Thursday, March 14, 2013

chapter 10 out of control

Henry now gave his full attention to getting a hold of the almighty dollar. An education degree wasn't going to cut it. His brother Juan Alberto was selling life insurance to foreign nationals overseas. Enrique’s eyes about popped out of his head when he found out how much money Juan was pulling in. "I gotta find a way," he said. 

He got hired to be a salesperson for Equitable Life Insurance. His idea was to get licensed and trained in the insurance business from Equitable Life. Then he would switch to another insurance company that sold to foreign nationals overseas.

Henry became good friends with a successful older Cuban attorney. This man liked Henry. Henry was young, smart and fun. Henry was hungry for money, and this attorney thought Henry just might have the savvy to figure out how to make it come in his direction. The attorney saw a lot of himself in Henry.

Henry asked the attorney to introduce him to some of his overseas clients. He told him he would give him a finder’s fee for any client with whom he could make an insurance sale. The attorney was reluctant but Henry was persistent. Whenever they were out together, Henry kept after him. Finally he introduced Henry to a Palestinian business man who owned a paper company in Honduras. The man was amused. “You’ve got big dreams, young man. I’ll tell you what,” he said, “you come and see me in my office in Honduras and we’ll talk.” 

So now he needed enough money to get to Honduras. In addition to his insurance job, he did construction and roofing work. He soon saved up enough to pay for both the round trip plane ticket and a three week stay. The man was good to his word. He received Henry into his office and Henry made a $5000 commission on his first overseas sale. The man then introduced Henry to one of his senior salesmen, Jacobito Hilsaca. Jacobito thought Henry was the funniest person he ever met. Henry recruited him to find him clients and he paid Jacobito a good commission. When Henry returned and told the attorney about his Honduras trip, he was impressed. He introduced Henry to more clients.

Henry gave up his construction job. His next trip to Honduras was even more profitable. Again he stayed for three weeks. This time he came back with almost ten thousand dollars in commissions.

In five years, Henry and Lisa had four children - Nicolas, Alfredo, Enrique and Erica. When his first son was born, Henry was determined to provide a good life for his family.

Lisa was impressed with what Henry had done. They bought a nice house in Coral Gables, Florida.

Each time Henry went to Honduras he would make five to fifteen grand. But instead of dedicating himself to the business, he decided to enjoy life. He bought Lisa whatever she needed to take care of the family but with all the rest of the money, he had a good time. Between trips he had a lot of time to play.

But Henry's practice of working only when the money ran out, made life a roller coaster. He did a lot of gambling and even more drinking. He won big, sometimes. But in the long run, like most gamblers, he would lose more than he would win. Lisa became increasingly frustrated with Henry. He lived as if he were single.

Lisa was stuck at home with four small children. She was struggling.She wondered if things could get any worse. 

Then one night Henry discovered cocaine. It was like nothing he had ever experienced. Henry had been under the influence of one substance or another, on and off, for a long time. He had always felt he had control, that whatever he used served his purposes. But with cocaine, Henry watched his life spiral downward. He observed his digression as a husband and a father. He saw his ambition to work hard to make money losing ground to his need to be high. Expenses piled up. Now his business was going bust.

Henry's note: Do you remember the day your parents gave you your own bike? It was your first real taste of freedom! You could get further and further away until you couldn't hear your parent's voice calling for you to come home. Your bike served you well. It took you where you wanted to go and to places you'd never been to before. When you got your first car, remember the sense of freedom that gave you? But with cocaine, it was if suddenly I was driving along in my car and I’d turned the wheel to the right, but the car didn’t turn. I’d hit the brakes, then I’d stomp on the brakes, but the car didn’t stop. I’d try to cut the engine, but it only revved up higher. It took me where it wanted to go! I tried to kick out the windshield. I wanted out. But I was trapped, and the car only kept going. I didn't own it, it owned me.

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