A Smart Kid
by S.H. Linden
At the age of nine he ordered a credit card under his mother’s name. At the age of eleven he declared Chapter 7, which left a notation on his mother’s credit report: “deadbeat.”
How he got in debt was an early example of his business acumen. He had purchased a computer, scanner, a top of the line printer and started printing phony ten dollar bills, which he sold to his schoolmates at fifty percent of face value.
By the age of twelve he was sent to correctional school for young boys, where he learned how to pick locks, hot-wire cars and how to steal credit card information off the Internet. By thirteen he was released on probation. He was seen leaving the institution with a smile on his face and a Bible under his arm.
At the age of sixteen he was handed his high school diploma. He was designated an “A” student and had the choice of any Ivy league school. He had achieved his scholarship goal by paying the brightest students one hundred dollars for assignments that were to be turned in.
He later resold the assignments to students from other schools. This proved to be a successful enterprise, because he was now the richest student in school. Standing and giving oral exams in class he was the best, having a fine mind for memory retention.
* * *
At Harvard, life was much easier. He didn’t have to pay for reports because he traded his knowledge of computer hacking to the brighter students in return for class assignments. His philosophy thesis garnered an “A.” He had titled it: “The Meaning of Truth In Today’s Internet World.”
The thesis had been written by a Yale professor in philosophy for five thousand dollars. It seemed the professor had lost heavily in the market as a “day trader” during lunch breaks, and, being short of cash, agreed to write the paper.
After graduation from Harvard with a summa cum laude degree, the Kid had more than two hundred thousand dollars in his bank account. He had accumulated the wealth as follows:
A few of the rich students had told their fathers about his extraordinary gifts with a computer. He was talked into giving tutorial classes to those fathers who wanted to know the trade secrets of “Internet hackers.” His fee for the class was ten thousand dollars per four-hour session.
Going to New York City, he had a false passport made. Under the name of Isaac Rosenberg, he arrived in Germany and went immediately to the “Simon Wiesenthal Institute” where he showed forged documents that stated his family, now all dead except for himself, had once owned a successful manufacturing plant in Frankfurt. He demanded restitution from the German Government. This was finally given after a year’s delay, to the tune of — after all the lawyers were paid off — two million dollars.
* * *
Kid arrived in Hollywood at the age of twenty-five. He hired a top public relations firm that planted stories of his doings about town. Within six months everyone in Hollywood knew about him. His dinner invitations became so full that he had to turn down invitations from “B” list actors and producers. Life with the “A” team was more to his liking.
Later, Kid bought a script from an “A” list writer who was under the age of thirty, and with a credit line of two hundred million from a crooked Louisiana bank — there were kickbacks involved — he made a film that cost — with most of the actors taking deferred payments — twenty-five million dollars. During Oscar nominations he spent fifty million on advertising. The film won eight Oscars. When Oscar night was over, he deposited the remaining one hundred and twenty-five million to his Swiss bank account and left town with creditors pounding on his door and clap from a teenage starlet.
* * *
In Israel, Kid was welcomed with open arms. His passport said Maurice Krantz, and his occupation was “Imports and Exports.” He became an arms dealer and, through Swiss connections, sold faulty armament to the Iraqi government at tremendous profit.
He was on the verge of selling atomic secrets to the Iraqi government that he had gained from Chinese dissidents who had gotten the secrets from Chinese-American dissidents, but was discovered by Israeli intelligence before the deal was consummated. By the time the police had gotten to his home he was on the high seas in neutral territory. A warrant for his arrest was issued but never served.
* * *
A small island off the coast of Guinea Bissau was purchased by the Kid for the price of five million dollars from the corrupt head of the ruling party. A throw-in gift of a Swiss chalet with two bathrooms and a luscious housekeeper sealed the deal.
By now his passport had the name James Lord stamped on it. He took over the main government building and had a large neon sign made and put on top of the building. The sign read: “Lord’s Bank, Ltd.” The sign could be seen far out to sea by the passengers on cruising steamships lines and yachts that happened to be in the area.
On the Internet he put out information that the bank was paying twenty-five percent interest with no questions asked. At first he used the traditional Ponzi scheme until he had approximately five billion in assets. His customers were mostly from California, a state he loved dearly. In the end he stiffed five thousand retired people and a large percentage of movie producers, who were left with the thought, who could they sue?
* * *
At the age of forty, the Kid was living in Mexico City and had cornered the “Viagra” market. He was selling the product to Japan as fast as it could be made. He had also acquired from drug companies all products that had not passed the Food and Drug Administration’s tests. He sold the products to Third World countries for sugar, oil and coffee. These items were then sold on the international market for huge profits.
On his fiftieth birthday, the Kid looked at a wall map and saw that there were only a few countries left that he could go to without being arrested on a warrant for grand theft. By now he was on his fourth wife, and had eight children scattered throughout the world that had not seen their father in years.
Realizing that he was tired of running, he sat at his desk and reflected on his past life. He wondered if his mother was still alive? He knew his father had died while in prison; he had been caught while robbing a bank. That episode, although futile, had been intended to get enough money to pay off usurious credit card charges that came from American banks and gasoline companies.
Turning once more from the wall map, Chance Redford — that was his name now — realized he’d done it all. There was nothing to look forward to any more. After a while, a wry smile crossed his face when he realized he had achieved what was called the American dream. He had come from “Nowhere America,” had shown brilliant initiative in making a fast buck, and his feats had made a blazing streak across the night skies of the business world.
Leaving a note that had only one word written on it, “Goodbye,” he killed himself with a gun he had stolen from Charlton Heston’s library.
Copyright © 2009 by S.H. Linden