Early-morning calls suck in general, but they’re especially sucky when they come from irate Billionaires. I suppose most of you will just have to take my word on that.
“Mr. Mix! Mr. Mix! Wake up! It is Paneer on the Skype. He must speak to you urgently!”
As I’m sure you can imagine, I wasn’t very happy to be woken up at all, least of all by the pounding at my bedroom door—and I do mean pounding. It wasn’t tapping, or knocking, poking, scraping, scratching, or pecking. It wasn’t clawing, rapping, patting, flicking, or, god forbid, stroking. There was no attempt to gently get my attention so that I might fade softly from blissful dream state to full consciousness. No, this was fucking pounding through and through.
What the fuck! Did something happen to Kanish between two and four in the morning?
Thankfully, it was Sevaka at my door, as I was buck naked, and I’m not sure Annapurna would have survived the shock given the height differential, among other things. Sevaka was holding his iPhone 6 with an angry Paneer on the Skype. Of course, Paneer always looked angry to me. You’d think having $42 billion would tend to put him in a better mood. Just saying.
“Hold the fuck on!” I yelled as I slammed the door.
I immediately picked my skivvies up off the floor and put them on, opened the door again, and grabbed Paneer out of Sevaka’s hand.
“What the hell, Paneer?”
“If you expect me to apologize for waking you after you have been screwing me so much, you are vehdy, vehdy mistaken.”
“Whoa, wait a second. Screwing you? How the hell am I screwing you?”
“You are taking my son Kanish for a ride. Literally and figuratively, both. You gallivant all over California when you are being paid to teach him! Tell me, how is traveling learning?”
“How is it not?” I replied.
You know, there is a definitive culture shock that comes with moving to California, and although that shock was surely softened for young Kanish—what with the presence of his cook, his driver, and his Dishwashing Sikh, and let us not forget his Guru—I still needed the kid to assimilate. That said, it was useless debating this point with Paneer. The way I figured it, he just wanted to push me around a little bit. Apparently, he wasn’t done.
“I would ask you,” Paneer continued, “do you realize how much you have spent on this trip? I get the bills, and I look at them vehdy, vehdy closely, don’t you know. Kanish is my only child, and I will not have you taking advantage.”
“Really?” I mused. “You actually look at the bills? So how much did we spend?”
I’d been wondering this for quite some time now. Between the Stingray rental, the gas for two cars over thousands of miles at $4 per gallon, hotels, Airbnbs, and meals for five people three times a day, not to mention the entire floor of the Crown Royale Hotel (oops, just mentioned it), the burn rate on this session had to be rather impressive.
“You are asking me how much you spent? You should know how much you spent!”
“No, I shouldn’t.”
“Of course you should! You are in charge!”
“Okay, first of all, Paneer, your son is an adult, so I don’t actually have any control over what he does. I can only guide him.”
“How dare you speak back to me!”
“How dare you speak back to me!” I parroted.
In retrospect, I may have been a bit bold talking to Paneer in this manner. Enduring an occasional outburst was going to be part of the gig and I understood this going in. I suppose given my relationship with Kanish, I wasn’t feeling particularly vulnerable. The way I figured it, even if Paneer were to fuck me over, Kanish would certainly meet his father’s contractual obligation. Of course, at the moment, Kanish was cut off.
Honestly, my goal wasn’t to get into it with Paneer, but rather to shock him long enough that I could explain some things, and it seems the tactic worked. Paneer was visibly taken aback and clearly didn’t know how to react. Frankly, if I hadn’t been operating on a total of two hours sleep, I might not have been quite so aggressive, but as it turns out, I did manage to get his fucking attention.
“Paneer, I need you to listen to me for a moment. You have an incredibly gifted son, who I really like, by the way, and who wants to learn how to produce records. The best way for me to teach Kanish how to produce is on music that he likes. I already know what I like. We know what you like. He needs to figure out what he likes. Otherwise, he’ll fail. Okay? So, the first step is to find a project the kid can really sink his teeth into, you know what I mean?”
