It was a filthy profession, but the
money was addicting, and one addiction led to another, and they were all going to hell.
Turner had gone to hell, and Mike McCafferey had gone to hell. Wes "Green Thumb"
Griffin developed a wandering eye, while Antonia Zennario, who used to joke that "all
investors are made from Adam's rib," lost her sense of humor, and then her smile, and
then her job. Carol Manning miscarried. Coyote Jack began to stutter on his numbers and
was moved into management. They had all gone to hell. Sid Geeder hated them all and missed
them like crazy. The phone rang constantly and everyone suffered cauliflower ears, neck
rashes, and cervical pain, and when the sun came up in the morning and they had already
been at their desk two, three hours, they went to the 41st floor window and imagined what
it would be like to have to ride a bus or find a parking place. The squawk-box cackled as
traders in London and New York and Chicago bid up the long bond, then it quieted as the
dust cleared and they settled in to wait for retail to continue the rally. Green
monochrome monitors tinted everyone's face a pasty color, and Lisa Lisa reached for her
pancake of low-lustre, firming-action moisture cream. Sidney Geeder drank some coffee.
Nickel Sansome massaged his scalp. Sue Marino flipped through a bridal magazine.
When the sun didn't come up and instead their tower was
socked in by clouds and fog, the other world existed even less than usual; they could not
see the streets below, or most of the shorter buildings, and they were one of the few
spaceships in the sky. The next attack could come from anywhere. The economic forecasts
were useless. The fundamentals were ignored. The Federal Reserve was unpredictable. Money
supply meant nothing in a global market. The Yanks followed the lead of the Japs, and the
Japs followed the Krauts, and the Krauts followed the Yanks. They waited for instructions
from the top, but their standing instructions were to sell first and not wait for
instructions. Nobody knew where the market was going, but those that knew less than others
lost their shirts and had their eyes ripped out and were made to swallow. In the mornings,
there was always a chance to make it back. Later, the government would bail them out. But
this wasn't later; they got glasses with higher prescriptions and gained weight and rode
yellow cabs to work and the market was always the same. This unmerciful uniformity of
their days was always something to joke about. They also joked about Coyote Jack's
management wardrobe, especially his leather suspenders and corporate initialed cufflinks.
And Nelson Dicky's teeth, which were rotting. And the corporation's name, which was mud on
the street after the Euro-Floaters deal and had to be changed to revive the firm's image.
And Lisa Lisa's testicles, which were made of steel and clanged when she sold the flip
from mortgages to high-yield corporates. They joked about these things and they wondered
what it would be like not to have a paycheck and though it wasn't easy, they all survived.
Then there were things that were not so easy to joke about, such as when Sid Geeder nearly
killed himself from drinking coffee. And when Eggs Igino vanished. Or during the
Euro-Floaters deal when that kid, Turner, fell asleep and couldn't wake up. They never
left their trenches and they did as they were told; they didn't do anything except go to
work eleven hours a day, five days a week for a few years of their lives. They gave 110%
in service to the firm. In the end, only one of them would be left standing, and
everything would be different except the market, which was normal, because it was normal
to rub out everything human and leave only the cockroaches and those made of steel. Sid
Geeder looked around him at who was left from the old days. Paul DeShews was still there,
tipped back in his chair like an astronaut. Clark Kalinov was still there, eating his
breakfast and reading the paper as if nothing had happened. Cockroaches, all of them. Sid
Geeder slurped his coffee. Nine more months and then he could cash out his company shares
and leave here with his head high. He called a customer and sold him $6 million Dai Nippon
Floating Rate Notes, which usually would have made Sid feel better. But all his friends
were gone, even the ones he hated, and in their place was fresh young meat that believed
this would be the last job they ever needed.
Sid's stomach soured and his back stiffened and he
began to worry that he was going to develop an ear infection from all the germs that
breeded unrestrained in the receiver of his phone.
"Do you see anything in there?" he asked Lisa
Lisa, having unscrewed the receiver cap, exposing the resonator drum.
