Kids in the dark; there were no rules in the suburbs. But now Gary is dead; Ricky, too. (s
Kids in the dark; there were no rules in the suburbs. But now Gary is dead;
Ricky, too. (satanic cult killing in New York)
Rolling Stone p30(10) Nov 22, 1984
illustration; photograph; portrait
AVAILABILITY: FULL TEXT Online LINE COUNT: 00477
GEOGRAPHIC CODE: NNUSLNYN
GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION: New York (City)
CAPTIONS: Ricky Kasso.; Gary Lauwers.
NAMED PEOPLE: Lauwers, Gary--personal narratives; Kasso, Ricky--personal
DESCRIPTORS: satanism--social aspects; sociopathic personality-- case
studies; youth--conduct of life; New York (City)--crime
A POLICE DOG WENT MAD ON THE FOURTH OF JULY, DEEP IN THE WOODS behind
Main Street. Howling and sniffing, he found enough flesh for a fingerprint
and a pile of bones wearing denim vest, running pants, white undershorts,
Nikes. Next to the grave was a black spot on the ground where the body had
lain ten days before burial. Tissue had darkened and blood had drained. The
body sank into the earth.
Under some leaves, the worms did their work,
transfigured themselves into flies and flew off. They left bones cleaned of
flesh, full of dents from the blade of a knife. Thirty stabs? Forty stabs?
Fifty? The eye sockets were whittled. There was no face to speak of. And
these were just kids.
Over the course of two weeks, as the body became a skeleton, at least
fifteen and perhaps thirty teenagers and young adults were told of the
murder, some in great detail. A few were taken to the site, a ten-minute
walk from the quaint main drag and harbor park of Northport, Long Island,
to view the corpse, a dissolving trophy. No one breathed a word of the
killing to police, to parents, to any authorities. Finally, a girl who'd
overheard some other girls talking about it made an anonymous call to the
The skeleton was Gary Lauwers, 17, a high-school dropout who had often
run away from his Northport home. The alleged murderers were Ricky Kasso,
17, and Jimmy Troiano, 18, both of whom had rejected school, home and work
for a life of streets, backyards, forts, woods, cars, boats, friends'
floor. They were bad kids of the 'burbs. They were found the next day,
sleeping in a car, and were subsequently arrested.
Kasso had been charged in April with digging up a grave the previous
fall. (Gary Lauvers was among those who watched.) In his pocket, at the
time of that arrest, was a list of the Dignitaries in Hell. In May, his
parents had taken him to Long Island Jewish Hospital: he had pneumonia.
While there, they sought to have him involuntarily committed. They'd
already tried the drug rehab route at South Oaks Hospital, to no avail.
They told the doctors of his grave digging, daily use of hallucinogens and
other drugs, suicide attempts and jokes, threatening behavior. The
psychiatrists found Kasso to be "antisocial," but not "presently
psychotic," and let him go.
Two months later, after the murder arrests, Jimmy Troiano was placed
in a special observation cell. Kasso was not. Kasso, reportedly accompanied
by chants of "Hang up, hang up" from his cell mates, did so. Troiano, who'd
been in jail before, signed a confession but later pleaded not guilty, and
now awaits trial for second-degree murder.
The crime attracted international attention, in no small part because
Suffolk County investigators said Kasso was a "member of a satanic cult"
and that a throng of chanting cultists witnessed the "sacrificial"
slaughter. The press came howling and sniffing. The throng turned out to be
as phantom as the cheering mob at Big Dan's in the rape trial in New
Bedford; and the satanic cult, the Knights of the Black Circle, turned out
to be a fading organization of cat-burning, dope-dealing delinquents to
whom Kasso was not particularly close. He did those things well enough on
The story told here is the story as seen through the eyes, and told
through the voices, of Ricky's and Jimmy's and Gary's peers. It's the story
of antisocial behavior become social, of the rules of the game in the game
of growing up. THE ACID KING
RICKY KASSO WAS THE KILLER. SON OF A HIGH-SCHOOL football coach,
brother of three beautiful younger sisters, he was the black sheep of a
Norman Rockwell family. He told his mother death would be "the ultimate
MIKE McGRORY, veteran dirt-bag street kid, 21: Ricky always had that
spaced-out look about him. He used to run his mouth about being satanic,
like he is the devil. When he was high, he'd always sit there and laugh at
you, like he was trying to pretend to be crazy.
