Read Adapt Online

Authors: Edward Freeland

Adapt

Adapt

Edward Freeland

My eyelids feel like dead weights
, Daniel thought to himself whilst slouched at the table in the corner of a cosy London pub. The chatter from the surrounding tables had become a soothing rhythm of many voices blending as one, and this communal voice seemed to be goading him to fall asleep.
Nothing compares to the character of a Victorian London watering hole,
he contemplated.
I didn’t notice how detailed the wooden carvings of the bar and handrails were the last time I was here. Punters have been pawing at them for a century yet they look like they were crafted yesterday.
He looked around at the cornucopia of ornaments and brass objects, each of which complemented the huge timber beams guarding the ceiling. Detailed paintings draped in tinsel adorned the walls. The art was mostly depicting moments and events throughout London’s history. Daniel became fixated on a painting over by the bar.
Strange picture to have in a boozer,
he noted. Flames seemed to flicker off the canvas giving the illusion of heat radiating from the picture.
Chilling subject matter for a social venue,
he ironically thought.

“Don’t want to interrupt your moment there, fella, but here’s your pint.” Daniel hardly heard the deep voice.

“Oh, cheers, Gavin, I didn’t see you there I was so mellowed out.”

“I agree with you, Daniel, gazing at her is enough to mellow any man.”

“Who?” Daniel looked up and followed Gavin’s line of sight.
“Oh. No, I wasn’t even looking at her, I was looking at the craftsmanship throughout the place.”

“Craftsmanship, ha, good excuse for ogling, mate. I might try that. ‘I wasn’t looking at what you thought I was, love, I was just admiring the craftsmanship of your blouse’.”

It wasn’t an excuse,
thought Daniel,
I must be bloody tired, to have not even noticed her. Tall, slim, long dark hair and a dress that’s shy of material.

“I had today off work to attend. The early start is catching up with me,” said Daniel. “I left the house early this morning. I feel just as tired as I would had I gone to work and driven a bus around all day.”

“You’re not the only one,” said Gavin. “The fact it gets dark at five o’clock doesn’t help.”

“Mind you, I feel perked up now,” Daniel admitted as he glanced back over to the dark haired woman he was now aware of.

“So, four weeks into the case. How do you feel it is going?” asked Gavin.

“Well, although I’ve only been attending once a week, it’s clear to me that they are clutching at straws demanding thirty per cent of the company, but you’re more qualified than me to surmise.”

“I don’t know about qualified,” said Gavin. “But at the ripe age of forty-three I’ve been investing a few years and I’ve never come across a small group asking for such a large slice of the pie. Their case is flimsy at best and I can see it being thrown out.”

Touch wood
, thought Daniel with the middle finger of his right hand firmly pressing the table. “From what I’ve seen, all they did was set up a few meetings during the acquisition phase.”

“You’re right,” Gavin replied as he leaned forward over his glass of whiskey. “They certainly have no grounds to ask for five per cent let alone thirty.”

Daniel nodded. “It would be interesting to know who is funding their case; every hour in that court must cost a fortune when you look at their legal team.”

“I wouldn’t worry,” replied Gavin. “This won’t go the distance. They may even…” he paused.

“May even what? You look in deep thought there,” said Daniel. The amber lighting reflected off Gavin’s head whilst he scratched
away vigorously at it. He could be easily recognised by his clean shaven head and dark neatly trimmed beard covering his cheeks and disguising his thick neck. He was a large man attired in a black suit, white shirt with top buttons undone. A pair of thin-framed reading glasses rested on his long nose.

“It’s unlikely, but they may even settle outside of court just to get the case out of the way,” said Gavin. “Which would temporarily hurt the share price.”

“Either way so long as it’s positive for the company in the long run then it’s positive for me in the long run.”

“I agree,” said Gavin, “it’s good that us private investors can support our team from the stands and are even allowed to make notes on any aspect of the case.”

“Speaking of which, can you send me over your notes on everything that you have?” asked Daniel.

“No worries, fella, you gave me your email when we first met at the start of the case. I’ll send them over.”

Daniel smiled. “Thanks, that will be great as I’ve got everything riding on this share.”

