Monday, February 20, 2017

Pimp Daddy Orlando

Pimp Daddy moved to Orlando in 1988 after Thanksgiving. He formally worked in law enforcement. On the table in front of him was an envelope that contained his damaged cell phone from the evening of June 12th. On the week of June 12, 2016 his air conditioner broke. He went to Pulse with Bobby who was going to the club for the first time. He wanted to show her a good time. He didn't go as Pimp Daddy Orlando. His usual uniform would be a large Pink wide brim fedora and Pink Jacket. Had be been in that outfit he felt he most certainly would have been shot. He heard the gunman had been at the club early that night.

Pimp Daddy was in the women's room when he first heard shots. There is a DJ that incorporated gunshots into his mix, but that mix included a loud air horn after the shots. There was no horn.  People rushed into the bathroom. The bathroom door wouldn't lock. He quickly texted both Pulse managers, "We are in the Adonis bathroom." Those texts didn't go through. Then he texted 911. He and Bobby were cornered in the bathroom. If they ran into the club to get to an exit, they most certainly would have been shot. To survive Pimp Daddy and Bobby crouched on top of a toilet seat so the gunman couldn't see their feet under the closed stall door. Bobby called he mother. He said to Bobby, "Shhhh keep quiet." The only way to survive was absolute silence. People ran into the bathroom. In the larger stall, people were moaning and breathing hard.

During the siege with police, the gunman followed people into the women's restroom. Pimp Daddy didn't hear the gunman negotiate for hostages. For the time being he and Bobby were still undetected. There were loud ringing shots in the bathroom. People screamed an moaned. The gunman left and then returned ten minutes later. When he re-entered, he said, "Please do not text." This was strangely polite. Pimp Daddy set his phone to record all the audio. He only saw I gunman's feet on occasion. In the large stall people were dying. When the gunman mention ISIS as he spoke to police, every one knew ho bad it was. "Why us?" Pimp Daddy thought. His legs were getting tired from crouching. The gunman the shouted, "Didn't I say no more texting! Ever one pass over their phones!" Phones slide under the closed stall doors. Pimp Daddy held on to his phone. He didn't want to give away his location.

The gunman claimed to have on a bomb vest. He started messing with his gun. It might have been jammed. "Should we bum rush him?" he thought. His legs were numb. No one did. The gunman said, "I fixed it, I have plenty of Ammo." Then he asked, "Is anybody black? I don't have no problems with black people." People begged for their lives. As a Hispanic, Pimp Daddy thought, "well I'm black" He thought better and stayed silent. A young man, desperate to escape the large crowded stall crawled under the divider and pulled himself up, knocking Bobby and Pimp Daddy off the toilet seat perch. Pimp daddy's butt was exposed under the stall door. The gunman reached down and touched his rear pocket. Pimp Daddy was certain he was about to be shot in the back. He grimaced waiting for the shot.  He didn't move, hoping to be taken for dead. The gunman washed his hands in the sink. Pimp Daddy's phone rang, but thankfully the gunman ignored the ringing. That call of concern could have killed him. He never saw the face of the young man who knocked him of the toilet seat.

Then there as a loud explosion. The gunman got nervous and started shooting. His bullets ricocheted everywhere. Pimp Daddy put his phone to his head hoping to deflect bullets. The wall of the bathroom collapsed. Large rubble fell on the toilet seat. Had he and Bobby still been crouching, they would have been killed. Water started gushing from burst pipes. The gunman was shot in the hole of the hallway. There were rumors that the gunman's partner had a bomb vest, Pimp Daddy's stomach heaved and he began regurgitating saliva. A first responder said to Pimp Daddy, "Soldier get up!" He was wedged between the toilet seat and rubble. Everyone evacuated as fast as possible. It was all a blur. Pimp Daddy stumbled through the hole in the wall. He was grateful he didn't have to walk through a room full of dead bodies. His phone was covered in blood but the blood wasn't his own.

Pimp Daddy has an Angel Wing tattoo on his right forearm from long before the shooting. Bobby called him after surviving the shooting and she called him her guardian angel. She doesn't want to go in to any public bathroom without him there. Right before the interview, his car had been badly keyed. "my own people, my own community, is angry" People morn in different ways. Some people can't understand his being so outspoken. He went to a church service the day after the attack, the pink hospital band still on his wrist. At the service, people found out he was a survivor and they asked him up front. He said a few words. He lost many friends, they were like family. He feels his job now is to support and console his kids.

He feels that social media is to blame for the carnage at Pulse. We live in a world of to much exposure. Weak minded people feed off of the Internet's false news and hoax conspiracy theories fueling bitter hatred that can and will fuel more mass shootings. The hospital had given him a prescription for the pain. In the blur of vigils, funerals and fundraisers that followed, he never filled that prescription. He would rather feel the pain as a reminder that he had survived.

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