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      In January 2003, retired CEO Ramsay Peard asked longtime conservationist and friend David “Bugsy” Morine if he wanted to canoe the four-hundred-mile-long Connecticut River. These old buddies hadn’t seen each other in twenty years, but they had shared a few previous adventures so Morine readily agreed―under one condition: No camping. “I’m too old to be sleeping on the ground, cooking over an open fire, and crapping in the woods,” Morine told Peard, “and so are you.”

      “Where will we stay?” Peard asked.

      “We’ll rely on the kindness of strangers.”

      And that’s what they did. Mooching their way downriver enabled these vintage voyagers to get an insider’s feel for the area and a firsthand look at many of the issues confronting the people who live along the Connecticut: the demise of farming, the growth of the health care industry, the loss of manufacturing, the boom in higher education, gay rights, Native American rights, Wal-Mart versus Main Street, and the issue closest to home―the river and the conservation efforts to protect it.

      They were also able to delve deep into the lives of complete strangers. But sadly for Morine, he eventually realized that the one life he never dug into was Peard’s. After spending a month with him in a canoe, he had no idea that his friend’s innermost thoughts were on a dark and disturbing course.