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The Advisor #2: Market Openings

May 23, 2011


San Francisco  6:18 AM

Cinnamon St. Claire grinned like a Cheshire cat as she hung up her phone.  Her boss, Ignatius Rowe’s super power broker Lucy Mincer, had pushed her estimated time of arrival into the office back by half an hour.  Cinnamon hurriedly undid a button on her white silk blouse affording onlookers an unobstructed view of her ample cleavage barely stuffed inside an outrageously expensive Parisian couturier suit she’d extorted from a former broker at the firm right before she schemed to get him fired.  She pushed her long reddish brown hair away from her widow’s peak with her right hand.  The narrow black framed plano glasses Cinnamon wore to make herself appear more intellectual and less accessible found their way onto her nondescript desk blotter.  Her violet eyes danced in a flicker of delight as Victor Ramirez, the most recently hired Ignatius Rowe Broker In Training or B.I.T. made his way around her desk.  He was wearing a dark brown suit and matching brown suspenders with a maroon silk tie.

“What’s shakin’ bacon?”  The pleasant smile on Cinnamon’s face was a welcome relief from the parade of scowls Victor had endured on his way to the BIT’s “Camp Ground.”   The Trainees’ “Camp Ground” was housed in a large room near Cinnamon’s desk.  It was no accident that the training room had been relocated to be as close to her as possible.

“Hey, Cinnamon.”  Victor’s normally effusive smile turned down at the corners as he took in the peculiar look on her finely featured face.  She was an attractive woman and not much older than him although she had been with the firm for over ten years.  Most of the trainees were terrified of her.  And rightfully so.

“Victor, could you help me out with something in Lucy’s office?”  Cinnamon’s eyes were x-raying him from head to toe.

“What’s the problem, Cinnamon?”  He may have been new, but he had heard stories about Cinnamon.  He reluctantly followed her into Lucy’s office watching as she slowly but firmly closed the door behind herself.  Lucy’s office was fifteen degrees colder than the rest of the floor.  The Pyramid Building had the capability to vary the temperature of different parts of the same floor by as much as forty degrees.

“Oh, the old witch’s filing cabinet is jammed again. Must have stuffed too many clients’ dead bodies in there.”  Cinnamon laughed hysterically and stopped herself abruptly as she realized Victor wasn’t laughing with her.  She eyed Victor’s muscular behind as he jostled the cabinet drawer.

“Well, let me see.  We should be able to fix this quickly.”  Out of the corner of his eye, he could see her standing at least ten feet behind him.  Suddenly, he felt a tugging on his silk suspenders.  “What the heck are you doing, Cinnamon?”

“You know, Victor, you have the most beautiful chocolate brown eyes.  And that is a really nice champagne colored shirt.”  Cinnamon trailed her palm lightly over Victor’s shoulder.

“Thanks, Cinnamon, but–”  He rushed towards the door, but she was blocking his path.

“I love colors that are foods.”  She eyed him like a famished woman preparing to rip the wrapper right off a candy bar she’d been saving for just the right moment.

Victor tried valiantly to dissuade her.  “Step away from the door, Cinnamon.  I don’t want to hurt you.”

Cinnamon smiled and looked at him more boldly than any man he had ever met during his time in the ring as an amateur boxer.  “You can’t hurt me, Victor.  But we both know I can destroy you.”

Of course he knew she was right.  He was trapped.  “Please, Cinnamon,  I can’t afford to lose this job.  And I have a girlfriend.”

Cinnamon slowly unzipped Victor’s form-fitted suit pants.  “Sweetie, girlfriends come and go.  Besides, if you do your job well here, I will make your career at Ignatius Rowe.”

Lucy Mincer glanced down at her diamond-faced Rolex and realized she was running behind schedule as she dashed ahead of a group of early morning commuters and strutted inside the front entrance of the Pyramid Building.  Once inside the beige stone floored entranceway, she mechanically retracted her white identification badge and laid it on top of one of the electronic gates flashing green and then red as Pyramid Building tenants moved through the screening mechanism.

