The story you just read about two guys finding a kilo of heroin on an epic road trip, selling it, and then one of the protagonists going back a year later to sell the van and a fake kilo of heroin to a drug dealer? It’s a lie. I made the whole thing up.
Most importantly, I definitely didn’t rob an MS-13 gang member. In retrospect, that’s probably the dumbest thing you can write and put on the internet.
Think about the story you just read for a moment: If I had actually sold a fake brick of heroin, that I claimed I stole from an MS-13 gang member, and they really had my name and cell phone number… I wouldn’t be alive right now.
I know a few of you are probably thinking, “Why? Why would you go to such great lengths to weave such an elaborate lie? Why come clean about it now?” Three nights ago, I was up late on Twitter, and I was in a mood. I ended up telling the world the true story of how I accidentally ingested 8 grams of mushrooms when my friend left a bag of laced candies on a kitchen counter. I really did that. I recommend never eating 8 grams of mushrooms.
Then I decided to one-up myself. I saw how many people were retweeting the mushrooms story, and I wanted to see if I could tell an even more outlandish story. I did it because I wanted to showcase my writing abilities, and get attention.
The truth is that yes, I did take a road trip with one of my best friends, in a shitty old Dodge van. If you want to debunk my whole story in one shot, it’s not hard to do: Take a look at the pictures. Those are Arizona plates. We didn’t buy the van from a guy in Temecula. We borrowed it from a friend in Scottsdale, because he wasn’t using it, and the van was basically worth nothing, collecting dust. When we got there to pick it up, I had to give it a full 12 hour tuneup.
So yeah, there were two guys and a van was involved. There was some truth to the story. Most lies have some figment of truth to them.
Yes, we really did drive up the Pacific Coast Highway. Yes, we really did go to Oakland and visit some friends. We really did hang, drink beers, and smoke weed.
Yes, we went to Mt. Jefferson. Yes, our van really did struggle while getting into some higher altitudes, and yes, I really did have to lean out the carburetors. Yes, there was actually a park ranger who helped us, and he was a kind man who knew a whole lot more about old Dodge vans than I do.
But there was no kilo of heroin in the van. Who the hell forgets a kilo of heroin? It’s not like forgetting where you put down your car keys. It’s a goddamn kilo of heroin. A few of you even pointed out that it’s likely heroin would melt, even with many layers of aluminum foil around it. You’re probably right — because I don’t know a damn thing about heroin. That’s a fairly significant plot hole, and you know what — sometimes great stories have huge plot holes, and we get so invested in the story, that we are willing to suspend reality.
How did the van trip really end? Shortly after leaving Mt. Jefferson, our road trip ended in spectacular fashion. The van’s engine developed a rod knock, and then it blew a hole in the block about the size of my fist. The van was sold for scrap.
The reality of this situation is that I should probably be writing screenplays, rather than coding software. If you loved the story I just told, and you thought, “Wow, that should be a movie.” — I agree with you. In fact, many agents agreed with you, because my phone hasn’t stopped ringing in three days. I would love for this story to be a movie, but I need you to know it’s not a movie “based on a true story”. If you want to watch a film based upon what you just read, you should know that it’s only “based on a true story” in the sense that it’s written around the story of two almost-broke guys who bought a van.
The vast majority of films you see aren’t based in reality. They’re elaborate stories told by brilliant liars. That’s what screenwriters do, if you put it in perspective: They tell stories that never happened, purely to entertain you. The stories are lies, because they never really happened, but it’s okay to lie in film. We know it’s not real.
When I got to the end, I had no idea how to finish it, but I knew I needed to have that big moment where you say, “Oh shit. That was the most insane shit I have ever read.” I knew some huge twist would be what really sold it; that moment where you’re like, “Oh man, he really escaped death.” So I used the name of the gang that I always see in the news. There are hundreds of street gangs in America, but the one that Donald Trump mentions by name when he’s doing rallies? That’s MS-13. They earned that reputation by being prolific.
More importantly, it’s about the audience reading and understanding what gang I was referencing. I knew the audience would recognize MS-13, because it’s in the news all the time. Name recognition matters. When you think Honda, you think “reliability”. When you think Rolex, you think “expensive”. When you think MS-13, you think “the MS-13 you never ever want to fuck with”.