BOY AT WAKE: He told me the way he got out of South Oaks Hospital. He
bullshitted. When he went in, they believed he worshiped Satan and shit,
and he told the doctors that he was fine, that he was gonna go back to
school and doesn't believe in Satan anymore, and he bullshit the doctor so
much, they finally believed him ... and they let him go. PREPSTER GIRL, 17:
His parents put him in some kind of hospital, and he ran away from it. One
day, at the train station, I saw him. He dyed his hair so no one could fine
him. I said, "What's going on?" And he goes, "No way are they gonna lock me
up. I'm not crazy." I was like, "I never said you were crazy, but maybe you
need help with drugs." He said, "I do not," and then he started yelling,
coming closer. I talked my way out of it. I think Ricky stopped living in
MARK FISHER, 17: I've known Ricky since sixth grade. First time he
tripped, in seventh grade, in art class, he'd drawn a dragon on the board
and said it started to move. First time Ricky got in trouble was eighth
grade. He stole a container of Hi-c from the church. Kinda ironic that he
ends up worshiping Satan and starts by stealing from the church.
TONY ZENKUS, 19: There's a power trip in Satanism. It says: Now you
can strike back at the people that screwed you up. The doctors said Kasso
was antisocial. wrong. Antisocial means sitting in a corner at a party.
Sociopathic means robbing graves.
TEEN DUSTHEAD 1: Ricky took everything just like Jim Morrison. The
younger crowd was impressed by what he did. About six months ago, he
started going to the South Bronx with a friend of mine. He used to drive
in, get dusted and drive back. After two months, they finally crashed my
friend's car. They were all dusted out. Rick found other ways to get into
I told Ricky, "Do too many drugs, you'll be dead soon." He said,
"Yeah, that's exactly what I want." I said, "Boy, it's your choice." Ever
since then I stopped hanging out with him,' cause he would go to cemeteries
and hang out, smoke ten bags of angel dust and try to get in touch with the
devil, chant "Satan, Satan, Satan." He was a drug friend, that's all he
MARK FISHER: Ricky was of the devil. When he was on acid, he'd go back
into the dark woods, up in Aztakea, and he would talk to the devil. He said
the devil came into the form of a tree, which sprouted out of the ground
and glowed. I tried to question him abut it, but he said, "I don't like to
talk about it. People think I'm nuts."
GIRL, known as Baker, 16: When the dust came to town, Ricky and the
guys used to go down to the graveyard, and they'd tape themselves tripping
on acid and mesc and dust. They thought the devil possessed the tape, and
there were all these, you know, different voices.
TEEN DUSTHEAD 2: Ricky and this dude were in my car, and the re like,
"We're trying to get this cult going. Going to the library to read up on
somne books. We want your mother to be the ladder of it." See, my mother
has these powers. She raises tables. We've talked to Jim Morrison through a
MARK FISHER: If you met ricky, he was just one of the nicest people
you'd ever meet. After he smoked seven packets of dust, we were having a
regular conversation. Meanwhile, this other guy who'd smoked with him was
in a complete psychosis--making animal movements, karate movements. The
police were here, and the policeman says, "You don't step on our toes, we
don't step on yours."
Ricky would take ten hits of mesc in a night. He would take three; ten
minutes later he'd take another three; and two hours later he'd take four
more. He'd figured it out in his mind how to take the most without ODing
Ricky is the acid king.
He talked to my girlfriend once on the phone. She said, "Do you have a
girlfriend?" "No, I'm not into relationships. They never last." That's
SOFTHEARTED GIRL, 14: I was the closest person to Ricky. He'd stay in
the clubhouse all the time. Ricky was sweet. HE needed help. I talked to
him for hours and hours during the night. He didn't hate his family, but he
blamed them for a lot of things.
On the night before he had to go court for digging up the grave, he
stayed here. In the morning, he went home, and his father wouldn't let him
take a shower or eat, wouldn't let him in the house. After court, he left
him off in front of the Midway store. Ricky asked for a quarter. He wanted
a bagel. His father said no. So Ricky kicked the door of his father's red
Corvette, dented it. His father left and came back half an hour later, gave
him two dollars and told him never to call his house, talk to his mother or
sisters again. He never wanted to see him again.
