Opco Boone Idea Bank

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The Adventures of Opco Boone, Legal Ace™

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The ISDA Protocol

Dramatis Personae


Template:Opco Places


Template:Opco Institutions

People and places


“You came in just now, and then I saw—”
She stopped.
“A monster. A nice one, an especially nice one to have around when you're in trouble, but a monster just the same, without any human foolishness like love in him, and—What's the matter? Have I said something I shouldn't?”

— Dashiel Hammett: The Dain Curse (1929)

The MTM Grand

The business day convention winds down. The final panel Q&A wraps up: five hundred delegates hit the bar hard: TARGET chit-chat is thirsty work. The MTM Grand is buzzing. The house band plays flat-stick Cajun washboard scat. They play it loud. It kicks an angsty groove.

Waiters boogie-woogie through the crowd. They flog cold beers and live crabs on overhead trays. Nippers gnash. Punters chug Satoshi Extra-Dry. It’s an on-chain open bar. The vodka luge hits peak. Daycount chit-chat hits peak. The accordion swing-jive hits peak: breakneck BPM.

Stage left: the Negotiator cuts a track through the hullaballoo. And then sees her. Hullaba-helloooo.

The counter scene is chaos. His bar presence is zilch. All the same he catches her eye — just. There’s a flicker and its gone. She looks down. She looks away. She flushes red. There: she steals another look through that tumbling fringe. The Negotiator knows it: this is the moment.

He rams a Tortuga chaser. That bad boy gives him wings. He rocks up. “Is this guy boring you?”

The stares straight at him. “Not yet.”

She blows her fringe. She contrives boredom. “Weren’t you in the day count fraction break-out session?”

The Negotiator grins. “Actually, —”

“You’re a funny guy. Are you following me?”

He cracks out ol’ *innocent face*.

She looks him up and down. She scoffs, but vibes playful. She runs a finger round the rim of his glass. Their eyes lock again. “O.K., soldier, so you say you were preceding me?”

He shrugs. “I figured you’d wind up here, so I just made sure I got here first.”

So, you were, ahhh — modified following me?”

He spits his drink. She pops an olive. The zydeco wails. They get close.

She’s nervous. She bites her lip. She looks about. She gasps – clocks something, someone, over her shoulder. She leans in. She whispers in his ear – her lips touch his lobe. It’s hot.

“Have you got something for me, big boy?”

He whispers back. His lips touch her lobe. It’s infernal.

“Well do you want something?”

“Honey, I’ll take anything. No questions asked.” She runs a finger down his gilet.


She takes a step back. That half-cocked smile. “Come find me. Come find yourself.”


“End of the month. For business.”

“End of month — ?” The Negotiator glanced at his wrist: a Rolodex Perpetual. Top of the range.

“Nice piece.”

“So, tomorrow?”

She leans in close. Her breath is hot. “Work it out, big boy.”

His professional circuits click in fast. It’s the thirtieth: month-end proximate. Tomorrow is Saturday. He tips the ambiguity right off the bat. “Wait: Following or Modified Following?”

“I like the way you’re thinking,” she says, and winks, and drifts away, on the raging current of sales bullshittery and lofted canapés. “Actually –”

As she floats away she tosses something. The Negotiator snatches it. It’s a room-key. Punched into the plastic: HACIENDA 547.

He turns to look but the ocean’s closing up.

“Wait – what’s your name?”

But she is gone.

Through the chatter, a frail, tight-point whisper, hits him broadside: “I’m Marissa.”

He says it to himself: “Marissa.”

A Bus-boy rocks by with bacon-wrapped scallops in newsprint party hats. He leans in casually, as he goes. “Careful with her, sir: She’s an agent.”

The girl winds up murdered on a heart-shaped satin bed, in the Hacienda while it is being imploded. In her mouth, rolled up and tied with a blood-red satin bow, sealed in blood-red wax with a curious dark mark: a legal document. The Negotiator pulled the bow: it dropped to the floor.