“What is this? I do not know what you mean! What is this sinking of teeth?
“In other words, you need to let go a little.”
“Let go? You make no sense. How do I let go with sinking teeth? Explain yourself!”
I’m not sure why I said it, or where the hell it came from exactly, but at that particular moment, I felt it best to talk in proverbs.
“Knowledge can only be got in one way, the way of experience; there is no other way to know.”
This was a particularly potent one because it came from Swami Vivekananda, an influential Hindu spiritual leader at the turn of the twentieth century. Most of the proverbs that I’ve memorized come from Buddha himself, although I must admit, some of them are likely made up by unenlightened idiots on the Internet. The point is that I managed to smack Paneer square in the nose with some straight-up Hindu wisdom from the swami himself.
“Ridiculous!” Paneer exclaimed. “I told you this exact thing the first day I spoke to you!”
I knew I’d heard it somewhere before. Fortunately, I had another one ready to go.
“Fine,” I said. “You cannot travel the path until you have become the path itself.”
“What is this?” Paneer scolded. “You’re speaking to me in Hindu Proverbs?”
Kanish quietly entered my room and took a seat in my favorite red wing-back chair. The whole fucking house was up now, which is what happens when your driver nearly knocks down your door. Not that I could be mad at Sevaka about it. He worked for Paneer, so he was just doing what was expected of him. Annapurna was kind enough to bring me some coffee. It was like a party in my bedroom. Oh, joy!
“You insult me!” Paneer yelled.
“No. I don’t insult you. I speak truth,” I replied in my best broken American.
“What is it that you tell me? That I should trust you?”
“That would be a good start. I mean, you only gave me twenty-five percent of the money up front, so I’m pretty much trusting you, aren’t I?”
None of this seemed to make an impression on Paneer, as evidenced by his rather blatant threat.
“Let me make this vehdy, vehdy clear for you, Mister Mixerman. You have two weeks to show me some results or I will pull the plug on your gravy train!”
And with that, Paneer hung up the Skype. I handed Sevaka his iPhone and he left with Annapurna. Kanish was visibly upset.
“I am so vehdy, vehdy sorry about that. No one deserves Paneer’s ire.”
“Don’t worry about it, Kanish. I can take it.”
“But what will we send him? He is expecting to hear Bollywood music.”
“Maybe we can just send him some Hollywood music and pretend it was a misunderstanding.”
“You are not helping matters.”
Between only two hours’ sleep and Paneer’s vibe-sucking ways, it took us some time to get going today. To make matters worse, I was still recovering from our road trip. We were also running low on Medicine, so we organized a trip to the Dispensary, where I picked up another ounce of the stuff.
Kanish was quite down at the prospect of losing his Mogul Internship so early in our time together. As such, he was pressing me to reach out to the Pharcyde. Time was of the essence, as far as Kanish was concerned, but there really was no point in approaching the Pharcyde about the Douchebag Song without a track to play them. Programming the production was the first step.
That afternoon, I began to muck around with some beats, if for no other reason than to come up with a direction for the song. Kanish, however, was injecting his opinion a bit too readily and was giving me no room to maneuver. I’m not sure why I was bothering anyway. The first step in any Moguldom is to learn that you can hire others to do the grunt work for you. I felt it best to lead by example.
“Here. You program the beat, then,” I said. And I took my rightful place, horizontal on the back couch.
I was exhausted from only two hours’ sleep and was in desperate need of a nap. I was also feeling a bit news-deprived after our trip. So I plugged my earbuds into my iPad and streamed my favorite news commentator—Rochelle Meadows.
@RMeadows: “We have a big show for you today, lots of stuff to tell you about, but first . . . this is Senator Crou d’Etat, and as you probably know, he is running for president. He announced that just last week, and since that time—since Senator Crou d’Etat announced his bid last week for president of the United States—there has been some question as to whether he could raise enough money to mount a credible run. I’ll spare you the dramatic pause. As it turns out, the answer to that question is, yes.
