September 15th, 2000--------- July 28th, 2002
Michael Kitay Garry
My late Grandmother Molly Kitay, because if I were a girl that would be my name. Imagine that!
Shauna Szymkowski 1980-2002
THE FLYING K was born on a beautiful Friday night at The City Market in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. On this night, celebration was in the air and a Ben Harper concert was taking place.
At some point throughout this concert, probably around the fifth or the 6th song and when the Ectascy really started to kick in, THE FLYING K took his first flight. A friend and myself were around when this amazing moment happened. I remember vividly grabbing THE K by the arm and saying, "Sit still, we have to listen to this song!" That song ended up being "Burn One Down!" A theme song for THE K, that eventually caused his death and heeled his soul. After the song, he saw a girl he knew and he flew! Flying in big looping circles, feeling as free as the birds in the air or an airplane flying cross-country. The Flying K did not care about what he looked like. He did not care about what people thought of him. He knew that what he was doing was more exhilarating and more exciting then anybody at that point in time. THE FLYING K ended the first flight with an exhausting landing on the ground! He just laid there looking up at the stars in the sky. "I think I see the Big Dipper," THE FLYING K would say grasping for some fresh air.
THE FLYING K would have never thought that the first flight would be such a success that people would request his presence over and over again. Birthday parties, sporting events (THE K loved flying coming out of crowded football, baseball and basketball games where he could weave in and out of all the people filing into their cars), or a nice spring night coming home from the bars all juiced up on Speed. THE FLYING K thrived in all the attention and would never pass up an opportunity to fly.
Whenever and wherever THE FLYING K flew he did it with such grace and determination. I remember THE K calling me one day from his home in Thailand where he stationed himself. He said, "Mike, I think I am going to come to Lawrence tonight and make an appearance.” I said, "Great, I am sure a lot of people around here will like to see THE K fly tonight." He said,"I will be there around 2:30 am!" And somewhere close to that time, THE FLYING K came out. Flying fast! Like a sprinter in a 100-yard dash! Down Kentucky Street against the traffic, circling large oak trees and dodging drunk drivers. Always landing on the ground and looking up at the stars. Winded was THE K after all his flights, but he always could get up bum a cigarette and drink a beer with all his boys hanging out at 1138. That was the way THE K lived his life. Each flight THE K made was better than the last, but at the same time it sucked a little more life out him and made him weaker. After a while THE FLYING K had nothing left to him, he was dying and there was nothing anyone could say or do to save him.
Sometimes THE FLYING K would just come out of nowhere and just show up. That was his way of doing things. People would just stand still, smile and aww at his presence. THE FLYING K kept taking on new challenges in new places. Always trying to top the last flight. He flew in over 15 different countries and over 50 cities worldwide.
It is too bad we talk about THE FLYING K in the past tense. It is too bad that no one will ever see THE FLYING K fly again. It is too bad THE FLYING K died!
The last time THE FLYING K flew that anybody has any knowledge of was Memorial Day weekend--May 25th, 2002 at the Sasquatch Festival. It took place at the Gorge Amphitheater where a freedom festival was taking place with a great lineup that included great bands such as Galactic, Soulive, Maktub, String Cheese Incident, Ben Harper and Jack Johnson. THE K arrived the night before the festival and camped out under the stars and got stupid. He was at the most amazing venue in North America (See Nate Welzenbach) and THE K knew nobody except for his buddy Chaz. He had decided to enhance his experience by taking some mushrooms the day of the concert.
What I am about to tell everyone is a story about the last time THE FLYING K flew. This story has only been told one other time and is based off of actual events. The early acts of the Sasquatch Festival were awesome and exhilarating, but the last three were the ones everyone were gearing up for. At this concert a person dressed up in a Sasquatch costume came out on stage and sang the national anthem. THE K stood up, but the other 20,000 people just sat around talking, smoking their pot and ignoring the anthem. THE K did not understand what was taking place although he was getting ready for the main acts. Jack Johnson, Ben Harper and String Cheese. Right before Jack Johnson was about to come on stage THE K decided that it was the right time to take the mind-blowing drugs. THE K had been drinking and smoking all day long. It was a typical Northwest spring day. The sun was very hot and was peaking through the clouds every half and hour or so. He had not eaten or drank anything real solid for a long time. As you can tell this was all adding up to be a big disaster for THE FLYING K. The outcome was one crazy experience! Jack Johnson came out on stage by himself and played 3 beautiful new acoustic songs. After that he went into a song THE K had recognized. Just as he was starting to feel the flow, THE FLYING K collapsed and had a "Near Death Experience!"
