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Paddling Articles In the Same Boat

Trip of a Lifetime

Usual Suspects — the People in Our Story

By Tamia Nelson
tamia@paddling.net

A Note to the Reader

Whether you've been with Trip of a Lifetime since day one, or are stopping by for the very first time, this guide should help you keep both principal and supporting characters straight. Within the groups, they're listed in the order of their appearance. Don't expect to meet any of these folks on the street, though. Trip is fiction. With the exception of Chuck Heston — who is NOT President of the United States — all our characters are figments of our imagination.

One more thing: If you ever lose the thread of the story, just take a look at Chapter by Chapter. That should get you back on course in no time. See you on the water!


Principal Characters

Ed Fletcher and Brenna Trent  Joint proprietors of the Book Locker, Ed and Brenna have been dreaming of far-away places with strange-sounding names for a long time. Now their luck's about to change. It's their Trip of a Lifetime, after all!

Jack Van Dorn  It's a long, hard road from a Labrador schooner to an SRO hotel in Fort Hudson, and Jack knows every painful step along the way. Then, one day, he walks into the Book Locker. Ed and Brenna's life will never be the same again. Neither will his.

Pete and Karin Neary  Pete and Karin are into felines, finance, fitness, and Feng Shui. At first, a canoe trip to northern Ontario sounds pretty good. But later…?

Molly Saunders  There's many a fine tune played on an old fiddle, and Jack would love to show Molly the score. Molly could probably teach him something, too. She's a librarian, after all!

Sergei  The Red Army's seen better days, and so has Sergei: the former Spetznaz commander is now a smuggler. Fortunes of war? Maybe, but Sergei is still looking for ways to improve the odds. And he hasn't forgotten how to keep his head down, either.

Pavel  A descendent of Avar horsemen, Pavel's been living on borrowed time since Sergei saved his life somewhere in the Afghan hills. Now he's planning to relocate to Montana.

Nikolai  Son of a Russian banker and one of Sergei's "associates," Nikolai lives for the moment.


Supporting Characters

Shirley  Shirley's a Fort Hudson baker. If you've never sunk your teeth into Shirley's World-Famous Buns, you've missed a real treat.

Chuck "Ape" Crapaud  A newly-hired clerk in Deane's Hardware store, Ape's got his eye on the prize — and the customers.

Craig Deane  Ape's boss and Ed and Brenna's friend.

Brian "Brick" Johnson  A mason (with a small "m") and a hotshot kayaker, Brick's got something going with Linda Carney, and maybe it's going north.

Linda Carney and Fenris  Linda's a martial artist. Fenris is her wolf-dog, and Brick's her boyfriend. Two's company, but three…?

Ken Grimes  One of Ed and Brenna's friends, high-school math teacher Ken lives to paddle.

The Reverend Fergil MacGregor  Minister of the Shushan Presbyterian Church, the Reverend bags quite a trophy with his heirloom Parker A-1 Special.

Sam  A clever kid with a good eye, Sam learns how to shoot the sun from Jack.

Specialist Cockburn  An old Army buddy of Ed's, Cockburn's a gourmet with a taste for exotic meats. He's also the reason why Ed doesn't eat bacon.

Max Grainger  A County Court Judge and former Navy man, Max sells Ed and Brenna the canoe of their dreams.

Sonny Marco  Ken Grimes' friend and housemate, Sonny's a cabinetmaker, a fine craftsman, and a tireless driver.

Bobby Raiffe V  The host of Backcountry, a long-running PBS sportsmen's show, "Bustin' Bobby" always bags his buck — or else.

Zoe Grimes Hatch Zelinsky and Abby Grimes  Twin sisters, Zoe (left-handed chain-smoker with shoulder-length salt-and-pepper hair) and Abby (right-handed non-smoker with short hair) have just moved into Ken Grimes' farmhouse, where they're about to start a new business, Earth Goddess Organic Vegetables and Free-Range Chickens.

Dieter and Helga Vogel  A German engineer, Dieter and his wife have recently relocated to New York. They take every chance they can get to explore Lake George in their double Klepper.

Deputy Sheriff Royal "Bubba" Buck  The short arm of the law on Long Lake, Bubba's always keepin' his eyes peeled for perps.

Deputy Sheriff Cody Twomblay  Bubba's main man.

Carl  Head of a large family out for a weekend ride in a pontoon boat.

