From the Memoirs of a Space and Time Transient:
An Allegory about the Unraveling of the Stock Market
Hunter G. Ernst
This is how we methodically capitulated.
Our ship disembarked. The S.S. Great Attractor.
The Oracle, on spotlight cue, entered and strutted across the televised ballroom dance floor toward her, offering his hand to Bella for a dance. Unable to resist his boyish good looks, she accepted, and the dance began. His hips swung, and his thrusting Elvis pelvis persuaded. They tangoed. Rumbaed. Waltzed. Leaning in between the melodious songs to flatter her with soft incorrigible whispers, the savant seduced and swept her away. Tap, tap, tap his tapping shoes tapped.
Bella. Bella. Bella.
Docked in the harbor before shoving off, we hinged ourselves on the fact there were profitable opportunities, fishable for every sailor aboard, which were rumored to emerge once our ship reached the open waters. However, before wished bon voyage, the shame blame game started. Over and over and over we scolded past mistakes with speculators speculating spectacular speculative bearish concerns (although on many occasions they were charming elaborate discourses). But - the crew made a stand with a defensive hypothesis in hand as our bullish shipmates watched the ratty rats flee our leaky boat.
Oh captain, my albatross hunting captain.
As we were navigated into a seemingly boundless fogged night, unsung heroes, from their raggedy bunks, yarned cautious maritime whaling tales of past capital ventures helmed by an albatross starved crew. Unsettled by the rising tides, they warned any and all of a marauding gun-ho Deux ex Machina prowling these lucrative seas.
On down days, I made sure I eavesdropped on everyone's ramblings. Many crafted their big fish stories, and some gave firsthand experiences of getting use to the seasickness. (Another intriguing tidbit among those gents was not once did any two individuals share an identical solution, dilution - cure.) And there were supposed veterans - many were crewmembers - I met usually just before, or after, but mostly during mid-puke.
"When the bulls and bears come out to play," the Oracle foretold (however, except for an eclectic throng, not many heeded his ranting rants as they cast cold shoulders in passing on further drastically uncharacterized, indescribable days when alarming haul breeches rang rang). The crew - hallucinating from their albatross starvation - steered us North guided by constellations of the ancients. As everyone stargazed, struggling to grasp those promised sky diamonds, our unmanned helm clashed Poseidon's might. Crashing, cascading, undulating waves bat bat battered our beat beat beaten rudder.
If only I had the courage to ask Bella to dance.
During the early morning, I woke to hear echoes haunt the corridors bouncing, "Stay the course. Stay the course." From the crow's nest, crewmembers peered into the mirage, into the memorizing blue blue horizon where the albatrosses' flock flock.
With no land seen in any foreseeable direction, an outbreak pandemic, epidemic spread and took hold. Uninvited fear arrived, and it was highly contagious, especially in our close confinements with telephone the only portal we were fed real-time news from all our ship's nooks and crannies, even the darkest of forgotten corners not the blindest mouse aboard would dare to trudge in search of a tiny cheesy cheese crumble.
Fear stretched its reeking havoc from it's epicenter to six, then out to thirty-six, and so forth to an immeasurable exponentially expanding next, out-reaching along (entrenching throughout) the network. It was a viral chain reaction gangrenous to its unfortunate vitamin deficient causalities among us. Uncontainable, incurable. Remedy-proof. Suppression, through acknowledgement of it, is the only defense against it to practice as the most statistically best deterrent, immunization; whereby, a philosopher king will voice a high-inquisition, motioning a weighing of both sides of the unbalanced equation of how the stargazers haphazardly plotted our turbulent due course - mapped on uncharted charts.
The Oracle, through it all, maintained his watchful post. Unwavering. His concerns, heightened in enlightenment, turned to outlandish protest, then mutated into screaming fits, and all of which had been tempered with an underlying tone of an impending ending future of consequential hopelessness days before the sirens of the titans would sing sing. Sing sing. The bald soothsayer cried "Beware the Ides of March" to the desperate, to the meek and the weary to ignore camouflaged false prophets concealed in the crowd.
Quietude blanketed our ship.
Exiled. We drifted into a theoretical perfect storm's eye.
Foreboding doom, looming gloom struck the fear-stricken, sea-sickened suffers next, like a festering parasite feeding within its host on its host. The veterans, a modest few at first, then many more later, began sieving into the bandwagon after our ship spent a fortnight anchored in the eye's spacious calm rapture.
No one gambled to traipse the main deck - no matter how clean and pristine it appeared to be.