She’s dead as a doornail, a beautiful girl. Dead. Murdered, and someone’s responsible.

Suspicion: it is some counterparty planning a huge shipment of financial weapons of mass destruction, rubbing out all the process agents in the nation to prevent documents being served on it.


Rap on swiss bankers spying on each other

FWMD effects

The disasters caused by FWMDs include.

  • Contamination/bin linear tight coupling a la SIV Endgame
  • Suddenly, bullshit that the market has traded in for years and which it depends on becomes obviously false.
  • Rising tide that floats all boats drains from the harbour, leaving asset managers naked and floundering in the mud when the tsunami hits
  • Enron, mark to market positions suddenly worthless.

Ops guy sent in with a pipecleaner trade gets wiped out with the blowback


As a type of injury.

DeltaView Force offcuts

So you are saying the same old things that have tripped every new fangled financial scheme in history are no longer germane remain.

“Yes it is! It is all disclosed man! We’re only taking orders stapled to big-boy letters! We’re ’wildly over-subscribed!”

“But this company won’t make any money?”

“You fool,” he cried. “Revenue is irrelevant! This is the internet! There is no money any more! Money is irrelevant! I am irrelevant! You are irrelevant —”

“Now hold on —”

Renfield laughed like a maniac. “We are all irrelevant! Everything is free! We are liberated! There are no bricks and/or mortar! we are going to be rich!”

The poor squid kid then dissolved into a gurgling hysteria, then rolled over and shot me with intense, red-beaded eyes. “How much can I put you down for? We’re full on our lines but I can get you a piece —”

“Alright, A.J., bring him in”

Ten days later the market imploded, taking the young tadpole, PetVan, BluBeenz and Lexrifyly with it

Villa on the lake

On the trail of these FWMDs Boone and Janice follow a Wickliffe Hampton SICAV up into the Swiss mountains. They park up at the end of a windy road and radio in Sweeney and A.J. to check the exit.

“There’s only one way out of here. We’ll know when they come out. Eyes peeled, lads.”

GPS said the road would took an hour, end to end.

The lads waited an hour. They kept eyes peeled and spirits high with primo banter on the C.B.


The lads waited another hour. They kept eyes peeled and spirits high with quantities of diet cola. The coke gave them wings, kept eyes bright and tails bushy but the banter palled.


A.J. broke the silence. “Boss, I don’t think they’re coming.”

Boone double checked the map. He finger-traced the route. He stabbed the boys’ locale and growled into the intercom. “There is no other way out. If they haven’t coming past they must still be in there.”

A cold wind whipped up the valley. Janice looked west. It was fearsome dark a mile down the lake. “Liquidity situation is tightening up, Boone. We be wet if we don’t move.” Underscore and exclamation point: a fat globule of rain slapped the windshield.

Boone snapped shut the map and slid into the cabin. He barked into the two-way: “Ok. Let’s go. Boys: prime your GMSLAs. Put the rain shields up and get ready for action. Something’s going down. I feel it.”

“Roger that, Boonester.”

“Okay. We’re coming through. Boone out.”

Up on the exit points, the boys shucked their repos. Janice loaded a twenty-ten, bumped the stock and mounted the running board.

Boone holstered the C.B. He slammed the AIF into forward, set wipers on high and stomped on the gas. Janice locked her elbow and hung on tight.

The road hugged the lake coast. Boone hugged the road. They shot past deserted waterside chalets: des res for the Oberland elite, battened down for winter. The rain got heavy. Janice snagged a grab-handle and swung into shotgun.

The depo whined. Road clear. No sign of the Wickliffe semi.

Boone rode the camber hard. The AIF growled. The vehicle belted through roadkill and assorted autumn detritus. Janice navigated. She punched the dash. The GPS came and went. The road was slick. The AIF got squirrelly on the corners.

The depo whined. No sign of the semi.

