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Authors: Leonard Kinsey

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Our Kingdom of Dust

BOOK: Our Kingdom of Dust
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Our Kingdom of Dust

Leonard Kinsey

Praise for
Our Kingdom of Dust

 


Our Kingdom Of Dust
is a fantastic and wonderfully written debut novel from Leonard Kinsey. A powerful narrative with some of the weirdest characters you’ll ever meet, it’s like a Palahniuk novel high on Pixie Dust, with a dash of the dark side of Disney thrown in for good measure. Suspenseful and hilarious, this is a must read for everyone who’s always suspected there’s a seedy underbelly to all things Disney.”

—Jeff Heimbuch,
Miceage.com

 

“A fantastic story about a man who looks to his childhood for salvation from a life that has turned on him, only to find that things aren’t always as expected (or remembered).
Our Kingdom of Dust
is an emotion-provoking read, written in classic Kinsey style.”

—Brett Bennett,
WDWFanboys.com

 

“Kinsey breaks new ground with a tale about addiction – mental, emotional and physical – in his look at one Disney fan’s journey back to the memories of his youth. Anyone who has revisited their childhood stomping grounds and found disturbing changes will relate, as will anyone who has fallen in love so quickly that they couldn’t explain it.
Our Kingdom of Dust
is a true page-turner that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final word.”

—George Taylor,
Imaginerding.com

 

“Leonard Kinsey is at it again, this time exposing the dark side of Guests and Cast Members who’ll do anything for a taste of ‘Happily Ever After’.
Our Kingdom of Dust
is one scary ride!”

—Ron Schneider, author of
From Dreamer to Dreamfinder
Copyright 2012, Leonard Kinsey

 

Cover Design: Pentakis Dodecahedron

Cover Photo: Alan Partlow

Cover Model: Draven Star

Book Design: Jonas Kyle-Sidell

Editor/Fact Checker: Hugh Allison

 

All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

 

This book is neither authorized nor sponsored nor endorsed by the Disney Company or any of its subsidiaries. It is an unofficial and unauthorized book and not a Disney product. The mention of names and places associated with the Disney Company and its businesses are not intended in any way to infringe on any existing copyrights or registered trademarks of the Disney Company but are used in context for educational purposes, or for parody. The opinions and statements expressed in the quotations and text are solely the opinions of the author or those people who are quoted and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and policy of the Disney Company and its businesses nor Bamboo Forest Publishing.

 

Any descriptions of illegal activities in the book are intended purely for educational or entertainment purposes. The Publishers and the Author do not support, advocate, encourage or endorse any illegal acts described herein. In no event will the Publishers or the Author be liable for any illegal activities performed by readers of this book. In other words, if you get busted and go to jail, don’t blame us!

 

Visit us Online at:

www.darksideofdisney.com

 

First Printing: May, 2012

Prologue

 

It’s a clear, beautiful night, and I’m sauntering down The BoardWalk, high on life. Lights from nearby buildings are twinkling and reflecting off the lake. Small crowds surround the street entertainers, and I hear kids laughing at some gag I’ve probably seen twenty times but would still laugh at if I saw again. The scent of funnel cakes mixes with the exhaust of the boats, forming an aromatic concoction unique to this place. It’s a nice smell. A surrey bike’s bell clangs as it careens past me, nearly knocking over an old lady on its uncontrolled ride down the bridge. I smile, and turn off onto a wooded path, where Spanish moss glows in the moonlight and toads croak. There are gators, too, probably lots of them. And snakes. Poisonous snakes. But I don’t see them, so I don’t think about them. Right now my thoughts are blanketed by the face of a girl, and a kiss, and everything that might come of that kiss.

Before I know it I’m standing in front of my suite at The Beach Club. I’m jolted out of my fantasyland when it dawns on me that I’m going to have to tell Jay I’m leaving. To say he will be less than pleased is an understatement.

Maybe it can wait until tomorrow, though.

