Laura, "The Debt Bitch" and I have been working overtime to get a deal financed. I am supposed to be preparing things for the soon-to-be-here interns but instead I have had to delegate all that work to an associate who is now annoyed to be tasked with an internal project.
The Debt Bitch likes her martinis. I can't say I disagree but I really can't do them at lunch like she can. "If it is good enough for the heart-attack prone attorneys, it is good enough for me," she quips back at me when I ask after her lunchtime orders.
After a day and a half of solid meetings in the city we are sitting at
a bar around 1:30 and she orders a vodka martini. Ironically, within
ten minutes of arriving she spies some young bankers doing pretty much
the same thing. I would be embarrassed to be caught sipping hard
liquor on my weekday lunch hour if I were a banker in the city, but
they seem to have no shame. The scene is right out of a mid-1980s
The Debt Bitch recognizes one of the bankers and we drift over, drinks
in hand (mine is a water) to do the banking-social thing. Things are
pleasant enough and the Debt Bitch introduces me as "my Vice
President," which is odd, and a thrill at the same time. She says she
has a deal for them to look at and we should all discuss it the next
day. Schedules are traded, gossip exchanged, all is well.
But things turn sour as soon as we turn to go. I catch a snippet of
not-quite whispered conversation as what I assume is an Associate
banker describes me to what I assume is a Vice President in the most
suggestive terms you can imagine and in a fashion that calls into
question the professional nature of my relationship with Sub Rosa's
Senior Partner, Armin. I am prepared to ignore it, though I can feel
my neck stiffen.
Since she was two paces in front of me I suspect the
Debt Bitch's hearing is more acute than my own. Her reaction is also
more severe. She turns around without hesitation, takes two steps
towards the offending banker and unloads her entire martini (minus two
sips) into his face without even cracking an expression. The entire
section is silent and at least ten people are staring. Laura then
pauses long enough to gingerly place her glass on their table before leaning forward and wordlessly
delivering the best slap I have ever seen (or heard) outside of a Hollywood
production to the left cheek of the already stunned Associate.
"Your firm won't see a dime of our debt needs from here on out," she
deadpans to the Vice President before turning on her heel and
collecting me towards our table with a "C'mon, let's go."
Not having learned the obvious lesson I hear one of the other junior
bankers intone, "Woah. She's hot." If Laura hears this as we depart
she ignores it, instead sitting down and ordering another martini,
which our server, ironically, makes a point of buying for her with a
wry smile on his face. For the next ten minutes, the eyes of the entire place shift between us
and the banker's table, that has now been joined by a more senior
looking, and quite unhappy, banking type.
"Wow," I say. "Thanks."
"Oh, you were only part of the equation. The guy sitting with them now, I saw him walking in right before I tossed the vodka. That is the VP's boss. He knows Armin quite well and I am sure he remembers me. I'll get an apologetic call in a few days and it will be good for
some reduced covenants and maybe a half a percent one day."
Just then our server returns with two more martinis, I suppose one is
for me, and points to a table across the bar. "From the gentlemen at
the table there." They, 40somethings, nod their distant approval to
Don't cross the debt bitch.