They shot past a deserted hotel, boarded up for winter. The dwellings thinned out. The trees came thick and fast now. The road gained elevation: smashing lake-views through stair-rods and spindly trees.

The depo whined. Alles klaar: No sign of the semi.

They road dipped down. They shot past an old school. Not boarded up. Lights beamed through the gloaming: Schweizer nippers learning times tables. Boone gunned the AIF and left the Swiss nippers for dust. They rode a mile of dotted chalets and charming vistas on the lake. The rain was biblical.

The depo whined. No sign of the semi.

Boone hit a blind hairpin. He stomped on the anchors. The AIF caught a leaf pile and fishtailed. It slewed out right. Boone cursed his luck and the sled skidded down a bank. The rag top flipped. The depo graunched. The AIF’s mags spun slow, idle and upside-down.

Janice slid out the passenger side window. She plopped on the ground. She said, “So, that didn’t go so well. What now?”

Boone fished leaves out of his mouth.

“Guess we better go see if the Schweizer nippers can give us a tow.”

They fashioned paper hats and trudged back through the rain. They rocked up at the school they’d seen: quelle surpise: not a school. Some kind of orphanage. Set back behind a wrought iron gate and imposing statue of a wanderer in the fog:

“Give me your poor, huddled, lost little special purpose vehicles. Give them all to me: yea, even unto their tens of thousands. I will nourish them. I will feed them. I will shelter them, just as they will shelter you, and your taxable income.”

The house was a grand old gothic mansion. It was set back from the lake in defended by firs, snuggled into the folds of the mountain. A jumble of architectural styles grafted on, like some Frankensteinian horror-show. An A-Frame extension. Out right, an art nouveau wing, of glass and wrought iron, glowed and sparked like a firefly. The main reception: a neoclassical portico, emblazoned in cursive font: Ugland House. Behind: a grand post-Raphaelite portrait of an old man with a cracking moustache. George R. M. Ugland, 1827-1957.

The door opened. A young administrator stood behind. He said, “The masters are are entertaining clients this evening. But come in: it seems nasty out. He smiled an oily smile.


“Masters of the orphanage: Mister Maple and Mister Calder.”

The administrator took their ISDAs at the door. they are fed, watered. As she returns from a washroom Janice follows a weeping child down a hallway, where she discovers the terrible secret of the orphan manufacturing laboratory. She doubles back and alerts Boone. They swipe the sniveling child and make escape in a boat across the lake.

They don’t realise the girl is a multicellular vehicle. She spawns a double. And another. And another.

“Jesus it’s a side pocket!”

“Close it out !! Close it out!” Boone’s voice was urgent now.

“She’s just a little orphan ...”

“Jesus, Janice, pull the fucking NAV trigger would you?”

Janice’s face was wet with the horror of war. She said, “all these memories,” and waxed the kid with a 6(a).

A small MTM shock wave waft knocked her back but Janice held her feet. The kid went down with a a crazy smile. It crumpled, collapsed in on itself and vanished in a puff.

The rest of the spawn kept coming.

“Jesus it must be segregated!” Boone barked. “Find its parent!”

This was no time for complicated DD. Janice shrugged and flipped off the safety. “No sweat, Opco, I’ll just DUST it.”

Boone screamed, “NO!”, but it was too late. Janice squeezed.

The old 87 blammed out a 5(a)(v). It filled the air with a choking miasma. Boone and Janice hit the deck. The air flared and flashed and sparkled across the gunwale. The dust cleared. The kids still stood. The kids kept coming.

“What the living fuck?”
“They’re segregated, Agster.”
“Oh, shit.”

The nearest kid kept advancing, like some zombie.

Janice pumped it full of collateral — off-the-run OATs — sending it juddering back. It bought some time. Boone jammed a rock on the cross accelerator and set the wheel along a forward curve. The vehicle roared a sweeping arc toward the jetty.

“When I say ... Jump okay?”


“Trust me. Hold ’em...”

The MTM ticked down. The zombie kid shuffled close. Janice baffed out a corporate bond.

