The Banker, looking very proper in his tailored suit and shiny black shoes, made his way into the swamp to pay a call on The Tortoise. He found The Tortoise sleeping by a mossy log and didn’t wait a moment before knocking on the old fellow’s shell with the silver handle of his parasol.
“You are late with your payments, sir,” The Banker began. “You are to immediately and forthwith vacate these premises. The First Fairytale Trans-National Community Conglomerate Private Municipal Bank and Trustworthy Trust is hereby foreclosing on your shell. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that when The FFTNCCPMB & TT makes up its mind about an eviction, then the matter is as good as done. There’s no sense in procuring a lawyer over this issue. I assure you that attempts to appeal our ruling will be unsuccessful.”
The Tortoise was slow to respond. He took his time to stretch out his long neck and feel the mud squish between his scaly toes before even looking up. He blinked a few times, took three deep breaths, then made his reply.
“You want to take my shell. Is that not so?”
The Banker nodded furiously, unsettling his silk top hat.
“Indeed. The mortgage on your shell and dozens of other woodland creatures’ homes were bundled together to form the collateral of an investment product called a Bespoke Ballyhoo Obligation. A number of these BBOs were then organized into a Synthetic Debt Figment which was then sold to the monkeys on Palm Street at fixed banana prices as set by the Woodland Economic Council.”
The Tortoise wasn’t really listening. He was watching a butterfly dance around a nearby flower bush. He decided that later that day he would go over there and roll around in the bush to really enjoy the smell. He might even try catching the butterfly for a snack while he was at it. The thought of it put a smile on his face, even though The Banker was still talking.
“When it became clear last week that many, if not all, the BBOs within the SDFs were leveraged against empty bird nests, the entire market collapsed.”
The Tortoise nodded his head and took a slow step closer to The Banker’s foot.
“You don’t say?”
“Oh yes, and that’s not all. The Woodland Economic Council is somewhat infamous for their love of dice. That body’s inclination toward gamboling got it into some trouble with some bad badgers. King Lion bailed them out, of course, but the underlying banana inflation problem is an ongoing concern for recovery.”
“Banana inflation?” The Tortoise inquired.
The Tortoise wasn’t really curious about banana inflation, he just wanted to keep The Banker talking while he took yet another slow step closer to his foot.
“Yes, yes. You know I really don’t have time to explain all this to you. I have quite a few calls to make today regarding this eviction business. Oh, very well. You see, at first we had banana deflation because there were so many bananas coming ripe this season. Savvy fruit speculators drove up the price, causing a forced split between aggregate banana reserves and the fiat banana market.”
“Please, go on.”
“By peeling back regulations, a few bad actors on Palm Steet had reduced the aggregate banana reserves an egregious amount. When FFTNCCPMB & TT attempted to offload its BBOs and parent SDFs there were no real bananas to speak of.”
“Because monkeys eat bananas.”
The Banker nodded and The Tortoise took one last slow step towards him then paused to adjust his jaw.
“Reactionaries from The Lion Administration have now bogged down the entire economy with regulations. A team of oversight guerrillas chosen by The Woodland Economic Council is now keeping a close eye on the monkeys to make sure no one eats anymore bananas. It’s all terribly stifling for the financial services industry. Now you understand why we require your shell. FFTNCCPMB & TT will sell it to be made into guitar picks and sun glass rims, thereby allowing me my yearly bonus. Without it, I’d hardly expect much of a bonus at all.”
The Tortoise wasted no more time with The Banker. He bit the man’s big toe most savagely right through his shiny black shoes.
Don’t take guff from people peddling complex financial instruments.