It certainly can buy love. Both my wives loved me for my money. For the cars, the stature, the elegance. It can buy respect- employees will drop their foreheads to the floor for a hundred dollar tip. And it certainly can buy legal immunity- I discovered that after the death of my first wife, shortly after I discovered money can buy discreet hit men.
But there's another phrase I've always heard, one that has attempted to limit my abilities. One my father said to me over a glass of fine wine in my study, as I told him of a firm that would start growing artificial organs out of his tissue now so that they would be available in ten years when his began to fail. "*You can't play God*, Don."
I assure you, with my wealth, you can.
So I bought an island deep in the Pacific, one accessible by helicopter alone, and transported ten orphans there, all aged seven. And I had them huts built, and tools designed, and jobs designated. Then I would leave them for ten years to their own capabilities, but first I gathered them for a speech.
"Welcome," I said, my polished shoes digging into the sand beach and suit flapping as I spread my arms, "Welcome to your new home. A home I gave to you. A home with resources, with food, with all you need to survive. Given to you by me. Remember me, children. Your benefactor. Your reason for survival. Whisper my name at night when you are scared and I will protect you. Call out to me when hungry and I will provide."
"But what should we do to entertain ourselves?" Asked the smallest of the children, "what about television, and books?"
"If you're good, I shall provide them. I provide all things if you're good."
The child nodded slowly, his eyes scrunched together in half comprehension, and the group watched my helicopter rise from the beach. Then I was gone.
On the island, food and water were programmed to rise out of the ground overnight when my name was spoken. And the forest was programmed to make bear growls, tiger roars, and wolf howls each night until my name was spoken, though there were no natural predators.
The ten years passed quickly- there was much else on my mind. I bought a sports team, American baseball, and it was steadily climbing the rankings under my guidance and, more importantly, my quiet funding. I married again, and there was the funeral of my second wife to attend to. And of course, there was my own son, ready to start leaving for college in a year's time.
But when I flew back to the island, I knew what to expect. Ten children, plus or minus a few from births or deaths, all calling out my name. Ten children that had proved an excellent point, and would make excellent servants.
No crowd gathered on the beach when I arrived. No one stepped forth from their huts with religious fervor.
All was silent as I trudged through the camp. And with a long, slender finger, I pushed one of the huts doors open, and looked inside.
A skeleton. One years dead, with no flesh left on its bones, alone on its cot, and with hollow eyes that stared at the ceiling.
I yelped and stepped back out of the door frame, examining the rest of the huts.
Nine other skeletons. One for each of the children.
"Oh God," I whispered. Ten years had gone to waste. "But how?"
I checked the island controls, and found the solution to the problem. Nine years before, the food delivery mechanism had jammed. And ten children had starved.
I cursed. There was no time for incidents such as this. To prepare another island, to find ten more children, to wait ten more years- it was all too inconvenient.
So I walked back to my helicopter, a frown creasing my lips, and deep in thought.
But on the way, I heard a noise, and realized I must have forgotten to disable the controls speakers. On returning, the volume knobs were down, but as I walked to the helicopter I heard it again. A rustling. A mumbling.
I walked faster, and heard more sounds behind me. But whenever I turned back, the path behind me was empty.
I jumped into the helicopter, slamming the door shut, and started the engine. But it wouldn't start. There was no response from the machine.
"Come on," I shouted, kicking at the pedals, "Come on!"
But nothing happened. Nothing except for a small knock at the door.
And then the door opened, and there were ten children, all staring at me with smiles on their faces. Their clothes were slightly more ragged, their faces slightly more aged, but otherwise no different than how I had left them.
"How?" I whispered, straining away from them, but the seatbelt held me in place, "You all died. How are you here?"
The smallest one laughed then spoke, his eyes on me, "Oh Mr. Don, surely you remember. What sort of God doesn't provide resurrection? We were good, and you provided."