S.C.& G. hired me when I was desperate. I was Fifty-seven years old, and after thirty-six years on the street, I’d been deemed too old, past it, I guess. I couldn’t get a job of any kind, anywhere, even old friends “weren’t at their desks” when I called. The town car, the big house in Englewood Cliffs were both about a month from repossession and the situation was becoming desperate when I was called for an interview, and got the job at S.C. & G.
Now I have basically been a salesman. That’s what a stockbroker is, at least that’s where the money comes from. Sure I knew how to clerk, perform the functions, but I never thought I would be paid more to do that than to sell. But at S. C. & G. that’s all I did. I really couldn’t fathom why I was being paid what a broker earns to be a clerk. It really didn’t make a lot of sense.
The firm had six principals. Eric Ames was designated as the senior partner. The other five were Harold Moxon, Peter Dietrich, Jerry Hendrikson, Brent Kalte and Lance Hodges. The only one I had ever heard of on the street was Moxon, who was, at one time, a pretty big noise. He backed off in the early eighties and was rumored to have retired, a very rich and still fairly young man. I had met them all at the initial interview, along with Hendrikson’s wife, a striking blond named Kyra. They didn’t question me that much, and seemed to have my entire life at their fingertips. At least they seemed to know more about me than my previous employers were privy to. Given the fact that they weren’t that interested in asking questions, I figured I was pretty much sunk. Most of the interview was small talk, like they were using me to kill time before the next appointment.
At the end of the interview, Ames addressed me directly with the proposition.
“Bob, the duties will be simple. We call you with orders, buy, sell, whatever. You carry them out and be sure the funds are correctly distributed to the accountants. You must be here, in the office between nine and five everyday, you don’t leave for lunch or for any other reason. If you are ill, leave a message on the phone with your prognosis. Your vacation is the first two weeks in August and you’ll find a list of other holidays in the folder on your desk. The job pays one ten a year and there is full health and dental, no life insurance, and no other perks.”
Since I couldn’t pass up a job and was hoping anybody would offer me fifty, I accepted immediately. Next morning, I found myself alone in a deserted office, not even a secretary to answer the phone. The principals, I found over the next few weeks were never in their offices. They phoned from time to time with instructions and I carried them out. One of the nation’s largest accountancy firms, the Okuns, handled the money, and, I have to tell you, in the year I spent there, there was plenty of that. The six were impeccable. They never picked a loser, in right, out right with perfect timing. It was amazing, like they got tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal today. They were never greedy, and, I would say that most of the street had very little knowledge of them or their existence. I spent thirty-six years on the street and had never heard of them, and, as I said Moxon was the only one whose name rang a bell. It was all very small time, and only worked because the principals seemed to know exactly what certain stocks would do. With just what went through my hands in that year, expanded, they could have come close to cornering several markets, and made money as if they were the mint and coining it. The restraint they showed was amazing in itself.
I had been there a little over a year when I came in one morning to hang around and wait to see if there was going to be a call, and the door to Eric Ames’ office was ajar. I put my lunch in the refrigerator, keeping to the number one rule was that I be in the office from nine in the morning until five at night, I brown bagged lunch. I’d only had time to put my lunch away when Ames called me into his office.
He was on the tall side of average, about six one, on the slim side, maybe one-eighty and about my age. He had graying blond hair, and an easy smile. He was wearing tan sansbelt slacks with a black turtleneck shirt under a brown leather blazer. I had only met him the once at the initial interview. The other five had shown up a couple times over the year, but Ames hadn’t. I knew he lived in Moss Landing, California. I knew that his wife’s name was Ellen, though I’d never met her, or even seen a picture. I had full run of the offices, and occasionally had to get things out of them for one or another of the partners. It always struck me as odd that the offices were so impersonal. Not one had personal pictures anywhere. It’s as if all six of them lacked a past, or at least a past they wished to be reminded of.
“Come in and sit, Bob,” he said.
I walked in and sat down.
“How’s your wife, Bob?” he asked.
“Fine, getting old like all of us,” I said.
“Still in love?”
