Forewarned is forearemed
By Lexuri Gonzalez de Heredia
Beep beep beep…
I wake up like every day at 6:00 a.m.. It is Monday, so I must go to work. I prepare myself for a hard day at work. I have a cold shower, I put on my best suit and I have a coffee. Yesterday, I arranged to meet with the CHANDLER Company at 10.00 a.m.. I have a vast business of parts of cars with a friend and I hope to sell them these pieces today. I think it will be difficult, so I am quite nervous. Our company doesn’t go as well as before.
When I have prepared, I go down the stairs. I immediately enter in the crowded street called Wall Street. I have lived here since my business became successful. Before, I used to live in the countryside with my family, but I don’t like the agriculture and I love the big cities. The best option was to come to New York. Nowadays, I am used to the New Yorker’s lifestyle. Nobody would say that I am a foreigner.
The multitude sweeps me along the road to my office. Some are going to work, but others are returning home after some extravagant parties. However, I like to live near my work, because I can go walking and I avoid the traffic jams of the rush hours. When I enter into the building, my colleague John Fisher is already there. He has lived here since he was a child, and he has never left the State of New York.
John Fisher has lots of original entertainments. For example, he likes walking over the wings of the biplanes while they are flying, but it is the time of the stupid amusements and it isn’t strange to like this type of things.
“Good morning, Petee! What are you doing tonight?” He greets me too cheerfully.
“Nothing special, why?” I answer curtly.
“Because if you sign the agreement with the CHANDLER Company, we will go out partying,” he explains to me.
“And if they don’t sign the contract?” I ask curiously.
“We will go to the nightclub as well!” John laughs, “but I’m sure that a few hours later you will have signed it.”
Hours after, John and I are going to our bar. We bought the bar, when we started losing money with the company. It’s called Mr Dry. America is technically “dry”, because the alcohol is illegal everywhere. But the truth is that almost all the establishments are crowded of alcohol. Mostly in New York.
“I can’t believe it. We haven’t sold the car pieces!” John regrets.
“It’s a pity, but don’t worry! This night we will earn the money that we have lost in the morning!” I try to encourage him.
“I hope you are right,” he answers.
We have arrived to Mr Dry. It isn’t a large place. The clandestine bars aren’t big usually. It is hidden behind the facade of a shop of wigs. If you want to enter, you have to say the password to the doorman who is really efficient.
When we enter, Alfie, our best client is already supported by the bar not to fall down. He is a banker or something like that. Maybe he is a stockbroker. He always wears expensive suits, although his passion is the strong cocktails. At the moment, he is talking with another client, but the other one looks bored. Probably, Alfie is inventing a story.
“And I said him… Good night Petee! Hello John! I haven’t seen you in ages!” Alfie shouts too loud.
“Alfie, we saw you a week ago,” John says irritated.
“Really? I can’t remember!” he laughs.
“Of course you can’t remember,” I whisper.
“I think that they are waiting for me on the dance floor. See you later!” John says, before disappearing.
So I sit down next to Alfie and I order for a drink. In addition, I ask to the barman about the money we have earned this week in the bar. He informs me that our local goes really good. Another clandestine bar has been closed by the police, so the clients come to our establishment.
When the barman continues working, I am happier than before. I try to talk with Alfie, who has been in silent, but he looks worried. He is staring at the glass, even though I can see that he has furrowed his brow.
“We must leave New York,” Alfie mumbles. “We must leave New York as soon as possible.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked surprised.
“Something is happening, something big. Don’t you notice that the companies aren’t going like before?
Suddenly, the bell on the wall stars ringing insistently.
“A raid is coming!” someone screams. All the clients start running to go out to the back side of the bar and we go with them.
“Let’s go!” I say. “We have to continue this in my house, don’t we?”
A dozen people think it is an excellent idea. I stop a taxi and some of them do the same. We are in a line of taxis, when the Alfie’s head gets into the car by using the window.
“Eh, Petee!” he says. “Don’t forget it. Look after your money!”
When I wake up, the first thing I notice is that there is too much light. Rapidly, I realise that this is because there aren’t curtains in his bedroom. Curtains are used as blankets. The third thing, and the most strange is that there is a pile of tires on the floor.
I try to leave my bedroom, avoiding the asleep people. I enter into the kitchen, and I find John drinking coffee and reading the newspaper.
“Petee!” he groans. “Why don’t you kill me?”
“Eh, that is illegal! And you know what I think about breaking the law,” I say. “Who are all these people? When I went to bed, there weren’t so many… guests.”
Abruptly, his face changes. Now his face is serious.
“It is getting bad, Petee,” he whispers breaking the silence,
“Surely yes,” I answer indifferently.
“I am serious.”
“I am convinced.”
I don’t want to talk about this again. I had enough with the talk I had with Alfie last night.
“It is getting very bad. It will not support. It is already starting to collapse. Can’t you see it?” John screams, while he rustles the newspaper.
“John, you have to be a little more specific. Unless you are talking about the newspaper which looks normal.”
“I mean that the entire United States financial structure can sink at any moment,” John admits.
“I don’t know… Maybe you are right or perhaps nothing will happen. Don’t worry about it, worry is useless”
Then a group of people enters into the kitchen. I don’t know them, so the situation is uneasy for me. However, they look really comfortable on my sofa.
“Have you seen our present?” someone of them asks me.
“Yes, thank you. I needed some spare wheels.”
“We took them from a police car. As a revenge for having burst your local,” they explain.
“You are very nice. And talking about that, I suppose I should go and check what’s left of our local,” John says.
Finally, John and the rest of the guests go out of my house.
This week I don’t have anything to do. There isn’t anything to do in our company and our bar is totally destroyed. So I try to fill my free time with current activities: reading, strolling through Central Park, going to watch a movie or a show, doing some shopping… The lack of work is alarming.
Today is October 24th and the market has trembled, but it has recovered slightly. I can’t stop thinking that Alfie and John may be right. Everybody looks nervous and restless.
The next day, I decide to sail aimlessly around Manhattan. From the boat, I can see the skyscrapers. Meanwhile, I am wondering what will happen, if everything really sinks. New Yorkers do things very big like the skyscrapers, and if they fall down, they will do it from a great height.
Finally, Tuesday, 29 arrives and everything falls apart. It happens just as my friends told me. Suddenly, the phone starts ringing. I can hear voices in the corridor, even some screams. I go down to the portal where there is a panic scene: people are running with their suitcases, all the telephone boxes are occupied and a man is crying in a corner.
The street is even worse. A group of people gathers in a circle listening the news.
“People are throwing themselves through the windows in the buildings of the centre,” a man says, “I have heard it. My friend works there, and he says that it is true.”
“So it is happening,” another man mentions, while he is taking out his hat.
“It has already happened! Banks are starting to board up the entrances!”
I decide that the best option is to return home, to lock the door and to get a good bottle of wine.
I haven’t left my house in all the week. I can’t even get out of my bed. I am too depressed to do it.
On October 30th, someone, whose name is impossible to remember, called me to say that my friends John and Alfie committed suicide a day after the named Wall Street Crash had happened.
In addition, I receive another call about work. Our… my company is in red numbers, and we must close. I have lost so much money. Besides that, I can’t pay for my house, so I must leave it in a week. Now I don’t have nothing in New York: I have lost my money, I have lost my company, I have lost Mr Dry, I have lost my house… And I have lost my best friends.
Now it is time to return with my family. Goodbye New York!