I push my card into the slot on the lock. It beeps. I open the door and step inside.

There are bloody footprints on the floor, from the wet bar to the bedroom. My bedroom. There are bloody handprints on the bedroom door.

“Jay, are you okay?” I call out to the guy who has been crashing on my couch for the past few weeks. “Did you cut yourself on something?”

The bedroom door is cracked. I push it open.

I look down and see Lisa’s contorted body. There’s a bunch of blood, and it’s all smeared on the wall and dripping down onto the carpet.

I try to blink it away, but there it is. Blood everywhere.

As near as I can figure, Jay smashed her head against the cheap drywall a few times until he put a hole through it. Then I guess he decided to stab her in the shoulder with his stolen brass Cinderella Castle statue, parts of which are laying in bloodied pieces on the floor. The rest, a combination of jagged metal and splintered wood, is still stuck in Lisa’s shoulder. What I can’t figure out is why he felt the need to put my Haunted Mansion Mouse Ears on her blood-caked head.

A ripped bag of sparkling white powder is strewn across the floor next to the bed. Jay had sworn he didn’t have any more of the stuff. Obviously he’d lied. The powder is all over the place and is mixing with the blood. It looks like blood paste.

There’s also at least $10K in hundreds scattered around the room. A lot of those are soaked through with blood.

Jay is sitting on the bed, half naked, and he keeps telling me it’s a tribute to the fucking genius of Disney or some nonsense like that. He’s cursing, which he never does, and for a moment I’m convinced this simply isn’t real. Jay doesn’t curse. Lisa is supposed to be at work. This sort of shit doesn’t happen in real life.

But then I think of my dog. I vomit.

Jay turns to me, shaking all over, shirtless and sweaty, with all of his stupid Disney tattoos blaring at me in shiny, moving Technicolor. He wipes his hands on his boxer shorts, and goes, “Hey, what’re you gonna do, right? I mean, the bitch was really getting to me! She kept fucking telling me that you two were leaving tomorrow! Fucking lying cunt.”

This blood-smeared, profanity-spewing, rage-filled monster is what’s been lurking under the calm, quiet exterior. This is the reason for the scared itch in the back of my brain whenever I’ve been around him lately. This is what his tattoos were covering up.

He looks at the splinters from the base of the statue, jutting out of flesh that looks like it was hit with a shotgun blast, takes a swig from the bottle of wine he’s holding, and goes, “Dude, Disney and shit! I mean, Walt-fucking-Disney, right?”

“Sure, Disney,” I say.

I can’t stop staring at the Mouse Ears on her head. The blood is seeping through them, and the felt is glistening more than the plastic ears. I’m flashing back to white fur, intestines, moonlight.

This is worse. I just kissed her this afternoon. I think I fell in love with her all over again this afternoon…. And now her skull is bashed open and her arm looks like it was run through a meat grinder.

I turn, vomit again, and start crying. “So, um, what are we gonna do?”

Jay looks at me with frantic eyes, and it seems like all the eyes on all the characters on his tattoos have the same crazed expression. And he says, “Hey, Blaine, buddy…. Are you really leaving? If you’re really leaving then you gotta call the fucking police on me. Call the goddamned police before I run away!”

We stare at each other and only then do I fully comprehend that this guy is just flat out fucked up. And not in a cool way, either, like I’d deluded myself into believing. No, he’s full-bore batshit insane.

“You’re an asshole,” I say, wiping tears from my eyes.

I’m not surprised at what now seems like the obvious inevitability of it all, but this wasn’t how things were supposed to turn out. This isn’t what I came here for.

 

Chapter 1

 

Born Blaine McKinnon, July 1976. I took after my mom in the looks department. My friends always said she was really hot, and were always coming over hoping to catch a glimpse of her sunbathing out in the backyard. Perverts. Like her, I’m short and skinny, with freckles and brown eyes, but with my dad’s crazy curly brown hair. Above-average but not someone you’re going to notice walking down a crowded street. So, yeah, none of my issues came from any self-esteem problems, at least not regarding my looks.