“Hold ’em...” The craft swept closer. The jetty loomed. The zombie kid shuffled closer.

“NOW!” Boone and Janice bailed off the back, frogman style. They sploshed in the wake.

The craft roared on. It smacked the jetty with a pleasing boom.

extreme riff

Lateral quitters as opposed to lateral hires.

Redundancy as a means of fixing sublinear scaling problems.

Star Trek Style Sir we are losing power, the company warp drive is scaling sublinearly. The revenue engines are gunked up with over-engineering and process.

The svengali with the tall thin bonsai tree with the stuck on branches.

The cocktail party assassination. If you are at the cocktail party you’re probably part of the problem.

The Office

The Squad rent an office in a disused building on the Offworld from a creepy sleazy guy. Formerly a grand icon, now a dilapidated sweating wreck, dripping water, swathing lights. No other tenants. Punchface keeps seeing figures who shouldn’t be there. When he hails them they disappear into the fog.

Espievie smuggling operations

Espievie production smuggling operations a la Pablo Escobar in Cayman, jerseys, Ireland, and gangs muscling in on the territory.

Identified the murderer because he said eye-ess-dee-aye.

Bartholomew Gould

Antagonist and Protagonist: Apparent Antagonist: Opposition legal eagle units. In fact elaborate set pieces and military strategies and massive engagement, no-one gets killed from either side and the warring legal eagles all seem to be actually rather enjoying themselves. Business as ineffectual victims of bamboozelry.

Battle of Bretton Woods: a conventional trench war between the massed armies of two legal departments shelling each other’s indentures with heavy artillery and a neutral trust keeping force of trained rentiers keeping the piece with hold-harmless agreements, liability caps and general field indemnities.

Delta-force penetrates a badly reinforced side-letter

Actual Antagonist: the Double-Oh unit. Sending out the troops into battle underpowered. Underlying concern: what do you all actually achieve? Underying irony: whatever it is, it is more than you do.


Putting the band back together

A.J. Paul manages to lure Edd Sweeney out of his office by calling from reception as a taxi driver. Also they discover a way of communicating by transporting down a wormhole into another dimension in the time-space-tedium continuum. They key is to find a portal — these are usually negotiation oubliettes — which you have to slingshot yourself around, but if you miscalculate your trajectory you get sucked into it forever. Edd and AJ do this but work out that the must fundamental particle in space-tedium continuum does not collapse - indeed, the negotiation oubliette is a field constructed out of these fundamental particles — so the key is to find one. You have to reopen the portal and “knee-slide” out of it, using a legal weapon of inarguable, petulant, infinitesimal objectionability that no-one can object to it, at which point a brief window opens through which you can knee-slide or jet-plane out of it.

Where Legal Eagles Dare

Comte Ziffer Vermessung von Rechnung - head of the double-oh metrics division, and part of the ancestral Romanian nobility. It is a Germanised name.

Hello! it’s Kaylene Trangle! — New Zealand contrecta

It is after the war. Please keeping squads are are scouring the markets wiping out resistant pockets of libor it is not glamorous work bad it pays well. Farquhar has been demobilised and signs up for a remediation squad just a pay the bills. It is a ragged bunch of reprobates a la heart of darkness or Moby Dick.

Caning out ceremony

A crump in the prolixity reservoir, it collapsed to one knee and emptied itself all over the forward Reg relations team.

“they’re going to a baffled for weeks!”

A sprint burst to the right which took out a discombobulation stack. The defences weren't holding.

The Last SPV

Bretton Woods: a dark forest beyond the mythical settlement of the Settlement, where combat sales units would hunt espievies and other prey which they would domesticate and farm for commissions

Sales details ride in with captured espievies and toss them into a holding pen.

Evaluates and sorts them, tossing out the runts. A junior sales squire gripes about his treatment. The office manager tosses him a couple of credits and tells him to scram. "Too small". "Won't net". "No track record taste awful."

