have known more men destroyed by the desire to have wife and child
and to keep them in comfort than I have seen destroyed by drink
~William Butler Yates
The news came a week prior to the annual office holiday party. The
head of the group was leaving the firm and taking his top two senior
officers with him. A sense of abandonment was permeating throughout
the office. It seemed as if their departure was extremely well timed
with the guarantee of their enormous bonuses. When one ran the most
prestigious trading desk on Wall Street for over a decade, one’s
compensation could be considered extremely generous. Even by the
The afternoon leading up to the holiday party, one of the traders
decided to pump some tunes out of his computer to lighten up the
mood. The tracks shuffled at random through the computer’s
mp3 player, as music boomed through the extra speakers and subwoofer.
“Hey Bill, why don’t you lower the bass a little bit.
I’m trying to work on tonight’s skit,” Tony said,
referring to the annual holiday party tradition where various employees
would perform skits that would usually make fun of the various personalities
within the department. In past years, the upper management were
popular targets for these skits.
“You know what,” added Tony, “on second thought,
let’s raise the volume on this song.” It was the Steve
Miller Band’s Take the Money and Run. This year’s skits
would have a certain zing to them.
“Hey Ron, I heard it’s your birthday today,” Mark
said as he passed by Ron’s desk.
“Yeah that’s right,” replied Ron.
“How old are you? 25? 26?”
“Ha, I wish. I’m 28 today.” Ron wondered to himself
if he was going to be answering the same question when he was in
his thirties, still sitting behind his desk, stuck in some sort
of middle management circle of the office Inferno. Mark interrupted
Ron’s train of thought by saying, “Hey man, I’ll
buy you a drink tonight.”
“That’s a good one bud, you know it’s open bar
tonight,” replied Ron.
“So what time are you heading over to the party?”
“I got lots to do bud. Go on ahead and I’ll meet you
“C’mon, it’s your birthday man. Go shorty, it’s
your berf-day. We gonna party like it’s your berf-day,”
Mark said as he bobbed his head up and down. Here was Mark, a waspy,
straight-laced kid who spent his summers in Newport and winters
in Aspen, all made possible due to his access to his family’s
private jet, now imitating a gangster rapper from Queens in front
Ron, whom originally grew up in Queens.
“That should be your skit for tonight Mark. You could be the
The holiday party was held in a plush ballroom in an old New York
hotel. As Ron walked in, he was handed a glass a champagne by one
of the servers. He took it down in one gulp and proceeded straight
to the bar. He just spent his 28th birthday sitting for eleven and
half-hours on the trading desk and felt it was now time to unwind.
He recognized most of the people in the ballroom and made a beeline
for his three female co-workers who were chatting it up amongst
themselves. These were the “untouchables” of the leverage
finance group. The three youngest, most attractive girls on the
floor. And for that cocktail hour, Ron was holding court before
being ushered into an even larger ballroom for some dinner, some
music and the infamous skits.
The skits were particularly brutal this year, Ron thought. But everyone
in the grand ballroom was anticipating Tony’s skit, which
was saved for last. Ever since joining the firm several years ago,
Tony was dubbed the unofficial master of ceremonies of the holiday
soirée. With his flare for great comedic timing and clever
wit, his skits would make the whole room laugh out load and wonder
how much he can get away with. Tony basked in his moment and when
he was finished, he worked the room like the top-notch salesman
that he was. Bouncing from table to table, making sure to greet
everyone and exchange pleasantries.
When he reached Ron’s table, Tony quickly whipped out his
“Ron, enjoy your birthday and have a fun evening.”
“You bet!” replied Ron, as his eyes lit up with all
the possibilities the night had in store. After several hours of
open bar, Ron was ready to ditch his coworkers. He was ready to
leave the party when Jose, a junior on the trading floor, walked
up to him.
“I heard Tony gave you his credit card” Jose said, right
before finishing up his Amstel Light bottle.
“Yeah, this party is beat. Do you want to see what’s
up with the after-party?”
“Why not,” replied Jose, “it’s right in
the bar across the street.”
So the two of them stumbled across the street to find the after-party
was in full swing.
“I don’t know man,” sighed Ron. “I work
with these people for over 60 hours a week. Besides, this place
already smells like someone puked in here.”
“What did you have in mind?” inquired Jose.
West was one of the newest mega strip clubs to open on the west
side of Manhattan. Inside was a mammary Mecca, a temple of decadence.
Ron and Jose gathered themselves as they stepped out of the taxi
and made a dash to the large doors, which were held open by the
doorman. The heavens had opened up and by the time they got inside,
their jackets were completely drenched.
“Enjoy yourselves gentlemen,” said the doorman as he
opened the door. “It’s a slow night because of the rain,
so you’re bound to get specialized attention.”
