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There once was a boy tending sheep in Queens who realized that this was not going to be a good way to make a living if he ever wanted to move out of the basement of his mother’s duplex in Ozone Park. The boy told all of the other farmers that a wolf was threatening his flock. The farmers gathered to help, and the boy slipped onto the subway and went all the way on the yellow line to the Rector Street stop in Lower Manhattan. There, he got a securities brokerage license and formed a firm called Stratton Oakmont, a name he chose because it sounded WASPY.

The boy knew other boys who worked at a used car dealership.

He asked them if they wanted to make real money, and they did. So the boy got the other boys and a bunch of phones, and they called people in places like Kansas and Ohio and the Texas Panhandle and sold them penny stocks. When the people bought the penny stocks, the prices went up and up.

And when the prices went up, Stratton Oakmont sold the same stocks and made a lot of money. When Stratton Oakmont sold the stocks, the prices plummeted, and anyone left holding them lost all of their money. But that only affected people in Kansas, Ohio, and the Texas Panhandle, which is a victimless crime.

The boy made millions of dollars, began dating a former Budweiser model who he called “The Goddess,” and developed an addiction to quaaludes.

He and the Stratton Oakmont boys threw crazy parties full of cocaine, dwarves, hookers, and passed canapes. “Some day, Leonardo diCaprio will play me in a movie,” said the boy. This was amazing, because this was back when What’s Eating Gilbert Grape was in theaters. Titanic was 4 years off.

The boy bought a yacht. The boy’s best friend, a partner in Stratton Oakmont, married his own cousin. So did Rudy Giuliani. Just saying. The boy took The Goddess and the Cousin Couple out on the yacht. They sailed into a storm and were shipwrecked but quickly rescued because they had so many millions of dollars from those people in Kansas, Ohio, and the Texas Panhandle. Again, this was years before Titanic.

They bought up a bunch of stock in Steve Madden shoes and then sold some of that stock to people who answered the phone in Kansas, Ohio, and the Texas Panhandle. “We won’t sell the stock after you buy it this time,” they said. But they did. And they made millions of more dollars just by talking into phones. Stratton Oakmont was making its way, “the only way they knew how, that’s just a little bit more than the law would allow.”

But only Steve Madden went to jail. Let that be a lesson to you.

The Boy was looped on quaaludes most of the time by this point, and so he hired Bo Dietl, a former New York City Police Detective as his personal security. Later, Bo’s life story would be made into the movie One Tough Cop, starring Stephen Baldwin. Also, Bo would appear in three films by Martin Scorcese, including one about the boy, which would star Leonardo diCaprio. But that was all in the future. Back then, Bo took the boy to the exclusive Harlem Italian restaurant Rao’s where the boy, says Dietl, “Flopped face first into his macaroni!” Let that be a lesson to you.

Bo also rescued the boy after the boy crashed a helicopter onto his own estate. The boy had grown paranoid that the Feds were after him. They were. They put him in jail for stealing money from people in Ohio, Kansas, and the Texas Panhandle.

But who even knew that was a crime?

In prison, the boy shared a cell with Cheech Marin, of the pot-smoking comedy duo Cheech and Chong. Cheech told the boy, “Man, you got some wild stories, you should write a book!” Having nothing to do but sit around a cell talking to one half of Cheech and Chong, the boy did write a book. It was a bestseller. Many books were sold in Ohio, Kansas, and the Texas Panhandle. Maybe the readers thought they’d find out where their money had gone?

Martin Scorcese turned it into a blockbuster movie and the boy made millions again as people from Ohio, Kansas, and the Texas Panhandle lined up to see what had happened to them. “That Leonardo diCaprio is so handsome,” they said. “We’re glad we gave him our money.”

Meanwhile, the farmers who had come to the boy’s aid back in Queens finally realized they’d been lied to and they vowed that the next time the boy cried wolf, they wouldn’t help him at all.

And the lesson here is obvious.

Michael Maiello

Michael Maiello is a New York-based playwright, author and humorist. His work has appeared in McSweeney's, The New Yorker, and Weekly Humorist. He has two plays available through

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