HOW I BLEW UP TRADING APPLE 🍎 🍎 🍎 OPTIONS
Disclaimer: This is a cautionary tale.
One I do not wish on anybody.
Sept. 5, 2020
Chapter from my new novel:
A $TREET NOT HER OWN
@copyright Citygirl Juliana Jones 💕💋
Email now to be invited to the book party 2021! 🎉💰💋
I am still in pain. Physical. Emotional. Spiritual. Financial. It was all my fault and I take all the blame.
I went long AAPL calls Monday morning August 24, 2020. I broke all of my trading rules. 1. Never buy a stock at its high. 2. Never buy at the open. 3. Don’t trade in August or until the market has a clear direction 4. Set a stop loss. 5. Never go all in; average in.
But I buy the August 28 AAPL 530 calls right at the open. I go all in and get printed high @8.71. The high.
I had studied Apple over the weekend, and it was about to break out over 500 and the split was coming and all the data, charts, statistics showed the stock was going to run.
What could possibly go wrong?
It’s Apple. The most talked out, profitable company in the world. Everybody was trading it. Including my friend who works at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills. How can she know more about the stock market than me? I was previously a Senior Vice President at Morgan Stanley in New York. I covered hedge funds in an equity sales capacity. I was licensed Series 7 and 63. When she told me she bought Apple at a 52 week high the summer of 2018, I kept saying, “It’s too high. You’re going to get burned.” She wasn’t burned. She was up over 100%. Even after the market collapse of early 2020.
I wasn’t a buyer and holder of stocks. I had seen too much. Besides, I liked quick, fast, easy money. I traded volatility and that was a whole different story; one I will get into briefly later, but let’s stay focused on the Apple trade.
So Monday morning, I never expect the stock to open so high at 513. I had multiple accounts and I bought 100 contracts in one and 50 in another right out of the gate. My account was down to its last $100k because I was short after March 2020 and got burned badly by Powell and the Fed and all the liquidity like everybody else who was short.
But with the 10 times profits you can make on options, I could be at over a million dollars in no time, I tell myself!
That was the plan. And I am the queen of plans.
My options were filled way higher than I wanted but my account jumps from $111,000 to $122,000 in SECONDS.
And all I think is this is going to be good…
I should have jumped on this train a long time ago.
And I’m watching …and I’m happy…and this is awesome. I’m making bank.
Until suddenly Apple drops 10 points within seconds. It breaks 500 and my account is disintegrating before my eyes. It drops so fast, I can barely fathom what is happening.
I can’t breathe.
I wait. I take the little money I have left in my account, and I do what some people wrongly do on a losing trade. It’s known as the MORON TRADE. That’s piling MORE ON to a losing trade.
I average down. I buy more contracts.
The stock begins to climb.
It looks like I’m out of the woods.
I now have a $7,000 profit.
Too early to sell, I tell myself.
I want more.
I always want more…
I take a shower. I’m writing a book and need to get cracking on that. When I come out of the shower, Apple is trading higher at 509, but my profits HAVE CRACKED IN HALF.
I’m now only up $2,000!!
This isn’t good, I realize. This is the decay they talk about in options.
I have been asked before a thousand times: “Why don’t you just trade options?”
“Because options expire worthless,” I’d reply.
WHY DIDN’T I LISTEN TO MYSELF?
MOST OPTIONS EXPIRE WORTHLESS!
But not mine. Mine won’t. Because I’m different, I’m special. It’ll be different…FOR ME, I tell myself.
Monday ends up being a bad day. The stock is a behemoth. It takes so much pressure and volume to move it and all I can feel is that it wants to go down.
I’m all in a stock that I never bought and I never liked. I’m holding at an ALL TIME HIGH. I hated everything the company stood for and even though I have an iPad, I believed that all of this technology was just ruining people’s lives. And all the executives at Apple were pompous and taking over the world with their wealth. I could go on and on, but I won’t. Because it doesn’t matter.
I’m here to tell you what happened to me.
Apple closes down at 502 and I hold it overnight. I’m down over 50%. Maybe more. It’s hard for me to look at this point. My $111,000 account fluctuated between $122,000 and $59,000 with these options and it was a rollercoaster ride.
One I wanted to get off.
The stock went up after hours and I thought everything would be fine.
But I didn’t sleep because I kept watching futures.
At 1 in the morning, someone posted that Apple was trading at 111 in the overseas markets. We were all overjoyed. Our calls will be saved! We will live to trade another day!
I finally fall asleep and I wake up 4 hours later. I grab my phone and check pre-market. Futures are up and Apple is red, down 3 points.
