The Rise & Fall of Valiant Inc.
Maya Zillman December 20, 2016
...Many believe that the recent leak of employee memos and various other internal documents is a victory in the case against Valiant. While the documents certainly do shed light on the scope of the scandal and Valiant’s operations during the period of time in question, it is important to consider the leak’s origins.
The documents are believed to have originated on a site similar to WikiLeaks around midnight on May 12, 2016, almost two weeks after investigative journalists, such as Joost Van Poel, aroused suspicions about Valiant’s operations. No documents appear to have been posted on the site prior to this leak, and the site was taken down almost immediately after online news outlets began circulating the cache, making it even more difficult to determine where the site was hosted and who was responsible for the leak. Until such information is provided, it is unlikely that these documents will be deemed admissible in a court of law.
It isn’t difficult to imagine why those responsible are reluctant to come forward; one need look no further than Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and countless others...
Call from [REDACTED] to [REDACTED]; 12:04 AM
Caller 1: Is it done?
Caller 2: Almost. You’re aware this won’t affect the lawsuit?
Caller 1: The lawsuit doesn’t affect us. Call when you finish.
[Call ended. Time elapsed: 15 seconds.]
The Lion of Wall Street
Joost Van Poel
...Rollins is waiting for me in the library of his Sunnyvale mansion, one of several sprawling, multi-acre estates supposedly purchased by his father during the post-war housing boom. When I walk in, he is staring out at the city, holding a tumbler of whiskey in one hand, limned by the light of the sunset; it’s as though I’ve stepped into a movie. When he finally does notice me, he greets me as one would an old friend. It’s easy to forget that he is anything but.
The Rollins family have been prominent figures in every economic boom since the 1960s--housing, computers, cars--but they’ve never stayed with any one industry for very long. Their public image has shifted almost as many times since then; Rollins’ father was commonly referred to as “mierenneuker,” a Dutch term that directly translates to “ant fucker,” meaning “nitpicker,” by lower-level employees because he insisted on reviewing employee timesheets himself, and often docked several weeks’ worth of pay over minor discrepancies. Now, five years after his death, he is celebrated as an innovative businessman, a “kind, generous pillar of the community.”1 Rollins himself earned the moniker “Dime Lion,” after suing a manufacturer when they raised costs ten cents per unit. I’ve no doubt that the incident will be long forgotten in five years’ time.
1 Taken from a eulogy released by Rollins Enterprises on February 23, 2012
Executives from Moore & Sons arrested in connection with securities fraud, money laundering.
Andrew Johnston 4:12 PM March 13, 2017
Moore & Sons, a transnational banking and financial services institution has recently been implicated in a lawsuit accusing numerous executives and senior employees of committing or helping to commit securities fraud. Damages are estimated to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.2 billion.
Suspicions regarding Moore & Sons appear to have originated after the plaintiffs and members of the SEC and FBI received anonymous emails containing statements, customer files, and memos somehow taken from within the company. Despite the uncertainty regarding these allegations, the company’s stock has already fallen five points since earlier this morning.
Transcript from “Van Eck,” season 1, episode 2 of DYNASTY , a PBS original miniseries:
[NARRATOR:] Johan Van Eck was born in June of 1921 to an affluent merchant family in Rotterdam. In journals donated to the Smithsonian by the Van Eck family, Johan claims to have been profoundly influenced by his father. [Scan of one such journal, depicting looping Dutch cursive, dated August 20, 1957.] Although, according to the family, he’d been “conducting” business since the age of five in the form of small lemonade stands and such, Johan didn’t start his first official business, a used bookstore until the age of 18. [Photo of Johan, age 18, smiling outside his bookstore.] It went defunct a year later. [Photo of the empty building taken the year after.]
[NARRATOR:] After a subsequent string of similar failed business ventures, Johan and his wife Eva packed their bags for the United States; Johan was 25, Eva only 24. They reached the shores of Ellis Island on October 18, 1947. In the five years after his arrival, Van Eck set up a small financial consulting business in a Dutch community in the state of New York and made a meager income advising up and coming businessmen, like himself.
