Simon Says Sell Gold (continued)
Later, when Elijah was alone with his big sister, he mimicked his father, Zac, perfectly.
You may not know about graphene. In our time, it seems to be an interesting substance but is not particularly important. However, 20 years later, when this story is set, things have changed. Dramatically.
When people heard what Zac had done, they called him “Graphene Man” or “Mist Man.” That was unfair. It would have been better to call him “Interconnected Man.” But, they didn’t know his plan. That was between him, graphene, and the internet.
So, how did Zac use his new power?
At that time, gold was selling for $270 an ounce. Twenty years before, it was valued at $1800 an ounce. It was now dirt cheap because no-one wanted it. Cryptos of various types had taken over as currency, so no-one was interested in precious metals.
Unfortunately, it was Zac’s job to get people to buy one particular precious metal; the oldest and most precious of them all.
Every week or so, he was able to convince an investor or a small business owner to protect their wealth. He sold coins like one-ounce Canadian Maples, Austrian Philharmonics, and American Buffalos. If someone was interested, he sold them small gold bars in 50- and 100-gram denominations.
But, now that he was graphene misted, he used his instant internet support. His sales improved. When he was speaking to or emailing a lead, he would say “MercurySays.” In an instant, all the insight and advice he needed flashed before him. It was miraculous that MercurySays listened to his leads and read their emails. It understood what they were thinking.
Zac was pulling in a decent living. His wife, Sofia, and the three kids were living a normal suburban life. No, it was better than that. They lived in a community where the kids in the street played with each other. And, their parents knew their neighbors by first name. It was the sweetest place.
It came as a massive shock when he got that special call. Zac was never truly unhooked from work so, one Wednesday morning, just before he made it from his kitchen to his home office, he quickly answered his phone. He tried to sound professional but he stuttered slightly when he said he was interested in the proposal. That was a wild understatement. He would die for it.
A massive hedge fund based downtown wanted someone to sell some of the gold they had accumulated over the years. They didn’t want people to see them getting out of the gold market because that might depress the price even further. They wanted someone relatively unknown who could divest them of a percentage of their stack in their private vault.
Zac pursed his lips, a little skeptical: “So, how much would you estimate that you want to sell. How many ounces?”
The voice on the phone was expressionless: “Approximately, 4 million.”
Zac could barely breathe but he got out one question: “Ounces?”
“Yes. And we are offering a 2.5% commission on anything you sell. We will send you a contract and you can return it when you are ready.”
The phone abruptly disconnected, and Zac thought he might faint.
After he’d signed the contract and started work, he told Sofia that he had a lot more happening than he could possibly explain, and she’d have to cope with the crazy hours he’d have to put in. Sofia said: “I don’t mind. My paralegal work keeps me busy. Anyway, all the kids are at school. So, I’ve got time.”
The story with the hedge fund was a little more complex than it first appeared. A long-running legal fight had ended with a plea bargain and an admission of guilt. The hedge fund had been manipulating the gold market and had been caught red-handed bribing government officials. The judge ruled that it had to divest itself of a specific dollar value of its gold holdings and had to sell it through a party with whom it had no previous dealings. For some inexplicable reason, Zac was identified.
He was no fool. He quickly worked out how to reach thousands of prospects world-wide. He drew from those some hundreds of leads. Each sale was as difficult as if he were selling a gold coin or small bullion bar, but it was the scale of the operation that made the difference. Every deal had extra zeros attached.
Even though he had to take on a couple of support staff, the commissions he received were out of this world.
Then, one day, after a final meeting with the hedge fund downtown, he drove home, turned into his street, and bounced his car onto his driveway.
It looked like all the kids on the street were playing on his front lawn. It was a classic scene: late afternoon on an early fall day … clear, still, warm, and wonderful.
His 13-year-old daughter was running the kids’ game. They were playing “Simon Says.” She was calling out: “Simon Says take one step forward.” All the kids obeyed. Then she said: “Simon Says, touch your toes.” Again, they all did as they were told. Then she called out: “Spin around.” More than half the kids did as she ordered, and they were immediately disqualified. You don’t obey if she doesn’t say “Simon Says.”
As Zac watched, the kids remaining in the game dwindled to just two: a red-headed girl from next door and Elijah. Soon, the neighbor’s child was eliminated, and Elijah would start booming out his commands.
As Zac slammed his car door closed, Elijah waved at him and started the game by yelling: “MercurySays touch your ear.” Every kid did as they were told. Then, all the kids dissolved into chaotic laughter, some rolling extravagantly on the soft lawn. Elijah watched his father closely.
Zac laughed aloud, too, and headed inside. He was distracted. He was figuring out how to tell Sofia that their bank account had now grown to $27 million, before tax.
He pressed behind his earlobe and said “MercurySays.” Then, he spoke the words that he thought Sofia might use.
He considered the advice MercurySays gave him.
When he came into the kitchen, he took a breath. Sofia could tell there was something on Zac’s mind
He said: “Sit down for a minute. I have something to tell you.”