Cunanan's Last Laugh

— 'Now you can be Andrew Philip Cunanan, 'the gay spree killer,' and experience his final days! You choose where to go. You decide who to meet. It's a sarcastic adventure based on the wildly inaccurate news reports of 1997. Thanks for being sensible and my apologies in advance...."

You're at www.tidalwave.net/~offwhite/, Andrew's multi-faced picture comes up. Click here to enter the game. At the bottom, the four scores that tell you if you're going to last as long as Cunanan did on the run: your life expectancy, your money supply, how close the police are, and how high your fame's rocketing. You can spend money, hustle money, lie low, or live the glittering life, but everything you do has consequences.

You start off, as Cunanan did, in San Diego. You can travel, meet ex-lovers Jeffrey Trail or David Madson, or one of the celebs Andrew tracked, like Tom Cruise, Madonna, Geraldo, Sylvester Stallone, or designers like Jean Paul Gaultier or Cunanan's last victim, Gianni Versace.

If you like, you can murder them.

Today you -- Andrew, that is -- have decided to travel to San Francisco. In your car. It's all you can afford. "You must pay gas and tolls," says the pop-up. Your money bar shortens.

"You go to a local hot gay disco, cover $15. An average-looking Latino guy asks you to dance, then buys you drinks. STAY or GO?"

You stay. "A flirty older bartender gives you a free drink. STAY? GO?"

Stay. "Some sick-looking guy says, 'Here -- please take it. That shit is making me too dizzy.' It is three hits of Ecstasy. STAY? GO?"

You go. But you are horribly low on cash. Hit the EARN box.

"Desperate for more cash, you reduce yourself to the ways of a common male prostitute. You meet an awfully short white guy who wants to buy your underpants. ACCEPT? LEAVE?"

Accept. "Your john suddenly attacks you like a psycho-killer. FIGHT? LEAVE?"

Fight. "You knock him against the wall with a kick to the chest. He slashes you with a knife. FIGHT? LEAVE?"

Fight. "The stranger slashes through your arm. You pummel him in the side of his head with your fist." FIGHT? LEAVE?"

Fight. Uh oh.

"YOU ARE DEAD!"

Damn. And you didn't even get near to Miami.

"Andrew Cunanan -- The Odyssey" is grosser than gross. But not half as gross as the real thing, says its creator, David Uy.

"Why would I ever want to publish such a demented page?" he says in his own bio page. "There're a couple of reasons really. Obviously this was a fascinating example of the U.S. versus the criminal on the run. That makes him an underdog of sorts. For whatever reason, people tend to identify with underdogs. And for other reasons of my own... Well, I think there were some similarities between him and me. We're both about the same age, we both have a Filipino father and white American Mom. Both our families are sad and dysfunctional. Both of us were the 'baby' of said families, and both of us are gay. And both Cunanan and I have a 'hearty' laugh."

"Ridiculous juxtaposing, you say? Maybe. But who knows for sure. Yet I'm no serial or spree killer. What's the difference? Money, I think. He was born to a wealthy dad. I was born low class. I've never had anything to lose, and therefore I've never had anything to prove. Andrew apparently took the loss of his father's money rather hard, and he needed to find ways to replace it. Do I think that my rags-to-better-rags story has made me a better person than him? No. Because I think just about anybody could freak out and become a murderer."

There's another reason David Uy did it: Uy, 30, an artist who works in the classified ads department of the Washington Blade, a gay newspaper based in D.C., says part of that media orgy was because Cunanan was gay, a convenient way for the establishment to vent a prejudice they normally have to keep suppressed in the interests of PC.

"How did Andrew Cunanan make it all the way to the FBI's top-ten-most-wanted list? I believe it's because of the media," he says by phone from Washington, D.C. "Okay, it's true that Cunanan did all of the killing, but the media only egged him on. What else are TV stations going to do these days with a story about a well-educated, high-society, HIV-positive, gay-male prostitute who travels across the country killing the men who may have infected him? It's a bizarre story, and yes, it would have caught my attention no matter who I was, and besides all that, he was attractive. It's sad to say, but I believe that if Cunanan had been unattractive, the media would not have taken such an interest in him.

"The point is I found his whole saga inspiring. No, not to make me go out and kill my enemies with a sawblade, a hammer, hedge shears, or a .40 caliber pistol. Andrew's descent into madness made me sit up and take notice of the media's sometimes fair, mostly awful coverage of the gay community.

"So the excellent little adventure that I made is the culmination of all these incredibly ridiculous stories put together: that he was hooked on drugs, that he was selling drugs, that he was a male prostitute, a female prostitute, that he was out there to kill people for all these really selfish reasons. Even if any of that might be a little bit true, the media just blew it all out of proportion. He could have been anywhere. He was in all 48 states, maybe even Alaska. People saw him everywhere. And when people are suddenly thinking that one single gay man is this incredible demon that can be anywhere and anyone, that's a real scary thing. That's when they start thinking that the whole gay community is full of these psycho-killer demon people."

Uy, who believes in "honesty above all things," had the idea for the online "adventure" during the last week of Cunanan's life.

