& # 39; I need to teach you a lesson, & # 39; I tell him. He was nine years old, but you are never too young to learn.
We empty the charity box on the kitchen table.
& # 39; Just to practice, & # 39; I say, & # 39; all profits must be returned. & # 39;
I show him how to shake the suit and share a hand. Teach him the smile of Duchenne, how I hold my gaze and look like an angel. Tell him stories: Wild Bill Hickock and the hand of the dead man. My old roommate who always yawned when he bluffed. A trader with whom I worked, who was a card counter and was banned from all the casinos in Nevada. Bedtime comes and goes and he takes poker as a natural player. The only thing missing is a bottle of whiskey and a pack of Marlboro.
He pulls a royal flush from five to midnight. For a moment I think I am hallucinating – it is a miracle, something of beauty, like an exotic bird.
& # 39; Google the opportunities, & # 39; I say. Probability is 0.000154%. One in 649,740. & # 39; You could go all your life and never see that hand again. & # 39;
I see the glare in his eyes, feel the flutter in my chest. A circulatory system brings with it a vision of the future: the dream team of mother and son on the trading floor. Then I remember that I would have to teach him a lesson.
& # 39; Grab your piggy bank. This time it is real. & # 39;
He scrambles backwards and rattles the pink pig with a cut in his back. Acht Eight pounds ninety-five, & # 39; he says, the cheeks glow from the sensation of it.
I'll clear him up within nine minutes. Make a big show of sweeping in the pot, stacking his coins in neat piles. He grabs his cards, his face turns pale.
& # 39; You have nothing & # 39 ;, I say.
& # 39; I was saving – & # 39;
& # 39; No hassle now. & # 39;
& # 39; I bet my Chelsea shirt. & # 39;
& # 39; Your shirt is not right for me. You have to fold. & # 39;
His head falls, but I let him say it. No progress without pain. He sneaks into bed and I think there is a tear, or maybe it's just a trick of light.
The next morning he was rebounded and his world is all about gambling. How much if I can keep my breath all the way through the Rotherhithe tunnel? How many for fifty rugby stages in a row? On the wedding of his nephew I find him in the bar, with his face down in a bucket of melting ice.
& # 39; 48 seconds! & # 39; Roots the best man, waving a tenner to the panting echoes.
Two weeks later I find a smart blue hoodie in his wardrobe. & # 39; Where did that come from? & # 39;
He grins, as if he waited until I got the mark. & # 39; I learned to play Will and then he had no money left, so he bet his hoodie. & # 39;
& # 39; Does his mother know that? & # 39;
"He wanted to do it. He could have just folded, but he wanted to gamble. & # 39;
So when she calls, should I say that he has lost his hoodie by playing poker? & # 39;
& # 39; I taught him a lesson, ma. No progress without pain. & # 39;
On his first day on the exhibition floor he knelt to kiss the carpet. Now he is the king of sovereign need. When the Celtic Tiger was on the rope, he was early. Credit spells blew out with Ireland captured under the microscope as an object lesson in how to make a harness of things. He murdered the PIGS trade, shorting Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain. He holds a card on the wall, plans a victory pen for the body position. I came I saw I conquered. The little pink pig sits on his desk like a lucky charm.
Last Sunday he leans against the counter in the world, just like he did when he was a little boy.
& Venezuela; & # 39; & # 39; Venezuela & # 39; his finger stops on green, "a beautiful country with snowy mountains and crystal streams. And it is a huge shortcoming. & # 39; The world's largest oil reserves and it's a basketcase. Inflation with forty percent and the bolivar gets fucked. & # 39;
& # 39; Migrate or die & # 39 ;, I tap the Times headline.
I'm doing them a favor, Mom. I see it as a public service. Get government in a chokehold so that they purify their act. & # 39;
& # 39; They eat out trash cans in Caracas. & # 39;
& # 39; And who has ended up in this mess? & # 39 ;, he shrugs his shoulders. It is incompetent governance that brings a country to its knees. & # 39;
He is not wrong. Corruption here is the real agent of destruction and short circuit is a just game when your finances are a mess. A country is a trade opportunity, history is written in basis points. And speculators have a role to play, it is predatory police. Like hackers and stress tests – you have to sniff the weak links, keep the politicians sharp.
& # 39; As you always said, mom, & # 39; he grins. & # 39; If the grazing antelope is not vigilant, the lion will tear out of its throat. & # 39;
His last friend said he was socially useless, oh, he likes to tell that story. Loves the sound of money being kicked and the screaming of sovereign distress. He has the swagger and sharp suits, the golden boy with the Midas touch.
But I have no problem with what he is doing, it is where he is going. I've seen it all before – the effect of the winner, who feel good neurotransmitters who bathe in fairy dust. Enough is never enough. He is a master in the universe and he is rolling, testosterone is dripping his risk positions until the cortisol crashes.
& # 39; Your time will come, & # 39; I warn while he takes his coat and gives me a hug.
& # 39; Here it starts, & # 39; I press my finger against his sleep. & # 39; Your hypothalamus, the early warning system buried in your brain folds. Four millimeters of neural tissue that makes an alarm. Then it's all a system, an adrenaline tsunami, sugar runs through your veins, the heart beats faster, everything mobilized for fighting or fleeing. When the winner loses, you are eaten alive from the inside. & # 39;
& # 39; Thanks for the lesson, mom, & # 39; he flatters my hand away. & # 39; You taught me everything I know. & # 39;
Aifric Campbell is the author of On the Floor. She is a former investment banker and teaches at Imperial College in London. Money Talk was commissioned by the Almeida Theater in London as a program function for The Lies, an interactive production about the economy and high finances of Ontroerend Goed.