”She thinks I paid a million dollars for that necklace. It's a cubic zirconia. I paid, like, $3,000 for it. And an extra grand to the diamond appraiser to tell her it's real. The million went into a paid up life policy for myself. It's the coolest way to hide money." Chadwick and Mindy had booked a two night stay in the middle of the week. “We have all the time in the world, as Jesus has blessed us," Chadwick had said when signing in at the front desk. Mindy held to his arm, diamond ring flashing the reflection of one of the many candle sconces Fortuna had installed throughout the lobby. “They make the place feel so warm," she said, over and over again as each was carefully positioned onto the mahogany paneling. “Drill small holes, and use brass headed fasteners," she had chided the workmen. Fortuna's touch was all over the resort. She loved to spend time on the details. She even had gold dust sprinkled into the grout between the granite tiles and dark wood planking that made the flooring.
Chadwick sat “basking in the light of Jesus," which was how he described how he was when I asked him. “My wife has no idea how blessed we are. If she did, I would have a lot less saved up and a lot more to manage." He leaned back in his chair, lifting the two front legs off the floor, something that always bugged me, as it usually ended up in setting legs with wood glue over night. “Keep yourself mortgaged to the max," he offered without my insistence. “Owe and hide. That's how you prepare for the future!"
“That life policy you mentioned." Chadwick cut me off. His time was limited. Mindy would be back any minute. “You see, paid up policies don't show up on asset sheets. Unless you want them too. Creditors can't get at them. I can owe a zillion dollars and not pay and still have my multi million dollar policies. All sitting there, ready to borrow from tax free anytime." He sighed. “That's how I fund the deals. The wife can spend all my money on stupid stuff that we use at home, stuff that just kills our money, that we can't ever sell, but I always have my stash." “But how do you explain," once again Chadwick cut me off, something I found he was prone to do to anyone at any table as the next two days unfolded. “I get loan docs, fake ones, so she thinks I have to pay the money back to some bank. On the ones I don't get real loans on, that is. I put the money she thinks is going into the bank back into my policies. I'm always loaded and ready to roll."
And roll he did. He told me of his latest deal. “The little old lady didn’t hear very well,” he started, “her place was okay, but it needed some work. Just your average little three bedroom two bath, you know?” Maggie and I had seen a few of those lately. “I offered her, under my breath, seventy five thousand, figuring she wouldn’t take it.” Then his eyes widened and he sat a little straighter in his chair. “She was like, well, if I could just get thirty five thousand dollars for it. So I took it and made bank. Once again, Jesus was good to us.” He rolled his eyes toward the sky in an appearance to thank his Jesus. “Isn’t that kind of, taking advantage of someone?” I asked. “Wouldn’t it have been fair to give her what you thought it was worth to you, so she could have that extra money she probably needed? You still would have made out okay.” Chadwick looked hurt. His body tensed up. His hands, which had been resting on the table, clenched and hovered above his plate. “We made more, and making more prospers our family, and when our family prospers, well, that glorifies Jesus.”
Mindy weaved her way back to the table, her cubic zirconia ring catching reflection at every turn. She was a very happy woman. “I'm so blessed," she would say every time she arrived. Her husband had master planned her world. It was more than she could fathom, but not as much as it could be. She thought it was real, but it was not. She was blessed for sure, but not wholly. Her husband didn't trust her. She thought he did. She believed he did. She thanked Jesus for him. But Jesus didn't tell her about the ring. Or the life insurance policies. Or the fake loan docs. Or the poor little old lady who got shafted in the last deal her dear husband did. Perhaps Jesus didn't want to burst her bubble. Maybe he didn't want to upset the apple cart. Or he might not of wanted her to feel not so blessed. Or not blessed at all. Maybe he just figured, “if she never finds out, what harm will come of it?"