Bill: imaginary broker

Bill Gray was fairly well dressed, always a hat and a tie. He never looked out of place on Montgomery Street, the Wall Street of the West Coast.

He stood a few feet from the entrance of my office building in front of a popular coffee shop. If you saw him standing there looking up at the Schwab sign across the street with his pencil in hand, you wouldn’t think anything unusual was going on. You’d figure he’s just some guy watching how the Stock Market was going, checking the electronic ticker-tape.

Seeing him every day at his station, however, would give one pause, as, "What in hell is he writing down in that book and why?” Every time the Schwab sign indicated a change in the Dow, up or down, he lowered his head and intently wrote; a very busy person.

It turns out that Bill does leave his post occasionally. He runs into my building to the pay phone in the back. He pretends to call his broker, reading from his notebook, barking out instructions on trades.

Management of the building finally banned him from this practice as he grew rather excited and loud during these imaginary conversations.

This did not curb Bill's schedule. Every day, rain or shine, there he was, keeping score. We think.

Then one day Bill’s not there and was never seen again.