It was much too late to turn back now. I had been gone from home far too long. I had come thousands of miles, over the course of a few weeks to find the elusive Penny King. After one very expensive engine repair, several smelly motels, and one bout of food poisoning, I wasn’t giving up on my mission. (Beware the Arnie Governator hot dog!)
I had already accomplished half of it-that indeed the Penny King exists and was real. I suppose I could have stopped here, but I just had to interview him for a book, get into his head, and find out what makes him tick.
After all, I’d heard the stories that he was very giving, generous, and would often talk over coffee and give out the secrets to the universe, in the banking and finance world. I had heard he had his hands in many things, several productions, charity events, fundraisers, and was big whig financier’ of many corporation. Word on the street was he was a hit with the ladies, but not tied down. I imagined him as a George Clooney type, and in many ways, he seemed like an enigma. I wanted to get to know him. I also remembered talk of him wagering deals between international countries.
Walking back to my SUV I had to hurl, thank goodness a trash bin was near. I suddenly felt much better and could end my relationship with the Arnie dog. When I arrived at my vehicle, I was scared by the red face in the window. It appears I did not remember to being any sunscreen. After the nap on the beach, my face looked like a tomato.
I found my way to Morrow Bay, and as always the trip up the coast was lovely. When I got into the quaint town, I found a motel on Embarcadero. During check in, I asked the concierge Ramon if he knew of anyone called The Penny King. He said, “Maybe I do, Maybe I don’t.” I wasn’t following, but then I remembered I had seen on a movie once that if you produce a $20 bill, a lot of memory comes back.
So I did. “Lady, the Penny King is in this very hotel, he will be hosting an event here tomorrow. It’s called “Infinitesimal Investing. It is in the conference room at 9:00 am, a free seminar, the hotel paid him.” I asked him, “So you mean he is staying in this hotel?”
He scratched his head. I pulled out a $5 bill. “This is all I have until I get to the ATM, take it or leave it.” He snatched it and said, “Penthouse, 311.” I thanked him and nodded, “See what you can do for me, getting me a room near his, and I’ll bring you back something special and leave it at the desk for you.”
Ramon booked me in 310, right across the hall. I wondered how there could call these Penthouses when there was only three floors. My room was lovely, and I noticed a rock in the distance , a giant rock, in the water. I took a quick shower and changed into something summery, and set off to find a place to eat. Before I did that, I ran room 311, but there was no answer.
I decided it was such a nice afternoon, that I should walk. I ended up a few blocks up in front of something called the Otter Rock Café. It looked cute enough, and I could see that it was on the water, and that the giant rock I had see from my room was visible.
I went inside and asked if they had deck seating. I followed the waitress out, and there was one table left, but it had a reserved sign on it. She said, “Oh, I’m sorry, this is reserved.” I asked her if I could get a quick salad, and enjoy the view, and if the people came I’d gladly move to the inside. She must have felt sorry for me, because she agreed and said the reservation was for forty minutes from now.
I ordered some wine and a salad, and enjoyed the lovely view. No sooner than my salad had come, another waitress was standing in front of me with a tall, dark, handsome movie star like man who looked familiar but I could not place him. He resembled a cross between Antonio Bandares’s features but with Antonio Saboto Jr’s physique and the age of George Clooney. I almost choked on my lettuce as the view was even better now. He was so handsome. I quickly thought, this must be his table. I stood up and apologized, “I’m so sorry, I will gladly move inside, I just really wanted to enjoy this view and thought I could sneak in this salad before you got here.”
I grabbed my salad but the man held out his hand. “No worries, put that salad down, and if you don’t mind, how about we share this table today?” I was in shock, not only was he handsome, but he had a wee bit of an accent too. I’d love to share this table , I thought. He sat down and began to tell me how the US dollar had collapsed worldwide, and that the least he could do is offer me a table to eat at.
“I’d really like that if it’s okay with you.” He asked the waitress to bring us another round of drinks and sat down and introduced himself. His name was Gabe and he shook my hand. I was in total shock as he was so handsome, and so friendly. He explained he was here on business. He told me the history on the giant rock that was out in Morrow Bay. Just then, two girls ran up to our table and asked him for an autograph. He smiled and scribbled something on two different napkins, one hugged him and they left. I must have looked dumbfounded and he saw this in my face.
“Fans,” he said. “Crazed fans of my screenplay. Now where where we? Ah yes, what it your business here Cindy?” I was happy the conversation was back to me as I had absolutely no idea what tv show or movie this guy was in. I told him he’d be sorry he asked—that I was in search of a man called the Penny King, on a mission to interview him for my book and ask him some important questions. Just then, Gabe grinned ear to ear. “What is it Gabe?”
“I think I can help you Cindy, you see, I know this guy. I think I can tell you a lot about him. Isn’t this a funny coincidence?” I mentioned the seminar tomorrow and Gabe looked surprised, and said he’d be there and would love for me to attend. In between bites of salad Gabe and I talked about the Penny King. I had never taken over an hour to eat a salad but by the time I was done, I was still hungry. Gabe had already ordered a finished his salad, and had ordered us both a main entrée, his treat. I was now on my third glass of wine and couldn’t believe yet another person in California had known the Penny King. The wine was good and I wasn’t much of a drinker, so it made me feel a little light headed.
Gabe explained the Penny King was a self-made millionaire three times over. He said that he had a love for learning how to make money, and not a love for money, which made him successful. Gabe said the Penny King liked to share secrets of investing, sometimes with total strangers. Coming from a background of no money, the Penny King had been a Penny Pincher from way back. It appears the Penny King never forgot from where it was he came.
