with unsterile needles. Who knows? I’ll tell you one thing. That stuff in the Herald about blood and Voodoo—that was truly outrageous! Now Régis—he was the exception. He got it from pulling teeth without gloves. Anyway, if you want to find out the answer, my advice is wake up and think out of the box. Don’t think like everyone else is thinking. Think left-handed. Think gay. Think Haitian. Otherwise, the virus will always be two steps ahead of you.”
Although he was still in the shadows, I could tell that the smile was gone from Tim’s face. I suggested we walk to Mallory Square to take in the sunset and the street performers. I noticed an occasional stare from the straight tourists as we left the restaurant and headed down Duval Street.
Meanwhile, Tim kept spending or committing grant funds without accounting for them. My office had to track these expenses surreptitiously. During a one-day visit to Key West he ran up a $100 tab in cab fares.
“Why didn’t you rent a car?” I asked in frustration.
“I had to give up my license,” he mumbled. “I can’t afford the insurance.”
He recommended an administrator for the Key West project who did not do a good job. The administrator “retired” to Spain with no notice. The project checkbook was missing for two weeks before it was finally found in a drawer by a secretary. Those two weeks were my worst two weeks on the faculty. Fortunately, there were no funds missing.
These problems with judgment tested my commitment to keep Tim working for as long as possible. “Have you thought about retiring on disability and going home to be with your family?” I asked. Tim’s parents had died in an automobile accident when he was young. He was “somewhat estranged” from the other members of his family, except for one sister in Stuart, and he didn’t want to be a burden to her. She had young children. Most of his close friends were either already dead or more debilitated than he was. I could see that without his work Tim had little to live for.