Disclaimer for Patten Mainers: I canít remember the exact name that País Pizza and Subs was called in 1968 and I believe that it is the place that I call The Pizza Place in this story. I remember that one Glidden girl was named Rachel and I believe that her boyfriend was a guy named Charlie. If I ever find out for sure, Iíll use all the right names in a rewrite.
Patten, Maine is a little village way up in the Katahdin Valley. The first time that I ever went there to check out its small-town social life was during the summer of 1968. I was an eighteen-year-old high school graduate, from suburban Dundalk, Maryland, visiting my aunt and uncle at their hunting lodge - Katahdin Lodge and Camps, in Moro, Maine. The lodge is located ten miles north of Patten, where the closest stores, restaurants, gas stations, and post office are. It is an easy, eleven-minute drive between the lodge and town.
Gary and Cathy Glidden were a married couple from town who worked at the lodge. Gary guided hunters and Cathy helped my aunt clean and cook for the paying guests who stayed there. They took a liking to me, and Gary had two of his sisters have one of their boyfriends drive them up to the lodge and take me out to meet some of the local kids in town. Both sisters had steady boyfriends, so dating them was out of the question. But they were willing to see if I could fit in with their small town way of life and introduce me to some of the unattached young ladies living there who might be interested in dating me. They also wanted me to meet any of the other teenagers in town.
We all were glad to meet one other. I was a good-looking lad who thought that northern Maine was extremely beautiful, and that the people living there were downright interesting. Best of all, I was devoid of the unwarranted uppity attitude that city dwellers vacationing in Maine too often display, which disgusts the Mainers. The three Maine kids were bright, happy, good-looking, friendly and dressed in the same style of clothing that I wore. It was a natural match.
We drove into town on that warm, calm summer evening, eagerly talking about life as we each knew it, all along the way. They wanted to know what life was like in the suburbs, where I was from, and I was curious about their tastes in music; and we all were interested in the usual things that any teen wants to know about another, when they first meet.
Then there was the difference in our accents, which we all got a kick out of. They would ask me to repeat a word that I had just said at the rate of about one word per every four sentences. That continued, and then increased as I was introduced to more kids in town, and it was mostly the girls doing the asking.
We parked in front of The Pizza Place on Main Street, and some new teenage girls came into the conversation. There were then four of them leaning against the outsides of the rear doors of the car, two on each door, with their shapely female bodies bent forward and their pretty young faces beaming flirtatiously in at me through the open windows. They joined right in on having me repeat words that I had just spoken. Then they began to ask me to say words that they thought they might enjoy hearing pronounced in my accent, as if they couldnít get enough of it. The funny thing is that I never knew that I had an accent until that evening in Maine when it made me the center of attention for six bodacious babes.
The attention that my Bawamore (Baltimore) drawl received made me feel real good. I enjoyed theah (their) well known shap (sharp), r-less New England accent so much that I simply sat there and took it all in like a happy bear snacking on wild blueberries.
The four new girls intermittently shared some laughs with all of us sitting in the car and chatted with the Glidden girls about the latest hot topics on the local gossip circuit.
One newest news tid-bit got them giggling, wiggling and excitedly inhaling and exhaling hard, between spoken sentences. It was about two Patten natives who were having an extramarital affair. A certain thirty-five year old married woman was cheating on her husband with a bachelor who was ten years younger than she was. Her husband had found out about it, and he was angrily hunting for the cad who was her lover man. The cheating wifeís jealous husband was Ďout for bloodí and had, earlier that day, showed his brother a loaded .44 Magnum pistol, hidden under a rag on the front seat of his car, which he intended to shoot his wifeís lover with and send the scoundrel straight to hell.
Not more than ten minutes after the gossip tid-bit about the jealous, murderous husband had graced our ears, the scoundrelous lover man comes sidling out of The Pizza Place with his head down and his hands shoved deep into his pockets. He knew who had what and was out to get him.
The lover man hadnít gotten more than ten steps out The Pizza Placeís door and towards the street when, Lord have mercy, the jealous husband drives up on the other side of the street, wheels around, pulls up next to the sidewalk and stops right there smack dab in front of us teenagers. He reached across the front seat of his car, opened the passenger door, called out to the target of his bloodlust and motioned for him to come over there.
Actually, the husbandís car was a little to our left, as we sat in the boyfriendís car with its front bumper facing the street and about one car length back from the edge of the street. It was dark enough out that an overhead lamp pole on The Pizza Placeís parking lot was shining a cone shaped beam of light down around us. There were no street lights near by, and it was much darker outside of the parking lot light's area of illumination, so the cone had a fairly defined edge to it.
