Jeff Bezos stands on the top deck of his new superyacht as the sun sets low.

Drifting across the Adriatic Sea after all his guests have drifted away. Only the onboard crew remains. Even his new fiancée Lauren Sánchez has left.

“The Unbearable Sadness of Jeff Bezos” is a heartbreaking short story about love.

Alone with his thoughts and regrets, Jeff isn’t sure which way to turn.

Rated NC-17 / 2,000 words / 8 minutes of cautionary reading pleasure

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‘A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money.’ Aristotle Onassis



Copyright 2024 Stefano Boscutti
All rights reserved

All the guests had left.

Even Lauren had gone and now Jeff was all alone at sea with no one except the crew.

It was a magnificent sailing yacht, a superyacht. The world’s largest at one-hundred-and-twenty-seven metres. Glossy navy steel hull, soaring white aluminium masts and endless decks lined in Myanmar teak.

A classic on its maiden voyage over European waters. A $500 million classic Jeff had ordered before he met Lauren, before he met the new love of life who was - among other things - a helicopter pilot.

Where can anyone land a frigging helicopter on a schooner with three sixty-metre masts, she giggled when he first showed her the plans.

So Jeff had to order another yacht, a support yacht with a helipad for Lauren’s beloved Airbus ACH-135 helicopter to follow his superyacht everywhere. It’s the largest support yacht in the world. The things you do for love.

Lauren’s sister named the support yacht Abeona after the Roman goddess of journeys. And Jeff named the superyacht Koru because he thought it sounded cool.

It didn’t feel so cool now. All alone on the sun deck where he’d had the shade cover removed so he and Lauren could wine and dine under the stars. A prelude to later that night when he asked her to marry him, taking the small black box from under her pillow. Nervously opening it to reveal a 28-carat cushion-cut pink diamond engagement ring.

Lauren had blacked out for a moment. Not so much from excitement as the fact she’d been slamming down margaritas since before lunch. Still, Jeff liked her drunk. She’d do anything when she was drunk.

Jeff had been cutting back on his drinking in the past few weeks. He’d been feeling increasingly low. Sadness ebbed ever closer. Maybe his supplements are off. That’s what Lauren calls his daily cocktail of vitamins and minerals, steroids and synthetic human growth hormones, testosterone and erectile dysfunction medications, and the slew of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills.

He found himself ruminating even though he’d cut back his workload. Found himself worrying about the smallest things. Like the temperature and humidity control of the onboard, four-thousand-bottle wine cellar. Or the sound of the air conditioning in the onboard cinema. Things he paid other people to worry about.

The other night he’d had a terrible nightmare about marrying Lauren, woke in a damp sweat. Lonely and isolated even though she was there by his side.

Jeff looks out at the dead, flat sea. He can’t feel any breeze so he knows the captain will soon start the giant MTU diesel engines that power the massive superyacht. For some reason this reassures him.

He spots a crew member near the stairway to the bridge deck. The crew member looks away. All crew members had been instructed not to look at Jeff or Lauren or any of the guests. Jeff can be self-conscious about his sleepy eye. It’s just easier to avoid eye contact. Especially with thirty-six crew members on board at any given time.

The captain, officers, engineers and deckhands. The butlers, stewardesses and service staff, chef and galley team. Then there’s the security personnel and admin.

Jeff wanders to the bridge deck below. It’s where the lavish engagement party had been held when they were floating off the Amalfi Coast. He can’t remember all the people who came aboard. He’d spent the whole night smiling and nodding at Kris and Whitney and Bill and Paula and Andrew and Wendi and Ari and whoever else Lauren had invited.

On the bridge deck there’s a jacuzzi and fully stocked bar with two bartenders standing by. Doors behind the bar lead to the lounge with natural wood tones and warm neutrals that lead to the bow with a larger-than-life-size figurehead of Lauren as a bare-breasted and winged mermaid flowing under the prow. Carved and polished from a single piece of timber and inlaid with brass. Voluptuous and brazen.

Jeff had gotten the idea from Barry Diller who has a carved figurehead of his glamorous fashion-designer wife Diane von Furstenberg on the bowsprit of his own luxury sailing yacht Eos.

Barry is the father you have when you don’t have a father. For Jeff - and other billionaires - who have surpassed their biological fathers in every measure, Barry becomes the father they always wanted.

The father who understands wealth and the accumulation of capital and everything that brings with it. The father they can turn to for parental wisdom and guidance. The father they can talk to.

Jeff spent his final days as Amazon CEO aboard Eos sailing around Greece. Barry and Diane were also aboard. Lauren too.

Eos was the inspiration for Jeff’s own superyacht and for much of his new life.

Ditching his first wife for a glittering girlfriend, ditching work for summers yachting under the wide Mediterranean sun, ditching old friends for new celebrities. Soft brown Italian deer leather loafers without socks. Open neck French silk shirts.

A bevy of younger men - often much younger men - had always modelled themselves on the aging titan. Jeff was just the latest to seek his love and approval.

Jeff’s first wife MacKenzie never cared for Barry, never trusted him. Especially after he started to break up his internet and media conglomerate IAC to diminish the voting power of major shareholders. Jeff laughed it off at the time.

He wasn’t laughing so much now. His cheerfulness has given way to a general air of dissatisfaction, a constant state of emptiness. People more often annoy him than not. Regret and remorse seem to follow him wherever he goes.

It’s strange how often Jeff thinks of MacKenzie these days. How he imagines what it would be like to be back in her arms. But that will never happen. The divorce lawyers have seen to that.

They’d met in nineteen-ninety-two when they were both working at the New York City hedge fund D.E. Shaw. As a senior vice president, Jeff had interviewed her for a job as a research assistant.

