London UK: Alfred Doolittle retired today from his long time facility maintenance and janitorial job at Sliedley Insurance Underwriters of London. "Alfie" as he is known had been with this insurance giant for 25 years.
At his retirement party Alfie sheepishly admitted that he did not want to retire, but felt obligated to make way for the younger people. Besides he said "I have become the fourth richest man in the UK."
His friends were astonished, and then Alfie told the following story.
My job took me into the "Trading Arena" where all the various insurance transactions take place. I became interested in the shipping schedules of insured maritime assets, which were posted on tote boards. So when I saw that a ship was sailing into an area where there was a high probability of a major storm or Typhoon I would make a wager for or against a shipwreck. This was easy to do, as I could go round to the Dragon Fire Pub have a pint and then go to the bookmakers on my lunch hour.
As the years went by, the day to day business migrated to computers and I would go into the "Trading Arena" after hours to find a machine that had not been logged out. I would search for overloaded ferries or coastal freighters that could potentially capsize in storms off of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Indonesia. These specific wagers with the bookmakers were like having money in the Bank of England!
Then lately there have been good odds that Somalia pirates would hijack Saudi Arabian oil tankers and other shipping. I was presented a very lucrative betting opportunity until the world's Navies started taking action. By this time the bookmakers were getting on to me, so I figured I better retire.