All hands were ordered to the crow's nest. All passengers too. Those who owned a telescope were drafted as novice scouts. The rest of the crew was recruited to repair our tattered sails, and the bandwagon barked bamboo lashing appeals: "Mend, mend, mend."
Everyone was infected.
Fearful. Paranoid. Picnic panic frantic.
It whizzed though the ranks. Trickling, trickling, trickling down the economic pyramid, popping by here, there, just everywhere. Each to all it went to say Hello, but I must run now to get your neighbors'. Cheerio. And the leaching varmint bled our intellect, leaving our talented innate irrational emotions to manipulate our decisive judgments. Cheerio.
Saber rattling sounded for the anti-climax to end.
And so - it neared.
It was spotted by a drafted stowaway through his father's telescope handed down to him by his father and down from his father, his father's father and so forth. Thus, throughout all the mighty randomness caged in this universe of space and time, this telescope originally belonged to an ancient Greek mariner named Jason.
Munity succeeded next. An elusive subterfuge move by the bandwagon (now not some discarded rabble faction left out, dismissed to be or not to be pushed under the welcome mat). It engulfed the majority's teeter-tottering popular sentiment. Yet, through telephone youthful fun, sprung a whispering green fairy tinkering in the hollowed ears of her listeners.
Bella. Bella. Bella.
It was too late.
"Look, here. I spy an encroaching flagship off our starboard horizon. North-by-Northeast-North. Left of the middle's middle. It's where I'm pointing," said the drafted stowaway. But, the poor drafted stowaway, unknowingly, had been blotched with a black shoe-polished ring around his eye that plagued his seafaring colleagues with bellowing jolly jollies, chuckling chuckles, and giggling giddy giggles as their sight fell upon the black shoe-polished eye of the beholder. He had been tricked, wittingly, by a liberated coyote, who earlier smeared the black shoe-polish on the heirloom telescope's peephole (current whereabouts of the coyote's origin went undocumented, but complaints overheard from the bellyaching stowaway toned disgruntlement for his superfluous act; ergo, he admitted he released the beast from it manacle captivity after climbing from his stowaway cooped hideaway stored in cargo).
- the Deux ex Machina.
With bawling, tearing eyes and soiled stained pants, their laughter roared increasingly louder as telephone operated party lines, regaling repeatedly as they heard and reheard the shoe-polish incident. Each version slightly altered from the next according to the teller's likings to further their selfish ambitions.
The flagship made its approach.
Their laughter continually continued to continue, and the stowaway kept his astute, acute watch over the omnibus future off starboard tick tock into our present. Hickory, dickory dock. Still uninformed about his black shoe-polished eye he got two black blackened eyes, for his left peeper needed a rest to blink a bit - ah dry eye stings - and switched to his right peeper. Jeepers. If only someone could have stopped laughing jolly chuckling giggles, he would have known the silliness put afoot by his released coyote cohort (who at this juncture could be seen running the length of our clean and pristine main deck, wearing nothing more than an adult sized reusable diaper and making pseudo-fart noises from his shaved armpits as he trekked his carbon footprint to and fro, back and forth, side-to-side, and once zigzagging - all as he chewed a few peyote buttons he nicked from the lost and found's treasure chest).
With all hands remaining locked in fitting stentorian laughter as the unsung heroes and myself - life preservers securely strapped on snug - waded watchfully for a change in the breadth amidst the bashing waves, the bandwagon was the first to shrug off their hehehahas. It, too, had spread along telephone to all in audible range, until all hands ceased their laughing in a swooping a-chew. Gesundheit. Then, looking to one from another to the other, questioning question marks grammatically marked their questioning faces, as if we had arrived at a masquerade where all the guest wore matching masks, including the unsung heroes plus me, but; not the Oracle. He stood off and alone, murmuring:
"Beware the Ides of March. Beware of Ides of March. Beware the Ides of March."
His once unheard voice, now allowed attentive audience amplified in our curious silence, proclaimed our course had buckled under the unbearable gravitational pull of an uncharted black hole gone uncharted on the crew's uncharted maps our still unmanned helm happened to happen us. Although, excluded from the next bit to be mentioned precisely now, I would like to add here - or, adhere here? - my father's compass (handed from his father's father's father onto him and such so forth from its original owner Tommo downward presently to my present present) bearing showed on the uncharted charts our ship had wafted it voyagers, crewmembers, passengers, bystanders, pedestrians, any other variety of seamen synonym insert here, and space and time transients onboard into a pickling bubble of swarming swimming cartooned sea monster caricatures: dragons with searing proboscises' shooting incendiary flames and gobbling scaly leviathans with pointy long nails and gnarly razor teeth - that ironically reminded me of Max's wild things. (So where was Max?)
