Over at the Post this afternoon you will find an excerpt from former trader and Galleon alum Turney Duff's forthcoming memoir, The Buy Side: A Wall Street Trader’s Tale of Spectacular Excess. Whether you read it as an actual non-fiction account of his time at Argus Partners circa summer 2002, the literary pretensions of a financial services employee who thinks he's the next Jay Mcinerney, or an unintentionally hilarious piece of performance art, we can say confidently it will be the best thing you'll read today! The highlights, as determined by us:
- "I can smell the tequila I drank last night. It oozes from my pores. I’m still wearing my blue Prada suit from yesterday. It looks like I’ve just pulled it out of a gym bag. I have 10 clean ones just like it hanging in my closet, but I woke up late again. I wonder what my personal shoppers at Barney’s would think if they saw me right now. I reek of cigarettes, too. It feels like my teeth are wearing little wool sweaters."
Chinese and Mexican
- "There’s an ounce of cocaine piled in the microwave. An additional few thousand dollars’ worth of blow sits on a single plate in the kitchen. The place is littered with Grey Goose bottles, ice, cups, and straws for snorting. We call this East Side apartment the White House for obvious reasons, but it’s more like a Wall Street crack house. Randy and James [two sell side traders] live here. Everything is provided and paid for, compliments of the sell side ... They like to please their clients. Tonight they were kind enough to order in: Chinese and Mexican escorts. I watch as two American Express black cards fly through the air across the kitchen. They land right on top of the blow. James uses the cards to chop the cocaine as 12 guys roll up their shirtsleeves. One of the hookers, Adelina, a large-breasted firecracker, drags a finger across my chest. Two traders who work for a hedge fund in Connecticut — and raced here by car service — grab the Asian twins and head to the bedroom. Dr. Fish, a 300-pound sales trader who grew up in the Florida Keys, lays claim to Adelina and escorts her to the other back bedroom."
Neither do I, ladies. Neither do I.
- "The Wetbar in the W Hotel is easy. James and Randy are regulars, and we’re afforded full access ... The place is dark and sexy. Candlelight is the primary form of illumination...Two girls at the booth on my left lean over and tell me they’re in college. Wide eyed, with smooth skin, and a bit gawky, they look the part. They also look uncomfortable. I pour them both a glass of champagne. They tell me they appreciate the free alcohol but don’t usually drink champagne. Neither do I, I say.
What if I told you I could turn I could turn this $100 into $110? Does that sound like something you'd be interested in?
- Everybody says they want to know how Wall Street works, but the truth is, all they really want to hear is how much money I make — or how much I can make for them. “Well,” I say, struggling to be heard over the music, “basically, institutions and people give us money to invest because we’re going to make more for them than they could make on their own. For that service, we charge a fee and take twenty percent of the profits.” I have the girl’s attention and the coke is fueling my narrative. “It’s like this,” I continue, “say you invest a hundred dollars, and for that investment you get a return of ten bucks. Not bad, right?” The girls nod. “But what if I was to tell you for the same hundred I could get you a return of fifty? Would you do it?” Now the girls nod enthusiastically. “All I ask for is ten dollars of the profits and a nominal fee.” “Wow,” says the girl closest to me. “You can really do that?” “Give me a hundred; I’ll show you,” I say.
My doorman and I play this game where I lure girls to my apartment under false pretenses and then they sleep with me because they're scared that if they don't I'll chop them to pieces, 'cause let's be real, it's the vibe I'm giving off. Sixty percent of the time, it works every time.
- Hours pass and the college girls have to go home — maybe they have a pop quiz in the morning . . . If I liked them less, I would have tried to trick them into going home with me. I still live on 67th and Broadway. Sometimes I ask girls if they want to go to an underground club called Club 67. When the taxi pulls up to my building, they start to get suspicious. But my doorman is in on the ruse, and when I ask him if the club is open he’ll say: “Yes, go on up.” I’ve walked a number of girls into my apartment and only one has screamed and run back to the elevator.
You and I? We're not so different.
- Barbara is in her forties and on the tail end of her escort career. Her apartment is lined with Christmas lights year round, and there’s a mattress with no box spring in the far corner just outside of her bathroom. The couch, television and coffee table look like the ones I had in college that I shared with seven roommates. Like her, the apartment is well worn, but not well loved. Barbara wears a black-lace nighty...Barbara was listed under “mature” on the Web site where I found her six months ago. Her photo was sexy: blond hair, really large breasts. But in person, she wears the truth of her age in her eyes. A bird’s nest of wrinkles sit on either side of them, and they have the tattered expression of a hard life filled with disappointment. She asks if I want to take this party to bed, but I get the feeling she only says it because she feels obligated. She can tell that I’ve partied too much. No thanks, I say. Instead, we stay on her couch and chat. I ask her how her business is going and she shrugs as if to say that some nights are better than others. “If only I’d invested some of my money,” she says, “then I’d be set.” The statement makes me wonder. I want to tell her that it’s a bear market and nobody’s making money. “Then I wouldn’t have to do this every night,” she says. “I could pick my clients and only hang out with guys like you.” Her comment makes me smile, but I now realize how similar we are.