“Really? Bad move,” advised Gavin. “Diversify, my man, and never put all your eggs in one basket. There are no certainties in this game, believe me. You won’t find an oil exploration company with more potential, but don’t go all in. I know the market is as rigged as any casino but it don’t mean you should play it like one.”

“I know I shouldn’t but…”

“But,” said Gavin, “what do you mean, but? If you know you shouldn’t then why do it?”

“I’m trying to recover what I’ve already lost,” explained Daniel. “I made mistakes earlier in the year, and…”

“From the look on your face,” Gavin interrupted, “I would say they were costly. So you’re going to rectify these mistakes with more mistakes. Not wise, fella.”

Mistakes are something that I’ve perfected over the years
, he thought.

“He who dares wins,” said Daniel.

“Well, someone dared to go up shit creek without a paddle and the only thing he won was poopy palms. What did you lose it on, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“On margin,” replied Daniel.

“Let me guess – commodities.”

“Yep, I was doing fine in my first year, made some good gains. But I tend to have bouts of recklessness and in my reckless state I went long on crude.”

“Hmm, everyone always worries about the price of milk but it’s the price of crude that will give a man sleepless nights,” said Gavin. “If you leave an open position on crude overnight with no stop loss you are reckless. And probably a fucking wreck by the end of it.”

Daniel perused the pub, which was filling out with fellow drinkers. He occasionally smelt a different aftershave or flowery perfume as people navigated past his table.

“I was over leveraged. I thought oil value would continue to head north. I thought I had enough in the account to absorb a retrace. I didn’t, however, foresee the world’s most active terrorist being assassinated by the US.”

“Inconsiderate bastards,” Gavin jumped in, “they could have done the decent thing and warned you first.”

“That would have been nice,” said Daniel, “but as I’m sure you’re aware, crude lost about twenty-five dollars per barrel overnight. That’s a lot, and it wiped me out.”

“Hmm, it was a trophy kill, the false sense that the world is somehow safer now; it temporarily alleviates markets, speculators have a field day driving down the price of oil,” explained Gavin. “And then comes the bounce. Geopolitical tensions, threats to refineries and pipelines, embargoes and worldwide currency debasement all still relevant. Lo and behold oil then goes on to set a record high.”

Daniel slouched back in to the chair. “And I suffer the consequence. I couldn’t watch, the speed it rebounded was phenomenal, and just to add insult to injury it flew past my target price.”

“Lots of people suffer the consequence of fluctuating bubbles,” said Gavin. “More so the people that don’t even have direct access to markets. One bubble leads to another, which in modern times leads to government stimulus. This stimulus then flows in the same direction, usually affecting the price of commodities, which leads to another bubble that hurts people in a far flung country
who knew nothing of the original bubble.” Gavin paused and swigged back his whiskey like it was water. “I suppose you got to look at the positives. In any negative financial event there’s always someone who benefits, whether it be market crashes, currency wars, theft or just losing your wallet at the side of the curb. Philosophically speaking, you did a good deed because there was someone involved in that trade who benefited.”

Wow, he really knows how to make someone feel better,
he thought.
I’m never going to tell him about when my girlfriend kicked me out. He’ll no doubt commend me for being so noble as to kindly benefit the bloke that’s now with her.

“That’s definitely a glass half full perspective,” said Daniel.

“Well, you have a glass that’s half full and I have one that’s empty,” replied Gavin whilst shaking his glass. “And I got the last round.”

“Hint taken,” said Daniel before he gulped down the rest of his ale and made his way to the bar. On his return he placed the drink in front of Gavin.

“Double whiskey,” said Daniel.

“Cheers, fella. You took your time.”

“It’s got really busy. Talking of busy, I should be thumbing my way through a technical analysis guide to help limit mistakes.” Daniel paused for a moment. “You’re looking at me like I’m mental.”

“Don’t bother. Study a company’s fundamentals, invest in that company and wait. Years if you have to. Technical analysis is good for in and out but is not necessary for the patient investor.”

He’s stroking his beard like an old Chinese philosopher, this must indicate that wise words will follow.