You know what I learned from all this? I really do want to be a screenwriter. These past three days, talking to people in TV and film, some of them are my heroes. I feel like a real asshole, because I lied to some of my biggest heroes, because I wanted to be like them. For three days, I had it all — a big time agent. A big time lawyer. Even a few big time production companies were ready to write me a check for more money than I have ever seen in my life.
But this lie has been incredibly stupid, and it comes with a heavy cost. A few hours ago, my weed man came by for his usual delivery. I don’t know how you are with your weed man, but my weed man and I have a good relationship. (Life lesson: Keep a good relationship with your weed man. Tip for delivery.) While he was at my house, I was showing him the thread, the whole story, and how I went viral. When I got to the very end, he said, “Wait. Hol’ up. Hol’ the fuck up. Did you actually just casually throw out how you robbed MS-13? Bro, that is the fucking whitest shit I have ever heard in my entire life. Like, bro, you know me. I used to bang. I know these n****as. These n****as ain’t just gonna murder you. They’re gonna make that shit last for six fucking hours. Bro. I don’t even know if I can be at this fucking house right now.”
The narrator voice went off in my head: “At moment, I realized I had fucked up.”
He demanded I leave my home. I don’t recollect his exact words, but it was, “If you don’t get the fuck outta this house, right now, I’m gonna kill you myself, so at least I know you died a painless death. I’m dead fucking serious homey. Get the fuck outta this house.”
Since dinnertime, I have been crying on the bed of my friend’s guest bedroom, petting my dog, trying to decide which treehouse in Germany looks the most attractive as a long-term home. Why? Because lies have magnitude.
When my wife asks me if it’s okay if she eats the last of the ice cream, I say, “No honey, you have it. I was done with it.” That’s a lie, but it’s a lie that only I know about. I wanted the rest of that ice cream. Those kinds of lies hurt zero people.
But let’s say you told a lie to 120 million people on the internet about how you found a brick of heroin that belonged to the most prolific street gang in America, and then decided to scam them for it.
In case you ever get the urge to do what I did, perhaps try slamming the tip of your dick in a car door instead. It’s a much wiser idea.
I owe a lot of people an apology. I’m going to apologize to those people privately, because what I did was extraordinarily shitty. I just want to take this moment to sincerely apologize to all of you, because so many of you DM’d me and said, “Whoa! Is this true?” And I was like, “Yup, the whole thing.”
Does the fact that I lied make the entire story any less compelling? Sure. It’s fun believing it was a true story, and I hope you can still see me as a creative writer, knowing that the entire thing is a work of fiction. I hope if you read through it again, you decide to paint a picture with your mind, and see it as a movie in your head.
So many of you called me a “legend”, and that’s not who I am. The truth about me is so vanilla, it hurts. The harsh reality is that when I was in my early 20s, I liked camping and hiking. Then I became a mid-level music blogger in my mid 20s. Then I became a mid-level record label guy in my late 20s. Now, in my early 30s, I write software for insurance agencies. Not much about me is legendary, aside from my imagination. I’m a boring married guy with a hound dog, who loves history podcasts.
I guess by putting myself into the story, I thought people would think I was cool. Everyone wants to be a celebrity, with a blue check mark, and a gazillion people commenting on your Instagram. When my post blew up, I thought I might reach that.
You might not understand this yet, but there’s a point you reach in your early 30s, after you get married, when you stop showering for 3–4 days sometimes, and you’re watching yoga videos, and you’re like, “Holy shit. What the hell happened to me? I feel like the least cool person on the planet.”
In conclusion: I’m going to keep writing, and this time around, I’m going to clearly label it “fiction” when I do. No one gets mad at you, as long as you make sure to label your words a work of fiction.
I just had to stop the lie. This moment reminds me of a film called “World’s Greatest Dad”, with Robin Williams. His son dies from auto-erotic asphyxiation, so instead of telling the world the truth, his dad, a struggling writer, decided to concoct an elaborate lie about who his son really was. At the end, he reveals he was just an opportunistic asshole with a brilliant imagination.
That’s who I am. I’m just an opportunistic asshole with a brilliant imagination.