"I don't see anything," she answered,
scrutinizing the cap. She poked the end of a paper clip through the holes in the hard
"I'm thinking of microwaving it," he
commented. "Kill `em off."
"Would that do anything?"
"It couldn't hurt."
Lisa Lisa unplugged her handset from the long cord that
ran down under her desk. "Let's go," she whispered. They walked across the sales
floor nonchalantly, holding their phone handsets down at thigh level, below the height of
the desks. The kitchen was empty. They set the microwave on high, timed for five minutes.
"What do you think?" Sid asked, leaning up
against the counter.
"Hard to say."
"You want some coffee?"
Lisa Lisa retrieved two mugs from a cupboard and poured
in coffee and milk. They sipped at it slowly.
"Yup," Sid said, drumming his fingers on the
countertop. "I have a good feeling about this."
Sid nodded. "Could be the start of a trend."
He grinned broadly. "If so, I'll let you take half the credit."
They indeed had started a trend. When the word got
around the floor that all the microbes festering in their phone receivers could possibly
be eradicated by just five minutes in the microwave, a line formed at the entrance of the
kitchen. Out on the sales floor, phone lines rang unanswered as the salesforce stared
sullenly at the opened machinery of their handsets. In the kitchen, scuffles broke out as
salesmen argued whether putting more phones in the microwave required a commensurate
increase in cooking time. Then John White came storming out on the trading floor and asked
Sid Geeder into his office and told everyone else to go back to work. This is it, Sid
Geeder thought to himself as John White's secretary poured him a fresh cup of coffee. Now
I'm gone too.
"Jesus fucking Christ, Geeder," John White
said. "What's all this about you nuking your goddam phones?"
"I don't know anything about it," Sid mused
"Don't lie to me. This caper has got your name all
over it. Who else is so paranoid that they'd worry about germs in a place as clean as
Sid fumbled with a button on his cuff. "I heard
about it from Lisa Lisa," he admitted.
"Yeah? Well she says she heard about it from
Sid shrugged and looked down.
John White blew out a deep breath. He shook his head
despondently. "If you weren't so goddamed important to this firm, I'd fire you in a
"You can't fire me," Sid said. "You need
"You're dammed right we need you. Look, we've got
another big Resolution Trust deal coming down the pipes. The firm's really gone out on a
limb on this one, and we're going to need your early support. We can't have you creating
diversions like this microbe scare."
"Another Resolution Trust!" Sid balked.
"We just did a big deal for them nine months ago. Have they run out of that money
John White leaned back and shook his head in
exaggerated disbelief. "That's exactly the sort of monkey business I'm talking about,
Geeder. I just mention the deal and already you're criticizing. We need team players on
"Uh oh. Red alert. Every time you ask me to be a
team player it means you're about to announce some major fucking bullshit that you expect
me to swallow."
To calm down, John White took a deep, slow inhale
through his nose, which he'd heard took the oxygen right into the brain. Sid Geeder always
came through in the clutch, but in the month or so between when a deal was announced and
when it finally came down, Sid was predictably disruptive. "Look, Sid, we're just
asking you not to jump to any conclusions. Try the deal on for size for a while."
"Oh, don't worry about me," Sid said. "I
don't have an opinion about the Resolution Trust Corp., despite the fact that last $40
billion--which was supposed to last a couple years, if my memory serves me--appears to
have been squandered in just nine months. Boy, those guys at the RTC could teach the
pentagon a lesson. If the pentagon could build a two-year rocket in just nine months, then
they wouldn't be in such hot water all the time."
John White just rubbed his jaw and tried to wait out
Sid's rage. "You just be careful what you say out on the floor or to your accounts.
And no sneak attacks, either. No sly asides. If something like this microbe scare or that
sweatshirt fiasco happens, you're out on your butt."
"What makes you think I was behind that sweatshirt
fiasco?" When the firm's name became mud on the street after the Euro-Floaters deal
soured, Sid Geeder had called the decal company that printed corporate mugs, calendars,
and ashtrays. Sid ordered two dozen extra large sweatshirts in corporate blue color with
the firm's recognizable logo of a schooner ship at full sail emblazened on the front.
