House of Cards
Although there have been many reasons put forward for the recent bank crashes: economic instability, greed and unleashed avarice are but a few that have been suggested; but all fall short of the mark since these elements are always present in the field of high finance, and indeed are the very qualities upon which the whole edifice is constructed.
For such a major collapse to occur a catalyst is required; a new element entering the system to flourish like a virus, whilst subtly altering the mental field and value systems of its operators.
It is not necessary to look very far for this element, taking into consideration that a large proportion of our banknotes are permeated with the stuff: ─ Cocaine; the bringer of crystal clarity with the focus of a laser. A speedy high octane confidence and a bright new world in which to become master of the universe.
Of course, such an inclusively refined focus has certain drawbacks, since it excludes any peripheral awareness; such things as long term effects and consequences are overlooked in the fanatical eagerness to accomplish the immediate goal; and if that goal is the accumulation of personal wealth then a line of Bolivian marching powder does the trick with its endowment of the most diabolical cleverness.
Lines of communication
Nick Falcon: his real name is Fallboy but he intuits that in his line of business Falcon has a better ring to it. Banking and investment are his calling and he has managed, by the pulling off of a few minor coups to bring himself to the notice of his firm’s directors. Now he is working on a possible deal which, if successful, will bring a great deal of profit for his company, leading he hopes to certain promotion – possibly even a partnership. The deal will also bring him personally a good deal of money; a real killing in fact.
The representative of an Irish consortium has approached him with a very large sum to invest, but he insists on a sure-fire deal with cast-iron returns. Now Nick waits in his office for his friend Roger, with whom he has put together many a good deal to ring him regarding the issue. Roger has the ear of many high flying companies who look continually for fresh investments.
He taps his fingers impatiently on the desk top – the deal must be fast or the Irish will look elsewhere.
‘I’ll just have a quick line while I’m waiting,’ he thinks, and opening a drawer takes out a small mirror and a paper packet. Opening the packet he tips a small pile of white powder onto the glass and begins to chop it with a credit card. When all the lumps have been reduced and the powder is fine he divides it into two equal parts and runs the card across each heap producing two graceful and elongated lines. Next he rolls a twenty pound note into a slim tube and inserts it into a nostril. Leaning forward he now places the other end of the tube at the beginning of a line and moves the tube smartly along the line from beginning to end, whilst at the same time giving a violent snort. The line disappears; hoovered up the tube into his nose to assail his brain with no end of confidence. The second line he deals with in the same way; this time up the other nostril.
He sits back with a sigh of pleasure. ‘That’s better,’ he thinks. Now he sees clearly how all the elements of the deal will fall into place and he is dazzled by the reflected light from his golden future.
Just at that moment there is a knock at his door, a young man puts his head in.
‘Just about cleared out now,’ he says.
‘What?’ says Nick. He has hardly heard, too many people have been bothering him over the past few days who don’t seem to realise that he has to stay focused on the business in hand and has no time for these morons who just don’t get it.
‘Can’t you see I’m busy?’ he shouts. ‘I haven’t got time for your inconsequential rubbish!’
He eyes his phone, it will ring at any moment and then…
However, the man at the door is insistent.
‘Well the firm going bust seems pretty important doesn’t it?’
But Nick’s phone is ringing and he isn’t listening anyway.
‘Hello Roger,’ he says into the phone. What have you got? ─ What? Mitzaroo Corporation is very interested, great, when are you meeting? ─ You’re having lunch with the Director in half-an-hour. That’s wonderful news. This is even bigger than I thought. ─ OK, I’ll be waiting for your call.’ He rings off and sits back, this deserves another line, a big one this time to celebrate.
Out comes the mirror again. This time the pile is considerably larger than the last and the lines, two long and substantial dunes are barely contained within the edges of the mirror.
Snort! Snort! and up they go with stunning effect, now the whole world is going his way. First he will give up his flat and buy something bigger and he’ll need private parking to accommodate the kind of car he envisions. On and on he surfs, yachts and Rolexes mingle with seats on the board and the use of the companies’ executive jets. He eyes the phone ─ any minute now, maybe just time for another little line while he waits. He doesn’t bother making lines this time but applies the tube directly to the heap and again. Snort! Snort!
But now, so absorbed is he with his phone that he doesn’t notice two men who have entered his office. They are dressed in brown warehouse coats, and going to a corner they pick up and carry out a filing cabinet, so focused is he that he doesn’t notice this. Returning they approach Nick.
‘Excuse me, sir,’ says one of the men.
‘What! What do you want? I’m very busy just now.’
‘Sorry, sir, but we need the desk.’
‘What’ shouts Nick furiously, now almost frothing at the mouth. ‘What the hell are you talking about? I’m waiting for a very important phone call so get out. Get out now!’
The men look at each other and then taking hold of the desk from either end they lift and begin carrying it out. Nick makes a frantic grab for the phone but he is too late, for a third man arrives and takes it from him and bending down pulls the lead from its socket.
Nick really loses it. ‘Put that back!’ he shouts, beside himself with anger. ‘Don’t you realize, you stupid morons? I’m waiting for a very important call.’
But now two grim-looking security men enter and taking him by each arm begin to pull him towards the door. He struggles and screams his outrage but has not the strength to resist, and leading him along the corridor they eject him still gibbering through the front doors into the street.
Standing now on the crowded pavement and jostled by the throng of passers-by he pulls out his mobile phone and begins frantically pressing buttons, then…
‘Roger, Roger, Are you there Roger?….ROGER?’