“Now, on your screen is a man, a very wealthy man, who you may or may not recognize. And you may not have ever heard of him before—that is, unless you’re in politics. Then you definitely know this man. His name is Rodney Cursor.
“According to Forbes magazine, Rodney Cursor is a Billionaire, a ten-times-over Billionaire, and he has pledged his support for Senator Crou d’Etat in the past, but has yet to make an official endorsement, which usually comes in the form of a donation. Mr. Cursor has stated on numerous occasions that he believes in Senator Crou d’Etat’s desire to, quote, ‘permanently shut down the US government.’ Which makes one wonder exactly what the Senator would be in charge of should he win the presidency. But hey, at least he’s standing on principle, right?
“Today, Billionaire Rodney Cursor has now reportedly put his money where his mouth is. More than reportedly, actually. According to Rod Cursor himself, he has donated $50 million to the Crou d’Etat friendly Super-PAC Citizens for Shutting Down America. Now that’s an endorsement!”
Next thing I knew, I was in the front car of an old wooden roller coaster, clinkety-clunking my way up the first big climb. Senator Crou d’Etat, of all people, was sitting next to me.
“So, what are you running for?” the Senator asked.
“Are you talking to me?”
“Do you see anyone else on this roller coaster?”
“You realize I think you’re a total Douchebag, right?”
“If half the people don’t hate you, you’re doing something wrong. You know that. So what are you running for?”
“Running for? Do you mean like running for office?”
“I’m not qualified to run for anything.”
“Sure you are! There’s only one qualification, and it begins with an m. What is it?”
“Making no sense?” I quipped.
“Come on, now. Think about it. An m.”
“Money! You already have your own Billionaire. Well, in your case, a Billionheir, as in the Heir of a Billionaire, but that’s close enough to the real thing. The point is, my friend, you’re way ahead of the game.”
“But aren’t we supposed to be hiding the fact that we have Billionaires?”
“It depends on what you’re trying to achieve. If you want everyone to know that you’re a force to be reckoned with, then you flaunt your Billionaire.”
“Huh. You think I should flaunt my Billionheir?” I asked.
“You already did when you told Bigmouth Rev all about him. And asking the Rev to keep it under his hat, that was a nice touch. You may as well have paid him to blab it everywhere.”
“But I really don’t want anyone to know I have a Billionheir.”
“Then you’d better get yourself a Prius, my friend. The Bentley is a dead giveaway. Besides, the cat is out of the bag, and once a cat is out of the bag, it’s just about impossible to get it back in.”
“Why is that?” I asked innocently.
“Because you’ve lost control of the situation, of course.”
The Senator and I were still in the front roller-coaster car as we ascended, and now the Pharcyde were magically in the two cars behind us, and they were chanting the chorus of the Douchebag Song, although it was better than before. It wasn’t the lame little poem or Ditty it had been. The Song had blossomed into something much hipper. It was more Pharcyde-like in its nature. What’s more, the Pharcyde were rapping to the most compelling track I’d ever heard—but then, those always come when I’m dreaming, it seems.
“What a lovely song that is,” Senator Crou d’Etat said. “Such an excellent message.”
“And what message is that?” I asked.
“That the tree-hugging doomsayers are always getting in the way of good old American progress, of course. Do you realize how many jobs there would be if we’d just use more oil?”
“Are you high?” I asked incredulously.
The roller coaster made its final clink at the precipice of the steep hill, and entered into its first big descent. Fatlip inexplicably began screaming my name.
“Mixie! Mixie! You forgot your seat belt!”
As the roller coaster maintained its downward trajectory, I was ejected out of the car, almost gracefully. For a moment, it was as if I could float like a feather. Without warning, and much like a cartoon character, I began to plummet.