Gabe told me that one thing the Penny King was preaching recently, was to invest if you could in real estate, since the market values were down so low-it was an excellent time to buy. Gabe went on to tell me that the only problem with that was trying to get loans, as the banks were in trouble and tightening up. He did say that people could find loopholes like using their home equity lines to purchase additional properties. He said with minimal repairs, you could then rent out the properties because it was an excellent time to rent. Gabe explained that so many people were looking for housing but could not get home loan approvals from banks, so renting would be their only option.
I told Gabe his information from the Penny King was amazing. I asked what he was in town for. He told me “I suppose you can call it, charity work.”
Just then a jazz band started to play, and the music was wonderful. People were dancing on the deck and inside. Gabe asked if I wanted to dance. Before I could say now, I was swaying to jazz in his arms. At first I was nervous, but then again, dancing wasn’t cheating was it? I told myself he was much too hunky to be single, and since he had no wedding ring, he must be gay and that’s okay. My husbands would approve.
All of a sudden a slow song came on and I was wondering how I was going to get out of this one. Just then, I felt lights glaring and flashing in my face and people with camera were all around. PAPARAZZI’S! Quickly Gabe threw some cash at our waitress and we ran thru the crowd and out the back door. He must have been here before and known the drill.
We ran a few blocks laughing and then ducking down below the boardwalk to hide out for a few minutes. I asked him how he could stand all this celebrity life? He said, “You get used to it.”
We talked more on the Penny King. Finally it dawned on me, that Gabe must be an actor in one of the Penny King productions, thus the connection and stardom. So I asked him, “Gabe, don’t get mad at me but I’m not really a TV watcher though you do look familiar. Were you ever involved with the Penny King’s Productions?”
Gabe smiled and said, “Alas you found me out. I do a lot of work with Penny King Productions, in fact we’re trying to get Jim Carey onboard for our movie. “
I smile and Gabe removed his business attire and was donning some surf shorts. He pulled out some sunglasses from his pocket and left his clothes in a ball under the boardwalk, for safekeeping.
We made our way to the beach and managed to get rid of the crazy paparazzi’s. We walked along the shore, having a great time. Gabe was quite the conservationist. We had fun and I picked his brain for every Penny King detail I could get, though our conversations encompassed everything. Gabe told me about the Penny King’s history on stock trading and Penny Stocks, and I must admit it was all quite confusing as I’m not a stock trader. He talked of Berkshire Hatahaway and stock symbols galore. Gabe explained how the banks were doing unorthodox things to consumers, and that sometimes the authorities were letting it happen. I asked if that was like some X-Files conspiracy. He said, “Exactly, the very insiders are paying off the Smoking Man.” I hadn’t a clue what we were just talking about, but Gabe was so dreamy, that it didn’t matter.
The night was something out of a Will and Grace episode-we had a lot of fun walking to other café’s or deck bars and trying their drinks. Gabe said he wasn’t much of a drinker, and I suppose I was outdrinking him two to one. I wasn’t a drinker but the frozen drinks were sure fruity and before you know it I was sloshed. I was glad I was on foot but wondered if I could stumble back the now eight blocks I was away from my hotel. Gabe asked if I had enough excitement for one night and I could do nothing but giggle. It was time to go. As we were walking, he told me of a story of the Penny King almost getting arrested at McDonald’s. I thought I had head that story before, somewhere.
Gabe asked where my hotel was and I couldn’t remember the name. I told him it was a few blocks back past the restaurant, and he offered to escort me as his hotel was in the same direction. I told him I walked, and so did he. On the way back, we grabbed his balled up clothes and hopped back onto the boardwalk. A woman that looked like a supermodel came up and screamed and gave him a hug and kiss. She asked for him to go back to her hotel and he said he could not accommodate. He acted as if it was no big deal, as if this kind of thing happens to him all the time.
Gabe changed the conversation and told me that he had an electric car, and even an electric bicycle. He said he got the ideas from the Penny King. The Penny King was very much into conservation, good coffee, thai food, and the little things in life, he said. Gabe asked if I was familiar with tantric methods? I said I didn’t knwo what that was.
So now walking in my bare feet up Embarcadero , I asked him if he was attending the seminar if at all possible he would facilitate my meeting with the Penny King . I told my embarrassing story of the day’s earlier events and wondered if he could smooth the meeting over as I was now a little nervous about meeting the Penny King? Gabe laughed at my story but I wonder if it was because I was slurring most of the words. He said he would be sure to help.
I have to admit, I’m a happily married woman but my impression of Gabe was that he was a real catch. IHe wasn’t suave or fake, he was real and genuine and that’s what made him so very attractive. Not to mention, without opening his mouth he was gorgeous. I could see why he had so many fans. We stopped at my hotel and he looked surprised. I thanked him for a nice evening, and shook his hand. I then stumbled on a rock, and Gabe caught me just in time from smashing my face into the stone path. He said that he would feel better if he walked me to my room.
Up we went to 310 and as I dug for my card he kissed my cheek and said he would see me tomorrow. As I stumbled in my room, and shut my door, I heard the door across the hall open and shut. I found this odd as there was no one else in the hallway. My head began to spin.
I ran to the bed and called room 311. He answered, “Hello?” I hung up the phone in shock and awe. My head was spinning out of control. My room phone was now ringing but I didn’t answer. I now realized Gabe WAS the Penny King (and very much straight and single–no wonder such a hit with the ladies!)
He was the one who carried me, and now we spent the evening together. I never asked if he was the Penny King. How coy and smart of him to lead me on into the Penny King chase. I wanted to stumble across the hallway but my head was preventing me from getting up. I thought to myself, tomorrow his game would be up. This would now be the second time in the same day that I passed out. This time, with a serious headache.