From my dad, I received what is probably my only major vice: I curse like a sailor. He was so good at it, he’d make f-bombs sound like poetry. And he was never embarrassed about letting a string of profanities fly from his mouth, no matter where he was, or who he was around. I loved that about him.

Mom was a hair stylist and Dad was a house painter. Real salt of the earth people, my parents were. They moved down to Florida in the early 70s to get away from the drugs and crime in Baltimore. Considering how there wasn’t anything in Pinellas County aside from orange groves, I guess they figured it was a safer place to raise a kid. For the most part, they were right.

They did okay for themselves, too. With the Florida housing boom my dad had all the work he could handle, and the 80s were a fucking godsend for anyone in the hair styling business. I always had the best hair in school – my mom could feather with the best of them.

I remember the first time they took me to Walt Disney World. I was four, and it was the summer before I was supposed to start kindergarten. I already knew how to read and write, so they were thinking of skipping me ahead to first grade, but my mom wanted me around kids my own age. I’m glad she did, because I’ve always been short, and was harassed a bit about it over the years. If I’d gone through school with kids a year older than me the teasing would’ve been a lot worse, and maybe I would’ve ended up with an inferiority complex or something.

Anyway, my grandparents were visiting from Illinois, and we all went to Disney together, driving the two hours from Palm Harbor to Orlando cramped into my dad’s Dodge Omni. The AC was busted, and I remember everyone being cranky and sniping at each other. But I also remember that the second they stepped through that tunnel under the railroad station and saw Main Street, they all had huge grins on their faces. It wasn’t called The Magic Kingdom for nothing. The impression that this place could make people happy, despite all odds, stuck with me.

My parents must have had the same feeling, too, because from then on the three of us went back to Walt Disney World every year, and then twice a year, and then we got “Three Season Salute” passes which let us go as much as we wanted during the “slow” months. I felt like I had the happiest times of my life there, so it was no wonder I longed to return when I discovered adulthood wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

I truly believe it was EPCOT Center that put me on the path to becoming a millionaire, at least in a roundabout way. The park opened in 1982 and had a bunch of rides and exhibits showcasing Walt Disney’s utopian vision of the future. EPCOT was an acronym for “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow”. It was kinda like a permanent world’s fair, and six-year-old me figured it was easily the coolest place in the universe. My favorite ride, Horizons, opened in 1983. It slowly moved you through a vision of the future where technology made everyone’s lives awesome. There was a part at the end where you got to push a picture on your ride vehicle to “choose your own future”. You could pick from space, desert, or undersea living, and then you’d fly through these futuristic scenes, sorta like a low-rent motion simulator. My parents and I used to go on the ride at least three times every trip so we could choose each of the future scenes. It was “our” ride, for sure.

Point is, I made my fortune working with computers, and it was EPCOT Center that got me hooked on the things. Obsessed, actually. The first time I went there and saw how these huge servers were controlling everything in the whole park… damn. I begged for a computer for months after that, and finally got a Radio Shack TRS-80 for my eighth birthday. I lovingly referred to it as a “Rat Shack Trash 80” due to its propensity to break all the time. But I learned how to fix the break-downs. I taught myself how to solder capacitors, to replace worn out fans, and to upgrade memory. It all just made sense. It clicked. And once I really started getting into that computer, pulling out its guts, figuring out what everything did, tinkering with various parts to improve performance… well, nothing else seemed to matter. Or, more accurately, other things did matter, but computers were always there for me, calm, sane, logical, non-judgmental, and always willing to do exactly what I told them to do.

