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She’d seen him at several meetings downtown, and figured he worked for one of the banks. He looked more alive in the eyes than most of the banking types. She was surprised when he called her at work.

“What can you tell me about that press release from Bank of the West,” he said.

“Why are you interested in that press release?’

“I work for The American Banker,” he said. “I’m writing a story on independent banks.”

“Then you get everything I get, all the press releases,” I said. “You can call and ask them. Why ask me?”

“You’re smarter than the average bear, and you know more of the people involved.”

“That’s true,” I said. “But I developed that knowledge and those relationships over weeks and months and years. Why give it to you?”

“If I quote you and your association, you make the association look good.”

“One quote answering one question.”

“Is their president planning a reorganization?”

“Bank of the West has made numerous personnel changes, and the president has signaled structural changes in the organization,” I said. “There you go.”

“You sound like you could use a drink after work.”

“How does that sound?”


“Honestly, Michael, you’re always moving, even at 9 a.m.”

“You know you want to.”

“Have a great day,” I said.

He wanted information, he wanted scoops, he wanted his stories on the front page, and he wanted to look good. And he wanted to charm women to fall for him and go back to his apartment. People took him to be such a good go-getter for the industry, and he was, but he also had a thin candy shell. He wanted attention and to be adored. He liked the chase and the conquest for what it reflected back on him. He did whatever it took.


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