Don Perezoso

Written in response to: Write about two friends getting into a fist fight.... view prompt


Fiction Crime

You know how everything changes after high school? We were best friends, now I serve drinks at his parties to earn $500, while he’s worth billions. 

Gzy-X gets the attention of the guests at his estate. “Everyone, this man is my best friend, and pours the best tequila in Orange County.” 

I wave at his guests and try my best to smile.

He leans over and says in my ear, “It’s great to have you here, Jake.”

“Thanks. So, do you think I could come to the office next week for an interview?”

“Sure thing, buddy.” He gives me a smile that projects vast confidence and then wanders off to talk to other people. Every time I ask for a job, or just a better freelance gig, he says. “Sure thing.” He could just say a few words to his team and make it happen, but he never bothers.

The media says he keeps his Bitcoin password tattooed on his arm. Which one they don’t say. The 20 digits unlock billions of dollars. I don’t know if this even makes sense. What about the guy who did the tattoo? Greg would have to kill him. Well, it’s certainly possible, as Greg is the most violent person I know. Nobody would have guessed he was the one who was going to make it from Citrus Hill High School. He definitely didn’t have any math or science ability back then.

The rumble of waves blends with the bass line of his party music, as I serve Don Perezoso, a single-origin tequila hand made by Wixárica highlanders to the hundreds of people there. Don Perzoso, that’s my label. It’s just supermarket Jose Cuervo blended with a dash of whisky, but people like to dream, don’t they?

Greg comes around and asks for another shot.

I pour it. As I hand it to him, I shout “Tequila!” in the melody of the song. I hold up my left hand in a high-five–I think we can do that again.

He looks at it for a second. “Yeah!” he says and slaps my hand. His sleeve slips up, exposing only pink skin. The tattoo must be on the other arm. “That’s good. But don’t pour the drinks too strong for the guests. I’m not paying for more than ten bottles tonight.”

He pushes forward someone who was behind him. “I’d like you to meet the only Chinese journalist left in America, Weng Bao.”

“Hi, call me Little Bao.” He shakes my hand.

“You’re going to give Gzy Exchange good coverage, right?” Greg says.

Weng Bao smiles sheepishly.

“Keep him happy,” Greg says to me with a wink.

After Greg leaves, Little Bao asks, “What do you think about Gzy Exchange’s business model? Some say it’s a pyramid scheme?”

“I don’t know. I just serve tequila.” For $500, I need to pitch Greg’s business too? But if I keep being dependable he will eventually see how effective I can be compared to most of the people he employs at his company.

“Are those people using cocaine?” Weng Bao asks. I see some crypto-bros who look as if they are trying to hide taking coke in the staircase, which means they are definitely taking it.

“No, it’s just a new fad to pretend to to look cool.” I have an idea. “How about you take a bottle of Don Perezoso, and let everyone in China know about it? The 1.4 billion consumers.”

“I’m not allowed to accept gifts.” He might be the only person in LA who won’t take a freebie. 

I push a marketing pamphlet for my brand into his hand. Not being able to pay rent last month on my studio in Santa Monica has made me work all my gigs harder. It’s so disappointing that Greg might earn millions from this journalist promoting Gzy Exchange, and I can’t even have him to take a bottle of free tequila. 

I try my best to keep smiling. People who work in the gig economy get used to functioning tired. It was a two-hour drive down here from Santa Monica after a day of leading personal training classes. 

Greg wanders back for drinks now and then throughout the night, and about seven shots later, I manage to place a shot into his left hand, and get a high five from his right hand. No tattoo on that arm, either. 

Around midnight, Gzy-X’s girlfriend Beezy asks for her second drink. She’s a model so she doesn’t drink much. We’ve met a few times. I’ve seen her giving me looks all night. “Hey Jake, can you mix a tequila sunrise?”

“A waste of luxury tequila, but sure.” I say wistfully.

“My boyfriend is getting drunk again.” She points toward Greg giving chest bumps to crypto bros. “Was he always like this?”

“Pretty much.”

“You’re better looking. An actor?” she asks. In Los Angeles, almost is in the entertainment business, or else trying to be.

“Sorry I’m not in the business.”

“Oh, I thought maybe…”

“No problem,” 

“We should hangout sometime.” Her hand touches my arm.

