We're getting closer to the end than the beginning. And I'm enjoying the increasing absurdity of the adventure. This week--a little but of sadness is plowed under by the tidal waves of opportunity. Enjoy!
The Sheer Array of
Miranda’s note had an immediate effect on Team Curtis, increasing it in size (either 50% or 33%, depending on whether you count Curtis himself as a team member) with the addition of Sidney Tusk, the sharply dressed and sharp-toothed divorce lawyer.
“I don’t get it,” Curtis quasi-bleated to Joey and Lisa. “We weren’t even married. This is absurd.”
“Tell that to the state legislature of Colorado,” Lisa replied. Twice divorced, she knew the ropes…and knew that if you didn’t, they’d quickly twist into a noose and hang you. She spoke using the terms that were used to her advantage during her most recent relationship breakdown. “You cohabitated, you had joint financial responsibilities, and the way you two carried on, you openly held yourself out to the public as married. But don’t worry, Sidney will look after you and make it as painless as possible.”
“At least you get to keep the dogs,” Joey chimed in without looking up from tapping out more tweets on his iPhone.
“Yeah,” Curtis sighed, “but now I’m gonna have to hire a dog-walker or some service to pick up the slack.”
“That should be your biggest problem,” said Lisa.
And at the present moment, Miranda situation aside, it was. Team Curtis had been together for less than a week, and the deals were rolling in without much outgoing effort on its part. The Spin had essentially taken on a life of its own, and as things are apt to happen in an aggressively competitive, hysterically hyperlinked era, seemingly intelligent and responsible corporate types were fighting over themselves like frenzied mid-west Black Friday shoppers in a desperate effort to be part of it.
So, on this Saturday night at Lux, perhaps Denver’s hippest, see-and-be-scene, what had started out being a friendly get-together to ostensibly “discuss strategy” had turned into a no-nonsense status update of a project that had the potential to snowball out of proportion if not kept in check. Now a trio unbound by the constraints of Miranda’s doubt, they spread papers and iPads over the trendy tablecloth of one of Lux’s cherished back-wall tables and tried to get a grip on the most recent wheeling-and-dealing.
“This may not be the best location to do this,” said Curtis through an incessant flow of waves, handshakes and well-wishers.
“Nonsense,” purred Lisa as she laid luminous lipstick tracks on an extra-wide martini glass. “You are on display. The featured attraction in the latest human zoo. Sit back, relax and smile. They’ll be doing the brunt of the work for us.”
By now, Curtis had cashed out his accounts with Pena Mauropam and Al Horowitz, the two remaining members of his one-time Fab Four of financial advisors. Despite his condo and a few other hard assets being frozen—at least in his head—by the Miranda situation, his total liquid assets available to go double-or-nothing on The Spin was an eye-opening $3,878,422.97. In a private ceremony that marked the end of his days being on the receiving end of the stomach-punch of his monthly investment statements, he placed the entire amount in the safekeeping of a FDIC-insured US Treasury Bill that paid some negligible amount of interest, popped open a bottle of champagne, downed a glass, and poured the rest over the four envelopes that confirmed the closing of his accounts. A bit childish, but fulfilling nonetheless.
Normally, it would be hard to concentrate through the buzz of humanity overlaid by the intricate, triple-track work of Lux’s DJ, but the sheer array of opportunity laid out before Curtis was magnetic:
--The casino bidding war had now escalated to six mega-properties vying to be “The Official Home of The Spin.” Perks now being bandied about included an “appearance bonus” like the ones given to top golfers or tennis players to merely show up at certain tournaments; special edition casino chips—red on one side, black on the other—emblazoned with Curtis’ face; the opportunity to program a mega after-party, including a live appearance from amongst a dozen of the top bands currently touring; as well as a permanent structure, either a statue or art installment commemorating The Spin.
--Sponsors were tossing proposals like coins in the Trevi Fountain, making wishes for Joey to grant. “The genius of all this,” Joey remarked, “is that the ‘Red or Black’ outcome opens the door to two sponsor groups at the same time”…which allowed him to field pie-in-the-sky offers from companies as diverse as Red Bull, Red Lobster and the Red Cross on one side, and Johnnie Walker Black, Black & Decker and Blackberry on the other.
--There was the somewhat lunatic fringe side as well. Schwinn, the legendary bicycle maker, pitched the idea of setting the Guinness World Record for Largest-Ever Spin Class by hauling 1,750 exercise bikes to whatever casino Curtis finally decides to call home. Anti-gambling groups, most notably Washington’s Stop Predatory Gambling, were assembling and were planning to use The Spin as a focal point for a full-court-press mass protest. And none other than Simon Cowell himself had sent a lawyer’s letter requesting that Curtis and co. refrain from using the #RedorBlack hashtag as it conflicted with his company’s British TV gameshow of the same name. “Foolish nuisance crap,” assured Sidney, even though this was out of his area of legal expertise. “That bitter prick can’t stake claim to the entire color spectrum.”
With the appearance of three stunning, embarrassingly-underdressed waitresses at the table, Joey and Lisa had to gather up the assorted clutter to make room for their main courses. As he shifted over in the leather banquette to accommodate the pile of paper and pads, he reflected on his life.
Maybe it was the liquor, maybe the euphoria of all the opportunity his plan put before him, but right about now, he was feeling pretty good. Yes, his long-time relationship had come to a screeching halt, but that probably would’ve happened with or without The Spin, he rationalized. Ahhh, she’ll be back, he rationalized further. And if not, he continued to rationalize, he’ll find someone better.
What’s more, the adventure, the attention, the future had managed to lift the monthly anguish of volatility. Not that everything was clear-cut, but the unpredictability now put before Curtis Stanfield was of a different type. No more would he agonize between choosing the lesser of two evils; now all he had to do was choose between the greater of two goods. Or three goods. Or even four or five at times.
This type of volatility he could live with.
There was nowhere to go but up.
He raised his glass, and proposed a toast that left both Joey and Lisa with a slightly perplexed smile.
To be continued next week...