Fish Stocks Limited
asks with a polite but suspicious voice 'Hello?' It is all the lender can do not to slam
the door in her face, but instead he politely says 'Sorry, wrong number.'
“Animal B comes to the door. He is wearing cheap clothes with a few coffee
stains on one of the sleeves, but overall seems quite presentable. There are cheap
prints on the wall that look dusty and faded. The lender has noticed the animal's front
lawn is a little overgrown, b ut the hedges are trimmed and there is no rubbish about.
The animal says in a level tone “Hello?”. This animal is not the type the hunter is
after. 'Sorry, wrong number,' he says.
“Animal C comes to the door. He is wearing tracksuit bottoms with curry stains
down and a string vest. There are no pictures on the walls behind him and the
wallpaper is peeling off. The lender has noted the front garden is a tip, with a burnt-
out cart in the middle of it. The animal burps in an inquisitive tone as he opens the
door. Again, this is not what the hunter is looking for; he makes his excuses and
“Finally, the lender – the hunter, that is - comes to the door of Animal D. Animal
D opens the door. She looks stressed, and shouts something over her shoulder to her
kids as she opens the door. She is wearing cheap clothes with holes that have been
darned. The lender has noticed the front garden is well- maintained, but certain jobs
that indicate a man are left undone; the gate needs painting, there is grass in the
gutters; there is a dead tree that needs cutting down. “I'm sorry, you've caught me at a
really bad time, I'm just about to send the kids to school and then I've got to get to the
fish canning plant for work.” This is perfect: the hunter has found his game. 'You look
like you need a holiday' he says, an air of sympathy about him. She laughs. 'O f
course,' she says. 'But I work all day as it is and still can hardly put food on the table. I
can't afford a holiday.' The lender smiles. 'O f course you can,' he says. 'Let me
“So to cut a long story short you sell Animal D a loan, she signs a contract with
lots of small print that she just doesn't have time to read. There's no way she can pay
off the interest, and in that small print it says that if she can't pay up you get her
house. You've just got yourself a twenty grand house for a thousand pound stake.”
“That's disgraceful!” exclaimed Ambrosius.
“You want to make money? Just do it, that's what I say; don't think about the poor
animals. They're always poor, they're used to it. You, on the other hand, are a superior
breed, sir. You require better feedstock and that requires cash.”
Something inside Ambrosius squirmed and tried to flap its way up towards his
consciousness, but something big and black trampled it down. “How much can I
“You make one score a day for one calender month – that's twenty eight days.
You make nineteen grand on each loan. You gotta wait for the animals to go bust,
which usually takes about six months. In about seven months you've got yourself a
little over half a mill. Move to another area, do it again and in fourteen months you've
made your first million.”
A million. He could see a way forward now; he would buy himself happiness.
“You really think I could make a million?”
“I know it. O f course, I would do it myself only I'm... well, I have a certain
reputation round here. You, on the other hand, have an innocent face and an educated
voice. The animals like that. All I ask in return is thirty percent.”