Alton Pierre Marquis, II

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I posted the following information at

In the meantime, it starts like this:

Beware the handsome stranger who shows up in the 10th month of your bereavement…

I decided quite a while ago that the preceding would have to be the opening line of this account of my five-month involvement with the psycho con artist roommate, an involvement that resulted in such lovely activities as auto theft, identity theft, check fraud, emotional and verbal abuse and manipulation, and a faked suicide attempt, all of which were directed at me by one Alton Pierre Marquis, II.

Well, that's what he was calling himself May-October 2002, but I've seen papers of his on which his name is listed as Ailton Pereira Marques, and Alton on more than one occasion pointed out that he wasn't exactly sure what his real birth name – or even real birth date – had actually been. (He first told me that his birthday was December 18, 1969 but I saw yet another of his documents – he's keen on keeping these things, as if they somehow prove his existence – that listed his birthday as December 20, 1958. He's one of those people who could be a young looking 40 something or an old looking 30 something, so who knows?)

I would expect most readers by this point to be thinking, "Good gravy, how the heck did all this happen?" It's a good question, not one I have a ready answer for. But it's past time to begin recounting what occurred. Maybe, by the time I've finished doing so, I'll have some clue as to how all this transpired. Likewise, hopefully other people will avoid making the same mistakes I did.

Where to start?

With Jeremy, of course. My partner of seven years suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage and collapsed with no warning on July 4, 2001; he died two days later, at age 30, never having regained consciousness.

It was devastating for all of us, of course, and my particular way of coping with it was to carry out the agenda that Jeremy and I had long planned, e.g., buying a house that would be great for entertaining in, acquiring a second dog as a companion for Saki, our Shiba Inu female, and so forth. The insurance money and retirement benefits that came my way as Jeremy's beneficiary made these things possible. Picking out curtain rods at IKEA goes a long way to taking your mind off the fact that your soulmate has shuffled off the mortal coil.

From the beginning I knew that I really wasn't going to be able to afford the house without having one or more roommates. I prevailed upon my friend Calvin to join me at 7911 Oakington. It seemed like a pretty good match at the time but in just a couple of months Calvin himself had an unexpected opportunity to buy a house of his own. I moved into 7911 on December 1, 2001, Calvin moved in around January 1, 2002, and by the middle of March he'd moved into his new place.

His departure coincided with my very late realization that both the Texas Teachers Retirement System and Vanguard had significantly under withheld the taxable portion of Jeremy's retirement annuities and I owed Uncle Sam a whopping tax bill (circa $18,000) that I hadn't budgeted for. If I'd had any sense I would have gone to a CPA in the fall to figure out what my tax bill was going to be and set aside the requisite amount, but that just wasn't going to happen; instead I tried to spend my way out of grief and when the tax bill came due I had to obtain a home equity loan to pay for it.

"I've REALLY gotta have some roommates!"

So I put ads in the local daily newspaper and online and in the Houston Voice, the weekly newspaper for Houston's LGBT community. Responses were slow but finally, in early May, I started getting some responses.

Alton was one of the respondees.

He was handsome and charming and 10 months after Jeremy had passed away I was just about ready to start living again.

I knew all the things I was supposed to do. Get the person to fill out an application, get all the pertinent information, get references, do background checks. And I didn't do it. All of that seemed very inconsequential considering what I'd just been through over the previous 10 months. Besides, the idea of having to any MORE in the way of processing information was more than I could bear.

He seemed like a great guy, he had a job, he had a truck, why not? He moved in the following week, sometime about mid-May 2002.

It was the single worst mistake of my life.

Richard Jasper
Oak Park, MI

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