MARK FISHER: When he moved back home for a while, he started scaring
his parents, because he wrote some songs about Satan. He'd talk about his
drug deals openly: "Mom, I'm going down to get a few hits of mesc. I'll be
back for dinner." His parents got fed up with it. It wasn't just the
ketchup on his wrists. He put ketchup on his wrists and called down to his
mother, "See what you made me do." His mother ran up the stairs. And he
started laughing at her when she realized it was ketchup.
PEACENIK GIRL, 16: Ricky sang me this song that he wrote on guitar. It
was something like "A Child of the Devil." He'd put on these weird eyes and
make this weird smile about it. It was cute, though, the way he did it.
JIMMY TROIANO WAS ADOPTED OUT OF AN ORPHANAGE at age four, a failure
at school "to a degree you wouldn't believe," says a friend and arrested
repeatedly for burglary. He ran and dealt and dusted with Ricky. Now he's
charged with aiding him in murder.
PREPSTER GIRL: Jimmy, he was always kind of wild, always doing strange
things. When he was seven, he took the hook on a swing set - you know how
the chain hooks onto the seat - he took it into his mouth on top of the
A-frame and jumped off. It gave him a big scar on his face. At the
ninth-grade dance, they played "Monster Mash" for him,' cause he had so
many scars on his face. I had a crush on him in the fifth grade. He was a
GIRL, former classmate, 18: We all knew his nickname was Drac because
of his fangs. We'd joke about him having to go to the dentist to have his
teeth filed down.
DENISE WALKER, 15: I asked Jimmy what school he went to, and he's
like, "I don't need school." I go, "Do you work?" And he goes, "I don't
need a job." I say, "What do you do?" He says, "I hang out." Everything is
such a quick comeback. I said, "Do you have any future plans?" He goes, "We
just break the rules." He goes, "People make rules, we break them." He
broke into houses. He had a good reputation as a burglar. He was at that
FUZZY LEGS GARY LAUWERS WAS HIGH-SPIRITED AND MERCURIAL, funny in a
dopey way. He had a talent for weirdness - once decorating a dozen tree
trunks with his paint-dipped hand prints - and he had a talent for trouble.
He was a kid who could have gone either way.
MIKE McGROGY: Gary was basically a good, kid, young in mind. He put up
a little bit of a bad front so he could hang in there with his peers.
MICHELLE DeVEAU, 15: Gary was like a wimp. He was more into peace than
fighting. He fought to get people to like him. Why does anybody fight?
COLLUM CLARK, 18: Gary'd run away from home. He'd stay in clubhouses
that he knew, or in the lumberyard up the road, or in doorways.
DAN PETTY, 17: Fuzzy legs would do things for the moment. He'd pull
Midnight Auto, which is like ripping stereos off and stuff. He wouldn't
think about the next day, what was gonna happen to him. He'd totally fuck
somebody over and not think about the consequences of it. Sometimes last
summer he stole money from his parents. He'd get eighty dollars and go out
and buy a twenty-five dollar bong and spend the rest on weed and smoke it
all that night.
He was always like that, since he was a little kid. He was the kid
that started the little forest fires. Brush fires. He's the kid that
climbed up the tree very high . . .
BOY AT WAKE: Gary was the type of guy that everybody liked, because he
wasn't selfish. I remember he got twenty-five hits of acid, and he just
gave them out. Twenty-five hits of 'cid. Gave them out.
STONED PALLBEARER 1: When he robbed that house, he had $4000 in hard
cash, cold cash, and he found two people, and he said, "Hey, you guys wanna
go buy some motorcycles?" He bought those two kids cycles, and one for him,
and he bought a box, an outrageous tape deck, it was $300, and went to this
girl's house with a gold chain for her. He was going out with her, and
they'd broke up. He got there, and she wouldn't go out with him again, and
she wouldn't go out with him again, and he was just freaking out, and he
beat the shit out of the box, on the ground right there. He didn't care. He
gave one guy $500, just. "Have fun tonight." He went to Laces Roller Rink,
and he took a thousand dollars, a thousand dollars, and just chucked it in
the air, man.
