I stood among chaos.
Bodies swarmed in all directions, screaming. My heart thumped, pounding erratically as if desperately trying to catch its breath. The mêlée—a whirlwind of life and death—churned around me. My clothes were spattered in mingled sweat and grime. The pit was terrifying.
I fought against the swell of sanity-breaking panic every single time I stepped into the pit and faced the sea of aggressors. It always felt like one against a thousand. It was hell. It was my job.
I enriched or ruined lives on a daily basis, my own included. As a floor trader for the New York Stock Exchange, I battled the greedy horde for a greater share of the same pool of wealth. Think of it as planned chaos brought forth by a den of thieves who were jockeyed by self-made Gods. No good would come from it and failure was never an option.
Life in the pit was intense. It was a constant physical and mental brawl. There were a few times where I felt like I was drowning in the crowd of jostling bodies, but I kept my head above water—for six years now—by moving, staying fluid, and working hard. Any moment not spent in the rough bump-and-grind of the fray, I would frantically scour through reports, analytics, predictions, news; praying for a tip that would offer the upper hand.
I can’t remember a day without barbed wired stress raking through my veins. I fear soon, either the thread clinging to my sanity will snap or a swollen blood vessel in my brain will rupture and drop me like a sack of wet concrete; just one more failed investment, one missed booming trend, or one more raw deal would be enough.
My last backfired barter came from Bryce ‘Midas’ Wentworth. You can guess why people called him that. He’d only worked the floor for eight months and was already the Trader of the Year frontrunner, earning the status through blind luck in cheap investments or twisted facts to saddle other traders with collapsing deals. He sabotaged my success on multiple occasions, each time punctuating the stolen deal with a toothy grin through the throng.
Just this morning, as I stood at the edge of the pit waiting for the bell to ring, he bumped past me, spilling coffee all over my shirt, flashing that grin.
“Pardon me,” he said, smiling. “But, I’m a busy man.”
The sight of him chilled my blood to a slow-moving slush. The hot beverage sizzled against my flesh; my pulse rising like hot mercury.
When the bell rang, it snapped my attention back to the pit.
Traders swarmed the floor, shouting and waiving paper slips at each other, and I relaxed my white-knuckle grip on the pen in my pocket.
Watching the pandemonium for a moment, I enjoyed a deep breath. For the first time, I felt calm and in control—comfortable in the chaos. Who knew that an old method, a simple decision, would set me free. I brandished a smile of my own and joined the dense crowd, weaving my way to the middle.
Wentworth doesn’t know that I served time in lock down before serving time in the pit. On the inside, we handled blatant disrespect a little differently. He’s gonna learn all about it. And, this time, I won’t even have to carve up a perfectly good toothbrush.
~ Tyr Kieran
© Copyright 2014 Tyr Kieran. All Rights Reserved.