This week was perhaps the toughest since starting the story; I wanted to move it ahead by showcasing some of the absurdity that befells Curtis after Joey leaks/Tweets his intention to bet his life on "The Spin," but did not want it to move too slow nor too fast. As the Carpenters sang, "We've only just begun" to examine the madness about to take over Curtis Stanfield's life. Hope this is enough to keep your interest.
As Dominos Fall
Since the call from Joel Fischman—well, since the Tweet from Joel Mitchelson, actually—his life resembled one of those Guinness Book of World Record TV shows where some obsessive Japanese guy with too much time on his hands sets up a multi-tracked course of hundreds of thousands of dominos, and prematurely sets them in motion by absent-mindedly bumping into one of ‘em.
Fischman’s seductive call was followed by three other similar reach-outs from Caesar’s Entertainment, MGM Resorts International and native-run Foxwoods Resort; each one upping the ante (with Foxwoods being the most blatantly aggressive) with their come-to-us proposals. Private planes. Three-story presidential suites. Food, drink and a line of casino credit. Backstage visits to superstar shows. The kind of perks tossed at the feet of the highest of their high-rollers.
And that was just from the American/”bricks & mortar” side. Also dangling “spin here” packages in front of Curtis were Ladbrokes, the British-based online casino (“You made your money in high tech,” they said. “This is the future of gambling, too. The message is so utterly coherent!), and the obscenely large Venetian Macao in Macau (“The biggest move in your life should be made at the biggest casino in the world,” was their pitch), which offered to fly Curtis, his entire family, six friends of his choice and his dogs in his own first class section of the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner to get him over there.
Yet that was just one path racing out of control. Like those wacky domino toppling exhibitions, Curtis’s life was a simultaneous chain reaction of action, madly off in different directions, each one unique and off-beat.
There were dozens of requests for interviews from media outlets ranging in size from the local freebie newspaper tossed into apartment building lobbies to the New York Times; from Howard Stern on SiriusXM to Anderson Cooper on CNN.
There were sponsorship pitches from a seven different high-end clothing manufacturers vying for him to wear their brands in public from now until the day of the spin, as well as from BMW and Scion offering up their cars as his “official transportation.”
Then there were threats from anti-gambling groups, bemoaning the fact that his decision would have a negative ripple effect upon Americans, particularly the lower income bracket who already spend a disproportionate amount of their take-home pay on the lottery and other games of chance. (Curtis was creeped out that they managed to track down his mobile number, but did get a chuckle when the anonymous message ominously warned that “The sum total of all numbers on a roulette wheel adds up to 666!”)
It was almost too much for Curtis to comprehend. While the calls and emails and texts were coming directly to him, it felt as if this was all happening to someone else, and he was just a spectator. All this, in less than two days.
Thankfully, today was Sunday, his self-enforced day of exile from reality. This tradition was a throwback to the time spent at SnowBalls where without a forced day of rest, he and his compadres would’ve burned out long before building their business.
Curtis learned to love Sundays. He would sleep in, take his dogs to the park for hours, go to the gym, sip coffee and catch up on the physical and digital reading that would inevitably pile up. To him Sunday wasn’t a “real” day; it was a pseudo day where everything ran at 3/4 speed. Yes, stores were open, and things were happening…but not really. To him, it was a 24-hour suck on a suspended animation straw. His ultimate goal—a lifetime of Sundays.
But this Sunday reminded Curtis of some of his earliest “forced rest” Sundays, which were way more stress than bliss. On this Sunday, there were so many conflicting messages and requests buzzing inside his head, on his phone, on his iPad and in his face that he decided to take advantage of some vacation days owed and take the upcoming week off work.
Not to take it easy, though. The way Curtis figured it, he had five days to build a team to help him deal with what was happening. And cope with what was about to come.
To be continued next week...