STONED PALLBEARER 2: That's the way he was. He didn't give a flying
STONED PALLBEARER 3: He went to Florida once. They had a little
Chemical Bank card, and he was punching out money the whole way there and
back. It was sick. One of the guys clipped the card from his father. They
got thrown off the bus, 'cause they stopped at a place for the night, and
in the morning, they went to the liquor store and bought, like, mega
bottles of Jack and everything, and they wento on the bus, and they started
getting everyone on the bus really drunk. Driver pulled over and said, "Get
the fuck out!"
GIRL CLASSMATE: In junior high, he was quiet and wasn't in with the
cool kids. He was teased. An outsider. Gary was a faggot that got tough.
DAN PETTY: He'd be into Hendrix, Joplin, the Woodstuck stuff, then rap
for a while. Then Sabbah . . . like, I saw Gary and he had this upside-down
cross and this little book - it was a little brown book about Satan - amd
he was just saying all these stupid things. But he didn't really understand
TERRIE ALTO, 14: He did talk about his future one. Holy shit! S&M
Gary! Remember when that girl puked in the attic at one of those parties?
Gary put on her leather jacket, the biker jacket and shit, and I was
wearing one of the black-leather belts with the studs. He had no shirt on.
S&M Gary! He was dancing. He put on Prince. That was one of the many times
Gary told me he loved me. That's when he discussed his future.
He said that me and him were gonna get married, and he was gonna start
dealing coke. Ane he was gonna go down to Colombia - yeah - and get massive
amounts of coke, and then we were gonna, he was gonna, buy me my dream
apartment, a penthouse on Fifth Avenue, and the bedroom was gonna be all
black leather, and he was gonna buy me a red Ferrari with a chauffeur. He
knew it was just a dream, but it was a dream. He was a pisser sometimes.
And then again sometimes he was a dick. PAST IS PROLOGUE
THE LAWYER WHO TWICE REPRESENTED GARY IN JUVENILE COURT TOLD A
NEWSPAPER REPORT, "He wasn't really bad. He was just acting out". Gary's
act had no room for role reversal.
MARK FISHER: Ricky was totally dusted out and went unconscious for a
while at a party. gary stole the dust from out of his jacket - ten little
yellow envelopes with the words SUDDEN IMPACT on them. When Ricky
confronted him with it, he gave him back five and went and worked and paid
him back for the rest. Gary was scared of him, 'cause every time they'd get
together, Ricky would chew him out or beat the shit out of him. He never
let him live it down. 'Cause Ricky had the money, but he didn't have the
TEEN DUSTHEAD 2: Gary was an easy target. I always saw Gary getting
the shit kicked out of him.
TERRIE ALTO: I knew he was afraid of Kasso. He was scares shitless of
PEACENIK GIRL: Jimmy Toriano had just gotten out of jail. It was like
April. He and Ricky were going after Gary, looking for him, 'cause he'd
ripped him off. And Albert Quinones made Ricky take off his ring, 'cause he
didn't want him to really fuck Gary up. I saw Ricky walking up the street
looking for him: happy, pysched and everything.
And then I saw Gary come out rom behind the white church; he walks up
and his jacket was ripped; he had a cut on the side of his face -- blood
dripping down. Maybe his lip was bleeding. I think he hadn't paid him back
the money yet.
MICHELLE De VEAU: I fixed his wounds up for him once. His black eye.
And he had a bloody nose, too. He told me Ricky was an asshole. He'd bought
a knife for protection, but I don't think he carried it around. Gary told
me Ricky told him he was gonna kill him. Supposedly. He said, "Last time
Ricky beat me up, he says next time he's coming back for more and it's not
gonna be just a black eye."
COLLUM CLARK: There was a total spur of the moment thing were gary and
some other kids decided to gang up on this guy. They were beating him up,
and then Gary took out a pipe and was lighting it up.
and he gave him maybe ten bowl burns, circles with the rim of the
bowl, a tattoo, sort of. Very severe, and they hurt. It was sick, it was
torture. They were trying to get me to do it, 'cause I really had an awful
lot aginst this kid -- more than anyone else, more than Gary. I said to
myself, No, you'll get in trouble. Gary just had a severe dislike for him.
