Friday, 29 January 2010
“What’s their AUM? I don’t want anything big. Too much oversight,” Jim said loudly, over the sound of the shower.
The response was a little distorted — he’d turned the volume as high as the phone allowed — but understandable: “A hundred fifty US per annum.”
“Too big,” Jim snapped, irritated, scribbling briskly on the damp tile. The condensation made the thick black lines of print drip, but he could see the equation well enough. Writing it out just helped fix it in his mind. “Find me a firm under... seventy, seventy-five max.”
“Seventy-five billion dollars won’t be a big enough pool to manage the investments you have, sir.”
Anger flared as Jim looked at the calculations that entirely contradicted his so-called expert advisor’s words. “Do not fucking tell me I’m wrong!” he shouted, crushing the tip of the Sharpie into the tile.
After a moment, his investment advisor meekly said, “Yes, sir. Can I, ah, look into more conventional firms? Maybe a bank or insurance —”
“No!” Jim took a deep breath of steamy air, closing his eyes. He tipped his head back into the fall of water, twisting from side to side to alleviate the tension in his neck. “Independent only,” he said more quietly. “Can you do this, or do I need to find someone to take your place?”
“No!” The fearful shout came quickly, almost before Jim had stopped speaking. “I’ll find... someone —”
A chime cut him off, rescuing Jim from having to hear him grovel. “Get to it,” he ordered, and reached out to dry his hand on a towel before he hit the screen, switching to the new call. “Hello?”
“You’re in the shower.”
Jim laughed at the accusation in his caller’s voice. “Yes. Something wrong with that?”
“Too many things for me to list. I have information for you. Want to hear it or are you not alone?”
“If it’s good news, you can have my investment advisor’s bonus. Or his head. I’ll let you choose.”
The answering laugh was a rough bark, full of amusement. “It’s good news. I found you a new recruit.”
“Covers two roles, medical and military. Invalided out of the army, decent security clearance, currently unemployed. Close- and medium-range marksmanship scores are very impressive.”
Jim tipped his head curiously, stepping closer to the shelf holding the mobile. No one ever got that sort of praise, at least not from his second-in-command. “Is that your expert opinion?”
“Yes. I’ve worked with him, though not personally. You want this one, Jim. I’m sending over his records now. But...”
Jim waited, listening to the alert that he’d received a new email, waiting for the caller to continue. Meanwhile, he continued filling in the mathematical formula he’d drawn on the shower wall, trying to determine the financial impact of the Euro’s impending failure and how he could best profit from it.
Finally, he prompted, “But what?”
“But he’s looking for another job, one he’s well-qualified for.”
“SIS? INTERPOL? International terrorism cell leader?”
“How’s pro-dom sound?”
Jim dropped the Sharpie.