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05/20/03

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Analyst Downgrades Ex-Boyfriend's Rating to "Junk" Status


NEW YORK (DPI) - Shockwaves ripped through New York's investment/singles community after Jessica Talbot, a senior bond analyst for Moody's Investors Service, abruptly downgraded the rating of her ex-boyfriend. The rating of D, the lowest possible, could seriously hamper Jim Graham's ability to attract new, high quality she-stuff, at least in the forseeable future.

The two had split amicably just one week ago. "It was my idea," said Talbot. "It had been fun, but I didn't think it was really going anywhere. It's been so busy at work, so I told him over dinner that I didn't think I could give him the time commitment a relationship deserved."

As if to prove the point, Talbot's cell phone went off. The pretty 27-year-old glanced at the call display before expertly dumping the caller to voice mail. "I thought he would be upset. Instead, he reached across the table, took my hand and told me he will always be grateful for the four months we did have together. After dinner, he hailed my cab and gave me a long, warm hug. He whispered in my ear not to lose his number, that I could call him anytime, even if it was just to talk."

Talbot acknowledged that, at that point, she confidently assigned him a rating of Aaa, the highest possible. "Based on what I knew then, I was fully prepared to recommend him to anyone, even my other single friends," she said.

The fairy-tale ending began unravelling almost immediately. On Monday, after word of their split got around the office, Talbot was hauled into the bathroom by one of her co-workers. There, she learned that, for the past two months, Graham had been banging a waitress at The Station, a popular watering hole for Gotham's money movers. "That knocked him down to Baa1," she recalled.

On Wednesday, while attending an exhibit at a local gallery, Talbot ran into Graham's assistant. "The little bitch was wearing a Mizuki diamond pendant from Barney's -- exactly like the one he gave me for Valentine's Day," said Talbot. "She gives me this coy little smile and tells me he sent her out to buy my gift. She liked the pendant so much, she got one for herself -- with his blessing."

Talbot immediately reduced her ex-boyfriend's rating to Caa2 or "In Poor Standing." The final straw came Friday night, when she received a late-night phone call from a very drunk Graham, urging her to come over for some "no-strings attached" sex. "For old times' sake, my ass," she said. "The bastard is emotionally bankrupt."

Graham, a derivatives trader at JP Morgan, insisted he conducted himself in the relationship in accordance with the widely accepted dating practices for single men in New York. While he was adamant that the negative rating is ill-deserved, he has issued a warning memorandum to his roommates that he will probably be hanging around the apartment on Saturday nights until at least the fourth quarter.

(Reported by Brad Osberg)



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