A classic chapter in an extraordinary “riches to rags” story.
In Chapter 2 of my upcoming web series, Broke A$$ Rich Kid (coming out June 17th), Sid sells his Rolex watch to a greedy pawnshop salesman in order to afford the security deposit on his new Skid Row apartment. The story that inspired this episode played out a little differently…
I had just cut myself off from my parents’ purse strings in the summer of 2013, and I needed to find a place to live. This would be the first home I was paying for on my own. The girl I had been seeing was living in a building in downtown LA, a $500 per month, 300 square foot dump. I’m talking bed bugs on the regular and community showers. I couldn’t move in with her.
I had zero dollars in my bank account, but I started my search anyway, hoping for something better. Not because I had any reason to be optimistic. There was no way in hell I could afford one of the bohemian lofts my friends were swooping up in converted banks and breweries in downtown LA’s Arts District. I moved forward because my anxiety was through the roof and I was increasingly desperate to become independent.
I borrowed my dad’s car and drove it downtown. I hated driving it. It felt uncomfortable to be in a car that luxurious without being able to afford it on my own. As I hit the gas pedal, I realized I could sell the car and use the money for a security deposit. I had never sold a car before, but I figured I could replace it with the very same model without my dad noticing. If I had anything extra on top of that, I promised myself I’d donate it to my family’s Jewish temple to relieve my guilt.
After a few days of searching for apartments on foot, I found her: the Victor Clothing Building.
I figured that since all of my clothes were still in New York, and I had no furniture, moving costs would be cheap. All I needed was a sleeping bag to flop around in, and I could start my life of independent bliss.
Being a novice at life, I didn’t realize that a security deposit was first month’s rent, times two. In order to move in, I had to come up with $1,500 in twenty-four hours. Selling my dad’s car was out of the question, even at a whack place like Car Max. So I had a decision to make: ask my family for money (something I had done a billion times in the past), or relinquish the only place within range of my budget.
I could already feel the stirrings of my next panic attack.
I knew I could rely on my family to provide, but that defeated the whole point of cutting myself off in the first place. If I crawled back for money, I might never have the courage to cut myself off again. Getting a job was an option, but how would I find one in time to move in?
The building manager was adamant about the 24-hour window. I asked for the keys. I wanted to see the apartment again, secretly hoping that by doing so $1,500 would magically fall from the chimney into my wallet.
It was around 10 am when I arrived at the Victor Clothing Building. The girl in the apartment next door was just getting home from an all-nighter, fucked up on drugs, along with her friends, three very beautiful transgender men wearing their shiniest platforms. She invited me over, and I sat down in a corner of her apartment while they danced and smoked red Marlboros. I was uncomfortable. She asked me if I was moving into the building and I explained that I would not be able to afford the security deposit. “Don’t worry about it,” she said. “Say yes, something always works out when you’re about to bottom out.” Something inside me told me to never forget those words.
It was somewhere between a drag of cigarette smoke and a line of cocaine that I decided to take her advice. Within an hour of agreeing to sign the lease, my phone rang — I had a job offer to assist a TV showrunner.
Stay tuned for next week’s post about Allen’s beloved Victor Clothing Building, where a drug dealing drag queen, cockroaches, and an evil landlord force Allen to confront his new reality. For updates on the series’ launch, follow @brokeassrichkid on Instagram or subscribe to the newsletter.
Allen E. Landver is the creator and star of Broke A$$ Rich Kid, a comedic web series based on his own riches to rags story in Beverly Hills. Broke A$$ Rich Kid is premiering at the New Media Film Festival on June 17.