The stranger rubbed his jaw, looked around him, and then spoke with great quietness, yet great clarity. “Are you a man who likes to keep a promise?”. The man in the fine suit chuckled and said, “Well, I do say I like to, but the world isn’t usually that simple, is it?”.
The stranger simply grunted, and murmured, “Spoken like a man who doesn’t”. The man in the suit put down his newspaper and turned toward the random stranger who had come sit next to him. A vagrant, by the looks of it. The man in the suit took a deep breath. The clean air filled his lungs, soothing his mind. Partly annoyed, partly amused, he spoke, “And how, pray tell, did you manage to infer something like that?”. The stranger replied almost instantly, “Well, it wasn’t just what you said. You have the look of a typical investment banker, one of those men who make their living by lying.”
The man said nothing. The stranger continued, “One of those men who keep amassing wealth for the sake of it, to the point that you’ve forgotten why you’re doing it in the first place. Money is everything to you, but you’re not satisfied with any amount. You probably started out honest, just trying to make a living. Then you had one lucky day. You made a killing. And the feeling you had was incomparable. It used to be that money made you happy for what it brought. No more. You became an addict, not to an illicit substance, but to the exhilaration of making a profit. You began to lie. You started out small, but now you brazenly cheat investors. You make millions off their trust. And you think you’re happy. You have a large social circle, a pretty girlfriend, and you probably think you’re set for life.”
The stranger’s voice began to rise. “Well, you’re wrong! You’re going to make a bad investment, and then another trying to fix it, and then they’ll start piling on top of each other! One wrong turn after the other, and your empire will crumble!” At this point, he was practically screaming. “You’ll go bankrupt! You think you have friends? They’ll leave you the moment things go south!” The man realized that the vagrant was insane. He got up in a hurry, mumbled something about having to leave, and turned to walk away. “WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING! YOU CAN’T RUN FROM THIS”, the vagrant bellowed.
A social worker ran towards them; he put his hands on the vagrant’s shoulders and made him sit down, speaking calm, soothing words. The man walked backed towards them two of them, a little rattled. The tramp was clutching a twig, shaking and murmuring under his breath. “Very sorry about that, sir. Did he scare you? He keeps frightening people with rants about his past.”, the worker said. The man in the suit said nothing. His face said it all. Remembering that he was already late for work, he excused himself and took a cab to Wall Street.