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The Thought Dial
The Thought Dial
The Thought Dial
Ebook34 pages29 minutes

The Thought Dial

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Sixteen-year-old John Pulkis faces disaster: he’s got two tickets to the Doobie Brothers concert at the Vancouver Coliseum in eight days—and he’s lost them! It’s not about the money, although that was plenty—fourteen dollars, a month’s allowance. No, he needs those tickets, for only they will give him the courage to do what he otherwise cannot: ask Sue Nielsen for a date.

As a would-be astronomer, he decides to apply the scientific method: a systematic search, complete with graph paper. But as the tickets continue to elude him, his thoughts turn dark. He starts to wonder what the options are for cowards like himself, and remembers his socials teacher talking to the class about suicide. . . .

Loosely based on real-life events in Vancouver in 1975 and dedicated to the memory of an inspiring high-school teacher, The Thought Dial is a reminder that teenage life can be passionate—and the stakes can be high.

PublisherPaul Vitols
Release dateDec 23, 2017
The Thought Dial
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Paul Vitols

Paul Vitols ("Vee-tolls"--Latvian for "willow") was born in 1959 in Vancouver, Canada, to two refugees who met at an encyclopedia salesmen's Christmas dinner. He showed an early obsession with letters and words, which manifested in, among other things, the defacing of some of his father's books. In school he turned to filmmaking, and competed in provincial and national student film festivals. Nonetheless, the career he imagined for himself was in space science. But by age 20 he realized that, for better or worse, he was a writer, and he dropped out of university. Paul's love of film led him into script-writing, and in 1992 he, with writing partner Warren Easton, broke through with a children's TV series called "The Odyssey," about a comatose 11-year-old boy trapped in an alternative world run by children as a police state. The show, known for its edge and humor, received many international awards and was broadcast in more than 50 countries. At the same time, Paul was also at work on a novel, a literary thriller called "Truth of the Python," in which a hypnotherapist inadvertently regresses a neurotic young client to a past life as the Greek philosopher Pythagoras. Paul, after some close calls in the world of print publishing, finally brought it out as an e-book in 2011. His current project is The Age of Pisces, an epic of the birth of Christianity, which he is calling a "literary series"--the e-book equivalent of a TV series. Episode 1, "The Mission," will appear in 2018. Along the way, Paul has also practiced journalism, copy writing, editing, and technical writing. Indeed, to keep writing and creating he has also begged and borrowed, but not stolen--yet. He lives with his wife Kim in North Vancouver, British Columbia.

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    Book preview

    The Thought Dial - Paul Vitols

    The Thought Dial


    Paul Vitols

    Published by Paul Vitols

    Copyright 2017 by Paul Vitols. All rights reserved.

    When sixteen-year-old John Pulkis loses the concert tickets that were to give him the courage he needs to ask Sue Nielsen for a date, he considers desperate remedies.

    Originally written in 1992. Cover art by the author.

    ISBN 978–0–9868726–7–9 (EPUB version)

    in memory of John Bennett


    Don’t panic. This will work. It’s logically impossible for it not to work.

    So John Pulkis told himself as he reviewed his sketch. The whole upper floor was outlined on quarter-inch graph paper, as nearly to scale as he could make it without actually measuring. In the living room, where he was, each piece of furniture was shown in plan. The paper itself had been lying among documents in the right-hand compartment of the massive Edwardian sideboard, and smelled, like the sideboard, of resin and wax. He had just begun his search when he’d spotted the graph paper, which had given him an idea: he could bring discipline to the task by applying the scientific method. And he could also, he hoped, bring his emotions under control.

    The sideboard, standing in the southeast corner of the long room, would still form the starting point of this more systematic search. He labeled it 1 on the drawing. He labeled the remaining pieces in the order in which he would search them:

    2) John’s chess table by the front window

    3) the Loewe Opta cabinet radio and phonograph

    4) the couch, presently and for the last several hours occupied by his younger sister Zena

    5) the two-level coffee table

    6) the TV table and TV

    7) the bookcase

    8) the black reclining chair

    9) the brass standing lamp.

    Then would come the kitchen, hall, bathroom, and dining room (leaving his mother’s bedroom out of it for the time being), with probability of recovery declining in each successive place.

    But the search shouldn’t have to get that far; the missing Doobie Brothers tickets should still be in the living room. Where else could they be? How the hell could I lose them? What’s wrong with me? Okay, plenty—but this really matters. John knew he was absent-minded, but this was something more. His life was hanging in the balance here. Would he really just lose them? Drop them and forget them? Was he that much of a stunned bozo? No, this was like some

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