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[2 | Dallas] Download or Read PDF
(I am seriously fucked. I need to get out of Dallas. How did I even end up here? I don’t really remember much of the past eight years or so. I cannot believe I actually finished college. How did that happen? Well, undergrad, I guess – I am flunking out of grad school—God forbid I get a C in yet another class unrelated to my field. I swear, if 90% of the classwork I did, was actually related to my major, I’d have a Nobel Prize by now. If I ever want to make a real contribution to the science world, I will have to quit drinking. ‘Is that really what you want?’ ‘I don’t know, really. I mean, yea, I want to, but I kinda just wanna get rich and drink myself to death too.’ ‘What do you think will be easier: obtaining a fortune or finding an original discovery in physics, a discovery profound enough to gain you a fortune?’ ‘Odds are pretty high for both.’ ‘We could revisit the stock market.’ ‘You know how addictive that is, and emotions always take play even if you try not to.’ ‘True, but this time we have a decade of advanced mathematics behind us. If we devise a formula and stick to it, it will work.’ ‘I don’t disagree, but one of your greatest powers is also your greatest weakness.’ ‘I know. I am too sensitive.’ ‘Yes. No matter how much you try to prevent yourself from feeling, you will feel and feel more than most can comprehend.’ ‘What else are we going to do? Get a job?’ ‘No. We can’t do that. Might as well just load the gun myself.’ ‘Well, we have to figure out how to get the bills covered. Financial aid is gone for fall, and we barely have enough for the summer. No other prospects panned out, so it’s either a job or play the market.’ ‘We could try a casino—no, the odds are not even remotely worth the gamble.’ ‘Alright, then. I suppose the stock market. I mean, what is the worst that could happen? We lose, and we are just back where we are now.’)
[2.1 | At the Pool]
James sits at his desk in his rickety folding chair. The kind one finds at a bingo hall. It is accompanied by the same foldout table they cover with cheap plastic cloth. He wasn’t one to waste funds on material possessions; instead, he saved it all for drinking.
While sitting at his cheap desk, he became frustrated from reading an email sent by the financial aid office. (End of an era, I guess.) He closes out the email and deletes the history and cache, and slaps the laptop shut. He then pulls out his phone and deletes all apps related to his university and his synced email address. His actions are emotional and not thought through – but done – none the less. (Well, that’s that then.)
James takes a few minutes to look out the window in front of where he positioned his desk. He sees a clear blue sky, and the surroundings are filled with green grass and foliage. While he gazes into the beautiful weather, he thinks about the mistakes he has made in life.
(Why is my life so fucked. I am not an idiot, so why can’t I make money. People always say ‘I spend too much’ and that ‘I should work and save – work and save – save-save-save.’ I don’t think that is the issue. I guess I just don’t make enough is all. I could spend countless days slaving away just to make money I’ll never spend, or I could use that energy to make large sums of money and be free from the shackles of wage. Kind of funny how people are brainwashed into devoting their lives to making money, money that they’ll never spend, and then shun others for not doing the same.)
James flips the computer back open and goes to his investment account on E*TRADE. He had opened it earlier that week in case he got the denial form from the financial aid office. While he waited, he devised a formula for the market. He only put a few hundred dollars in it to play out his formula but now is planning to transfer the last few thousand dollars he has to his name into it. He contemplates with himself before hitting transfer, (If I cannot get this to work, what was the point of a decade of advanced math and physics. ‘Shit, if all else fails, I will just have to get a job. It’s worth the risk.’ ‘Why would you say such a thing? That is out of the question, man. Never think that way.’ ‘You are right. This will work, or else something else will. I mean, when has it not just worked out for us? We have a direct connection with the 3-6-9.’ ‘Indeed, sir. Indeed.’)
On Thursday morning, the 3rd of May 2018, James funds his E*TRADE account with money meant to pay his bills for June, July, and August. The moment he clicks fund, he feels a sensation of excitement accompanied by terror spread throughout his body. He then reads, “The assets will not be available for investment until the following business day.” Instead of being disappointed by the news, he uses the afternoon to hunt down potential stock picks that fit his formula. (Before doing so, I shall require some assistance.)
James decides to spend the remainder of the day sitting by the pool drinking beer while doing his stock research. Before he heads to the pool, he walks up Renner Road to the Tom Thumb and buys a case of Bud Light to take with him. When he returns home, he spends the remainder of the day pounding beer after beer while scouring the internet for companies to day trade.
By 8:00 pm, James drunk himself into a blackout state.
He wakes up early the next morning, wondering what he may or may not have done the night before. He feels great anxiety in the pit of his stomach when flashes of the evening come popping into his head.
