What if someone told you that you can make $20,000 dollars for taking a two week vacation on the other side of the planet? Yeah, me too.
Years ago, I was approached by an employee of mine who proposed a very enticing offer – go to China, marry a chinese woman so she can can move to the states and get paid $20,000 for your troubles. “Shit” I thought, “How many can I marry at one time?” Excited, I said yes. Though, I have to admit, I was incredibly skeptical. I mean, this is TV or Movie shit. This is a Farley Brothers film plot, but fuck it.
About a week later I got a call from an extremely asian sounding Gentleman we will call…Nick. Nick explained who he was (the supposed organizer of such affairs as fraudulent transcontinental marriages) and asked if I could meet him at a Starbucks to discuss details. It was about this time when I felt my first “oh shit” moment. We met, we talked, we left. Our discussion amounted to an explanation of the process, what was required of me and a suggestion that I take a few days to think about it. To be honest, my clamy palms resting on the steering wheel of my car in the parking lot of Starbucks quickly dried after a few minutes speaking to Nick – he was so nice and disarming. And, he had a great pitch: Memorize everything we tell you, fly to China, get married and receive $20,000 cash when I get back. Im. In. I called him that very night and told him that it was on.
The whole process was incredibly organized – I received a fact sheet about my future wife that included EVERYTHING about her that I was to memorize, a cell phone and email address to communicate with her (so that we could have printable documentation detailing the “love” we felt for one another) and stacks of forms to fill out. It was like a visit to the tag agency or the DMV, only less black people.
Forms were filled out, calls and emails were made and it was time. Months after this process began I was beckoned to Starbucks again. I met with Nick and the friend that referred me to him. I was handed a plane ticket to Fuhzou, China. It was happening. I was to travel there accompanied by Nick. He was my handler. We left from Miami to Chicago, then from Chicago to Beijing and then from Beijing to Fuhzou. The most grueling part of this journey to China was the flight from Beijing to Fuhzou because the Air China planes are made for tiny asian people so I had to remain contorted in such a way as to fit in the seat I was assigned.
I arrived in Fuhzou after 28 hours of travel. Nick and I were met by two stereotypical asian men in black suits, obviously associated with their local mafia (cue my second “oh shit” moment). We were escorted to a limo and brought to a hotel in the heart of the city. It was my first opportunity for some real sleep in over a day so I took advantage of it. I slept in that bed for almost 16 hours.
When I awoke from my slumber, one of the asian mafia guys was also in the bed (we weren’t cuddling or anything) in just his underwear – apparently that is a thing over there. I wasn’t too disturbed; I have been found in more compromising positions before. I was urged to get dressed quickly in a suit they had custom tailored for me. It was explained to me that we will be going to the wedding ceremony/party so that pictures of the event can be taken and presented if asked. My heart was pounding. I knew so much about this woman, emailed her and called her every day and here I was about to marry her and we have never seen each other face to face. “We go now” exclaimed my bedmate. It was on…we were off.