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Winter Meetings are five days away - A Hunt and Peck


Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The bitter December chill flowed unwelcome through the front door to a modest tavern in Nashville. The newest customer let the door shut quickly behind him to push the cold air away, the bells hanging from the door chiming crassly. The man straightened, having been hunched over as he attempted to shield himself from December breeze, and walked toward the bar, either inattentive to or ignoring the pairs of eyes following him as he did. He removed his woolen trench coat and scarf and hung it over the back of the bar chair. Sitting down, he removed his grey fedora and set it on the bar next to him.

"What'll it be?" the barkeep asked, his thick Midwestern accent pulling down on his L's like a small child ringing a heavy church bell.

The man pulled out his pocket watch from the breast pocket of his vest, checked the time, then snapped it closed, returning it back to where it previously resided. "I will take a brandy, if you have it," he replied.

"You're not from around here," the barkeep stated flatly, pouring the liquor into the glass.

"No. I am not," the man replied, forcing a half-smile as he accepted his glass, "I am just here on business."

"What kinda business?"

"I hope to make some important acquisitions," he answered, taking a long sip from his glass.

"Acquisitions, eh? Not much to acquire around here, not unless you have some serious cash."

"We have resources." He took another sip.

"Hmmm...," the barkeep said, "Got anything specific in mind?"

"I look at everything available."

"Seems it would be less work to look at only a few..."

The man took a slow, thoughtful sip from his glass. "It would, yes. But I never close doors," he said, taking a long final sip from his amber drink and letting out a satisfied breath, "I leave doors open."

The man then slapped a twenty on the bar, flipped his coat and scarf over his shoulder, and, after placing his hat back on his head, strode out the door into the bitter December evening without looking back.

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