Saturday, July 06, 2024

Life Was Good

I now lived in the Aliene Murdock Villa Apartments (referred to by most residents as simply: the Villa,) which was an apartment complex for persons with disabilities. The Villa was right next to the Center for the Physically Limited which was a recreational and personal development center for people with disabilities. It was also home of the Center Stage Players, a theater group (troupe?) that I had just become involved with.

I had a special kind of pass that allowed me to take cab rides anywhere in Tulsa for a dollar, or ride any city bus for free. I could get to school in the mornings by taking a cab or riding the bus. I stayed late everyday after school for 2 hours to "work" in the computer lab. For this I got paid minimum wage and no benefits. This miraculously provided me enough to live on and afforded me the freedom I needed to go to rehearsals every evening.

After rehearsals, I walked across the parking lot, and I was home. Everything was perfect. Bob Fultz who had let me stay with him for a short while as I waited for an apartment to become available lived in the Villa too and made himself a friend to me. He introduced me to Doug and Carol McComas who lived in the Villa as well. Doug and Carol were RPG gamers, and collectors of toys and comic books. (I had found my people.) On the weekends, I hung out with Doug and Carol.

We gamed. Carol DMed the brand new 2nd Edition of AD&D, and I introduced Doug and Carol to Champions 3rd Edition. Champions was a superhero role-playing game that I discovered while still living in Coulterville. The game play is fairly simple, but there is a speed track that takes getting used to. Character creation however was very involved and is to this day perhaps the most complex that I have encountered. (Also the most versatile, the game attempted to let you build any superhero from any source that you could ever imagine.)

So, this was my life. School about art, which I loved. Work, playing on computers, which I loved. Rehearsal for a play which I loved. Weekends playing RPGs, which I more than loved. I was thriving. It changed my whole personality. I was no longer closed off or bitter. I had pretty much forgotten the tramas of my past. I wasn't an outcast anymore. I was accepted. Not just by some small section of those in my world, but by everyone.

The play, Bell, Book and Candle opened. It was reviewed in the Tulsa World, and I was mentioned specifically as a "stand out." (As if my ego needed any more stroking. I was already on top of the world.) I played "Nicky" a modern day warlock and the brother to the main character, a modern day witch who had fallen in love with a mortal man. (Bell, Book and Candle inspired the television series Bewitched.) In the movie version, Nicky was played by Jack Lemmon. So, I feel like I was in good company.

A short time after the play closed I rode the bus to a comic book store called, World of Comics. I had been there once before with Doug and Carol. I went in and browsed around and grabbed a few comics, taking them to the counter to buy. Doug (the owner of the store, not the husband to Carol) introduced himself to me. He had seen me here with Doug and Carol and recognized me.

I didn't remember him specifically, but that was all about to change. Little did I realize that in the very near future, this Doug would become one of my best friends, and in an even more distant future, the Best Man at my wedding.

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