Above the logo, in the typestyle normally reserved for "First Boston", was
silkscreened "Mud on the Street." The sweatshirts were sent anonymously via
Inter-Department Mail to senior management.
"We know more than you think," John White
said. "A lot of people wanted you fired. I had to save your ass."
"The only thing that saved my ass was the
realization that I make this firm a hell of a lot of money." Sid was quiet for a
moment. "Maybe I'm going to quit," he mumbled, suddenly seeling sorry for
"You won't quit. You've got nine more months and
then you're cashing out your corporate shares and we all know it."
"That didn't make a difference to Wes
John White shook his head remorsefully. "I should
have fired you a long time ago, Geeder. We can't let people become invaluable to us."
"That's crazy," Sid said.
"It's not crazy. It's management."
Sid Geeder looked out John White's 41st floor window.
There was nothing but fog and they were the only spaceship in the sky. There was no way to
tell they were in San Francisco--they could be flying over Tokyo or London or Bonn and
they wouldn't even know, they were so tuned in to the market. It didn't even matter that
they were the Atlantic Pacific Corporation now, they just went right on flying. But the
firm was nothing without its trimmings. Sid knew that if you took away the marbled
elevators and the mahogany-panelled entranceway and the low-static corporate-blue carpet
and the historically-correct, proportional-to-scale toy schooners that were the new
company logo, the firm would look like any other retail chop house on the street. If you
took away the custom-designed mahogany trading pits and the global clocks and the LCD
ticker tape running across one wall, it could be any other cost-center of any other big
downtown business, such as a phone company or an insurance carrier. And if you took away
the downtown view and knocked $300 off everyone's suits and put a parking lot outside, it
could be any back office support in Stockton or Sacramento. The jobs weren't much
different. The salespeople answered the phone and sent faxes off and stared at their
computer monitors and had meetings in the mornings over cream-cheese danishes where they
wondered under their breath if there would ever come a time when they didn't have to work
Therefore Clark Kalinov, the office manager, had a
great responsibility. His responsibility was to rebuild the corporate image as the finest
selling machine on the planet. His first step in this objective was to secure himself a
window office. Clark was a translucent-faced know-it-all with blunt hair like a beaver,
and nobody respected him because he hung out in his flourescent-lit cubicle off the copy
room. So Clark requisitioned two hundred reams of stationery, six cases copier toner,
seven thousand corporate-blue ball point pens, a cutting board, a second fax machine, a
Z3200 Pitney Bowes mail machine, and one thousand Interdepartment Mail reusable envelopes.
Then he wrote out lengthy complaints to the Facilities department in New York that they
were so packed into their office that copier toner and stationery were piling up in the
"This place is a mess," Sid Geeder said,
trying to squeeze past the overstocked supplies to use the fax machine.
"Call New York and complain," Clark answered.
Sidney Geeder stood over the two fax machines, one of
which was busy receiving a very long document and one of which was busy sending a very
thick prospectus. He looked at his watch. "Do you think this fax going through is
very important?" he asked.
"Extremely important," Clark answered.
Sidney rifled through the prospectus pages looking for
a cover letter to see who was sending such a long document, but there was no cover letter.
Then he rifled through the incoming pages to look for a cover letter to know how many more
pages were coming, but there was no cover letter there either.
"Hey," Sidney Geeder said. "Some idiot
accidentally sent this prospectus to our second fax machine."
"It's not an accident," Clark said, not
bothering to look up from the office supply catalog he was leafing through.
"Are you testing the new machine?"
"I'm trying to wear it out."
"So I can order a new one."
Sidney Geeder didn't get it, but he was long accustomed
to the asinine antics of Kalinov's bureaucracy. But accepting that his fax wouldn't get
through was nearly impossible. "If you order a new one, it'll be even more crowded
around here. There'll be no space to put anything."
"Exactly!" Clark said, finally looking up
from his catalog.
"The phone line has probably been busy for an
hour," Sidney reasoned. "What if someone in New York is trying to fax us
Clark leaned back in his chair and rested his feet on
the desktop. "What if they are?"