New coffee shop to open in Williamsburg, NY
when are we supposed to leak the mercury pharm. cache?
he said tomorrow at midnight right??
it’s matthias’ turn tho dont think we need 2 worry abt it
the fuck it is
i’m not staying up that late ever again
is it safe for us to talk about this here??
says it’s encrypted
doesn’t matter anyway
These servers are getting blown to smithereerns tmrw lol
you're all horrible.
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Mercury Pharmaceuticals accused of “Philidor-ing”
OPINION ᐧ Madison Hillier ᐧ 1:10 PM ᐧ July 29, 2017
...Philidor, of course, was the name of one of the shell pharmacies used by Valeant Pharmaceuticals in order to dispense drugs and defraud insurance companies. The comparisons Wright draws between the business practices of Valeant and Mercury are compelling, if a little unclear and not entirely credible, but assuming they are correct, these allegations have profound implications.
Valeant’s price-gouging, rerouting of funds, and numerous other questionable operations became a topic of public and private discourse almost immediately, and the executives involved at the time were charged and fined and have since been fired from the company. The company’s share value shrank drastically after the release of Andrew Left’s report. Valeant, however, has since rebranded as Bausch Health and is still responsible for the production and distribution of several drugs, all of which are still largely over-priced. It is likely that the same will occur with Mercury...
Industry corruption and Western Capitalism
What the recent glut of corruption scandals says about our economic system.
Abby Shepherd [+Follow ]
July 27 ᐧ 10 min read
IN the past year, three major corporations, all industry titans, have been accused of everything from securities fraud to money laundering. These sorts of scandals are by no means a new thing to us; we’ve lived through Enron, Watergate and countless others, known and unknown. What, then, makes this special?
The Enron scandal broke right before the stock market crash of ‘08; Watergate occurred during a period of tentative reconstruction after the Cold War and a decade of McCarthyism. But now, we’re meant to be in an era of complete social and economic stability, an era of stability built by capitalism….
ROLLINS: A Complete Biography
...Pekka Rollins’ first solo business venture was a casino named “The Kaelish Prince” inspired by a tale from a storybook passed down through the family by his great grandmother. (The casino was built accordingly, complete with an all-stone exterior and gold everything, high ceilings, numerous turrets; topsy-turvy in a charming sort of way.)
The venture proved to be a success almost immediately, even despite the fact that the casino is located in Utah, which until 1998, when the casino opened, had a total ban on gambling. The messy legal proceedings that preceded the launch were forgotten almost as soon as customers walked into Rollins’ flashy fairy land, and this set the tone for nearly all of Rollins’ subsequent businesses; his retail outlets, manufacturing operations, and financial consulting businesses have all flourished (although their employees usually do not).
Transcript from a Fox News interview, originally aired August 1, 2017.
FROST: Now, speaking of shake-ups, there’s been quite a shake-up in the world of business, hasn’t there, this past year?
BROWN: Yeah, quite a big one I’d say! [Laughs.]
FROST: [Laughs.] Now, to our news correspondent, Jacki Johnson.
JOHNSON: [Music.] The last several months have seen several businesses exposed in scandals, ranging from mild white collar crime to things such as money laundering and insider trading. To discuss what this means for consumers, I have here with me Amira Sharma, Remington Brandt, John Kaiser, and Corazon Macdangdang. Ladies and gentleman, thank you so much for joining us.
SHARMA: Of course!
KAISER: Our pleasure.
JOHNSON: To start off, I wanted to ask, did--were any of you surprised at all, when this news started coming out?
BRANDT: Oh, absolutely. These are all companies that hold a profound respect within and without the industry; the idea that they could be doing anything like what--what’s been suggested is just. It’s unthinkable.
KAISER: Yeah, and I mean, I think after things like Enron, and Valeant, all of us knew that this sort of thing might be happening within Wall Street, but I never imagined it would be on this sort of scale.
SHARMA: I don’t know, I think, given the sort of system we’ve built up over the last fifty, sixty years, I think corruption is sort of inevitable, especially in companies with a--with this many assets and resources.
MACDANGDANG: Oh absolutely...absolutely. I wouldn’t be surprised if we were to hear more...more reports like this, and I think in light of something like this, we really ought to take a closer look at the system, and try to really understand who it’s helping, because right now, it certainly isn’t serving the consumer, or the honest businessman.
