Ghosts of Manhattan

Ghosts of Manhattan by Douglas Brunt

Book: Ghosts of Manhattan by Douglas Brunt Read Free Book Online
Authors: Douglas Brunt
makes me uncomfortable and I’m not sure I even want to admit to her or to myself that a dinner with Oliver can make me feel resentful. Anyway, a Thanksgiving night work event gives me an excuse to do something away from home with Chappy.
    When we buy or sell in and out of positions, we often put the trade through Chappy, who will find the other party in the transaction for us, sometimes keeping us or the other party anonymous so the rest of the Street doesn’t know our positions. Chappy never takes a risk on a position; they don’t actually buy anythingthemselves, they just broker two parties together and take a piece of the transaction. We put a lot of trades through Chappy, so they like to make sure we’re properly entertained and don’t take our business to another brokerage shop. We spread it around to a few shops, but it’s human nature to give a little back to the guys who just sprung for a nice dinner. And even more so if that dinner is followed by a lap dance and cocaine.
    Doing drugs can form a bond between men. The way couples can build on the foundation of the first big laugh shared or the revealing of a secret, when men get high together it is an intimate act, revealing in its own way. The person has shared something with the other, knows something about the other as though they are part of a special club that likely doesn’t include even a person’s wife, kids, or parents.
    We meet at Bistro 18 on Prince Street in SoHo. Jack Wilson runs the desk at Chappy that covers our products. Jack is my age and played baseball at Syracuse. We have a few college friends in common since I know some of the lacrosse players from there. He has black hair with premature gray evenly set around his head instead of just at the temples, and I think he’ll be completely white-haired in ten years. He’s about five seven, average build, but his face and neck are swollen from alcohol. The way cookie dough flattens when baked, his features have melted down to be almost flat and unrecognizable. There is enough left to see that it had once been a good-looking face but this now just makes him look unnatural and worse.
    He’s very jolly, always backslapping and laughing too loud, head roving around and eyes active, constantly searching for the next excuse to bark another laugh and slap another back. He brought with him his schlep, Tyler Atwood, who goes by Woody. I have William with me. Woody and William are about the same ageand regular abusers of the Chappy expense budget. They make the rounds to the strip clubs and massage parlors together, but in this area there is no one like Jack. He makes no pretense of doing actual office work but delegates it to Woody and others. He focuses entirely on forging that special bond of coke and strippers with as many on Wall Street as possible. The more people that join the Jack Wilson Club, the more money he makes.
    He’s out to the morning hours four or five times each week. He knows the best coke dealers, and as their best customer, they all know him and give special treatment. They’ll meet him anywhere, anytime, with whatever he wants. If Jack’s with a group, everyone is taken care of. If he runs out, the dealer will send someone to stand on the corner outside the restaurant to deliver more.
    Most strip clubs require that you pay real cash for play cash to give to the girls. Monopoly money that the girls cash back in with management at the end of the night. Keeps them honest, I guess. I heard Jack was recorded as having spent the second-largest amount of money in some club last year. First was some billionaire from Moscow.
    â€œHey, Jack.” His face is looking even puffier and more engorged than when I last saw him. He and Woody are leaning against the bar, vodka drinks in hand.
    â€œNick, how ya doing, my man? Looking good as always. Haven’t seen you in a few. How ya been? Everything good?” Jack has a way of asking multiple

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