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QUIET DECOMPOSITION 9.7.13

Posted in Creative Construction by activecitizen54 on September 19, 2013

QUIET DECOMPOSITION 9.7.13

This is presented now as background material to the Tori Beach Memoirs.

The 59th Birthday looms just 7 days away, as is typical in Kevin’s life, existence in this period is traditionally a time of reflection and course corrections.  Kevin has consciously accomplished this assessment, examination and taken actions for 50 years since 9 years old, making the commitment to journal and write as historian a life long endeavor, a labor of love of the art of the written word.

Next Saturday 9/14/13, the golden anniversary  and what Kevin discovered over the 5.9 decades of this record is a rather ordinary human, holding no grandiose delusions or false images of self.  An accurate reflection of the society and culture at large from an outsider’s vantage point.  This is not apology but a realistic grasp of the altered perception Kevin brings to life and living.  Always curious and existing to move through the fringes to detect real changes from the people but returning to a civilized base, a home within his heart and head.  Kevin carries the point of view of one who understands bigotry and hate intimately and chooses to live from a position of love and compassionate understanding rather than fear, often to his own detriment.

The “outsider” is where this “Loner” is now, traditionally dwelling on the fringes because change arises most often in the fringes of culture.  Who Kevin is, how he is, what he is? Kevin is the sum total of the choices he makes for himself with mistakes being his only possession.  There are some remarkable consistencies within the 59 years of life spread before Kevin in journals, essays, short stories, works of fiction that always most closely resemble reality in honesty regardless of the change of names to protect the guilty or innocent. 

“The feeling of these notes to self from the past, from the fringe, is like looking at clouds; a Rorschach test from his own hand. The details so painstakingly recorded become softened and obtain a patina of faded edges as emotion and context in time bleed together and are layered over with the next day, month and year.  Like the verdigris on copper roofing increasing in beauty and more appreciated over the course of time, the aging and weathering creating something that did not exist at creation.” Kevin mused over the collection of handwritten journals, all now transferred to disc for the computer age.

“Happiness is an inside job and this morning as I hang suspended in time between absolute destruction and reincarnation (all by my own hand) I have made a conscious decision to remain happy, well-centered and without pain. I do make conscious choices minute by minute of each day to determine my own course of action, the reality of the world around me and the well-spring of loneliness with still waters of resentment pooled to breach the dam of band-aids placed to seal the open wounds in my psyche.”  The musing turned deeper and more introspective.

“The chemically induced roller-coaster ride of life spread before my 59 year-old one-good-eye is the foundation of Altered Perception today. The 3-Eyed Troll who dwells out back in the shed is hard upon me and the revolt against the image begun in earnest and in violent confrontation.” Kevin explained to no one in particular but rather needed to hear the word and spoke to an empty room.  “The problem with band-aids, with procrastination tools, is that sooner or later the issues have to be addressed in the now.  I have accepted delay for too long and feel the drive of limited time more exquisitely than constant pain induced by the slow torture of creation.”

The reality is that Kevin has come to a place where a friend, who he extended the comfort of his home as refuge, has demonstrated clearly a level of contempt; an absolute and complete violation of privacy; a manipulative pattern now applied to him from Lee.  The fault and foundation for this are entirely upon Kevin without denial or exaggeration but taking a closer look the Outsider, the Loner feels the choices made were survival options and not completely under his control. 

Kevin is unable and unwilling to alter his friendship to accommodate what Lee demands.  The reality of patterns in behavior and understanding of motivation for characters within his life and records a driving force in Kevin’s reality with the birthday looming.  Lee, “expects and demands more than I am able or willing to give” is his single retort now or ever and it is Lee who authored the statement as his tool of escape on not less that 4 earlier occasions with men other than Kevin.  The research of that reality painstakingly slow and confirmed by at least 3 other sources included the reality of the last concluding in burning down the house and apparent suicide.

The perspective today, filtered through the wounds of The 3-Eyed Troll, (A place of self-description spawned in real life only recently) is very painful from the events of the past year, most specifically the loss of Kevin’s source of joy in life in the Red Sided Eclectus Parrots, his Imps, who died because of his failures.  Kevin could not afford the vet bill to help them continue their existence and it was and is Kevin’s negligence and failure that destroyed this beauty and joy in his own life.  This type of self-castigation and internal dialogue of guilt and shame have founded Kevin’s life-long battle with depressive disease most likely from genetics but environmental causes contribute to its severity and duration.

Why? 

“I’m not attracted to snot-nosed howling larval humans or primates who at 35 have yet to rise above the level of their gonads into self-responsibility and no ability to recognize the value of another human.” Is the immediate thought from the vindictive Kevin who He works to suppress. 

Recognition of the subconscious drives, the subversive Kevin is enlightenment from his childhood and today it rears it’s ugly head again.  Kevin does understand the processes in his brain, gray matter between his Dumbo ears, better than anyone. 

Kevin knows the programming on levels that most humans never face from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder through suicide attempt; Kevin walked this path with the addict Mikey the Beer Sponge providing stimulus enough to destroy.  Kevin has internalized all the negative messages, all the poison, in being true to himself and after constant and consistent analysis has made decisions to act now, act in a positive vein for Kevin and let the chips fall where they may.