In the early 90s, when I was in high school, it seemed like all of a sudden everyone owned a computer. A lot of those early PCs weren’t ventilated very well so stuff would always overheat or burn up. And the pre-Windows 98 operating systems didn’t warn you about deleting critical files so people were always losing important shit while trying to free up space on their miniscule hard drives. Since I was the only person anyone knew who understood how PCs worked, I started getting calls all the time from friends and relatives, asking if I could do them a HUGE favor (they always said HUGE) and come fix their broken computer. My dad told me to “stop letting those fucking leeches take advantage of you,” so pretty quickly I started charging for my services, and before I knew it, I was in the computer repair business. In the summer after my junior year I took over the basement of my parents’ condo, incorporated, and hired an employee.

CompuTech was born, and I made over $10,000 that summer.

It felt good to have my own money and be able to buy whatever I wanted. And there was something addictive about using my brain to figure out what was wrong with a computer, fixing it, and then being a fucking “Office Park Super Hero”. The receptionists at these places particularly seemed to dig this schtick, and I lost my virginity to one such hottie on the CEO’s desk after a late night of server patching.

I certainly had no desire to go back to school at the end of the summer, but begrudgingly did so, while still trying to meet the needs of the client base I’d built up. Between my AP classes at school and the demands of the business, I was maybe getting four hours of sleep every night. Parties? Dances? Dates? No time. Friends? Movies? Music? Nope. Disney? Are you kidding? No way I could be gone for a whole day. I turned into a hermit, completely unaware of everything kids my age were into. I’d try to go out with girls, but couldn’t relate to anything they were saying. I didn’t know the bands or TV shows they’d blather on about, and they had no concept of what it meant to run a business. Apparently I waited too long to ask Susan Gibbons (the one girl in my AP Calc class who actually kinda got what I was doing) to the prom. My so-called best friend at the time, Ricky Lu, asked her instead, and ended up fucking her in his parents’ van after the dance.

 Ricky Lu was the sort of friend who always does everything you do, except wants to one-up you at it. When I tried out for the football team in middle school, he tried out, too, and tackled me repeatedly during the scrimmage. When I took up guitar and started a band Sophomore year of high school, he learned bass, begged to join the band, and then “accidentally” destroyed my amp right before our first gig. And when I liked a girl, oh, let’s say Susan Gibbons, he talked shit about me behind my back and then fucked her.

The one thing he couldn’t do, though, was be a successful businessman. He just didn’t have it in him. He wasn’t smart enough, he wasn’t driven enough, and he was too much of an asshole to maintain loyal clients. And the fact that he couldn’t beat me at something killed him. Killed him for years, apparently.

I don’t know why we stayed friends. I was easy to take advantage of, and far too forgiving. He’d always make me feel guilty for getting mad when he fucked shit up for me. He’d go on about how he hadn’t done it on purpose and then act all hurt that I’d accuse him of such a thing. What a slimeball he was. What a loser I was. We were a perfect match.

Anyway, after my senior year I had a choice: continue the business or go to college. I’d been accepted to Stanford, Duke, and Vanderbilt. My parents wanted me to go to college, to try to regain some sort of normal adolescence. They were right, of course, but I just didn’t know if I could turn down the money I was making.

Unfortunately, I never had the chance to fight it out with them. Early that summer they both died in a car accident. Someone in one of those goddamned Home Depot moving trucks, the ones that they let you rent by the hour but don’t give you any training on, literally drove over top of my parents’ car. I guess the load the truck was carrying was too heavy, and the brakes didn’t stop as quickly as the driver expected. Since the truck was so high off the ground it didn’t simply run into the back of my parents’ car. Instead, it went right over it, shearing off the top and killing my mom immediately. My dad lingered for a bit longer. Long enough for the paramedics to get there, anyway. The main paramedic on the scene said my dad’s last words were, no joke, “This shit wouldn’t have happened if they’d fucking built monorails everywhere.” Helluva guy.

