About the Author
James Buckley lives in London with his wife, Amy and son,
Ciaran. He works in the City as a fund manager and drew inspiration from
his experiences as an MBA student at Cambridge University to create this
contemporary morality tale. The novel's title is a homage to his love of
the early 1990's "shoegazing" music scene.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
They're dead. Both of them. It was kill them or get kicked out on my ass.
So in the end what kind of choice did I have? Believe me, I argued my case.
Tried to make the authorities here accept my needs, to show leniency, but
"The situation has been made abundantly clear to you, Miss Sanders. You
know the consequences if you continue to ignore our warnings."
I made the officious asshole stand on my doorstep when he told me this last
Tuesday. It was raining so hard water was bouncing off the cheap plastic
awning above my doorstep and landing on his moustache as he spoke. Didn't
shake him though. Terrier-like these Brits when you give them a bit of
"Our rules are there to protect everyone's best interests, Miss Sanders.
There are no exceptions. You're an intelligent young woman; I don't expect
to discuss this matter with you again."
Intelligent young woman? At school, I was the girl who vetted who could
sit on the most popular table; at Stanford I graduated Phi Beta Kappa; I
was the youngest female vice-president at the brokerage. While my female
acquaintances, (I don't have girlfriends), were reading The Rules or The
Celestine Prophecy, I was devouring Liars Poker and Play Like a Man, Win
Like a Woman. I drank beer with the boys and bitch-slapped the women,
metaphorically of course, well most of the time. This place is lucky to
have me. Tell that to these small-minded bureaucrats though. Assholes would
flunk me in a heartbeat.
I arrived here last month, England in the fall. So quaint, I felt excited.
It was to be a fresh start after all the shit I had to put up with in San
Francisco. At first it was fun, the workload was heavy but I was used to
that. From the start there were a few people who didn't like me. Little
tell-tale signs. They'd sit two seats away from me and then in the next
class they'd be all up close and personal with someone else. But I decided
it wouldn't affect me. I was here to get my MBA, have a little fun, then go
back to the States and cash in. As I expected I've had to break some balls
in my study group. The first meeting was tense but I remembered all the
advice I'd had from people who'd done this kinda shit before. Basically
take a few moments to size up the opposition then hit them hard and take no
"Simone, we've all got a valid contribution to make. We need parity of
esteem here in order to realise our potential as a group."
Just listen to this stuck-up Brit, Hilary Jenkins-Spires. A real hard-ass
bitch from the start. Gotta give her credit for laying down her marker from
day one. Needs to be stared down though.
"So just to clarify your position, Hilary, you're proposing that we all
have equal air-time, even those of us who barely speak English?"
"That appears to be the most equitable approach to me, Simone. Anyway,
everyone here speaks excellent English."
Couple of eyebrows raised at this comment.
"Yeah, well life ain't always equitable, Hilary; neither is business
school. We need our biggest hitters at the plate. That means me, and OK,
seeing as I'm a committed team player, you too."
She half-heartedly continued to insist we should all present for an equal
time, but we knew this was a good deal on the table for both of us. Before
coming here I made my living in equity sales, where you eat what you kill,
blowing smoke up the ass of hedge fund managers who act like they're God's
greatest creation. You can't seriously tell me you can compare that to what
the rest of these clowns bring to the table: mindless enthusiasm coupled
with no sense of their own inadequacy. Talk the talk but piss their pants
at a second stage McKinsey call-back.
"Guys, don't think for one second I don't have your best interests at
heart, I lead with a tough mind and a big heart. That's why I want to put
myself on the line for you here."
Look around the table here. Focus in on one particularly sorry looking
specimen, little weird looking dude, think he's from Mongolia or somewhere
like that. Only speaks when spoken to.
"Balbeck, I value your input here. If you've got an issue with what I'm
proposing, share it with us all please."
He looks spooked and shakes his head. In the face of this display of
selfless team-spiritedness, Ms Jenkins-Spires was forced to swallow hard,
back down and allow us to host the presentation jointly. I decided to
outflank her a little, be magnanimous, and suggested Olaf from Finland take
five minutes of what just happened to be the most boring crap, explaining
the statistical significance of our conclusions. Sometimes you've got to
throw the little people something, I mean it keeps you popular, right? Plus
the guy's English is OK, and shit is he ever built. I know the others
appreciated my generosity, especially Olaf. Maybe I'll cash in on that
later in term, after all a girl has needs. Of course, in the end Hilary
couldn't present for shit, but hey what do you expect from someone with a
name like that?