The g-forces from the fall woke me just in time to experience the painful jolt of the floor. Kanish was standing over me. Ebullient.
“Mixie! Mixie!” Kanish yelled. “It’s Willy Show! It says it right here on your phone!”
“It’s dark out,” I said. “How long was I out?”
“A long time. What are you waiting for? Answer it!”
I was far too groggy to be accepting phone calls, but much as it is with Paneer, you don’t reach Willy, he reaches you. Half asleep or not, I was taking his call.
“Hey Willy!” I exclaimed with feigned energy.
“Mixerman!” Willy said in his highbrow British accent. “Did I wake you?”
“Not at all. My Assistant did that.”
“Quite right. Bloody well right. So sorry to interrupt your nap time.”
I was thankful for the small talk, because I was completely fucking out of it. Can’t people call me when I’m awake? I switched the phone to speaker.
“I heard you came by to visit me the other day,” Willy said. “I’d love to see you. Why don’t you meet me in my room at Mel Odious Sound tomorrow? Say two?”
Kanish immediately began to jump up and down and around in circles like he was a human fucking pogo stick.
“Yeah, yeah. Two tomorrow is good,” I replied with one finger pressed against my ear in order to drown out the commotion.
“Great. And bring your friend. The Rev mentioned him. What’s his name?”
“Kanish,” I said.
“Yes. Kanish. “Of the New Delhi Kanishes, no doubt. You know I love Knishes?”
“Most people do.”
“Excellent. I’ll see you both tomorrow then.”
Kanish was still circling like a pogo stick and began chanting a Ditty of his own.
“We have a meeting with Willy Show! We have a meeting with Willy Show! Bring your friend! Bring your friend! We have a meeting with Willy Show! He loves Knishes! Willy loves Knishes! We have a meeting with Willy Show!”
The fact that Willy had called me back to invite me to the studio was not all that remarkable. But to invite Kanish? Specifically? Why the fuck would he be so interested in meeting my Assistant? Yes, yes, of course, the big plan was Moguldom, but until such time, Kanish was still my Assistant, and I found the whole damn thing suspicious. Willy was a stand-up guy. But to invite my “friend” just to say hello? That was beyond basic etiquette. My “fuck me” meter was going off big-time. Clearly Rev opened his trap. But that still doesn’t answer why the hell Willy would want to meet Kanish.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind Willy being aware that my Assistant is a Billionaire’s Heir. Like Senator Crou d’Etat told me in my dream, sometimes you want to flaunt your Billionheir. What pisses me off is the Rev blabbing to Willy about my Billionheir when I specifically asked him to keep it “under his hat!” Of course, according to my subconscious, that was by my own design.
Kanish was now bear-hugging me as he continued his incessant jumping. I refused to join him, and he finally gave up and released so as to continue pogoing on his own.
“Dude. What the fuck? You need to chill out. Have a Fatty or something.”
“Do not even try to make me calm down from this excitement! I am going to meet Willy Show—the greatest Producer in the world!”
“Hey, you said that about me!”
“You’re not seriously going to put your discography up against Willy Show’s, are you?”
It was dark out, and I never really recovered from my nap. Annapurna whipped up a fabulous dinner, as usual, and then Kanish and I retired to the porch for our evening Fatty and its corresponding lesson.
“This was a vehdy good day, my friend,” Kanish said. “Tonight, I will supply the lesson.”
“What is it?” I asked as I administered my Medicine.
“Every day is a lucky day for an industrious man. Only fools wait for a lucky day.”
It was a beautifully poignant and well-delivered message that revealed a deep emotional maturity. Then Kanish began pogoing circles again. This time, I joined him—both in pogo and in chant.
We have a meeting with Willy Show!
We have a meeting with Willy Show!
Bring your friend!
Bring your friend!
We have a meeting with Willy Show!
Chapter 12 – Billionheirs Be Blunt
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