She flashes signals from the pit at CBT by Phyllis Brock
At precisely 8:00 a.m. Central Time a buzzer sounds and the financial floor of the Chicago Board of
Trade (CBT) bursts into life. Runners scurry about carrying messages between traders, brokers and
clerks. A crescendo of sound rises and falls as voices blend into an incomprehensible roar.
Accompanying the roar, raised hands flash a blur of signals. People wearing brightly colored jackets and
large badges for identification swirl about. Another day of trading has begun.
Shouting at the top of her lungs to attract the attention of a telephone clerk, Marie Pawlyk frantically
flashes hand signals from the top step of the Treasury Bond (T-Bond) pit. A slim blond with one brown
eye and one green eye, Pawlyk, a native of Chicago, calls herself a broker's clerk. Her job consists of
keeping track of the market while placing and remembering trades for the three brokers who are her
employers. If the telephone clerk doesn't acknowledge her signals, Pawlyk will have to send a runner over
with her order. Mistakes are costly and she has a reputation for making very few of them.