My last attempt at getting rich quick did not work out. I thought the Jeff Make-a-Skilling Investment Fund would prosper. The SEC saw it differently. My tickets to the Houston Texans Super Bowl Victory Banquet were not moving. I tried to sell club memberships on KSEV for my Friends of Smog, only to find that its listener had been arrested as a Nazi war criminal. My idea of creating a Ukrainian accordion quartet to serenade romantic interludes bombed, as well.
So I visited my financial adviser. “Did you follow my recommendation and buy New Orleans Levee bonds?” he asked, as he pushed his grocery cart along the freeway median, stopping every so often to pick up an empty beer can.
“Yes,” I said, “and I lost it all.”
“Timing is everything,” he said. “You’ve got to know when to fold. Which reminds me, you did buy into the Texas Hold ‘Em craze, didn’t you?”
“No. You said to sell, because Texas Hold ‘Em was a brief fad, but you said to buy into the low carb diet craze. I did that, just before it went belly up.”
“At least the belly was flat,” he said while eyeing a bent Coors can. “Buy into restaurants. Everybody who is anybody is investing in restaurants.”
So I opened a Parisian bakery only to have it invaded by the German beer garden next door. I ran up a white flag. Still in a Gaulish mood, I launched a French Quarter café called the K-Jun and served beans and red rice. No one came. Only then did I learn the proper meal is red beans and rice. Making one last attempt, I filled the café ceiling-high with toxic water and empty promises. Zero. Sticking with a New Orleans theme, I changed the name to the Big Greasy. No luck.
“You’re on the right track,” my financial adviser said, while rolling a joint with his old Enron stock certificate. “You’ve got 200,000 new Houstonians from Louisiana, give or take a pirogue-load. Make them feel at home.”
I rented the Astrodome, surrounded it with heavily armed looters and served cold MREs. The operation went broke. My final thrust at corralling the Louisiana crowd was to open a FEMA restaurant. Place your order on Monday, and it will arrive at least by Saturday. One customer said my sub sandwich tasted like a soggy sandbag. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was.
My Tex-Mex restaurant, Borderline Food, was closed after the immigration agents raided my kitchen. They let my staff stay but deported the food.
Next, I tried a Good Cop, Bad Cop Doughnut shop with the slogan, “Take a truncheon to luncheon.” I was arrested for impersonating a cook.
“Think topical,” my financial adviser said between valet parking cars at Luby’s. That’s when I opened the Gas Station Café, complete with fake pumps, long lines and no service. But I went broke because I had to buy new menus every hour to list the higher prices. Still, that bankruptcy gave me an idea, and I started up the Señor Rita, a Tex-Mex restaurant catering to Houston’s returning hurricane evacuees. The place had no restrooms, all the lines were jammed except for those going the other way that were totally empty, and customers had to wait 10 hours for their food. It folded in 11 hours.
Then I got this great idea for the Hurricane Evacuation Plan Speedway, but the idea had already been copyrighted by Mayor Bill White. Staying topical, I opened the Bush Blame Game Pool Hall. The rules were that nobody lost and the more they screwed up, the more they were promoted. It was timely, but the Health Department accused me of creating a topical depression.
Next I held the grand opening for a home-cooking diner called Desperate Houseboys. The customers were desperate to leave. Then I tried the bar business. My saloon with a Roman theme, the Gin & Tunic, lasted XVII days. My English pub, the Fat Fergie, didn’t do much better. I tried to open an Irish-Taliban bar, the O’Sama bin Laden, but was strafed by the Air Force. My topless bar for Palestinians, the Gaza Strip, was leveled during a fight between Jewish settlers and the Israeli Army.
“I’m not getting rich quick,” I whined to my financial adviser, as he was peddling his Y2K Computer Protectors on the street corner.
“Politics is the key,? he said. “Politics is always hot.”
“Isn’t “politics” plural?” I asked.
“This is a one-party state,” he explained.
That’s when I opened my One Grandma’s Tough Steak House. I guess it was the wrong choice of words. The Rick Perry Beauty Parlor didn’t do much better. My Tom DeLay Charm School bombed, too.
As a last desperate effort, I checked with my financial adviser, who was re-filling the “For your protection” paper holders in the last stall. “I’ve tried everything,” I said, “but even if I do hit it big, how will I know when I’m rich?”
“Easy. When you stop paying taxes.”
“Thanks, Mr. Lay.” H