“Sure, here’s my number.” I show her my mobile. “I can hangout anytime I’m not teaching fitness classes to studio execs, doing event gigs, or promoting my tequila brand.”

“A busy man.” She flashes me pills she’s carrying. “Do you need something to keep you going?”

“No thanks.” I explain to her how hard it is to get by financially in LA as I mix her cocktail. As I hand it to her, I ask, “I wonder where a man like Greg keeps his stash?”

“Under the lid of the toilet tank in the master bathroom. Same as every other billionaire.”

“Here’s your drink,” I say. “Now, excuse me, I need to go use the facilities.”


After I leave the bathroom, I rejoin the party. Greg soon corners me. I can smell alcohol as he moves in really close and grabs my collar.

“Moving in on my action?” he says. “I saw you two exchanging numbers.”

There’s never a good answer for these sort of questions. I’m wondering about my options when out of nowhere, Greg lands a roundhouse punch on the side of my face, my mind goes blank and the next thing I’m flat on my back. While laying there all I can think about is whether the ziplock bag I found in the toilet tank is still in my vest pocket.

He pulls me off the ground.

“I saw you touching her.” I can see his face is very red.


“Liar.” When the next punch comes (he’s been drinking and I haven’t) I see it telegraphed. I duck and land a light tap to his kidney. He winces in pain.

A crowd gathers around to watch. Beezy jumps out. “What’s going on here?” 

Greg is glaring at me with a look of hatred. “A private conversation.” 

Beezy pulls Greg away. “The little boys fight is over.” 

I return to my booth and serving drinks. I always finish my contract. After the tenth person asks me if I’m ok, I start telling people “I’m fine” before they even ask. On a trip to the bathroom, I move the ziploc bag to a more secure spot so I don’t lose it.

An hour later, Greg makes an appearance at my tequila booth. “I just wanted to apologize about before. Beezy explained everything and told me about your rent problem, too.” 


“I want to give you something to help you out.”

“Thanks, Greg.” 

“Let’s go upstairs and fetch it.”

I’m getting worried, but there’s no getting out of this without making a scene. I follow Greg upstairs, and he opens a door and leads me into his office. I hear a click. The door locking behind me. 

“Bro. I went to check the internal surveillance cameras. Motion activated so I can watch all the footage in 60 seconds.” A gun appears from behind his back, which he points at me.

My first thought is a gun? and my second thought is, he has a camera in the bathroom?

“Where’s my stash?” he asks.

I reach into my jacket pocket and pull out an empty hand. “Damn. It was right there,” I say. “What’s in the bag, anyway?”

“Nice try.” His face is very red.

“Throw your jacket onto the bed, or else I’m going to shoot.”

Just when I think he’s bluffing, he cocks the pistol. I take off the jacket and he searches the pockets. 

“The pants.”

Things proceed this way until I’m in my underpants.

He looks down. “Take off your socks.”

There’s an obvious bulge. I take off my socks and the Ziploc bag falls out.

“Step back.”

I move back and he grabs the bag. As he’s examining that the contents are all there, his girlfriend Beezy opens the door. Saved again.

“Gzy-X, I was looking for you,” she says. “What’s going on here?” She looks worried seeing a gun.

“Just a game we used to play in high school. Boys will be boys.”

“Let him go. James-o just arrived and wants to hang out.”

“James-O? I need to pitch our deal again.” He looks at me now as if I’m a panhandler or other minor annoyance. “Jake, get out of here and stay out of my affairs. Got it?”

“My keys?” I point at the car keys on the bed.

Greg throws them at me. He looks at the rest of my clothes. “You lost, so these are mine now.” He takes all my clothes off the bed and throws them out the window.

He points toward the door, and I take the hint to leave his office. He locks the door behind me staying inside to talk to Beezy.

I consider going to pick up my clothes from the pool deck despite being in my underwear. I don’t embarrass easily. But, what if Greg and Beezy decide to get rid of me together? It’s not like anyone in the crowd would stop them, a murder would be their chance to get media coverage and TV interviews.

I rush toward my car. A handful of people in the parking lot who see me look amused. They assume I’m in my underparts to pull a party stunt. I start the car and make a beeline out of Greg’s property.

On the drive home, a handful of drivers glance my way. People in LA are used to seeing weird shit. Nobody pays much attention to a guy driving with his shirt off.

