The Secret Broker: Sit back and hear a rambling tale of unrequited love, Japanese businessmen and booster shots
The Secret Broker
The Secret Broker
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After 35 years of stockbroking for some of the biggest houses and investors in Australia and the UK, the Secret Broker is regaling Stockhead readers with his colourful war stories — from the trading floor to the dealer’s desk.
Had to go for my booster shot on Sunday and booked it in early, so I had the rest of the day to recover.
When I got there, the nurse who took my details was absolutely stunning.
Sadly, I was in and out within 30 seconds and told to go and sit in a chair for 15 minutes and wait to see if I had a reaction.
So I sat outside the room and my brief moment in the presence of true beauty brought a flood of memories back from my past.
She was just like Tina, a girl I fell in love with when I was 18. She was the ex-wife of an older friend of mine.
Tina would have been about 27 when I first met her, so I would have been about 15 years old when she was still married.
It all came about when I used to help one of our teachers with a car he used to race.
Every Friday after school, he would drive it into the school’s workshop. We were all allowed to look at it and have a tinker.
He would then race it over the weekend and let us all know how he went on Monday morning.
It was during one of these tinkering sessions that I came up with an idea to improve his performance.
It was very simple and he looked at me as if to say “Why is no one else doing this?”
Give him his dues, he implemented my idea and on Sunday night, he actually phoned my parents’ house to tell them that he had won the race “thanks to your son”.
From that day on, he would give me the freedom to come up with other ideas and after a few more races, other drivers were approaching him and asking him how he was doing it.
He found it very hard not to give the secrets away, so I got him to just bolt a little triangle below each headlight and not say a word.
Within a month everyone was copying the bolted on triangles as they all believed that was the secret.
He then sold the car to another team and I was invited along to the race meetings.
The team were all older than me and one of the mechanics was married to Tina and that’s how I met her.
We used to travel all around Europe racing the car at weekends and I would be allowed to help out where I could.
About six months later, the mechanic married to Tina told me they had split up and that she was working for an oil trader in the City of London.
By now I had started my career path to become ‘Someone in the City’ and was always thinking that one day our paths would cross and I could ask her out for a drink and see where things went.
And one day our paths did cross and… it was a disaster for me.
You see, the night before our paths crossed, I got a call from the guys who sat on the arbitrage desk asking me what I was doing tonight.
I told them “nothing”, so they said “Great, meet us in the pub at 5.30pm sharp”.
It turns out that their boss was invited to a very important meet and greet with his biggest Japanese client, who was retiring.
Unfortunately, he had an emergency at home and couldn’t make it, but told his two lackeys to go ahead and represent him and the firm.
They thought it would be fun if we pretended that I was their boss and joined them in a free piss-up.
So we turned up at this do and there would have been about 200 Japanese representatives and the three of us were, by far, the youngest people in the room.
We showed the doorman our invites and in we went…
My two ‘assistants’ fed me vodka and orange as we walked around the room with our name badges on and every so often a Japanese representative would stop talking and turn to me.
He would then bow and proudly present his business card, between his two held out hands.
I would then bow back and take it from him and look at it with great interest.
I was then meant to bow and proudly present him my business card in return, but of course I didn’t have any.
My two assistants had to shuffle me away so I could greet other representatives.
I must point out at this point, that none of them spoke English and I was on about my 10th vodka and orange, so the next person who bowed and presented their card, I just bowed back to and presented the card of the last Japanese gentleman.
Well, the looks on their faces as they studied my (now in Japanese) business card was with confusion, politeness and stunned silence.
This charade continued until it was decided we better exit stage left, before we got rumbled, thus leaving behind a room of Japanese businessmen with business cards from each other.
The fresh night air and the alcohol hit me straight away and I then found out that my assistants had been feeding me triple vodka and oranges.
By this time, I was unknowingly very pissed and very hungry, so it was decided a hamburger was in order.
When we arrived at the American themed hamburger joint, the combination of the alcohol and the memory of a room full of confused Japanese businessmen gave me the giggles.
I just couldn’t stop laughing.
To shut me up, one of the guys took the cheeseburger I was eating out of my hand and rubbed it into my right ear and all over my head.
Ah. The good old days.
I got a taxi home and arrived slumped out on the back seat about 1.00am. I went inside, lifted up the mattress and put my suit trousers down under it, so the creases would still be there in the morning (an old trick I’d learnt) then went straight to bed as I had to be up again in four hours to get the train to work.
The alarm went off late, so instead of wasting precious time and missing my train, I just washed my face, sprayed a bit of deodorant and ran to the station.
I missed my train and I’m standing (swaying) with suit trousers that have a crease that is almost horizontal and bits of cheeseburger and tomato sauce still hanging off my hair.
When the next train arrived, I jumped on and grabbed a seat and looked up, just as – guess who – the beautiful Tina wandered down the carriage and straight towards me.
She looked at me as I offered her my seat and she just said, ‘I think you need it more than me’
And that was it, in that one moment I had blown my only chance of ever asking her out for a drink.
Three years of lust, just gone to dust.
Now, 40 years later, I find myself looking forward to my fourth, fifth and sixth jab because of the memories that will come flooding back to me, and how my ‘Sliding Door’ moment almost changed my life.
How sad am I?
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