EVERY TIME I HAVE EVER CHECKED APPLE IN MY LIFE, IT WAS ALWAYS GREEN, ALWAYS UP.
And as soon as I buy it, it turns.
Isn’t that always the case?
I feel sick.
I watch the open.
If I there ever was a time I could give back one trade – this would be it.
All traders should have one chance at a DO OVER. A redue. That one bad trade they could give back.
But I open my Etrade account and my balance is $42,000. I am fucked.
The stock is dropping.
How could this be happening?
Apple only went up. Didn’t it?!!
I can’t breathe.
I have been in this situation before, and now I’m on my last shred of patience. Between the quarantine and being so isolated for the past six months, my day trading has gotten off the rails. I weigh 90 pounds. That’s very thin on a 5” 5 body. I study trading 20 out of the 24 hours of the day. Because my car is dead from not driving it and I have no where to go anyway, I walk to the grocery store for food. I tried Instacart, but who wants to pay $5.99 for a package of Oreas? The groceries are heavy and I lug laundry detergent and liters of water ten blocks home. I am only able to buy what I can carry. My arms are ripped from carrying these bags. (pun intended; the grocery bags and my trading bags) I am sunburned because my only escape out of my apartment is to jog 10 miles on the beach everyday. It hasn’t been the easiest summer or year for that matter.
But some days are great.
The days that I am winning.
The days that I am making $3,000 – $14,000 a day trading.
The days I am losing, it’s hell.
Pure, unabridged, hell.
I don’t have that much money to begin with.
I was putting my unemployment money into my Etrade account.
I didn’t know when I would work again.
Things were pretty bad no matter which way you sliced it.
And my world got small. My friends; it was hard to talk to them sometimes. Usually in a friendship, one calls the other with good news or bad news and you listen and console or congratulate them and buy them dinner! But now, everybody was in the same boat. Everybody was sad, depressed, worried. Nobody could go anywhere. Nobody had good news. The conversations became fewer and farther between.
Trading was my life.
It had always my life. But now it was really my life.
In a big way.
I watch as Apple goes lower.
I’m not getting out of this alive, I realize.
I call Etrade and I’m on hold for 40 minutes. I see there’s a way I can “roll the options,” but have no idea what this entails. I need more time. This thing needs to jump by Friday or it expires worthless! I’m in the August 28 calls and I have everything riding on this.
As I’m on hold, Apple starts to rise.
There’s hope, I tell myself.
I hang up. Fuck Etrade. I’m a trader. I know exactly what I’m doing. At all times.
I decide to take a shower and come back to it in a few minutes.
I do and the stock goes lower.
My account is now under $30,000 and dropping fast.
I call Etrade again and wait another 30 minutes on hold. I am praying I get someone smart on the phone. Someone who has an answer for me. Being that I worked on a trading floor and most of my work was done over the phones; I had a very quick read of people within the first 5 seconds of talking to them on the phone.
A guy finally gets on the line. He’s young, but he’s calm and knowing.
What I do next is something that I never do.
I can’t help it.
I start crying.
The conversation, from what I can recall, goes something like this: “I don’t know how this happened. How can $120,000 get wiped out in less than twenty-four hours? I can’t lose this money. What are my options?”
On these options that are destroying my life?
He stays calm.
He doesn’t make fun of me.
He doesn’t laugh, he doesn’t yell.
He doesn’t say, YOU STUPID, STUPID GIRL. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?
But I’m embarrassed and ruined. “It’s APPLE,” I say, “how can this go down? If I roll the contracts, will that buy me time? What about the split – will the split help the contracts by doubling?”
I’m grasping at straws.
He can hear it in my voice.
I hear him breathe on the other line. His voice doesn’t change. He’s steady.
Thank God for this. Thank God.
He is the life jacket right now and I am drowning.
I am blowing up.
He puts me on hold.
Apple ticks up. It’s trading at 495 now. But I am still so fucked!
I BOUGHT CALLS AT 512! AT THE ALL TIME HIGH!
I wanted to kill myself.
Honestly, as I’m lying on my couch, waiting for him to come back on the phone, I wish that I am dead.
I thought about buying a weapon during the LA protests but I could never live with myself if I hurt anybody.
Yet I had no problem with hurting myself. And I wanted to die. And this wasn’t the first time I felt this way trading.
He gets back on the line.
Now I can hear his voice shaking.
“Umm Juliana, yeah….” He begins, “Ummm well, it looks like… basically….”
I hold my breath.
Give me something.
Give me something I can hold onto. Please.
