My Millionaire Husband Is Sinking Future Alimony Into the Subsequent Fyre Pageant in Pre-divorce Revenge
A topless silhouette leaned into my intoxicated husband, her fluorescent pasties flashing along to the festival’s strobe lights until their intimate encounter disappeared behind a crowd of giddy teens, clamoring towards some Insta-celeb. It was after midnight, I was trapped in the desert, and most of our party had descended into private orgies in scattered tents. If this is the Coachella my daughter’s been begging to attend, I’m relieved my husband’s ulterior motives for our attendance spawned a hard “no” for hers.
After an endless stream of group texts — mostly compromising photos that (for legal and reputation reasons) should not escape the Coachella Valley — nearly numbed me to the 12:30 am vibration in my pocket. The tiny glimmer of hope that our driver was here led me to check, but what I found wasn’t a text at all.
Instead, the familiar Ring app alerted me to motion at the garage of my mom’s Corona del Mar duplex. At this hour, it was probably a coyote, but better safe than sorry…
Before the app loaded the live garage camera, an overlapping alert buzzed across the screen:
Motion Alert: There is motion at your Front Door.
That was a bit more concerning.
I expanded the app’s live front door view and watched a dark shadow unlatch the dog gate, enter the lock’s keypad code, and disappear inside. With the side alley light burnt out, the figure was largely obscured in darkness and impossible to make out. It was definitely a man — so not my mom — but it could be Craig (her platonic male roommate). Or a friend? Or my dad?
I didn’t want to be alarmist and call the cops yet, in case it was just Craig…so perhaps a midnight phone call would be appropriate.
One ring. Then two. Then another vibration: Motion at the front door — again.
“Is everything okay?”
Craig’s drowsy voice trickled through the speaker, barely audible over the pulsating music and shrieking fans permeating the festival field, as a shadow hauled two suitcases through the alley, into the dog gate, and inside my mom’s duplex, all inside the Ring video dashboard on my 6-inch screen.
A shirtless Herb and his fishnet-donning Yasmin had emerged from the tent where they were surely conceiving their fourth fetus in 3 years to round up their guests for the ride back to their friends’ sprawling Palm Springs estate.
I should probably find my husband. And maybe I would have — if I hadn’t seen another familiar face dash towards a line of shuttles: Even at 12:30 am under the disorienting beams of flashing light, I could recognize my daughter’s profile — and the very problematic sleazebag on her arm. Little does she — or my husband — know, that sleazebag’s father may take us all down.
Betting the house is risky business
“Remember, she’s your new BFF. And he’s mine…”
Pulling up to the Palm Springs palace, the tension was palpable: Hubby had been coaching me since we’d met the most powerful unorthodox lender on the ocean side of the PCH (Herb, an MLM billionaire-turned-loan shark). This wasn’t a vacation; it was strictly business.
However, stepping into the Grecian estate felt a far cry from business. Somewhere between 90% and 95% of the bikini and glitter-clad models boasted blue checks on Instagram (though their biggest checks likely come from OnlyFans — or Hubby’s bank account…). A staff of ultra-shredded hulk-like men proudly parading their banana hammocks in tiny yellow speedos waltzed through the grotto archways serving up trays of powder, leaves, and edible tabs to enhance the already psychedelic ambiance. All the while, Hubby floated beside Herb on a neon raft, cackling over which female performers they’d like to “F*ck, Marry, Kill”. Business, huh?
“Yasmin, you got Diggy’s number right?”
Within seconds, the pool party escalated into a name drop-a-thon, as Hollywood contacts (producers, agents, managers, talent, etc.) were zooming through the air at lightning speed.
“$10M. We do our own festival. Talent gets paid in rev-share ticket sales. Boom. Done. You in?”
Herb — despite being one of the wealthiest men in the estate — shot his eyebrows north in my husband’s direction, requesting an on-the-spot buy-in. Unfortunately, one of the biggest — and least known — downsides of traveling in elite circles is that often, they’re “pay to play”. It’s kind of like “keeping up with the Joneses”, but if you can’t — or simply choose not to — keep up, you’re out. And no, you don’t get three strikes; it’s one and done.
Without skipping a beat, Hubby took Herb’s bait. The last thing I want is a high-publicity Fyre Festival tying up our finances amidst my divorce, though that’s probably exactly what he’d want. At least it’s more traceable than the mile high club crypto transfers my PI uncovered — those funds are long gone.
“Would you do collateral over cash? I’ve got a couple properties in CDM…”
I craned my neck towards the bar, inconspicuously eavesdropping on Hubby’s financial negotiation with his new “business partner” when an unexpected sneeze projected wet droplets down the back of my arm.
A Balenciaga-drenched 5-month-old peered up from Yasmin’s surgically-augmented boob, as her very body-confident mother nudged me towards the “Wifey” section. In case you’re wondering, old boys’ clubs are still kicking.
I reluctantly followed her to the 23-inch-waist-brigade, straining my ears to catch any remnants of the dissipating bar-side conversation. I just can’t help but wonder why Hubby would offer up properties as collateral for a high-risk venture with a partner known to take no prisoners, but a lot of properties (as hard money lenders often do). There’s no way Hubby would gamble away my mom’s duplex…right?
Shout it from the rooftops
I sprinted towards the carport, but I couldn’t escape the loud whirring overhead. It was following me. Straight ahead, I saw my mom — holding what appeared to be my daughter’s Louis Vuitton suitcase — hostage, though she was viciously emptying its contents along the concrete alley. I looked up to see a small flying object about three stories above me, making its way towards my mom’s rooftop.
“Come down here or I will run over these clothes!”
My mom isn’t usually one to fly off the handle, but apparently this was her boiling point. My dad poked out from an unfamiliar tent erected along the rooftop’s upper deck with a controller in hand calling the flying drone home.
