Bodybuilding thongs on the bed, steroid needles on the night stand, used bottles of testosterone on the ground, viagra and a plastic trophy on the book shelves – this is how the hotel room of Riki Pianola, a middle-aged heavyweight bodybuilder, was arranged.
After taking a shower Riki stared at his reflection in the mirror and began contemplating the ink all over his body. He had many tattoos, and during each bathroom analysis he was always discovering a new one. Riki looked at his eyes and a sharp feeling of self-destruction passed through his heart like an electric impulse. He had become unrecognizable.
“Who am I?”
Riki was getting tired of the muscle industry. He was spending most of his money on drugs, food and supplements only to eventually get an ugly looking souvenir. Every time a skinny guy in an expensive suit was giving him a check for 10k, Riki was getting mentally prepared to cry himself to sleep. He needed more than that just to cover his monthly drug bills. It was really hard not to punch the pencil neck straight in the face. The low IQ bimbo with blonde hair holding the other side of the check was not making things any easier. Riki was tired of fitness girls. They were too easy and lacked intelligence to be with him. Next to fitness sluts he was feeling like a professor from Harvard.
“This is it. I am getting a real job,” said Pianola and remembered how back in the day his high school biology teacher, who had the funny nickname “The Bottle” because of excessive drinking, used to make fun of him: “Where do you think muscles will take you, Riki,” was often saying The Bottle.
“That drunk was right,” whispered Riki to himself while laying down on the bed. He kept his feet planted on the floor. Admitting it hurt, but the moment had come. A change of direction was in order.
Riki began going through the contacts on his phone. Over the years he had met people from various industries. It was time to put all that smiling for the camera in motion.
“Who should I call,” was thinking Riki.
“Bobby The Needle? No, I don’t want to get involved in the steroid smuggling game again. Dave The Alien Predator? No! This guy has a huge ego, even bigger then his gut.”
After about 10 minutes Pianola realized that most of his contacts were linked to the industry one way or another. This was a problem because his heart was begging to get out of the thong sector. Riki wanted to try something new in the “real” world and make his family proud of him again.
At about 8 o’clock in the evening Riki prepared to get out. He had planned to go downstairs and watch some live music. It was going to be a jazz concert. Riki hated jazz but live music was live music no matter the genre. Staying alone in the hotel room was not an option. He put on a nice black shirt, his new red-black sneakers with “Pianola” written above the heal and on the outer side, a sprinkle of exotic perfume and left.
Riki sat at bar and ordered a whiskey – his favorite drink. Then he started analyzing the situation. There were many snobs and mistresses in the house. Those women were wearing silk dresses worth thousands, and yet their gestures were taken out of cheap porn movies. Class? Not even once. Brain? Maybe 5%.
Riki was just about to order another drink when somebody touched his traps. Instinctively, Pianola moved back while turning around.
“Hey, Riki, buddy! It’s me, S.H. Don’t kill me, please” said a decently built men with glasses. He was laughing.
S.H. was an old friend of Pianola who used to share his love for muscle back in the day but hated competing. His original name was Samuel Harrison, but due to his initials and dark past he was also known as the Sultan of Hormones.
“Oh, man! Look at you! You look great,” said Riki.
Samuel was indeed looking like a slick baller with class. He was definitely looking the part.
“Thanks man. You look nice too. Huge! Monstrous even.”
“I am trying to stay in shape, you know.”
“It’s working. Is bodybuilding still your job?”
“Well, yes,” said Pianola. The shame in his eyes was obvious, but it was hard for him to play tricks with the Sultan of Hormones. S.H. was able to read people like an open book.
“I am looking for something new to be honest. What about you,” added Pianola.
“I am working as an investor banker right know and have a few personal projects on the side too.”
“Money goes to money, right?”
“I guess so,” replied Samuel, although he was not one of those people who put their success in your face all the time.
“Listen, Sam, do you have something for me? I have a lot of skills. It’s not just muscle,” said Riki. He was hurting inside because asking others for help was new to him.
“Hm….now that you mentioned it, I am actually starting a new project. Are you interested in being the main advertising model of a new knife brand?”
“Knife brand? By knives you mean those things that cut other things.”
“You have the looks I need to attract customers. I have Rambo style knives to promote.”
“20k a month plus 1% of all annual sales.”
