I It took him 20 years to reach the top, but he made it, CEO, a winner, just what his mom always wanted. Thinner than his brothers, tougher, he’d never stop until he’d earned more in a year than all his frat mates earned together all their lives, until his parents, brothers, and their wives admitted he was number one. He’d call the way he managed his affairs and dough an eagle’s way, but his essence is all turkey buzzard, a money disposal bird, dour, gaunt, who loves to squawk, “If you know the currency, there’s no one you can’t buy,” yet trusts no carrion’s too rich to try. II Four years ago I won the lottery. Each June I get a million dollar check in the mail, stare at it awhile, and stick it in the bank. Then all the buttery calls start up again. I don’t know how they find my number or even remember when the money’s due, could be September or never, I don’t care. They know the day to beg: “Ms. S., you are a generous woman, and my husband’s slowly dying of a malignancy. It’s a crying shame we’re broke,” or “My legs are cancerous.” I’m too bored with my own life to say ‘yes,’ and far too lucky to be in this mess. III

He sits at his desk calling clients and strangers, trying to sell them mutual funds they don’t want to buy, call after call, down the gradual tilt of the day, a trained monkey of a small town salesman, he thinks, holding a cup for the wealthy yokels, to spit in, might as well be. Might as well be holding their dongs. He fears his job stinks of misused intelligence, aggression, persuasion by misimplication, old women’s trust bought, with a smile, half-lies told through wooden lips for the big commission someone always pays. But it’s not his fault: It’s his career, perfecting his assault.