I’m one of those who want to make my money the old fashioned way — inherit it. But coming from a family whose credit scores are lower than death row inmates and refer to debtor’s prison as “our summer home,” that prospect seems unlikely.
So I hired Freddie’s Five & Dime Financial, Lawn Care & Hip Replacement, Inc. to handle my investments. Freddie ran the company out of his pocket and was agreeable to meet clients anywhere but in public or daylight unless they had a warrant.
And although his business actions were for the most part illegal, immoral (and some just wrong) I clung to Freddie’s advice like a barnacle to the Titanic and soon had ownership of a restaurant. Though its name Gnaw and Swallow (or GAS) was off-putting, the food unrecognizable and a location that was GPS-proof, its slogan, “Live and Let Your Pants Out as Needed,” spoke to me. (Note to self: Have voices in head checked. Especially the one with the French accent who never offers to drive.)
The few customers who did find their way in were treated like royalty (e.g., the Tsar during the Russian Revolution) and not seated until they could properly demonstrate the Heimlich Maneuver. It shutdown quickly under a blizzard of lawsuits and a threat of my new fillings being repossessed with a backhoe. Freddie called the closing a fluke, blaming it on “that damned word of mouth.”
Although it would have been much less complicated to soak my money in white gas and pitch it into a bonfire, Freddie’s next idea proved just as effective (minus the smoke) — a theatrical play. Opening off-Omaha, it was a dark, brooding, intense story about the inner workings of a furniture store as seen through the eyes of a floor lamp named Teresa.
The author was Eugene O’No the self proclaimed, “Lousiest of the lousy playwrights of my generation,” but universally lauded as a genius for his use of the word “ain’t.” As one critic wrote of the opening night of Et Tu, Bookcase? “The random violence and brutal bloodshed during the opening scene had me averting my eyes and gasping for breath.” And that just described the audience trying to exit the theater.
The play closed down its second night amid much relief (the White House calling with congratulations) after the cast dressed as a circus and convinced the director to run away with them. Some still wonder if the play would have been a success if the playbill had been a different color. Those same people also wonder how long they’ll be institutionalized.
Freddy eventually went to prison (in a legal first he acted as his own prosecuting attorney) but not before I cut him loose after his last financial suggestion had my bones quaking in fear. A BANK!! The horror! Oh, the horror!