While they were shaking hands a diamond watch slid out of Samuel’s sleeve. A reflection of light stabbed Riki in the eye. Greed mode was on.
A few days later the money wheel was already under construction. A name of the knife brand was chosen too – “Pianola Blades”. The targeted audience were people from the higher middle class and low level hipsters.
After about 2 months everything was ready. There was a TV commercial and a dozen of prototypes. All that was left were a few meetings between investors, shareholders and their respective attorneys. Afterwards it was time to begin production and calculating profits.
Right before one of the final meetings, Riki hadd to use the luxury bathroom of Samuel to load his glutes with synthetic testosterone. He was still a bodybuilder at the end of day. Once you are addicted to muscle there is no turning back. While he was in the process of looking for the right spot, he overheard a conversation between Samuel and another investor.
“Here’s how it’s going to work. I have contacts in China. There are manufacturers willing to make the knives exactly the way we want them for 50 cents each. We are going to sell a truckload of knives to Walmartinio stores for about $10 a piece. Thereupon they will sell them to the mass consumer for $29.99 each. We are going to make a killing,” said the investor Samuel was talking to.
“Cool. Except that this is not enough,” said Samuel.
“Are you serious? We are paying 50 cents per unit and selling it for 600 times more.”
“What if I told you we can actually make even more money?”
“First, we have to make sure that every gym in the whole country has a poster of my guy, Pianola. I want him to be more popular than Coca-Cola. Afterwards we are going to make the Chinese send us the knives in two parts – a blade and a handle, so that we can put ‘Assembled in USA’ on them. This will look even more appealing in the eyes of the hipsters we are targeting. Many people feel guilty for buying things made by poorly paid and exploited people overseas. This will increase our expenses, but at the end we can be selling a unit for $20 to Walmartinio stores, which will respectively sell it to the end customers for $50 easily. I am talking about ‘world class whores around you on an island’ type of bank. Are you in?,” said Samuel.
“I am in, but you promised that Riki guy 1% of all annual sales. That’s a little too much for a biceps, don’t you think?” said the other guy.
“Who says he will know the actual annual profit? We can cook the books,” explained the Sultan of Hormones.
The greed in the air was strong.
By the end of the speech the last drop of test had been introduced to Riki’s glutes. He was feeling extra alpha and decided to confront his employer and former friend right away. He entered the room like a hungry gorilla looking for the last banana on Earth. While Samuel’s friend immediately regretted not wearing diapers that day, the Sultan of Hormones himself was standing in the middle of the room like nothing had happened.
“Hi, Riki! How are you?”
“Bitch, please! I heard your fucking plan. The fucking knives cost you pennies because you are exploiting people. Making millions and giving me pocket change, right? Fuck you, twink,” said Pianola.
Samuel sat on the leather chair behind and started talking.
“Here’s how things work in the real world my man. In order to get where I am, you have to forget about the movies and the media. It’s all a lie. You can’t be a nice guy and still win it all. You have to be willing to hit others around you. This is the world of the predator. There is no place for mercy. If you can’t fight back, you die.”
“And I though I was getting a real job,” said Riki while squinting.
“A real job? Seriously? What is real job according to you, Riki?”
“A job that helps society move forward, like a doctor or a police officer.”
“It seems to me that you haven’t learn much wearing that thong for 20 years, little big Riki. The ideas in your head don’t work in the current system. There are doctors who refuse to cut you if you don’t have insurance. At the same time most policemen are doing more work for the mafia than serving and protecting. They are all paid to protect the corrupt system and nothing else. It’s a game, Riki. A game that ordinary people can never win, but have to play. A real job? Give me a break. There is no such thing as a real job – only business and little games for the slaves to play. Keep your end or we will just find another meathead,” finished Samuel.
Over the next few days Riki was very melancholic. It turned out he was doing more good to the world by wearing his thong and promoting muscle than being part of a more respected “legit” business.
While similar thoughts were eating him somebody knocked at the door. It was his growth hormone dealer. Riki was late on a payment.
“You better have my money next week or I will break your synthol arms,” said the dealer. He had an iron bat over his shoulder. Riki’s knees got soft.
“I will have the money next week,” he said.
A few minutes later Riki Pianola contacted the Sultan Of Hormones:
“Fuck it! I am in.”
“Nice. By the way we are going to sell protein powder as a bonus with some of the high end knives,” said Samuel.