There's a commotion in the fields as a hunting party comes back in. It is Charlemagne, the celebrated sales guru, leading his retinue, leading in an elephant-sized beast by a velvet rope.

Sidemutter: "He got it from the forbidden fields. There are none of these in our territory. They don't exist."

Capture the docs team leader who is too weak to resist the onslaught

Coo people trying to break in in and tame master agreements.

Capture small ones

So the lawyers treat them as as pets, and horse whisperer them etc comma believing this is the only way to to control the danger they present and harness their power. The Theo coming like the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang force the agreements into a framework controlled by Romanians reading instruction manuals.

Bigger ones bust out of their glcages destroying everything

Apocalyptic scenes where tiny little cages ISDA s, all confined in small rectangular pens like battery hens suddenly all explode at once overwhelming the management systems.

Giant monsters called Goks housed in luxuriant pens, where teams rub their skins with champagne and Keep them supple and milking them of commissions. Good are free to come and go. There are several Gok pens around the city. To encourage the gearbox to go into them they need to be b-complex fully invisible 2 to city residence other than those charged with managing the pen itself.

Feed smaller stick with Vega and they grow larger

Conan the barbarian riff with isda jocks captured and tethered to the mill in a mountain training camp where they train school leavers in the ninja arts. School leavers keep running away. Escaping for a better life

the Settlement is the elven home on earth. The settlement is an offshore centre.

NAV Trigger Point

The Secret Calculation Agent

“G... g... guys?” stuttered Edd. “I th ... th ... think we better get outta here.”
Roly snorted. “What’s wrong Eddy-boy? Scared like a — ” The tubster yawped and clucked and duck-walked around Cadet Sweeney, a fierce, brittle enjoyment squalling in his pink little eyes.
“I’m not yeller!” Edd squeaked.
“Are too! —” Roly’s little apple cheeks flushed with brimming petulance.
“Cut it out Roly,” barked AJ. Don’t pay him no mind, Sweeney. You carry on.”
“Lads! Quiet!” hissed Squadron Leader Opco Boone. “I have to finish this determination dispute trigger. I need bit of quiet. It’s — fiddly ... multi-lat ... ” Boone jabbed his screwdriver into the mechanism, and spluttered as a shower of rust sprinkled his face.
“Don’t forget the double counting, Opco,” said George.
Boone wiped his face and adjusted his goggles. “I got it, G. Just a little further —”
The Eagle Squad leader reached into ancient contraption again, but as he did so, deep in the bowels of the ETS there was a deep, subsonic moan, as if a God, or a monster, was finally stirring from the slumber of aeons.
What the fuck was that?
Nearby, a vigorous flutter, an explosion of limbs, like a scrambling bird escaping from its predator’s clutch.
“Roly! Roly! Come back! Where are you going?”
But the young squadsman had gone. A righteous sneer curled A.J.’s lip.
Boone stood up. “C’mon gang, this is a dead end. No-one will read this, or understand it, much less ever use it. We better find Roly. Let’s get out of here.”

The boobytrap

Boone snaps out of his reverie as the whizzkid excitedly tells him there is a scramble briefing. A.J. slapped his hands and rubbed them together with glee, his eyes fiercely aglow. “This is it, Boone! This is it! I’m finally going to see action!”

The air crackled as Eagle Squad filed into the briefing room. E.J.P. gawped. All the legends were there: Bundie. J Algernon Farquhar, D.S.O. The banter-pulse was flat. Fryer took the rostrum.

“All right people, listen up.”

In a CDO warehouse on the edge of town there is a booby-trapped FWMD. Boone goes out on his comp-cycle but finds his weapons hamstrung by new protocols. Stamps on the cross accelerator.

