A Hippie on Wall Street an Excerpt from Charlie Champion, the Story

                            

                              This is an excerpt from a novel

                    The Life and Times of the Fabulous Charlie Champion

                                A Hippie on Wall Street

I have released only a very few excerpts from this novel. It is a work in progress; however, current events regarding Bernard L Madoff made this a reasonable time to release a very small taste for your  entertainment and edification.

                              *                                *                                   *

     Janet’s uncle, Joel J “Marty” Martin , was an Over The Counter (O T C ) trader. In the days before computers, that was a very different profession. In 1966 there was no NASDAQ, no modern computerized instant internet access, and none of the information technology that exists  today.

     In the Spring of 1966, I was a 20 year old junior at Hobart College and had recently reconnected with my highschool  sweetheart, Janet.

     I had met Janet’s Uncle “Marty”, the previous Christmas, at his New Years Day house party.

     Marty was in his late thirties, short, maybe 5’9″, wirey and very active physically. with a highly intelligent mind, quick wit, and an intense sharp tongue. He had thinning black hair and wore thick glasses. He had always distantly reminded me of Woody Allen, both in stature and persona.

     He was a truly strange man, difficult to get close to, but very likeable. His intensity was tempered by his wry sense of humor , and enabled him to define his personal space.

     Several years earlier, Marty had decided to go into business, opening his own OTC trading house..Joel J Martin & Co. They were professional market makers and traders, utilizing the pink sheets, and a World Wide network of friends and competitors, via telephone, telex, and wires.

     Marty, in order to reduce expenses while his new company was getting established, shared office space and the company back office with a friend and fellow trading professional, Bernard Madoff

     Bernard L Madoff and Assoc had been a successful one man trading company since the early 60’s, and Bernie and Marty had become friends and fellow market makers while Marty was training and working at Jersey City based trading house, M S Wein & Co.

     Since they were both one man trading firms, it was a natural fit for them to share an office, telephone systems, and back office personnel. Having another professional liscensed trader made work easier for both men.

     Through Janet, Marty asked if I would be interested in a summer job after the end of Spring semester.

     The opportunity to learn about Wall Street was exciting, and I gladly accepted.

                                  *                               *                               *

     The offices were located at 39 Broadway, on the 12th floor.

     Like a tourist I stopped in front of the building and looked up.

     ” Well here goes,” I thought with a touch of excitement.

     As I stepped off the elevator and walked down the hallway, the echo of my shoes on the polished terrazzo floor sounded loud in my ears.”This was the financial capital of the World!” I could hardly contain myself.

     I was about to be introduced to “The Street”.

     The energy of the place seemed to vibrate in the air. I was very excited, but had the self confidence that came with my youth and inexperience.

     As I approached the frosted glass door, I stopped and tugged nervously at my tie.

     Bernard L Madoff & Associates was printed on top.

     Joel J Martin & Co was below.

     Underneath was a large gold leaf arrow pointing down the hall.

     “Cashier” was printed in black block letters at the bottom.

      I ran my fingers through my long brown hair, patting it into place. i brushed at my slightly rumpled sport coat, then pushed at the door.

     The reception room was modest in size and content. A small glass top table served as a desk.  There was a plush Brown leather couch and a matching easy chair with a low coffee table in front.  On the edge was a copy of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and a copy of the Barrons.

     The room was empty, I could hear a man’s voice say something muffled and the sound of laughter echoed from an open door to my left.  ” Hey Joey, how about putting on some coffee?  My coffee tastes like mud. ”

     I glanced at my watch.  8:45.  I’m on time.  ” Hello”  I called out.  ” I’m looking for Joel Martin. ”

     The voices went silent.  ” Hi, can I help you ?”  The man walking through the door was slight in stature.  He had an olive complexion and his black hair was combed neatly to one side.  He was clean shaved and his dark eyes seemed to sparkle as he crossed the room.

      ” You must be Charlie Champion.”  He smiled and the room seemed to light up.  Marty told me to expect you today.  ” I’m Joe, Joe Flavio, spelled F as in Frank, A, L, V as in Victor, IO.”

     He chuckled and I felt compelled to laugh with him.  ”  That’s me, Charlie Champion. ”  I stuck out my hand to shake.  ” Nice to meet you, Joe.”

     He put his arm around my shoulders, ” Marty’s not here yet, he’ll be a little late, but he asked me to show you the ropes.”

     Ushering me into the doorway, he stopped beside me. ” Irwin, this is our new helper for the summer.”

     Irwin was a chubby clean shaven man. He appeared to be in his mid thirties. He was dressed in a light weight plaid cotton jacket and wrinkled pants. He had three pens in his breast pocket. His light brown hair was sparse, and brushed to one side to cover the balding spots.

     ” Irwin is Bernie Madoff’s cashier.’ Explained Joe. ” The cashier in a brokerage house is sort of an office manager, who reconciles the books, issues pairoffs and effects stock transfers.”

     He smiled an once again the room seemed to brighten. ” I’m Uncle Marty’s Head Cashier an chief bottle washer. If something needs to be reconciled, I’m the one who does it. At the end of every day, the long and the short positions must balance, and be reconciled with our bank. I am also responsible for NASD compliance.

    

Consider this a short teaser. I will publish a few additional pages of this time period and perhaps provide some insights as to how this all began.

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