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So how do you mend a broken heart? Chin up? Chest out? One foot in front of the other? At 18, all I wanted to do was dull the enormous ache in my heart until it completely went away. For me, it was all about living in the moment and rarely saying no to anything. The crazier it was, the better I liked it. If it rattled around in my head long enough and became an actual thought and if it brought a twinkle to my eyes and a smile to my face, it definitely got done regardless of the consequences. 

Going back to Maine that summer was a trip in every sense of the word. For the first couple of weeks I was there, I didn't leave my brother's house nor did I try to contact any of my old friends. Although I wanted to see all of them, I was scared to death to see any of them. When I finally worked through my fear, I boldly went to my old neighborhood...unannounced, of course. As I walked through town, everything seemed much closer to the street than what I remembered...and smaller. When I reached my old house, I stop dead in my tracks. The driveway seemed so short compared to what I remembered. Later, I was told it seemed much longer to me then because most of the time I had to crawl up it to go inside my house. Not really! But it was true that my brain was remembering things through the clouded vision of a druggie. I was always high from morning until I finally closed my eyes at night. Drugs threw off my perception of everything and everyone around me.

As I went through the process of trying to figure out what I was doing in Maine. I picked up the phone and called the drug rehab (Kinsman Hall) I had been released from only months earlier.  I still had friends there and there was someone there I wanted to see that I felt I should have a conversation with and see if he'd agree to see me. It was important to me that I finally tell Stacy how much he meant to me even if he didn't feel the same way about me. I knew all outside calls would have to go through staff so I was hoping to catch a friendly face. I was glad when it was Mike Morra who took my call. What I wasn't counting on was being told to stay away from Stacy. This seemed to be the same theme from day one for Stacy and I as far as Kinsman Hall saw it. I never figured out why staff was so dead set against he and I being together but that's how it was. I was forced into accepting that when I left Kinsman Hall I'd never see Stacy again.
When I finally came out of my self-imposed prison at my brother's house, I was told repeatedly by people how good I looked and how healthy I looked. Go figure! Two plus years of being clean will definitely do something to a person. I ate right. I got enough sleep and I wasn't high all the time and nor was I engaging in risky activities. I knew what being around my old partying friends would lead to, but I went around all of them anyway. Willpower isn't one of my strong points unless willpower is fueled by desire and determination. After all I did quit smoking cigarettes over 25 years ago while living with a chain smoker. With the right fuel I can do most anything. So needless to say my willpower flew out the door and I eased my pain in a way that seemed so familiar (like an old comfortable shoe or a great fitting pair of jeans). I scratched that itch, but I had a much bigger itch that needed scratching. I needed to get laid! I'm sure I could have rustled someone up to do that thankless task, but I held off until left Maine and returned to Florida. My scorecard remained at one in Maine. My first love was the only person I slept with while I lived in Bangor. For some reason I felt I needed to keep that record unblemished by keeping my pants on my body and avoid being horizontal around anyone tempting including him. By the time I left Maine that summer, my hormones were at a fever pitch and I was ready for some good old promiscuity. I wanted cheap, sleazy sex and I wanted it from someone who could go the distance without a lot of hoopla. 

Instead of returning to Pensacola, I tagged along with my brother, Brian and his family. My brother was going to attend a heavy equipment class at a vocational school in Chipley, Florida.  Being the new kid on any block is a difficult situation regardless of where that block is located. This new fishbowl I landed in was an unfamiliar rural Southern country town that could have been taken right out of the movie, Deliverance.  Everywhere there were faces of strangers waiting and watching, but what they were watching and waiting for made me a little uneasy.

Vernon was dubbed "Nub City" because so many residents there make limb loss insurance claims to supplement their income. In 1981 several years after I lived there Vernon was featured in a documentary highlighting the eccentricities of the people who lived there. The movie angered many residents who felt the documentary portrayed the area in a negative light. Negative light?  How could blowing off your arm or foot with a shotgun for insurance money be considered negative?  Shouldn't it be considered creative and ingenious instead? Oops! There goes my good old Maine sarcasm acting up again! Boys will be boys and rednecks will be rednecks and if you combine the two and get lucky what you get is something the Beatles sang about...Happiness Is A Warm Gun. 

I was ready to get this show on the road and stir up this tiny fishbowl. I desperately wanted someone's finger on my trigger, so the only logical thing to do was to put checking out the local talent at the top of my list. I was confidant I could find a suitable warm gun to scratch my itch. Bang! Bang! Shoot! Shoot!

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