On a wintery day in February 1972, I sat in my living room looking out the window at the weather and drinking JW DANT one-hundred-proof bourbon. I sat with my bottle in-hand talking to God as I often did. The alarm beeped on my watch and startled me. It read 9:30am. At 25, I wondered: How in the Hell did I arrive at such a miserable existence? But, my thoughts evaded me. My father drank most of his life and I hated it, and swore I’d never do it and yet I drank. It had been that way since Vietnam – the drinking and hallucinating. Booze helped ease the pain I felt inside. In my state of mind, I didn’t understand how the pain came, but it did. It clung to my life like a millstone around my neck – ever pulling me down deeper into darkness. In my own wretched state, I vaguely remember telling God: I’d rather be dead or in prison than live like this.
No wind blew because snow flakes fell straight down rocking back and forth as they floated to the ground. One had to be careful because a windless day made the likelihood of an ambush very real. In the yard, snow stuck in some places but melted in others – leaving patches of white snow and green grass on the ground. A perfect place to dig a pungi-stick with its sharp-tipped stalks covered in poison, I surmised. Deep potholes in my paved, black-topped driveway filled with melted snow and quickly formed a thin layer of ice around the edges, but I knew they hid landmines under the water. The sky had low-lying gray, dark snow moving clouds. The sentries, naked trees, stood in my front yard with extended limbs ready to defend me against unseen enemy intruders. All in all, looking out my window, my day reeked of gloom. I felt only pain inside as I looked at the couch where a black ski-mask, black gloves and gun lay.