“Besides, I’ve been to these technical analysis seminars,” said Gavin, “but could never keep a straight face when asked to look at the shaven bottom or instructed to take a closer look at the camel toe.”

Daniel was relieved to have contained his laughter and spared Gavin the showering of ale he would have received had his lips parted.
I’m not sure on that terminology
. “You must mean camel hump, surely.”

“Yeah, something like that,” replied Gavin. Daniel was still
tickled by the idea none the less.

“Where can I sign up?”

“It was probably my imagination roaming,” said Gavin. “The boredom of incoherent babble of Elliott Wave Principals and the like led me to think of something a little more stimulating.”

“It’s not the most riveting of subject matter, I’m sure.” Daniel lifted his glass to his lips. The bitter taste should be paired with one thing,
cigarette
, he thought.
How I would love to light up right now, puffing and sipping in synchronicity.
He had been a non-smoker for years but would still think of the old habit when he drank.

“I’ve been talking to a few big investors,” said Gavin.

“Compared to me
you’re
a big investor.”

“No, I heard from a few suits in the city,” Gavin added. Daniel kept his thoughts to himself.
Heard. From. Suits. In. The. City. Those six words should have a salt content warning because a pinch is never enough.

“Word is, the Chinese have been sniffing around. Apparently they’ve been on site analysing the acreage. They’ve even tested the stuff that’s already refined,” said Gavin. It sounded plausible to Daniel.

“It makes sense. There’s definitely going to be interested parties from all corners,” said Daniel. “The company’s ripe for a NOC’s pickings.”

“You got it, fella, the Chinese are entering these resource rich states at a rapid rate. They are buying up mines and oilfields, and often build up infrastructure at the same time. They are ahead of everyone when it comes to acquisitions. The national oil companies can’t accumulate enough of the black gold.”

“It sounds good,” said Daniel. “A fairy tale ending, for our minnow.”

“If the Chinese come in with the right offer I think it’s a green light. Money makes the world go round, Daniel, and oil makes money go round,” said Gavin whilst looking at his empty glass. “Same again?”

Daniel looked at his watch.
Is that the time? I had better down this, take a leak and head off.

“No thanks, this will be my last one. I’ll be back in a minute.”

“Sure,” said Gavin.

Daniel looked in the mirror as he rinsed his hands.
I should shave off the designer stubble as it isn’t the most revitalising look.
His shoulder length hair was slicked back into a pony tail. His facial features were distinctive – a large nose and square jaw. He saw a somewhat rugged reflection.

“Let’s do this, dude,” he said aloud before looking around.
I hope no one in that cubical heard me, they may get the wrong idea.
This time his thoughts didn’t pass his lips. He made his way back through the crowded pub; mainly legal workers, it would seem.
I wonder how many legal cases have been dissected in here
, he pondered. On his return to the table Gavin was already sitting with a fresh drink in hand.

“I’ve got to make a move, Gavin, I’m meeting someone at seven.” Daniel downed the rest of his ale. This pint seemed much smoother than the first and his palette craved another.

“Yeah, okay, my man. Are you attending next week?”

“Hopefully,” replied Daniel.

“Great, well I will send you over those notes. I will also send you a few tech companies I’m researching; it may help you with diversification.”

“Okay, thanks.”

“In the meantime I will hang out here chewing the cud with my glass of whiskey, until I’m pissed enough to embarrass myself in front of…” Gavin looked around. “She’s gone.” He scanned the pub like a hawk hunting prey. “There she is, our dark haired beauty from the bar.”

Daniel smiled.
That’s not even her,
he thought to himself. “Okay then,” he said whilst putting on his grey duffle coat and scarf, “see you next week.”

“Take it easy, fella,” said Gavin, reaching out to shake Daniel’s hand.

Daniel lurked outside rummaging through his pockets. He looked up at the façade of the public house. The decorative stained glass windows that were ornately framed had fresh snow hugging the sills.
Have I left my gloves behind?
he questioned.
There you are
, he thought with his hand inside his jacket.
Not that these leather gloves make much difference but I might as well wear them as I’ve got them.

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