The same is true for Tori Beach now.  Kevin is not able to afford the place alone and has exhausted his last dollar in the effort to keep living here.  Too often robbing Peter to pay Paul and now discovering that the coffers are drained faces the fruits of his decisions and actions to keep the lights on, the internet running, food for the tummy and nothing else.  Kevin has compromised a friendship with Lee because of his inability, his failure to earn enough to support himself or Lee.  Kevin’s ignorant coping techniques have amplified and perhaps solved, in the only way possible, the issues that are not of his creation but solution is demanded of him.  Perhaps within this tattered and torn blond brain the solution was seen early on as absolute destruction of this place of joy and bliss as a preemptive strike against “the fight that is most important” forming between Lee and Kevin.

Tori Beach is beyond life-support and moved into the realm of palliative care.  This once beautiful serene and blissful place of healing energy and joyous celebration of life broadcast positive energy, acceptance and emanated love into this Universe of Energy.  The dynamic positive charge attracted the negative, malicious and malevolent forces that now, in merde maelstrom, have nearly neutralized the source of that positive energy and suffocate the remaining inhabitant.  Kevin, in complete self-involvement, self-responsibility and self-castigation in the issues creating the condition; unable to provide solution alone for himself or those others effected, rejected by friends from the past whom he has assisted and now trapped and cornered without future reflects alone and paralyzed from internalized poison.

“Again in life I find myself in limbo having done my best to achieve a dream.  The reality is that having spent my last dime in life to sustain the dream, to continue to feed the need of reality, I am the proverbial day-late and dollar-short.  My resources exhausted and remarkably, like other points in my personal history, and friend Lee accuses me of: “spending other people’s money to get by in life.”  The tortured Kevin ruminates and replays the words.

The hysterically humorous portions of this are the mind-boggling similarities.

The fundamental question is: Why does Kevin do this to himself?

The foray into crystal meth only exacerbated an already unstable mind and tenuous grip on reality.  The flight from and process of recovery enlightening to today’s conditions.  The geriatric realities of life and love for another more than one’s self is perhaps a common thread in all this.

Has Kevin ever really come to love who he is?

Kevin is 6’1″ weighing 172 pounds now, icy blue eyes, school-boy shock of blond hair with a “solar panel for sexual prowess” as he calls his pattern baldness.  The flashing smile is fully removable and at this point in life the assembly on a daily basis consistently reminds him that embalming at 29 would’ve been ideal.  It is too late for Kevin to die young and leave a great looking corpse.  Kevin is already old and revolting as he is informed on a regular basis over the past several weeks of tortured existence.

The 4th child (the baby boy) in a family of 5 children with a younger sister and next oldest brother maintaining the parents’ attention leaving him to raise himself with only slight aid and direction from Paternal Grandparents created the Loner Kevin.

In his youth Kevin was described as “The Loner” and for good reason.  Being alone in the wilderness in the Upstate NY Finger Lakes Region provided his insatiable curiosity and strong willed personality solace from the sexual abuse of older brothers and neighbors. 

The constant bullying of his early adolescence aided in this character trait of being Loner as well.  Within Kevin’s soul the isolation of individual thought, meditation and comprehension consumed his attention.  Even in the company of others Kevin often appeared preoccupied or distant as his brain locked into a thought process triggered by an object or person or phrase in conversation.

Seeking refuge in camping and wilderness, Kevin experienced self-sufficiency, a farmer’s confidence built upon experience first-hand grew within him and a mistrust of anyone or anything beyond his touch to determine reality as a foundation for the introspection and preference for self over others founded in mistrust and fear reinforced too often to recount.  The dependence on self alone while exploring wilderness, the reality of farm life and independent actions to get the jobs done, the responsibility of care and feeding of Kevin primary responsibility built the focus and the foundation of the Loner. 

This “independent streak” as Grampa Andrews described Kevin’s self-direction, led to Kevin’s drowning in January, 1958 after his 3rd birthday.  Carried along under the shattered ice on the creek in the bottom-land of the farm; a result of disobeying instructions from parents to not go to the Sugar-Bush (a stand of Sugar Maples high up the mountain in front of the farm) with the big guys. Kevin, sneaking out over the front porch roof, went down the north side of the pasture just behind the big guys going down the south side of the pasture a little over a quarter-mile away.  Keeping to the forest edge and watching the dogs closely Kevin made the dash downhill past the pond to cross the creek as the Big Guys were just doing.  Misjudging the thickness of the ice with running water under it, Kevin plunged through the surface ice and was carried downstream nearly 1/4 of a mile under the ice. It was the dogs who tipped off the big guys to what was happening and brother David, the sexual abuser, who broke through the ice and pulled the limp and apparently lifeless Kevin from the stream.

Waking a day later in total confusion and bewilderment for where he was Kevin told the story of what he saw and felt while drowning.  “I wasn’t cold, I didn’t feel the water, I saw the prisms, the refracted light through the ice in a magic slow-motion show and knew I was going to be OK.  I saw people and things I don’t know but they knew me.”  The drowning event is the probable cause for the curse of asthma that plagued Kevin through his teenage years and into young adulthood.  The near-death experience a foundational feature within his core consciousness creating the recognition of the fragile nature of life and spawning a compassion for others without delivering the same to himself.

