City: Prophet-taking

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The Independent Online
THE SCENE is Ranch Apocalypse, deep in the Amazon rain forest. Sir David Goldfinger, the British financier who lives here in self-imposed exile, and other members of his Branch Davidian cult of gold, have met to discuss developments. Sir David has sunk his considerable fortune in gold, believing that the Armageddon he confidently expects to engulf world financial markets any day will make gold the only investment worth holding. He is concerned about reports that Tony Poros, the Czech currency speculator reputed to have made pounds 1bn out of the demise of the Vietnamese dong, has abandoned the faith.

Sir David: 'Explain yourself, Poros. Wall Street hit a new high on Thursday, up nearly 60 points. Meanwhile all our hard work on gold, which was at a 29-month high earlier in the week, looked like being undermined. The reason? You, Poros, you. The rumours have it that you are selling gold and going back into equities and bonds. Can it be true?

Mr Poros: 'It may be, it may not be. But let's face it, Sir David, we've had a good run for our money on gold. We've hyped and played the market like a dream. Isn't it about time we started taking some profits?'

Sir David, anger visibly rising, turns to Lord Mees-Rogg, defender of the faith and even by Sir David's standards a doomsday merchant of considerable conviction: 'Tell him, Lord Mees-Rogg, tell him.'

Lord Mees-Rogg: 'And yea there came a time of great turmoil in financial markets when the only thing that kept its value was gold. We are talking here about a full-scale Biblical apocalypse, rivers of blood, dogs sleeping with cats, etc, etc.'

Mr Poros feigns repentance, but as he boards his executive jet for the flight to New York, tells an aide: 'These guys are barking. Let's hope my dealers are getting me out of gold.'