Fallout in the Family

Eranium made Charlie Steen rich. But the fortune became too hot to handle.

Mark walks like he's carrying the weight of the world. He swears that all he wants to do is get out from under the crumbled Steen empire. It'll take an outsider, perhaps the special administrator now in charge of examining the probate case, to decide if he can do that. Mark says that's okay with him. If he ever writes the Steen saga, Mark adds, he'll call it All the Misfortune That Money Could Buy.

Long after they had lost their fortune, M.L. and Charlie considered themselves very fortunate. They'd had a good life, one filled with adventures. And they continued to see old friends, including the ones who'd stood by them in the early days.

"They both feel they'd do it all again," says their longtime friend. "And Charlie would laughingly say, 'And I'd make some of the same character-judgment mistakes.'"

When she spoke with Westword four years ago, M.L. declared, "I've had the best life I think of any woman I've ever heard of, although I've had some hard times. I suppose that I would rather to have had those good times--I don't know how to say this: If we're having to pay for it now, that's okay. I would rather to have had them than not."

Charlie and M.L.'s easy repartee and fierce loyalty to each other continued until the end.

"Whatever success I am--or was--I give her credit," Charlie said.
"Yeah," said M.L., "he gives me credit, but he doesn't know that for sure. He might have made it without me."

"I disagree with that," said Charlie. "I know I suffered brain damage, but I remember it that way."

"You remember it that way, huh?" replied M.L. "Well, that's nice."
"They can take the memory away," added Charlie, "but they can't take the experience away, that's what I'm trying to say. Actually, I think you should do the story on her rather than me, because she's more interesting than I am."

At that, M.L. turned to Charlie and said, "I have never found anything!"
Charlie grinned. "You found me," he said. "And I found you.

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