Finance: The Trader - Revenge is sweet when the boys go kart-mad

LAURA IS sipping her first morning coffee with all the gaiety of someone who's been told their bonus has been cancelled. "Oh, hello," she says limply, as I flop into my chair next to her. "Want to have a guess at the happy news?"

Frankly, at seven in the morning, what I really want is a bacon roll and several gallons of cappuccino, but with Laura so downcast I feel I should humour her and have a stab at a theory.

"The French have blockaded the international phone lines and we can't call beyond Dover? One of the directors has run off with the chairman and all the bank's money?" Then a terrible fear grips me. "Oh no; don't say Mrs Hughes has lost the recipe for her chocolate cake?"

Laura gazes at me with pity. "Even worse - Rory's issued a team summons, and we're all going go-carting. So whatever you thought you were doing on Thursday evening, cancel it now."

My heart sinks. It's bad enough spending 12 hours in a badly ventilated trading room with my colleagues, but to have to sacrifice an evening with friends as well is too much to contemplate.

Added to that, go-carting is exactly the thing to bring out ugly competitive urges in even the mildest people. What effect it will have on Simon, our pushy junior salesman, hardly bears thinking. The only hope is that his desire to win will outstrip his desire to suck up to Rory.

"It could be quite entertaining if he forgets to let the chief honcho win," Laura says, a distant look in her eyes as if she can see it already. "I mean, just imagine it." And we sit there and do just that.

Thursday night arrives with a heavy inevitability. Rory piles into his Porsche, with Simon as his simpering co-pilot, and roars off to an old bus station somewhere in the outer reaches of north London. Laura, Kirsty, Findlay and I follow more sedately in my Golf, playing cheery music to try and lift our spirits.

"It's not working," says Findlay, gloomily. "In fact, if you play Shiny, Happy People again, I may just throw myself out of the car." The gloom deepens as we arrive. It's cold, dreary and smells of burnt rubber inside the building. Findlay looks as if he'd rather be anywhere else. "Well, at least there's a changing room and a loo for you," Kirsty says sharply. "They seem to have forgotten to install one for women." She's right. Oh God, I think, another "toys for the boys" moment.

After that, things go downhill fast. We pull on filthy overalls and choose our carts. One of the organisers produces a chequered flag, and starts the first heat as solemnly as if we were driving the latest in Ferrari technology instead of stunted supermarket trolleys. I lose count of how many times Simon carves me up and forces me into the tyre perimeter, and I limp in third. Rory laughs at me for driving like a girlie.

My revenge comes at the end, when Simon does as predicted and forces Rory off the track in the final straight to lift the cup. Our chief honcho's face is still set with fury as he and Simon drive away. "Aren't you glad you're not in that car?" I says to the others.

Halfway back to town, Kirsty suddenly pipes up, "Slow down, there's a police car. Oh no, you're fine, they've already pulled someone over."

There, on the hard shoulder, is a Porsche, with Rory and Simon beside it. And I know it'll be a while before they laugh at me again for not driving fast enough.

thetrader@hotmail.com

Sport
Thiago Silva pulls Arjen Robben back to concede a penalty
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: More misery for hosts as Dutch take third place
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
scienceScientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it...
News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
Gavin Maxwell in Sandaig with one of his pet otters
peopleWas the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?
News
Rowsell says: 'Wearing wigs is a way of looking normal. I pick a style and colour and stick to it because I don't want to keep wearing different styles'
peopleThe World Champion cyclist Joanna Rowsell on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Directory, ITIL, Reuter)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?