The Skittles Incident

My long time partner on the TF was a living legend everyone knew as Stumpy. In a strange "small world" connection, Stumpy and I knew each other prior to working together. My college buddies and I were annual rabble rousers on the infield of the Kentucky Derby and had built a reputation and following as the guys from Cleveland who were able to get 20 to 30 gallons of Popov-laden orange juice into the infield every year. If you've ever seen the mountain of confiscated contraband at the tunnel entrance, you would understand what an achievement this was. So, it came  to pass that Stumpy  had visited our camp, randomly, in the early 80's.

Now, on the floor, we never left the desk for lunch breaks like other more mature operations. Stumpy and I would load up the security guards at Xmas and they would kind of, shall we say, look the other way- it was Chicago - while large quantities of food were smuggled to our desk. We had proudly pulled off a red/white checked table cloth Italian pasta lunch, 150 White Castle double cheese (the runner had to cab it to 2100 S Wabash), and several bean pies and Defenders from the Dan Ryan exit ramp to mention a few classics. On a daily basis, our runners looked like Tom Hulce at the Food King in Animal House, stuffed with McDonald's and pounds of candy and Hostess products. New candidates had their choices evaluated on "not held" orders and quality of fills on Hostess Strips (1 of everything). They say you better be able to defend your decisions in a Bridgewater confrontation, the same, or worse was inflicted on our teammates. An inadvertent Zero bar or passing up a Choc-o-dile could lead to weeks of torment.

So, it was Retail Sales day - the real trading day prior to the elevation of Unenjoyment Day to top volatility day.  Stumpy decides to do a candy line up (this is years before Seinfeld btw,)   of Skittles and tropical Fruit Skittles (1989 release) on the high desk between him and me. I'm not a big fan - from 7:10am right through the opening range- the 2 of us are critiquing the flavors. A few seconds before the data release, I tire of the product and FLICK a Skittle off into the distance. Some 30 feet away on the Pit is our clerk from Wisconsin, his badge was CHZ, and 7:29: 55, 56, BAM..Skittle right in the eye and out pops his contact lens. Down goes CHZ, down goes CHZ.  And boom  a huge Retail Sales report ! So, he's holding his eye and searching the floor and none of us can get an order in. Everyone is trying to sell and he can't see a thing.  I mean this is like big upward revisions, the Fed's doing early matches (GIK) and probably hiking at the next meeting type stuff. The guy is hauled up to the desk and berated by our bosses all the while trying to explain that something hit him in the eye, but they would have none of it.

Needless to say, Stumpy and I just did our best to not bust out laughing. That was the most expensive Skittle ever, and until now, only 2 of us knew.

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