Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Wolf in Wolf's Clothing

I told Albert that I was ready to commit, full-time, to trading. The next step, he told me, was to come downtown and sign up with the firm.

I brought my resume and found Albert trading in the small hot room. He was up over $4000 and, as it was the middle of the day, ready to take a break. He stood up from his station and someone asked, "You gonna bring him up to meet Peter?" Albert said he was and I received a bunch of glances that said, "Oh, you're in for an experience." All the guys were snickering. We walked out of the small room, into the tiny gray hallway and made for the elevator. On the way I asked Albert what was up with the guys. He only said, "Well, Peter is a bit of a character."

The elevator door opened into a very large trading room filled with lots of loud voices. There was, however, one voice that was louder than the rest. This voice wasn't coming from the trading floor but from a glass-walled office just off of the floor. It was Peter, the somewhat infamous trading manager of Black Anvil Capital .

The story I later heard was that Peter's entire family worked for "The Anvil" and that he had been handed the small, unprofitable trading division as an appeasement. He wasn't trusted to run anything properly and no one had realistic hopes for the trading operation. He was kind of the outcast of the family, considered a little crazy and reckless. There were rumors of drug use, violent behavior, and multiple automobile collisions. When he took the trading division over, it had only a handful of traders. When I was leaving Anvil only a couple of years later, there were well over 1000 traders and the operation was wildly profitable. If nothing else, Peter was a masterful recruiter.

Albert poked his head into Peter's office. Peter was lecturing a young trader. He stopped mid-sentence when he saw Albert and rose from his chair to grasp Albert's hand. He flashed a brief, wolfish smile, nodded at Albert while looking proud and said simply, "YES!"

The frightened young man exhaled and was visibly relieved that Peter had taken his focus off of him. Peter looked at me while he shook Albert's hand. He stared at me and exhaled heavily, like an angry bull, through his nostrils. Were his eyes crossed? Jesus this guy was freaky looking! I had to look away. Albert began to introduce me. Peter stood there, shaking Albert's hand, staring at me, breathing, when he boomed, "ALBERT, YOU TELL YOUR LITTLE BUDDY HERE THAT YOU'RE GONNA MAKE A MILLION BUCKS THIS YEAR?"

Albert tried to say something, and I was speechless but Peter continued. He reached over and gave the other trader a light smack on the head. The trader, looking fearful that he might be hit again, glanced nervously over. "YOU SEE THIS GUY?" he asked while sticking his finger in Albert's chest. "THIS GUY IS GONNA MAKE A MILLION BUCKS THIS YEAR. HE DOESN'T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT HIS COMMISSIONS!"

Each word was punctuated by a finger jab to Albert's chest... I wanted to run.

"YOU COME IN HERE AND TELL ME YOUR FUCKING COMMISSIONS ARE HIGH?" he yelled at the trader. But before the trader could respond, Peter continued,

"FUCK YOUR COMMISSIONS, I SHOULD RAISE THEM! YOU JUST DON'T WANT TO MAKE A MILLION BUCKS! THAT'S YOUR PROBLEM! COME BACK AND TALK TO ME WHEN YOU WANT TO MAKE A MILLION BUCKS!"

The trader shuffled sheepishly out of the office.

He turned to Albert and yelled, "GO TRADE."

He turned to me and screamed, "YOU, SIT!"

And we were alone.

4 comments:

Woodshedder said...

I can't wait for the next installment!!!

Dinosaur Trader said...

Yes, coming next, the "interview".

Glad you enjoyed it.

-DT

Anonymous said...

Hi DT,

I really enjoy reading your history posts. I think you can have a writing career if you ever get tired of trading.

Keep up with that!

Dinosaur Trader said...

Thanks for the kind words, Anon.

Having a hard time with the next installment though, so I guess I'll never be a newspaper reporter at least!

Dinosaurs and deadlines don't mix.

-DT