PREPSTER GIRL: Gary pulled a BB gun on two little kids up at the
school, to scare 'em. After that, he comes up to a group of my friends who
are sitting, talking, and I guess because now that he broke through his
faggot, and he's into his little dirt-bag group that he's so proud of, he
calls me a faggot! And I said, "Oh, yeah, you're so coll you can pull a gun
on someone." And he got all mad, and started chasing me, and getting his
girlfriends after me, and saying he was gonna kill me. But not kill me kill
me, just kill me. THAT NIGHT
IN COW HARBOR PARK, KIDS were reeling from the year's first punch of
summer. Eventually, most everyone headed to a birthday party for Randy
Guethler. But not Ricky, Jimmy, Gary or Albert.
MIKE "LION" MENTION, 17: Everybody was fucked up that night. It was
one of the first nights school ended, so everybody was out. It was a
festive night. You could feet it. We got done with finals. People were
tripping, people were stoned. Gary went into the park and came back and
said, "I saw cats, man!" I said, sure, maybe he saw a cat in the park, and
he said, "No, man, there are cats all over the place." He was flipping out.
One of the last things he said to me, "Well, I guess it's safe for me
to come down here now. I'm all paid off, I'm in good, it's safe." Then he
said goodbye: "I'm going to get some beers and get fucked up."
DOROTHY AT WAKE: That night, Gary said, "Mom" -- he calls me Mom --
"I'm going back to school. I got my act together: I paid my debts, and I
got a lot of friends, and I really care about myself and I don't need drugs
anymore. I'm gonna start over."
RICH BARTON, 15: I was down at the park that night. I went up to
Aztakea three hours earlier, with Rick and Jim. We tried to make a fire,
but we couldn't. It was wet. And then we tried to get out of the woods, but
we couldn't. There was no moon and there's a lot of paths up there, and we
had the tunes cranking -- Sabbath, Ozzy, Judas Priest. When we got out of
the woods, I said, "I'm going home, trip out by myself."
PEACENIK GIRL: That night Jimmy and albert and Ricky came up to me,
wanted me to buy mesc. They were really happy and everything. They were
dehydrated, so they asked me where the nearest swimming pool was, 'cause
they wanted to go pool hopping. They asked me to go to the deli to get
orange juice. I got them the biggest orange juice I could
find, and they were so happy. All three of them chugged it down. They
were all dosed. They were happy.
SOFTHEARTED GIRL: Ricky gave Gary hits of mesc and bought him jelly
doughnuts at Dunkin' Donuts. First Gary didn't want to go, but then ricky
said, "We'll buy jelly doughtnuts!" So he was, like, "Yeah!"
MARK FISHER: Ricky had twenty-five hits of mesc in a little stach
bottle down at the park. I was gonna go get beers, and I gave them my box,
had my tape in it, Black Sabbath, We Sold Our Soul for Rock 'n' Roll. I
came back, and they had left. Aw, shit' I heard they went up to Aztakea and
any girls who wanted to get fucked should go up there. That was the world.
So I went up to Aztakea, but I didn't quite make it, 'cause it was so dark,
I was bumping into trees and falling down. I heard noises as I was getting
closer, but I couldn't tell which way to go, and so I finally gave up. A
ALBERT QUINONES APPEARS TO be the only person who saw what happened,
and will be the government's star witness. Once word of his involvement was
leaked by Troiano's attorney, his name was mud on the street: Ricky and
Jimmy's friends hated him for rating; Gary's friends hated him for watching
and suspected he'd helped. After this interview, his mother sent him out of
state to be with a priest.
ALBERT QUINONES, 16: Gary already paid him his money back. Everyone
was his friend. I mean, Ricky and Gary were both talking a lot, shit like
that. The thing that bugs me out, man, is all of them were pushing me,
especially Gary and Ricky, to take a hit of mescaline. They were all
tripping. It bugs me out. I didn't want to, but finally I just said, "What
the hell," so I took a hit. Ricky treated us to doughnuts at Dunkin'
Donuts. To me, Gary was being cool and shit. And then we went up to
Aztakea, because they wanted to go to a good tripping area, and they've got
a little field where you can trip out.
See, Ricky was getting pissed off, because he couldn't start a fire,
so Gary just takes off his socks, puts them in there. After Gary made a
fire with his socks, he didn't want to make it bigger. And Ricky comes out
with a remark, "Why don't you just burn your whole jacket?" The guy's like,
"How 'bout I just cut the sleeves off and use my sleeves?" It was fucked,
man. So he took off his jacket and gave it to ricky, and Gary just chopped
off the sleeves. I guess he was going to make it into a vest.
