Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mr. Money

He was named after his father’s love of finance. He was born with the scent of dollar bills on the floor and he was bathed in the hope that he would grow to carry a pungent-smelling leather briefcase and that he would wear slick tailored suits and that his stomach would never know hunger. His father believed in the power of personal perseverance, in dreams that start slow and turn softly for years until a boiling point is reached and then, then the fire is hot and the market is screaming for action, then is the time to lay with a mighty hand what has been stewing in the dreams and guts and labor of the self-made man. His father read to him in the womb. As his mother slept with a belly full of movement, his father read the financial journals and he read from the texts of economists and he spoke of the hopes for his unborn son.
When he was born, they cloaked him in new dollar bills and they used hundreds to stuff his pillow. They hoped the scent alone would be enough to drive him, they hoped it would provide subtle traces along the path, leading him like a keen dog down the long road to financial fulfillment.
And like a star in the distance, he followed the path laid before him. With nudges at his feet and trashings when necessary, he stumbled along the road sprinkled in gold, always with the vision of more to come. He groped at the doors of Wall St. With a puppet’s obedience, he studied the same men that his father had studied and he read from the same journals. Together, father and son, they spoke the harsh language of commerce. Its brutal and gray forms covered the light whisperings of daises and shadowed the color of twilight. The path to money left little room for swing sets and girls, the quest blinded him to the flower-scented sex, deafened him to the language of music and imagery.
When he was old enough, he moved into the corner office of a building that nearly reached the clouds. In his softer moments, when the world still lay in a blanket of blackness and when the army of immigrant cleaners had finished their duties, he dreamed of leprechauns and he thought of the empty sounds within bank vaults and heard the orchestra of cash registers. He ate all his meals while watching the minute movements of the city below. The yellow cabs veered and curved through traffic, he could hear the sirens scream with the hysterics of new mothers, he could sense the disconnected wandering of the people a thousand feet below and he watched it all with a thread of indifference. He preferred the cool, regulated world of his cubicle, where the TV brought him all the news he needed, where the computer was an extension of his mind, providing him with every fact he could hope to discover. This was his home, his sanctuary of eternal fluctuation. He would wake every morning with a new set of numbers, a new outlook on the day that would determine all his decisions, each and every correspondence.
When she came in, the only woman that ever punctuated his leather-smelling sphere, he hid himself in his papers, he buried himself in the world of numbers fearing the waft of her perfume. It was the scent of tigers, the smell of domination in silk sheets and lacy panties. He would not look up, he would close the blinds to his office, shuttering himself from the small world on Floor 708. In one week, she undid all he had learned. With the curve of her back, she released the rope that had tied his mind to the desk and to the numbers and to the bidding men half a block away.
He felt the sound of the jungle roar deep in the hidden caverns of his chest. He imagined doing what he had only seen on his computer screen. He saw himself twisted in the white of her flesh. He saw his hands ripping the fabric of her tight skirt. He imagined screaming, unleashing the desire that had taken twenty-seven years to build. The numbers on the screen began to blur, red and green numerals mixed, blending into geometric bodies of heat and power, struggling to accumulate more with their union.

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