“I wouldn’t wear that to a dog fight.” -Marcus heard the woman’s voice emanating from the next gallery in the museum. And it was apparent that she was walking with her female companion as they left. There was a fleeting glimpse of heals and scarves and a gesture held in mid-air. Then, silence enveloped the area.
The focus returned to the two businessmen in front of him as they continued. An odd place to be discussing investments. But, for some reason, they agreed to meet here as opposed to not meeting at all as Marcus’ schedule was packed.
“There are many ways that an investment can pay dividends without that value being reflected in the stocks’ price.”
“You may reap rewards. Although, there may be a nominal loss.”
“We want to prevent the wrong people from having a controlling interest.”
“That’s where you come in.”
“A hostile takeover bid. Is that what this is preventing?” Marcus asked.
Confetti still on the floor from last night’s AIDS fund-raising gala. An errant silver helium balloon wandered, aimlessly, amongst the masterpieces. A docent carried cake on a silver platter. He recalled last night in misty color… and then he returned to the present. Finance requires persistence.
“Details are everything. Details, and hard facts, like research -and, by that I mean, pure science. That is what is behind the R&D numbers in the financial statements. I e-mailed them to you. I realize how busy you are. Someone like you…in the community.”
“We need to make a potential problem go away.”
“We are in prevention mode, here.” -the other added.
They were over-dressed, even for investment bankers. They stood next to each other at all times, Marcus noticed. They were like a well-oiled machine. One carried a brief-case. The other, the soft-glinting of a bulky, silver watch, had an adorned wrist. It brought Marcus back to an earlier time. Had it been on the BART train? Could this be the same individual?
Whatever kind of investment one makes, you are playing the numbers.
Perhaps the wandering balloon was a color more similar to champagne. Marcus mused. The cake, apparently, was being served to non-gala participants. It ended the evening before. It was a shame he missed the unveiling of his most recent donation.
The balloon seemed to poses a will of its own as it wandered amongst the masterpieces. Marcus observed it.
“We are trying to prevent having to accomplish our ends through cruder means.” One of them volunteered, perhaps without thinking.
“There is nothing more central to finding a cure than the work being accomplished by our Research and Development. If I may say, possibly more effective than the generous gifts you have donated to the various AIDS organizations. “ -Their eyes collectively went to the Matisse, again. It hung on the wall across the way.
“You see, sir, when you do stumble across something that looks promising in the lab, the pharmaceutical corporations turn into sharks who smell blood in the water.” -his brief-case changed hands as he said this. The other adjusted his glasses. They both reminded Marcus of Penguins. The image of the watch failed to leave his mind, and the image of last night lingered, still.
This is the first time such a tangential investment proposition came his way. And, in such a setting. Returns on one’s investments can come in many forms. For one thing, there is always positioning, either in a given industry, or, otherwise.
Last night haunted him. Why would the memory never be sharp.
“One think I can promise you, and then I will leave you to enjoy the art…” -he paused as Marcus’ attention returned again. “We’ve all got a lot riding on this investment, whether you come on board, or not. For a moment, forget the share price, and, where it seems to be headed. These days, it wont even buy you a cup of coffee.”
“Not even Bus Depot Coffee.” -added the other. All three laughed at that.
We could concern ourselves with the floating balloon loosing altitude, or, the shadow cast across the newly acquired Matisse -previously part of Marcus’ collection. There was the double-bulbous shadow, the angle of the sun through the plate glass offering the suggestion of an industrial setting. The balloon suggested the air of freedom -joie de vivre.
We could, also, set our attention to the things that matter. Perhaps a matter of the heart; the one governing body in the Universe -and the final arbiter. Even beyond history.
For if we wait long enough, even the Sun will fail to return the next morning. And Earth shal fail to remain afixed to her orbit. In the end, all is lost. Finally.
The number of days we have left; that is the only bargain that matters. That and what we do with them. Finally, that is the only true investment. The rest is paper soon-to-be burned, and scattered, over an incendiary Manhattan. The day was crystalline. But, ultimately, a great shadow of iconography fell across the island.
As someone once told me, ‘Never fall in love.’
“We have come to you today because you are generally known that you hold your stocks -even through the bad times. You aren’t a ‘trader’ -as they say.”