Lucy was a petite woman with an angelic face framed with shoulder length chestnut brown hair.  She was outfitted in a pink and white checked Chanel suit and a pair of white Prada high heels.  Her hand instinctively located the close doors button as several other workers angrily watched her slam the elevator door in their faces despite their anguished pleas.

A tiny old  lady clutching a heavy lucite cane cried out at Lucy as the door shut right in her face.  “You evil bitch!”

“Tell it to Social Security, grandma.”  As the door closed, Lucy suddenly heard a ringing.  She retrieved her Blackberry out of her jacket pocket and listened, but it wasn’t ringing.  She noted a breaking news alert on her Blackberry that a runaway bus was heading through downtown San Francisco.   Again, she heard the ringing.  It was coming from somewhere inside the elevator.

“Hello.”   Lucy opened the elevator control panel and lifted up the receiver.  Her voice sounded cultured, but shockingly deep when juxtaposed with her extremely feminine exterior.

“Hi. I was just wondering if a sharply dressed woman like you reads Vogue Magazine.”  The genderless voice was both effervescent and knowing.

“Yeah I read Vogue. Who the hell is this?”   Lucy couldn’t even believe that this was happening.

“I’m calling to see if you might want to save on a new subscription to Vogue and several other exciting magazines.”

“Ok.  two questions.  First, did you realize you’re cold calling me in an elevator?  And second, how’d you land that leads list?”

Just as Lucy sensed that the cold caller might know far more than was being revealed to her, the internal elevator phone line went dead.

Ignatius Rowe was housed on two floors of the Pyramid Building in an impressively appointed suite of offices.   An immense gold scale sat on a podium as the focus of attention inside the office’s grand entranceway as a testament to the firm’s roots extending back to San Francisco’s Gold Rush era.  The scale had belonged to Sebastian Rowe.  Rowe was an ingenious marketer who had cleverly won over the gold miners’ business by providing a better weight for the gold they turned in at his firm for valuation than several other financial institutions.  Over the years,  Ignatius Rowe had gobbled up many of its regional competitor firms to become an elite brokerage house with an international clientele.

Once past the waiting area, the firm quickly became a maze of corridors paved in plush money-green carpeting lined with row after row of mahogany filing cabinets.   Lucy Mincer, the most successful female retail broker in the history of Ignatius Rowe, unlocked one of her numerous assigned drawers and began rifling through several client files.  After she had found precisely what she had been looking for, she turned on her high heels and headed straight for her corner office.

Lucy turned the door handle and entered.   Without even pausing, she read through her file oblivious to the couple frozen in fear on top of her desk.   Victor hurriedly got off of Cinnamon and zipped himself back up.  Lucy didn’t even look at him as she scoured through the documents laid out before her.

Cinnamon gradually straightened out her clothes and retreated back to her desk.  Her activities had caused her lipstick to create a deep red diagonal line from the edge of her lips to her chin.  “Do you need anything, Lucy?”

“You’re a real pistol, Cinnamon.”  Lucy smirked and shook her head as she scrutinized a client file.  A news bulletin was flashing across the large screen television in Lucy’s office which normally showcased CNBC.  Jared Golden and Leo Hayes’ pictures were on the screen together with a story about their bus which had narrowly avoided a huge collision.

“Aren’t I though?”  Cinnamon snapped a piece of pink bubble gum between her razor-sharp front teeth and smiled back at her boss confidently with the knowing look of a woman whose worth to her employer far outweighed any transgressions she might make on the job.

“Cinnamon, hold all my calls for the next hour.  I’ll be working on a project.”  Cinnamon St. Claire had earned the right to work for Lucy Mincer by paying her dues first as a receptionist and years later by doing a flawless job for her last three one-million-dollar-plus-producing financial advisors.  She knew every nook and cranny in Lucy’s office, her needs, and those of every one of her clients.  Yet, no one knew what Lucy did for that one hour each day like clockwork.  Not even Cinnamon.  And despite her feeling that she was indispensable, Cinnamon never dared to tread on that one hour Lucy reserved each day.  Lucy shut and locked the door behind herself and began indulging her addiction.

© Samuel Rush 2011.  All Rights Reserved.