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The hole in my box where there was once a reset button, a cigarette butt now lives. I lost the original whilst fitting some RAM. More care should have been taken whilst removing the front panel. I tried, oh how I tried to help the poor thing, glue, tape, Blu-Tack.

To no avail.

Its a Marlboro light. The most painful thing about the whole sorry incident is the knowledge that one does not need to remove the front panel on a box to get at its innards. As every stoner worth their green knows, having a cigarette butt somewhere handy such as this in no Bad Thing. Still, I miss my reset button.

R.I.P.

I'm standing in my comfort zone near the keg. Two cups into it and it's already starting to hit me. I'm keeping my mouth shut and opening it only to fill it with Pabst Blue Ribbon and occasionally to yawn. About the only way to entertain myself at a place like this is to watch and listen, which is what I'm doing. I can't imagine anything I'd have to say to anyone here, unless I was suddenly magically blessed with the knowledge of the inner workings of automobiles which I'd almost prefer not to have. One of the bigger guys in one of the many muscle tees starts telling an embarassingly unfunny story about posing as a cop to steal kegs in Seattle and when he's done he's the only one laughing. He doesn't seem too upset about it, though, because he immediately begins another exaggerated tale about his other illegal activities which, I suppose, are meant to enhance his rebel image. Kendall senses that I'm a bit underwhelmed and decides to tell me about a story he read on the Internet about a guy who got his penis cut into three pieces by a doctor. I'm being patient enough with him tonight. When he goes to any social event, his personality changes drastically. He becomes outgoing, kindhearted guy who seems way too eager for attention. Most of the time my response to this is to make sarcastic responses to just about everything he says in order to shut him up, but it rarely works. Anyway, tonight I'm not doing this because he's leaving tomorrow for Germany for a thirteen months so I figure it's best to part ways in good terms.

Pretty soon someone's barbequeing sausages and it gets quiet with everyone stuffing blackened meat into their mouths. In typical Bozeman pseudo-redneck fashion, nobody uses a plate, so when Kendall has to get up to use the bathroom, he just leaves his half eaten sausage on the deck. Meanwhile the pitbull is trying to set an example for everyone else by eating out of a bowl. Soon I have to break the seal myself, so I head into the mobile home to the bathroom. After I'm done, I do my usual routine of looking through a stranger's bathroom for prescription drugs. Between bottles of herbal weighloss supplement is a clear orange bottle of hydrocodone. I'm so happy I'm about to tear up. I take four and shove them in my pocket. Back out on the deck are three new girls. Two of them are quite attractive and, I'm pleased to learn, Ukranian. Kendall is hitting on them drunkenly. He's making an ass of himself. I try my one and only way to hit on women: play the semi-shy weirdo. It's not working. They think I'm just another drunk asshole, which is pretty accurate. After a few more beers I'm brave enought to steal more pills. I go into the living room and the Ukranians are looking through an 'Atlas of the Human Body'. They get to the male genetalia portion and I start laughing. They laugh too and it makes me happy and excited for a brief moment. I'm alone with them inside, so I decide to try to impress them with my vastly superior taste in music. I look through Steph's music collection and feel a little disappointed when I don't see The Jesus and Mary Chain sandwiched between Good Charlott and Blink 182. I put on the only passable album I see, Weezer's blue album. The Ukranians aren't responsive and soon they're getting up to leave. I'm alone and drunk now, so I cheer myself up by taking the whole bottle of vicodin. In the morning I'll regret this decision, but right now I don't care.

I'm ready to leave and I'm sure Kendall is too after being rejected by every female present. We convince Matt, the fat twenty year old who bought the keg, to give us a ride home. Matt's been drinking since 3:00pm, but I'm too drunk to care about my own safety. There's no room in the truck, so we have to lay down and ride in the back of it, which, after living my whole life in Montana, I've done more times than I'd like to admit. We somehow arrive safely and, after eating a few Sandies cookies and talking briefly about girls, soon pass the fuck out.

I'm beginning to realize that telling the truth generally causes more pain than it's worth.

What I thought was a wonderful gift from the universe, maybe to "apologize" or make up for the almost immeasurable load of shit it's heaped onto my plate turned out to be just another teaser. I didn't think it possible to have the same intellectual, emotional, and sexually charged connection with another person the same way I did with Erica. But someone here in Vegas proved that theory incorrect.

Stupid me though -- of course my ex-wife told her before I had gotten around to it, but regardless, she knows now that something was developing in my heart for her.

It's Erica all over again. At least this time there wasn't ever any hope of a relationship, and I was prepared for that. But the rest is the same -- "I'll still be your friend" followed by a mysterious silence and absence. "I'll help you find the help you need" followed by a remarkable lack of action.

And so, though I briefly felt like there may be someone to help lift me up out of this muck, here I am, alone again. It's worse this time; my friends have all gone. It's been weeks now since any of them have talked to me. One e-mailed me today as part of some big-ass distribution list she maintains, to tell some big circle of acquaintances that Richard Biggs (who played Doctor Steven Franklin on Babylon 5) passed away recently (that sucks, actually -- great actor and seemed like a great guy). Otherwise I haven't heard from any of them. No e-mails, no phone calls.

Everyone gave up on me. So why, then, did they act like they didn't want me to give up back in June when I tried to kill myself? They all said "there's hope, don't give up!" and "I'm glad you didn't succeed," but now, just a couple weeks later, they're all gone.

I asked my ex-wife over and over for help; she's the only one left who will even speak to me. She promises to help, to do things too, but they're empty promises. She says "c'mon, we'll go to the hospital right now" ... at 4:00am when she's due at work in an hour. She says "I'll go pester your friends and find out why no one is talking to you anymore," then doesn't. She says "I'll drive you to the counselling center and I'll even pay for it if they want money to treat you," but it's never happened.

She always offers things she doesn't have to fulfill. So did Erica. In fact, the very last kind thing Erica ever said to me was about three weeks ago, when she said "hey, listen to me, don't give up hope." I didn't hear from her after that until I talked to her a week later online, which led to a phone conversation and then the next day a nasty e-mail. That's the last I've heard from her. She's gone, too. Moving on with her own life. Everyone else is, too.

I'm damaged beyond my ability to repair myself; I cannot move on with my life no matter how I try. But it seems the people I cared about have decided to move on without me; I'm just an inconvenience now that I need help.

So now that the spirit is completely crushed and I'm too ashamed to even get on an IRC channel to talk to my friends and ask for help, how do I ask for help? I'm unemployed and broke, $70,000+ in debt, and have no remaining assets (nothing to sell, etc.). How do I pay for help even if I can actually find some?

Everyone made a big deal out of having to admit needing help before I could actually receive any. It's been months now since I made that admission. It's been months now since I started asking for help. My voice is getting weaker, and it doesn't seem like it's worth even trying to ask, since it feels like no one is listening anymore.

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