It was a job to pay the bills while she wrote. She was the one who suggested they go out for lunch. Within three months of dating, they were engaged. Three months after that, they were married. MacKenzie had always been the smart one.

It was MacKenzie who drove them from New York to Seattle to start Amazon, Jeff pecking out a business plan on a shitty laptop, calling prospective investors on a broken cell phone.

MacKenzie came up with the Amazon name. It was her idea to sell books online. She was a writer after all. A novelist.

When the business started to scale, MacKenzie negotiated Amazon’s first freight contracts at - of all places - a Barnes & Noble bookstore. There were no spare chairs in the rented garage that doubled as Amazon’s first office.

MacKenzie had always been his foil in the press. The kind one, the practical one, the good wife.

It was MacKenzie who had started the story about Jeff washing the dishes every night - more as a joke because of course he never did. But the story - as often happens - stuck. Jeff the regular guy.

She had done a Vogue magazine feature - not the cover, mind you - a decade ago. Low-key, looking fresh-faced and forthright. Toned arms. Gamine. Norman Jean Roy was the photographer. It was her idea to be photographed with his two dogs by her side. Just a regular gal.

Jeff feels the giant diesel engines shudder to life as the superyacht leans towards the setting sun.

He hurries down the stairway to the main deck and heads past another bar to the main outdoor pool. It’s an enormous pool and he wonders why so few guests used it over summer. Even Lauren rarely used it.

Jeff looks at the matching his and her loungers on the stern. Remembers Lauren reclining in her tight hot pink bikini. Both arms back behind her head. A tangle of jewels around her neck. A leg cocked to one side.

They’d started fucking when he was still married to MacKenzie. And she was still married to her husband at the time.

She was a former Miss Junior America New Mexico and B-list television presenter. Fake breasts, fake chin, fake lips.

Was she really the woman for him? She’s got a great ass - which is probably fake - but no intellectual clout.

She had a talent for sex. All that vitality made him feel young. Yes, a little foolish. But she made him feel alive.

Once when he looked up from the double vanity in their state room, he saw both of them reflected in the mirror. All he could see was a buff sugar daddy and a short, squat, raven-haired Mexican Barbie.

His eyesight has never been that good. So he didn't see the wrinkles between the too-tight skin. He knew she was loaded with silicon and filler, smoothed out with Botox.

Lauren calls him babe a lot. Before the divorce he tried calling MacKenzie babe once and she asked whether he was having a stroke.

MacKenzie always found things wrong with Jeff. There was a lot wrong, so it was understandable.

Lauren found nothing wrong with Jeff. She called him babe. He called her babe and she liked it.

Jeff worries about what MacKenzie will think when she sees the Vogue magazine cover he did with Lauren. His mouth tightens.

In the shot it looks like they’re trying too hard to be in love. Lauren’s arms are wrapped tightly around Bezos who is wearing custom Wranglers, tight black t-shirt and black cowboy hat sitting in his spotless yellow truck parked under a gigantic lighting rig on his Texas ranch.

Lauren is wearing a custom-fitted white Levi’s tank top, staring nakedly at the camera, lips gashed red like the Joker. Bezos looks lost, arm bulging from all the pharmaceutical-grade creatine. On his wrist dangle tiger’s-eye and silver-chain bracelets.

Annie Leibovitz took the shot. Jeff had never seen so much equipment, so many lights, so many cameras, so many assistants, so many stylists and costumers. So much catering. 

Lauren kept telling him it was magical. Jeff kept thinking it was chaos and couldn’t wait to leave. All he wanted to do was drive into the hills.

He once asked MacKenzie why she married him. She said because he was brilliant, decent and kind. That was a long time ago.

MacKenzie had never really liked the ranch. Too far away. Too damn hot.

Jeff bought it in 2004. He said it was because it reminded him of boyhood summers spent on his grandfather’s land in Cotulla, Texas. In truth it’s a domestic tax haven.

He kept purchasing adjoining properties until he’d amassed close to 400,000 acres to house a sprawling family compound and his private space company and vistas as far as the eye can see. Mesquite, prickly-​pear and desert flowing to the Sierra Diablo Mountains.

Jeff wanders over to one side of his superyacht as it glides over the dismal sea. A sense of waiting dread. His phone twinkles. It’s a text from Lauren.

‘Love you to space and back,’ it says.

Jeff frowns at the screen. Takes a deep breath and drops the phone into the deep blue water below.

It’s the third time today that Lauren has texted him that same message. The first time he thought it was cute. The second time he worried. The third time was too much.

Did she just copy and paste it? Or forget that she’d already sent it? Did she even mean it?

Doubling and tripling of text messages? That’s not a technical issue. That’s human error. Human failing.

Jeff is suddenly overwhelmed by sadness. He rushes down the central stairs. Past guest lounges and dining rooms, past spas and gyms, past the cinema and staterooms.

Down past the galley and refrigeration. Down past mechanicals towards the engine room. Catching his breath as his chest heaves.

Twists and opens the narrow, heavy metal door and steps into the trembling and roaring of MTU diesel engines and nautical hydraulics generating maximum power.

Slams shut the narrow door and locks it from the inside as his shoulders tremble.

As the monstrous noise drowns out his frantic sobbing.

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Copyright 2024 Stefano Boscutti

All Rights Reserved

The moral rights of the author are asserted.

No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, digital, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or copying and pasting, recording or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing.

Stefano Boscutti acknowledges the trademark owners of various products referenced in this work. The publication or use of these trademarks is not authorised or sponsored by the trademark owner.

This is a work of fiction. While many of the characters portrayed here have counterparts in the life and times of Jeff Bezos and others, the characterisations and incidents presented are totally the products of the author’s perculiar imagination. This work is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. It should not be resold or given away. Thank you for your support. (Couldn’t do it without you.)

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