Fan Fiction: A Day in the Life of Martin Shkreli
Journey into the world of Martin Shkreli, rare Wu-Tang album owner, emo enthusiast, and pharmaceutical price gouger.
Illustration by Rob Dobi
It’s just after seven in the morning and sunlight is seeping into the corners of Martin Shkreli’s penthouse apartment. It stretches over his prized Geoff Rickly guitar hung on the wall, past his one-of-a-kind $2 million Wu-Tang album on the shelf, and onto the stack of Alternative Press magazines fanned out on the coffee table. The master wakes, peeks his eyes out from beneath his velvet sleep mask, and takes a long look at the cold, empty side of his California King bed. He sighs.
Martin reaches for the iPad on his nightstand and digs into his email. He flicks past his very important business messages in search of his Google alerts. A good showing today—19 results for “Taylor Swift.” He skims through each story, absorbing everything he can about the object of his desire. He stops on a photo of Taylor at a fundraising gala and touches the back of his fingers to the screen, against the smooth length of Taylor’s face. “Today, my dear...” Martin whispers, “today is for you.”
He hangs his feet off the edge of the bed and places them firmly onto his hoverboard. He stands, fastens his monogrammed robe, and glides down his hallway, the wind gently whipping through the sparse chest hairs protruding out. As he zooms along the long stretch of hardwood floors, he admires the framed, autographed Say Anything and Thrice posters that adorn his walls, but only briefly, for today is a busy day in the life of Martin Shkreli.
The lights illuminate in Martin’s home dojo via the home entertainment app on his gold iPhone 6S Plus. He cinches the belt of his karate gi and bows to the men portrayed in each of the room’s custom oil paintings: Trump, Segal, Lazzara. He unleashes his morning fury onto the martial arts dummy. “Hiyaaaa!” he screams with a vengeful wrath. “Take that! ...And this!” each blow landing a devastating wrist shot firmly on the rubber man’s torso. “Not punk enough, am I? How do you like this?” The slaps echo throughout the spacious luxury apartment.
In the bathroom after his morning steam shower, Martin pushes his hair to the side with the Octavo titanium comb he read about in Esquire, repeatedly checking his work against the photo taped to his mirror of a Lifted era Conor Oberst. A bit more Bed Head sculpting cream, he thinks, when suddenly, he gasps. Is that… could it be… it is! A real-life hair sticking out of his own chin! He marvels at it for a bit, stroking it, petting it, gazing into the mirror and imagining himself conversing with friends while donning a thick, luxurious beard. He is running late though so he lathers his face with alcohol-free cream and shaves using a vintage razor once used by John Lennon that he won at an auction.
The sunlight begins to tuck behind the afternoon clouds as Martin taps away on the mahogany desk in his office on Wall Street. He’s spent the better part of the morning trading and dumping stocks while listening to his favorite pump-up album, Glassjaw’s Worship and Tribute, and postponed his 2 PM meeting to spend more time arguing with the uneducated masses on Twitter. He calls to his assistant: “Taylor! Taylor, can you come in here for a moment?” Taylor enters. She is young, with dirty blonde hair and a toothy smile.
“How was your weekend, Taylor?”
“Well, some friends and I went to—” But Martin raises an index finger to interrupt her. There is a long, tense silence filling the room as he stares at her. “Do you know what this is?”
“What what is, Mr. Shkreli?” she asks nervously.
“This song, of course,” he says, motioning to the Beats Pill speakers emitting music played via Bluetooth.
“No, sir, Mr. Shkreli,” she says.
“It’s the band Brand New, do you know them?”
“I don’t, sir.”
Martin's face grows dark. On the outside, he barely maintains a calm composure, but inside, there is a fire burning down to his very soul. Brand. New. She doesn’t know Brand New. How could she—no, how could any person—tackle the complexities of life and human emotion without the wisdom and brilliant lyricism of Jesse Lacey, the furious shredding of guitarist Vincent Accardi, the inimitable basslines of Garrett Tierney, and the competent drumwork of Brian Lane? A single bead of sweat drips down his forehead.
“Well,” he imposes, “this is their unreleased demo you’re listening to. Only I own it, and I assure you, it’s very, very rare.”
Taylor fidgets with her iPad, unsure how to appease Mr. Shkreli. “Oh. Well, that’s very cool, sir,” she says.
