In his senior year at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, Lucas helped organize The Senior Salute—a misogynistic tradition where the privileged boys counted coup on underclass girls and boasted with their trophies—a bra, or a pair of panties, or blouse missing.
Lucas’s conquest would later say about him: “He was the best-looking, most selfish bastard I’ve ever known.”
The only child of a high-powered Los Angeles lawyer father and a mother who worked at William Morris as a literary agent, Lucas never wanted for anything—including intellect, his classic good looks, or his manipulative charm. His parents divorced when he was 10 years old, and his mother, Beth, took custody and moved him into a colonial in an affluent Connecticut suburb outside Hartford with a stepfather, Tim Blanton, a novelist of modest success who worked as an associate professor at Connecticut College. Luke hated the pretentious prick and he hated his mother with her breast implants and dalliances with a Harper-Collins editor in New York City. And Lucas hated his rich deadbeat dad who married a Lakers cheerleader closer to Luke’s age than his own, and only flew Lucas in for the occasional holiday where he’d try to win his son’s approval with money and gifts. It sometimes worked.
So when Lucas—possessing natural intelligence and the proper privileged grooming and parental deep pockets—enrolled at the elite New England boarding school, he acclimated quickly and used his innate charm to schmooze his classmates.
With his All-American good looks—blond hair, strong jaw, and a chest built up from a daily regimen of push-ups—and a natural gift of bullshit, Lucas bamboozled some of his instructors into seeing him as genuine—although most saw through him. Lucas also seduced his fair share of young ladies, culminating in his Senior Salute, which amounted to an evening in his dorm room with a barely legal girl to who he never spoke to again.
Lucas then enrolled in Wellesley College—his SAT’s were not quite high enough for an Ivy League school—and he majored in economics with a slight interest in pursuing his father’s profession. But an economics professor ignited a small fulcrum where Lucas started to understand where his intellect could equate to a robust bottom line. And after graduating, Lucas took a job at a brokerage firm in Manhattan, making money hand over fist, while living in a loft his father owned in a gentrified section of Brooklyn and maintaining an active social life with no interest in commitment.
Then a criminal charge of sexual assault threatened to unseat him, and Lucas turned to his father, who was able to plea him down to a misdemeanor, so Lucas skipped town and accepted a job with a mutual fund company in Milwaukee.
In Wisconsin, Lucas tried to reinvent himself as a genuinely nice guy, revealing little about his personal past to his co-workers while spitting lucrative stock tips out of the side of his mouth. Everyone employed with Lucas knows he’s vastly knowledgeable of his field—however, like many of his old teachers, some are able to see through his diaphanous front—and those with a strong moral compass know enough to steer away and warn their own clients of Lucas’s duplicitous nature. Other colleagues embrace him, choosing to ignore his disingenuous nature, to benefit their own bank accounts.
Lucas made a stab at marriage with a woman named Winona, a poet in an MFA program, who he met at a rock show in Madison. He really thought—for whatever fleeting moments—that her affection and intellect might change him and the values that guided him since The Senior Salute. But eventually, Lucas started cheating on her with women he’d meet at work, the bars, the gym, and on trips to visit friends on the East Coast. When Winona found out—via a social message from a stranger—she dumped Lucas for an out-of-work stage actor looking to move to Los Angeles. Lucas shrugged it off, knowing he would never be the marrying type.
In his most sober moments of introspection, Lucas experiences a modicum of guilt, a basic acknowledgment of his opportunistic nature, and how it might lead some colleagues down an iniquitous career path. This, perhaps, saves him from being a complete sociopath. But most of the time, he’s looking at the bottom line: his profits and conquests and the hollow accomplishments achieved on the backs of others.