Did their deaths mess me up? Yeah, but not necessarily right then and there. I shed a few tears wishing I’d gone to EPCOT Center with them more often – they’d always invite me to go but I’d always turn them down. And a few days after the funeral I was packing up their stuff and found their still unexpired yearly passes in my dad’s wallet. Knowing that the passes would never be used again choked me up a bit. But when you’re that young somehow things are easier to deal with, or at least, easier to push aside, to deal with later. So that’s pretty much what I did. Pushed it aside, covered it up with work, left the emotions to ferment and rot until sometime later, sometime when I’d maybe have the time and inclination to deal with them properly. That… was a mistake.

All I know was that after the funeral, after everything had been taken care of, I had one blindingly intense focus for my life: making CompuTech an enormous success. I took the insurance money and used part of it to get a government security clearance, because I knew there were some extremely lucrative contracts out there, and I wanted to be a part of it. What a fucking involved, tedious, annoying process that was. A total invasion of privacy. I felt like they were anally raping my life.

But, the security clearance paid off when CompuTech won a contract to install and network thousands of computers for a major upgrade to the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, not far from where my parents used to live. It was a crapshoot bid, and I never honestly expected to get it. But once again, EPCOT Center intervened: turns out the head of the project, a guy named Sam Mason, was also an EPCOT Center junkie, and the SMRT-1 robot in CommuniCore had kickstarted his interest in robotics, leading to an eventual career at Goddard. We bonded immediately during my initial presentation, and I guess I bid low enough to make me a shoe-in. Sam took me under his wing and we actually became pretty good friends.

I remember he called me over to his house one time to fix his webcam, and he opened the door wearing nothing but a loosely drawn robe. Inside was a “friend” of his, a big hairy bear of a guy, sitting at the computer, dressed only in tighty-whities. After a few seconds I figured out that they needed me to fix their webcam so they could broadcast their buttsex across the Internet. Awkward! Sam seemed a bit embarrassed, but I just laughed it off, fixed their webcam, and told him he owed me one. The next day a hot brunette Strip-O-Gram arrived at my house. Sam must have given her a big tip in advance, because I got a handjob out of that one!

A few years later Sam died of AIDS.

So, anyway, once I found out I won the Goddard bid I packed up everything I owned, moved to Maryland, and lived and breathed computers. A few months later Ricky Lu moved up from Florida and became my office manager. We leased a small place in Baltimore and used the cachet of the government job to bring in a ton of clients, selling small to medium sized businesses on the idea that they didn’t need a full-time IT guy when my team could come in one day a week and take care of any computer problems they were having. Within a year I had thirty techs driving all over the Baltimore/DC area, fixing computers and making me a buttload of money.

Business boomed, but the twenty-hour days never stopped, and I had no social life. That first year in Maryland I had a brief liaison with my receptionist, Connie. That “relationship” lasted a week, after which she promptly quit and sued me for sexual harassment. She didn’t win, but it was humiliating having my genitalia described in graphic detail to a jury.

A few months after the Connie incident, Ricky Lu decided to start his own company and sabotaged CompuTech by planting a virus on my network, taking me down for a week. He used this as an opportunity to steal dozens of my clients, and half of my employees. Typical. His company folded eighteen month later, and when he came crawling back for a job I told him to go fuck himself.

These betrayals only reinforced my decision to devote all of my energy to the business.

I did get a dog. A huge Siberian Husky. I found him huddled in a kennel at a shelter, a few days away from being put to sleep. His hair was gray and knotted, and it seemed like being cramped in that cage had sucked out his will to live. According to the shelter he had a major problem with children, since he’d been mercilessly abused by neighborhood kids over the summer while left chained to a fence all day by his owners. No families wanted to adopt him because he’d lunge whenever anyone under four feet tall walked by his cage, but I hated the little parasites, too, so it was a match made in heaven. I fucking loved that dog. I used to put a red handkerchief around his neck. He knew he looked awesome with that handkerchief on. I named him Sam, in honor of the only other true friend I’d had in Maryland. Fucking badass dog, that Sam.

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