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  • Once in the Bahamas, I ended up on the boat of a one-percenter after the bars had closed, surrounded by his entourage and fencing equipment.

    The vessel was owned by the son of a post-Katrina real estate opportunist from Louisiana. I had doubts about his claim that Britney Spears had named the boat when she was on board for the maiden voyage, but at that time of night, everyone in the Bahamas is awash in friendship. Damien (1%) had a posse (99%).

    Possessed of some spirits, Damien picked up a rusty fencing sabre and started playfully jabbing at a hapless, paunchy, middle-aged minion of his. Fueled by a spirit of injustice and a semester's worth of fencing in college, I challenged Damien to a duel. The safety equipment consisted of a fencing mask and a pair of wrap-around sunglasses, of which I gladly took the former and endured a few jeers from the inebriated entourage. His followers however seem to relish the scene of an outsider challenging their leader.

    Damien and I climbed back onto the dock, took off our shirts, and prepared to do battle. "En garde" and we were at each other. Splinters neatly embedded themselves in our feet and our torsos became red and irritated with each clumsily parried thrust. With the muscle memory of a college gymnasium, I was able to push him repeatedly to the edge of the dock, whereupon he would grab my sword in his fist and I would protest the unfairness. After a few rounds of this, Damien took off his sunglasses and threw his sword into the clear water.

    I had won, but he would have the last word. He instructed me to toss my fencing gear into the ocean, and commanded the youngest of his minions (a 16 year-old) to dive down and retrieve them.

    I left the sword and mask at his feet, and wandered away from the dock, realizing that fighting with the 1% doesn't always end in a victory that you feel good about.
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