Edward Furlong (he, too has, like the Oracle, the unique charismatic magnetizing ability to hold turned-in dropped-out listeners who daily showed to park their ears to his spinning interludes) accompanied a few unsung heroes (and me sliding right behind them down their rabbit chute) who volunteered to assault our ship's Chartroom; and, surprisingly, we found it unoccupied. Charts, primarily flea-infested dog charts, littered the wooden floor - crumbled paper balls hiding failed technical analyzed forecasted assumptions. Eventually, shortly after they conceived our directional movement, they were clearly perceived incorrect time and time again, which in all likelihood provided a further understanding to why, in our unoccupied Chartroom, three inches of crumbled paper pillowed our wary steps.
I saw circling brilliant red circles circling circled circles, highlighted on a particular charted chart, which to my estimation neared a dozen baker's dozen of circles and, on it, had what my college professors, if it were my illegible handwriting, would have described as chicken scratches.
"It says Albatrosses," came from over my shoulder uttered from Edward Furlong. Wait - was that a coyote leaving his carbon footprint on our clean and pristine main deck while wearing an adult sized diaper and making what looks to be pseudo-fart noises from his shaved armpits?
Our findings, to us and our impatient bandwagon comrades did not fall short, but it had to the crew's conceived expectations after word of our romping undertaking streamed, by accident of course, over telephone. They raised the bar, as written to do so in the Master Debater's Handbook Volume Beta Version 1.08: How to Master the Mastery in a Master Debate and Be the Master Debater in That Master Debate.
Rule # 333 (updated last: 1977)
When a Master Debater's firm grip on victory weakens, the Master Debater's master debate goes limp, metaphorically their thesis as its been carefully nursed in their apt hand(s), their best option reserved for an attempt to hold the lead (with an insurance goal too) is by raising the bar of your satisfaction to a Master Debater's level easily forgettable for weeks or maybe more. Months long in fact. If the Master Debater is successful with a Rule # 333 implementation - theoretically, the opponent will then proceed to concede in a forfeit exhausted by unsatisfactory with the Master Debater's Spartan blockade, Cuban embargo, Berlin wall, and/or Senate filibuster.
So - the bandwagon refocused their strength and hurriedly devised a new-fangled investable strategy, like any keen economical engine that could (that can), and saddled their numerous worries and doubts on the valuation of their commodities. The bandwagon (or should I razzle-dazzle) bandchariot wheeled to none other than the Oracle. Yet, while we all buzzed busily to make honey, he boogied in blissfulness, flirting in Bella's ear just before he - she blushed here; her sultry face vehement red - dipped her.
The Oracle had the rhythmic intuition of an acid jazz drummer, improvising an impromptu improv step or two here maybe there as the woeful ballad jived on. Only an abstract surrealist brush could justly capture this escaping moment: the wedge-crowded menagerie populated with us spectators arrayed around the dancing Oracle's dance floor, witnessing firsthand the magic of magical realism touching us spectators ever-so close, but never to touch.
"If I could cut in?"
No response. The Oracle danced on.
"We would like a word," exclaimed Edward Furlong and reached out, taking him sullenly by the arm.
Warring tides rose no more, and; the rampant trade winds foreshadowing our overdue exit from the storm's eye blew no harder than a cooling California beach breeze over the bow.
The dance with Bella was over: for now.
From the altitude height the erected crow's nest climbed to, the double black shoe-polished eye stowaway never veered from his lookout. He tracked the approaching flagship's speed, and the omniscient Deux ex Machina had favor of the trade winds. Of course it had.
Telescoping again, he noted open portside gun doors, cannons prepped with packed gunpowder and ballistics. Even more noticeable at that nautical moment the flagship kept an offensive ramming route directly inline with our keel.
The stowaway, excited to report his findings, went to relay it down telephone but not a single, solitary shipmate could be hailed. All hands had retired to the bandwagon's open forum: tonight's special guest and only speaker - the Oracle.
Who else: Edward Furlong came forward, from behind his desk, to articulate the populist's voice and played quizmaster to interview the Oracle. And so - the reprimanding verbal spank began, and the Oracle absorbed each sucker punch chin blow in stride, humbling himself as they, one-by-one, ricocheted this way that. One followed another: him synthetic manufactured rubber, the dog owners horse byproduct based glue.
