Since my brain was already in doomsday mode I thought I’d write one more. Enjoy.
The financial report sucked. I finished my breakfast, and headed to work.
At the coffee maker four of us gathered to get that first kick in the butt to get our brains functioning. “Did you see the stock market report this morning?” I asked as I took my turn at the Keurig.
“Yeah.” Dave put creamer in his coffee. “The company stocks are tanking.” He shook his head. “The majority of my company share is in their stock. I’m taking a beating.”
“I hear ya,” Penny said as she put sugar in her coffee. It poured and poured out of the shaker. I didn’t know why she bothered with the coffee. She should just have been drinking Kool-Aid. “I’ll be ninety before I can retire.”
“It’s the brokerages.” Ellen said from the table where she was eating a microwave breakfast sandwich. “Just like in the eighties. Congress passed all those laws giving them free rein again and look what’s going on. Same damn thing, different year.”
My stomach sank. Last time I was just in the workforce. I didn’t have much put away in the banks, didn’t have a mortgage, didn’t own stock. Now, though. I was up to my eyeballs in debt and just about all of my savings were in the stock market. I counted my lucky stars that I hadn’t done a variable mortgage. I’d insisted to my husband we go fixed. He put up a fuss but now, I’m glad I insisted. “What about the company? Are they going to make it?”
“Who knows,” Dave said. “They nearly collapsed the last time. And now, Polygon is much stronger and more competitive. They’re…” He stopped talking as the boss came in.
“Morning,” we all said as we grabbed our coffee and left.
I put a stock market notice up on my computer screen, set to pop-up if there was any news. Then I went to work. I had six meetings today.
At lunch I checked the market. It was going down. In the lunch room I sat with Dave and Ellen. They were as worried as I was. Dave’s phone kept pinging with every fall.
Mid-afternoon, Dave came into my office. “Look.” He held up his phone. The graph showed the stock market down 2500 points since the day’s opening bell.
He nodded. “I’m underwater on my mortgage. If this thing tanks. I’m going to lose my house.”
I didn’t know what to say. “What about the company?”
He pulled up our stock market feed. “It’s down a hundred.” He pushed some more buttons. “Polygon is down fifty.”
“What do you think?”
“The whole market is going into the toilet.”
Dave left and I went to my last meeting. Halfway through, all of our phones began beeping. It was the company text. We all looked at our phones. Andrea began to cry. Elisha threw his phone on the table. I just stared at mine. The company was toast. Everyone was ordered to pack up their desks and report to the exit. Boxes would be searched for proprietary materials. We’d be contacted in two weeks with any salaries owed us.
We all got up and went to our offices. My boss came in as I was boxing up my crap. “Hell of a thing.”
He leaned against the door jam. “You have anything lined up?”
“No. I never expected…”
He nodded. “I have something. You’re a good manager. I’ll see if they have a spot.”
He drifted out of the door.
At home, my husband was already sitting at the kitchen table, a glass of Jack on the rocks in front of him. The bottle in the middle of the table.
“Fired?” I asked.
“Yep. My boss may have something for me.” I sighed and got a glass and sat down at the table. “You think he’ll come through?”
My husband shrugged. “What I want to know is how is it he had something lined up? Did he know your company was going to tank?
I sipped the whisky. “I don’t know. The competition was beating us. Maybe he was just getting out before they killed us.”
He nodded. “Maybe. Wish my boss had as much foresight.”
He’d turned the TV in the kitchen on, sound off. The screen showed people rioting in the street in New York, Chicago, L.A., London, Rome, Tokyo, and even Moscow. The world-wide economy was collapsing. Grocery stores were being looted. Store windows were smashed. I sat there, mesmerized and just sipped my whisky
“I stopped at the bank and pulled all of our savings,” he said. “Eight grand.”
My stomach sank. “That’s all we had?”
He nodded. “If we’re careful, eight months mortgage.”
I drank the last of the whisky in my glass and poured another. “Let’s hope my boss doesn’t forget me.”
“You got that.”
We stared at the TV and watched the world collapse.
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