'Enough of the sleaze already!' Tom cried.
'Yeah man,' the barman added, 'more of that shit and you're out of here faster than Tom can slam a shot.'
'Guys,' I said, 'this is part of the story. It's vital to the whole thing. How are you to understand what really went down without knowing all the details? Them sexual details are especially important.'
'All right,' the barman said, 'this is your last chance. You are one crazy son of a bitch. The story is entertaining enough, I give you that, but please refrain from turning my joint into some sort of pornographic confession booth.'
I took a deep sigh and said: 'fuck you man, I'm just trying to tell this shit like it was, don't go fucking censoring me like you're the second coming of Tipper Gore. You Jack Dorsey looking mother fucker'
'All right, that's it!' the barman cried, 'get the fuck out of here, I'm sick of you and your fucking attitude!'
'I'm sick of you too, you uptight, squeamish son of a bitch!' I yelled back. I threw two twenties on the bar and left. To my surprise Tom got up and followed me.
'Hey John,' he said, approaching me when I was beginning to unlock my bike.
'John, man, don't let Hank – the barman – get to you. He's just like that.'
'Well, fuck him then.'
'Yeah, yeah... come on man, I know you've been through some bad shit. You wanna talk... I get it. Let me buy you a few rounds at the Gecko.'
The Gecko happened to be a bar just around the corner that I had never heard of. It was spacious, metallic... it felt like the inside of an oil tanker. In contrast to the Alcohoin Distillery, this place was actually quite full. There must have been fifty to sixty people at least. They were playing the more electronic stuff from Rammstein's experimental period.
Tom got two drinks at the bar and we sat down on two tall electro-plated-metal barstools.
'Your left eye unnerves me, why doesn't it look at me like your right eye?' my new acquaintance shouted over the loud music.
'I was just about to tell you that, actually,' I answered, 'the reason for that is part of the story. So, as you are well aware, my money was riding on one of the worst scams in the history of retail investment. During the first two weeks of January 2018, the value of my portfolio began to plummet. Yet the Youtubers kept reassuring their audience, swearing that we were just experiencing a healthy dip. “Buy the dip!” they kept saying. Of course I was desperate to believe them... There were ever more persistent rumors that Bitconnect was a Ponzi scheme. Then came the fatal day, January the 16th, when Bitconnect was shut down by the American authorities.'
'You were so fucked.'
'Yes, yes... I was. My portfolio was wiped out. The dip had become an abyss.'
'So what about these Cardano guys?'
'I had no choice but to go back to Roberto Cardano empty handed and tell him what had happened. He did not say much, I wish he had, because this cold fury that his face, his whole body really, exuded, still gives me nightmares.'
'Did he break your face so hard that it fucked up your left eye?' Tom said.
'No, not at all. He didn't touch me. What he did do though was hardly any better than having me thrashed by his goons. He ordered two of his cousins, who were present at the restaurant, to join us. “We are going to visit that sweetheart of yours,” Roberto spoke, “and ask her politely to help us solve this problem.”
“But, but,” I stammered, “she doesn't know about any of this!”
“Of course she doesn't. But now she has to.”
With a heart so heavy it felt like it would sink into my guts I got up and was escorted into a large black Mercedes that was parked outside. We drove to Hilda's apartment...'
'Now I be damned,' Tom spoke.
'It was terrible... there was a lot of shouting and swearing and crying. I tried to explain everything to Hilda, but how could I? She was furious. She ended up paying Roberto the twenty thousand the same day. After that she kicked me out. We never spoke again.'
'You got off less bad than I expected,' Tom grunted. 'But what happened to your eye?'
'Back in America I stayed in contact with Ada. She was financially wrecked too, of course. It gave us some form of satisfaction to be able to share this ordeal. We also continued our webcam sex sessions. That was still great, yet the overall feeling, from day to day, was one of great despair. A toxic cocktail of guilt and shame. Little did I know that things were about to get even worse. Exceedingly much worse...
Ada had to give up her dream of becoming an astronaut. She had to quit her studies, her family despised how she had squandered her money. Everything was so messed up... I wanted to help her, and I wanted to see her.'
'You wanted to fuck her.'
'That too. So, one day I made a bold move of inviting her over to the States.'
'Nah, I thought that if she could not become an astronaut, she could at least get a glimpse of space travel: I proposed to her to spend some time with me in Florida, where we could visit Cape Canaveral.'
'That was not such a bad idea, was it?'
'It seemed like a perfect idea at the time. Ada liked it, and to my amazement she found an affordable plane ticket and came over. We met in Miami. Damn man, we were both really fucking nervous. It was such a weird thing to meet, as they say, in the flesh.'
'Hahaha, yeah. She was hot, real hot. And within hours we really did meet in the flesh.'
'In some shabby, cheap ass motel room?'
'Nah, We could stay at the beachside condo of my cousin Jimmy, who also lent us his speedboat. So we were broke, but living the high life nonetheless. For a few days things was really fantastic, man.'
'And then what?'
'Ah, fuck fuck fuck... I was really in this Don Johnson type groove, you know what I mean? Cruising over the waves in Jimmy's speedboat, with Ada at my side. Racing on my bike, her arms around me. I was flying. And I fucked up, I fucked up so bad.'
'What did you do?'
'On the big day, the big day that we were finally going to visit Cape Canaveral, I got carried away, feeling like a god, but speeding like a devil on my big bad Honda with Ada clutched tight to my back.. I drove through an oil spill and lost control of my machine. We crashed into a low concrete wall at around a hundred miles an hour.'
'Christ Almighty, that's fucked up! You obviously made it... did she?'
'Initially I was convinced that in that bloody heap of limbs, torn clothes and motorcycle parts, there couldn't possibly be a living being. When I bent over her face she suddenly opened her eyes. And then, when she looked at me, a real terror crept into her features: “your eye!” she screamed.'
To be continued