All of a sudden Gary goes, "I have funny vibes that you're going to
kill me." And Ricky was saying, "I'm not going to kill you. Are you crazy?"
and shit like that. I was peaking. I was peaking out, tripping out. And
they were just fighting, punching each other and shit, and I didn't think
anything was going to happen. I mean, I could see Ricky's point, too, which
is that he was friends with Gary, andhe just turns around and steals ten
bags of dust.
So they were just rolling on the ground and shit, and Gary got up to
his feet after Jimmy had ran up to his feet after Jimmy had ran up to him
and kicked him in the ribs and shit, and Gary had gotten up to his feet,
and Ricky just bit him in the neck, bit him in the ear and then he just
It was a trip, man, I'll tell you, man, it was a trip. I mean, you sit
there and stare out, and you look at the trees, and it looks like they're
bending down and shit. I don't know -- that was a trip. I thought it was a
nightmare. I couldn't move, man. My whole body, all of a sudden, it just
wouldn't move, it wouldn't function. It was like in shock. I was going
crazy, man. I just stood there in my place, like all bugged out.
After Ricky stabbed him, Gary took off, ran, and Ricky got him, just
like that. Jimmy picked up the knife after Ricky had dropped it, and he
gave it to Ricky. And Ricky made Gary get on his knees and say, "I love
Satan." Then Ricky just started hacking away from him, man. He just kept
stabbing him and shit, and then Gary was just screaming, "Ahhh, I love my
mother." It was really fucked, man. And they grabbed him by the legs and
dragged him in the woods, Ricky and Jimmy, dragged him in the woods. They
came running out of the woods after they just threw leaves on him and shit.
They told me that he started stabbing Gary in the face and shit...
I wasn't going to rat them out, because what's, like, another body?
Man, it's not bid, deal. I mean, you see them kill once, you just don't
think, like, they're not going to kill you. WHERE'S GARY?
IT WAS JUST LIKE GARY TO TAKE off without warning. Neither his parents
nor his friends notified the police he had vanished.
BRIAN HIGGINS, 16: Gary had disappeared so often, you wouldn't think
PEACENIK GIRL: Just offhand, I said to Ricky, "I know you don't even
care, but have you seen Gary? 'Cause we talked to his mother, and she
hasn't seen him in a while." He was just like, "No." Later that night we
hung out for a while. He started complaining he was getting flashbacks. He
didn't feel good. He said he was never gonna trip again. He just said, "I
just had a bad trip, a really bad trip." He had poison ivy all over him,
and I gave him calamine lotion. It freaked me out after I heard about
things -- I helped aid him in the cure of his poison ivy gotten burying a
friend of mine.
SCOTT TRAVIA, 18: I saw Ricky, and he kept saying, "Yeah, everything's
cool between me and Gary." Then I got this phone call from Gary's mon --
she was wondering where he was. He used to sleep in my garage sometimes, in
my '69 Fairlane. I said I hadn't seen him. She told me someone with this
eerie voice called her and said, "You will never see your son again,
because I just killed him." Neither of us believed it.
GLEN WOLF, veteran dirt-bag street kid, 21: Gary was helping me fix my
car. His tools were here. His hose was here. And some of his tapes were
here. And I owed him thirty dollars. And it didn't connect that he didn't
come back for all that stuff and ask for the money.
BOY AT WAKE: I was there when they threw the knife in the harbor. I
saw Albert and Ricky talking, and Ricky said, "What should I do with it?"
and Albert said, "Throw it in the water." And then they went over and they
threw it in the water. I said, "What was that?" And Ricky said, "Aw,
nothing -- it was a rock, man." I didn't think anything about it.
MARK FISHER: I was walking up Main Street, just applied for a job at
the ice-cream parlor, and I saw Ricky making faces at a window. It was like
a mirror. If you asked him what was he on, he'd just say, "Drugs." After
that, Ricky came and slept over on the couch in my room for a bunch of
nights. He'd write "666" on steam mirrors when he'd take a bath, and he'd
leave at 12:30 in the afternoon, before my mon came home. Jimmy spent a
One day I asked Ricky if I could borrow a knife. Jimmy and Ricky
always caried knives in their jacket pocket. And he said, "I don't carry a
knife." I said, "I don't carry one either." He said, "That's good, you'll
just end up stabbing somebody." He said he was tired of living on the
streets and was gonne get himself into a rehab program.
