Rising inequality in the Eurozone yielded opportunity for students of statistical modeling. Chad Hapstack could apply chi-squared tourniquets of regression analysis to any economic problem. Give me a number, Hapstack said. I’ll find your results. At Yale freshman year, he started cooking books for his friends in the culinary arts and procurement classes.
He quickly somersaulted into banking back-office gigs, seasoning swaths of accordion-folded paper with troubling data. To him, the strident screeching of ASCII print touching down was the sound of a private helicopter retrieving him from a rooftop; the sound of micro-perfed edges tearing was a sommelier’s champagne service. He moved from Shearson to Goldman to Bear Sterns in five handshakes.
Even so, the board at Bamberg-Treat stayed wary of Hapstack and his squirrely sales models; he was a Yale man, a Bear Sterns wunderkind. Although they could see the rockpile of balled reprints by wastebaskets, they could smell the rotting undertones of green and white cabbage; they ascribed it to Chinese containers strewn around the office kitchenette.
But Chad Hapstack’s reports kept everything lashed together, so that Horchst Bamberg, the CEO of Bamberg-Treat, could pay for that ice sculpture of David urinating Belvedere, and that $8K shower curtain for his home upstate, and the Winterfest featuring a 45-minute set by Jimmy Buffett.
Chad glanced at Bamberg and thought, give me a number, you fuck. Chad flicked the edges of a dog-eared business card, its golden star pressed flat. Time to take the show on the road.
Anne Elizabeth Weisgerber has recent or forthcoming stories in New South, Tahoma Literary Review, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Vignette Review, and Revolution John. She is assistant fiction editor at Pithead Chapel, and writes reviews for Change Seven Magazine. Follow her @AEWeisgerber, or visit anneweisgerber.com