"Jerkin' Jake" Slaughter  WFLU disk-jockey, Jake loves puttin' the pedal to the metal in Floozie — his Hacker inboard runabout — almost as much as he loves his job spinning CDs.

Brad Schmo  A WFLU reporter, Brad discovers what it's like to be part of the story.

Ryan Manley  Head of WFLU's Adirondack News Bureau, Ryan and his little Rushton Feather Duster are serious contenders in the Memorial Day canoe race.

Jill Slaughter  Jerkin' Jake's wife and WFLU staffer, she's just along for the ride.

Sara Oyley  News Director at WFLU, Sara's going along for the ride, too.

Lili Bolero  WFLU Station Manager, Lili's as laid-back a boss as you're likely to find anywhere.

Hap Weiner, OD  Host of Dr. Hap's Happy Health Hour, the doc's a real cut-up, not to mention a big WFLU supporter.

Joe Sergeant  Joe left both legs behind in a foreign country. Now he's on a collision course with destiny.

Chaddwicke "Chadd" Wellington  Star of Bug-eyed Monsters, Jakarta, and Old Glory, Chadd has a summer home on an Adirondack island. Jerkin' Jake bumps into her on the water, but he doesn't make a very good impression.

Stu Clayfoot  A man of mystery, Stu still has a lot to say for himself.

Mary Smoke  A Cree woman, Mary gives Ed and Brenna some very good advice.

"Colonel" Lesserson Null  Leader of the Innisfreedom Fighters, a breakaway faction of northern New York's Innisfree Separatist Movement, Colonel Null is planning to celebrate Independence Day with one hell of a bang.

Billy Swamp  Cree hunter and trapper, and brother to Mary Smoke, Billy hires out to guide the Nearys back to civilization.

President Chuck Heston  Much-loved President of the United States, President Heston stands tall, walks proud, and calls 'em like he sees 'em.

Prime Minister Pierre LeClerc  Prime Minister of Canada, M. LeClerc is best known for his deathless campaign slogan: "LeClerc, c'est moi!"

Sarah Jock  Receptionist at the Fort Hope Community Center on the Albany River, Sarah fields an urgent inquiry from Molly Saunders.

The Very Reverend Jefferson Williams  A former American President, the "Rev. Jeff" is now a minister in the Church of Eternal Redemption and the newly-appointed President of Frontenac Lowlands University.

Monika Darling  President Williams' publicist and personal assistant, Monika is always ready to give the Rev. Jeff a helping hand.

Senator Hilaria Dorman Williams  The Rev. Jeff's wife, "Commodity" Williams is a successful futures speculator and a rising star in the Senate.

Dr. Anthony Scarlotti  A New York State Science Service seismologist, Dr. Scarlotti has reason to regret giving interviews to the press.

Private Collamer  A young member of the Army National Guard, Private Collamer is standing guard on the border of northern New York.

Sergeant Burke  Private Collamer's immediate superior. It's a hard job, but somebody had to do it, and Sergeant Burke's the man.

Jacob Ransom  Environmental officer with the Mohawk Nation of Handsome Lake.

Matthew Hunter  Son of Joe Hunter. Matthew's father is an old friend of Jack Van Dorn.

Joe Hunter  Former merchant seaman and semi-retired smuggler, Joe lives on the river in the Mohawk Nation of Handsome Lake.

Mary Hunter  Joe's wife. Mary loves her husband, but she has mind of her own.

Ann Laughing Deer  Joe's sister, Ann Laughing Deer lives across the border in Québec. She helps her brother out from time to time.

Philip  Helicopter pilot for the Hydro in northern Ontario.

Crazy Dog (Adam Beauchamp)  A Métis waterman, Crazy Dog lives in Fort Albany, but James Bay is the place where he feels most at home.

Moses  He's patient, observant, and curious. Nothing that happens on the Albany River escapes Moses' attention.

Red Moon  A Cree who lives on the Albany, Red Moon keeps her ear to the ground — and an eye on Moses.

Singing Wolf  Red Moon's grandson, Singing Wolf is the bearer of glad tidings.

Solomon Bartholomew  Chief of the Fort Albany Band.

Ronnie Awashish  Floatplane pilot flying out of Fort Albany.

Last Voyage

Copyright 2003 by Verloren Hoop Productions. All rights reserved.







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