Mark's high life ends with a jolt

The Trader: 'Two large Moscow mules later, Jaap has calmed down'

Once in a while, something happens to remind me of Wallis Simpson and her comment about how you can never be too rich or too thin. This time, the event is a dinner party given by one of Jaap's close friends - or, to be precise, its aftermath.

Once in a while, something happens to remind me of Wallis Simpson and her comment about how you can never be too rich or too thin. This time, the event is a dinner party given by one of Jaap's close friends - or, to be precise, its aftermath.

Let me explain. Jaap and Mark have been pals ever since their nerve-wracking first day in the City. Dutchman Jaap and Canadian Mark sat in classes exchanging jokes about the English and their funny ways, and wondering whether anyone really understood option pricing or were just pretending they did. In the evenings, Jaap - who'd studied in London, so knew the place already - introduced him to all his friends, and soon Jaap's friends were Mark's friends, and life was sweet. Which is the way it went on, even when they both moved to different banks.

"Then one day Mark landed himself a job at one of the American investment banks," Jaap says. He names the place - though, in the interests of discretion, I can tell you only that its initials are GS - and I whistle, because it's one of those ones where the bonuses are measured in seven figures. "And ever since," Jaap goes on, "he's slowly become more and more extravagant."

I almost fall over laughing at Jaap's mastery of British understatement. At every gathering of Mark's that I've been to, there have been lakes of vintage champagne and mountains of caviar - the real stuff - and huge platters of lobsters and every other delicacy known to man. I've always staggered away afterwards full of praise for his generosity and telling Jaap how much I like him, and this most recent dinner party was no exception. As soon as our hangovers wore off, we wrote an appreciative thank-you letter and settled back into our humdrum lives.

So I'm understandably slow on the uptake when Jaap arrives on my doorstep on Monday evening, muttering, "The bastard! The miserable, selfish, stupid bastard!" You can almost hear the sound of thunder in the air around him. In fact, I haven't seen Jaap look that angry since Holland lost to Italy on penalties at Euro 2000. All I can think to do is rush around saying, "What? Why? Who?" to no great effect, while Jaap carries on cursing.

Two large Moscow mules later, Jaap has calmed down enough to become coherent. "Explain," I say, and Jaap gives a big sigh and begins.

"It's Mark," he says. "He's been complaining about me. According to Tim, he's sick and tired of me sponging off him. We've had loads of champagne and wonderful dinners off him, he says, and the last time he came round here, all he got was red wine and some crappy pheasant casserole." My jaw drops and my eyes start to brim. "I spent hours making that meal," I say, sniffing ominously. "It wasn't crappy at all, the ungrateful..." But the end of the sentence is swallowed up by tears of rage at the injustice of it.

"Of course it wasn't," Jaap says hurriedly. "Look, he chooses to throw his money around like that; it's unreasonable of him to expect everyone else to entertain the same way. Anyway, even if I had loads of money, I'd rather eat casserole with good, unpretentious friends than caviar with Mark's smart new acquaintances any day."

We're interrupted by the phone, which I answer and pass to Jaap with a look of amazement on my face. "Speak of the devil," I say, and leave the room.

By the time I return, Jaap's furious expression has softened. "You won't believe it, but Mark's lost his job. I offered him dinner out, but he said that what he'd really like is one of your delicious pheasant casseroles."

We laughed, and then felt guilty. Which is why I only said to myself, "Perhaps there is a God after all."

* thetrader@hotmail.com

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Regulatory Reporting-MI-Bank-Cardiff-£300/day

    £200 - £500 per day + competitive: Orgtel: I am currently working on a large p...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

    Training Programme Manager (Learning and Development)-London

    £28000 - £32000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manage...

    Operations Engineer (Redhat, UNIX, Solaris, Data Centre, Cisco)

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Operations Engineer (Redhat, UNIX, Solaris, Data...

    Day In a Page

    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices