"I dunno, Petey, this looks like the biggest asshole convention I've ever seen."
"Dude, you got all the heavy hitters there! Tom Hicks, Ross Perot Jr. Hey, look over there, that's Roger Staubach! Can't tell me you've got a problem with him."
Pete wants to put "meaning" in my life, get me involved in Dallas power politics. Sure, Roger's a hero of mine but all the fuckers in this room have nothing better to do than live for their greed - even if it's in an "honest" way like Staubach. I've avoided these sort of social gatherings all my adult life. (I remember them as a kid as my oil man father was thick as thieves with the movers and shakers.) Until now I've felt a sort of latent guilt but viewing this shit up front and personal removes all doubt.
"I really don't want to be here, man."
"Oh, come on! These guys pull all the strings. Want to get something done, these guys can do it. Remember that movie set you wanted to build?"
"The Blade Runner set."
"Yeah, that! These guys can get it done and you won't be blocked like those Fort Worth clowns did to you. Ever read that guy at the Observer bitchin' and moanin' about there's some power circle controlling the city and everyone thinks he's a kook? Well, he's right! If you're not in, you're out. So which is going to be?"
"I'm out," I said, putting down my drink and heading for the elevator. Pete said something as I walked away but I couldn't imagine it having any possible relevance. So much for politics.
The penthouse assumes a strange veneer when you leave the lights off at night. I am its ghost and wanderer as the city lights flicker in oblivious duty. Industrious souls laboring in the skyscrapers deep at night. Who are these people? Are they concocting big deals or simply compiling billable hours or is it even the poor bastard cleaners who have the office lights on? I've longed to know this my entire life but never pursued an answer. I've also wondered just who is better off, me or them?
A purposeless life robs the world of color. That's why it feels so right sauntering through my dark abode. Why pretend? "Lifestyle is not a life." I can say this to no one. Tell it to my money friends and they get bent out of shape realizing how empty their pursuits are. Tell it to those without money and they attack you for destroying their illusions of a moneyed existence. Even those without money stake their happiness on independent wealth. I'm just shouted down.
Some ignorant fuck asked me if the massive drop in oil had put a dent in my finances. "Going to have to sell your Maseratis?" He thought he was really sticking it to me with his vain hope of my losing my prize collection. I answered, "You mean what am I going to do with only 700 million instead of 8?" That pleased him none too much and he'd be even more displeased if he knew truth. I've pulled in a cool 100 mil with this drop.
This gorgeous Maserati 250F set me back 4.4 mil
including the auction house premium
Dad never missed a trick and one of those was to prepare for contango, when future delivery prices are higher than the current spot price. Right now, a barrel of oil can be purchased for $61 and sold in December for $67. Problem is you have to have the infrastructure to store it in the meantime. Other assets come into play but that's the gist of it. Had I worked at it like my advisers wanted I could have made 250 mil actually. What the fuck for? Whole point of having money is not to do what you don't want.
As part of a continued teenage rebellion I still donate money to charity through a foundation. Were my father still alive he'd be furious at my "subsidizing laziness". One thing I've noticed: the people I come to hate are invariably pissed at the mention of welfare or charity (unless it's some asinine golfing event that makes them look good). It's the only revenge I have left. I didn't even mention my donations to the Woman Of Fabric even though this is something I actually feel good about. Anyways, in my searching I took a tour of the Austin Street Shelter.
I dressed down and drove an unwashed Acura to appear as well off as some white collar office dude. I gasped as I walked in seeing the sea of cots filling the size of a small aircraft hanger. My tour guide was Becca and she was none too hard on the eyes. She explained it was for men only over 45 as its original intent was to help military veterans. Even with this restriction it maxes out every day.
She also showed me across the street where the transitional living quarters are complete with a computer room for those ready to move into permanent housing. They also keep wardrobe in stock for job interviews, including a big supply of black pants required for many downtown events. These are practical, realistic solutions in a world that expects everyone to have a computer, a cell and slick clothes. I was impressed. Yet I had no way of telling Becca I was as completely homeless as her clients without my massive money. I could never survive any sort of job.
I stand at zero. I look up at the Beccas of the world. In the world of power politics they would laugh at her but the Woman Of Fabric would respect her even as she couldn't me. I feel caught between two worlds. On my perpetually muted big screen flashes news of the world. The Fed has printed trillions of dollars in complete insanity as welfare to the greedy (and so the politicos can claim the economy is "saved") but if one were to mention the idea of simply distributing that money to the masses that would be derided in the strongest possible terms as irresponsible welfare. Yup, we be twisted.
Money, it's a worldwide pursuit, considered by most as a mark of morality even. My life has been a complete waste and if contango continues I'll end up a billionaire. But moral? People like Becca and the Woman Of Fabric and others leading real, purposeful lives could have no possible interest in me. Nations war for wealth but the wealth of a nation can only be the same as the wealth of an individual.
But as I sit here in fractured blackness mulling on my now five year separation from the Woman Of Fabric (and any of her ilk) the definition of wealth has become achingly clear to me. How certain it is that I am homeless. This pain and panic has me wanting to leap off the balcony in my life sentence of useless despair. Wealth, true wealth, is very simple to measure: It's determined by how much you have to offer. And for me, my friends, that would be nothing, a big zero; millionaire scum who'll never be anything more or less than what his mythical bank account numbers say.
Just wait till everyone finds this out.