At 6pm the next day we’re sitting at the lobby bar of Marriott hotel, Mr.Parkkinen has not called us back and is now four hours late. We did get one message saying that he’s in the traffic though – apparently his dog was sick and needed to be taken to the vet.
“If he doesn’t show up, we should kidnap his child and …” Mr. R starts.
“Dude, chill”, I say. We spoke in Finnish but as Mr. R was demonstrating strangling someone half of his size – and we were sitting at a lobby of a 5-star hotel – I was a bit worried what the other customers would think of us.
“Well, what the hell? You think I’m out of line? This guy just fucked 15k out of us.”
“There’s still hope”, I tell him.
“Yeah, I’m sure he will come soon”, Mr.J says.
Two days later almost all hope is lost. Mr. Parkkinen has not been answering any of our texts, calls or Facebook messages for over 48-hours. Dealing with the fact that we had been most likely hustled we had reacted the only way we seemed fit: getting absolutely hammered, buying the 600 dollar Ultra tickets and dressing Mr.R in a wig (thanks to a very high caliber side-betting). I’m hungover, playing Chinese poker and having a conversation with Mr.J:
“How can he do that? And I bought rye bread and a hoodie for him. For fucks sake”, he says.
“Yeah. Well… You know what happens when people call you `maestro`”, I reply.
(Mr.J has a leak of giving horrible loans to people if they have the decency to call him “maestro”, “boss” or whatever positive name you might want to call a man you barely know in hopes of money.)
“I know I know… But fuuuuck, I even lived with him for a couple of weeks in New York.”
I’m dealing cards as Mr.J shoves his head in his hands – clearly frustrated and angry.
He cares so much. Why don’t I care that much? I’m losing money because of that fucker too.
“That’s enough boys. Fuck him, fuck everything. We’re in Miami…”
Mr. R’s voice started quietly but is getting louder by the word.
“… and my god we’re going to enjoy it!” He finishes, almost yelling as he opens a bottle of wine.
That afternoon we met with Mr. Miami, a handsome man with charisma that a ton of live poker gives to some. The good-looking people seem to know that they’re good-looking. It’s pure luck if you’re anything above five in a scale from one to ten. I am – and also very aware of it. Most people have flaws though, from crooked teeth to bad voice. Mine? Only my personality.
We met Mr.Miami earlier in the Aussie Millions where he told us then that if we ever come to Miami, he would show us around. We start the day by searching for Niko’s yacht – Mr.J had told Mr.Miami about a fun yacht day – so he too, had put another 1,5k down. Not to anyone’s surprise, neither Niko nor Yacht could be found anywhere. As a group we were a bit stressed how Mr.Miami would find the situation. Losing 1500 dollars to some unknown Finnish hustler and then hanging around with three of his country men would make anyone suspicious.
It’s possible that I wouldn’t trust any of us.
Mr.Miami doesn’t seem too upset about it though. “Sure, the guy is a despicable asshole, but it’s not your fault” he says. It’s possible that playing poker makes you a more capable of handling bad beats of life too, or the fact that Mr.Miami saw me and Mr.J playing relatively high stakes in Australia has made him think that if these Finns were really going to hustle him – they would go bigger than 1,5k. Either or, Mr.Miami’s coolness about the situation and couple of emergency beers uplifts our pretty dampen and hungover mood. After countless bars we’re walking somewhere in South Beach as Mr.Miami stops us;
“I think you’re really going to like this next place. It’s a bit pricey but trust me – worth it.”
“How pricey are we talking about?” I ask.
“I don’t know, like five?” he replies and shrugs.
Why does it sound cool when people leave zeroes out? And, fuck. That is pricey. We did just lose 15k to a hustle though so does anything matter anymore?
“Just trust me” he continues with a smile and a nod – somehow responding to my internal struggle.
After a short cab drive, we get to the front of a place called Eleven. At the entrance of the club is waiting Mr.Miami’s friend – a man that is so outrageously attractive that it makes me think that I’m a five in Miami. Mr.Miami and his attractive friend have a small chat at the door and everything starts to happen. We get escorted to the best table in the club as strippers, dollars and cigars are all flying right beside me. Our butler helps me and Mr.R to light our cigars (yes – we had a butler), while Mr.J immediately starts throwing singles at an approximately 3k/hour pace. And somewhere in the madness I’m hit with a brutal realization: “Money can buy happiness”. All my noble and philanthropic dreams, all my values, have been a lie.
I don’t want to save the world – I just want to throw money away and drink Dom Perignon.
And with this profound realization I partied through the night. Truly, fulfilling my new found purpose.
With big ups, come big downs – and after arguably the best party of my life – the down hit hard. We moved from Miami to somewhere near Seminole Hard Rock casino and tried to grind live poker. After the rush from Eleven though it was almost impossible to focus on anything else anymore. How in the hell are you supposed to care about a card game after a night out like that? I did force myself to the casino but all that I had to bring home, was just some rather disappointing memories of firing five shots to a 2k PLO tournament and playing profitable, but again boring live 25 50 games.
On the last day of our trip Mr. Parkkinen had not contacted us in any shape or form. Hope was dead. As a silent protest I went and ate the rye bread that Mr.J had brought him. After all the costs from Villa that we never lived in, or the yacht that we never saw, the bread was about 350 dollars apiece.
It was good bread. A bit pricey though.
P.S. If you ever meet a man called Niko Parkkinen, please inform him that we still have the hoodie for him and are willing to bring some rye bread too for the 15k that he owes us.
P.S.2. Do you guys think that I should post this story to Niko’s Facebook wall?