At home in the winter months his Grandparents and Parents provided him encyclopedia as reading material:  The Golden Book Encyclopedia, one a week for 34 weeks; The Encyclopedia Americana salvaged from the trash at the Methodist Church. The Encyclopedia Britannica, a gift to a student from Grandparents.  The World Book Encyclopedia, added to the library in the upstairs hall in the farmhouse also gifted to him. These were all devoured in alphabetical order from the time he was 4 years-old until his 10th summer with Tom Swift and a few classics tossed in just out of his curiosity for topics discovered within the encyclopedia.  Bullfinch’s Mythology and the Greek academia became a well-spring of new pursuits.

The change of school from Breezeport to Horseheads Central brought a rapid change of consciousness to Kevin in his too late discovery of primates and pack behaviors as he was targeted and bullied as “Pansy.”  The derogatory language of hate spawning taunts of “cock-sucker” and “Faggot” or the ever popular “Queer” incessantly spewed in his direction.  Kevin’s next older brother’s coming-out provided guilt by association and fueled the bullying.  Sixth grade and the experience of Mrs Gaffey and her endorsement of hate and bigotry defined Kevin’s High School Years as he took the psychologist’s recommendation and “belted the bully.”

This single transformational act from Kevin driving his rage through his arm, through his fist and directly into the face of his bully and attacker purged the poison of hate from Kevin and sealed his decision to be non-violent, a pacifist, a Buddhist much to his parent’s dismay. It seemed overnight to Kevin that he became the protector of the sexually suspect and weaker of the pack. Knowing he was the center of protection for these humans began to lift the poor self-image of the child into the powerful personality and colorful character experienced today. The transformational journey accompanied with the emergence of the adult man from the soft cushion of infant’s fat, childhood obesity and suddenly 9″ of new height coupled with a loss of 60 pounds converted to raw farm-boy muscle from long chores and too much hard work aided in this personal transformation and powerful personality.

The subject matter in school bored Kevin and fending off sleep during the incredibly tedious math and history courses branded him as “inattentive” and “disinterested” from the staff.

Two bright gleaming spots of hope and inspiration demonstrated that the profession of teaching was not lost to the tenured creeps jaded in soul and Hell-bent for retirement.  Susan Sanders an English Teacher and Wilma Lundy an Artist and Teacher who became Kevin’s inspiration and guiding light.

“Just damned well look and draw what you see.”  Wilma lectured Kevin. “It’s not freaking rocket science and there aren’t any wrong answers so just draw what you see.”

“Keep on writing Kevin.” note scribbled across the top of an essay for English with Susan Sanders demonstrating simile in which Kevin described his Grandfather’s suicide as “planting a seed.” This treasured relic in a 10X12 frame dusty from lack of attention as one of Kevin’s most valued possessions.

Learning to trust his instincts and ability to express himself brought new confidence and an open attitude of acceptance into Kevin’s world view.  The feelings of “dirty little secrets” as the result of sexual abuse. The reality of the seduction and union with Ricky sustained him and encouraged him to complete his education.  With a softening of the internal dialogue and the broader grasp of the full spectrum of human lives; a compassion was born and partially helped shape into reality by Kevin’s Grandmother with her honest expression of “you are blessed in seeing into two worlds, in understanding of both.”

“There is no shame in being Berdache pumpkin.” Kevin’s Iroquois Paternal Grandmother spoke softly in her style of intimate communication with the child of 5 or 6 the first time those words were uttered and again at 10 before the acceptance of that reality of who Kevin is finally registered.  The 3rd sex, the traditional shaman, care-givers and diplomats is the role the tribes cast these honored humans of two-spirits or dual nature within.  With acceptance comes freedom and freedom builds character from the responsibility.

Alan Collins and later Ricky Collins the older brother were nearly always joined-at-the-hip with Kevin, inseparable during their youths.  Wandering field and forest, biking and exploring or involved in farm chores they were nearly always together.  Construction of tree-houses, forts and culminating in an A-Frame cabin at the back of the orchard on Kevin’s parent’s farm with Ricky as co-conspirator in dismantling an abandoned cabin for framing and sheathing and reconstruction as “The A-Frame.”  This place of Ricky and Kevin’s creation is where all the who’s who of the mountain would gather in freedom, friendship and youthful exploration of life.

Upon the event of Kevin’s graduation his lover of 5 years and neighbor, Ricky, calmly and very distantly announced that he “could not live the Gay life” and that he was “marrying Darlene.”  A tearful and hurtful good-bye and Ricky, the youth with whom Kevin slept for 5 years was gone from his life.  That was 1972, the year of the great flood in  Elmira, NY when the Chemung River crested 31 feet above flood stage, a full 6 feet over the levy height.  Kevin’s graduation and future seemed washed away at the same time as downtown Elmira.

