Overheard At The Coffeeshop: A Play In One Act

When I walked into my local coffeeshop this morning a middle-aged guy coming back in from being on the phone almost let the door slam in my face. I took note of his thinning hair and zip-up sweater, then when I sat down near him I was not surprised to hear him holding court with a slightly older guy, talking about his days on Wall Street over pie and coffee. There was definite bravado. Definite, “Wait have I told you this before, man?” “No, I’m just imagining what would happen.” “Oh, ok, ok.”

What follows is my recollection of their conversation, and if it belies some fundamental misunderstanding of insider trading, well, blame the old dude.

It’s a total boys’ club, you know.


And we were always pranking each other. The busier you are, the more money you’re making, the more you get pranked.


Total douchebag, boys’ club culture. Anyway it’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, tomorrow starts a four-day weekend. I’m on the phone with a client when some young prick from the office throws a POUNDCAKE at my head.

A poundcake?

Yes, an entire fucking poundcake. At my head. So I’m like, I’m gonna get this guy back. I have to. Everyone is laughing. And see we have this policy, right? Where if you’re going to buy stocks for yourself, you have to disclose it to your clients, to get their permission. If you don’t, you get in big trouble.

Right, insider trading.

Yeah! So I knew this guy had made a significant buy of some shares of something at $1.50, that was now at $4.50, and he wanted to sell. So I went to my boss and was like, “Listen, this guy threw a poundcake at my head, I gotta get him back. He’s not disclosing stock purchases, I want you to say something to him.” So he agrees. Wait, I haven’t told you this story right?

No, no. So what happened?

Well my boss goes to the guy, “Listen we need to talk. We know about your stock purchases, that you haven’t disclosed them.” And I will never forget the kid’s face, I’ll remember it on my deathbed. He turned white as a sheet, all the color drained out of him. “You mean — this doesn’t mean I’m losing my job, does it?” The guy is so freaked out. It’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. “Son,” my boss says, “Son, forget about your job, I’m just trying to keep you out of jail.” And the kid is freaking out. I’ll never forget it. And then my boss is like, “I want you to come in first thing Monday morning, before the bell, and we will sit down and figure out a plan to keep you out of prison.”

Oh my god.

Right! Thanksgiving weekend! And then I hear him on the phone to his wife, who it turns out was planning to quit her job that day, telling her how he’s lost his job and he might go to jail and all this. And he’s really upset.

Oh my god.

So finally I can’t hold it in any longer. I’m like, “Buddy, it’s all a joke! I put him up to this!” And everyone’s like, “What? C’mon man!” “He threw a poundcake at your head! Why are you defending him?!” But then my boss came out of his office laughing and patted the guy on the back. Thanksgiving weekend. The look on his face. I’ll think of it on my deathbed, man.


Photo: habesha



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