(Acceptance is key. Anytime I am bothered by something, it is my choice to feel disturbed. If I don’t think about it, it doesn’t exist. That doesn’t stop the fact that there are police out there. They could be looking for me right now. Oh God, what did I do last night? Nothing-nothing-nothing. You always get like this; no one is upset with you. You always think you did something to offend someone, but that is never the case. Well, usually. There is always that one girl, or as of late, every girl, that thinks any guy she is not attracted to is a serial killer or rapist. Gawd – bitches be crazy. Shit. Acceptance, man, acceptance. What is the difference if I’m sleeping in this box alone or in another box alone? Life is too short to sit here and fantasize about shit I have no control over. Just get back on the horse. Oh Shit. I forgot I gotta get my stock picks rolling. What time is it?)
James sits up on the mattress, and the exhaustion brought on from the night before sets in. He wants to go back to sleep, but his brain wouldn’t let him if he tried. He searches through the layers of sheets and blankets for his phone. He begins panicking when he cannot find it thinking he lost it the night before. He shouts out. “Hey, Siri, where are you?” to which a dampened response echoes from between the mattress and the wall, “I’m over here.” A sense of relief comes over him. He wedges his hand between the wall and the mattress and pulls the phone out. When the screen comes on, it says battery power low, so he plugs it in and then reads the time is 8:34 am.
After plugging in the phone, he adjusts his pillows to brace his back and begins picking and pecking at the glass screen. The stocks he set up to buy the day before have all been executed. Within minutes three-fourths of his net worth was gone. (‘Christ. We just fucked ourselves.’ ‘Shit. What are we gonna do now for money?’ Crap, I forgot to pay my internet and electricity bills. If I withdraw this money now, I will be out half and screwed. ‘Don’t worry, man. Just relax the muscles and take a breath. The universe giveth and the universe taketh. Now we wait for the giveth.’)
James closes the investing app and deletes it from his phone and says out loud, “Screw this.” He pushes himself out of bed, and the night before makes itself present. The urge to vomit overcomes him, but he holds it back and rushes to the kitchen. He becomes nervous that he drank all the beer. He usually keeps a few for the morning for just these occasions but cannot recall if he set any aside on his way. He prays that there is at least one cold beer to settle his stomach before opening the fridge. (I need a beer asap. Dear God, Please. It is the only cure for this kind of hangover.)
James opens the refrigerator slowly to preserve the fantasy of the beer being there just in case it isn’t. When the light from the fridge hits his eyes, he is shocked to see a whole case of beer in the fridge and a full stack of lottery tickets sitting on top of it. A flashback pops in his head. He is walking back up to the Tom Thumb grocery store at a fast-pace to arrive before 9:00 pm. (Oh, yeah! I won five hundred dollars on a scratch-off and then bought four hundred dollars more along with the beer and a pizza. Maybe today will be a good day after all.) James flips the tab on the beer can and breaks the seal. When he hears the snap and hiss, it is pure music to his ears. He then puts the cold foamy opening to his mouth and takes small sips until the alcohol seeps into his veins and the urge to vomit leaves. He then drank a few more beers and spent some time in the bathroom.
After reconciling himself, he throws on a pair of swimming trunks and a Hawaiian shirt. He then grabs the beer, fills a stew pot with ice, tosses the beers in with the ice, sticks the lottery tickets in his pocket, and heads back to the pool.
(Shoot, son. Well, at least we have some cash left ovah for the weekend. That is at least two hundred forty dollars. Most people don’t know that a full stack of lot-oh tickets is guaranteed to pay back at least sixty percent. Best odds you can have. If you don’t get a big winner, at least you know you only out four out of ten dollahs.)
By midafternoon, the beer is no longer having the desired effect, so James takes an Uber over to the liquor store and buys himself a bottle of Jack Daniels and a 2-liter of Coca-Cola. When he gets back to the pool, he mixes up Jack and Cokes and offers some to other people hanging around the pool.
The instant the whiskey hits his tongue, he blacks out, and the weekend is washed from his memory.
[2.2 | Monday]
James’s eyes open Monday morning, and an overpowering rush comes on him like the first drop of heroin in the blood, and he shoots awake as fast as a shot of cocaine. He jumps up off the floor and looks around, wondering what has happened to his bedroom. When he sees a stainless-steel toilet with no lid and a fountain nest to it, he realizes where he is: either jail, the drunk tank, or both. He is still quite intoxicated from the weekend.
After figuring out where he is, he walks over to the metal door of his padded cage and shouts out to the officers who are sitting at their desks. He has to kneel down and talk through a small opening meant to slide things in and asks, “Hey. Where am I?”
An overweight female officer pushes her chair back from a table, gets up, walks over to the cell, and slides an orange jumpsuit through the opening. She then walks away after saying, “Remove your clothes, slide them through the door, and put this on.” “Can you tell me where I am, please?” The lady turns around and says, “Put on the suit, and we can talk.”
