RICKY KASSO, THE ACID KING
David Breskin, Rolling Stone p30 (10) Nov 22, 1984
A police dog went mad on the 4th 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 police.
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
Lauwers 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 his own.
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
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 eighth grade.
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
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 the city.
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 was.
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 some 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 table.
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 pretty heavy.
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.
Drac 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 nice kid.
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
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 fuck.
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 went on the bus, and they started getting
everyone on the bus really drunk. Driver pulled over and said, "Get the
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 Woodstock stuff, then rap for a
while. Then Sabbath .. like, I saw Gary and he had this upside-down
cross and this little book - it was a little brown book about Satan -
and 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.
And 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 reporter,
"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 vengeance.
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 Ricky.
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, psyched and everything. And then I saw Gary come out from
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 DeVeau: 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 against 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 cool 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 doughnuts!" So he was, like, "Yeah!"
Mark Fisher: Ricky had twenty-five hits of mesc in a little stash 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.
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, and he 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 stabbed
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 about it.
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 mom -- 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 mom came home. Jimmy spent a night,
One day I asked Ricky if I could borrow a knife. Jimmy and Ricky always carried
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 gannet 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 that 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!
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
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 daunt 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 Walkman. 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 total
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 cinderblock 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 you'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.
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
kids are 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.
© Rolling Stone 1984.