Totally despondent and deep in depression, escaping into the forest in solitude and maintaining silence whenever in the family ego mass were not unusual behaviors for Kevin throughout youth and were just ignored as the issues of older brother (by 7 years) Daniel’s coming out, or doting on baby sister Carol (5 years younger) kept Earl & Beula (Kevin’s parents) distracted and their attention away from Kevin.

College and newly fledged wings of comprehension of self, identification of others and all the accompanying experimentation followed as Kevin faced life alone and unsure of his path.  A Liberal Arts Degree and Psychology Minor fell into place with little work, no real effort from Kevin.  The encyclopedic knowledge base of childhood drove his curiosity and questioning of self, questioning of authority, questioning of the culture and society’s structure.

During this period a young woman from Kevin’s High School, a neighbor down the mountain into Sullivanville and a trusted human came back into Kevin’s life with proposals to marry. Deborah graduated the year before Kevin with Ricky and in desire to escape the abuse and torture of the Fundamentalist, the Pentecostal Brother Bill Wagner, her father, she married Dale Osborn leaving him rapidly there after to be on her own.  In an image of the future, after the chance meeting in a McDonald’s, doing the flood clean-up for Kevin and office work in a business forms print shop for Deb they became reacquainted.  They slept together for the first time in Kevin’s A-Frame and awoke to a rainbow before them over the mountain.  Deborah knew of Kevin’s reputation and relationship with Ricky.  In a moment of weakness, Kevin said yes and the deed done on 11/17/73.

Kevin’s life with Deb was a joyous and blissful union of kindred spirits in which Kevin was known to humorously quip that: “Deb is almost the man of my dreams.” Never with shame or degradation intended; the humor often disarmed anyone who heard the quip and altered more than a few minds in the family and outside friends alike.

Kevin could fool some of the people some of the time but he couldn’t fool him self into being Heterosexual.  Kevin was monogamous for 10 of the 11 years of married life, love and sharing with Deb.

“We made it through the 7-year itch OK but it was the outside pressures, the constant examination of and by others that created the worst wedges.” Kevin would thoughtfully explain. The incessant health issues of Deb drove Kevin to seek solace with Gary, a professor at FIT who hooked Kevin into field research work in the Keys, took him to the Monster and La Te Da and showed him Key West as a Gay man.  It was Gary who provided a positive role model of what a Gay Man is for Kevin on his 28th birthday in 1982. 

To this very day, Kevin says he; “will always have a hard spot for Gary’s Omar Sharif rugged and masculine good looks, his intellect and that body born from pumping iron to be as hard as Gary’s will.”  The romance, torrid but brief was discovered as Deb found a letter written to Kevin’s brother Daniel in New York City, opened it and proceeded to read of the relationship between Gary and Kevin.  Kevin’s letter was never sent to Daniel and the invasion of privacy a fracture never to heal.

In the process of these life events in real time Kevin moved from Upstate New York to South Carolina as next to the oldest brother (his initial molester) and Deb’s sister, Cheryl, who is the same age as Kevin.  Cheryl, thrown out of her family home as a disposable child by Brother Bill. Cheryl living with Deborah, was hired as Au Pair for the newly adopted children of David and his wife Joann.  Kevin knew this was trouble spawned in Hell and Cheryl and David were actively involved in: “not sparing the rod to spoil the child” that Cheryl was carrying by Gary Webster when Joann caught them fornicating on the sofa.  David’s now ex-wife Joann exacted as much a toll as any scorned woman can.  This Christmas gift from the “Christian” heterosexual abuser altered Kevin’s consciousness permanently.

Having overcome the terror of his abuser, after having verbally beat the slop out of the SOB wishing he would give himself permission to use his fists.  Having nothing to do with David at all for years Kevin found himself in David’s company and asked what appeared to him an innocent question of: “Why this way David?  Why couldn’t you separate, divorce and then expose your relationship?”  The emotional response, the exposure of the torturer, the abuser next to him and the clearly expressed intent was enough to revolt Kevin into a new path.

Kevin fled the family ego mass alone for parts unknown with the full knowledge and consent of Deborah.  There was no rancor or disagreement about Kevin’s decision and understanding the honest intent of finding a home a great distance from the brouhaha of heterosexual peccadilloes from his abuser brother and pregnant sister-in-law and the family in general.

Arriving in South Carolina he bought his first house on Downs Rd in Hodges, SC for $13,500.00, cash transaction, opened a nursery and garden center business and grew successful. Kevin was happier as a free man, an independent businessman, an entrepreneur alone and doing OK more than at any other time in life to date.  The feelings lifted him past the mourning for the loss of Ricky, the spike in his heart over marriage to a woman and it’s basic lie of who he is with the distance and the opportunity to re-make himself in the present.

Deb followed several months later and then the whole damned family began to migrate.  The last straw for Kevin was when his parents re-located to Columbia, SC .  Understanding that he was employing Deb’s sisters in the business purely to ease the path between he and Deb was a rude awakening for Kevin.  Within months the business sold and Kevin struck out for Florida with the admonition that anyone following him would cause him to take flight to Mexico or Panama and no one, absolutely no one would hear from him ever again.

