We made plans to see each other that Saturday. Of course I wanted to see her sooner, but with her working nights and me during the day, it was the best we could do. Until then I decided to do some reading. I went to the library after work one day and checked out a couple of books by Roberto Bolano. Seeing as he was one of Iris’s favorite writers, I was curious about his work. As luck would have it they didn't have 2666, so in its place I borrowed a novel called The Savage Detectives, along with a collection of short stories called Last Evenings on Earth.
I started reading The Savage Detectives first mainly because it was written in the form of a diary. The diary started with an entry dated November 2nd, and since the numbers of my birthday had continued to appear even after my meeting with Iris, I couldn’t help wondering what I’d find when I reached the entry for November 18.
Right away I could see why Iris was a fan of his work. The writing was sharp and to the point and it probably didn't hurt that the narrator was an aspiring writer who happened to be an orphan. As I lay in bed reading I quickly found myself ensnared by Bolano’s words. They carried me along and helped me take my mind of everything else going on in my life, albeit only in relatively short bursts, because every time I saw the date for a new diary entry it reminded me why I'd chosen that book in the first place. November 2nd was followed by November 3rd, and then the 4th, 5th, and 6th, and so on. As I got further along I couldn’t help but notice how much sex was in the book, which wasn’t surprising since the narrator was supposed to be a seventeen year old boy who was still a virgin. During one particular passage I even found myself getting aroused, and it was only made worse because I started imagining Iris as I read it.
Finally, a little more than an hour after I started reading, I reached the entry for November 18. I made myself focus all my attention on the words that followed, except I was only able to get through the first three sentences before I suddenly stopped. Here are the three sentences I read:
“Today I went back to the Fonts’ house. Quim came to the gate and let me in and gave me a hug. In the house I found Maria, Angelica, and Ernesto San Epifanio.”
It was that last name that made me pause. Epifanio, I thought, as if it had triggered something deep inside me. I had no idea what it could be, but I began repeating the name over and over trying to figure it out. Epifanio, Epifanio, Epifanio. The name was obviously related to the word epiphany, but what did that matter? I wondered.
And then as if I’d been struck by a bolt of lightning, I suddenly realized the significance of the name. It was exactly as she’d described it, like a tiny explosion had gone off inside my head.
I quickly put the book down, got out of bed, and went over to my closet. I reached up onto the shelf above all my clothes and brought down the old filing box where I kept all my documents and old photo albums and anything else I deemed important enough to save. I pulled out my seventh grade yearbook, and there, folded between the pages, was the story Iris had given me all those years ago. I turned to the last page and reread the final paragraph, and for the first time I was able to finish it as I smiled and whispered the girl’s name aloud: “Epiphany!”
I asked would it be okay for her to have a drink with me since it was just the two of us. Without skipping a beat, Iris hopped down from the counter and lined up two shot glasses on the bar.
“Tequila okay?” she asked.
“I’ll leave it up to the professional,” I said.
Iris reached for a clear bottle and poured us each a shot. We said cheers and downed our drinks and then Iris hopped right back up to her perch on the counter. A moment later, I felt the alcohol like a warm glow in my stomach, making me feel as if it was the source of the happiness I was suddenly feeling.
“Well, if you don’t want to tell me what you’re doing here, let's start with what you do for work. It's only fair since you already know what I do.”
Iris spread out her hands as if to indicate the floor was all mine.
“You’re not going to be very impressed," I warned her.
“I'll be the judge of that," she said.
I went ahead and told her where I worked, what I did there, and how long it had been, making sure not to embellish, or make the job sound more interesting than it was. Then I told her about poker, how I'd quit my previous job to play full-time, and ended up losing everything in the process. When I was finished I took a long sip of my drink before finally forcing myself to look at Iris again.
“Sorry to disappoint you,” I said, fully aware that I wasn’t telling her the worst part, which I had yet to share with anyone.
I sat waiting for her reaction. I was expecting her to tell me I was an idiot, or that I should have been smarter, but what she said was, "You don't have to apologize, Simon."
“I know, I guess I just wish I’d run into you under better circumstances.”
“If it makes you feel any better, I thought it was refreshing."
"Refreshing? That's the last thing I'd call it."
"Well, the way I see it, you weren't afraid to take your shot, which is more than most people can say. I know it didn't turn out how you wanted but at least you’re still standing. Plus, I’m used to guys trying to make themselves out to be more than they are, so it’s nice to hear someone act humble for a change.”
What she said was easily the nicest thing anyone had said to me in a long time, which wasn't saying much, but I was still touched by her kindness. Then Iris pointed at my empty glass and asked if I wanted another.
“Sure, but only if you’ll have one with me," I said.
We continued talking, and all the strangeness of suddenly running into her again began to wear off. Before I knew it, it felt like the most natural thing in the world for us to be sitting there in that bar together. We reminisced about our days at Dodson, and she reminded me how she'd had to wake me up that first day when we got to our stop.