This isn’t James’s first encounter with the law. He knows not to argue less he wants to make the situation worse. He knew from experience that the police force had become a power-hungry militarized gang. So, he does what she said to do and slides his clothes through after changing into the jumpsuit.
(There are two mafias you don’t wanna mess with here in the Americas: da PO-lease and da I – R – S. At least with the Sopranos, they just kill ya. The coppers will make your life hell until you die naturally, and taxers will suck you dry to the bone. Once yer all used up, they’ll toss you in a home and make you pay for health insurance.)
After some time passed, the lady returns, opens the door, and escorts James to a jail cell. The new cell has a foam mattress lying on the floor not too dissimilar from the one he has at home. It’s even wedged up in the corner of the room just as he keeps his—only smaller.
“What day and time is it, mam?” “It is Monday, May 7th – about four O’clock.” (Monday! What? Where the fuck am I? Wait, am, or pm?) “Excuse me, officer. Is it four in the morning or afternoon?” “Afternoon Hunny. You will be seeing a judge here shortly, then we’ll get you outta here.”
James lays down on the mattress, probing his brain for information leading to his arrest but all he can recall is buying champagne on Friday at some point. (Oh yes, champagne, beer, and hard liquor the perfect blend for a blackout.) Once he realizes he is stuck and still drunk, he lays back on the mattress and quickly falls asleep. He wakes up a little while later to the same officer standing at his head. He can clearly see the outline of her thick vaginal lips wrapped up tightly in the fabric of her police uniform.
“You sober yet, hun?” “Unfortunately.” “Ok, sweety, time to get up now. I talked to the Judge, and he said we can let you go on a warning since you weren’t violent.” “Violent?” “Oh honey, you were drunker than a college kid at their first sorority party. Really quite impressive. I don’t think we have ever had a breathalyzer that couldn’t read the blood alcohol content level. We actually had to draw your blood because we were concerned that you may have had blood alcohol poisoning. By the time they took the blood, you were close to forty percent, so when we used the breathalyzer, you must have been higher – as the thing only reads up to point four zero. It took almost two days for you to sober up. Why would you need to drink so much, hun?” “If you lived with me, you would understand.” “Ok, sweety. Well, let’s get you out of here.”
The officer takes him out to the hallway and enters an office, which separates them by a glass window. She gets his belongings from an exposed cubby on the back wall and then slides his clothes through the opening under the glass.
“You can change back into your clothes now, hun.” “Here? In front of you?” “Only if you don’t wanna go back in the cell, hun.” James quickly takes the orange jumpsuit off and puts his clothes on while the lady watches him with a satisfying grin pasted on her fat face. The officer then pulls out a plastic bag and dumps a bunch of stuff onto the counter, and slides the items one at a time under the glass window.
James watches one item after another come out while he zips up his jeans. First the keys and then an iPhone; then, some crumpled up receipts, some old notebook wrapped with a rubber band, and a rolled-up wad of hundred dollar bills as thick as a donut. He gets goosebumps when he sees the cash. He feels a moral dilemma come over him. (‘I don’t think that is my money. Should I take it?’ ‘No, don’t do it. Karma man – it’s not worth it.’) “Um, I don’t recall having that money officer?” “You don’t? Well, I can keep it for you then.” She said this in a flirtatious way, and then to straighten James out before he gets flustered, she gives him a bit of the weekend tale.
“Sweety, you were downtown Dallas at ‘The Mansion Restaurant’ buying everyone bottles of Cristal. You even had the bartender send the arresting officer’s home with a couple bottles. I gotta say, I never heard officers say they had such a good time arresting someone. You were very entertaining for all of us, hun. I suppose that is why the judge dropped the citation.” “Glad I could be of service.” “Good luck this week on the stock market! Next time hire a bodyguard or just stay home when you drink, hun. It was nice to meet you.” “You to officer. Have a good day.”
James walks out of jail into ninety plus degree heat with sunlight raining down on his dehydrated body. He had the officer request an Uber before exiting the building and the car was already there when he opened the door.
(They must wait here for drunks to be released like clockwork. Easy fair.) “You here for James?” “Yah.”
The Uber driver’s hand comes over the seat holding a bottle of water. The stranger, who is in a deep conversation on his headset, says, “Here, Buddy, you look like you need this.”, and he goes back to talking. James wanted to thank him for reading his mind, but the man seemed more concerned with the phone call. James drinks all the water in less than five seconds. He nods in the review mirror to thank the driver and gets a responding lip shrug implying, “No problem, buddy.”
James’s phone is dead, but he notices a twisted mess of cords sticking out the cigarette lighter meant for passengers to charge their devices with. He plugs his iPhone in the charger, and a few minutes later, it comes back to life. Once it turns on, he starts seeing notifications from E*TRADE—one after another, after another after another. The phone is locked, so he puts his finger on it, and it unlocks. He scrolls through the notifications; there are so many, he cannot count them. They all say- “Trade confirmation.” (That is strange. I thought I deleted this app.)
