Swamped, a novel by Manolis Aligizakis

SWAMPED, a novel by Manolis Aligizakis

(Excerpt)

          A little later, he said goodbye to Jonathan, asked him to make sure Alex got up on time for school, and drove downtown. He spent the morning looking after purchase orders and answering calls. One of them, as he expected, was from Herbert.

          “Good morning, Eteo.”

          “Good morning, Herbert.”

          “Give me the quote.”

          “45 to 48 cents, 260 thousand.”

          “Good. How does it look? Good buying below?”

          “Yes, plenty of orders. What should we expect now?” Eteo asked.

          “Not much until they get at least a verbal from the exchange”

          “Right, how long?”

          “A few days, not longer.”

          “Thanks a lot, Herb.”

The stock looked very good at this level, but once it started going higher, Eteo was certain many more shares for sale would show up and no one could know how it might develop from there on. However, Eteo had developed a good sense from years of doing this. He could feel when the buying was ready to dry up and it was time to unload. He was confident this sixth sense would not let him down in the Platinum Properties venture.

The morning unfolded smoothly. He was reading a mining report when Helena brought in Richard Walden. They shook hands and Eteo asked whether Richard would like to have a coffee. The older man said no and Eteo waited for him to start the conversation.

“I’m headed to the Prairies, first to Calgary to meet a few brokers and then to Saskatchewan to run over the property with the mining engineer and the two inventors. We’ll explore where to drill.”

“Sounds good. Keep me in the loop.”

“Don’t let it go below 50c. I need a good market to show the new brokers.”            

“What have you got prepared? What will your big broker at Canarim Securities do?”

“He’ll do his part, don’t worry about him; just don’t let it go below 50c.”

“As long as he plays ball, I will too,” Eteo replied. He had never liked the Canarim fellow. He was the type of person who could get up on the wrong side of the bed and throw a bunch of shares in the market expecting Eteo to chew them, and since that guy was a bigger broker, he could support his own selling with equivalent buying. Eteo had never liked the idea of supporting a market price if he was the only one doing the supporting. It was a fool’s game when everybody else was a seller.

“Eteo, can I count on you? I wouldn’t like it to go below 50c. I have to have a good market to get the new brokers on board, you know what it takes.”

Eteo’s teeth clenched and his breathing quickened. His eyebrows created the canal of anger he always felt between them when he didn’t like what he was hearing, but good politics taught him to just play along. It was one of those situations when he needed to go against his own instincts, which were telling him to throw this man out of his office. Instead Eteo just smiled at the promoter.

“I’ll keep an eye on it, and I’ll play ball, no worries,” Eteo reassured him. This seemed to pacify Richard. He offered an insecure smile, shook Eteo’s hand, and left without another word. Seconds later Logan walked in with wonder written all over his face.

“What did he want?” he asked his father.

“He’s on his way to Calgary and wants the stock to stay firm. Around the 50c level. He’s talking it up to new investors, or so he says.”

“Bullshit. He’s full of it. I knew it. He used the same line all last year.”

“I know. We filled his accounts with money and got precious little back. I wonder what his broker at Canarim is thinking now, after getting over two million shares of the shit at 65 cents, and now they’re headed nowhere but down. If he had held his position, there might have been an exit somewhere.”

“Not necessarily, Dad. Maybe that broker could afford a loss, who knows?” Logan’s tone was blasé, but his eyes reflected his disappointment that nothing better had come from Walden.

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