Throws a netting field around it and it implodes

History lesson at at crustards about the first men. Algy and George roleplay reg margin and Vlad paripassu

Enigma Variations

Vibe somewhere between Thermopylae and LOTR Themes:

  • Escalation circle
  • Responsibility diffusion
  • “Grandfathering” of approvals given by persons departed. Good in that it is a permanent siphon for responsibility; bad in that it is an ossified skeletal

Everywhere they turn members of Eagle Squad find they are losing attritional battle: outlying villages of peace-loving legal eagles, starlings and so forth have been captured imprisoned and changed to this monumental unforgiving operational beast. Elsewhere, eagles are being replaced, a la body snatchers with chatbots.

Detachments of blade runners track the chatbot interlopers down and retire them using the Babbage-Turing test, but there is a concern a senior member of Legal Squad may have been “turned”.

IA Scouts

The D.I.A. forensics is an elite group of audit trail scouts who can track any approval trail in the organisation, based purely on the “stutter signature” of its approval. They have developed a working body of knowledge about how decisions are made and can be traced back to individuals, and are constantly vigilant to the diffusion tactics that can be deployed by hostile actors to thrown them off the scent, such as:

During Bretton Woods, Opco came to learn their dark ways through bitter experience and knows they have one weakness: genuine unpredictability: they cannot trace communications of any kind not contemplated by the formal hierarchy. They cannot see anything anything their model does not expect them to see.

“But Opco, the DIE swap teams have telescopic scopes. They are risk-radar synced and loaded with the latest pre-beta releases of the risk taxonomy. They could bullseye an authorised derriere-xerox at the Christmas party in 1997. I’ve seen them do it.”

“Georgie, that’s the very point. All we need to do is structure our network to run crosswise to that model. Find the pinch-points — soft joints in the taxonomic superstructure, and jam those channels, relentlessly.”

Hare interrupted. “How the hell are we meant to do that, Boone? How can we find what doesn’t exist? They have all the data. They have monstrous computation machines, running linear extrapolations to five decimal places. The taxonomy is SOX certified to six significant places. We wouldn’t expect an exploitable weakness in literally hundreds of millions of years.”

Boone held up a hand. The room went quiet. For that exact reason, my friends. How have they built the model?

“Data, Boone. Data. Big data.”

“Okay, and where did they get the data?”

“Everywhere, Boone. They have terabytes of data and they are accumulating more every day. Networked MIS munition dumps — there are at least forty of them positioned around the territory. Reticulated staff sentiment surveys. Eight years of calibrated 360° PM stacks. Aggregated steering co—”

“Not where physically; where temporally: you know: when.”

“Like I said, eight to ten years worth of the stuff —”

“— in the past.”

Hare looked at Boone like he was a moron. “Well, yeah, duh. How are they supposed to get data from the future? These guys are good. They’re not freaking clairvoyant.”

“Exactly my point, Commander Hare. The taxonomic model is 100% backwards-facing. We may not have that data, but we can approximate it.”

In any case the trick is do be unexpected. Create destructive diversions by creating non-linear connections between low-delta facilities with no apparent interaction. That is where the defences are weakest — where they least expect attack.

That’s brilliant. But where will they be focusing their defensive efforts?

Credit Derivatives. Family Offices. Benchmark

DIA on the trail

Kimo Sarbey crouched down and inspected the track.

“Is it —?”

Sarbey held up a palm, to indicate silence. He raised his nose and sniffed, left and right, hoovering in the atmosphere. He proceeded forward, and then to the right.


He side-stepped to the right. He did it again. He crouched. He pointed a finger, and scurried ahead four strides.


Opco is called to a situation where a detachment of legal eagles are cornered, fighting their way out a narrow canyon.

The commanding officer, Hare, is struggling: he has tried a precedent fallback formation, but none of his men have any experience in similar situations.

Lieutenant Hare is under enormous pressure to deliver. Resentful as overlooked and publicly humiliated by Fryer, who plainly does not rate him. Opco and Boone have a bit of form.

“All right, chaps: we are going to have to escalate our way out of this.”

The men dubiously looked up the sheer, smooth rockface.

