I was sitting on the beach watching the two guys hassling the hippy and desperately trying to remember why I should be scared. Even from afar, the two figures looked vaguely familiar, but a dope-fuelled haze prevented me from reaching a vitally important conclusion straight away: if I didn’t leave immediately there was every chance I’d be dead within a minute.
I stood up in as nonchalant a fashion as possible and put my sunglasses on. The two heavily tanned, dark-haired men, one short and squat, the other tall and angular, were showing old Dave a photo and asking questions. Although I couldn’t hear what they were saying their manner was menacing. Even from this distance I could tell that Dave, who was sitting down almost in the lotus position, was nervous.
Diego and Juan had made some effort to not stand out amongst the westerners lying around on sarongs by wearing baggy beach shorts and ill-fitting, garish Indian T-shirts. However, their tidy moustaches and well-maintained haircuts were most certainly out of place amongst the travellers on this particular beach. It was gradually dawning on me that despite their superficially calm demeanour these two men had somehow followed me halfway round the world to kill me.
I turned my back on the sea and began walking towards my battered motorbike feeling the hot sand beneath my feet, my eyes never leaving the two men who were questioning Dave. They stood over him, twenty short paces to my right.
Without looking down, I unzipped my bum bag and started rooting around for the bike key even though the Enfield was still many yards away. My heart was pounding like a bass drum and I was sweating profusely. Beneath my artificial calm, I prayed over and over again that the two guys would not look over in my direction.
Suddenly Dave glanced towards me. The eyes of my two would-be assassins instinctively followed his and immediately widened with recognition. Without a moment’s pause I broke into a sprint. Leaping on to my bike, I flicked up the stand and after two nervous, frantic attempts finally managed to slip the key into the ignition. I twisted it to the right but the Colombians were already running towards me. Juan was reaching into his bag for something – something I didn’t need to see to know what it was.
I now had about five seconds to start my ever-unreliable Royal Enfield Bullet. I tried to steady myself but I was shaking like a leaf. I slammed my right foot down on the kick start but my foot slipped off the greasy pedal, tearing a gash in my ankle. I lost my balance and the bike almost toppled over, but I ignored the pain, stamped the pedal down again, pulled the throttle back and heard what at that moment was without doubt the most beautiful noise in the world – the deep, popping sound of the 350cc fourstroke engine starting up. I pulled the clutch in, clunked into first gear and went heavy on the throttle. I roared off along the sandy dirt track and turned round to see my two assailants shouting obscenities at heaven, but the feeling of relief was momentary – a second nervous glance into my one remaining wing mirror revealed Juan and Diego running towards two nearby Hondas, both holding keys in their hands . . .
I haven’t told anyone what really forced me to leave the City in late 2007 and, believe me, the press reports got it all wrong.
Admittedly, they mainly got it wrong because of the misinformation I drip-fed them – something I had to do in order to protect my bony arse. Now I’m going to tell you what really happened and it’s a story so outrageous that even I can barely believe it, yet all of it is totally true. An insane moment of greed set in motion a series of events that turned my life upside down and means that I will never feel safe again. I have endangered my life and the lives of those I love, and for what? A quick buck in a sick world.
Everything that we’ve witnessed over the past three years reveals just how out of control things have become in the world of finance – the lunatics truly have taken over the asylum. Hardly a day has gone by without some selfish degenerate striving to outdo his twisted banker mates with some appalling act of selfserving greed. For the first few months of my forced exile I could hardly believe what I was reading on the internet. But each callous feat of fathomless avarice seemed to be superseded by the next and I, like most of the dumb schmucks on this planet, grew numb to them. Jérôme Kerviel’s €4.9 billion ‘trading loss’ looks like a rounding error compared to the $50 billion Ponzi scheme organised by Bernie Madoff. Meanwhile, those charmless scumbags at Goldman Sachs keep proving themselves to be the most vicious, repugnant cocksuckers this world has ever seen.
Amazingly, despite bankers’ best efforts to bring pain and suffering to their fellow man whilst lining their own silk pockets, finance remains relatively unregulated and the despicable sluts are still raking in bonuses so vast they bring tears to the eyes of all right-thinking people.
Most Cityboys lie, cheat and steal every single hour of their lives as they strive to accumulate ever more wealth. But I went even further. I loathe the hideous chaos that my former colleagues’ tireless greed has created but I am in no position to judge them, for I am as bad as they are, maybe worse. The only difference between me and the Armani-clad gangsters who plunged the world into recession is that I didn’t get away with it.
It’s going to be payback time for the rest of my sorry life.
Because just one stupid fucked-up decision can destroy everything.
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