“Basically, the split is going to impact your options, it looks like, in a negative way…”
I tune out for the remainder of the conversation. I only watch the stock and its dropping and every second we are on the phone debating this, is another second I lose more money.
Apple trades at 494 and every time I hit refresh on my “APPLE iPad,” (how perfectly maddening) my account fluctuates up and down $3000.
I have $26,000 left.
I ask, “What’s the breakeven price I need to get to on Friday to get out of this?”
“Let me figure that out for you.”
I wait. I should know this myself.
But I can’t even begin to figure it out because I’m so panicked. I can’t imagine what I’m going to do for money if I lose everything. I can’t imagine how I’m going to survive. What’s worse was, WHAT ON EARTH WILL I DO ALL DAY LONG IF I CAN’T TRADE?
He gets back on the line. “The options look like they need to hit… 537 Friday.”
No way in hell was Apple going that high by Friday. Unless there was a miracle. And I needed one now.
The whole market is red and it looks like it’s rolling over. Everybody in the SPY message boards was saying that the market was so TIRED, it’s spent. GOING DOWN MOTHER FUCKERS. And always in the back of your mind, every trader wonders, is this the beginning of the crash?
Because we all know it’s coming.
But until then… Ride it out…ride it out for as long as you can… And don’t be the last one out the door.
“So should I wait?” I ask, knowing the answer to my own question. “To sell?”
If I wait and the options don’t hit 530 Friday, they will expire worthless, and I will lose everything.
The account will be zero.
If I sell now, I can walk about away with the measly $26,000.
“Can you sell for me? Can you just get me out of this with $26,000?”
I didn’t think I could do it myself.
But I knew the rules. By the time he walks me through the long verbal DISCLAIMERS that he needs to read to place the trades, I will only lose more money. It will take too long. I had to sell this second. This trade was getting further and further away from me.
I think pretty much I just blacked out after this.
The moment reminded me of that day at the Veterinarian’s office when my cat died. I was with the Doctor and it was time to put him down but I begged and pleaded, “Please Doctor, I don’t care how much it costs, can you please just keep him alive a little longer?”
I paid and paid until the money didn’t matter anymore. It wouldn’t save my cat anymore.
That was this day.
I remembered as I stared into the Doctors eyes watching him as he shook his head at my utter grief. He was quiet and soft spoken, very similar to this Etrade guy, and he said, “There is nothing more we can do.”
And I hear the Etrade guy say, “There’s nothing more we can do if the stock continues to go down.”
So here I was, reliving that day.
The saddest day of my life.
When the doctor told me this at the Vet, I took my cat outside for one final goodbye. We sat on the curb on Sunset Boulevard and he was in my arms and I cried and I cried.
I got up and brought him inside so the doctor could put him down.
And then it was over. It was the worst moment of my life.
Now I was putting my account down.
And as all this is happening, I realize the Etrade guy is no longer on the phone and I am crying again.
He had left me alone to end my account.
The same way the doctor did with my cat.
I hit the bid and I click, “Execute trade.”
And it’s done.
My account is dead.
* * *
The rest of the day, I am in a daze. I call my best friend in New York. “I’m coming home,” I tell her. “I lost everything. I need to get a job. I need to get my life on track.”
The idea of this rattles me. The idea of going back to work after making thousands with the click of a mouse for years and being around people I probably won’t like just pushes the knife further into the wound.
I try to put a positive spin on it. “My Dad,” I keep saying, “He will be glad to have me home. I’ll just go back to work. I can make a good salary…” Doing what, I had no idea.
She agrees and she listens.
We are on the phone for two hours.
I can’t get off my couch.
I haven’t eaten. And I haven’t slept.
And now, I can’t trade.
The thing I spent 90% of my thoughts and my time on, was done.
“It’ll be good for you,” she kept saying.
When we hang up, I can’t sit alone. I need to call someone else.
I call another friend, Bonnie. She was older and like a mother figure to me. My mother was abusive, but I didn’t hate her because she didn’t mean it and she couldn’t help it. As a result, I was able to endure a lot of pain. This came into handy while working on Wall Street. You couldn’t knock me down. The fight was always, “You got me this time, Mr. Market, but I’ll be back. I will come back and I will win.”
As if somehow, if I beat the market, I would get my mother’s approval.
Only it never happened.
And if it did, it was fleeting.
This was the same pattern. Lose money, blow up, go back to work. Amass enough when you can trade again. Blow up. Rinse, repeat.
On every level.
Bonnie, asks, “How’s it going, Juliana?”
But I can’t speak.