SHARMA: [Laughs.] It’s funny to think that those are the things we’ve built our understanding of ourselves on isn’t it, when--
BRANDT: Don’t you think it’s unfair to blame the whole system for a few bad apples?
SHARMA: Given that these bad apples control very large parts of the industry, as you said, I don’t think it’s unfair, no. These companies have been rewarded by the system for decades, even despite these practices, and now with the new tax cuts--
KAISER: Well, they couldn’t have possibly known, given what it took for us to find out--
MACDANGDANG: I think you’re grossly underestimating the power of the United States govern--
KAISER: I think it’s very funny, Ms. Sharma, that you’re singling out President Trump, even though you had no qualms about any previous national economic reforms--
MACDANGDANG: What does that have to do with--
SHARMA: That’s entirely unrelated--
KAISER: And I think you ought to examine your double standards, because I don’t understand how you can support things like trickle-down economics--
SHARMA: Support trickle-down--? I don’t--I’m a communist, you idiot!
JOHNSON: I think we’ve gone a little bit off track here--
Transcript from an unaired 60 Minutes special; intended release date: April 12, 2008.
COOPER: I’m told that, uh, historically, you did not get along with your father. Why do you think that was?
VAN ECK: [Laughs.] Well, uh, my father was not a very...a very trusting man, to say the least; I think it was the Dutch in him. We never quite saw eye-to-eye where business was concerned, and I think because of this, he was very...reluctant to pass the reins.
COOPER: Did that not upset you?
VAN ECK: The man built his company from the ground up; I thought it was only natural for him to be...shall we say, possessive , and he had every right. Everything my family has now, we owe to him.
COOPER: I think many would disagree, especially now that Van Eck Inc. has expanded into so many different, uh, sectors of the market. Wouldn’t--Don’t you think you owe your employees for your success?
VAN ECK: [Pause.] My employees...they work very hard, obviously, and I am very grateful to them for doing so, but um. I don’t think I owe them anything. no. I am, after all, paying them very handsomely for their work. [Laughs.]
COOPER: Many think you ought to be paying your workers more.
VAN ECK: Our starting salaries are well above the national average.
COOPER: Well, yes, but the company, I’m told, gives out bonuses and raises very rarely. I’m also told that Van Eck Inc., quote, “does not believe in benefits.” Is this true?
VAN ECK: I’m not sure, I would have to ask our--the head of HR. Where did you get that quote?
COOPER: You’re the CEO of your company and the only person with a majority stock share; why don’t you know?
VAN ECK, sharply: Van Eck Inc. is a multinational corporation; I have better things to do.
COOPER: Than to take care of your own employees?
VAN ECK: [Silence.]
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Call from [REDACTED] to [REDACTED]; 1:30 AM
CALLER 1: We’d like this to end in arrest, if possible.
CALLER 2: It won’t.
CALLER 1: I--Sorry?
CALLER 2: We’ve no business with the criminal justice system; we deal only in monetary compensation and physical damages. If, however, you wish to pursue legal action, there are a number of lawyers we can contact on your behalf. We’d take care of all legal fees, obviously. [Silence.] Sir?
CALLER 1: Make sure to bleed the bastards dry, then.
OIL MAGNATE TANKS
Andrew Smith | October 12, 2017
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Leoni Hilli | October 30, 2017
. . . Many continue to view these companies, these scandals, as unconnected incidents; to them, these companies are just a few bad apples. It’s easy to see why; these companies are in seemingly disparate sectors of business, oil and banking and pharmaceuticals, with different clientele and areas of operation, different business practices and executives. As far as the public knows, no one from any of these companies has so much as looked at each other, let alone meticulously planned a sequence of leaks and scandal together.
And yet, here I am.
The obvious answer to the question, “Why would these companies be connected?” is capitalism; an endemic corruption, rooted in our current corporate and economic systems. And while the position that these companies are indicative of a larger trend on Wall Street isn’t incorrect, it’s certainly too broad a truth for the situation at hand. I think a more appropriate answer is, “shareholders.”
Although shareholders may not be members of corporate boards or trusts, in companies with as much value as these, even minor shareholders can make thousands, millions, off of even 2% of a company. Take, for example, Amazon; Amazon’s total share value in 2016 was around $484 million; 2% of that is approximately $10 million.
