Dog Star Rages
is a work of fiction.
characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s
imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to organisations, events
or locales is entirely coincidental as are references to actual people living
The Diary of Atticus Lane:
Monday 11 January
EUROZONE FEARS DEEPEN
by the European Central Bank and the £110 billion international rescue package
put together by European governments have failed to quell investor fears about
the future of the Eurozone ...
Jesus Christ! First day back in the office in the New Year. Long Christmas holiday over. No work, no
project in hand, no prospect to come back to. Nothing! The commercial world is
dead … as dead as a fucking doornail … a doornail that has been poisoned,
stabbed in the eyes, run over, shot in the fucking heart and made to read Section 89 of the Companies Act.
Over by the coffee machine, Walter Wormsley (Salaried Partner: Corporate –
thick as pig shit and bristling with financial appetites) stands with a face like
a loose bowel movement: a large ungainly nonentity with greasy hair and patchy
stubble. Whenever I see Walter Wormsley four words spring instantly to mind: what a frigging twat.
In grave danger of over twiddling thumbs.
Lost in thought … Lunch – another hour and a half to go … Self harm – the
distractions ... That new Associate with the legs: legs like that and all she’s
doing is walking around on them – the possibilities of … forget it, she
wouldn’t look at me twice … once. Nothing … nothing whatsoever … just the long
drawn out and irreversible passage of time.
Out of body experience at departmental working lunch called by physically
truncated Head of Corporate, Milton Ratchet, to discuss financial crisis. Milton
is the egotistical goblin appointed to reign over us by our Managing Partner,
St. John Ayres. As Head of Department he sits on the Firm’s Practice Management
Committee and is therefore a frequent target for the splenetic outbursts of
Harry Haller … our very own Hooded Claw. No biscuits! Projected turnover down 30%.
Profit down 75%. Harry doing his impersonation of an American Werewolf in
London, the bit where the kid mutates and starts tearing peoples’ throats out:
telling Milton PMC are a bunch of incompetents ... Ayres is incompetent, Sir
Evelyn’s a fat fucking numbskull and why doesn’t Milton himself just “pack the
fuck up and fuck off home?”
any way for a partner to address his partners?
and his co-creep Jeremiah Lamprey (Salaried Partner: Tax – invertebrate) look
from Harry to Milton and back again. Lamprey, outraged, wears an expression
like one of those skateboarders off You’ve
Been Framed who’s just come off and landed bollocks first on a handrail fifteen
feet down a flight of steps.
down 75%,” Harry snarls, “and so far the only concession to financial Armageddon
seems to be no fucking biscuits with the tea.”
harsh,” Jonathon Hardlymeant (Equity Partner: Corporate –chinless boffin)
mumbles into his cup.
...” Flounder (Salaried Partner: Commercial – girl’s blouse) appears to agree
but hesitates too long and ends up, as usual, saying nothing whatsoever.
well ...” is that a sigh from Milton – a shake of the impenetrable seat of
reason as he doodles on the cover of a brochure for up-market holidays among
the islands of the Indian Ocean?
fuck’s sake,” Harry throws up his hands and looks as if he’s going to howl at
uncooperative, unapologetic, unafraid. Why
do all the adjectives that spring to mind when you think of Harry begin with
make fifty six people redundant in October,” Milton makes a lurch for what he
(with his "management" preoccupation with "the numbers") considers to be the moral high ground with (my gran would have said) a bit of a
lip on. His face has coloured but his glossy and impervious dome (on which
resides an unusual mole resembling a dollop of bird shit) retains its customary
shade of antique pine. I glance at Milton’s brochure … the Maldives … all that
sun, white sand, blue skies!
skitters against the windows of conference room 7 of our air-conditioned
necropolis. Reality kicks back in …
Titan – historically
our biggest client – collapsed; work streams at every other client dried up and gone; every
banker and financial adviser I know has his door closed and locked. The
pipeline, in other words, is well and truly fucked.
years this recession has been going on now … Three fucking years and everything
you read and hear says it’s set to get worse.
personal fee-earning performance: £45k so far against target £270k ytd. Worse
Tuesday 12 January
CUT TO ZERO
Bank of England last night cut modest growth forecasts to zero as talk of
triple-dip recession began to take hold around the City. Opposition leaders
called for a change in economic policy as the country prepares itself for another
devastating series of losses and lay-offs ...
will it all end?
will I do in the meantime?