With 50% of the proceeds in hand from the sale of the Plantation business to Kevin’s business partner Mike, Kevin struck out for parts unknown in Florida.  West Palm Beach, Forest Hills Blvd on the corner of Lake Clark Shores Drive and Forest Hill Blvd, he purchased pre-construction a 3 bedroom, 3 bath home on a Lake Clark lakefront lot and before the dust settled from the construction of the main house added a 2 bedroom 1 bath mother-in-law’s quarters across a three-car carport, laundry and storage facility to complete construction less than 6 months later. 

A shop on Poinciana Plaza, in Palm Beach’s Royal Poinciana plaza, Plants Ect, grew rapidly with contracts with the Everglades Club, The Breakers and the Poinciana Playhouse for stage dressing driving the new business into a profitable position before the house was complete. The property owner, Spiegle of the catalog fame, utilized the corner store and the street side live plant displays in his 1985 catalog, without obtaining release from Kevin and the 5 years free rent solved the issue with the stipulation that the displays remain and the permission extended for the life of the agreement.

Deb followed Kevin a few months after the house was complete and assumed her way into the business based on the marriage license.  The death of the relationship was written from that day forward and Deb and Kevin were actively and silently filing for divorce at the time she was killed by a drunk driver.  An absolutely despondent Kevin, locked in mourning with 2 kids as a single parent now with a pending adoption forced himself to tend to the business.  The nursery in Loxihatchee on Brian Rd, the aviary and the bevy of boys as labor and caretakers with benefits were all drains on the dwindling cash reserves.

Apparently returning from the brink of disaster, Kevin sold the property in Loxihatchee at a substantial profit, invested the money in a newly developed property in Port St Lucy and got the Hell out of West Palm Beach and the memories of Deb, the grief and remorse and responsibility of the shop left to a trusted manager who ultimately purchased the business from Kevin in 1988 finally removing any attachments to the heterosexual world Kevin fled.

Port St Lucy as a single parent, out in the boonies west of the Florida Turnpike kept socialization to a minimum and the assistance of a good neighbor, Linda and her husband created an easy freedom for Kevin.  After six or 7 months of focus on the new job with John B Dodge Development Company at Piper’s Landing as Horticulturalist, land planner and director of Landscape Maintenance services, Kevin began to find happiness again in life and the wounds slowly healed.

A quick call to Linda, a note for the kids if they get up while Kevin was gone and Kevin was out the door at just after 10 PM the last weekend in October before Halloween, 10/24/1985.  That’s the night that Kevin’s future husband, Mike Higgins “washed ashore” as Kevin was wont to detail to any and every willing ear in his exuberance, absolutely lost in love (or lust) meeting Mike at Jensen Beach.

A friend and student at FIT, “Big-Dick Rick” a 23 year-old, 6’4″ Welshman with an 11″ protrusion from his crotch and Kevin made a bet on who would “have” Mike first on the cruisey beach at Jensen.  This is long before the internet and it’s ease of hook-ups, men had to work to make a conversation and connection.  As Mike came down the beach toward Rick and he, Kevin made eye contact and nearly growled: “Hey Sailor; want to follow me home?”

The rest, as they say is history. 

Mike and Kevin made love/lust like he was a prisoner just out of jail the remainder of the night.  At 5:00AM Mike was out of bed like he had been shot and into the shower shouting something about being late for work in Vero Beach at Hercules Chemical Plant processing spent citrus peel for delimenine and pectin by utilizing the waste from the Ocean Spray Juice processing plant.  As Mike showered the news on the TV told of an escaped murderer from the Stark Prison and flashed a picture of a man with an appearance nearly identical to the man in Kevin’s shower who made passionate love/lust with Kevin all freaking night.

Much to Kevin’s credit and desire to protect his kids and self from anything untoward as Mike gave his hurriedly scribbled on a business card phone number.  Kevin gave him the phone number he knew was going to be changed as soon as Mike was out the door, kissed Mike goodbye and started the morning rituals Kevin is notorious for.  A week went by, The Friday night news story of catching the escapee flashed on the TV screen and the second image was even closer to what Kevin remembered of Mike with a burning longing in his heart to have the question of identity satisfied.

“OK, I’ll call the number he left for me,” Kevin thought and proceeded to satisfy his curiosity.  With that one fateful call, Mike answered the phone, had a verbal fit over not being able to reach Kevin, and they arranged their next meeting at Mike’s place along the Indian River in Ft Pierce.  The 6 or 7 months of clandestine dating, the giggles and hoots from Linda as she caught her husband watching Kevin & Mike in a particularly rampant sexual adventure after the boys were asleep; led to the first disagreement between Mike and Kevin and the resolution to introduce the boys to Mike but maintain separate homes and continue to date.

Three months later the opportunity arose for a home large enough to supply the privacy requirements of Mike and Kevin and the “news” of Kevin finding a partner in Mike broken to the boys.  Neither of the boys took a shine to Mike until the second or third month of the arrangement and move.  It was Daughter Timmy the Gay Son who broke the ice in working his manipulative magic directed at Kevin.  Timmy conscripted and employed Mike in coercing Kevin into something that Timmy wanted.  Because of Mike’s candor with Kevin the deed was done and Timmy became absolutely smitten with Mike.  With Jason it was always a matter of the intellect and by the end of the first year he too came to respect and admire Mike’s ability to “handle Mother” as they both described.

