Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sample Sunday, March 13, 2011

This is the first scene in my upcoming novella, The Gravy Train, about a novice investment banker who helps an elderly Chairman attempt to buy his company back after some Wall Street sharks have driven into bankruptcy, and are trying to carve what's left of it up for themselves.


Finn Keane and Kathy Fargo sat next to each other in the back of Room 12 in in the McColl Building at the University of North Carolina’s Keenan-Flagar Business School.  Four rows separated them from the rest of the group in the Investment Banking Club meeting.  At least 40 group members attended; this evening featured Jonathan Moore, the club’s president, crowing about his recruitment process and offer to become an Associate in Goldman Sachs’ Mergers and Acquisitions Group.
Finn leaned toward Kathy and said, “If I listen to any more of this crap I’m gonna puke.  Come on, let’s go get a coffee or something.”
She smiled at him, nodded and they got up and left.  A few heads turned as they clunked through the theatre-style seats to the aisle, up the steps and out the door.  Finn could feel eyes burning into his back.  He was sure everybody in the club knew that Kathy and he were the only two who hadn’t received investment banking offers yet.
Finn held the front door to McColl Hall for Kathy as they went outside.  She wasn’t a girl many guys held doors for, not much of a looker, so he knew Kathy liked it and he always made sure to do it.  When she’d told him she couldn’t afford to fly home to Chicago for Thanksgiving he’d brought her home to Durham.  Afterwards, Uncle Bob said, “Wow, she’s a big-boned one, huh?”  Even before he brought her home, he could tell Kathy wanted something more between them.  And a couple of times out drinking with classmates she made it clear to Finn it was there for him if he wanted it.  He was always glad when he woke up sober the next day that he didn’t do it; he’d always have felt like he was taking advantage of her.  He could tell she’d now settled into the knowledge it wasn’t gonna happen.
Kathy smiled and mouthed “Thank you,” as they went outside.
“Moore was a pain in the ass before he got the offer, but now he struts around like a goddamn rooster,” Finn said.
“Yeah, but you have to admit, he landed the big one.”
Finn just nodded.
Kathy said, “I assume no change at your end or you’d have told me something.”
“We’re running out of time.”
“I know.  I’m taking the TD Bank thing if nothing else comes through.  At least that’ll get me to New York.”
Kathy didn’t reply.  He knew what she was thinking.  She’d said it before:  she’d work in New York for three years before business school and told him New York wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
“How about you?” he said.
“I guess I’ll take that internet startup my friend offered me.”
Finn nodded.  She’d told him about it, but he couldn’t remember the details.  Only five or six employees, he thought.
“You did computer programming before B-school, didn’t you?”
“Yeah, but they want me to be CFO.  They’re all a bunch of undergrad computer science jocks.  Don’t know anything about finance.”
“Sounds like it could be fun,” Finn said, knowing he didn’t sound convincing as the words came out.  Nothing like that for him.  If nothing in investment banking came through, he’d get to New York, then see if he could leverage the TD Bank commercial banking training program into a job on Wall Street, even if it took him a few years.  That’s where he’d make it big.  He looked at Kathy.  “I forget.  What’s the company’s name?”

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