“Piggy, Blighter: you prepare the first pitch. We will need a group of stakeholders. Form a working group. We’re going up.”

Piggy and brighter with a strong men of the unit. They did not shirk from their task and before long they were hammering stakeholders into whatever fissures they could find in the wall of sheer verbiage.

“it is dense, sir — highly granular — but we can do this.”

After an hour the two men had made it 50 m up the face and completed the first pitch of the escalation. The rest of the unit scrambled nimbly up the rope line they had created.

The next pitch was a horizontal traverse for some 70 metres across the silo into a credit chimney. They laboured across it. Cracks in the accountability face were few and far between. The men made it, with a clever compliance arbitrage, belayed the leader into a deal committee approval subroutine.

Hare had the men pull up the rope after them. “We’ll need it for further escalations, lads. And besides, we don’t want any of those IA blighters following us. Safety first,” he said, tapping his nose. It’s all about plausible deniability here.”

Jiffy, prepare some slides outlining the business case. Tatts; prepare a briefing for the joint chiefs.

Piggy said, “the stakeholders are occupied, sir. We can’t reach them.”

Tatts said, “sir the supply line to the joint chiefs is cut off. There is no signal.”


Veteran of ww2, saw action in the xxx lost good men there. Has flashbacks. Sharp tongued wise cracker. He fears becoming like the old man, a shell with no human feelings whatsoever

Private investigator I used to turn tricks just like any other John, but I noticed one day that all was not right with the world. One too many knuckleheads and frauds got away with it and they let me go from one more gig and Well they say necessity is the mother of invention, and I tell you how u dreamed of telling them all, the whole kitten caboodle, to go straight to hell


I dreamed about it. I stood with my toes across the edge of a great cliff, and I roared, and I howled, and I hurled that infernal organiser, with all my might, out over the glittering waves. It spun and arced out in a graceful curl and fell, curling down until it spritzed on the black rocks below.


Black rocks. Before now, I never made the connection.

I must be in deep.

The BB shattered. It atomised into a billion particles as fine as the elemental dust of which we are all made. The dust. The dust rose, and I could see it even over that distance and it gathered and rose up before me and it assembled if conducted by an invisible plan and it said I have a plan for you, I have a plan —

Then the fucker woke me up. The ’berry, still there, still corporeal, animated by no greater intelligence and bearing news of no greater moment than the legal and compliance workstream of the target operating model steerco buzzed at that very moment, its winking red eye and bustling ring tone. I had action points and I did not know what they were.

But I felt it, just the same. It was more than just a dream. It was too real, too coherent, too indicative of a greater purpose. I began to dig.

And the dreams kept coming.

And I dreamed that the bank went up in flames and collapsed, and a great halo of joyous light raised up to the heavens and the people said hosanna and then I saw this McGuffin in the ruins and it didn’t burn and it didn’t deteriorate, but it rose up and spoke to me and it showed me a bigger plan. It called my name. Well, my sleeping self – I was called Clint in that one – knew it was some kind of a dream (a dream in a dream?) and I snapped back – and there they were, saying my name, and I was in a call and the subject was the target operating model of this or that

When the end came for real I didn’t suspect a thing. They called me to a meeting room with a guy on the door.

I thought I’d rent out a place close to the city. I wanted easy access to snoop around. There were some recurring landmarks and I knew I had to be close. They showed me around a floor on the cheese grater. No good. I looked at a mobile office space just off Finsbury Circus. I stayed there for a week. They tossed me out. I wound up in a draughty flat above a derelict station running east. Downstairs they sold soup and upstairs a Turkish family watched daytime TV. It was Shoreditch, so really quite a la mode, but it wasn’t glamorous. The landlord was a gammon slob in a singlet. He turned up weekly and took the rent in cash and didn’t write receipts.

There was a desk there, and I found a chair they were throwing out from an office supplies shop. I had my stuff set up in a half hour, and I put my sign up on the door.

I had some savings and I set about burning them.