“Hey — can you guys keep it down? I’m on a work call, and Europe is hearing this.”
A neighbor from an adjacent duplex stormed onto his balcony in a robe, tersely silencing my parents in their reverse-Romeo and Juliet spat.
“Dad? You moved out?”
Once he spotted me below, he produced a brief wave, then returned to his controller to deploy his drone for another rooftop mission while stoically shouting his retort for all the neighbors to hear.
“I wasn’t wanted. You made my customers feel unwelcome. I can’t conduct business in an environment like that. Star said — ”
Of course Star said something else to incite my dad’s mania. And he wasn’t unwelcome in our home — he was just unwelcome to run a church-cloaked pyramid scheme that invited hundreds of 5 am strangers into our gated community, coinciding with unusual break-ins and burglaries…
My dad squealed in agony as metal clanged against metal. The sputtering sound of struggling propellers drew another neighbor to their rooftop across the alley, witnessing the flying object’s loud demise.
The drone slid down their slanted canopy, flipped, then splashed into their rooftop hot tub.
“Is this your drone? Are you filming us?”
Before my dad could answer, French doors burst open and the robed man returned:
“Guys, seriously?! Shut up!”
His outburst attracted an audience of dog-walking passersby, as more homeowners assembled to watch the altercation unfold.
“He’s spying on us! With a drone.”
“You can’t use that footage. No consent.”
“That’s a lawsuit. No consent, can’t record. You need to destroy that footage.”
If there’s one thing Corona del Martians have in common (and probably most of our OC neighbors), it’s their perspective on privacy. It’s priceless. And I don’t doubt the neighbor threatening a lawsuit wouldn’t act alone.
“It’s not filming. It’s a delivery drone — for messages.”
An uproar of questions and unrest broke out again, which provided my dad the perfect platform to pitch his services, though shouting from the rooftop may not be the best way to recruit the .01% for a lightly-veiled pyramid scheme.
11th hour saviors can’t be trusted
My mom didn’t care — and neither did the hazmat team busting into the near condemnable Dana Point property-turned-breeding ground.
“You’re two months too late. Where’s the money?”
My dad ran after my mom and her hazmat team, who’d barged in on a startled man nursing a baby Chinchilla. The Bengal cat breeding operation that was rapidly depreciating my parents’ house had descended into a full-on exotic pet mill, with every species — reptiles, birds, rodents, and more — lining the walls in stacked cages. This was the tenant Star had approved for the unofficial AirBnB operation that was supposed to be my parents’ retirement cash cow — though they hadn’t seen a penny since its inception.
“Star’s going to get us the money! She’s got a lot on her plate with her own business; this is almost charity, and you have no foresight, no patience — ”
Unable to reach Star (who recently jetted off to the UAE with a private client — or so she said), my dad’s argument didn’t stand a chance, and neither did the Chinchilla weaner’s desperate pleas and protests.
“That’s a champion albino ferret, and he’s already on reserve! You can’t manhandle premium exotics!”
A cacophony of hisses, chirps, and meows erupted from the front yard, as the gloved men carried cages outside, along with piles of urine-stained towels, blankets, and newspapers. Neighbors peaked out from their Dutch doors and front porches, watching the spectacle unfold like a modern day Noah’s Ark.
I followed a scream from the back deck toward my mom’s second unpermitted discovery: Saran wrap-covered trays full of dehydrated scorpions, spiders, ants, and worms occupied the sun-soaked deck’s built-in benches.
“They’re breeding bugs, too?!”
The Chinchilla weaner had abandoned the white suited ferret-nappers and rushed to the deck to defend the trays from my mom’s alarmist reaction:
“You can’t touch those! They still have to be candied and packaged — Star’s going to pick them up when she gets back.”
If the unlicensed breeding of exotic house-destroying animals wasn’t enough, it looks like a candied insect operation had claimed the kitchen and deck — and Star was definitely involved.
An animal control van pulled up, just as Star’s tarot-reader carriage wobbled around the cul-de-sac’s curb, followed by the last person I expected to see: My husband. Given their simultaneous appearance, I have an idea of whose side he’ll take…
We can’t all be the cat’s meow
“No — I’m in bed. No one’s here…”
Craig whispered through the speaker, a tremor of concern slicing through his increasingly alert voice.
I watched the Ring video again: The shadowy figure entered the duplex once — alone — and my dad trailed in with suitcases a couple minutes later.
There was definitely another man who’d entered my mom’s duplex that night — and he hadn’t left.
I heard Craig slink down the steps, his bated breath anticipating a bat-wielding intruder to pop out from any corner. A muffled scratching noise wrestled through the speaker, followed by a metallic “click”, and the slight creaking of a slow-moving door.
Craig gasped. A man’s stifled scream trailed all the way from Corona del Mar to the Coachella Valley. An angry purr, and a shrill yawn — that didn’t sound human — echoed into the phone.
“I’ll call you back.”
Craig abruptly hung up, as my wasted husband stumbled towards me, just in time for our car ride back to the Palm Springs estate.
Any other wife would have regurgitated the news of the third male intruder and Craig’s brief encounter with whoever (or whatever) resides on the other side of that door to the garage to her husband. He’d care. He’d defend and protect and take care of it. Likewise, a rational wife would instruct her husband to hunt down, scold, and ground their lying, runaway daughter. But out here, 130 miles inland, there’s no one to tell and no one to care.
Even though I’ve attended Coachella as my husband’s plus-one, hosted by our supposed “friends” and their Instamodel groupies, I’m utterly isolated. Numbers, followers, titles, and checkmarks might camouflage loneliness for a while, but that’s all they do: Camouflage.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
You may also like these posts on The Good Men Project:
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com