“Yeh, I guess you would say so. Haven’t thought about it in years, but yes, sure, I’m still in love.”
“Well, Bob, I’ve got to tell you something. S. C. & G. will be closing soon.”
My heart sank; I’d never find another job.
“Don’t look so crestfallen, Bob, you’ll be taken care of if you do what I tell you.
“In a way, we’re looking for a new partner. And we’ve pretty much settled on you. First, I have to tell you that we are a bit different from other firms. We are not out to make a killing, or even allow what we are doing to manipulate the market in any way. We are all comfortable, which you probably know seeing the books over the past year. We want to expand operations a bit and so we will need an extra pair of hands. Our system is pretty much infallible. At least it hasn’t broken down yet, and we don’t expect it to.
“Well, to get down to business, read these.”
He pushed a pile of books toward me. The titles were strange, and only vaguely familiar somehow. I knew Frank Harris, My Life and Loves, and Good Lord! the Marquis De Sade! Aleister Crowley of course everyone knew. There were half a dozen small green paperbacks, published by an Olympia Press, from Paris, and an ornately bound copy of the Kama Sutra. Finally, a red cloth book titled Pistis Sophia: A Gnostic Gospel.
“What is very important here, Bob,” he continued, “is that you be able to give a woman an orgasm, not hit or miss, not sometimes, which is not always as easy as it sounds. After the first time, it gets easier, but you probably won’t get a second chance at it, if you blow it the first time.”
I was confused, and it was getting worse. What the hell was this?
“Now, Bob, do you know, or rather, do you remember Angela Randolph?”
Angie? My God I hadn’t thought about Angie in maybe thirty years. Angie and I dated my last two years of high school. I took her virginity; of course she took mine at the same time so I suppose it was a standoff. We tried a long distance affair when I left for college. But you know how those things go. Another girl, she probably had a new guy by the time my “Dear Angie” got to her. Sweet, skinny little girl, red haired cheer leader type.
“Angie? Sure I remember.”
“High school sweetheart wasn’t she?′
“Ever look on the internet? On the sites for old classmates to get together.”
“You have a lot of time on your hands here, Bob. You never got curious and logged onto one of them?”
He turned to his computer and punched something.
“Come around here and look,” he said.
The site was Class.com. He’d punched up my school , my class, entered my name and apparently made me a member, because five messages were displayed. This was the fourth:
Subject: Old Flame
I’ve always wondered how things turned out for my old flame, Bob Hamilton. Bob, if you’re out there, shoot me an email so we can talk about old times, like under the bleachers after the Lafayette game.
Angela (once again) Randolph- Class of ’66
Ames looked at my reaction, I guess.
“Interesting, isn’t it?” he said. “So many lonely women in the world. Shortage of men in our generation, after Vietnam. And we’re dying younger, while they’re living longer. Two generations in a row where we killed off young men wholesale, and put those that survived in a pressure cooker making heart attack the number one cause of death.
“Ever wonder if nature compensates for such things Bob? I mean has some checks and balances so that it evens out in the end?”
“Never really thought about it.”
“Think about it a bit. Also, think about this. The most powerful force on earth is sex. We were born, you and I, into a world with two billion people in it. It now has over five. Just imagine the pure creative power in that Bob. Makes a woman’s orgasm the equal of an atom bomb. Have you ever wondered if it could be harnessed for other things?”
“No, frankly I never thought about it.”
“You will by the time we’re done Bob. In fact, you’ll have a lot of time to mull it over… More time than you ever imagined.
“It all hinges on the bottom book in the pile Bob, Pistis Sophia. We live concurrently in aeons. Each aeon brings us closer to the perfection we lost in creation. A few of us have found a way to travel the aeons, up the ladder to perfection, through love expressed as sex. In the final analysis, Bob, perfection, paradise is a single entity, held together, not by gravity, as the scientists would have it, but by a much more powerful force, love.
“Now, I’m going to tell you about my high school sweetheart, and how all this came about. You’re not going to believe most of it. Over the next month, the other partners will come in and tell you how they started. That will leave you with a lot of choices Bob. One will be to join us. And then you will get the chance to see whether or not my little story is the truth.”