The Oracle's humbleness came for a visit - publicly no less. Interrogated. And the de facto thread sewed only in the humblest widened his celestial sight and revealed his taxing ordeal ahead as it had to Cordelia when news traversed the channel reporting her Farther had been stripped of his respect and honor: humiliated and mocked throughout the countryside as he and his dinner leftover loyalist brigade to the once crowned king marched across his usurped land, his stolen kingdom. However, a humble man, from a humbling beginning, has no shame being humble. With his long sleeves hiked above his elbow, the Oracle remembered his burdening fiscal responsibility to educate (and entertain) wandering, bumbling, lost pilgrims surfed despairingly ashore, rafted to his feet on their splintered ship's rudder.
The following day, after all hands roused, chattering squawk on telephone looped caution through the sleeping night having this to say:
"Off starboard, a privateer's flagship has been eyed, spied racing toward our uncharted moving direction with unprecedented speed and heavy hedging maneuverability. A battle flag has been raised flapping furiously signifying we are pursued not by any ordinary rescue vessel, but," the double black shoe-polished eye stowaway's voice went on to choke out, "over the last few hours several sightings of the flagship's nearing fleet have fashionably seized a long flanking position. To any listening listeners, your nested bird's eye up high, in the blue blue sky, call me Ishmael, with real-time reports reporting every quarter hour within the hour. Here's a word from our sponsor.
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"Well - once more, as tolled before, time is informing me to its second, I'm nearing yet again another quarter hour within the hour. Remember this is Ishmael, bird's eye up high. I'll be back in the quarter hour after these words from our sponsor - again. That's fifty-nine seconds for a break. Hold on. Is that a coyote wearing an adult sized diaper on the main deck?"
All our illusionary illusions of cul-de-sac life befell a sudden sunder to bleak nothingness as crisscrossing, cross-flinging firing cannons opened fire.
We were a sitting Christmas goose on a coy pond.
(If this were a creative fictional uninformative allegory our ship would have been a fuel efficient car - perhaps a hybrid - then we would have been a sitting honking Christmas goose on a coy pond.)
We began to sink.
Cannoning cannons cannoned their prepped packed gunpowder and ballistics at us, and the pounding bombardments pounced and pelted our haggard ship from the cloudless sky, like scrounging pigeons raiding an outdoor bistro's spoiled table scraps. Crewmembers were squealing pigs slaughtered by the onslaught. Overboard and far below they went. Their supposed albatross flock, at least a dozen baker's dozen, was seen circling circles above us a little more than bird's eye up high.
Vultures. The albatrosses were vultures. Brilliant red circled circling vultures.
Championed by a champion, our Oracle steered, manned our helm, and, not only at the helm, he dominated telephone. He foresaw 5390. Our new bearing. "Onward at absolute zero."
And all the erstwhile, I stood-by out of bounds, sitting benched on the sidelines. I could not help or assist. Hushed. Only view it.
Pushed and pushed by one fallen unsung hero - swoosh - overboard he went. And was gone.
Bodies, looking over portside for him, polluted the ocean's main street.
No matter. Our helmsman, our Oracle, our Prince of Pentacles stayed the course. "5390. At absolute zero."
In the impending ending moments, we noticed nothing lying ahead in any picked distant future where absolute zero existed. Overboard, rapacious vultures snacked on the floating corpses. Flesh pieced away leaving exposed a school of skeletons. An appetizing bone meal for any moseying shark.
All unsung heroes were summoned for battle. Some KOI; some MIA. Others, bleeding out, lay dying, screaming for help as they, in the fighting madness, were stepped over left for dead. Minimal survived. Even our strongest brothers fell behind. Born, birthed on the footsteps of greatness, only to live no more than shy a mere hundred years when the lurking call of men's, women's, including innocent's lives must halt in their impending ending moments, but for those brothers - in their shared discovered plummeted peril - they dipped, dipped and dropped, dropped. Unfortunately, thumped dead in the footsteps of our descent down, down, down.
Time. It showed me my impending ending moments. I thought of a lover. Expelled from her love by her soft once kissed lips. Expelled from her beauty; expelled from my muse. Deserted by my muse. The many polluting bodies portside still being harvested by ravenous vultures, I wandered; during their impending ending moments did they reminisce a lost sought fortune? Or was it a lost lover?
Jay Gatsby had.
In a shrieking shot.