According to SEC filings from late 2016, Pekka Rollins, CEO of Rollins Enterprises, and Jan Van Eck, CEO of Van Eck Incorporated, were among the shareholders of all four of these companies; they are the only people to have been involved with more than two simultaneously. This then begs the question: are these men involved with recent events?
Consider the fact that audits conducted after the opening of federal investigations had demonstrated that, with or without the media attention and financial strain caused by the aforementioned investigations, these companies were dead weight. Mercury Pharmaceuticals had been implicated in a class-action lawsuit put forward by consumers who now found themselves paying hundreds of thousands for drugs that had previously cost them a hundred dollars a year, and had raised drug prices an average of 211% in order to compensate for legal expenses. Valiant, having almost run out of the funds that fraud had granted them over the years, was on the verge of declaring bankruptcy.
Now consider for a moment the manner in which these leaks occurred: all near midnight, through one massive file dump on an anonymous, untraceable site. (Note that both Van Eck and Rollins also hold stakes in several technology and cybersecurity companies.) All files in the caches were internal memos and financial records that could only have been obtained by someone with a position in the company. The original caches for these leaks were always deleted after, at most, three days, after the public along with news and media outlets had begun downloading and circulating the cache.
These leaks resulted in massive stock market collapses--after the Valiant scandal broke, the stock fell 30 points over less than 7 hours, and stayed in freefall for almost a day before trading was shut down--but have not, however, led to any successful arrests or other legal actions, and have in some cases impeded the investigations of the FBI, SEC, and local law enforcement agencies.
Then consider the fact that Rollins and Van Eck both shorted their shares for all four of these companies on August 15, the day before the Valiant scandal broke. . .
Transcript of the 9 PM news broadcast in Dayton, Ohio on October 30, 2017:
VERMEER: This is William Vermeer, reporting live from Dayton. Chaos erupted at the National Financial Journalism Summit earlier this day after Leoni Hilli, a freelance investigative journalist, read a speech earlier this morning suggesting that Pekka Rollins and Jan Van Eck might be involved in Parrygate, as the incident is now being referred to, after the CEO of Valiant Inc. Van Eck and Rollins’ lawyers have released statements saying they will likely pursue suits against Ms. Hilli for defamation, but Ms. Hilli, who declined to comment, seems to be unfazed.
Excerpt from a transcript of an interview of Anya Ivanovna conducted by Dan Ellis, self-described “YouTube journalist,” posted to Ellis’ personal site on November 3, 2017:
---So you’re saying Ms. Hilli is wrong?
To some degree, yes. I think Leoni, in making her claims intentionally left out a few details. I know her, I have known her, and I think that she knows exactly why that article is wrong; this was just an attempt to get, more knowledgeable, more connected people looking into the situation, and given the attention that the article has generated, I would say it’s worked! I would also say that, to do what she did, to directly accuse these people, knowing what they’re capable of and who they’re connected to, was certainly a very brave thing to do, and even if she didn’t have these intentions in mind when she posted the article, I commend her for her efforts. I certainly wouldn’t have had the courage to do anything this drastic.
---What are the things, first of all, that you think Ms. Hilli overlooked in writing “#ParryGate”?
Well, firstly, the fact that, even with ties to cybersecurity companies, neither of these men nor the executives that they would’ve known would’ve had the acumen, the manpower, or the leverage to take down companies like these so carefully, so anonymously because, simply put, the people that do these kinds of things: hack corporate servers and set up DarkWeb WikiLeaks, are not the kind of people that operate within corporate circles. [Laughs.] Secondly, the fact that even if they had been trying to eliminate their dead weight, I think that, knowing of these men and their business practices, they would’ve done it in one fell swoop as opposed to the better part of a year, and certainly not through means that required so much work and, you know, morality. And thirdly, the fact that, for some reason, the victims of these companies all seem to have recieved, sometimes rather large amounts of money, in compensation. Jan Van Eck could barely muster up the benevolence to required to pay his employees minimum wage; it hardly seems likely that he would have just given away that much money without expecting anything in return.
--And what about the article do you think holds water?
I think it’s certainly a mistake, given who’s involved, to just assume that these cases aren’t connected.
