I remember very well when for the first time in my life I felt a sense of easy money. I was either seventeen or eighteen years old. All my friends went to university - someone better, someone worse - a couple of people even managed to get into the army. One of my classmates went to study as a programmer, including computer security. Then in the city the following scam was very common: through a built-up network of strangers, from somewhere in the mail you receive a credit card in the name of, say, Ivan Ivanov. The account to which this card is attached is unknown to you, but it belongs to some very distant foreigner. It was impossible to withdraw money from this card, transfer to another account or replenish the balance, but it was possible to pay for purchases in various stores with its help.
There was only one rule - you could not pay with a card several times in the same store, so that it would not occur to anyone to verify the name and surname of the owner. We did not know all the details at that time, but only one thing was firmly known: our friend suddenly got a lot of money, and our life suddenly turned into a round-the-clock holiday.
It was a great time. There were endless parties every day in my friend’s apartment, expensive alcohol, food, there were plenty of them all, more and more strange girls began to appear at his place, one of which we later even found in a dubious Russian porn film. After a couple of weeks, everyone completely forgot about studying, because everything appeared in our lives that a teenager could dream of.
after several days of constant drunkenness, the apartment turned into a training ground for the most daring experiments
Our roof went together, after a few days of constant drunkenness, the apartment turned into a training ground for the most daring experiments: whether the sofa will crawl through the window, and if so, what will be the reaction to its fall at four in the morning from the fourth floor. What happens if you change all the furniture in the rooms in some places? Is it possible to knock the door out with a shoulder so that it flies out like in the films with Arnold Schwarzenegger? What will happen if you get ten of us on a two-story bed and dance on it a cukarach dance - and other joys of life. In my friend’s room, men's suits, computers and other office equipment were piling up, after some time we were so crooked that we could not get out of the sofa for four days, watching our favorite cartoons for whole seasons.
I remember this time in fits and starts - here in the kitchen someone is trying once again to throw the TV out of the window onto the territory of the military unit - noise, roar, laughter, my friend appears in the opening with shouts:
“Have you thrown the TV out?” Your mother, what the hell, why couldn't you call me?
Or even more touching:
- So, if I hear another sound in this apartment, I will blow everyone’s head off! - And at that very moment in the kitchen a wild crack is heard, and a friend comes out into the corridor with the door to the refrigerator in his hand.
We stopped leaving the house, after some time we stopped thinking about what to wear and how we look: it was not necessary, because we already had everything we needed. We didn’t really think about where the money came from, that is, everyone suspected something, but preferred not to go too far, because it would mean to end this wonderful party. And then it seemed that nothing could be better.
The story began to develop according to a familiar scenario - and now someone had fake rights, someone got drunk, someone started to kick out of the institute, my friend started a dubious romance with a girl twice his age with several children living in a neighboring town .
And suddenly it was all over. They were caught in a mall while trying to buy a suit, a computer and a grocery set at the same time. It was evening, everyone was kept in the police. In one room my friend was interrogated with a slight use of violence. In another, everyone else, along with the police, watched football and sent local homeless people for beer. This was the first encounter with the police in my life, not counting some kind of document checks. I remember the first time I talked with operas, self-confident young guys in expensive clothes and with a Swiss watch. The friend was given two years probation.
This is an amazing thing:
We began to see less often. Some endless stories were heard out of my ear - my mother threw out a packet of grass, and a friend made her return the money to him, my friend got caught with grass and called to ask him to lend him a couple of tens of thousands of dollars. The last time we saw him was when we were driving to a party with a mutual friend, a friend drove 160 on the Moscow Ring Road, didn’t respond to the policeman’s signal to stop and with the words: “Now we’ll tear ourselves away” - made a chase around the city. He decided not to stop because he supposedly did not have a vehicle inspection ticket. I decided to run away in the yards, but since he had a huge American car, the car crashed into the first fence. Dashingly opening the door, my friend went to the policeman, gesturing vigorously, accompanying his speech with a profuse stream of obscenities for conviction. Without bewilderment, the law enforcement officer hit him on a grand scale, after which they went to the police station, and we caught a taxi and drove on, asking for a slower ride, because there was nowhere to hurry.
The party is over. We all got a job on small salaries, we got girls and some kind of normal life. A friend also seemed to steer somehow, his parents helped a lot, but since then we have not seen each other again. Now I often recall this story only because it was the first time in my life when I felt a sensation of light, airy money, and it, like a drug, stayed with me for life. This is an amazing thing: when you have not earned money or earned it too easily, they suddenly lose weight. I want to get rid of them, drain, throw away, give away or spend on something as stupid as possible. You spend more and more to feel this feeling of money supply, which, like sand, flows through your fingers.
Now I have a completely different life, I know the price of my work, what I’m doing, what it’s worth, and in no case should I spend. But the amazing thing is, as soon as in my pocket there is a certain amount of money that was too easy to give, I again have this feeling - to throw it away, throw it away, spend it.
Recently, in a Moscow bar, a drunk man got hooked on me. We talked with him, and he, according to him, turned out to be a large official in one of the Russian cities. We talked a lot about culture, about what needs to be done, what can be done and how to be. At some point, he took out a pack of dollars from his pocket and handed it to me - he said that he was developing the city, and left, leaving a business card. There were about five thousand dollars in a pack. We had fun for a long time, imagining what we would immediately spend on it, but the next day I called the number indicated on the business card and returned the money - his assistant came to the meeting and took the money as if nothing had happened without saying even a banal thank you. I thought for a long time whether I did the right thing until I remembered this very story. Then a thought flashed through my head: “Well, fuck it, I know all too well how this ends” - and went home. By subway, because I didn’t have any money with me.