Ladies and Gentlemen, May I Have 15 Minutes of Your Precious Time?, by Scott Rothman and Mike Sacks

By

Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Foster Richardson, and my family and I are currently homeless. I just got out of the penitentiary and I am trying to be a better man. As you know, times are tough, not as tough as they used to be, sure, but still pretty tough, so if you can spare anything, even a quarter, just one quarter of a million dollars, well, that would go a long, long way to helping my family and I finish the renovations we started two winters ago on our beach house in Wainscott.

Now I know what you’re saying. Why would this guy buy in Wainscott when homes hold their value so much better in East Hampton? Well, the answer isn’t sexy, but it is true; the answer is that we couldn’t afford to buy a beach house in East Hampton. Not on the former seven-figure salary and seven-figure end-of-year bonus of a hedge fund partner supporting two children, a stay-at-home mom, and two full-time nannies. Not when that very same hedge fund partner was tragically incarcerated for breaking the very same laws and ethical boundaries that everyone broke for decades, and continue to break to this day. Some of you are nodding. Exactly: thanks, SEC.

I don’t know what you were expecting, but I am not here to sing, dance or entertain you in any way this morning. But I can tell you that Apple is looking rather bullish, despite the current medical condition of Steve Jobs. That tip was free. The next one will not be.

To back track, we are on the water in Wainscott, and East Hampton is just a short hop away in one of our BMW 535s. Still, as my former colleagues incessantly remind me at various functions we must attend for status maintenance, Wainscott is not East Hampton. Hey, we all have to make do. And I don’t blame anyone for my current predicament — other then the so-called experts who finally realized what I was getting away with and put me in jail. Needless to say, such actions were unproductive, unfair and un-American-y.

As any of you who ever freely shared illegal secrets with your college buddies at Fortune 500 companies can attest, minimum security prison ain’t for the weak. In fact, save my first semester at Choate, prison was the toughest two months of my entire life — just behind that first year at Goldman. But I’m not here to tell you a sob story. I’m here to tell you a story about a man who needs you to give him a few hundred thousand dollars so he can renovate his beach home in the same way that prison renovated him.

Okay, that’s a good question, sir, and while I don’t appreciate the tone, I will answer it. The reason I said my family and I are currently homeless is threefold. First, as we mentioned before, we’ve been unable to complete the renovations to our beach house in Wainscott which, truth be told, might as well be East Hampton. Second, Obama. Third, we were tragically forced to vacate our quadruplex in the city after our doorman torched it upon learning my company was responsible for destroying his pension — as well as his parents’ retirement savings. I know, you’ve heard it a million times.

Do we feel sad? Of course we do! That was our primary residence and we beat out many other good families to get it. Are we going to get one of our lawyers to sue the superintendent for both structural and emotional damages? Of course we are. Paperwork has already been drafted. Are we going to sit around and cry about times being so tough? No. We’re going to descend into the New York City subway system, all the members of my family: my wife, Chainsley, my daughter, Daisy, my son, Heath. And we’re going to beg the good working people, people who order food from delis, people who park on the street, to do the decent thing and bail us out of this stagnant hell that the capitalism-haters have thrust us into.

I know! I know! I know that these Marxist-created tough times have affected all of us. Perhaps some of you even know people in the finance industry who have had to make slight, albeit painful adjustments to their way of life. Be that as it may, I want you to know that the phrase We are all in this together is only something people say before they realize no one is going to help them finish the new “extra canoe storage” wing on their beach house, literally a stone’s throw from East Hampton. Hell, it could even be referred to as “North East-Hampton.” Seriously, it’s that close.

I see a lot of you scowling, spitting at me or moving far away, so I can only assume you are getting off at the next stop. Okay, I’ll wrap things up by saying that if you can’t spare money, perhaps there is something else you can give. If you have anything to eat, by all means, please keep it to yourselves — we have plenty of food and drink back at our hotel suite. Before you ask, my former firm receives a generous rate due to all the clients and prostitutes they regularly entertain on the premises … and I still know the discount code. That said, every little bit counts—

Right here in the Dean & Deluca cup, perfect. Care for a charitable-donation receipt? Just leave your card… .

Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen! Apologies for the interruption. My name is Foster Richardson, and I am not here to ask for your pity… .

Scott Rothman is a screenwriter living in New York City.

Mike Sacks is the author of three books. His latest, Your Wildest Dreams, Within Reason, was just released.

The Humor Section features a piece of original humor writing each week. To submit to it, send an email to Becca O’Neal.