The Broker

the broker - briefcase of money-Way Past Tipsy and Other Silent Cries for Help- Ran Kime
briefcase of money Way Past Tipsy and Other Silent Cries for Help

“What’s your line of work?” she inquired.

“I broker deals,” I responded.

“What kind?”

Leaning closer, she sipped her drink.

“I create illusions.”

“Sounds dodgy. How?”

“Why would I share my secrets?”

“To buy me a drink and entertain me while I wait,” she slid closer.

“Catch a man a fish, and you can sell it to him. Teach a man to fish, and you ruin a wonderful business opportunity.” 

Karl Marx

“Is your friend late?”

“Not a big drinker. I pregame,” she confessed.

“Smart.”

I signaled the bartender. “This lady’s buying.”

She smiled, playfully hitting my hand.

“You’re supposed to buy me one,” she teased.

“I believe in equality,” I chuckled.

Her handshake revealed much.

“You are sooo bad,” she said, “But seriously, what type of Broker are you?” 

I explained, “Ever notice how someone else’s sandwich tastes better? It’s perception, like illness or my business.”

“Your business?”

“I rent CEOs to foreign companies.”

“Who rents a CEO?”

“Start-ups. Appearance matters. An American CEO boosts confidence.”

“It’s all a floptical illusion. A foreign company that is a start-up and is looking to sell their product or raise capital needs to look the part. They cannot look the part if their entire team is Chinese doing business in Pakistan or Dubai, so the startup will rent a CEO from me for these very important meetings and a tall, well dressed, I mean twelve thousand dollar suit, sixty something American man will walk into the room, command respect and take a seat at the head of the table. We have runners hired to portray secretaries and handlers running in and out of the boardroom with urgent fake messages and coffee.”

I continued,

“My CEO does not have to say a word, all he needs to do is sit there, make eye contact with each of the buyers, nod his head a few times and command their respect with his presence. It works every time.” 

“What works every time?” She asked. 

“The deal goes through because these foreign investors look at companies booming in the United States and they all want to be like America and by being in the presence of a commanding American CEO with slicked back salt and pepper hair, it puts the illusion of comfort into them and a reassurance that they too will become the next big product or company to hit the American market and rip consumers off.” 

“What happens after all of this, don’t the investors want to see progress with the product they are buying into?” She asked.

“Once the deal is done, we are gone. We dismantle the entire operation, split the cash and move on to the next one.” 

“Don’t you feel bad for doing any of this?”

“Do you think these companies, both domestic and abroad feel bad when they take eighty dollars from you because your mortgage check was 8 hours late on the day after the due date because you had to pay your car bill to get to work to pay the mortgage?”

Or  

“Your credit card rate gets jacked to twenty nine percent because they did not process your payment until Monday, making it late?” 

Or 

“When they charge you a thousand dollar fine, a two hundred dollar processing fee, a hundred dollar origination fee and a fifty dollar service fee because you did the very best you could to not go bankrupt but your loan defaults because you could not pay in a lump sum?” 

Or  

“Do you feel bad when you get a speeding ticket for going two miles per hour over the speed limit because the police department needs to show increased revenue to the county each quarter!” 

Or  

“How restaurants make pint glasses thicker to give you less beer!”

Or 

“How Starbucks tells baristas to under-fill your lattes and charge you 2 dollars more!” 

Or

“How banks are marketing a mortgage refinancing that promises annual savings of more than $4,000. But the scheme just adds more than $37,000 interest to the overall cost of the life of the loan!”

Or…

She cuts me off.

“OK, OK, OK, I get it!… Jeez” She looks down at her drink and thinks about it for a moment. Her mannerisms were of a girl I once dated.

She pulled her head up and said, “No, I suppose I don’t feel bad if you rip off any of these corporate trolls trying to make a sleazy buck off all of us.” 

“Me either.” 

Fuck the system because the system will fuck you every time.

She nodded. “Fuck the system.”

Way Past Tipsy - ran kime

Read “The Broker” and other stories by Ran Kime in the collection Way Past Tipsy & Other Silent Cries for Help

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Ran Kime Writer
Ran Kime, a writer, poet, musician and recluse from New Hampshire, crafts abstract stories, flash fiction & poetry that probe the psyche. His collections include “Spectre of the Brocken: Halo for the observer” and “Way Past Tipsy & Other Silent Cries for Help”.