The stress and strains of parenting fell predominately on Kevin with Mike maintaining a distance from the larval humans by choice rather than necessity. 

Kevin & Mike, madly and passionately in absolute head-over-heels love struck a bargain that who ever could earn the most money would be the bread-winner and the other the stay at home parent.  Kevin, of course, won with the offer from Holmes Nursery & Gardens to manage the 2,000+ acres of nursery and retail/wholesale business that extended from Ft Lauderdale at Port Everglades to Alligator Alley’s far 30 acre field nursery and into Tampa’s 40 acres, Pasco County on Hwy 54,  with 850 acres, and then Kevin added another 1,500 leased acres in south Georgia, Omega; all requiring hands-on attention to the poorly managed inventory & sub-standard business practices.  After 6 months of grueling commute to be on every site at least once a week Kevin and Mike made the decision to leave the house on Archer Ave in Port St Lucie with the boys and move to Tampa to be more centrally located to the business operations.

The move to Tampa as the most central became the house on Main St in Thonotosassa with Mike and the boys manning the production of our own nursery business while Kevin was still managing Holmes. The 12-hour or more work days became 10 hours and finally 8 hours as the nursery on Main Street, Back Porch Plants, as the family christened it, took off.  Kevin’s genius on focusing on new introductions and having the knowledge and expertise expressed in confidant actions and ease of communication drew the shoppers in and word of mouth spread the business name and reputation for excellence rapidly across 3 counties.

Holmes was forgotten and the move to self-employed businessman accomplished within a year with a constant eye to opportunity for expansion as rapidly as was humanly possible for Kevin, Mike and the boys.  A $20,000 down-payment on an acre of land with a 1,500 sq ft, 4 bedroom, 2 bath home, barn and established citrus trees created Buckhorn Botanicals.  It was during this time with the boys in High School heading toward college that the rancor between Mike and Kevin began to form.

“Mike, why is it that when Kevin says ‘we can’ you immediately say we can’t?” founded the “fight that was most important,” the birth and endorsement of the reality of Mike’s alcoholism and drug addictions, the recognition of co-dependency and the eventual embezzlement and open thievery from the business by Mike in support of his habits, his addictions were the foundations of the destruction of happiness and love. 

All of this inflamed by the winter presence of Mike’s parents and their good Catholic Guilt ethic and cocktails at 5:00 PM every day.  The kids hated Mike’s parents with a passion.  Kevin grew to abhor the screamer that Mike became and the 24/7 X 365 days a year, joined at the hip life that Kevin was comfortable within became more of Mike going with Mike’s friends, Kevin being with Kids or his friends and never the twain’s will meet.

The Knight Ranch became Mike’s hang-out and Ybor City’s Gay Clubs his destination of choice at any hours they were open.  The proximity of the Gay Bathhouse was always an attraction for Mike too.  Weekend binges became week-long life-styles, the open contempt and hallway sex (walking past each other and saying: “FUCK YOU”) ever more prevalent.  The “fight that was most important” instilled as Mikey The Beer Sponge received demonstration after demonstration that no matter what his sabotage, what his procrastination and addictions created; Kevin can and does and Mikey The Beer Sponge can’t by his own choice and acts.

The boys leaving for college precipitated the first of the violent attacks on Kevin by Mike.  Kevin had taken away the Tangray Gin from Mike’s menu of alcoholic options and limited him to beer giving birth to “Mikey The Beer Sponge.”  Mikey The Beer Sponge morphed into Mikey The Joy Sponge with his uncanny knack for sucking the life out of any room, poisoning any conversation and taking particular pride in inflicting pain on Kevin at any and every opportunity regardless of audience. 

The cycle and the fight that is most important assumed new proportions as Kevin recognized the baiting, the barbs and sarcastic remarks, the screaming that led to the pushing & shoving that led to the fists and any loose objects being hurled and smashed. 

The equation that ruled Kevin’s life for the last 2 years of the relationship was “Scream = Slug” as he clearly moved to self-defensive preemptive strikes.

In August prior to their 10th anniversary Mike threw a coffee table at Kevin breaking his right arm.  Exactly one month to the day later Kevin & Mike broke Kevin’s left leg on the very day the short cast went on Kevin’s right arm.  One month to the day after that Kevin’s right arm was broken again as Mike attempted to strangle Kevin.  “It’s that voice, that tone you use with me that I have to drink to get away from.”  Mikey The Beer Sponge screamed as the bone snapped above the original break in Kevin’s arm.

When Kevin healed and immediately after the boys, home on Christmas Holiday, returned to school that Kevin took vengeance on Mike as Mike escalated through his cycle, drunk as a skunk, high on cocaine (an expensive habit that Kevin kicked in 1981 immediately after his cocaine induced heart-attack).  Screaming that Kevin was “killing him” and that he “had to drink to put up with Kevin” and a dozen other sweet nothings until the switch was flipped and Kevin snatched up a fiberglass handle shovel and broke the damned handle across his miserable head.  Kevin later told Mikey’s friends and buddies that; “I understand intimately how someone can be moved to murder.”

