Bob punched a code into a metal box that reminded him of the machine that dispenses the parking stubs at the airport. An eight-foot wrought iron gate swung open to reveal a brick traffic circle with an elaborate fountain in the middle that Bob called the Bellagio. He used to have a house down the first street on the left but he went two streets past that and hung a right towards Marilyn’s place. He met her at an association meeting, where she sat on the board and he was applying for a permit to park his truck in his driveway. He didn’t think much of her at the time but he started running into her at the dry cleaner’s and the gym so he asked her to dinner. Years went by and dinners evolved into him showing up at her place with his stomach in his throat.
He had just gotten off a flight from Anchorage where had been on a ten-day trip with his cousin, Neil. They were the same age and from the same town where Neil managed the mine that Bob equated to the ninth ring of Dante’s Inferno. He took the university route and although he only made it three semesters, he eventually fell into day trading.
Marilyn was in charge of the PR campaign for Hoff Pharmaceutical, who had just released a revolutionary ADHD medication. It was to be the trade of trades, Bob’s magnum opus, so long as his lady friend didn’t find out playing the Wall St. game with information he had snooped from her brief case. He came up on a memo that referenced a disturbing number of teenaged stroke victims linked to the drug. The story was due to break on the Thursday of his trip, a week and a day after the Hoff’s stock had split for the second time in six months.
“You did what!?” Marilyn said.
Bob and Neil came out of the valley to a forgotten pier where their guide had lashed the boat. There was a small pole barn near the head of the dock and Bob reached in the door and pulled out a ballistic nylon case. Papers and tools were skewn about and there was the skeleton as though whoever worked there had one day received an urgent telegram stating to leave at once.
He checked his watch and called to his companions. They had pulled several sockeyes out of the stream and Neil insisted on carving one up into sashimi on the spot. Apparently, they don’t get good sushi at the coalmine. He still had an hour or so to dump his stock but he knew he wouldn’t get a decent signal until they were out in open water.
“You were trading on a fishing trip!?” Marilyn furrowed her brow.
The twin outboards sprang to life and had the boat clear of the river delta within twenty minutes. Bob pulled a laptop out of his case, followed by a rectangular devise with a cord that attached to his USB. While it booted up, he pulled the lid off of the cooler next to him and fished a can of beer out of the icy water; a little celebration for a solid day’s work.
The stroke study hadn’t broken and Hoff was up thirty-two points since he left, double what he had projected.
Do you wish to sell  shares of [HFP]?…………..[yes] [no]
Bob cracked his beer and took a glorious chug and reached for the enter key. Had he been paying attention, he would have seen a set of six-foot swells coming. The hull slammed against the second one, sending anything that wasn’t tied down an inch and a half into the air. Bob grappled for the computer but only got the black box tied to it. The laptop dangled for a brief moment before the USB connection gave out. It landed in the beer cooler and a tiny spark was emitted from under the keyboard before the screen went blank.
“You mean you’re fucking broke!?”