"They'll think we don't have enough fax machines,
that's what," he said with great exasperation.
"Exactly! Now you're getting it."
But Sidney wasn't getting it at all. When he got angy,
his back began to stiffen, and when his back stiffened he couldn't think straight. "I
can't work without a fax machine," he mumbled.
"Exactly!" Clark laughed. "That's why
I'm getting us a third one."
They needed a larger space. After all, the fundamentals
for growth were good, despite all the firm had gone through. This was an information
economy, and they were in the information business. They sold predictions for the
direction of money, and they sold financial instruments designed to take advantage of that
direction. There would always be money, and as long as there were markets, money would
always have a direction, and a speed, and an acceleration, all of which could be sold. And
as long as Atlantic Pacific was selling money, it would burn through stationery and fax
machines and employees at an alarming rate, all of which would need wise management. Some
of the systems Atlantic Pacific had established to handle the volume of business would
break down, such as its self-insured health system or its Interdepartment Mail system. So
sure was Clark Kalinov that the Interdepartment Mail system would break down that he set
out to prove it to Facilities in New York. All mail was supposed to get anywhere in the
world in two days. Every afternoon Clark ordered prospectus and trading reports and
closing prices from research departments in New York for each of the salespersons, and
every two days later twelve canvas sacks of Intermail were delivered to the copy room for
sorting. Ricky, the simple-minded doughboy of a mail clerk who previously spent most of
his afternoons snacking on Fritos he had stolen from the vending machine in the kitchen,
now found himself struggling to enforce corporate policy of 2-day Intermail. When he got
tired he suffered more paper cuts, which stung horribly and didn't stop bleeding and hurt
even worse when the salt from the Fritos rubbed into the wounds. Eventually, Ricky
strained the sacro-iliac joint in his butt when he tried throwing a canvas sack of
Intermail across the room at Clark. Then the self-insured health system broke down too,
because sacro-iliac stress is difficult to relieve, particularly in the overweight.
Intermail took three or four days to reach the salespersons desks, and by that time it was
out of date and entirely worthless.
When the entire 42nd floor upstairs was vacated by an
insurance company that moved to Stockton, Clark Kalinov's requests were finally granted.
The firm decided that the vast, ethereal, lofty 42nd floor would be a whole lot more
impressive than the squat, cramped, tarnished 41st floor. Clark ordered more mahogany
entranceway panelling, 14,000 square feet low-static corporate-blue carpeting, and brass
railings for the ramps down to the sales floor, which had 40 mahogany-laid, 4-foot-high
cubicle/desks organized into platoons for the Mortgages, Money Markets, Municipals and
Equities Departments. Clark had his own office with his own squawk-box and his own
computer monitors and his own incandescent, rose-tinted lighting system and his own
window, which had a 42-story view of the wall of fog that surrounded the building. Then,
because the walls of the sales floor looked barren, he ordered eight identical clocks
showing the time in the Atlantic Pacific offices around the world and a twenty-foot long
LCD ticker tape that rushed stock quotes by at a manic pace only manic salesmen could
read. Coyote Jack, the sales manager, had his own fishbowl office looking out over the
sales floor. Managing Director John White, who split his time between their office and New
York, had an even bigger window office with two couches and a coffee table. It was
horribly expensive but not a single person complained because life on the 42nd floor was
the luxury they had always felt entitled to. The doors were wired with a magnetic card-key
security system. The kitchen had a microwave, a vending machine full of candy bars, and a
refrigerator. The briefing room, where they gathered in the mornings to hear about new
bond issues, had a televideo screen that visually connected them to a similar conference
room in midtown Manhattan. The only remaining resemblance to the insurance company that
moved to Stockton was the employees, who spent their days faxing and calling and wondering
if the future would be any different.
