Finance: The Trader - Revenge is sweet when the boys go kart-mad
Wednesday 03 November 1999
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.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 1 Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
- 2 Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Tommy Ramone dies: Last surviving founder and drummer seminal punk band The Ramones dies aged 62
Gaza-Israel conflict: The terrible price Palestinian children are paying for Israel’s war with Hamas
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
iJobs Money & Business
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...
£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...