Episode 10 – The Wheels of Commerce
We arrive at Dad’s office on the millionth floor of the newest, trendiest, most spectacular building in Lower Manhattan. Frankly, I could give two shits. It’s an ultra-modern maze that’s so high up, you might as well be in an airplane. Dad tells me that the climate outside his window is three degrees colder than on the ground. Big fucking deal!
We stop briefly in Dad’s all-glass corner furnished with jazzy, space age furniture, then walk to a micro cubicle outside the men’s room. “It’s all yours,” he tells me…introduces me to my supervisor, Wayne Wooski, who assigns me to help assemble presentation books…basically, deceptive bullshit to sell crappy companies. Wayne proudly explains their approach: “In our business, let the buyer beware!” He’s a hyper, overdressed guy not much older than me.
“Look,” he explains, “it’s like selling houses. The seller doesn’t tell the buyer the roof leaks, the oil burner’s outdated and the plumbing sucks. It’s up to the buyer to do his due diligence. We accentuate the strengths, not the weaknesses.”
“Isn’t that dishonest?” I ask naively.
“Hell, no! We don’t lie, and we’re governed by strict regulatory guidelines. Frankly, we’re one of the most ethical companies in this business.”
To hear the guy, you’d think they’re curing cancer. They’re all from Harvard, Yale, Stanford and Princeton, the elite of global education, but their goal is to be rich. Education’s a means to an end. Plus, they’re all great looking. No way they want to be confused with ticket scalpers. Credibility is their thing…even with their hand in your pocket.
Everybody’s nice enough, but it’s obvious I’m like a hand grenade. Nobody wants to set me off and fuck things up with Dad, so they pretend I’m just one of the guys… yuck it up, offer me cokes, don’t pull rank…assume the work is for my amusement, like business coloring books. Of course, I catch on. They want me to put in a good word with the big man in the corner.
The week goes by in a blur of boredom, basically the same shit day after day. I’m stuck in my cubicle developing a case of hemorrhoids…fact-checking, punching holes, collating exhibits and updating mailing lists…and that’s the interesting part! Every so often, Dad drops by with one of his partners. “Lou, this is my son, Hunter.”
I’m no dummy. Realize my job is to act like a happy puppy. Jump up and shake Lou’s hand. “Hi…we just completed our thousandth book! Yippee!”
“Attaboy! I see you’re learning fast.”
Lou’s not fooled, realizes it’s all a charade, but plays along. Smiles patronizingly. “Hunter, how do you like the world of investment banking?”
I grin like a fucking moron. “It’s a trip, but there’s so much to learn!”
Lou likes the answer. “Hang in there. You’re a bright kid and you’ll go a long way.”
Dad’s pleased, bends the truth a little. “He’s doing great at Griffin.” Whoop dee do!
My pseudo-interest thrills Dad, and in the car home, he talks my ear off about stuff I could give a shit about. Brags to Mom about my progress. He’s so excited I’m afraid he’ll have a coronary. It actually makes me sad. I haven’t the heart to tell him the job sucks.
Each day, I eat at my desk, but on Friday, the team invites me out. Like me, they’re all sex-crazed and want to know if I’m dating, etc. Unfortunately, I have no sexual exploits to share. Jerking off is pretty ho hum.
The girls tell me I’m adorable and keep giving me beer, so before I know it, I’m fucked up. Suddenly notice one of the guys, Josh, is obsessively interested and hangs on my every inebriated word…peppers me with questions, then when I’m taking a piss, shows up at the adjoining urinal. “Great you could join us,” he says, like piss chat is perfectly normal.
I grunt, squeeze out the last drops and stumble back to the table. They all want me to drink more, but I push back. Realize I’m on my way to acting like a total fool.
The highlights of my week are calls from Jewel. She goes to a lot of trouble to track me down. Wonders why I haven’t been running. I explain the whole nasty situation and we make a date for Saturday. I’m psyched, because she has a powerful effect on me (guess where?). She’s s-o-o-o cool and casual… totally fucking hot!
By email, I keep in touch with my teachers, except Ericksen. No way I’d ask for a favor from that asshole. Thankfully, everyone else is willing to cut me slack, let me make up quizzes and homework…so all is not lost.
Oh, and one last thing. As I’m leaving, Josh intercepts me at the elevator, slips me his card and whispers: “I really like you. Call me,” but it’s too creepy. No fucking way!
To be continued….Read next episode!