The Night Of The Chickenhawk


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What happened - as told by Bob Pauley and Paul W. Scott

Man was born into a primitive world where killing his fellow man
was a necessary and acceptable condition of survival.
And with that barbaric act comes a passion that
he has not, we have not, entirely outgrown.

Bob Pauley Why We Kill

"It was the beginning of November, 1978. Where had all our friends gone, wondered my soulmate Bernadine. What was to become of us in this God-forsaken ghetto we called home?
"Bear", I asked her, "Maybe it's time we chased that dream of mine, are you game?" Florida was at the other end of the world for us, ever-present in the back of my mind. There was but one way to escape this nightmare I had been living out one reform school at a time - get the hell out of Dodge. Bear had suffered the same losses I had in the way of family and friends, as one by one they had all disappeared."

"My dad still lived on that Pensacola farm I had yearned for all my life. By now I was big enough to handle my dad's sexual hangups, if they happened. He was never the knight in shining armor I used to picture him to be, I realized that, but just maybe it would work out this time."

"One thing was very certain, Long Beach, California, was a part of my life I was prepared to forget."

"Bear had a big heart and a "lotsa" soul, like ghetto people do.
More than a love for each other, I think we had an understanding and passion for each other that grew out of sharing the birthright we held in common - extreme miserable poverty. Things could only get better, right? Wrong!"

"We sure enough made Pensacola as planned. We tried so hard to make it work with my dad but all those childhood memories had neglected to remind me of what a tough proposition that was to be. It didn't take long for the stark reality of it all to convince Bear and me what an impossibility staying with him would be."

"And yet, here we were 3,000 miles from our ghetto home and all the reminders we had of that forlorn upbringing we had tried so hard to put behind us. There was to be no turning back. Florida was our new, our brand new, land of opportunity. It just had to be"!

"Pensacola was just the northernmost tip of this "Paradise found". I had heard about and dreamed about Florida all my life and now, by the grace of God, I had arrived. We would remain in Florida and create our new existence. We would head due south, not north or west or whatever else would take us back anywhere close to that hell-hole my mama called home. We had no idea at the time that we were heading from the frying pan into the fire."

Welcome to Ft. Lauderdale. Had we died and gone to heaven or was this really the Atlantic Ocean and the fabulous Gold Coast of Florida? If there was ever to be a Shangri-la for Bear and me, then this was surely it. No doubt in our minds, we had arrived. There was just one slight catch - we were flat broke."

"Like my mom had always said, "Son, where there's a will there's a way," and I had no fear we would find it. "Spring breaker" come down here and never leave all the fun in the sun. So long as mama and papa pay the Visa and the Master card every month some rich kids hang right on to this "beachcomber" way of life. One such couple was Rick Kondian and his soulmate "Sunshine".

"As we were moving in to our little apartment on the beach I had agreed to work out the rent doing carpentry, plumbing, pool cleaning and odd jobs around the place - plus 100 a week! Just two doors down Rick and Sunshine were being evicted from their apartment, not for lack of money like I thought, but for "excessive partying" I later found out.

"I took Rick and Sunshine to be kindred spirits from the looks of them, never realizing they both had very wealthy parents who subsidized their eternal vacation on the beach. I slipped Rick a 20 dollar bill so they could find themselves and overnight in a cheap motel. That was the "soul" showing through from our ghetto upbringing - from all the suffering we had experienced. This goodwill gesture created a friendship we felt we could use since our friendship list was sort of back to square one. Street people - rich or poor - share a camaraderie with each other."

"Bear landed a job as maid at the nearby Holiday Inn, and so we thought, Lady Luck had smiled down on us at last. On her way home that evening Bear passed the Arcade Rood, a famous hangout on the Lauderdale Strip. Bear had a thing for pin ball games and this was like the ultimate destination for any old kid with a quarter in their pocket. There at the Arcade Bear ran into Sunshine, Rick's girl, once again."

