Zeeland certainly lives a less glittering and more peripatetic life, and to an English audience his reports have an exotic gloss it would be unfair to to think Simpson could equal – not least his account of his friendship with Andrew Cunanan, the killer of Gianni Versace.
Andrew DeSilva, as I knew him, was a rival, not a friend. Not hardly. I paid as little attention to him as possible. But the more I ignored him the closer he got.
After Andrew made the FBI’s “most wanted” list, I accepted an invitation from the literary editor of Seattle’s alternative weekly THE STRANGER to write an essay on the overlap between Andrew’s social world and mine.
After Versace’s murder I turned down invitations from tabloids and tabloid TV. Instead, I shared what material I had to offer with TIME, the WASHINGTON POST, a writer for VANITY FAIR. . . . When the results appeared in print I winced but could not laugh. Pretty much the only words attributed to me by respected US journalists were the isolated tidbits in my story most milkable for shock value. So I ended up getting a taste of “gutter press” exploitation, without the remuneration.
But of course, even in conjunction with an erroneous definition of “glory hole,” it was valuable national exposure, right?
Buchman and I did accept a four figure sum from a photo agency for usage of a snapshot taken of him with Cunanan by the “gay spree killer”‘s first victim — the very first picture taken on the Polaroid Captiva “party camera” Cunanan had presented Buchman. I’d let THE STRANGER use the image as an exclusive, and only belatedly thought to exploit it for cash. “You could have gotten twice as much had you called me a week ago!” bellowed the photo agency head. (Four and a half years later, I’m still waiting for a check from the agency’s Paris bureau.)
Buchman heeded my admonition and applied most of the ill-gotten gain toward his college tuition that semester, and had just enough left over to pay for a week in Rome.
For a long time I planned on giving the Cunanan camera to John Waters for his serial killer memorabilia collection. I tried writing him once but the package was returned.
Now, next on my list of memorabilia for sale is that camera; a reproduction of the photo (Buchman is keeping the original); and maybe an audio CD-R disc containing two phone messages I didn’t realize I had until one day last year when I popped in an old microcassette to be sure there was nothing on it I couldn’t tape over and was startled to hear Andrew’s voice inviting Buchman to dinner. “And don’t worry, I know you haven’t got a lot of money right now–”