A week ago Saturday my friend John's son went into town with his sternman for drinks. A sternman is the guy who goes along with a lobsterman as a kind of mate. The sternman baits bags, bands lobsters, etc., gets a share of the catch. This particular sternman is kind of a lowlife.
The two went to town and got drunk. David, my friend's son, couldn't drive, so he had his sterman drive home. Sternman drops David at the house, then takes the truck back to town. At some point, sternman is being chased by another friend of mine (a police person) doing 108 mph. The police person friend gives up chase at town line and calls State Troopers to continue pursuit. Staties find the truck with the undercarriage and body separated, truck completely totalled, windshield covered in blood. No occupant. Come to find out later the sternman hitched back to David's house, threw the keys on the kitchen table, and announced: "I trashed your truck. Here're the keys." On hearing the news, David took some time out from his quiet night to beat the crap out of the sternman, who, it turns out, was already on probation and had no license.
Today, David takes his father's truck to buy a new truck for himself, leaving John without transportation all day. I help John unload a trailer full of shingles, I take the carbs and fuel pumps off my Yamaha 150, and then I come home. Before I get settled, John calls to ask me to follow him down to the garage in his mother's car, a Dodge Neon. Here's the good part:
John says he gets in his mother's car to drive it to town, and he hits the brake pedal, and it goes to the floor. He walks back inside to tell his mother she doesn't have any brakes, and ask her how in the hell she's been driving like this, and she says:
"Well, I don't really use them that much, Johnny."
Poor John. He's had a bad week.
I can relate. I spent all last week driving to and from the hospital in Portland to be with Sandra. And I had to take my Mom with me because I couldn't leave her alone. Four hours in the car with my Mom, daily. At one point, I look down at her pants and notice they're dirty. I say: "Your pants are dirty, Ma. What happened?"
She answers: "You did that."
Meanwhile, a Florida man was found floating about three miles from my house. Apparently, his sailboat sunk. He was on a trip from Thomaston to God knows where. Must have hit a ledge. Water's about 50 degrees. Looks like he froze to death. Never met the man so I can't say much else about him. Seems to have been a lone transient. Here one day, gone the next, literally.
Two weeks prior, a father (whom I did meet) and his son left Rockland on another sailboat bound for Gloucester. It was rough and had been for quite a while. Sailboat never reached its destination. USCG Falcon jet found the boat floating about 30 miles from my house. Lobster boat raced to the scene. When rescue arrived, a 22 year old male jumped in the water from the sailboat and swam toward the lobsterboat. Later it was discovered the sailboat had no life jackets, no emergency equipment. Son claims father fell overboard a week before the rescue. Says he didn't know how to sail or get the engine started or use the radio. Son and mother live in New Hampshire. Wouldn't speak to press. No further investigation forthcoming. This is a very strange story worthy of writer speculation/embellishment.
Some families here seem to reap drama and tragedy by the barge load.
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