That edge went right down into the front seat of the angry husbandís car, lit the bottom half of his body, but not his chest and head, and revealed to us surprised teenagers that his right hand was placed firmly on top of a rag which obviously covered a large revolver. He was holding the big boomer by its pistol grip, trigger guard, and hammer with the barrel pointing towards the open passenger side door in a way that would permit him to raise and shoot it as the rag draped off to the side and out of the way of the cocking hammer.
There was no place that the scoundrelous cad could have run where the murderous husband wouldnít have had time to raise his gun and fire. The cad was cornered.
The cad also had to instinctively, subconsciously realize that if he were to run, and the already steaming mad, cheated husband were to fire a shot at him and miss, that the evasive action would most likely cause the mad husband to furiously go past the point of no return. Most likely, the cad-hunting husband would have chased after his fleeing quarry, not stopping until he had committed a bloody murder. That would have obliterated any chance that the cheater might have hoped that he had of talking his way out of being shot to death.
That cornered cad mustaí been ready to soil his trousers.
The lover man sat down in the car with his right foot placed solidly down out on the curb and the lower left side of his trembling body barely sitting on the outer edge of the carís front seat. He looked like a terrified little bird caught in a bobcatís mouth.
At the split second when the husbandís car had stopped at the curb, the girls standing outside of the boyfriendís car had instantly recognized who it was in the driverís seat, then glanced over at the lover man and shockingly realized what they were in the middle of.
One girl had quiveringly giggled slightly and hushidly exclaimed, ďOh no, let us in!Ē
All four of those fine young females had yanked open the rear doors that they had been leaning against, pilled into the back seat with me and the Glidden girl whose boyfriend wasnít there, and hastily pulled the doors closed around us for protection from any hot lead that might come flying in our direction. I was crammed in there between two girls on each side of me and one sprawled across our laps.
It was some kind of deeelightful, let me tell you! They were really wiggliní aní giggliní now.
The jealous husband started talking straight and dead seriously to the subject of his justified anger. The captured cad kept nervously glancing down at the hand on top of that rag-covered gun while trying to comprehend what that boiling kettle of manhood sitting next to him was saying. He appeared to be ready to bolt and try to fly faster than a speeding bullet at the slightest twitch of that hand full of hell at the end of his loverís husbandís right arm. But he was scared stiff and wasnít about to move until the justifiably angry man talking to him gave him permission to. He sat there nodding his head ever so slightly in agreement with what the angry man was saying to him. He was too tense to take very much air into his lungs, and he couldnít exhale hard enough to make much of a sound, as he tried to say yes to any terms of reprieve from his death sentence that the husband was dictating to him.
The color had completely drained from the scoundrelís face. With that parking lot light shining down on him like it was, his face looked so pale that it appeared that he needed an undertaker to powder his nose.
The steaming husband saw that his wifeís lover was too scared to move. He raised his hand from the rag covered pistol and began to punctuate every demand that he made by practically poking his right index finger into the bachelorís pale face.
As I sat there in my warm cocoon of bodacious babes, it became apparent to me that if the cad character got his head blown off, by what looked to be the powerful handgun available at the time, his white brain matter and the red blood from his exploding cranial cavity would blast out the open passenger side door and form a weird cloud made of human head particles in the middle of the lot lightís bright cone. It would then drizzle down onto the crushed gravel of the parking lot like a little pink snowstorm.
I doubt that any of us in the boyfriendís car saw that as an inevitability. But we sure as hell werenít taking any chances. We watched with all of our might to see what was gonna happen next. Nobody uttered a word. No bets were placed. No predictions were registered.
Patten is a peaceful place. It absolutely has one of the most non-violent populations of people in the whole wide world. Even though itís full of big brawny lumberjacks and wild woodsmen. I knew that from what my aunt and uncle had told my family and me about the town, when we had vacationed at the lodge during the two previous summers. I didnít think that the girls believed that there would actually be a murder committed, right there in front of them, in their easy goiní little village. But yaí never know.
Time loses all of its effects on a personís senses in a dynamic situation of that sort. However long it did take, before our minds could process the whole thing as being real, the husband had satisfied his blood lust by having a levelheaded talk to the object of his murderous intentions. The cad had accepted the husbandís demands: the cad agreed to stay away from the angry manís wife; the angry manís plans to murder him were put on hold pending any further marital cheating with the manís wife. Then the husband gave the bachelor permission to get out of his sight.
The barely breathing bachelor quickly removed himself from the very farthest outside edge of his former loverís husbandís front seat and fluttered on down the sidewalk like that bird would have done if the bobcat belched.
The girls were in no hurry to dislodge themselves from all around me, but eventually they did. Not, of course, because I asked them to.
I laid in bed that night thinking about how easy goiní, peaceful and levelheaded Patten People are and how bright, happy, good looking and friendly the teenagers in town are and I went to sleep that night knowing that I had fallen head over heels in love with Patten, Maine.
Copyright © 2005, David Robert Crews. All rights reserved.
David Robert Crews
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