.
“Hi, yeah, sorry to bother you Mr. Sooner,” said Edie, pouring syrup on every word. “But we don’t have any electricity across the street, and we were checking to see if anyone else did. Apparently you do,” she finished.
“Brought a generator,” said the big man with a burp. “What, you big fancy cottagers ain’t got a generator? Pfft. Brought a trailer full of shoes but no generator!” He closed the door and went back to his TV, but not before Edie saw what she hoped she would see.
“Come on, Fanboy,” she said with mischief. “We got him. Let’s go.”
The two sat huddled by Croclight indoors, as Mike awaited Edie to explain.
“When he opened his door,” she began, “I was acting all sweet and nice, but I knew something was up. I was going to ask to come in and use his microwave to heat my tea, but he’s such a big idiot, I didn’t have to. He left his hydraulic cutter right there inside the front door. You use cutters like that to cut power cables. He’s the one who cut the power.”
“Right when my show was starting…” murmured Mike as he began to put the pieces together.
“And what was your show topic tonight, Mike?” she asked, leading him to the answer.
Mike’s mouth went agape. “He’s sabotaging you!”
“He’s TRYING to sabotage me,” corrected Edie. “I’d say we have pretty conclusive proof. And you know what that means?”
Mike thought a moment. “Payback time?”
“You thought that Surströmming was bad?” she smiled. “Wait until tomorrow.” Edie stood. “Let’s get some sleep. We have an early start tomorrow. We’re going to lure him out, and we’re gonna get him.”
With that, the pair went to their rooms, and prepared for confrontation.
Edie Van Heelin’s Canadian vacation was not yet ruined!
5:00 AM. The sun had yet to creep over the trees, but Edie Van Heelin’ was ready in her running shoes for the morning run. Several meters behind her, an aching Mike stretched his back, hoping he could crack it in that sore spot that seemed so tight.
As he limped over to where Edie was doing her morning stretches, he reminded her, “You know I can’t really run for very long, right?”
“You don’t have to run,” she answered between stretches. “I actually want you to film it and put it on YouTube, because this is going to be funny.”
Mike laughed. “I can do one better! Though we still don’t have power, and therefore no wifi, I do have data reception. Wanna live stream it instead?”
Edie gasped. “Rad! You can do that?”
Mike got to work on his phone. “I’m setting up the live stream now. Going to broadcast to Facebook and YouTube simultaneously. What’s the plan then?”
“Well,” began Edie, “I’m going to draw him out. I’m going to keep running up and down this road, until I have his attention. I want him to try and follow me. I’m going to lead him up to the main back road behind us. You cut through the woods and film it. You’ll understand why we have to lure him away from here when we get there.”
Mike frowned. “Come on! You have to tell me the whole plan.”
Edie laughed! “Nope! No spoilers for you mister. This is going to be good. Don’t worry, I can handle this Sooner guy. I was being nice before. Giving him the benefit of the doubt. But now it’s gloves off baby!”
The two high-fived.
“OK. Have a good run. I’ll be watching and filming,” said Mike.
“Don’t start streaming until we get up him up onto the back road,” she instructed. “It’s going to be worth it, trust me.”
Mike nodded in the affirmative.
“Get ‘im Edie!”
Edie tied her long brown hair into a ponytail and ran. Zoom…up the road, kicking up a cloud of dust. Zoom…down the road again, face forward, fully in the zone. Zoom, up the road. The clank of an opening screen door could be heard. Zoom, down the road, chased by dust that had no hope of catching her. Sooner poked his head out the door. Zoom, up the road, dust now twirling motes of brown in the creeping morning light. Sooner stumbling onto his patio, walking to the driveway. Zoom, down the road, breathing heavily but powering through the clouds of dust. Sooner, keys in hand, getting into his truck. Zoom, up the road, knowing it was any time now. The roar of the engine starting, and the release of the parking brake. Zoom, down the road, and ready. The heavy thud of truck tires grabbing friction and propelling the vehicle backwards onto the road. Zoom, around the corner and on her way to the back road!
Mike turned and ran, through the woods, up the incline and onto the main road out back, phone in hand, four bars of reception. He activated the streaming app. He waited to hit the “Go Live” button, and pressed it the moment he saw Edie around the corner, running towards him, at full speed.
Then, the shriek of tires and roar of the truck announced the arrival of Sooner. His truck was kicking up even more dust than Edie, but she had a good lead on him. Soon she arrived where Mike was waiting and jumped onto the grass and into the treeline with him.
“We’re live?” she asked while catching her breath. Mike nodded in the affirmative.
A second later, the truck screeched to a sudden stop right in front of her. Edie waited. Then, the man rolled down his window, and Edie gave the signal.
“Canadian skunks! Attaaaaack!”
Just as the man opened his mouth to yell back, a surfeit of skunks emerged from both side of the road, surrounding the truck. In unison, they sprayed. Streams of it went through the window, into his truck, onto his clothes, and into his horrified mouth.
