A SCENT OF LAVENDER • by Matthew Harrison

In the New York division of the Financial Supreme Court (Automated Section), there were some odd cases in for adjudication today. The Director and his assistant were reviewing the files on holo.

“What’s this?” the Director asked. “Spraying lavender water on Wall Street?  That’s a crime?”

“It’s market manipulation, sir,” his assistant replied.


“Lavender with intent, sir. The accused set up positions, then sprayed, and when the traders reacted to the scent the rise in stock prices was enough to clear him a profit.”

“Good lord! The things we call crimes nowadays.” The Director shook his head. “Don’t we have any fraud, or embezzlement?”

“No, sir.”

“Not even larceny?” The Director was beginning to sound wistful. “New York used to be famous for its larceny.”

“Not Wall Street, sir. The traders are making too much money already.”

The Director nodded glumly. “You think we’ve spoilt them?”

The assistant ventured a smile. “You can say so, sir.”

“Call me old-fashioned,” the Director went on, “but you have to think what we’re doing to the breed. In my day, traders had balls. Lavender!

The assistant called up a file, then cancelled it and quickly called up another.

“Hold on, bring that one back,” the Director broke in.  “Wasn’t it a class action?  At least investors still have their mojo.”

Reluctantly, the assistant called back the previous file.  The Director read half of it, then exploded.  “Dog poop!?

“I’m afraid so.”

“Don’t tell me it’s a hedgie with pre-arranged shorts?”

“No sir.  It’s actually the mayor’s dog.  His — ah — unanticipated contribution upset the market.  A couple of traders stepped on it.”

The Director glumly read the rest of the report. “How is it worth their while?” he said at last. “The impact on the market, even in these sensitive times, must be minute.” He looked at his assistant. “And there’s the legal costs. How do they do it?”

“There’s apps for it now, I understand,” his assistant explained. “You just click.”

“Apps, is it?” The Director snorted. “I’ll give them apps!”

He flicked on his personal holo, waved through the icons, and pointed at a ‘J’. The case files were collected and processed, and reappeared stamped with their verdicts, arranged in order of severity.

“Apps, indeed!” the Director said with satisfaction.

Matthew Harrison is a writer and researcher living in Hong Kong. His published works include Queen’s Road Central and Other Stories and Benjamin Bunce.

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