“Yes, it’s actually extremely cool, Taylor. Do you know how many people on AbsolutePunk would kill to hear what you’re hearing?” he asks rhetorically, swinging his leather ergonomic chair away to face the New York City skyline. “You should go now,” he says gruffly, raising the volume on his Beats Pill speakers, immersing himself completely in song.
“Very good, sir,” she says, turning to leave.
“And don’t forget, Taylor, I’ll need a car to Brooklyn this evening. Don’t screw it up this time.”
Martin’s black sedan pulls up to Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg, the rear door opens, and his Converse All Stars touch down on the concrete. Martin has changed into his evening outfit—a pair of fresh sneakers whose particular design is not available to the public yet, carefully pressed 7 for All Mankind distressed straight-leg jeans, and a navy J. Crew blazer accentuated by the Pianos Become the Teeth T-shirt poking out from between the lapels. He looks at his reflection in the car’s tinted window and tousles his hair a bit. “Perfect, Marty. Pefect.”
A line of people stretches around the corner but Martin Shkreli is not a man who waits on lines. He pushes through the crowd to the ticket window.
“Yes, my name is Martin Shkreli and I’m on the VIP list for this evening’s Emo Night,” he tells the woman behind the glass. “Martin. Shkreli,” he repeats, carefully accentuating each syllable.
“There is no VIP list,” she tells him. “Are you maybe on the regular guestlist?”
“I certainly should be. Look under ‘Shkreli.’ ‘Martin Shkreli.’”
“Still not seeing you here,” she says, flipping through the pages.
“Surely, there must be some mistake,” he says. “Here, let me give you my ID.” He reaches into his front pocket and retrieves his money clip. He opens it in front of her and his driver’s license falls onto the counter, along with many hundred dollar bills and a Trojan Magnum condom. “Oops. Clumsy me,” he smirks.
“You’re not on any lists,” the woman tells him. Her patience has grown thin.
“Well look again!” Martin says, pounding his fist down. “I’m Martin Shkreli, goddammit. Do you know who I am? I’m personally funding this Emo Night. You see these promotional shirts? I paid for them! Hell, I could buy this whole damn bar if I wanted to and have your ass fired.”
She checks his license again, inspecting the date of birth and looking down at his face, his eyes now welling with tears.
“Fine,” she concedes.
“About damn time,” his voice cracks as he wipes his eye with his sleeve. She stamps his hand. “Wait,” he says, “can you also write ‘VIP’ on it?”
Inside, Martin surveys the room. To his left, two women sing along passionately to Dashboard Confessional’s “Hands Down.” To his right, a group of guys in hoodies talk about how they prefer the old Title Fight. He breathes it all in, inhaling the familiar scent of nostalgia and MerchNow products. Truly, he is among his people.
He spots a woman at the bar, tall and thin, not unlike Taylor Swift, and sidles up against her.
“Can I buy you a drink?” he asks.
“Uh, yeah, whatever,” she says.
“I like your tote bag,” he tells her, pointing to The Hotelier’s logo on the bag hanging from her shoulder. “You know, I own the record label that band is on. Maybe you’ve heard of me?” But the music is too loud.
“You own this record?” the woman shouts.
“No,” he says, raising his voice in frustration. “I own the label! The la-bel! I’m Martin Shkreli! I own Turing!”
“No, Turing Phamaceuticals! Pharma-ceu-ti-cals!” he mouths.
“Sticks and Stones? Yeah that’s my favorite New Found Glory album,” she says.
“No, I—” he reaches into his pocket and unfolds an article about himself in Bloomberg Businessweek… but she’s already taken her drink and left.
“Headed home, Mr. Shkreli?” Martin’s driver asks as he closes the sedan door behind him.
“Yes,” he says. “But first, take me past my spot. I want to see her.”
“Again? Well, you’re the boss, Mr. Shkreli.”
“I am the boss,” Martin thinks. The car pulls over on West 44th Street, beneath a giant, illuminated billboard promoting Taylor Swift’s album. The window rolls down and Martin looks up at her from his seat. He says nothing, but raises the volume on his Ultrasone headphones, letting the power of Brand New’s Daisy fill the space in his heart.
“Some men die under the mountain just looking for gold,” he mouths along to the song, clenching his money clip with one hand, and tracing Taylor’s face in the air with the other. “...And some die looking for a hand to hold.”
Dan Ozzi is a fan fiction enthusiast and is on Twitter - @danozzi