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    The Stockbroker’s Cleaning Woman

    Автор книги Barry Rachin

    Время прослушивания 03:46, Дата публикации

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    "Should I come back?" The cleaning lady stood on the far side of the threshold with her janitorial cart and a vacuum cleaner. Judging by the disheveled pile of frizzy gray hair and sagging jowls, the woman looked to be in her late sixties. Allen Edgemont looked up from the pile of stock and municipal bond reports that littered his desk. It was well past six o'clock and most everyone at the brokerage firm had gone home for the day. "I'm just about done here. You won't bother me in the least." The older woman negotiated the metal cart into the carpeted office, unraveled the cord and set to work. Surveying a list of assets in the topmost portfolio, Allen didn't like what he saw. The fledgling companies - a mishmash of start-up ventures - promised high yield without bothering to mention risk. Risk was always the central issue. No prudent investment adviser would recommend such a collection of unproven, fledgling businesses. Ten years he had been counseling investors, and no one had ever lost his shirt. Not one! Some clients did better than others, but at the end of the day, there was never cause for panic, no horror stories or compulsion to go out on the ledge of the thirteenth floor because of an unanticipated blip in the Dow Jones. Finishing with the vacuuming, the cleaning lady stooped over to empty the trash basket alongside his desk. She smiled faintly before retreating to the opposite end of the room where she ran a dust rag over the mahogany bookshelf. "What happened to the other girl?" Allen pushed the paperwork momentarily aside. "Which one?" "The red-haired chatterbox." "Quit on short notice. The young ones don't tend to last long." Allen wasn't the least bit surprised. If the pretty young thing had worked half as hard as she jibber-jabbered or toyed with her cell phone... There were only two types of cleaners that the agency routinely sent: the PYT's - transient, careless and easily distracted. Everything done by the seat-of-their-pants, they never lasted beyond a handful of weeks. Then there were the older women. Over the years, Allen witnessed a steady stream of Irish Catholics. Most came from the shabby, three-decker tenements in South Boston. With huge silver crosses dangling from their necks, they spoke in a singsong, lilting Irish brogue, proved hard workers, tight-lipped and honest to a fault. The chocolaty-skinned Haitians tended to mix their devout, Christian beliefs with an amalgam of voodoo and atavistic rituals involving small animal sacrifice. Allen had learned this from a coworker who had a short-lived affair with one of the former cleaning women. The Hispanics were equally conscientious, subsisting in a parallel universe to which Allen was never privy. During his tenure, over a hundred had traipsed through the office complex, come and gone, and Allen had never learned a single name. He lowered his eyes and rubbed at the bristly, five o'clock shadow inching up his cheekbone and turned his attention back to the business at hand.