I am a
pubic hair, puny-coiled and piss-tossed in the urinal of life.
Wednesday 13 January
UNEMPLOYMENT RISES AS GROWTH
figures are set to reach a thirty year high this month as the Bank of England
last night warned that it is running out of policy options to turn round the UK
slept properly for years but these last few months in particular ... waking in
the middle of the night ... tossing and turning. Everything looms, everything
seems disastrous. No work coming in ... Firm’s in the shit ... calamitous
personal investments in property now falling off a cliff ... the constant spectre
of bankruptcy and financial ruin ... the interminable boredom, the endless
nagging fear, the feeling that everything … everything is lost!
this morning. Haggard! At last I am truly ageing.
Overhear two female associates in the lift talking about looking for new jobs
... right in front of me … the one from Property with stupid fat boots and the
one from Pensions with a face like a clown’s shoe. New jobs. Where are they
going to get new jobs?
doors open on first floor. They admit a crowd-pleasing young man, flawless in
appearance: Joel Storm … the handsome American kid from Litigation – wearer of thin
ties and driver of a vintage merc. Tina, my Secretary, tells me all the females in
the office call him “the Perfect Storm”. For Christ’s sake. The climate changes
anyway as the doors swish to. They go quiet, the hoof and horn, in the vortex of his excellence and perfection, watching the
numbers light up to three. You could slice great chunks of puerile desire out
of the atmosphere with a knife.
Thursday 14 January
EXPORT PLUNGE: FRESH BLOW TO
Last Month the UK recorded its biggest
trade deficit for at least fifteen years. Figures released by the Department of
Trade confirmed the government’s worst fears …
lift this morning a vague suggestion gives pause: a recent presence, a shadow
scent … warm, sublime, strangely uplifting and alluring. The enigme of an
Desk. Chair. My life.
I become everything I despise?
arsed any more.
see the point in living.
Friday 15 January
Will Greek Islands soon be up
for sale? Will Italy sell its art and Spain its beaches? It may seem
far-fetched but these are just some of the proposed solutions being discussed
to save countries which are drowning in Debt and on the brink of default ...
in with Millie: her face as sullen as the rain-laden sky over Dipton Wood. Millicent Amelie Lane, offspring of my palsied
loins (not just mine you understand but, well … you’ll be familiar with the mechanics)
… fifteen or fifteen thousand years old, you can take your pick – prickly as a
cactus, sharp as a tack, unyielding as granite: she inter-relates with me like I’m
a contagious disease.
the steering wheel ... finger nails bitten to the quick. Traffic lights: I pull
the rear-view mirror round to look at myself. Ghastly pallor, lifeless hair,
bags hanging under haunted eyes stare back at me from someone else’s face like
piss-holes in snow.
iPod securely implanted, gazing bleakly ahead through the smearing swipe of
winter windscreen wipers:
Clooney has nothing to fear.”
And a tiny glyph of hope
quickens the cowed and beaten heart of her father. She spoke.
scent again … in here this time. A subtle incense, a clean and vaguely erotic infusion
that somehow …
On my desk. Ernst & Waterloitte’s Economic Review for first quarter.
Senior Partner pictured against London skyline, blocking at least half of it
out. Seriously, it’s like someone has parked a pin-striped bus in front of the
window, fitted it with lapels and glued a huge self-satisfied hippopotamus-face
to the windscreen. What gets into the minds of these lunatics in management?
Does he think that people looking for auditors put “immense personal bulk” at
the top of their list of requirements?
economy faces a tough couple of
years but once these are past we think that the
could return to being a relative out performer”
fuck does the last bit mean? A tough couple of years ... I can see that. I
should have held onto some of the cash I had instead of putting everything into
property at the top of the market. Santa Margherita ... Riverhaven. What planet
was I on? I could be looking for a new job myself soon or going crazy. But where
else can I get five hundred large per annum putting my fading talents to use in
a market like this?
but, in the meantime
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