"It was a Sunday afternoon. Last July," he says. "I was sitting in the grass at D.C.'s Dupont Circle, a very gay little circle, reading, listening to music, and this idea just hit me. How to do something creative and fun and interactive and totally unique that I hadn't seen anywhere else. When I think I have a really unique creative idea, I get all nervous and jittery. I ran right home and I started working on it."

"The general idea of it is you get to be Andrew Cunanan. You're 28 years old and you're gay, and you are charming and good-looking, and you lie and you cheat and you steal, and you hustle for money -- and you are running out of luck. Your last suitor just dumped you, and your good looks are fading, and your money's running out, and all you have left is a car. So you're stuck out on the street. You can choose what to do. Go to other cities, earn money by hustling or selling drugs, meet people such as celebrities, use your good looks to get them in bed, impress them by speaking one of the many foreign languages he apparently knew, or you can choose to...kill them! Which is incredibly offensive, I know. But I'm not making anybody kill them. I'm not forcing anybody to do anything that is beyond their own morals."

The Cunanan part of Uy's "offwhite" Web site is called "Andrew Cunanan -- The Obsession," and Uy admits to being obsessed, sort of.

"I think I was obsessed with Andrew, for maybe a week. After that it was my perfectionism that took over, and I just had to gather more and more information because more people were asking me questions. I figured I'd just let all the 'facts' speak for themselves. I've had 10,000 hits so far."

But there was perhaps more that attracted Uy to Cunanan: a desperate desire they both had to escape home. "My father was a pretty harsh kind of person," he says, with a laugh that betrays deeper feelings. "Pretty abusive."

This is a poem on Uy's Web site "by David Uy's Rumbling Dark Side."

Dear Dad, Fuck You

I hate you, I hate you

More than I can say

I spit at your memory

I hate you today.

You're a liar, a pig,

And a boorish old brat.

You're balding, and greasy,

And ugly and fat.

I can't bear the thought

Of your voice or your touch

I cringe and I wince

The revulsion's too much...

Y'all don't understand

What it's like to grow up

So scared and nervous

It makes you throw up

It's insane being raised

In a household like that

Being threatened with scissors

Or a baseball bat

A smack in the head,

A jab in the gut

Pulled back by the hair,

Or a kick in the butt.

And my sexual confusion

Gets a boost and a kick

Everytime that he threatens

To cut off my dick...

My hatred grows deeper

All hours, all days

I imagine killing you,

In vicious cruel ways....

One reason, Uy says, for creating this site is for self-healing.

"They say patterns of violence repeat, and if I can expose myself, then I can keep myself in check."

Cunanan had strong feelings about his family too, Uy believes, but Andrew was a person "who hid his entire background. He didn't want anybody to know where he came from."

That is the difference, says Uy. "I virtually never lie -- another reason I can't identify with Andrew -- and I always preferred to tell everybody where I came from, because people are out there thinking that they're the only ones who are gay, or had an abusive father. Somebody's going to identify with it and feel like, 'Hey, I'm not all alone in the world.' " (At the end of the long poem, Uy provides a link to the National Clearing House on Child Abuse and Neglect and John Bradshaw's Homecoming.)

But hold the tears. First let's check the "Readers' Feed Back" page and some of the people he's reaching out to through the Andrew game.

"I love Andrew and I think he is the greatest artist: turning killing into a form of perfect and wonderfully final art, some kind of irreversible performance. Death is where we all go anyway, so I don't think anybody can blame him for taking anybody's life.... I think the one to blame is God or such thing...maybe our mothers, sentencing us to die the day we are born."

"Andy Cunanan is the Jerry Maguire of gay murder. Like college basketball talent scouts, we watched him grow from flash-in-the-pan second-degree homicide lightweight to an intriguing double-murderer to cross-country thrill-killer to full-blown celebrity-stalking homo murder superstar. He's so sexy. So sassy. So '90s. He's rad."

"[He killed himself] 'cause he is fucking gay, just like Versace."

"Andrew Cunanan was a hazel nut surprise and a walnut cream short of a full box of chocolates. In other words he was loony. (Do we need any other explanation?)"

"I do believe Andrew is still alive..."

"He longed for love because he was unable to love himself. I love you, Andrew. I pray for your love and peace, and I'm not the only one. You shall never be alone, again."

"Whoever did this page, you are sad.... If you cared anything about Jeff [Trail, Cunanan's first victim], you would not have been able to turn on the TV. When I found out he was dead, I could not bear to watch anything else about it. Have some respect."

I asked Uy if he felt he was encouraging people to kill. "I would be absolutely mortified if that happened. I would be horrified, and I would just shut the whole thing down immediately. But I do say that it's all meant to be poking fun at the media. The media was the bad guy to me, because they made everything so incredibly trashy and tabloidy, and they never got their facts straight till eight months later. They get a snippet of information and they all just jump on it like a pack of wild dogs. I at least made a little bibliography for each source that I pulled stuff from."

Onscreen, near a photo of Cunanan's crypt at Holy Cross Cemetery in Chollas View, the text tells us exactly where to find him: he's in the mausoleum in the Holy Rosary Chapel, six crypts up in the niche area.

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