Transcript from an interview of Jan Van Eck, conducted for a profile in Rolling Stone Magazine in 1998:
[INT.]: What do you want to say to the people who are expressing...concerns about your ascendancy to the role of CEO
[VAN ECK]: I’d tell them not to worry.
[INT.]: Really? [Laughs.] That’s it?
[VAN ECK]: Well, my--CEO is really a very straightforward position. The media likes to make it out as something very, you know, complicated, and intricate, but at the end of the day, my job at this company is, simply put, to create profit, value for shareholders, And so the public, my shareholders, needn’t worry.
[INT.]: And what would you say to the argument that your first priority should be your customers?
[VAN ECK]: Um. They’re wrong. [Laughs.] In all seriousness, if companies like mine, really if any company focused entirely on--on satisfying the whims of their consumers, they’d be out of business within two months.
Transcript of a 60 Minutes episode; original air date: November 6, 2017
...STOLL: Firstly, I want to say thank you for joining us tonight--
HILLI: Of course!
STOLL: I know you must be doing...going through a lot right now, especially given the reaction to your speech last week at the--the Summit.
HILLI: That was a very...diplomatic way of putting it, “the reaction to my--” [Laughs.] No, but, um. I think, as a journalist, as an activist, I think that’s sort of an occupational hazard.
STOLL: [Hums.] While we’re on the topic, I’d just like to ask, how long have you been working on this story?
HILLI: Oh, ummm. [Indistinct] basically since Valiant broke, in hindsight, so, like, one, maybe two years?
STOLL: And did you ever think it would get this far?
HILLI: Saints, no. I had just gotten out of graduate school when I started looking into things for this article, I didn’t have enough...well, enough anything to do more than Google things, you know? So I definitely didn’t think I’d get as far as writing a whole article, much less adapting it into a speech for hundreds of people.
STOLL: A lot of people have pointed out flaws--or at least, what they perceive to be flaws--in your argument.
STOLL: Do you think they’re right?
HILLI: Oh, definitely. [Laughs.] Absolutely, um. Like I said, I didn’t have the resources to give this story the attention it deserves, and to be honestly, I still don’t. I was just rooting through every publicly available source of information I could, poking holes, you know, to see what I could dig up, and what people were reacting to and how, in the hope that one day, when I made it, whatever the [REDACTED] that means, I could publish things that were correct. Is it ethical to post things I know are wrong? Maybe. But people have certainly done worse in the pursuit of truth.
STOLL: What is it exactly that you think you were wrong about?
HILLI: Um, well, for one, I know Van Eck and Rollins would’ve never done something like this; it was way too risky. There were too many ways for it to go wrong, and truly, looking back, I don’t see why they would’ve felt the need to engineer a situation in which shorting the stock would be profitable. They had enough to where they could just cut and run and be fine, you know?
STOLL: You know, most people, especially people just out of grad school, would’ve just let sleeping bears lie, but not you. Why is that?
HILLI: I--Even if Rollins and Van Eck weren’t behind this, I feel like I’ve dredged up enough evidence, circumstantial as it may be, that suggests that there is someone, a third party, behind ParryGate. The sort of change that this person, whoever they are, has brought about in just two years is something that, normally, would’ve taken a decade, maybe two to create.
STOLL: But you said yourself in the...the article that these companies were on the verge of collapse; don’t you think that would’ve happened even without these leaks?
HILLI: No. No, they would’ve found somethin’ else eventually! That’s just the culture on Wall Street, you know? There’s a culture within all of these companies about, like, working the rules; gaming the system, getting as much money as possible as quickly as possible, no matter how much--how many people are caught in the crossfire, because to them all that matters are their profit margins. They would’ve found somethin’ else. I know that sounds really, um, black-and-white, but sometimes that’s just the way it is! Sometimes people are just bad . I--In the pursuit of profit, these executives would’ve done anything, and in releasing those documents, this person, first of all, averted what could’ve been a massive financial crisis for thousands of people, and second, created changes in Wall Street that otherwise would’ve been a long time, decades , in the making. It’s very rare that you find an outsider with that level of--of power, and leverage.
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20 notes #i read That One Post and [eyes emoji] #like the ACCURACY
Williamsburg Local alleged to be mastermind behind #ParryGate
...The allegations originated, of all places, on Tumblr, a blogging platform created in 2007. The identity of the person responsible for arousing suspicion against Rietvald and his employees will be kept anonymous, but this person claims to live in the immediate surroundings of The Slat, the bar Rietvald owns.