"Will there ever be a time I don't have to work so
hard?" Sid Geeder wondered under his breath as he ate around the cream cheese center
of his danish and listened to someone in New York describe the sales mission for the new
Resolution Trust Corp finance package. On the conference table in New York were danishes
with strawberry jam centers, and Sid Geeder kept wanting to reach into the video screen
and grab one. He hated cream cheese, especially the yellowy half-melted type in
two-day-old danishes; they reminded him of sales mission briefings, which reminded him of
having to sell whatever they'd been briefed on, which reminded Sid of how hard he'd had to
work to meet his quota.
"Not if Coyote Jack keeps volunteering us for huge
quotas," whispered Eggs Igino, who'd heard Sid Geeder's rhetorical question. He
licked his lips and chuckled.
Sid Geeder turned to his left. That new kid Eggs Igino
was eating a danish with a strawberry center, and a small bit of jam was stuck to his
cheek. Sid was dumbfounded.
"Where'd you get that?"
Igino pushed the rest of the danish into his mouth and
tried to speak with a full mouth but Sid Geeder couldn't understand a word.
"What?" Sid said, "I couldn't hear
"I said, `I try not to speak when my mouth is
full.' It's bad manners." It had been a very large danish, and Eggs Igino was still
"But we've never had any strawberry danishes here
before. Never. Did you get here early?"
"I was the last one here. You're always the first
one, Sid, because you work so hard."
Coyote Jack interrupted them. "Shut up, Geeder.
Shut up Igino. Pay attention."
But Sid Geeder couldn't pay any attention at all to the
Resolution Trust Corp's preposterous intention to borrow a gazillion dollars in order to
shut down some thrifts. He kept thinking about the strawberry danish he'd seen the kid
eat, and he kept staring at the dab of red gel on the kid's cheek. After the briefing they
marched back out onto the sales floor and hunkered down over their desks and settled in
for the day's work. The new kid had Wes Griffin's old desk, which was right next to Sid's.
Over the squawk-box came opening prices on bonds that reflected overnight activity in
Tokyo and London. Sid set his broker screens to the mortgage markets and set his trading
monitor to the treasury market and set his audio channel to the currency markets. The next
move could come from anywhere. It was just before five o'clock in the morning. In a few
minutes, the banks of phone panels would light up red.
"So, kid. What's the word of the day?"
"The word?" Eggs Igino repeated.
"You know, the word. The news. The story. You
gotta have something to say when those phones light up red."
The kid was trying to raise the seat on Wes Griffin's
chair. It was only his third day of work, and the first two days he had complained about
his hamstrings tightening up from sitting eleven hours straight. All Sid knew about the
kid was that he had been a soccer player in college. Sid Geeder had only laughed, because
the hamstrings were just the beginning. The kid had a lot to learn. For instance, he had
to learn that he would spend the next fifty years of his life sitting all day long. He had
to learn to suffer, and he had to learn to live with that suffering. And that was just the
"Screw it," Igino said.
"Screw you, then," Geeder snapped back.
"Not you. The chair. Screw the chair." Igino
pushed the chair on its little plastic wheels back toward the window.
Sid Geeder smirked. "Tell me about the
"You mean where I got it?"
"What will you give me for it?"
Now Igino laughed. Eggs Igino was a quirky, jovial
smart-aleck with bad taste in ties. He was too young to have suffered, and he was too
intelligent to be corrupted. He had a freckled face and an athlete's casual slouch and
globular, walnut-sized, muscular jowls that stirred as he spoke. "For the
information. The information about the danish. I just can't give that to you for free.
It's valuable information that I could sell for a lot of money."
"Just tell me, kid. I'm dying to know."
"Then you ought to be willing to pay for it."
"All right, then. Two dollars."
Igino snorted and chuckled. "Two lousy dollars?
Are you kidding?"
"But that's about what a danish costs."
"But I can get them for free. You could too, if
you had the information. You could get a strawberry danish every time we had a briefing on
a new sales mission. You and I could be eating strawberry danishes while everyone else
chews around the center of their half-melted cream cheese danishes. You could drive
everyone crazy, even Coyote Jack, and suddenly those quotas wouldn't be so imposing."
Igino leaned his hip up against his desk and stretched his calf muscle out behind him.
"You would be in control."
Sid Geeder considered that scenario. For four years
he'd been briefed on sales missions and been given quotas that he worked so hard to meet.
