February 6, 2015: Shanghai Birthday

It was a cold night to be out on the water, but with the amount of alcohol going around, no one seemed to care.

It was a birthday party for Jay Kelly. Open bar to anyone and everyone.

The boat left the pier and the host gave a rousing speech about camaraderie and spreading the wealth, giving thanks to those that have helped you achieve what you have.

I dismissed the drinks, sitting in the corner just observing, when Kelly came up to me.

You should really have something to drink, boy-o. It is a celebration after all.

Ah, it’s no matter. Just enjoy yourself. Take your notes. Record your conversations. Whatever it is you do.

The large crowd became very drunk very quickly. Kelly roamed around, slapping backs and telling jokes, pouring more and more drinks into the glasses of his new friends.

The night drew on. I took refuge near a window, looking out onto the water. Three ships appeared before us, anchored down, waiting.

Kelly gave me a wink and asked me to follow.

I stood next to him and watched as he unloaded his party onto the three ships. Each drunk bringing him a stack of money.

Sometimes people need to be…coerced…into working. It’s all for the greater good.

Those men who willingly took my free alcohol – I didn’t know all but maybe three. Nothing is free in this world, boy. Every hand out has a price. Remember that.

As the boat made its way back to shore, Kelly poured all of the remaining liquor out into the water, commenting on how it was laced with opium.

We returned to land. He gave me a nod and walked down along the piers.

Three ships in the distant pulled up anchor and began to sail away.

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