his name was Win and he was crying.
i wasn’t doing so well myself because earlier in the day i had picked up some ADHD meds they finally decided to give me and it was not making me feel 100%, let’s say.
i was nauseous, out of sorts, and oddly horny.
i like to be at peak performance when i drive, and absolutely alert when im driving other people. even if they are crying in my backseat, which i rarely allow.
Win was a student at an art school studying Toy Making which i never knew was a thing, but i guess if George Lucas made more money off the Star Wars toys than he did the movie, someone figured ah, let’s join the cash grab.
he was crying because his teachers hated all of his concepts. he had to look up the phrase Basic Bitch after one of them put that in the notes of his most recent idea.
“i’m going to get kicked out of school. my mother is going to be so disappointed. the shame our family will endure will be too much,” he said between sniffles.
no one gets kicked out of art school i assured him, they want your money.
Win told me several of his classmates had been kicked out.
were they really booted or did they quit? i asked. people love to quit shit, i said.
he just cried and told me how his mother carried the whole family on her back after his father went to jail.
ok look, before i start crying, what do these teachers want, i asked.
they keep saying they want us to think Outside Box. they say they want Edge. they say they want New.
what happened, Win asked startled, probably concerned about the traffic or the Benz.
im Mr. Outside Box, i said quietly. but he heard.
YOU ARE? Please help me Anthony. Please.
here’s the problem bro I am the wrong person to help you. I am incredibly dark. I’m Black but im lightskinned because all the darkness is inside me. cut me, my blood looks like ink. any idea i give you will be great, but very few teachers ever gave me good grades. IT TOOK ME SIX YEARS TO GRADUATE COLLEGE!
please Mr. Anthony. Please!
Uber refuses to change my name to Tony, so trust me, it’s just as weird for me to hear that name as i’m sure it is for you.
Win, my heart is so dark im probably gonna go to Hell bc God judges us by our hearts and theres no faking that. also ive done bad things that im trying to make up for, but inside it’s borderline evil.
if I get kicked out, I have to return to China.
fine, Win, you wore me down. if you use this idea please do not mention me. if you end up making it and becoming rich, say it just dawned on you while you were in the back of an Uber driving around LA. do with it what you want.
first when you pitch this, tell your teachers that once this becomes successful all of the profits needs to go to a homeless nonprofit like Invisible People.
In a way it’s a parody of Barbie, but it’s hyper realistic versions of homeless people. tents, shopping carts, half broken bicycles, weirdly healthy dogs, rickety structures covered with blue tarps, street lights that have been tapped into so the people can “steal” the electricity to run generators and little tvs.
and of course you have the figurines of the people. that should be the easy part. young people with face tattoos. dudes with giant coats on in the summer. a guy who’s mostly naked sleeping on a bus bench that has an armrest in the middle of the seat so people cant sleep on it, a guy with an almost new Kobe jersey, and a guy dressed up in his army fatigues.
Win gasped. so dark, he whispered.
and edgy, and Outside that fucking Box. i said as we drove through an overpass lined with tents, old RVs and port-a-potties.
but here’s what i want you to do, i want you to either pee on it or figure out a way you can make them smell bad.
then Win said something that worried me. he said, we have chemicals that can make things smell like fruit or happiness.
do you have anything that smells like sadness?
sell the extra jars of bad smells separately.
Win was so quiet looking out the window. as if he had just been offered the opportunity to sell his soul to the devil for a really great slice of pizza.
each homeless person and two accessories like a tent or a skateboard is bundled in a pair of clean new athletic socks rolled in a ball the size of your fist. when someone buys the toys they should give the socks to the first homeless person they see.
you will not go to hell, Anthony, Win finally told me. you are very nice.
Nice? I said surprised. Now let me tell you about the second series of homeless toys. There will be a garbage truck, 5 cops, and 3 guys in yellow vests who roll by and put all the tents and things into the back of the garbage truck and make the homeless people leave.
then Win went back to crying.