MIDDLE OF EVERYTHING you get a call. Your friend Tomas Bravo wants you to sail with him to the Land of the Dead.

You are at the office, it is the wrong place for this conversation, but Tomas has called your cell, so you keep him talking and hurry outside. Manhattan, Midtown. The summertime tourists are having a scream. The noontime traffic is throwing a fit. You decide to walk west to the river. Tomas is saying:

"We'll give you fifteen percent."

He says:

"All you have to do is put a few things on your credit card for us. The livestock ... the livestock, and the deposit for the sailboat. And you only have to carry the balance for two months, because the same week we get back ... the same week! ... we'll meet with the venture capitalists."

Tomas needs you to come along because his first mate (your friend Adam Van Breen), has refused to set sail for the Land of the Dead unless Tomas can find a third partner for the business venture. And Tomas needs you to come along because his wife (your sister Audrey), has refused to let Tomas leave home unless there is a third member in the sailboat's crew. But also Tomas wants you to come along—he wants you to come along because he wants you to be happy, and because for years he has said that the East Coast does not make you happy. He says:

"Do you even hear the Atlantic Ocean, in New York, ever? Or is it just ambulances all the time? On the Pacific, what you hear is wind. And the wind gets you where you need to be! The wind wants you to prosper! Seriously. Two months. Adam will have that fishy look he gets when he's all sunburned, body of a man, head of a red snapper. I'll have the squid hands, where the blisters on my fingers look like calamari. And we'll still get funded."

He says:

"We'll walk straight from the marina into that place ... the donut place, the famous donut place ... the one in Menlo Park where the VCs all ink their deals ... half an hour later, the three of us will walk back out with thirty million in funding. You won't even have time to wipe the salt from your butt before you’re rich! How can you possibly not come?"

You tell him you are in the middle of everything. Tomas says:

"We're offering you fifteen percent of the Dutch East India Company! What are you in the middle of?"

You tell him. And he says:

"Okay, but how pregnant?"

He says:

"I mean ... it's great, and congratulations! ... but six weeks is not the middle of a pregnancy. You'll be back in New York City before Pippa is even in her second trimester. Eight weeks and you're back. You know how much I love Pippa, right? Because, seriously, maximum, twelve weeks, we'll be back, and you'll be telling the VCs the story of how you saw your dead Mom. That story will be worth billions ...! Fifteen percent of billions ...!"













To Hell With You © 2013 Benjamin Rudolph Delson