James again feels intense sensations throughout his body, feelings of fear and anxiety in anticipation of learning what he might have done over the weekend. He opens the E*TRADE app to see an available cash balance of $10,567,034.26. He becomes lightheaded at the site. It makes him feel as if he is floating outside and above the moving car. He looks at the trade history, and sometime after he blacked out on Friday at the pool, hundreds of trades were made. (I don’t remember doing this at all. I don’t even know how I could have made this many trades in a few hours. Is this a joke? What the hell happened.)
He sits the phone down on his knee sideways because the charging cord is a bit short. He then turns his head to stare at the balance—frozen, in a state of shock.
(What is the deal with this notebook?) James pulls the rubber band off of it and flips through a few pages. All that is written in it is scribbles that were clearly done by a drunk man, some stock symbols, and a few equations labeled “Time-displacement operations on R.”
(Well, not sure what I was writing in here or where this notebook came from, but oh well. Looks like I am freaking rich, man!) James is still wary, though. He transfers half the money to his checking account, thinking that there is no way this will go through. But, sure enough, with the quick transfer capabilities now available, his checking account has a balance of $5,000,017.34 within a few minutes.
[2.3 | Provisional Sobriety]
After James gets home and sleeps off his weekend of fun, he attempts to backtrack his Friday afternoon but can’t connect the dots. He then asks around the staffing at his apartment for some info, but they all said they haven’t seen him since Friday morning. He then remembers talking to an older lady at the pool who doesn’t usually talk to anyone. He remembers her reading a book and thinks he may have spoken to her. He is quite social and social with all ages when in a blackout state.
When James gets to the pool, he sees her again in the same spot and decides to ask her if she recalls seeing him. James walks up to her and says, “Excuse me, Miss.,” and she replies, “Why yes, Jim?” “Oh, I suppose you do remember me then,” She giggles and says flirtatiously, “Well, we had a great afternoon together, Jimmy. It was kind of bizarre, though. You were laying out drinking beer across the pool, and then I looked up, and you had disappeared. You were gone for almost two hours—your beer and everything still sitting there. Then, suddenly, you were right there as if you never left. I think I read about half my book while you were gone.” “I did? What is your name? I am so sorry, I kind of lost track of my memory since Friday afternoon.” She responds with an unusual giggle, almost as if the situation isn’t unusual at all, “Jimmy, my name is Elevyn. Don’t worry about it. You disappeared, came back, and we went downtown for cocktails, some dinner, and other stuff.”
James is thinking about what might have happened when she interrupts his thoughts and says, “You did pretty well on the market on Friday. We had a good weekend. Now it is time to get back to reality. From what I gather, it seems you are done with Texas now. I think it is time for you to head back home to Wisconsin, love. This university doesn’t have what you are searching for.”
The lady daintily pushes her petite, frail body from the chair while smiling at James. She then stands up and leans in. She puts her hands on the table to hold herself up and then kisses James on the cheek. After she releases her lips, she whispers in his ear, “I’ll see you again sometime, Jimmy.” She then walks away out of the pool area and quickly disappears.
James is even more confused now than he was fifteen minutes ago and doesn’t want to think about it anymore. He is also still exhausted from the weekend and needs a drink to help him relax and sleep so he can sweat off the toxins in his body.
After a few days of sleeping and mild consumption of low alcohol content beer, James comes out of his alcoholic funk. He has a moment of clarity and decides that he is taking a break from drinking. The high from all the money he has leaves him in a state of confusion and exhilaration. He has always struggled day-to-day for money and suddenly has all the money he will ever need. He contemplates finishing his Ph.D. at UT Dallas or going on an endless vacation. Still, education doesn’t seem like the main priority of his life now. For the longest time, physics was the only thing that gave James a sense of meaning, but a newfound fortune gives him the freedom to pursue, well, almost anything.
James has no friends or family in Texas, so he decides to take Elevyn’s advice and head back to Madison, WI, to be near what little family he has left. He spends the next few days looking for a condominiums in downtown Madison and quickly stumbles across a small condo he likes right in the heart of the city. Without hesitation, he makes a call, wires the money, and buys it.
Afterward, he gets online and orders a new mattress, bedding, and a fan. He has the furniture set to be delivered to the new condo to be there when he arrives. He then goes to his apartment’s management office, pays the early termination fee, gives the keys back, and says, “Bill me for any cleaning.” He then takes an Uber to the Mercedes dealership, buys a brand-new C-class with all the accessories, and drives until he reaches Oklahoma. Once he hits the border of Texas into Oklahoma. He reads on a large sign- “WELCOME TO OKLAHOMA – Discover the Excellence.”
When he sees the welcome sign, he raises his hand up to the rear window, sticks his middle finger up, and says, “Good riddance.”