The next morning, unexpectedly, my doorbell rings. One of Gzy-X’s security guards is standing there and hands me a box. “Your personal items,” he says. Thankfully, it doesn’t explode when I open it, and has all my stuff inside. Even my wallet was returned. Everything except for my iPhone.

But it’s 2023, not 2003. The photo I took was synced to the Apple Cloud.

I wrote down the number on my desk last night, and I login to Greg’s crypto wallet. I see his main account screen. $20,000 dollars.

Just $20,000? In LA, everyone is a grifter. 

I convert the bitcoins to dollars and buy a one-way ticket to Miami.

June 22, 2023 08:22

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Amanda Lieser
22:21 Jul 17, 2023

Hi Scott, Interesting twist that you decided to incorporate for this one! You did a great job of incorporating the fascinating reality of high end luxury, and how everything is relative. I love that the story took place with mythical creatures who felt so real to us. None of these characters felt entirely honest or trustworthy. Sometimes I wonder what it would’ve been like to be friends with a celebrity in high school. Although, after reading this piece, maybe it’s better to just stay in my bubble. Nice work!!


03:00 Jul 18, 2023

Thanks, I'm happy you caught the idea that the MC is basically as morally flawed as the rich guy in the story. Its def a challenge to make fictional characters sound real. Sometimes I hold images of characters I see in reality tv shows and think of how they would act.


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Delbert Griffith
18:28 Jul 03, 2023

I like the ending. I like the MC, and the first person POV was revealing. At times, the story felt a little disjointed, but I think maybe that's because there's too much happening for a 3k tale. Otherwise, this has the usual excellent Scott Christenson writing. Cameras in the bathroom? That was good. I wonder about the MC a little; he has a tequila business and he' still broke, working a lot, trying to make ends meet. Perhaps, though, this is how it is in L.A. Everyone fakes it until they make it. I like the tale, Scott, but it feels a litt...


00:48 Jul 04, 2023

Thanks, the story didn't exactly find a theme to center around, so I didn't submit it to the contest that week. Might rework this later as I did want to write a story about the freelancer economy and how many jobs they need to hustle to survive in LA or SF.


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05:20 Jul 04, 2023

Also I think parties are not great scenes for short fiction, they don't provide the easy to visualize focus of more specific a business deal, a date, a heist,etc.. Good to hear you liked the ending, I'll keep my mind open to what new environment this plot could be dropped into.


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Mary Bendickson
23:00 Jun 22, 2023

Is Bzy-X same as Gzy-X?


08:49 Jun 23, 2023

That was a typo, thx for spotting it and letting me know;)


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Lily Finch
18:58 Jun 22, 2023

Scott, I enjoyed the flow and pace of this story. The fist fight was one sided by the drunk guy and I could picture it - and MC, sober MC, was able to move out of the zone with ease to avoid being struck. I thought the creativity of the bitcoin and cameras in the bathroom was good and held interest. Theme: Greed, Steal, Lie. DQ: Will MC get an interview with Greg's company? Tone: Hopeful, Greedy, Sinister, Mood: Friendly, cheerful, angry, hate, nervous, confident. Then MC absconds with the $$. What I didn't find was UofE as much in...


08:52 Jun 23, 2023

Thx, yeah the theme was the MC was very jealous of his friend, but ethically he's not any better. I felt the story was missing something.. GS's unity of effect.. that's a good thing you brought up, I might pull this one and work on it some more. I like the theme of friends from high school finding themselves in unequal places, but party scenes don't work well in fiction. I'll try to reimagine a scene for this overall arc.


Lily Finch
13:50 Jun 23, 2023

I think you are on to something really good. Just keep using what you have and think about your DQ and your U of E, and then it will deliver itself to you. LF6


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Scott Skinner
21:48 Jun 23, 2023

It's all smoke and mirrors! I liked the twist at the end of this one. This was a great example of how you can give background and push the story forward at the same time, "The media says he keeps his Bitcoin password tattooed on his arm. Which one they don’t say. The 20 digits unlock billions of dollars. I don’t know if this even makes sense. What about the guy who did the tattoo? Greg would have to kill him. Well, it’s certainly possible, as Greg is the most violent person I know." I was wondering how one could own a tequila business and...


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10:05 Jun 23, 2023

This story needs some more work, will rewrite for another week.


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