Getting Over On Goldman Sachs

My sole communication with the suck monster was a phone call I received while sitting at my desk in the old New York Times building on 43d Street. “Who is this?” a strange and stressed male voice inquired. “Who’s this?” I shot back in my best Joisey accent, my tenor more than implying that if asked again I would repeat myself louder and, perhaps, insert an emphatic the fuck in the middle of the query, possibly even add the dum-dum bullet d—instead of the lispy, totally Philadelphia, practically Castilian, th—followed, of course, by the diagraphic uh, thus completing a colloquial construction familiar even to those minimally conversant in Italian-American patois.

The caller, an institutional broker of international bonds, I later learned, fired back with an even better Joisey: “Your num-ber’s on my wife’s fuck—ing cell phone bill, Ace.”

I was impressed that his riposte included glissando and a double mini-caesura; I didn’t think the latter even existed, except, of course, in Provençal. Even so, I knew that slowing ascending and descending volume as well as an emphasis on mid-word breaks were common syntactical throw-downs derived neither from the street—and certainly not the Street—nor from a polymathic grasp of scansion but from modern mob movies, Badfellows, the Goodfather, etcetera. Poseur, in other words.

I smirked, hung up and called his wife again.

Nick Ravo, a former reporter for The New York Times, is a money manager and poet in Seattle.