by Ramont Duellyn
Port Canaveral, Florida- As the closing bell tolls on Wall Street and perpetually pale financiers begin the long commute home, heads hung low, calculating the day’s losses, an unlikely trio is breathing in the dying embers of another sublime sunset. To the north, past a grouping of day laborers fishing snook from the shallows, stand the hulking steel sides of panic-attack inducing, all-inclusive, floating vacation oases. And to the southeast, over acres of protected everglades and decaying suburbs on stilts, the launch pad of NASA’s Space Shuttle Discovery idles, like an antique rocking chair, waiting to sling the next astronauts into orbit. Wedged between these two giant symbols of American ingenuity and capitalism, on a narrow spit of beach, three dreamers sit, swatting red ants away from their legs. As they like to put it, they are “Breaking Canaveral ’09.” This is not Carnival, nor Cannes nor Cancun, but to the visionaries at Claude S. Dutchy, LLC, a Brooklyn based Hedge Fund notoriously “full of bull,” Port Canaveral is paradise found.
Covered in a towel, and over-tanned, Claude Thornbush smiles from under a wide brimmed hat one would see in the Australian Outback, “Our goal is to fly into a zero gravity vector someday, and we love watching the ships come in, and I hear through the grapevine, that there’s plenty of boob down on Main street.” Skip Murphy chimes in, holding a dying manta ray by the tail, “The water is real cold and green, I saw an alligator eat a white bird, and that Mexican guy over there gave us a fish. I’m going to cook it.” Off to the side, a drunken Dutch Alison sits on a surf board, laughing, “That is the weakest cruise ship break I’ve ever ridden. A two year-old could surf this shit.” The three partners have their own unique personality traits- something advantageous in an industry fraught with high expectation and greed- but on vacation, they are united as one. Muses Thornbush, “We’re like a God head or a Napoleonic army or something.”
Perhaps it is modesty that strikes one first, or more accurately, poverty, or their beyond-golden tans, but one thing stands out amongst the Styrofoam and flotsam of the inlet. The three partners of Claude S. Dutchy, LLC, are indeed ahead of the times. Pointing to a cumbersome cell phone, Thornbush states, “We like to mix business with pleasure. I got this thing hooked right into our office. If somebody calls, our European associate, Phillipe Rochambeau is at home, manhandling the lines of communication.” And what happens if it actually rings? “Well,” smiles Murphy, “that’s when this trip gets paid for.” A fading Alison walks over and slams his surf board down indignantly, “Aah F%$#@ it,” he shouts, “I’m going back to the van to huff some diesel and spread some cream on this taint rash.”
Port Canaveral may be the most depressing Spring Break destination on the eastern seaboard, but it seems, at least for these mavericks, it’s all smiles. Claude Thornbush sits back and dives his fist into a bag off sweet habanero corn nuts. “We’re hedging this vacation against the recession. Damn it these are hot!” The smell of burnt sea life wafts to the edge of the water. In the parking lot, against the sharp edge of a palm shadow, Skip Murphy stands at the van, banging a metal pipe against its hood. For a brief second, it sounds like a bell, an echo perhaps, carried on the dark wings of cormorants from Wall Street, with a message of doom. But it quickly becomes apparent that it’s just metal on metal, the Claude S. Dutchy, LLC version of the dinner bell. In these troubled economic times, it’s good to know at least somebody’s got an appetite for hope.
Perpetually Tan Magazine