Rush did Richie all of his life towards ruin. He didn’t come from ideal circumstances being raised the product of a convict and an addict. Richie allowed this to shape him growing up in his mostly Italian American neighborhood in South Boston. He could excel when he wanted and was Blessed to have some very influential and dedicated caregivers, administrators and educators throughout his childhood. Richie learned to con as a baby, fooling the “do gooders” came very easy and naturally to him. Their trust in him would always be betrayed causing them to question their calling. Richie didn’t care as long he got what he needed out of the relationship. Many a patron, sponsor and philanthropist was duped then taken advantage of by Young Richie. Deceiving and even robbing the charitable altruistic humanitarians he encountered landed Richie in prison before his eighteenth birthday.
Amongst other criminals he learned to be a better criminal… or so he thought. Richie didn’t waste time in the prison library or taking classes, he spent his time on the yard learning new hustles and scams. Richie was released six months after his nineteenth birthday. He hadn’t grown intellectually but was more than willing to try his hand at more complex and brazen crimes. Richie was offered a job by a family friend but thought it was beneath him. He knew that he could make more money on the streets so instead Richie formed a crew and went about pilfering, coning and getting high on any drug he could find. Six months later he was back in front of a judge answering for his newest crime spree and offences against his community. Back to prison he went now serving a five year sentence in a medium security facility.
Richie endured the most vile of conditions being gassed more than once from his fellow inmates. Down his face rolled feces and urine after a bed pan had been tossed in his direction. This act was usually reserved for the guards but inmates were sometimes gassed as a sign of disrespect establishing to pecking order in the prison. If you didn’t retaliate, you were beneath the gasser. Richie serve his full sentence and exited those prison walls more of an animal than when he went in. Now an adult with little education he was back on the streets trying to find a way to survive anyway he could. Fortunately for him he met a tender soul who could see the good deep inside of him. Karen thought she could fix him since she couldn’t find a way to fix herself. She had low self esteem and fixing broken people helped her to develop a her self worth. Richie saw how weak she was so he accepted her help, shared her bed and took full advantage of her nature. She helped him to earn his GED, well actually she pretty much did it for him. Nonetheless, he held the document in his hand helping himself to become more hirable.
A change was in order, Karen could see that the streets would again eventually take Richie under so she decided they’d move down south. Karen’s sister Sally lived in Central Florida and the company she worked for was hiring. She figured that she would get a job there and now that Richie had his GED he could find work too. Her plan came to fruition and the two settled in a sleepy little town, Ocoee. After three moths of searching Richie finally found a job as a line cook not far from their home. Richie drank and got high with most of his income but Karen allowed it. She was just happy that he was working and off the streets. Any extra income he offered was great but she footed most of the bills. Karen was content with their arrangement and usually things were pretty good except when Richie was sometimes verbally and even physically abusive. The behavior was usually brought on by withdrawal. Richie wasn’t a lot of fun to be around when he couldn’t get his drugs or alcohol. It wasn’t very often but far too frequent for Karen. Richie was controlling in nature but was good at disguising it as his intense love for her. He demanded to know where Karen was and what she was doing every second of everyday. She was to attend to his every need and always listen to him. She must listen! Richie was emotionally insecure and needed constant validation and gratification. Karen’s job provided her with benefits, health insurance, profit sharing, life insurance and a pension plan. Richie wanted to own part of Karen’s ambition so he pushed her into marriage. As her husband he felt he would be granted more control over her. His wife would obey him at all times. Down to the justice of peace they went and thirty minutes later they were man and subservient. Richie couldn’t be happier.
After two years of residency in the Sunshine State Richie and Karen took in a house guest, Richie’s kids sister Renee. Renee wasn’t a kid anymore. She was a grown woman with a grown woman’s addiction. She had a son, Tyler who was a victim of her vices. He was afflicted with many ailments, and disorders. Tyler also suffered from autism. Renee and Tyler were visiting for summer vacation and enjoying their time in the sunshine. Karen tolerated Richie’s sister because she always had a soft spot for her since they were kids back in Boston. Renee had an especially difficult upbringing and she fell into the ways of the streets early in life. Her drug abuse and addiction was much more severe than her older brother and it hurt her efforts of being an adequate mother to her only child. Karen had a heart to heart talk with Richie about his sister and what might happen to her if she returned to Massachusetts. Richie agreed that it would be best if she were to move down to Florida to give Tyler a better life. He however had no intention of putting forth much effort to make that happen.