“Well, that’s why we’re here”, replied Jose.
After entering the club, they realized that it was pretty desolate,
except for the curvaceous platinum blond dancing on stage with body
glitter. They plopped themselves down on a table and within seconds,
there was a beautiful girl at their side, requesting their drink
“Two Amstel lights please,” said Ron.
“Would you like to pay cash or start a tab?” asked the
“I’ll start a tab”
“We’ll need a credit card and an ID.”
Ron handed over the platinum credit card and his driver’s
While waiting for the drinks, several girls approached the table
for some dances. The guys declined the first wave of girls, but
were soon mesmerized by an extremely busty brunette that grabbed
a seat from an adjoining table and situated herself right in between
“Hi, I’m Vanessa”
The two guys were speechless.
“Would either of you two guys like a dance?”
Jose quickly exclaimed, “Hell yeah!”
As Vanessa gave Jose his dance, Ron looked around and signaled for
one of the girls who were gathered by the bar to come over. As she
approached Ron, he tried to figure out her ethnicity. Partly Black,
partly Asian, it was hard to tell. Ron looked down and noticed that
hadn’t even touched his beer. The open bar had treated him
Ron asserted himself, “Excuse me, I was wondering if you want
to sit down with us for a while?”
“I’m Reena, nice to meet you”
“I’m Ron and that’s my boy Jose with Vanessa.”
“Would you like a dance?”
“No, not right away. Wouldn’t you like a drink first?”
While waiting for the drinks to come, Ron struck up some small talk
“So, what kind of name is Reena?”
“It’s Indian. My dad is Indian and my mom was half black
and half Malaysian. So how about that dance?”
Ron looked over to Jose and saw that he had a permanent grin on
“Actually, I was wondering if we can hang out somewhere a
little more private,” inquired Ron.
“Sure, we can head towards the back.”
Ron tapped Jose on the shoulder, “C’mon bud, we’re
going VIP style tonight. Bring your friend.”
They were led through a short hallway and through large, heavy black
velour curtains. Inside there were several couches and tables with
dim lighting. It was much cozier than the main room. The girls led
the two guys to separate couches and proceeded to grind their bodies
as the guys laid down.
“Would anybody like anything else to drink”?
“No, no not for me” Ron slurred, “whatever the
girls want.” Ron was still nursing the first beer he had ordered.
“Actually, I’m pretty hungry,’ said Reena. “Are
you guys hungry?”
“No, not really. But order whatever you want.”
After several dances, various plates of food appeared in the VIP
room and Ron began to wonder exactly how much this bill was going
top be. But the tremendous amount of alcohol he consumed at the
office party and the natural 38C’s he was gently kissing and
sucking made it difficult for him to stay focused. He knew he had
stopped drinking, but Jose and the girls were still going strong
with their attempt to try practically every top shelf liquor.
While the girls were eating, Jose suggested they should switch up.
Ron didn’t disagree, so he played along. He was about to look
at his watch to check the time when Vanessa crawled over to him,
parted his legs and rose up in between them, breathing heavily into
“Are you ready for me?” she whispered into his ear.
Ron began cupping her breasts. They were extremely firm and seemed
to defy gravity.
“Do you like them?” asked Vanessa.
“Your surgeon did a great job.”
“They were a gift from my last boyfriend.”
“What a lucky guy.”
“Actually he was dick. What about you? Any girlfriends?”
“Nah, my heart gets broken too easily.”
“You’re so cute. And relaxed. And quiet. Unlike your
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know. You’re just different. Very chill.”
“Probably because it’s late and I’m a bit tired.”
“Are you saying you’re not having a good time?”
“No, no, no. This is great. You’re absolutely amazing.
This is probably one of my best birthdays ever.”
“It’s your birthday? Why didn’t you tell me? C’mon
and follow me.”
She led Ron by the hand through the curtains and down another hallway.
“Where are we going?” asked Ron.
They entered an even smaller, more intimate room, which contained
just a leather loveseat and side table. Vanessa locked the door
“Wow, this is pretty cool” Ron said.
“Sit down honey.”
As Ron sat down, she began to untie his belt and unzip his pants.
Ron was thinking that this was easily the best birthday he ever
had. After several minutes, the door burst open and a humungous
bouncer pushed Vanessa aside and grabbed Ron by the collar.
“C’mon pal, party’s over. Pull your pants up and
come with me,” quipped the gorilla.
After getting himself together, Ron was led to the management’s
office. He saw his co-worker Jose was already there, arguing with
several large men in black suits.
of the men pointed at Ron.
“You guys are going to jail!”
“What are guys talking about?” asked Ron.
“The cops are coming in ten minutes and hauling your asses
to the precinct.”