One night he came back to my house. He was on dust. He went to sleep,
and he woke up and thought he saw people in the room, people who had
returned. He said thay may be people were haunting him.
Another night Albert and two girls held a seance at my house, a
satanic ritual in which they tried to call forth the devil. It was probably
the twentieth or twenty-first of June. Ricky wasn't there. Troiano was in
the next room with his girlfriend. They started out by drawing a
five-pointed star -- they just traced their fingers. They put a cup in the
middle. We put our cigarettes in it. What they did say was "Satan will come
forth in the form of fire." And all of a sudden the cup in the middle,
after a couple of minutes, started going of paper in there. And they said,
"Oh, Satan has arrived! Welcome! Welcome!"
PEACENIK GIRL: Ricky asked me if he could have a ride up to Saratoga
to see the Dead. I said, "Sure." I told him Gary might be going, if we
could find him. THE SILENT CIRCLE
THE ONLY INSTITUTION THAT MATTERED was friendship. The idea was to
pretend you weren't involved, to hand out and hope it went away. do-de-do.
Hey, Ricky, you're a nice guy, why doncha stab me in the eye! Do-de-do,
do-de-do. hey, Ricky, you're so swell, why you hanging in your cell?
TERRIE ALTO: This is the first time somebody I know died, other than
people who send me checks on Christmas. It's like, I still don't realize
he's dead. I've dreamed about him. He's always in my mind. There's so much
shit to remind me: his Id bracelet, GARY; his little marines hat.
BILLY LEASON, pallbearer, 16: I'm not scared of death. You can't live
life that way. If you're gonna live, I say have good times all the time. Go
out and have a party. Push yourself as far as you can go. If I die
tomorrow, I can always say that I lived my life to the fullest.
KING SARDONIC, Knights of the Black Circle, 20: I have theories about
when you die. I think it's what you think it's gonna be. For me, it's gonna
be like this really classic Playboy cartoon from 1966 that had a group of
people sitting around a pool. Girls and guys are drinking, and there's a
guy all dressed up in a tuxedo -- has the horns on and all, like a devil --
and he's saying. "You didn't actually think hell would be all that bad, did
you?" Something close to that.
MICHELLE DeVEAU: My biggest problem in life is my friends dying. A
close friend was killed at a New Year's Eve party two years ago. He was
fourteen. He called this girl a slut, and she freaked out and stabbed him.
I was massively depressed. I tried killing myself. Two weeks after that
another friend shot himself. First in the gut and then in the heart. He was
about sixteen. Then another friend got hit by a truck, riding his
motorcycle. And now Gary.
My mom and dad came in. They said, "We have something to tell you."
First thing I thought was somebody's dead. They said, "Gary's dead." I ran
into my grandmother's kitchen, grabbed the biggest knife I could find and
booked out into the backyard. And I just started hacking away at a tree,
started freaking on a tree. That poor tree. One of these big oak trees.
It's gonna die.
I imagined him the last time i say him: in his denim jacket, a Billy
Idol T-shirt (I always called him Billy Idol, 'cause he looks just like
him), his jeans, his Led Zeppelin pin -- you know, where the thing is
blowing up -- and his Beatles pin. I came down to the park about four in
the morning and sat in the gazebo and looked up where it said GARY 666
started crying. My parents have been watching me with a fine-toothed comb
-- looking at my wrists, making sure I don't come in stoned.
I think, Why Gary? Gary was a skinny little guy, an easy target. He
went with Ricky to the woods because he will gullible. He was very
insecure. He was a sweet guy, and very funny. He always had a joke about
something, even something that scared him. He had a lot of jokes about
Kasso. Gary's parents were blind to the drugs. Like most parents. He did
them to be accepted. Like most kids.
I was committed to Gary. I was in love with the guy, you know. It's
sick: I've seen thirteen-year-old girls running around with RICKY LIVES on
their T-shirts. They put around graffiti, RICKY LIVES, DEAD OR ALIVE. So
I'm putting around GARY LIVES IN OUR HEARTS. Yeah, we were lovers -- that's
what takes a lot out of me. I still got one of his hickeys. It won't go
away. It's a scar. THEY HAD DRUGS A SUMMER AGO, GARY AND HIS pals got
stoned in his forest of white hand prints, and they made a tape to document
the event. At one point, Gary stopped the proceedings and enthused: "We
contribute this to the society of the man who invented acid, fucking drugs.