Three months later Renee and Tyler became Florida residents as well. They all lived together for a few months then Renee fell ill. Karen filled the roll of primary caregiver for Tyler upon his arrival. When Renee became bedridden Karen solidified her roll. The boy even started calling her mommy. Richie held on to his job working no more than thirty hours a week; the rest of the time he spent getting high. Karen was now saddled with taking care of two adults and a handicapped child. Renee was taken to the free clinic several times but sent back home with a prescription and not much else. She was never admitted to the hospital, no insurance. Renee was terminally ill but not her life was not currently in danger so she was sent home with drugs to ease her pain. Some of these drugs were the same drugs that led her into the dangerous lifestyle that led to her contracting the HIV virus.
As Renee became more ill Karen started to think about the future, Tyler’s future. She drew up a will and Renee happily signed it in a daze giving Karen rights as Tyler’s custodial parent. Karen’s motive were pure. She was intent on breaking the cycle in this family. She wanted to give Tyler a fighting chance in life. Richie thought that he could maybe get some money from the state for his nephew once his mother passed away. He ordered Karen to look into it, she complied knowing that it would be tough for her to support the entire household on her salary once she put Tyler on her insurance. Before Renee passed on Karen was officially Tyler’s legal guardian.
Renee died and was cremated. No ceremony was held. None of her family could afford to make the trip to Florida and no one had the money to bury her. Richie shed two tears then got extremely high staying out all night. It was just as well to Karen since he wasn’t much support anyway. She rather have him out of the way so that she could focus on comforting and consoling Tyler. The young boy had a difficult time understanding but felt safe and secure in the arms of his new mother.
Two years passed by and Karen was growing as a person, in her career and faith. Richie became more and more withdrawn from his family only concerning himself with instant gratification. Whenever he tried to get sexual with his wife he was turned away. The love was lost and a divorced soon followed. Karen filed for child support once the divorce was final. Richie was livid and alone. He protested her leaving to no avail. Karen had enough of his ineptitude, drug abuse and maltreatment of her. She figured that since she was already raising an autistic child on her own and providing for them all financially she deserved an adequate mate. Karen wanted a man that would love her and her son unconditionally and also pull his own weight.
Richie still rushing towards ruin spent the next week in a cheap hotel room high out of his mind. He finally settled in a weekly pay hotel with a small kitchen, appliances and bathroom. Karen was gracious enough to pay his car insurance since both cars were on the same policy but he was still responsible for the cat payment. Only three payments were made sporadically over nine months before it was eventually repossessed. He moved the vehicle frequently and hid it whenever he went to work. Eventually the repo man caught up with him and now he was carless. Richie did however find a way to retain his employment. He caught the buss and bummed rides for drugs. Richie was starved for affection, he hit on every woman he came in contact with, especially at work. Most didn’t bite. Twenty something girls weren’t looking to get involved romantically with a forty-plus guy with no car or home. Some would get high with him but none wanted to lay with him. But then there was one, one broken girl who would have him. She, single mother of one moved to Florida eighteen months earlier from the “Show Me” state.
Wendy was tall and extremely slim; she came from a well to do family but had a checkered past. In her later twenties she already had dentures because of her past years of physical and drug abuse. Richie could sense the weakness in her and he pounced on it using his relationship with Tyler as a way in. Oh how noble he made himself seem, taking in his handicapped nephew and raising him like his son. Then what a victim he was going through a bitter divorce and losing custody of the boy to his wife who wasn’t even the boy’s blood. When Wendy first arrived in Florida she attended church regularly and was for the most part sober. When she got involved with Richie that all quickly changed. Wendy’s God fearing parents loved their daughter dearly but expected her to make her own way in the world by making better life decisions. Wendy had a child of her own, a sandy haired boy named Terrence. She and Terence’s father had a tumultuous relationship. Drugs and alcohol was their main bond and detriment. Her parents took great care of Terrence acting as his legal guardians until their daughter got her life in order. Wendy fully understood and appreciated the help.
