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THE GREATEST RACE!, Doc Spoon - Speculative, Alt-Historical Fiction


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THE GREATEST RACE!  By Doc Spoon Speculative, Alt-Historical Fiction - 116,000 words

FIRST FIVE PAGES

 

When people run out of golden ideas to chase, they chase gold.”

Anonymous

Chapter One – The Bilderberg Wager

The billionaires were face to face, nose to nose, with flushed cheeks and clenched fists. They were about to put hands on each other.

“Square has not lost a race in seven years!” Fixon and the cognac shouted. Monroe Fixon was an African American pharmaceutical mogul who capitalized on the human genome work.

“Neither has Quad!” screamed Bishop and the liquor. August Bishop was a British-Caucasian who made his fortune by patenting a process that economically turned salt water into fresh water.

Both men’s natural disposition was to talk rather loudly. Their usual volume only increased with sipping from some of the world’s most expensive bottles of cognac. Their six-ounce drinks equated to about eleven thousand dollars a glass.

I was laughing quite a bit and feeling the whole spectacle. It called to mind the old saying, “A drunk ain’t nothing,” be it a hood wino, my alky uncle or even a one percenter.

A small crowd of billionaires had surrounded them and were egging them on like elementary school kids on the playground at recess. This type of behavior involving these types of people did not seem real. The smoke from the many cigars being smoked formed a hazy ceiling adding to the sense of surrealness. In between puffs on one of the expensive cigars I helped myself to as I exited the escalator, I could not help but to join in with a few “Oohs” and “Ahhs”. As the only salaried person present, I took full advantage of my position and indulged in not only smoking the cigars, inconspicuously shoving several in my pocket, but partaking of the cognac too. I figured the net worth in this spot was around $250 billion.

“Square has lowered his times each and every race,” Fixon countered.

Bishop bellowed, “So has Quad!”

Another billionaire stepped in between the potential combatants, effectively separating them.

“Why not place a bet on who will win?” asked Abernathy.

            I recognized this gentleman. Sebastian Abernathy was an African American-urban entrepreneur from Houston, Texas. Abernathy represented the confluence of the legalization of two of America’s longest running rivers of sin: drugs and gambling. Sebastian took full advantage of recent legislative decisions but put a hood twist on them. He opened a chain of marijuana shops where people could purchase five ounces of recreational marijuana and bet on the rise or fall of bitcoins daily. For the first time in the history of America, a majority of black folks played the stock market. Abernathy created the Double Nickel package. In his shops, people could purchase a five dollar nickel bag of weed and place a five dollar on the daily expiring call option on bitcoins. Prizes ranged from $5,000 to $50,000. It was a huge success. All you had to do was flash the Double Nickel signal for five twice and the clerk prepared and delivered your weed with an outcry stock ticket. Abernathy’s ad campaign even reached back and used a hit 1990s rap song titled, “I Got Five on It.” From thirty-eight-year-old grandmothers to skinny jeans wearing millennials, it seemed Abernathy got the whole world to put “five on it.”

Abernathy had a secret recipe for his cannabis that provided a more lasting effect, and he patented the genetic composition. The company Abernathy founded to handle bitcoin betting and cannabis distribution grossed over $300 million in profits the first year. It was poised for even more explosive growth as more states legalized recreational marijuana use and financial organizations joined the bitcoin train. That potential for exponential growth was the reason he was invited to Bilderberg. Investors here were falling over themselves for a chance to meet him.

“I would be willing to coordinate, promote, and execute this Greatest Race,” offered Skeets excitedly.

Billy “Skeets” Jessups was a hustler from the streets of Oakland. Early in life, he was a standup comedian. That’s how I came to know him. Skeets and my late Willie James Chambers, who went by the stage name of Uncle Ol’Boy, were playing local clubs around the country. I met him one summer at his aunt’s house in Mississippi. Skeets was poised to be the next big thing. However, Skeets walked away from it – sort of. Skeets believed it was easier talking club owners into holding his events than telling jokes. He became a promoter for Uncle Ol’ Boy.  The offer called to mind Uncle Ol’ Boy’s observation about Skeets.           

“Old hustlers never die. They just reinvent pimping.”

“Well, well, well, if it ain’t Skeets Jessup.” I greeted him with an air of feigned concern about his health borne out of having known him most of his life, “How are you doing?”