And every time he met his quota, Coyote Jack raised the quota the next time, so Sid had to
work even harder. All he'd ever done was do what he was told, and none of it had ever
gotten easier. Even though he was known as the King of Mortgages, he'd never felt in
control. It seemed impossible that a little berry-flavored red glycerin could change that
vicious cycle. But the kid was a heck of a salesman--Sid could tell that already. Anybody
who could make you believe a little red jelly would change your life was going to go a
long way in this business.
"Naw," Sid said.
"Fine. Then I'll tell Nickel Sansome and he can
drive you crazy."
"I'm already crazy."
"Think about it," Igino said.
"All right! Ten dollars."
"I don't want your money." Again Igino
scoffed at Geeder's offer.
"Then what do you want?"
"Information. Quid pro quo. Tell me something I
don't already know."
"Like what? Like gossip, or more like tricks of
Sid considered what he could say. There was so much and
yet there was so little. He could warn the kid about how Coyote Jack would probably grill
him this afternoon for talking aloud during the mission briefing. He could warn the kid to
never go see the self-insurance company shrink, Helmet Fisher, as Wes Griffin had done,
and instead to always go see the company doctor, Ivana Perkova, whose gentle, pearly
fingers always made you feel better even if they couldn't cure your problems. He could
detail the absurdity of the Resolution Trust system. Or he could scare the kid by telling
him how Paine Webber had laid off its entire mortgage department and on Coyote Jack's desk
were stacked hundreds of resumes, all wanting the kid's job. In a moment, the phones would
start ringing and they wouldn't stop for eleven hours.
"I'll tell you what," Eggs Igino said.
"I'll tell you about the danishes if you let me patch in to your sales calls today.
Let me hear how you work your clients."
"How about I give you some advice: a salesman
never lets anyone listen in on his calls. Our mouths are all we've got."
"Just one day."
"No chance, kiddo. The only thing that separates
me from the other morons on this floor is my technique. If I let you in on it, how do I
know you won't share it with Nickel Sansome tomorrow?"
Eggs Igino wound his fingers through his phone cord.
"How do I know that if I tell you where I get my danishes that you won't go tell Lisa
"You don't," Sid answered meanly.
"You can trust me."
That made Sid laugh with foolish delight. The phones
started ringing. Sid turned his back and went to work, making a first round of calls to
his top accounts, briefing them on overnight trading and reading off opening prices in the
mortgage markets, giving commentary on each price--noting the spread between coupons, what
looked rich or poor, what might be under buying pressure. It was these subtleties that
made Sidney Geeder the King of Mortgages--anyone could read off opening prices or repeat
the short commentary the traders gave out to influence the market, but only Sid Geeder had
his own opinions on all the various network of mortgage products.
Igino, who on his third day still hadn't been
given any accounts of his own to call, had nothing better to do than to listen to
everything Sid was saying and try to jot a bit of it down. He wasn't accustomed to being
awake at five in the morning, and his throat was so dry that a small line of white paste
caked his lips. He reached into his file cabinet and removed a crumpled grocery bag full
of strawberry danishes. He nibbled his way through danish after danish, causing crumbs of
hardened sugar to coat his desktop and float unmercifully into Sidney's lap. Sidney
couldn't help but get a jealous ache in his stomach and in the split second between calls
dab at the crumbs of sugar with his fingers and pop them onto his tongue. He saw Eggs
Igino listening in, so he sat backwards on his chair, facing out towards the huge window
Still, Eggs Igino could hear everything, because Sid
had to yell into his mouthpiece to overcome the noise on the floor. Eggs heard how Sid
made a second round of calls, going over the numbers that would be announced that
week--the quarterly trade deficit, the Year bill auction, the consumer confidence index,
the 11th district Cost of Funds. He reminded them that it was the 3rd of the month--the
Fed would be loaning in the market that afternoon to compensate for the drain of 30
million social security checks being cashed that day at banks around the country. His
mouth never stopped moving and at least one line was on hold at all times.
