For hours I stand at the vast, impact-resistant windows of this lonely penthouse and gaze down at the city that never sleeps. I don't sleep much, either – not because I've ripped off and ruined thousands of people, but because my electronic ankle bracelet has given me a beast of a rash that itches all night long.
Ruth? She has no sympathy. My whining drives her crazy, she says. Last night I caught her writing a letter to the judge, begging him to revoke my bail.
Nobody calls these days except for my lawyers and a few very angry investors, to whom I was once foolish enough to offer our home number. Consequently, I am now careful to answer the phone with an impenetrable French accent, like Inspector Clouseau.
Your miserable correspondent,
Mssr. B. Madoff
Unbelievable! A gang of hooligans has defaced my Palm Beach estate with miles of toilet paper!
The news is all over the television, and everyone seems to be getting quite a chuckle out of this senseless act of vandalism. Shockingly, the local authorities show no interest in pursuing the barbarians who did this.
To make things worse, I've now lost my permanent lunch table at the Palm Beach Country Club to Donald Trump's son.
This is America, people! What happened to "innocent until proven guilt?"
Your persecuted Ponzi,
The walls of this $7 million penthouse are closing in on me day by day, and I feel trapped like a rat. No, make that a chinchilla.
At breakfast this morning, it's Ruth – again with the pocket calculator!
"How many zeros are in $50 billion?" she asks with that sly glint in her eye. "And tell me again, honey, where did it all go?" As if she doesn't know!
Today my lawyers are petitioning the court so that I may spend one hour a week at the driving range in East Hampton. I sure hope the judge is a golfer.
Your 9-handicap detainee,
Bernie "Tiger" Madoff
Finally some good news! Temporarily, I'm no longer the most despised human being in the United States.
Some knucklehead named John Thain at Merrill Lynch spent $1.2 million redecorating his office while he was failing to save the firm from financial ruin.
Among his many expenditures were $68,000 for a 19th-century credenza and $35,000 for a "commode on legs," which actually sounds kind of nifty.
Maybe I could order one with wheels, so I could roll away from Ruth whenever she goes off on one of her rants.
Your humble Imodium addict,
Don't believe what you see in the media – "house arrest" is brutal. Every day I feel more and more like a walking zombie.
I get up early, eat my imported Norwegian lox and mail out a few gold Rolexes and Tiffany tennis bracelets to distant family members.
Then I watch The View while I faithfully Tivo Ellen, and of course I never miss the new half-hour version of Deal or No Deal. (I really love that show – what a bunch of suckers!)
Nights are the hardest time, as I lie awake trembling in fear of another vicious toilet-paper attack. I suppose this is what prison will be like, except without my silk kimono and lamb's-wool slippers and chamomile tea and $50 foot massages . . .
Ruth promises she'll wait for me, although I notice she's spending lots of time uptown with some forensic accountant. I'm bracing for the worst.
For inspiration in my darkest hours, I think of all those men who emerged from unjust incarcerations with strength and dignity to embrace full, vibrant futures – Solzhenitsyn, Mandela, Robert Downey Jr.
At the very least, one helluva book contract should be waiting for me when I get out. As for the movie rights, can you say Slimedog Billionaire?
Your future best-seller,
ABOUT THE WRITER
Carl Hiaasen was born and reared in South Florida. He joined The Miami Herald in 1976 and worked as a general assignment reporter, magazine writer and award-winning investigative reporter before starting his column in 1985. He is also the author of many novels. Visit Carl's website at www.carlhiaasen.com.