Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Dylan Kratky began the day of June 12th doubting himself. He had just released a video of himself dancing at Pulse nightclub online and he didn't receive any responses. Dancing is his art. He actually studied at a visual arts college. Every artist wants to know that their art is seen and appreciated. "I don't need a response to fee adequate" he countered. Freddie, his soulmate visited. He spoils Dylan a bit, and he made him a wrap for lunch. They worked out. Dylan spend the rest of the day creating his line of custom underwear, feeling inspired.
The first time he went to Pulse, he was just 18 years old. He was new to the city and needed a job. On that first evening he was hired as a dancer and he took the stage name Milan. From that day forward he was part of the Pulse family. He perfected some dance moves not attempted by the other dancers. There was a bar above his station and he used it like a gymnast. "I miss being a monkey." he said. Looking back, he thought, " I don't know if I should keep dancing."
It was 9:45pm when Dylan left his apartment for another night as a performer at Pulse. He remembered looking for the Pulse sign. The place smelled of Fabuloso. It always did. He did a circle around the club, meeting people. He was excited to be there, this was more than just a job. Pulse was for the good times. He got changed into underwear and got up on the bar. There were so many cool people to see. He wanted to get down a little early, to walk around. The cool manager wasn't there so he kept dancing until around 1:57am . A dear friend, Eddie Sotomayor, got him a fireball which they drank in the bathroom. Dylan went to the dressing room, and began counting his money. Then he heard fireworks.
"It must be a fight" he thought. Then things quickly spiraled downwards. I'm from Lakeland Florida" he said "And I know what a gun sounds like." He was about to lock the dressing room door, when a kid runs up, "There's a shooter!" he shouted. Dylan locked the door behind them. There were several rounds fired, and then another one. Someone dropped a sheet on him and he became disassociated. Another dancer, a girl from New Jersey, turned the lights off, and everyone turned their phones to silent. The door to the dressing room could possibly be mistaken for a closet full of wires. If they were silent, they might survive.
There was the sound of more shooting and people screaming. It sounded like all the mirrors in the club were getting shattered by bullets. There were four cabinets in the dressing room. Dylan hid in the cabinet closest to the door. The girl in the third cabinet was freaking out and kept using her Phone. "Put it away!" Dylan insisted. "I'm not going to die for you." Two boys hid in the other cabinets. There was alot of prayer. The girl preoccupied Dylan. He needed to keep her calm to survive. None of the dancers got dressed. They all had no way out. One final shot sounded incredibly close it continued ringing in Dylan's ears. A bullet punched a hole in the wall 1/2 inch above Dylan's cabinet.
At about 4am, Swat was at the door. By 4:17am they were being escorted out. They had been trapped and fearful for their lives for two hours. Unless you are in close proximity to someone who wants to play god, who wants to end your life, you can't understand the situation. Seeing this unfold on TV is not real life. The dancers were escorted to the Einstein Brothers parking lot across the street. Dylan was wrapped in a blanket, but otherwise undressed. A boy was grazed by a bullet and bleeding. Dylan ripped his blanket in half and gave it to the boy who eventually passed out. Pulse VIP hostess Dawn Goldstein came out of the club barefoot. Dylan gave her his red shoes. At least he had socks.
Pamela Schwartz the interviewer, turned to Freddie who had listened stoically. Dylan said, "I'm glad Freddie wasn't there because he lost 2 friends, both girls, and he is protective." If Freddie was in the building, I couldn't hide. We would have had to find each other, and probably died in that search."
Freddie had to go to work the next morning, so he was asleep when he kept hearing his phone go off late at night. He figured it might be spam at this hour, but the phone kept ringing. A friend said, "Are you at Pulse? There is a shooting. They say they have a bomb." He texted Dylan, "Babe, I love you so much," Then he called Mercedez Marisol Flores and Amanda Alvear. They weren't picking up. He tried to drive to Pulse. Orange Avenue was closed at Michigan so he could go no further. He called Dylan who was being retained in the parking lot. He stayed until 7am hoping to drive Dylan home. He finally left and drove straight to work. He got off work early and went to Dylan's around 4pm. He met Dylan's parents, and then went into Dylan bedroom. Dylan us still asleep, but he woke up, and they both cried.
It was two or three days before they found out about Amanda and Mercedes. Freddie was planning to go to Pulse that night because the girls were going. He feels an intense guilt. What if he had been there? They all would have regrouped and been outside. The girls snap chats were all over the news. You could hear the gun shots. It hurt him. Freddie wasn't out before June 12th. Now he and Dylan are getting a new place together. Blue cheese is an adorable idiot of a puppy. Dylan shared a tater Tot recipe with me that he says sealed his romance with Freddie. I made the Tots on my first date in about 22 years. They were delicious. When Dylan and Freddy left the interview they held hands as they walked towards Lake Eola. Love one another, reach out. life is to precious not to.