Author : Brian McDermott

“What’s the market?”

“68.23 bid for a hundred thousand.” Joh said.

The price of Iridium was rising. And out here in the farthest sector, a place the whole galaxy said was populated by floogbags and rim-holes, my little collective was one of the only sanctioned metals traders on our back-orbit exchange.

The planet Gestaglon had Iridium coming out their yim-flangs. In most systems, Iridium was as valuable as a hooloon fart. But on Caldux, they used it in everything. When those two planets went to war, Caldux stopped buying. The price of Iridium fell like it was caught in a gravitational vortex.

Then last week everything changed. Gestaglon and Caldux began negotiating a treaty. The financial universe was suddenly interested in Iridium and I had a cootch ton of new clients.

“Goldy’s on my comm. He want’s to know what to do?” Joh shouted.

“Tell every client to keep buying.” I said. “This fargminx will be a two bagger in five minutes.”

Everyone and their pleasure-bot knew Iridium would double as soon as the treaty was signed. We were beaming the live holo of the signing ceremony to the center of our trading floor. The Calduxian Gov’nors looked like a bunch of yug lickers in their colored helm-jacks while the Gestaglian Politmongers stood scratching their bilge-sticks. They were already blathering about new beginnings and peaceful coexistence. Our whole trading floor was watching. None of us could tell you what Iridium looked like, but today it was the most important hootch in our universe.

“83.54 for five hundred thousand. If we’re buying on the house account, now’s the time!”

“Not yet” I said.

We watched the ministers on the holo present the treaty.

“92.32 for two hundred million! I’m gonna buy!”

“Not yet” I said more forcefully.

On the holo, the Calduxians were just about to sign the treaty.

“Why the floog are we waiting?” Joh blurted “ We got Goldy bidding 103.43 for a billion!”

As calmly as I could, I leaned over to Joh and said, “Sell it to him.”

Joh looked stupefied. “WHAT? You want to SELL? Naked short?”

“Yep. From the house account.”

“Sell to Goldy…our own client?” He shot back. “It’s unethical and suicidal! When the treaty is signed the price will…”

“It already doubled!” I screamed. “Sell or I’ll shove a fargminx up your rim-hole!”

The whole room watched Joh hit sell. No one inhaled. No one exhaled. Then every eye shot straight to the holo. And our tiny, back-orbit, rim-hole company was short 1 billion units of Iridium.

It only took another thirty seconds. When the Calduxians signed the treaty, the Gestaglians were offended for some far sector, floogbag reason. Just as I guessed. Those bungsackers hated each other for eons. Blasters were drawn, chaos exploded, and our holo went blank.

Joh turned to his screen. “All trading suspended in Iridium!”

For three seconds on that tiny trading floor you coulda heard a wolabat break wind. Then it was pandemonium. Everyone was cheering. Guys were hugging androids. Androids were hugging lamps. I popped the bottle of Dom I’d been saving, shocked I hadn’t whizzed my pantaloons.

“Iridium will be back to 20 tomorrow. And the whole galaxy will be snarked. At us.” Joh said looking like a man who got kicked in the hoohoo while winning the lottery.

“And we’ll cover our short position and be rich.” I replied, “Besides what’d they expect? Out here, we’re all just a bunch of floogbags and rim-holes.”


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