“No complaints, Winifred A. Chance. Ain’t seen you in a minute, not since your uncle’s homegoing,” he replied, gripping Chance in a bear hug of familiarity.

“Yeah, it has. But I knew you weren’t dead because they hadn’t had a picnic in hell.”

“You would know. That’s where you get your mail,” Skeets shot back. Skeets was quick. Always had been. He even made it rhyme this time.

“You still trying to be a journalist since you failed as a soldier?”

“Yessir,” I replied, mockingly snapping to attention while rendering a proper military salute with my right hand and the middle-finger salute with the left.

Kindred spirits, Skeets and Uncle Ol’ Boy saw the world differently from the rest of world, as did most comedians. Comedians would tell you that humor was a way to deal with painful oftentimes personal adversity. Skeets, not so much.

Skeets said he operated on the belief that, “the same things make you laugh, make you cry.” “However,” he would add, “my motivation and material were never from personal pain. If I can provide a few hours of escape from reality, I have no issue profiting off people’s pain and boredom. And this potential race feels like a very promising opportunity to do so again.”

Skeets had an encyclopedic knowledge of world events and history. His humor came from the realization of just how fucked-up the world and the people in it really are. He always bragged he could talk anyone into anything. Skeets got his skills honestly. He grew up in the Black Pentecostal church under the tutelage of Rev. Dr. Theodore “Teddy” Holloway who was known as the “Hypnotic Preacher” for his ability to mesmerize his congregation. Dr. Teddy practiced the Black Pentecostal church tradition of “whooping preaching,” where the pastor would employ such strategies as melodious chanting with call and response to arouse emotions to a fever pitch. Skeets’ father was not around, so the married Rev. Dr. Teddy assumed the role of a father figure since he was banging Skeets’ mother—another Black church tradition.

“The Elders of the church laid hands on me,” Skeets said, “anointing me with the gift of speaking and preaching. By the time I was ten years old, I was traveling with Rev. Dr. Teddy, delivering sermons to standing room only church services.”

Skeets paused briefly as he reflected on the next sentence.

“Then Rev. Dr. Teddy died suddenly when I was about fourteen years old. I was lost and trying to find my way. I developed an interest in magic and hypnosis which led to a rift between me and my deeply religious mother who accused me of practicing the devil’s arts. She kicked me out. I dropped out of high school and took care of myself by doing street magic, hypnosis, and selling drugs.” 

“Gentlemen, I have been thinking about something like this for a long time, but I was not sure what it would look like. However, the mention of the race just clicked because the framework for planning the event already exists in my head. I have a schema from having planned and executed other multinational competitions. It’s what I do.”

Skeets had made a killing with the advent of legalized betting in America. With his online betting site www.ibetcha.com, he became known for pioneering the pop-up betting parlors modeled on those by food and clothes retailers. People could bet on any and everything. From the color of the hair clip the US president would wear to the preferred hand of the person who would hit the last shot in the quarter of a basketball game, the granularity and minutiae of betting made almost everyone with a cell phone, internet access, and his IBETCHA app a casual bettor. And the house never lost.

However, it was Skeets’ MMA events that brought him worldwide fame. He put on outsized MMA crossover events between boxers, pro wrestlers, former NFL players, backyard fighters, and bare-knuckle brawlers. Additionally, whenever there was a hyped, super event, the betting set a record for wagers. Skeets was the promoter of most of those events. His last five multi-national events had grossed a combined $11.8 billion. Though I was loath to admit it, Skeets knew people and was successful in connecting with them. I reflected on a previous conversation we had about how Skeets discovered the secret to his success.

“One day when I was slinging, I just happened to go into one of the back rooms of the trap house. We had set up a one-stop shop where people could buy their drugs and pay another five dollars to get high in one of the rooms. I was enthralled by the looks on the faces of the people who were getting high. I had seen that look before—when I was preaching, when I was doing hypnosis, and later when I was doing standup. Those looks of pain and longing, seeking release, and the total vulnerability as the release was being achieved, either through a theatrical scripture delivery, the rush of the high, or the execution of the punchline. That stuck with me. I always was curious about what if I could have saturated my connections with people in those moments. Then God gave me the internet and social media.” 

 

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