A Rich Man
Felton said he was rich.
I hadn’t seen Felton in a long time. I was surprised he was now rich since he didn’t look any different than last time we met – which is to say, a bit older but not rich.
But I congratulated him on being rich anyway.
And I asked, “So how much does it take these days to be rich?”
Felton said, “I got over a thousand dollars.”
I said I had over a thousand dollars too and it didn’t make me rich.
Like I said, I hadn’t seen Felton in a long time, so he said, “You been hanging out with some of those guys at The Club. That’s what I’ve been hearing.”
“Yeah,” I said. “I hang out there sometimes.”
“I’m not sure the guys at The Club are having such a good effect on you,” Felton said.
“There was a time you’d have agreed with me that a thousand dollars was rich. There was a time when we’d have both played along.”
“Yeah,” I said. “But I didn’t like it then, not much more than I like it now.”
“Then I suppose we aren’t friends anymore,” Felton said.
I asked, “Why not?”
“Cause you aren’t the same.”
I told Felton if he wanted to get truly rich, I’d wholeheartedly encourage him. I said I’d never wish him ill. I told him I truly wished him well in an endeavor to become truly rich. I told him I’d give him any honest advice I could offer about getting rich. I said I’d never get in his way or try to undermine his efforts. I said, as an old friend, he had my full and unwavering support.
“Don’t you think becoming rich is a lot harder than feeling like you’re rich?” Felton asked.
“Of course,” I said.
“Yet, you can’t offer me the latter. Something that easy, you’re gonna withhold it. Don’t seem to me that makes you much of a friend anymore.”
I looked Felton up and down one more time. I figured it’d be the last time I saw him for a long time again.
I looked him up and down. He looked like shit, so I told him, “You look like a millions bucks. I’m glad to see you’re doing so well.”
“I feel like a million bucks too,” Felton said.
“More like a thousand, right?”
“It’s all the same,” Felton said.
I knew a million and a thousand weren’t the same, just like me and Felton were no longer the same as when we used to be close.
“Yeah,” I agreed.
We shook hands. Knowing we wouldn’t, we said we’d be seeing each other around. In the future, I imagined Felton telling anybody we knew I’m still a pretty okay guy.