Dear name of client or debtor,
A few things I have finally become brave enough to admit right off the bat: (1) Yes, I’ve lost/don’t have your money. There is nothing I can do about that, so how long are you going to focus on the negative? Me, I’ve moved on, but believe me when I say this is unlike any other path I’ve ever been on. (2) Things aren’t going that great for me, either. You’re not the only one having a bit of a tough time. I’ve been in the RV for hours tonight just trying to unwind from the seven-hour drive that hasn’t even gotten me out of Yellowstone National Park. It’s been what feels like weeks of driving and I haven’t even made it to Jackson Hole. Look, you might be broke as a result of my failing to make you wealthy. Fine, granted, guilty as charged. That aside, if you can stop focusing on you, you, you, I’d like to tell you that I’m a bit down in the dumps myself. If you can actually get your mind off of self-centered money B.S. and lend an ear—or, in the case of this e-mail, an eye—it would be much appreciated. Do I still have your attention, Mr. King of Financial Regrets?
Do you know what sad is?
Being sad has nothing to do with giving someone your money and then having them (me) fail to make you millions. Let me tell you a little bit about sad. Sad is when you’re living day to day feeling godforsaken in a rudderless life behind the wheel of a rented recreational vehicle. A huge and grounded mothership with a gigantic mural of an aggressive eagle airbrushed on the side of it and a message painted just below said eagle that features an 800 number and says something to the effect of, “I’m living the American Dream! Thanks, RV RENTS USA!”
What, might you ask, does one do in one’s downtime when living in a car, essentially? You spend your downtime in God’s country dodging text messages from women you’ve slept with in the last decade, most of whom keep in constant touch under the misconception that you’ve made and hung onto millions of dollars. They ticky-tap-tap little test messages in curt, abbreviated shorthand missives on cell phones and send them off, probably picturing me on a yacht or in an executive helicopter, not realizing that I’ve lost millions of dollars—basically all of my (your) money. Try having my heartless and indifferent cell phone blasting this little gem at your eyes after nine hours behind the wheel creeping along in mile-long Yellowstone high-season-traffic clusterfucks of normal people slowing down and trying to get a peek at a bored bear eating weeds by the side of the road; this one came in about an hour ago, chief:
Hey. It’s K8. Do U still go 2 Aspen? Do u know Ben Stiller?
Or another favorite, from Kristin in Portland:
Hey U. We fcked in my dream. R U in town soon? Bye!
It takes everything in me to ignore these. Because how the hell would I abbreviate my honest reply? What’s the shorthand for the following?
Hi, Kate. No, no, I don’t go to Aspen. No, I don’t have a house there anymore, so it would be strange to show up, wouldn’t it? And I don’t know Ben Stiller. I don’t even know much about him. But I do know that he’s probably never burned through seven figures of someone else’s savings in 13 months, then been evicted from a $12,000-a-month apartment only to start living in a camper in hopes of outfoxing what feels like certain doom and legal action. I’m also certain he’s not eating beef jerky and a can of mixed nuts for dinner tonight and washing it all down with a lukewarm Gatorade he bought with a Visa credit card at a gas station. And I’m pretty damn sure Mr. Stiller doesn’t spend his days trying to dodge friendly normal folks asking about the rental rates of aforementioned vehicle in response to the airbrushed mural of a goddamned eagle laced with hard-sell bullshit headlines about how the driver of the vehicle is “living the American Dream!” But I could be wrong. For all I know, financial solvency is not without its rigors these days.
Look here, name of client or debtor, I know I sound a little down in the mouth for the guy who lost/doesn’t have your money. I mean, you could argue that, well, it was your money I lost in my failed attempt to whip up millions in return. But the fact is, we’re not so different, you and I. We’re both sitting around in the U.S. of A. crying in our domestic beer and lamenting being left high and dry after having indulged nothing more than a good old-fashioned American lust for legal tender. Hell, now that I think about it, the advertisement on the side of this rig is right; I am living the American Dream! Look, I’m sorry I failed to make you millions, but I refuse to simply fade away and stay out of touch, even though I’m living like that goddamned degenerate manager of the Partridge Family. Reuben, I think, was his name. In a bus, without money, children of my own, or a marriage, and with everything I ever wanted and everyone I ever loved fading away faster than I can build the future that’s supposed to fill the space they leave when they go away. Yes, I’ve been drinking. Yes, I’m lonely. Yes, the Penthouse magazine I bought at a gas station on Highway 191 stopped working weeks ago. Fact is, maybe I shouldn’t be writing you, but it feels like the right thing to do. Of course, that’s the same instinct talking that lost your money.
Don’t worry. You’ll get your millions. I’ll figure something out. I’ll rise again like the eagle on the side of this thing I drive and apparently live in.