Reading former Bloomberg journalist Christie Smythe’s harrowing account of how she fell in love with nasty little pharmaceutical scammer Martin Shkreli reminded me of my own Martin Shkreli love story, which I will share with the general public here, for the first time.
In the summer of 2016, I sat on a grand jury in Brooklyn for about three months to hear the federal government’s case against Shkreli and Evan Greebal. Every Friday, I made my way to the courthouse, surrendered my phone to a security professional in exchange for a wooden dowel, and sat in a room with a bunch of strangers to hear dry testimony from federal agents about possible crimes that either should or should not go to trial. I am not at liberty to speak about the proceedings themselves since a grand jury is secret, but Smythe’s bravery has inspired me to come out with this secret that I’ve been harboring for four long years: I fell in love with the federal agent who presented the evidence against Shkreli because he looked a lot like Tom Hardy.
During a brief break in the proceedings, my fellow jurors and I confirmed the one thing we’d all been thinking but were afraid to say out loud. “This guy is fucking hot,” said the foreperson, a strawberry blonde actor with a hint of a Boston accent. “He kinda looks like Tom Hardy.” Sitting in a courtroom with the same people for weeks at a time is enough to make anyone forget what anyone or thing looks like, so it took me a minute to rifle through my mental dossier of hot British men to confirm if this was true or not. But, as the federal agent began his testimony again, I realized the foreperson was correct.
This man, sitting tall in that uncomfortable little chair on the witness stand, was broad-shouldered, with twinkling blue eyes and a jaw that could cut glass. The suit he wore strained over his biceps, his traps, and his lats, which I imagined to be covered in a fine veil of tattoos. (They probably were not.) He lacked the accent that makes actual Tom Hardy very hot but the heart wants what it wants. As Federal Agent Tom Hardy gamely answered questions about Shkreli’s egregious scamming, my love—and my desire— for this man grew.
“I don’t see a wedding ring,” one of my fellow jurors said. “And he really does look like Tom Hardy.” Had I been emboldened by my own desires, here’s what I wanted to happen: I would’ve approached his bench and made my case. “Objection, your honor,” I’d purr in a voice more sultry than desperate or unwell. “Citizen’s arrest. I’m arresting you, Tom Hardy... for being hot.” Inspired by my boldness, Federal Agent Tom Hardy would scoop me up in his strong, Quantico-trained arms, whisk me away to the little room where the lawyers go to prepare, and I’d happily get my back blown out by this man, who up close, probably didn’t look that much like Tom Hardy after all. Sated and covered in a thin sheen of sweat from our exertions, we would exit that room and walk out of the courthouse together, off to start a new life in Bay Ridge.
My love story has an unhappy ending. Federal Agent Tom Hardy left the courthouse, and I never saw him again. But the possibility of reconnection still exists, if even as a fantasy. Sometimes that’s enough.