Gasping for breath, Sooner, fought to open his truck door. Finally, he forced it ajar, and he fell onto the road. Each skunk refocused their aim, and continued to spray until they were empty. Mike filmed while plugging his nose, and Edie just laughed a big old laugh of victory. She then looked right into the camera. “Hey YouTube it’s Edie Van Heelin’ and Fanboy Mike streaming live from the cottage! Sorry we couldn’t do the show last night, but that guy right there is the reason there was no show.” She pointed to Sooner, rolling in his own misery on the blacktop. “Now let’s find out who this guy is working for.”
Edie raised her hands. “Canadian skunks! Good job! You can go home now, rest up, thank you my friends!” She then turned her attention to Sooner, laying defeated in the road with his stinking truck behind him.
“You can just say ‘skunks’, Edie…” murmured Mike.
Edie continued the live stream. “Hey there, Sooner, would you like some Surströmming to wash that down?” Mike laughed and gagged a bit behind the camera in disgusted memory. Then the interrogation began. Edie got right in his face, the smell of skunk spray having no effect upon her.
“Who do you work for, Sooner?” He said nothing as he struggled to sit up. Edie grabbed his face. “Who do you work for? We know you’re sabotaging me and I want to know why! Talk!”
Sooner refused to speak, as he coughed up skunk spray.
Edie shrugged. “OK. Fine. Canadian raccoons! Come here and scratch this guy!”
Sooner raised his hand in surrender. “No no! I’ll talk, I’ll talk! Fine!” He coughed. “It was just a job! I needed the money!”
“And? Who paid you off?” demanded Edie impatiently.
“I never saw him face to face! Everything was done on the dark web! Bitcoin! He told me his name was…” the big man coughed again. “…his name was Shinzon!”
Mike dropped the camera and Edie looked at him with stone-cold seriousness.
“Shinzon. Of course. He survived our last encounter. He wants revenge,” nodded Eddie, with a red-tipped nail on her chin. “Makes sense now.”
Mike interrupted. “Not really! That Shinzon guy just came out of nowhere and we don’t really know anything about him! A Lego-obsessed weirdo with futuristic tech, who claimed to be a clone, with a weird Australian accent.” Mike paused a moment remembering. “Good hair though.”
“He did have good hair,” agreed Edie. “Wouldn’t tell us how. His hair secrets….”
“He was elusive and mysterious,” agreed Mike. “But apparently we know he’s out to get you. We have to be more careful, going forward. Both of us.”
“Agreed,” said Edie. “As for this guy, give the local police a call and let them know who cut the power last night.” Edie then took a moment and thought. “And as for us. How about we go clean up, and go for a hike? Vacation is still on, you know. And you promised me hiking.”
Mike smiled a wide smile. “Yes! Beach hike to the next town! Let’s do it! Steaks on the barbecue again tonight?”
“Of course,” winked Edie. “This time without the Surströmming on the side.”
Laughing, Edie and Mike walked back to the cottage in the woods, as the police arrived to arrest George Sooner, another victory for the pair of friends.
To be continued….
Our heroes celebrate prematurely. Only a pawn has been removed from the board. More important and powerful pieces lay in the shadows. Edie Van Heelin’ and Fanboy Mike have stepped into a larger world, and their actions will ripple. At the very moment they began their afternoon beach hike, on a planet far from ours, dark forces communed.
“She won,” said Shinzon into the communicator. “Again.”
There were a crackle of static over the device, and a distorted voice could be heard speaking through. “No, not victory Shinzon,” it said. “We have disrupted…” crackles of static interfered with the signal. “…release of her album will need to be pushed back. Additionally…” more static garbled the words. “…our manipulations will certainly set her onto the desired course…” The static continued to cough through the speaker. “…direct collision course with our prime target. This will allow us to remove both obstacles at once.”
“Understood, sir,” spoke Shinzon into the device. “I will continue to do your bidding.”
THE EXTENDED LEBRAINIVERSE
The Adventures of Edie Van Heelin’: Edie and the Quest for the Lost Lego (By LeBrain with Harrison Kopp)
The Adventures of Edie Van Heelin’: Edie Van Heelin’s Canadian Vacation (By LeBrain)
The Adventures of Edie Van Heelin’: Edie Van Heelin’s Canadian Vacation Part 2 (By LeBrain) Coming Soon
The Adventures of Edie Van Heelin’: Edie Van Heelin’s Winter Vacation (By LeBrain and California Girl) Coming this spring/summer
THE ADVENTURES OF TEE BONE MAN: PHASE ONE
Chapter Zero: Tee Bone Man – Origins (by LeBrain) Coming March 2023
Chapter One: A Friend in Need (by LeBrain)
Chapter Three: Hell Ain’t A Bad Place to Be (by LeBrain)
Chapter Six: Tee Bone Man Goes to Camp (by LeBrain)
Chapter Seven: The Revenge of Common Knowledge (by LeBrain)
Chapter Nine: Castle Communications (by Harrison Kopp)
Chapter Ten: The Case of the Lost Iron Maiden Socks (by LeBrain)
Chapter Twelve: Lost In Space (by John T. Snow)
Chapter Thirteen: Clip Show (by LeBrain) Coming February 2023
FRIDAY February 3, meet the real Edie on Grab A Stack of Rock!