Buy Watches the Numbers
ExMo was up four and three-quarters, which meant the takeover rumor was spreading. Buy watched it rise and fall, watched the financial beasts heavy breathing graphed in lurid blue on black. He should have been doing other things, tooanswering his phone, executing tradesbut he didnt. He watched the screen until the numbers ceased to mean anything. After enough time, the implicationssucceed in job, fail in jobslid away, too.
With half an hour until close, ExMo was at 48 1/8. Earlier in the day, hed decided that if it closed on the evens of a sixteenthan eighth, a half, whateverhe would kill himself. If it finished on an odd, he would go home, heat some leftover Chinese for dinner, and watch TV; prepare himself, essentially, to return to this office and life in which nothing he did made any difference. The computer refreshed continually, so Buy was living in five-second increments: livelivedielivediedie. It should have felt exhilarating. But it was just watching numbers. Maybe that was the point; if the numbers meant anything to him, he wouldnt be doing this.
I need that fucking trade fucking now! someone said, and Buy looked at the time: two minutes to close. ExMo was jumping like crazy, even pushing the fifty-dollar mark. Buys clients would be happy. He wondered if he would be the first broker to commit suicide after a good day.
Fuck! the desk trader said, and slammed his phone. Buys screen said: TRADING CLOSED. He looked at the ExMo share price. It was exactly fifty dollars.
It started as a snigger, then, helplessly, ballooned into laughter. He closed his eyes, rested his head on his keyboard, and laughed until he thought he might be screaming.
Buy? Sally said. Buy? You okay?
He looked up. She had her briefcase hoisted in one hand and a sheaf of transfer forms in the other. She looked worried, but also like she wanted to get those forms processed.
I have never been better, he said.