My eyes, observing our unraveling, were harnessed, as if dangling in a fastened Swiss seat from a great towering Babel height, hovering over the bodies flash flooding evermore overboard, splashing Davy (Dow) Jones' swallowing locker. More explosions struck our clean and pristine main deck, and ensuing barrage thundered. The Deux ex Machina's fleet took our crew's pawns. Then their rooks. Bishops too. Gunpowder smoke shrouded the air. Checkmate. The King - standing alone - insidiously smiled at his unprotected Queen, reaffirming to her he has accepted his clangor conclusion to collapse quietly with his fortitudinous ship to its drowning destined depth underneath the ocean's sunshine glimmering, rippling surface. And she, the Queen, came to her King's side, taking his hand-in-hand and withdrew to their royal forecastle below.
Scribbling our unfolding riches and risks, my trusted quill inked my moleskin diary, detailing this momentary glimpse in time. Was this my shipmate's fortunate fortune? A nightmare unseen within their dream? Their land, liberty and pursuit of happiness? Our manifested destiny bubbling, inflating, deflating, rallying? And to ponder, at what intrinsic price could a put option at the forking fork, instead of the sojourned call option along the analyst advised traded tape could of profited us? Bought and purchased. Sold and resold.
Undisturbed by the encasing Deux ex Machina's dystopia, the coyote, knackered by his antidotal antics, slept through most of it unaware, innocent in dreaming content. But - unwatched since last seen stomping his carbon footprint about (not missing a clean and pristine sector of the main deck) had a remaining white rabbit left to pull from his adult sized reusable - environmentally safe - diaper.
While all hands, unprepared and deleveraged, adorned their frail physiques with crude, rusted chainmail and rotted wooden shields, the coyote employed his final humorous ploy. He bedded down, fishing for Z's, on a hammock (also discovered in the lost and found's treasure chest) he tied to the aweigh rode and hawsepipe.
Rolling to a sleeping side position, (to cliche') in time to dodge a passing cannonball on its flint-sparked, highly-calculated parabolic course, his time, like perhaps for some of us, was escapable - not defeated though: never. At an effortlessly engaged moment possibly foreshadowing our impending ending it may sizzle on to expire untimely down our future.
(After the coyote missed the cannonball's unstoppable run, it advantageously barrel rolled - I tallied - six crewmembers and two unsung heroes down to the dreary, salty deep.)
Trenched on the clean and pristine main deck, battle battled on. Black and gray knights alike defended our wrecked stronghold, surrendering not to their fat cat foemen. The King and Queen, enclosed in the forecastle, decided to plunge their united, bounded hands into their oversized carry-on luggage: a golden crate their stalwart servants recovered from cargo.
One hundred and twenty-five debilitating asp bites. They profitably earned.
Ode to the lifeless King and Queen. Their throats swelled airtight, gagging all the way, they did, on their rasp rapping silver tongues. Within their golden crate, hand-in-hand wrapped in their matrimonial beautifully handcrafted embroidered bounding fabric as it had the day they exchanged agreeing I Do's. The fabric tore apart - two single parts apart - separated, like twins at birth, conceded aside falling inside to the very bottom. And without knowing respect, the slithering asps enjoyed (since being red-carded from our shady apple tree garden) preferential treatment. Their calloused bellies massaged in their new found relish, glided over a padded-cushion of beautifully handcrafted embroidered fabric.
Not a royal grave would be dug to refuge their decrepit remains six feet under a praising chiseled marble epitaph. But they would be forever embedded in luring romantic folklore. A luring romantic folklore spun to inspire our aging youth's future that love is not exclusively for the crowned. Bask your life (the moral seamed on) in the moments spent in a lover's naked embrace. It will be the consolation our stopping expiration has for comfort as time throttles on with one less passenger.
Even so, as the combatants combated the combating Deux ex Machina's fleet in its relentless thwarting pursuit, our keel popped knuckle crackling cracking cracks as our ship hinted to us it had survived long enough and had entered its impending ending moments.
Had I learned at any moment during my many traveled chrono-trips, I would have known an undisturbed sleeping coyote walks in slumber.
Slyly concealed in his adult sized reusable diaper, he conjured his white rabbit; whereby, his mischievousness took way to free our hoisted anchor. Our crippled ship swung, like roped to the gallows, off our predicted 5390 bearing.
Confirming our new trajectory on my father's compass, the freed anchor bottomed us at bearing 6469.
The Oracle unyielding to his challenging challenge stayed the new anchoring course. He, from the helm and in his impending ending moments, danced - once again - with Bella at the five-day ball.
This is how we methodically capitulated.
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Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
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