Kevin dragged the unconscious Mike to the road-side and dialed his Mommy and Daddy at the hotel he booked for them forbidding them to set foot on the property and told them to come pick up the garbage they created from the side of the road.  Mikey accused Kevin of “giving him AIDS” and Kevin knew he was HIV- from the most recent test brief weeks before the foundation of this episode of the “fight that is most important.”

The business relationship died that day and that was fitting for the loving relationship that died when Mikey the Beer Sponge was born to be put to rest as well.  The boys, off to school across the country were unaware of any of this.  Kevin faced the absolute and total devastation of a business and life by a vindictive alcoholic drug addict with no support from the poison that Mikey spewed to anyone and everyone who would listen.  Here is where a great portion of Kevin’s determination and drive were erased as he prepared and sold the business to his managers, the property, the inventory and the assets all going in one fell swoop with Kevin holding the note for 10 years.  Seven years of blissful union were poisoned by 3 years of Catholic Guilt and retribution that included the misdirection to open embezzlement of nearly $500,000.00 over the course of 3 years.

On Mikey’s birthday 1/28/1994 Kevin attempted suicide and would’ve been successful were it not for the paperboy, Scott, who took to stopping for coffee with Kevin when his deliveries were done between 4:30 and 5:30 AM.  Kevin, having consumed 30 Seconal and a quart of vodka, set up the noose in the barn to do the job right but passed out in the back lawn 100 feet from his targeted place of suicide.  Scott, out of curiosity as to where Kevin was and why no coffee literally tripped over Kevin’s unconscious body on the way to the barn.  Scott dialed 911 and Kevin spent 10 days without shoelaces in the mental hospital dealing with the major depression, post traumatic stress disorder and abuse from Mikey.  Scott, bless his heart, was kind enough to remove the noose, gather up the suicide note and suppress the truth until after Kevin was released.

On the very day Kevin arrived back home on the farm Mikey was packing up the books, the records of the business and Kevin just decked the son of a bitch on general principals and threw his ass off the property.  “You spent 10 years of my life in a lie and your thievery shows that all too clearly.” These were the parting words from Kevin along with a good swift kick in the ass that the bastard deserved from the 3rd date forward.

Going home to care for his parents, now retired in Easly, SC and an older mentally retarded brother until their deaths Kevin found little solace in life and little to no support.  It took months and months for Kevin to fully recover from the experiences of Mikey the Beer Sponge and the betrayal delivered more trust issues than any other human would ever be able to handle.  A broken and betrayed man did what was required and moved through the experiences with as much grace and charm as he could muster facing the parents who disowned him then called to ask for his help.  His siblings sued him to liquidate the estate upon the event of his father’s passing away but Kevin fought the claims and maintained Mike in the family home until his death in 1997.  Liquidation of the estate occurred with the contractual agreement of cash on the event of Mike’s demise and 30 days to vacate.  the deal was done and the siblings paid off at the funeral never to be seen or heard from again.

Cleaning up the mess of the estate and the siblings, cleaning out the house and moving consumed every day of the month of Brother Mike’s funeral.  Once the dust settled and Kevin had time to think he took a Commercial Driver License training course, obtained a CDL and took off to see the USA from the seat of a Kenworth cab pulling 53′ boxes over the East of the Mississippi highways, doubles where allowed and once he got west pulling triple tankers of lead arsinate for toxic waste disposal from Colorado to Washington State.

30 months later he got out of the truck and landing in Key Largo after traveling to Venezuela to see friends there, Honduras to check-up on the potable water projects and then Panama to visit with friends. No regrets and no baggage was a great way for Kevin to live a happy life alone and the Loner once again re-emerged.

Helping a long-time acquaintance in remodeling and repair of a house on Buccaneer drive in Key Largo, turning around a pizza parlor, the house on Marina Ave where his renovations work supported him comfortably and quietly brought a calm and settled period broght Kevin, the Loner, back into reality.  The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the unending depression and the troubles of the world seemed to melt away and a peaceful, happy man built Zen Gardens, collected orchids and lived in the now.

The week before his birthday, 2001, Kevin heard the knock on his door with trepidation and answered to discover Victor Perez, the boy toy of a life-long friend George Posada an architecht responsible for a substantial skyline change in Caracas, Venezueala standing there grinning at him.  George lost all interest in Victor when Victor sprouted a mustache and  the ever self-serving Victor found a way to maintain his status in Gorge’s home by being the bait for George’s boys whom Victor would pick up in the Caracas discos and deliver to George go back for more.

The torrid romance turned to hard-core abuse by the next birthday and Kevin knew that there wouldn’t be a third anniversary with the narcissistic and abusive Victor’s insatiable need to find new meat.  For Kevin the last straw was the Czech boy on the butcher-block in the kitchen on an afternoon when he got home early from work.  That was rapidly followed by $450.00 in kite-board lessons, a $320.00 pair of designer sunglasses, another $250.00 in chemical substance and pot and all on Kevin’s card without Kevin’s knowledge.  On the way home the day the bank statement posted on line Kevin stopped at the adult bookstore, purchased a 9″ latex dildo, carried it home, stood it on the butcher-block in the kitchen and told Victor he was replace and that Kevin would take him back to his sister’s in Miami.