"All right, just give me a fucking danish,"
Sid spat. "You've been listening in to my calls anyway."
"No I'm not," Eggs said innocently. "I'm
just standing here trying not to look foolish. If you gave me an account to call on, then
I'd be on the phone and I couldn't hear anything you were saying."
"Give you an account!? Now you've really gone over
the deep end!" Sid picked up his phones again. As he talked, his voice changed,
became softer. His shoulders rounded out, and he leaned back in his chair, propping his
feet on his trash can. He rolled his shirtsleeve up to the forearms. Then he dropped the
news. "Well, it looks like our buddies at the old RTC have been working harder than
we expected. It seems they've already managed to spend all that money you loaned them nine
months ago. At this rate, the savings and loan crisis will be over before we know it and
we can all go back to owning T-notes."
"Oh, yeah, I heard you guys were coming out with
another offering," the Trust Manager at World Savings sighed.
Sid bolted upright in his chair. "You heard it
already! It's our deal. How in the hell did you hear about it?"
"From Goldman," the Trust Manager brooded
quietly. "They said the only reason you got this deal over them was you agreed to
price it rich."
Sid couldn't believe Goldman was maligning their deal.
"Yeah, well, they lost the deal," Sid argued quickly. "They're bad sports.
Of course they're going to 'dis it now."
"Well, they say the bonds stink."
"Don't be ridiculous. Do you think the Office of
Thrift Supervision would have given us this deal if we were pricing it
unrealistically?" Sid countered. He hadn't heard anything yet about the pricing--he
was just arguing without the facts.
"Don't get mad at me. I'm just telling you what
"All right," Sid agreed. "But for god's
sakes, just don't jump to any conclusions. Try the deal on for size for a while." He
jumped off the line and punched the button to another of his accounts.
"You talk to Goldman this morning?' Sid asked
"We talk to them every morning."
"They say anything about our Resolution
"Not much. The usual."
"What'd the fuck they say?"
"They stink. But hey--these deals always stink.
The only reason we buy them is because they're our regulators. We have to buy them."
Sid put down his phone in a rage and kicked at his
"What's wrong?" Eggs Igino asked him.
"Wouldn't you like to know?' he retorted angrily.
"What the hell's the matter with you!" Coyote
Jack screamed, when Sidney Geeder burst into his office and started pacing back and forth.
"What the hell's the matter with YOU," Sid
shot back. "How come Goldman knows about our pricing on the RTC deal before I do!?
You would think a sales manager would let his salesforce be prepared to defend a rich
"Woah, hold on there. Calm down, Geeder. Do you
think the Office of Thrift Supervision would have awarded us this deal if we were going to
price it unrealistically?"
"That doesn't work with me," Sid said.
"Don't you get it? If Goldman is telling the market that the deal stinks, then
they're obviously not going to be part of the syndicate. And if the syndicate is weak,
then we're in deep shit. The market has had about all the Resolution Trust bonds it can
take. Fuck!" He swung his arms at the air in frustration. He was too old for this
Coyote Jack played it calm. He rolled a corporate-blue
ball point pen in his fingers. "Relax, Sid. Your accounts have to buy these bonds.
The RTC is their regulating body."
"But nobody says how much they have to buy.
There's a big difference between twenty million and two. Now I want you to fill me in on
the pricing strategy or I tell my accounts to skip this deal. I've got my reputation to
"All in due time," Coyote Jack yawned.
"Dammit!" Sid hollered so loudly that out on
the sales floor all heads turned towards the glass window of Coyote Jack's office.
"If I tell you," Coyote Jack explained
casually, "then all you're going to do is complain. I've got enough to worry about
already with this deal priced so rich and Goldman dropping from the syndicate. The last
thing I need is you throwing tantrums."
"Fine," Sid agreed. "I'll go tell my
accounts to skip this deal."
Coyote Jack reached out and patted the stack of resumes
on the corner of his desk. "You tell them that and I'll have you out of here so fast
. . ."
Sid headed for the door.
Coyote Jack cut him off. "Tell that kid Igino to
get in here. I've got to terrorize him for talking during the morning meeting."