THE FLYING K was on the ground in a crowd of 1000 people in the middle of fucking nowhere out cold! After a minute or two of pure blackness THE K awoke and was surrounded by thousands of curios people. I wonder what had brought THE K out of the cold and back into everyday life? Was it somebody? Was it his friends? Was it his family? Was it that he was meant to live a long life? What could it have been? What is the meaning of LUNA? The answer will never really be found, but all I know is that he awoke in the middle of the song very dazed and very confused.
When he awoke he realized he was surrounded by security guards. THE FLYING K thought he was going to be arrested. He tried to fly away and fly fast, but the guards did not let him get very far. They grabbed his arms and assisted him to the medical and security tent. Once arriving at the tent THE K collapsed again. Laying on the ground with Jack Johnson in the background, being fed water. After about 20 or 30 more minutes of recuperating, THE K was asked a ton of questions and was finally released. THE K was very light headed and decided he needed to take a walk. As he started to walk around the amphitheater he started to feel a sense of pride about his life. He knew that the way he lived was not the healthiest, but for the moment there was nothing he could do. So for one last time across the middle of the amphitheater as Jack Johnson was singing his album titled song, "Brushfire Fairytales" with the words of the chorus saying, "Slow Down Everyone You are moving too fast, Friends can't help you when you are moving like that!" THE FLYING K flew one last time. A slow paced flight that was as gentle as the wind blowing. THE K flying with his arms spread wide wearing his Bridge School shirt around his waist and his RocK Werchter shirt with a Superman like logo on the front of his chest. THE FLYING K flew again. With such urbanity and confidence like he had been doing it for 50 years. He flew and as he passed people in the crowd, he knew they wanted to fly with him, just like everyone who saw THE K fly before.
After THE FLYING K's final flight that beautiful day in George, Washington he landed at the top of the amphitheater where Ben Harper was about to come on and play his touching music. THE FLYING K just lied there as Ben Harper played the soundtrack to his life for the past two years. (Pleasure & Pain, Waiting on an Angel, Burn One Down, With My Own Two Hands, Diamonds on The Inside, Whipping Boy, The Drugs Don't Work, Walk Away, Excuse Me Mr., and FOREVER)
The point of THE FLYING K is that everyone should enjoy life. He believed you created your own luck. He lived with the idea that the more chances you take the more good things will happen. I guess it was time that THE K's luck was up, but at the same time failure stared him straight in the eyes. In the last few months THE K started reading books, writing a lot of poetry and short stories. The very first poem he wrote he started to carry around with him at all times during all flights. It was written in Portland, OR following his first dark rainy winter on April 20th, 2002 about a girl. THE FLYING K a great wing man, a great poet and a great friend died in Las Vegas, Nevada trying to reach the bright lights of the Vegas Strip. He was at the airport on his way home from his first mind-blowing experience to New York City where he decided he needed to fly the Vegas strip one last time. He was found 4 days after his death in a ditch on the side of the road (Layne Staley Style).
THE K was only 2 and a half years old when he died. He died at a young age, but he lived a great life. He stood for things that people forget in this day in age. He wanted to bring smiles to people’s faces and make a difference. I think he accomplished all of those things in a short amount of time. All of that did not matter to him because he enjoyed life. THE FLYING K is not gone forever. His legacy will live on with each story told, by each person he touched. I know he is out there somewhere flying around in a town near you. Just look for a pigeon and you will find THE FLYING K.
If THE FLYING K were still around today I think he would tell you to enjoy life, be happy with the cards that have been dealt, appreciate everything and everyone, don't take anything for granted and always, always have fun. ENJOY!
THE LAST HOPE
I am high right now
I smoke a lot of pot
My window is cracked
I want to have a cigarette
My checkbook is low
And I need some more stamps
The ATM machine
Can’t give me more cash
I have to go to work tomorrow
And make some more money
There are guys outside
Making some noises
I got some pictures back
Of my beautiful city
What I need now
Is a wonderful girl
The Manual For Free Living By The Pearl Jam 10 Club
Stupid White Men By Michael Moore
Illusions "The Adventure of a Reluctant Messiah” By Richard Bach
The Celestine Prophecy By James Redfield
The Way of the Peaceful Warrior By Dan Millman