"You looked so worn out. I remember I felt bad having to wake you up, and then I saw all those stickers some kid had put in your hair and I got so mad," she said. "Do you remember me having to pick them out of your hair?"
"I almost forgot about the stickers," I said.
I was surprised she remembered so much. At one point we even tried listing all the books she'd had me read that semester, and we got all the way up to 17 before we couldn't think of anymore.
Then I asked if she was still writing and told her how I used to look her up in case she'd had anything published.
“No, I haven't been published yet, but I haven't totally given up. I like to think I’m still waiting for the right story to find me,” she said.
“Well, I see you're still a big reader,” I said, pointing at her book sitting on the counter by the register.
Iris reached over and grabbed it and placed it on the bar in front of me. I looked down and on the cover it said: Roberto Bolano 2666.
Though the numbers weren't the same as the ones I'd been seeing everywhere, I couldn't help but notice a kind of symmetry between the numbers of the book's title, and the numbers of my birthday. Then I took a moment to stare at them the way I stared at the others, but I didn't feel anything.
“Any good?” I asked.
“I guess you'll have to read it to find out,” Iris said.
Then I flipped the book open at random and happened to land at the beginning of a new chapter: "3 The Part about Fate” it said.
I looked up to see if Iris was seeing what I saw, and then our eyes met and the two of us gave each other a knowing smile. That's when I wondered for the first time if maybe the entire purpose of the numbers had been to lead me to her, or that they'd brought me here for a particular reason. Again I thought about telling her the whole story, starting with my mother's car accident, and how alone I'd been ever since, and the phone call I'd gotten the morning before. But I held my tongue, convinced that saying anything about the numbers would only ruin everything.
I saw Iris glance at her watch. I wondered if I'd run out of time, if I'd blown it, as if this had all been a test and I'd failed miserably.
Then she said, “Want to go somewhere with me?”
“Right now?” I asked.
“I don’t think anyone else is showing up tonight. The owner won’t mind if I close early. So what do you say?”
“Okay, but where do you want to go?”
“It's a surprise," she said.
After Iris cleaned everything up and closed the register, we left through the backdoor. A white Prius was parked in the alley outside.
“You're really not going to tell me where we're going?” I asked once we were inside her car.
“You're a smart guy, it shouldn't be that hard to figure it out,” she said.
“I think you’re giving me way too much credit for someone you haven’t seen since we were thirteen," I said.
Then Iris turned on some music and put the car in gear. We rolled down the windows letting in the cool evening air, and though I was curious where we were going, I was so happy I didn’t care.
It wasn’t until we’d arrived at our destination that I figured it out. Iris parked on the street as I tried to remember the last time I’d been to the beach, let alone at night, and for the life of me I couldn’t remember.
“Come on,” she said as she turned off the engine.
The two of us got out and right off the sidewalk there was a long flight of concrete stairs leading down to the beach. Iris and I began walking down and I noticed there were many more people there than I might have expected. I stopped and looked at all the figures lined up in front of the water. I wondered what they could be looking at when Iris turned around and said, 'Simon! Let's go!" and took me by the hand and led the way.
We walked hand-in-hand across the sand as the sound of the waves grew louder with each step. When we were finally close enough to see the water, I was confused by what I saw. The waves appeared to be glowing, as if there were lights underneath.
“It’s called a red tide,” Iris said.
I’d heard of the phenomenon, but I had never imagined it could look so spectacular. We laid out a blanket Iris had brought along and the two of us sat down. I stared at the waves as they hurled themselves onto the shore, each one emitting a bright flash of phosphorescence into the night, and I felt as if I’d entered the realm of the surreal, like the world was suddenly a place where anything was possible. I glanced at Iris, saw her beautiful face, and I couldn’t believe it was really her, that we’d finally run into each other again after all these years. I had no idea how it had happened, how everything had changed so quickly, and that's when I remembered something from my early childhood, as if the memory had dislodged itself from deep inside me and chosen that exact moment to bubble up to the surface.
“I just remembered the first time I saw the ocean,” I said.
Iris stared at me without saying a word. Another wave crashed in front of us and her blue eyes sparkled in the light as I began to tell her the story of how I'd first come to this country. I told her how I hadn't wanted to come, and how my parents had promised to bring me to the beach as soon as we landed. I told her about the the little gift shop on the pier with the shell my father had given me to listen to, and the dream I'd had afterward, of the man sleeping inside a giant seashell. When I was done talking, Iris gazed at me with this serene expression on her face, like someone who’d just witnessed an act of extraordinary kindness. No one had ever looked at me that way before, and I leaned in and kissed her and felt her lips between my own, like some piece of fruit that had yet to be discovered. When we opened our eyes again she still had that same look, as she asked me to go on and tell her the rest of my story.