With Victor gone and Kevin free again the pilgrimage to Key West was on and finding an apartment, second-story next door to the Island House Gay Resort; his life as a single man in Key West was OK but not all  that and a bag of chips too. 

A job as Property Manager for the Crane Point Hammock and curator for the Museum of Natural History there provided primary support.  Promotions to Executive director led to projects and accomplishments in new signs, repaired trails, restoration of the historic tabby Adderly house and museum redesign and rotating displays.

Jim Gilleran, one of the owners of the Bourbon St Complex on Duval St needed a replacement bartender in a hurry and Kevin was Johnny at the rat-hole and took over a Thursday PM until Sunday 4:00 AM schedule that paid better in cash tips than the other job.  Kevin maintained both just to survive without having to expend meager reserves of cash and investments that Kevin decimated in the care of his parents and brother.

A renewal of friendship with Nancy sent Kevin’s life off in another tangent delivering to her the care she required in her last living days as a result of lung cancer. Without regret Kevin took action. spending him self into the poor house to care for others in a life long pattern described by his abuser brother as: “Giving everything to any Tom or Harry Dick.” 

Kevin clearly says he,  “would do it all again even though I recognize now the complete and total destruction the events created.”  When Nancy died and the loose ends were tied up Kevin limped to Boaz, AL to a veterinarian friend’s home on Beulah Rd making a kitchen remodel project the focus and spent 6 months making sure the custom cabinetry, the tile and granite counters were the best he was able to produce.  Darry, the Vet, was a very happy man with the finished products and Kevin left there for a return to Florida in February of 2010.

Kevin, tired to the point of complete and total exhaustion, packed the last of his household possessions and life from storage in Atlanta where Nancy and his home, suitable for both because it maintained her “privacy” while facilitating Kevin being private duty nurse for her.  “This, one of the most difficult acts in my adult life, was consciously made, determinedly followed-through and painfully closed.” Kevin described life in Atlanta.  Driving the 800 miles to Auburndale, FL, where Kevin still maintained a small foreman’s home from the nursery property he once owned there, in some long ago distant life, was a grueling endurance test of will in the mind over body battle.  After loading and driving all night and half the next day Kevin unloaded the 36′ straight panel truck and moved all the household stuff hauled into the tiny house from sheer will alone. Kevin, with only the granite top from his Grandmother’s kitchen to unload, had a mild heart-attack, dropping the granite top, breaking it into 4 pieces and then bawling his eyes out as he drove to the hospital.  The blood-thinning drugs administered on this event created the stroke that followed 10 days later and it was Daughter Timmy who rescued him on that occasion and it is these events that led to today.

While in recovery at Timmy’s place Kevin took a job as a sales trainer and in the course of that job a young man Corey, a disposable kid, tossed to the street by step-parent and his mom attached himself to Kevin.  Corey appeared at Timmy’s house early one cold morning and Tim let him in.  Kevin, already in bed, barley noticed when Corey crawled into bed with him on that night and for the next 7 or 8 months in two separate houses. 

It was the advent of Lee calling to ask if he could come live with Kevin that led to the issues that developed and it was Lee’s and Kevin’s decision to come to Tori Beach that led to Corey and his kidnapped girlfriend Cami’s exit.  No great emotional importance and the deed done quickly before Tori Beach became reality.

Lee and Kevin found themselves in Tori Beach alone with Lee working the same job as Kevin from home.  Lee began having difficulty coping with the repetitive job, the ethics and the hours and announced in March that he was quitting and going to work with Michael.  Leaving Tori Beach on Thursday PM Lee would go to Clearwater and stay with Michael through Saturday or sometimes Sunday.  Kevin understood Lee’s exhaustion upon his return home to be from the manual labor of cleaning time share condos between bookings.  Kevin didn’t suspect any other contributing factors until May when Lee crashed for 28 hours, arising like a dragon and the confession of “planning a parachute” spewed from him concerning Kevin’s questioning of what substances were involved.

The reality Kevin discovered is that his friend Lee is very proud of “using” people and that the root of the addiction is Frankie on 4th Ave N who introduced Lee to Tina.

The reality that Kevin recognized then is being played and tortured by a friend and confidant who has clearly delivered the messages that are fully intended.

Kevin did OK getting into this Tori Beach with no money down, an agreement to weekly installments and met that agreement by December with deposit and last month paid in advance as well as the 4 months in between paid in full.  Four months to pay 6 months rent and relief to perhaps live a little by Christmas a goal achieved. 

The pay structure at the job changed and Kevin’s meager $350 to $500 weekly reduced to $250 to $300 with more work, no benefits as a home worker and driving him absolutely insane in the process of doing what he was able to do in the here and now only to work deeper into debt.

The destruction of Tori Beach found root in the rise of the vindictive Kevin who once again felt the poison poured in his direction by Lee and associates more deeply than anyone could ever comprehend.

“An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.”
Buddha

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