LSEF – The Living, Society and Ethics Foundation – 1

© Roger Short 2010 – 

Last night was a long night for our friendly geezers Thomas, Richard and Harold. They had run two evening classes on the subject of  “Ethics in the Financial Sector”  for a few of a number of the few remaining residents of this area of Docklands and a some depressed workers from the high-rise buildings in the area. The workshop is one in a series in the flagship programme of the LSEF (Living, Society and Ethics Foundation), namely: “Global Turmoil – Financial Upheaval – Contributing Knowledge to Understand the Polemics”  a title invented by Thomas who was rather proud of the acronym.

The debate that followed the workshop had become rather heated, some of the local residents had consumed large quantities of liquid refreshment from the bar that is an integral and essential feature of the LSEF facility. This was another idea of Thomas. His excuse being that “de liquid stuff inspired Yeats, Joyce and Shaw and was essential for a good craic”. At the same time Timothy and Roders, two of the depressed occupants of the near-by office towers, betting shops for ponces as Harold described them, were convinced otherwise. They assumed that “the craic” was something that the guys at the stock exchanges consumed to improve their decision making. They continuously disappeared into the toilets with sachets that were to be found in the sugar bowl on the bar.

The locals rarely take sugar in their coffee, if they ever drink it. In addition they thought that Harold, the former sociology lecturer was skimping on the quality; the sugar had a strange taste and seemed to have a weird effect on poor old Charley, a former dockworker. He had sprinkled two sachets on his porridge one morning – he thought after, that he should have stuck to his usual bacon sandwich.  Porridge was of course a “cash cow”, Thomas had picked up this term from a financial wiz-kid called Jonathan. Each morning, joggers consumed large quantities before escaping the real world and enclosing themselves for fourteen hours in the high rise offices. After his experience Charley, never really understood why these joggers consumed so much sugar; it seemed to defeat the object of jogging. Incidentally, things have not gone too well for Jonathan over the past months; he now serves porridge for some of his former colleagues. This suits Thomas, Richard and Harry as it means that they can take it in turns to sleep longer in the morning.

The events of the last couple of months has been taking its toll in terms of the effort required to keep the “Ethics and the Financial Sector”  up-dated to follow developments. Mind you, the engineer in Thomas doesn’t think this is really necessary.

“It’s the same old bulls‘ excrement” he said after the first couple of pints of Guinness last night. A term he somewhat refined as the discussion progressed.

“It’s all guesswork, I haven’t heard of one economist or financial expert get it right yet – they might as well be playing monopoly”

Charley chipped in “Yeah, and they could stay at home and do that instead of knocking down our homes to build those offices”

Richard looked at him “Charley have you been taking that sugar again?”

The discussions had continued long into the night and the rump of the, by then rather loud, group were still at LSEF when the morning papers arrived.

Doris was the first to make a comment “Don’t he look like old Joe who used to have that haberdashery stall down Petticoat Lane? – Look at his conk, just like Joe’s”.

Doris was a retired market trader with an architectural wonder of silver-blue-grey hair, a creation of Coiffeur Francois’  located in the office blocks. She would not normally go there, but one morning she had given some advice to one of the regular porridge noshers who had consumed an excessive amount of sugar. He was more than pleased the following evening; he seemed to have made a lot of money. Hence the gift to Doris.

Somebody chipped in “that’s the smart Russian geezer who’s in court, reckons that some other Russian geezer, who he reckons is not so smart, nicked over a billion dollars from him”

“But he still must have a lot of money” chipped in Doris.

“He gave his ex-missus two hundred million pounds when they divorced”. She had enjoyed the workshop and was now relaxing after a number of parasite shandies (Buck’s Fizz)  and feeling rather talkative.

Harold started on his hobby horse “Those two should be in a criminal court for rape”.

Charley asked: “Why are they sex maniacs or something?”

Doris again demonstrated her knowledge of the private lives of the two dubious geezers who will be in court for the next three months: “Well they seem to go through a lot of wives”

“I was talking figuratively” intervened Harold.

“Yeah those Russian birds have got nice figures” added Charley.

“No!” By then Harold was feeling the effects of the real ale “I meant that they had robbed the nation – Russia that is”.

“I still reckon he must be related to Petticoat Lane Joe, all those women those two geezers have. Joe always had a cubical for the ladies to try on their underwear before buying, and he loved helping them”  interrupted Doris.

“And Joe did have deep pockets and short arms, probably because he didn’t like touching dirty money. See here, the Smart Geezer in court spent a lot of money to set up a vehicle to wash the money, says something about money laundering. He must have some of Joe’s blood somewhere”.

“You mean a bit like those small trucks that clean up after the market is closed?” chipped in Charley.

“Anyway, I can’t see why he needed to spend eighteen million quid just for solicitors for this money laundering vehicle, I mean Janice only spent a few hundred when she opened her launderette”

“Oh for goodness sake” Harold was getting ratty “These geezers are mafia, although they deny it – especially the smart geezer. It must be bad if the Swiss won’t even let him to the country, he fiddled some money out of Aeroflot and siphoned it off into a bank called SBS Agro that he set up with some mates”.

“But he had to pay it back because the sour geezer in Moscow (and mate of the not-so-smart geezer who is also in court) had really been putting on the screws. Yeah, thumb screws, in his old job as top man in the KGB, the sour geezer was very good at that”.

Thomas was pointing at the newspaper: “The smart geezer says he was set up by the KGB and they have been trying to bump him off”

“I understand why” said Harold wisely “You see the smart geezer had a mate who was running Aeroflot; this geezer finds out that all the payments for the tickets paid to the airline all over the world were going into Swiss bank accounts to help the KGB improve their candid camera and thumb screw expertise”. He then added with a smile “So the smart geezer and the geezer running Aeroflot thought; why can’t we put the money in our own account – it’s in Switzerland anyway”.

“I got to admit, dis smart geezer is smart” Thomas’s accent getting stronger as the more Guinness was consumed: “he had a car dealership”.

“You mean like the geezer who was on the TV?” asked one of the group: ”what was his name – Arthur, he was a car dealer and had lots of other businesses, and he had a minder just like the geezers outside the court yesterday”

“Nah, he was smarter than Arthur, he got hold of a factory for nothing; built loads of cars; flogged them; didn’t pay the workers and stashed his money in one of those money washing vehicles”. Thomas continued: “And to France where he bought some big mansions on the Cote D’Azur, the French police are after him for that too”.

“Don’t forget the mansions he bought here after the Teflon geezer gave him asylum” reminded Harold cynically.

“What I don’t understand” said Doris who was feeling refreshed after another parasite shandy “how comes this geezer with the big conk is dealing with Arabs? I thought they didn’t like each other. I have never understood that because their conks all look pretty big to me”.

“It says here that they helped the smart geezer to set up the money laundering vehicle. I didn’t think they were into launderettes. I’ve only seen them selling kebabs”.

“It’s all part of the global con” replied Harold. “We are made to believe all this rubbish so that they can keep us frightened and screw us all the time”

The situation was getting a bit out of hand, Charley felt he had to say something.

“Well, tell me; if these two geezers in court are not Mafia, why did somebody make the solicitor’s helicopter crash. Don’t seem normal to me, poor geezer gets eighteen million quid to help these guys out with a launderette and then gets bumped off. Says he had a lot of secrets, there can’t be much to keep secret about a launderette”.

“Not unless you have got some dirty linen!” laughed Thomas aloud “But of course these geezers in court are as clean as a whistle – nothing like the Mafia”.


© Roger Short 2010 – 


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