“For using a stolen credit card.”
“Sir, this is just a misunderstanding, you see—”
“Bullshit, tell it to the cops”
This time Jose decided to join the conversation.
“You guys don’t know who you’re dealing with!
We work with Albany Capital Management. Do you even know how much
business you’ll lose once we spread the word!”
One of the large goons responded, “I don’t give a fuck
who you are. You better calm the fuck down!”
“Relax Jose,” said Ron, “let me handle this. Sir,
like I was saying, this is just a big misunderstanding. If you look
at my ID, you’ll see that today is my birthday. My boss gave
me his credit card to have a night on the town. The card is not
stolen. If you want to call him up and wake him, he can vouch for
“This is what I’m going to do,” began the manager.
“I’m going to keep this credit card and your ID’s.
Have your boss come down tomorrow night to pick them up.”
“No way,” replied Jose, “you’re not keeping
“Relax man,” said Ron, “let’s just do as
they say and get out of here.”
One of the large men in suits approached them and said, “Take
my business card and have your boss come down tomorrow night. Now
get the fuck out of my club.”
The two co-workers were escorted out into the rain where they shared
a cab back to their respective apartments. Ron checked his cellular
phone and noticed he had several voicemail messages. More importantly,
he noticed the time. It was 4:10 in the morning and he had to be
back in the office in less than three and half hours. He checked
his first voicemail message.
“Hola mijo, es tita, feliz cumpleaños.”
It was his grandmother, wishing him a happy birthday in Spanish.
He sunk in the back of the cab as he tried to figure out his next
The alarm went off at 6:45AM and Ron shot straight up from his sleep.
The previous evening’s events were fresh in his mind and he
was still trying to figure out how to explain things. He arrived
at the office and could hear the usual post-holiday party water
cooler banter on the way to his desk.
“Did you see Mike at the bar, he threw up right in front of
“That’s nothing, I heard Vin hooked up with Karen.”
Ron was dreading having to explain the story to Tony.
The morning went by and everyone was recovering from his or her
hangovers. All of sudden, Tony screamed out, “Ron, Jose, get
the fuck in the conference room!”
Ron and Jose knew what was coming. Tony had a temper and it was
going to get ugly.
“I just got a call from the manager of Scores. He told me
you ran up a $5,700 tab on my credit card! And that you started
mouthing off when they confronted you guys. I should call human
resources right now and have you fired and scorted out of the building.
We’re talking about grand larceny here!! Why did you fuck
Ron bowed his head and said, “’I’m so sorry Tony.
Things got out of control way too quickly.”
“How can the bill be $5,700?” added Jose.
Tony replied, “I don’t give a fuck what you guys say.
I’m fucking furious. I’m livid. Get the fuck out of
The two dejected guys slumped back to their desks.
Around ten minutes later, various co-workers kept stopping by Ron’s
They all asked the same question, all with smirks on their faces.
“So, did you have a good time last night?”
“What some guys do for some tits and ass” was another
remark Ron heard throughout the day.
That afternoon, Ron’s telephone lines lit up like a Christmas
tree. Various portfolio managers on Wall Street were calling him
with the same question.
“Is it true? Were you the one?”
Ron, feeling like he had just lost his job, quietly affirmed their
inquiries. To his dismay, they all seemed to get a great kick out
of it. Even Ron’s old boss, who had relocated to Paris, gave
him a call that afternoon.
“Hey, isn’t it like 9:30 at night over there?”
“I know everything. And I must tell you, that’s one
of the most old school Wall Street stories I’ve heard in a
long time. That’s so rock and roll.”
Ron was thinking if things were out of control last night, they
were spinning even more out control from its after-effects. On a
global scale. Ron had just become an instant legend, a part of the
folklore in the closely-knit bond-trading world.
In the aftermath, Ron kept mostly to himself and distanced himself
from his co-workers. He felt extremely terrible for betraying Tony’s
confidence. Something he knew he could never regain. Even though
he had paid Tony half the bill, while all the traders on the desk
took up a collection amongst themselves to pay the other half, he
knew things were not straight. He was well liked on the desk and
that was the only reason why he hadn’t lost his job. Still,
he brushed up his resume in case his worst fears were confirmed.
On Christmas Eve, Ron was the last to leave the office. He felt
a hand on his shoulder. It was the head trader of the desk, Bill.
He handed Ron two envelopes and wished him a merry Christmas. Ron
looked inside the first envelope and it was a letter on company
stationary stating that he earned a raise and higher title within
the firm. The second envelope was a Christmas card, stuffed with
cash equaling the amount of money Ron had paid Tony.
Inside the Christmas card was one single sentence:
“Merry Christmas you fucking dope, Bill”