So Jeff Bezos is the founder of Amazon, and the richest man in the world. Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post, a famous newspaper in America. There are movies about this newspaper. Recently Jeff Bezos filed for divorce after 25 years of marriage. It will be the most expensive divorce in history. His wife could get half his fortune valued around $135 billion. Basically Jeff Bezos cheated on his wife with a Los Angeles news anchor named Lauren Sanchez, and their secret text messages were published by this big tabloid called The National Enquirer.
So on top of all that the owner of The National Enquirer is good friends with Donald Trump. Donald Trump hates The Washington Post and Jeff Bezos because they are critical of the president. It turns out The National Enquirer did some shady stuff to help get Trump elected, like paying off women to keep their bad Trump stories quiet, and they got caught. So they fessed up and signed an agreement saying they won't do anything illegal for the next 3 years or they can get prosecuted for what they did during the presidential election. Now fast forward to last week. Bezos had hired an investigator to look into The National Enquirer and some of their dealings as well as how they got a hold of his texts to his mistress. The National Enquirer then sent Bezos's attorney emails saying they have more texts as well as pictures (including dick pics). They said stop the investigation and announce nothing was found or we will release the pictures. Not a smart move threatening the richest man in the world. So what did Bezos do? He said screw that, and published the emails (which detail all the pictures of him in graphic detail) in a Medium article saying they are trying to extort him and he will not stand for it. It remains to be seen what will happen to the folks at The National Enquirer in light of this.
All this to say I couldn't help but see some parallels between this situation and what happened to Hank Rearden and Dagny Taggart in Atlas Shrugged. (If you don't want to be spoiled on Atlas Shrugged stop reading here) Specifically talking about when the "looters" tried to blackmail the pair into doing what they wanted because of their illicit affair. But instead of bending over, Dagny said screw it, and announced on national radio that she and Hank are lovers and had nothing to be ashamed of.
Sorry this was long winded but that's the gist of it. As far as Amazon's NY headquarters situation, that's a whole different story.
I got into Bitcoin, and then Bitcoin Cash, to make money. I wanted it to moon, and then cash out, and live the rest of my life on easy street. And I'd be lying if I said I didn't still want that. Who doesn't? But I also know that if that were to happen, I'd continue to be an advocate for BCH and work to bring more adoption instead of just cashing out and forgetting all about it.
During the past year and a half I've learned a lot from the Bitcoin Cash community about what this revolution is really about. It's about creating censorship resistant money that works better than the current system. It's about making money smarter, the same way we went from dumb phones to smart phones. It's not about becoming the new gold. It's about leveling the playing field. With the rise of the internet it gave everyone on the planet with an open internet connection the ability to learn, to have a voice, to connect. With Bitcoin Cash, it will give people anywhere in the world with a smart phone the ability to participate in the global economy. It will be harder for your money to be confiscated by banks and governments. By being pseudonymous, you can be judged on the merits of your work performed, instead of being discriminated against because you're from a third world country, or you have the wrong kind of name. Imagine being able to send someone on the other side of the planet $1 instantly and you've never met them before in your life, you don't know their name, or address, or what they look like, only that you want to invest in their future. Well, now you can, and this is why I support Bitcoin Cash and projects like Honest.cash.
I feel like there's been more content here lately. It makes me happy to see. I hope we get more content creators because this site deserves it. So far the development team has not disappointed. In such a short time they have made so many improvements, and I'm looking forward to what the future will bring. While Jack Dorsey is busy trying to use Lightning Network as a payment rail on twitter, we al...
I know some people are against having paywalls, but I think it might be one of the most important drivers of getting more users on Honest.cash. Why? Because without paywalls, there is no real incentive for people to sign up, attain some BCH, and use it to pay for content. If everything is free and public, you can enjoy your favorite content without having to do anything. On the other hand, let's s...
I considered writing a blog for the longest time. I used to read various people on Livejournal and think I can do that too! Only I never really saw the point. It wasn't like I was going to make any money off of it, it simply wasn't possible. That said, I realize that I'm probably not going to get rich .002 BCH at a time by writing here on Honest.cash, but it is possible. I know it's highly unlikel...
Lately I've been trying to work on my novel in progress and it's been a struggle. I don't know why but everything I write feels so forced or disjointed. But then when I write about something else, usually something that's just happened, the words just seem to flow out of me and I barely have to even think about what I'm typing. I want it to be like that with my novel but no matter how hard I try I...
1. Pay walls
2. Ability to have multiple drafts at the same time
3. Ability to delete posts
4. Ability to pin an article like pinning a tweet
5. Notifications not by email but on Honest.cash itself
What's on your wish list?
I haven't seen any of the other iterations of this Japanese reality show, but this most recent one I've watched from the beginning, and I'm going to say this is the best reality show ever. I know that sounds like hyperbole, and maybe it is, but maybe not.
Reasons I like this show:
1. The cast always come across as genuine, and three-dimensional. They aren't caricatures. And unlike American ve...