After weeks of dating and getting high Wendy and Richie moved in together. Her lease was up so she just moved into the hotel with him. Richie was having a tough time paying the rent anyway and the manager of the hotel was growing tired of hearing his tired excuses. Once Wendy arrived that all changed. She was a server working six days a week bring home cash every night. At work Richie would call her his wife… and his wife had better obey. Often they could be seen at work engaged in very serious conversation, usually initiated by Richie. He always needed to be heard and he expected her to give him her undivided attention. Richie would find people to score from at work and Wendy would pay.
Richie became progressively more controlling and physically intimidating followed by apologies and a weak promises of a brighter future. He was now in his mid forties with no vehicle, earning less than twenty-five thousand dollars a year but according to him, together they would conquer the world. Wendy not yet thirty, damaged but sweet tried her best to believe in her man. Whispers of wisdom from friends, family and coworkers began to seep in her mind. She was seeing Richie with sobering eyes, trying to decide whether the relationship was worth continuing. As she was making up her mind she was met with a surprise. Wendy was pregnant. Richie was overjoyed, Wendy was depressed.
Now that she was having his baby it was time for them to get engaged. Richie bought a cubic zirconium ring from a pawn shop and presented it to her in the car after work the very next day. She hesitantly accepted and smiled bravely. He ran and told everyone they knew. Most were very disappointed in Wendy wondering why such a nice girl with her would be with a guy like Richie. More warnings were shared with her she nodded and agreed but still didn’t leave. Her parents refused to have their grandchild born in some God forsaken hotel room so they help them to get a condo in an upscale community in West Orange County.
Richie boasted to all that would listen but in actuality Wendy’s hard work and family support got it done. They settled in, Richie enjoyed playing house with Wendy. There was a room for the boys for whenever they visited. Wendy decorated with care in between working six days a week. Richie worked twenty-five hours a week and got high the rest of the week with most of the money he made. Sometimes his controlling nature wore on Wendy. When he didn’t treat her well his faults and shortcomings became more glaring. Again advise was given to her by those who professed to care. One night after work Richie was especially aggressive and Wendy was offered a place to stay for the night. She accepted, Richie refused to allow it! In the early dark morning under the lights in the parking lot of their work place he pushed her. Into her car she fell and the police were called by Maggie who offered Wendy refuge for the night. When the authorities arrived Wendy tried to dissuade them from taking Richie into custody. She explained that she wasn’t hurt and had no visible marks on her face or body. The police didn’t care. They explained to her that since they were called someone had to go to jail that night it would be Richie.
Richie was first angry then somewhat contrite then eventually somber as he sat alone in his cell. Tears he shed, sad to be back behind bars. It had been years since he was last incarcerated. Now in his mid-forties this was not the place he wanted to be. His bail Wendy could not afford so as usual she went to her parents. Under no uncertain terms would they pay the bail for a man who battered their daughter. This is what she was told by her loving parents in the most frank way. They even went as far as to refuse to help her pay her rent, that way she would have to return home and when Richie got out of jail he would have to find somewhere else to reside.
As the weeks passed Richie found himself having to wait until his court appearance to be released. Wendy could no longer accept his calls, her letters slowed as well. Then they eventually came to a stop. He looked at his life, forty-three, homeless, careless and now jobless. The managers at the restaurant informed Wendy that since Richie was arrested on the property of the restaurant he would not be retained as an employee and he would have a “no hire” status with the corporation. Richie had truly made a mess of things, all because he couldn’t control himself or his emotions. He too preoccupied with controlling other people not he had lost all control over his life. One hundred and twenty days later Richie was released. He made his way to a shelter in town and thought about what his next move might be. As he laid on his cot the first night in the roomful of other men down on their luck he thought about how just months earlier he laid next to a lovely blond in a nice condominium. This was the quickest he had ever rushed to ruin and he felt it, but there he lay, self defeated.
Richie would spend the last seven years of his life living on the streets, baring the elements. He had rushed to ruin for the last time for there would be no recovery this time. His life was ruined and he felt it everyday until his last as he panhandled and begged for changed. Eventually Richie would succumb to illness and disease. No one claimed his body, he was cremated and disposed of… no longer rushing towards ruin.