"Street people have a thing for "pot" too, I think it's one of those "escapes" the psychiatrists used to tell me about. To us a little "smoke" to calm our anxieties at the end of a long, hard day was not an unreasonable request. Of course the state of Florida didn't share our opinion on that subject."

"Sunshine told Bear her man Rick was onto a major "score" which would bring the missing weed into our fold. There was this "fag", Jim Alessi, who cruised the Strip in search for young guys ten to twenty years of age. He would provide them with drugs of all descriptions in exchange for homosexual favors. Such a person is known as a "chickenhawk" in street language and is not uncommon. Jim Alessi was the classic, the ultimate and uncontested King of the Chickenhawks."

"Rick was a baby faced kid of just 18, despite his streetwise "tough-guy" image he worked so hard to portray. I was only 22 at the time, but wise beyond my years in "street-smarts". Bear and I never found out about it for seventeen years, but Rick had spent the previous night with head-chickenhawk Alessi, sharing an evening of sex and drugs at Alessi's home. Alessi was 28 then, came from a well-to-do family who knew he was gay but didn't like to think about that."

"Runaways worked best for Alessi for all the obvious reasons - they needed money and craved drugs and would do anything to get either. At the end of the tryst they were much less likely to create problems as they had no "mommy" or "daddy" waiting at home to question them."

"Speaking of which, good parents all, please occupy the children in another part of the house so I can explain something to you of a somewhat delicate nature. All right? Thank you. Here goes."

"Now a good "street-hustler" would allow a "hawk" to give him "head" and this had no effect on his manhood. Being new and inexperienced at this game, Kondian felt that this was very important. A "true man" can get his dick sucked once in a while, but you can't be the cock sucker. Then you become known as a "punk" on the streets, and punks finish dead last in the logic of the street-hustler."

"However, having said that, Kondian did string Alessi along, into believing that he, kondian, could be completely gay for the right price - a hefty drug package. Alessi bragged to his gay friends that day that he had had found himself a hot new boyfriend and he had plans to go all the way with him that night. Being aware of Alessi's desire, but wanting to get his drug "score", Kondian had a plan."

"When Alessi showed up, according to Rick's plan, he would urge me to come along and join in on the fun. This way he would have to do as little as possible to "earn" the score. I was a handsome young stud, after all, and Alessi was a hopeless queer right up to his death - which was not to be long in coming. It was a simple plan to obtain drugs for our girlfriends and ourselves, never once was hurting anyone any part of our little scheme."

"Alessi showed up, as expected, with a plan of his own - he needed "someone" to help him drive a station wagon from his dad's house over to his house. There was a job he would be needing it for the following day. Before Alessi could say "no" the two of us - Rick and I - had climbed into Alessi's shiny new car. Rick was not a street-hustler in normal circumstances, but Alessi had drugs and we wanted them. Rick cautioned me not to fall into Alessi's chickenhawk" trap."

"Alessi had told Rick he'd give him 20 dollars and some "Stuff" for bringing the car over, so as far as we were concerned, that would be that. "I don't want that fag hitting on me", Rick told me privately."

"We went by Alessi's dad's home and met his dad, having nothing to fear we were friendly enough. If I was shy it was because of exactly that, i was a shy person.
Hell, I'm retarded too, they keep telling me. Rick gets into the station wagon there, I ride with Alessi over to this fancy home of his Boca Raton as Rick follow us."

"As we went inside the elegant home Alessi locked the door with a key from the inside - a dead bolt lock. I never gave it much thought at the time since we were going to smoke a joint, but here was a 235 pound 6'3" guy locking two comparatively small kids in his lair. The "drugs" Alessi had promised were brought out by Alessi next, and he invited us to join him in a smoke."

"What neither Rick nor I had realized then, was that Alessi was setting us up for the "kill" - his kill, not ours. The "chickenhawk" had landed"

Swing low, sweet chariot
Comin' for to carry me home;
A band of angels a comin' after me
Comin' for to carry me home.