Man, i dedicate this tape to the man who invented 'cid and mesc. Man, this
fucking dude, thanks a lot, man, wherever you are. Fuck the world." BOY,
17: I started selling off all my possessions to get drugs. I sold my tape
recorder; I was about to sell my Walkinman. I sold my coin collection.
That's just the way it works with drugs. At first, they're fun. Then they
become necessary to get you through the day. Then they just become your
TEEN DUSTHEAD 1: You feel like you're ten feet tall.
TEEN DUSTHEAD 2: You don't fee anything. You feel like you could trip
your gut open and not even know it.
FEARFUL BOY, 17: Dust is the ultimate. The end. Complete
hallucinations. You sit down, totally numbered out, and you start sinking
into it. People can put out cigarettes on you and you don't even care. You
can experience yourself sinking into a cinder-block wall.
It's just the suburbs. There's nothing better to do than take drugs.
What else can you do? You can go shopping. Go roller-skating. Go bowling.
To the movies. There's only so much you can do before things wear out. You
start taking drugs, just like the people in the Bronx.
RICH BARTON: The dust high was great, but the aftereffects make your
brain feel like a pile of shit. You can't function, can't think for shit.
When you're on it, it's like you're drunk, stoned, tripping. When you walk,
it feels like rou're walking on water. You feel like a feather. And you
feel pressure start building in your skull. MARK FISHER: In about a year,
it will be back to normal. There'll be different dealers. A substitute for
Ricky, a substitute for Jimmy.
STOCK BOY: It was the dust, man. Just put it down that it was the
dust. That's all.
MARK FLORIMONTE: We were on the Long Island Expressway the other day,
stuck with a flat tire for four hours, tripping on mesc. I looked out from
the windshield at these clouds, white clouds, all of them in a circle, and
one big one in the middle. They were like drifting and coming closer, and
they were like skeleton things. They weren't like a regular skeleton --
they were all distorted. But you could see the eyes, the nose and the
mouth, like a regular skeleton. THEY HAD DREAMS TWO MONTHS AFTER THE
MURder, Rich Barton was still sleeping on the living-room sofa, afraid to
sleep in the bedroom where Ricky had crashed so many nights. His mother
says, "These kidsare going to need a hundred years of therapy."
RICH BARTON: We were hanging out in Aztakea, getting wasted. I was
standing closest to the grave. We had beer and weed. And all of a sudden
someone pops up, grabs me and drags me into the woods. It was Gary, and his
face was all mangled and stuff. He took me into the woods, and I woke up. I
just stayed up and watched Benny Hill, movies and stuff.
I had another one: I was sleeping down in my room and all of sudden
Gary came through my door and killed me with a knife. I was sitting there
with my mouth wide-open, saying, "Holy shit!" He just comes in and stabs.
Doesn't say nothing. I died right away.
ALBERT QUINONES: I was trying to forget about it, man, and I couldn't.
It was like, every time it would hit after twelve, I'd start bugging out.
I'd get scared to go in my room, because Ricky used to stay in my room. I
had some really wicked nightmares, man. I had nightmares that I killed him.
It was weird. And I had a dream that I killed another guy. I just started
stabbing him in the back of the head. And then a cop came in and scooped
him up with this little pick or something and threw him in the garbage. It
scared the hell out of me.
MICHELLE DeVEAU: My dream is to get the hell out of here. I want to go
somewhere there are no sickos and you don't get hurt by people. I think my
generation is a bunch of lowlifes. No ideals. Most of us just bumming
around getting stoned. People hate each other for stupid reasons. People
have no morals. I'm gonna be a peace freak. I'm more like a hippie-type
person than anything else. I'd like to be back in Woodstock.
SOFTHEARTED GIRL: The first night I found out, I had a dream, a dream
that Gary talked to me. I apologized to him for something. It was so real.
And he said it was okay. And I said, "Can we hang out again?" And he was
like, "There's only one problem." And I'm like, "What?" And he said, "I'm
dead." I woke up with tears on my face.
COPYRIGHT Rolling Stone 1984
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank