Billy really didn't have any idea how money worked at all. Until recently, until this year, he didn't know that if you bought a house, you didn't pay the sticker price – that if you had a mortgage, you paid a lot more. He didn't understand interest, he didn't even have to. He would call me and say, "I am destitute. I am penniless." And I'd be like, "Billy, you're out of money until Thursday." He'd say, "I should've sued so-and-so! I'd have been a multimillionaire!" I had to point out to him that he was a multimillionaire.
There are many, many stories about how generous he was. But do you also think he used money as sort of a buffer?
No, I think he used money for a great many things. First off, he was really generous. But he was also the most selfish fucking prick you would ever want to meet. He was a great guy and a horrible bastard. And he was always just one tiny bit ahead in the good column. That was the glory of Billy: He was the sun shining. He was every human characteristic taken to the farthest degree. You never met anybody like that! People would say, "Oh, he's a nice guy." And Billy was a nice guy: really, really nice! And the worst person you'd ever want to know.
It was the greatest in that regard. I mean, nobody's that alive! He's like a light bulb or something! And I don't mean that he just had his moods: He was a vicious little prick. And luckily, when I started helping him, the first time he tore into me, he said some things that really would've been hurtful – if he hadn't confused my wife for somebody else's. He had my family history confused. He was going at me so hard and nasty, and I'm like, "He has me mixed up with somebody else entirely." But I kept it to myself, because he liked having that ammo when he needed it. See, Billy needed anger really badly. Because he was really traumatized. And anger was the only emotion strong enough to cover everything up. The people that he was shittiest to, invariably, were the people he knew loved him the most. 'Cause he thought that they could endure that barrage. The abuse that he could heap on. Billy's mother killed herself in front of him. And Billy was really bright. He knew that he had diminished capacity. I think he mourned his confidence and the ability that he knew he didn't have. He was so smart that he knew he wasn't like the other boys.
I think that's what fueled the bad Billy, and good Billy was just good Billy. He needed to go bad, because he needed to be angry, he needed to tilt at windmills, he needed all of that. It was hard for him, because he had no real problems – in the external world. He was fully taken care of. He would do things like, he lived in a not-so-nice place and four blocks away he's got a three-thousand-square-foot penthouse. Just beautiful. That he picked out.