It's been quite the journey, and now it's time to officially wrap up The Spin with the all-important Epilogue, which ties up loose ends, answers questions and (hopefully) leaves readers satisfied with this story...and hungering for more. My plans for The Spin are simple--I never did this for gain of any type, but I am somewhat curious if it's any good or four months of literary masturbation. To find out, I'm sending it to two high-powered friends in Hollywood; one a network TV producer, the other a well-respected manager, both who I trust to be brutally honest. I'll keep you posted. No matter what they say, I'll be toying with Apple's new iBook program, with this 18,500-word opus as my raw material.
I also have been taking notes for another story, "Playing God," about the art of writing fiction and the trouble it can get you in with the characters you create. When I'm ready to reveal, it will find its way here (but I guarantee you a much shorter tale this time).
Given that I've been asked to contribute to the Huffington Post, I may resurrect the "Weekly Lessons" concept for a bit, see how much of that stuff HuffPo will be open to, and publish the remnants here.
And then there's my day job, from which this is a nice weekly escape. As Just For Laughs heats up with its 30th Anniversary in Montreal, events in Chicago, Toronto and Sydney, Australia, as well as a slew of new TV shows we're developing and delivering, my time here may be limited over the next seven months.
But then again, it IS the way I relax, and as Stephen King once said, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."
Thanks for reading. And now, to put a button on it...
Epilogue--The Dust Settles
Although the epitome of anti-climax, history should note that the ball came rest in number 30, coincidentally Curtis’s pants size. Given the arcane nature of roulette color-coding (in number ranges from 1 to 10 and 19 to 28, odd numbers are red and even are black; in ranges from 11 to 18 and 29 to 36, odd numbers are black and even are red), it landed on red.
That meant nothing to Curtis. He was long gone before the wheel stopped turning, his head clear and his former net worth safely nestled in Wynn bank accounts.
To those who bet “Red” or “30” or on any number of successful side bets (i.e. “time wheel spent spinning before ball landed in its final number” or “total dollar amount bet by females in Nebraska”) at casinos all over the world, it meant a payday of differing proportions.
But to those who bet on Curtis to bet on red, or black for that matter, it meant outrage.
The lawsuits began at lightning speed almost as soon as the commemorative chip touched down. People accused the Wynn of collusion, of fraud and of worse, but due to either a slight clerical error or some unspoken strategic brilliance, nowhere in Curtis Stanfield’s agreement with the casino was he obligated to bet on red or black. Despite the global reach of the event, nobody ever bothered to ask about, or confirm, the ultimate red or black wager. The winners in this case were the army of lawyers who cashed in early with a few billable hours before having to inform their furious clients that there was no leg for them to stand on.
Because of this, the Wynn properties made out like bandits, pocketing not only Curtis’s initial stake, but multiple millions of dollars placed on his much-maligned surprise decision. To put it lightly, the casino cleaned up, and to paraphrase Joey, “The Greens” had reared their unlucky and ugly heads, but in a very different manner. While Wynn management had to comp a few dozen rooms, meals, show tickets and markers from some incensed high rollers, they quietly held Curtis as some sort of hero.
Ironically, so did the people at Stop Predatory Gambling. In an official statement, the group heralded Curtis’s flippant flip as “not merely a renunciation of the concept of The Spin, but a complete disavowal of gaming as a whole,” and quickly trademarked its new, somewhat clunky, corporate slogan: “Turn The Other Way and Toss It Over Your Shoulder.”
Despite the original shock, mayhem and melodrama, Fox also had a field day. Soldiering through early headlines like “Fox Left Red-Faced” and “Black Eye For Las Vegas,” the live broadcast of The Spin was its highest-rated special since the salad days of Joe Millionaire and Alien Autopsy. Better still, viewing numbers of the emergency re-run later that night beat the original broadcast due to the hype and hysteria. Best of all, Fox enjoyed a trickle-down ratings bonanza on its sports and new networks, which fueled the flames of controversy with almost constant re-hashing, analysis and interpretation by countless experts, pundits and eye-witness accounts.
As for the dozens of sponsors, while a handful apologized for their involvement and officially postured a mild sense of indignation, not one asked for its money back.
Meanwhile, industrial-strength computers in remote server farms all over the map suffered intermittent meltdowns as the Internet bucked and yawed under the weight of Twitter, YouTube and Facebook traffic. While the buzz ran the extreme of both negative (“Fry the cheating bastard!”) and positive (“St. Stanfield lives!”), the consensus was that Curtis was a bad-ass, a rebel, an individualist who’s no slave to the system, no lackey to ‘The Man.” This only added to his twisted legend, which is why the Fox film studio rushed his life story into production instead of cancelling it.
Lisa Mankoff returned to her financial management business in Denver, but spent most of her time at her new pied-a-terre in New York where she was the toast of society balls on a near-nightly basis. Her insightful tell-all book, “Spinning The Spin,” was an instant best-seller (no doubt aided by Curtis’s decision to stay monk-like mum on the subject), and opened the floodgates for slick entrepreneurs and delusional wackos everywhere to besiege her with “The Next ‘The Spin’.”
Joey Mitchelson moved to Hollywood to work at CAA as the protégé of Martin Kleinman. Deep down, Kleinman believed that Joey was the ringmaster for Curtis’s earth shattering, controversial move, a notion that Joey was wise enough to neither confirm nor deny, keeping his new mentor in a state of intellectual détente.
Sidney Tusk was retained as Curtis’s clearing house, the center-point for all calls and requests for his secluded client, learning 425 new ways to say “no” in the process.
As for Curtis himself, he settled in a beautiful but unpretentious ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which he shared with his wife—a young east-coaster he met on a snowboarding excursion to Taos Mountain 90 minutes away—and their 10 dogs, eight new brothers and sisters to Rockwell and Shaynie, heartwarmingly selected from rescue shelters in the area. He spent most of his time at the community college, where he both took and taught classes on diverse, curiosity-inspired subjects.
All his money was in now the hands of his trustworthy buddy Pat Singer, who put him on a modest monthly allowance and kept him oblivious to the mysterious details of his conservative investment strategy.
As a thank you gift, Pat bought Curtis a watch; a vintage gold pocket watch that would’ve cost more than the $500 it set him back had its ancient internal mechanisms actually been able to operate.
Curtis looked at what he called his “stoppedwatch” often, for it marked a very special time. No matter when he consulted it, it was this time of the month.
Curtis loved this time of the month.
And for a long, long time.
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?