Two Nouns & a Verb: Ch 1 - The Cat's Gambit


Two Nouns and a Verb - Cat, spatula, thwart from @BrookM.

The Cat's Gambit

By Brian D. Meeks

Chapter 1:

She flipped the eggs with her stainless-steel Williams and Sonoma Signature spatula.

The coffee, a bean she had flown in from Sulawesi Indonesia, but not Kopi Luwak brand, because she found that it just wasn’t worth the cost, brewed and gave off an aroma that could best be described as a pending victory.

Her name was Catherine, but nobody had called her that since her mother saw her sitting on a patch of dirt, playing with her brother's Tonka trucks, ten minutes before they were to leave for church. Probably nine or ten at the time, that memory always returned to her in moments like this.

Her staff called her Ms. Stone, the few close friends called her Cat, and the rest of the world used the moniker she earned in her first hostile takeover, a shipping company listed on the BOVESPA, O Gato da Morte. It suited her, and she'd worn custom-tailored dark pinstriped suits that made her look more like a high-end model than the most vicious corporate raider in the world.

Cat was 37.

Since she became a shipping magnate at 24-years old, Cat had built a reputation and a long list of enemies. Mostly, they were old, male, and under the mistaken impression that a “girl” couldn’t play with the big boys. They tried to thwart her at every turn, but she remained.

They'd underestimated her vision, or maybe, they didn't understand it. Still, now she had a manufacturing empire that spanned the globe and generated her holding company in excess of 1 billion dollars per year in profits.

One of the old(ish) guys, a 6'3" narcissist, who played lacrosse at Dartmouth, almost won the Democratic nomination for Governor in New York and was rumored to have had two competitors fall victim to a terrible automobile accident, was her nemesis. Richard Beltmen only loved one thing, money.

They had fought over half-a-dozen companies, and the scorecard read 4 – 2 in her favor. She thought about him daily.

He was her white whale.

Today, though, she wasn’t in a dick measuring contest with Richard. He had dropped out of the bidding long ago.

This meeting was mostly a formality. She had secured enough stock and votes of Allied Rail Corp to take control. The owner, who dearly loved his trains, would be forced out, and she would make a generous offer to acquire 100% of the shares.

The street thought she was crazy because they didn't see what she did.

It was a chance to buy a company that would cost her a fortune, ruin her reputation, and drive the stock price of the holding company she had built down 50%.

Cat was on the prowl.

She buttered both slices of toast and centered a piece of Swiss cheese on one of them before adding the two eggs over easy. The sandwich reminded Cat of her mother and the breakfast she had always made for them growing up. Family was important.

With her Samsung phone in one hand and the plate in the other, she headed to her favorite place in the world, her computer room. With 8-monitors, a VR rig, and a half-stroke keyboard that she thought made the nicest muted sound as she typed, this was the center of her world.

Four of the monitors had 15-minute candlestick charts; one was for $DeSo crypto currency, another had the Dow Futures, the third was July Silver, and the fourth was for Forex. Three monitors had social media nodes, which she worked like Mozart. Cat was always aware of "the story," She crafted a narrative better than most. The last one was where she did her work.

It wasn't on the same computer server as the others. It was a stand-alone rig that didn't connect to the internet. All of this was set up in her safe room.

Some thought she was paranoid; Cat preferred cautious.

As she studied the Bollinger Bands on the silver chart, nothing jumped out as troublesome. She was short 100 contracts, which was a reasonably small position on most days, and she had stop losses in place that were unlikely to get triggered.

At 4:30 am, like every day, it was her time to set her mind right for the day.

That meant chess.

They met each day at the same time. She didn't know who her opponent was, just his handle, Mr. Cheshire. His rating was 2207, and hers at the moment was 2258, but she'd lost three games in a row. The game had wandered into a line of Philidor's Defense that she knew well.

24-minutes later, he resigned, wrote "gg," and her day could begin.

The suit, shoes, and accessories had been set out by her assistant, Wen Hu, a brilliant mind that had gone to such great lengths to meet her that she'd granted the rare 5-minute interview. It had only taken three for her to hire the young woman.

A light knock on the door frame, and Wen said, "The car will be ready in 37-minutes. Do you need me to call Tokyo? They’re nervous.”

Cat left her robe on the chair and got up to change. "No, I want them to be uneasy today, and nothing they say can change my plans,” she said as she headed for the shower. “Send a text to ‘The Eight’ and let them know the show is about to begin.”

Wen smiled, “Yes, sir.”

Cat had grown accustomed to Wen calling her “sir” after the second day on the job when she’d explained that the job was to make her life easier so that she could grind the boys into dust. Wen never did it in public; it was their thing.

Exactly thirty-seven minutes after Wen had said the car would be ready, she climbed into the limo and headed for midtown.

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