That Time I Met A Billionaire (Part I)

My fiancée has a friend who is a constant train wreck. A disaster piled on top of disasters, like if the Hindenburg exploded and a million 9/11s came out.

A few summers ago, Trainwreck invited us over to a friend of a friend’s birthday party where she had been drinking all day and in order to “really feel the alcohol” she took a xanax. Keep in mind, Trainwreck is 90 lbs and drinks like… some kind of person who drinks a lot of alcohol. I dunno, a teamster maybe? No, like a teamster’s Polish dad. By the time we got to this day-long bender, Trainwreck asked if we wanted to smoke a joint. I declined but my fiancée obliged and the next thing we knew, shit got real.

These two lovely ladies wanted to go dancing about a mile away in Boystown and since I knew no-one at this party save for a drunken birthday boy wearing a sea captain’s hat playing flippy cup, I went along on the walk. Within minutes Trainwreck’s face became a cartoon lemon. The full effect of every bad decision she made that night and maybe in her whole life seemed to have bore down upon her all at once; every drink of that day, the half joint, the xanax, that time she lied to her mom about brushing her teeth when she was 7, all of it! And the weight was so heavy that she collapsed on the grass in front of 7/11.

“Luey help her up!” Mariya shouted at me as she rushed to help.

“I was gonna!” I replied, but first I recorded a Vine of Trainwreck’s ill-fated attempt to pull herself up onto a stop sign pole because that shit was hilarious. Down she went again, and up came the contents of her stomach onto the street: 7 gallons of vodka, the half broken-down xanax, a Florida license plate.

We got ourselves into an Uber with a apprehensive driver in a tidy grey sedan, who not once but thrice told us he was going to kick us out of the car if “dat girl trows up in here.” She did not and so he did not, but instead of going to her apartment, she had us drop her off at a loft in the west loop belonging to her on-again off-again boyfriend, a douchebag eurotrash party boy who was out of town that weekend. I can only guess where he was but based on the interior of his loft apartment—huge unframed posters of the rat pack, a blue felt pool table with a giant panther logo emblazoned on it and three dishes in the kitchen—I’d say he was somewhere dark and noisy, surrounded by girls with bad boob jobs where the nipples are cockeyed and guys with too many zippers on their jackets.

Trainwreck asked—and to a certain extent, insisted—that we leave her slumped on the front stoop of the building like so many trash bags full of old mannequin parts. I felt strongly, and still do, that leaving garbage on your front stoop is how you get rats, so Mariya got her keys and I picked her up fireman style and took this trash to the garbage, or in this instance walked her up to her boyfriend’s loft. Once there, she stripped naked and threw up somewhere between six and fifty more times before we finally got her into her bed. The next morning, she texted Mariya with an “LOL, last night was pretty messed up. Let’s hang again soon ok!”

And so we did.

Less than a month after this drunken adventure, Trainwreck had started dating a man of more demure tastes and told my fiancée that she had to meet him. He was older, she said, and rich.

There are levels of richness that may not be apparent to the layperson, all of you thinking of retiring with a million dollars after 40 year careers and hoping that lasts you til you die have no idea what rich means. A million dollars in 2055 money is gonna barely buy you two moon sandwiches and a Martian hand job if you’re lucky. Meanwhile, there are men of such wealth in this world that your million dollar retirement funds couldn’t cover more than a few months of their side chick’s new purse budget.

And that’s the level of rich that this guy was. Is. Will be forever. 

“Trainwreck’s new boyfriend is rich.” Mariya told me over dinner.

“You told me.” I responded. 

“No. Like, really rich.” She said. “He’s a billionaire. With a b.” I was impressed immediately. Not for his riches, but for his naivety in spending any time with Trainwreck.

“If that’s true,” I countered, “he has to have a wikipedia page.” There are only a few hundred billionaires in the world and if Biz Markie has a wikipedia page, then B.S. surely had to have one as well.

As I whipped out my phone to begin sleuthing I looked at Mariya. “No one who’s a billionaire made that money in an honest way.”

She seemed legitimately offended by the remark. “You’re just jealous.”

Maybe I was jealous. I had been fed the lifestyles of the rich and famous through popular media, just like the rest of America, my entire life. These people are better than you, these people worked hard to get where they are. If you work hard, you can get there too. Then in my 20s it became obvious that plutocrats beget plutocrats and unless you’re one of the chosen few, the wealth doesn’t trickle down, it spins around and around in the same few circles.

To my surprise, [billionaire] didn’t have his own dedicated wikipedia page, but the patriarch of his family did. He was oil-rich with company ties to revolutions in foreign countries among other indiscretions. “See?” I told Mariya, “Evil. Corrupt. Terrible.”

“Well I’m sorry you feel that way,” she told me, “because he invited us to a party at his house next weekend and we’re going.”

And if you think I passed on going to a billionaire’s house on ethical grounds you would be wrong.

Luis Rodriguez