What’s She Doing in There?

Raven’s not acting like herself

A young woman engrossed in a project
Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

Raven’s spending too much time in her room. She surfaces every now and then to grab a snack, but she’s not acting like herself. She’s obsessed with something, digging into it.

I hear her muttering about block readers and encryption keys and so on, so I know it’s something to do with the crypto.

Other times she talking about oil tankers and AK-47s. 

Then back to crawlers and readers. Whatever it is she’s gotten herself wrapped up in, it can’t be good.

Don’t get me wrong, we wouldn’t be in Tulum today if she hadn’t talked me into buying into crypto back in 2011 or whenever it was. I thought I was humoring her, teaching her about investing and saving, just using some goofy internet money that nobody would ever care about.

I told her I’d match her contributions, and she went nuts painting fences, mowing lawns, and doing anything else she could to make money.

She even started a business picking up dog poop in people’s yards to make money for me to match.

She’s like her mom that way. Always thinking. Hardworking, but creative about it. She doesn’t want to work for somebody else, she wants to run the show. 

If there isn’t a show to run, she invents one.

Any money she got for her birthday or holidays, it went into crypto. And I matched it, dollar for dollar, because I said I would. I tried to talk her out of it a few times, talking about savings accounts or the stock market, but she wouldn’t have it. There wasn’t any changing her mind.

She’s like her mom that way, too.

If Raven didn’t have my blue eyes and chin, plus the little bump on the inside of her upper lip that my brother and sister and I all inherited from my dad, I would’ve thought she was a clone of her mother, only now that she’s grown, she’s a couple of inches taller.

To be honest, I kinda lost track of the coin deal when her mom got sick. I lost track of a lot of stuff when Annie died. 

I probably would’ve let it all go if I hadn’t had Raven to take care of, and we got through it somehow — mostly by sitting next to each other on the couch eating popcorn and watching movies, seems like.

After about a year of movies and Oroville Redenbacher, we more or less righted the ship. 

One night after dinner, I was washing dishes and whining about having to fly back to the Slope in a few days to go to work and Raven looked up from her tablet and asked, “Why don’t you just not?”

“I don’t have a lot of choice in the matter, kiddo.”

She set her tablet down on the table and faced me straight on. “Dad. You really don’t know?”

“Know what?” I said.

She gave me one of her looks, like I was dumber than the dullest rock in the drawer. “Promise you’re not messing with me?”

“I promise, Kid. What’s up?”

“All those coins…Dad, they’re up like 10,000 percent or something.”

“Wait, what? You mean…”

“Yeah. You don’t have to go to the Slope anymore if you don’t want to.”

“You promise you’re not messing with me.”

“Cross my heart, Popsicle.” 

“So, we’re…”

“Loaded. I figured you knew, I mean, it’s been in the news and everything.”

“You’re serious?”

“One hundred percent. You’re always talking about work ethic and all that, so I figured you wanted to keep working up there.”

I sat down next to her and stared into space for a minute. I didn’t hate my job, but there sure wasn’t any chance I’d do it for free. Or for anything close to what I could make working in town.

Especially since I’d been stuck on nights for the last few years. Some guys were okay with nights, but not me. I never got to where I felt normal, and then after two weeks of drinking coffee all night, it’d be time to come home and I’d be all messed up switching back over to days.

I’d have one or two normal days and then it’d be time to head north to deal with frozen pipelines and corroded pipes and all the rest of it.

Whenever the crews would swap schedules to keep the holidays even, I’d be home for three weeks and get to feeling good again. I felt great, but it also let me know that as long as I was working nights, I’d only ever feel right once a year — when we swapped schedules.

“Show me the account,” I said.

“You mean the wallet?”

“I don’t know what I mean. You know that. I want to see a number with a dollar sign next to it.”

Raven started in about hard wallets and soft wallets and best practices, which she’d been following and keeping up on, and in the end, we came up with a number and it was a damn big one. 

More than I thought I’d ever have.

It wasn’t quite yacht-and-an-island money, but it was sure as heck sailboat and nice house money. Annie would’ve fed every horse in the world…

“Dad, what’s wrong?”

“Just thinking about your mom, kiddo. How she always worked so hard and won’t get to enjoy any of this.”

Raven came and sat next to me on the couch then and we just sort of cuddled up for a while. “She was the hardest-working person I ever met,” I said.

“Dad, you tell me that all the time.”

“Do I?”

“Yeah. Especially when you were trying to get me to work harder in school.”

“You’re saying is I’m predictable?”

She didn’t say anything, but she smirked a little.

“What?”

“I was going to say boring.”

“It’s true.”

“What, Mom being hardworking or you being boring?” She started giggling.

I laughed along with her. “You’re such a twerp.”

“Dad, I’m 19. I’m too old for you to call me a twerp.”

“Raven, you will never be too old for me to call you a twerp. That I can promise you.”

I called my boss that night and told him I was done. It was a little bit of a jerk move on my part, giving him less than a week to fill my spot, but the hell with it. 

If I didn’t have to fly to the coldest part of Alaska to breathe benzene fumes and babysit the oil wells all night long, I wasn’t going to.

Mack was cool about it. He pretty much said he’d’ve done the same thing in my position. It’s not like any of us worked up there for any reason other than the money.

The next day we found — I mean, Raven looked up online and cross-referenced and chose — a financial advisor and got ourselves set up. Diversified and set up so we were pretty much bomb proof.

We went to Cold Stone to celebrate. I opened the door for her, and from the look on her face when she walked in, I could tell that she’d seen it all coming.

Turns out she’d been humoring me all along.

Neither one of us wanted to go nuts. We just wanted to live somewhere warm. I thought it’d be fun to run a dive shop. Raven wanted to run a hostel.

Thanks to her, we had enough we could do both. So we did. We found a couple of properties online, bought ’em, and packed our bags.

So I appreciate what crypto has done for us. It got me off the Slope and gave us a life I would only have been dreamt of otherwise. 

But there’s a whole different feel to whatever Raven’s involved in now. More than anything, what makes me nervous is that she doesn’t want to talk about it.

Usually, she’s pretty open with me, but this thing, it’s a whole different deal. Whatever she’s looking into, she’s keeping it real quiet.

It’s just not like her.