As I was writing my previous post, I was reminded of a chapter titled ‘Escapes’ in ‘Bombardiers’, by Po Bronson. The book was a best seller when it came out but I get the feeling many people haven’t read or even heard of it. If you fall into either category, and if you liked Liar’s Poker or Catch-22, then you’ll enjoy this. It’s a high-octane, fictional tale of a group of bond salesmen whose world is spinning out of control. It’s well written, with quality dialogue, unforgettable characters, and piles of black humour. I loved it.
From Chapter 1 of Bombardiers:
It was a filthy profession, but the money was addicting, and one addiction led to another, and they were all going to hell. Turner had gone to hell, and Mike McCafferey had gone to hell. Wes “Green Thumb” Griffin developed a wandering eye, while Antonia Zennario, who used to joke that “all investors are made from Adam’s rib,” lost her sense of humor, and then her smile, and then her job. Carol Manning miscarried. Coyote Jack began to stutter on his numbers and was moved into management. They had all gone to hell. Sid Geeder hated them all and missed them like crazy. The phone rang constantly and everyone suffered cauliflower ears, neck rashes, and cervical pain, and when the sun came up in the morning and they had already been at their desk two, three hours, they went to the 41st floor window and imagined what it would be like to have to ride a bus or find a parking place. The squawk-box cackled as traders in London and New York and Chicago bid up the long bond, then it quieted as the dust cleared and they settled in to wait for retail to continue the rally. Green monochrome monitors tinted everyone’s face a pasty color, and Lisa Lisa reached for her pancake of low-lustre, firming-action moisture cream. Sidney Geeder drank some coffee. Nickel Sansome massaged his scalp. Sue Marino flipped through a bridal magazine.
When the sun didn’t come up and instead their tower was socked in by clouds and fog, the other world existed even less than usual; they could not see the streets below, or most of the shorter buildings, and they were one of the few spaceships in the sky. The next attack could come from anywhere. The economic forecasts were useless. The fundamentals were ignored. The Federal Reserve was unpredictable.
Chapter 1 is available for free at Po Bronson’s site.