Neighbors have described Rietvald as “harmless and quiet, if a little esoteric," and have expressed disbelief over the allegations.
TYPE: NOISE COMPLAINT TIME/DATE REPORTED: 23:13 JAN 23 2015
ADDRESS: 413 GATES AVE BROOKLYN (BAR) OFFICER ON DUTY: Paul Macdougal
PERSON(S) INVOLVED: Kazimir Rietvald (OWNER)
Neighbors reported hearing sounds of an explosion coming from underneath the building. No evidence of explosives was found, nor were weapons or incendiary devices. Officers on duty were denied entry into the building to conduct a search, on the basis that no warrant was presented.
Building plans show no basement or cellar.
[SMITH:] Good evening, and welcome to the 7 o’clock news; I’m your host, Paula Jamison...After helping to put out a fire at Merit Coffee Shop in Williamsburg earlier this evening, firefighters found 12 kilos of marijuana in the remnants of the shop’s basement, along with what seems to be a server bank. The owners, Michelle and John O'Brien, claim not to know anything about either, but have cooperated with local law enforcement by allowing them to search the premises and examine these findings. Preliminary findings indicate that Merit Coffee Shop was the source of the series of leaks now known as ParryGate. The employees of The Slat, a bar located across the street, who were originally implicated in ParryGate have provided a statement stating, “We’ve always thought there was something off about that place. It’s good to see the system at work.”
“Pekka Rollins was just arrested ,” Inej said, barging into his rooms uninvited, as usual, but certainly not unwelcome. “Van Eck will probably follow him in the next few hours.”
“Lovely,” said Kaz, appearing entirely unconcerned with this turn of events, even though they both knew full well that he’d done a thing, or perhaps several things, in order to make this happen.
“Kaz, you,” Inej started, then paused, waiting until Kaz met her gaze with a raised brow. “You emptied every last one of their bank accounts. After that article, their business in this country is essentially over.”
“Is there a question here?”
“Darling, treasure of my heart,” said Kaz, returning once more to the sheaf of papers on his desk, entirely without inflection, “you must know; it was all for you.”
“DId you know that you have a tell?” said Inej, after a long moment. “I think I’m the only one who knows what it is.”
Kaz said nothing.
“I can’t see it right now.”
Kaz swallowed, almost imperceptibly. “Maybe I’ve grown better at hiding it.”
Inej smiled, just a little. “Maybe; or maybe you meant it, just a little.”
When Kaz looked up again she was gone.
Pekka Rollins, Jan Van Eck charged with securities fraud, money laundering, labor racketeering, insider trading.
New information, found on a databank unearthed after a fire in Williamsburg’s Merit Coffee Shop, incriminates both Rollins and Van Eck in a number of crimes, including assisting several of the companies incriminated in the ParryGate leaks, along with other crimes conducted within their own companies and subsidiaries.
Both men were charged earlier this morning at the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and sentenced to a total of approximately 12 years in prison, and fines amounting to almost $1 billion each. This is the harshest sentence issued for any white collar crime in the last decade.
The Lion of Wall Street
by Joost Van Poel
“There are a number of people that have alleged that Rollins Enterprises is, and has been committing fraud in order to maximize profit,” I say. Rollins smiles indulgently, waiting for me to ask the question, a question he’s been asked, by my count, no less than twelve times by various reporters, investigators, and talk show hosts.
Rollins takes a sip of whiskey before answering, “it wouldn’t make Rollins Enterprises any different from everything large company on Wall Street.” A carefully worded deflection. I ask if he ever thinks he might have to pay repercussions for the actions of the company. Hypothetically.
Rollins laughs. “Hypothetically,” he starts, winking rakishly and leaning back in his armchair, “no. Or at least, no more so than anyone else.”
DRAFT (created December 19, 2016):
To: [account deactivated]@[redacted].com
big day tomorrow!!!! the thing i’m doing is sort of like the stuff you and grams were doing in oakland, i think; i wish you could be there to see it, to help us. doesn’t matter how many times this goes down, i always feel like im fucking it up.
i miss you; we both do.