She told me for years I had a “gambling problem.“
My money was none of her business, I’d tell myself. I’m a FUCKING TRADER. I CAN AND DO BEAT THE MARKET ON A DAILY BASIS. TODAY WILL BE NO DIFFERENT.
But today was different.
I blew up.
On fucking APPLE.
WHO LOSES MONEY ON APPLE??!?!
I start crying again. She’s never heard me cry. Crying is for wimps. You can punch me and knock me down, but I’ll get up bruised and battered and beatened, but I always rise again.
But I had no fight left in me now.
And I couldn’t keep living like this.
My life was contingent upon: am I up or down?
Did I make money or lose money?
Is my account high or low?
And the truth was: it was never enough.
Here’s the numbers: the true numbers of my trading history over the past few years. For a real trader, the numbers are better than porn. Some of you know this story:
In February 2018 I was long TVIX, trading and making bank on volatility until the trade went against me. My account was about $150,000. But it got chopped in half because volatility goes down so quickly. So my $150,000 turns into $75,000.
I know these numbers are small to some people. To other people, they may be big. But it was all I had. So what did I do?
I call the bank and I get a cash advance on a credit card for $40,000. I dump it all into TVIX to average down.
The stock continues to crater.
I got more bank loans. 7 in total. Or was it 8?
Who’s counting at this point?
I end up in over $70,000 in credit card debt.
Then TVIX reverse SPLITS 10 FOR 1.
I stay in and I don’t let go.
I keep averaging down.
For years, I was in turmoil, stressed out and broke.
In February, 2020, my Etrade account was at an all time low and my debt at an all time high.
My Etrade balance is $18,000. I had $80,000 in credit card debt and no job. I was putting my rent on credit cards and my credit cards were tapped out!
Two weeks later, CUE IN THE STOCK MARKET CRASH OF MARCH 2020!!!
JUST LIKE I ALWAYS EXPECTED….
I’M BACK IN ACTION!
MY ACCOUNT CATAPULTS TO $311,000!!!!!!
I sell TVIX at 402!!!!
I’m a star on Stocktwits!!! I have a blog and people are flocking my website and I’m making money on my Google ads.
LIFE IS GOOD!!! 💪💋💕💰👏🎉
The first month during the quarantine, I make another $40,000 trading!💋❤️👏
I only used a small portion of my account to trade with, and I would go long and short volatility at the same time. I was hedged.
But I was short vol when TVIX hit 1000.
I got a margin call.
But TVIX drops back down the next day.
I am saved.
This was how I lived.
On the edge. Always on the edge of blowing up.
Because could there be any other way?
Then, I start losing real money. Powell comes along and ruins everything. I decide to pay off the debt. I take a massive hit on my account, I was long UVXY and volatility was tanking and I lose $50,000 on that trade, and I move out $70,000 to pay off my debt. Now my account is $201,000. From $311,000.
I’m going to stop trading, I tell myself.
The market is untradable.
It’s too manipulated.
I will hold off.
This lasts a few days.
Or maybe a few hours.
All I know is that before long, the mouse is back in my hand and I am winning again. I am winning until I am not.
I’m all in TVIX and it’s going higher, and the market looks like it’s tanking again with the resurgence of Covid, and how could we POSSIBLY GO UP IN SUCH TURBULENT TIMES – BUT WE DO.
Not only does the stock market go up – it catapults up higher at levels unheard of before.
Shorts are dropping out like flies.
Active traders gone.
At this point, I’m all LONG TVIX AGAIN as if I didn’t LEARN MY LESSON THE FIRST TIME.
And I’m losing and the news comes: TVIX IS DELISTING! I am forced to take a massive hit and sell.
I’m down another $70K and so I pile what’s left into UVXY, and that goes awry, and I lose more.
I call my psychic when I’m down to my last $93,000. She says, “I know it’s crazy to hear, but the market is going to keep going up. Don’t drain what you have, sell now and take the loss. Go short at a later time. 2021,” she says.
So I listen.
I take another massive hit.
She was right.
The market went higher.
I pump more unemployment money in and get my account back over $100,000 and I trade and make more until I’m up at $111,000.
This is when I learn how to trade options on UVXY. I master it and I’m making $3,000 -$4,000 daily.
My goal was to make $1,000 a day trading.
And then I realize I can make even more if I start trading Apple calls. Out of the money Apple calls.
Because Apple only goes up? Right?
So as my friend is asking me, “What happened Juliana?” I know she is going to rip me a new one when I tell her.
“I lost it all,” I say.
“Everything?” she asks.
I am speechless. The shock rolls over me like a bad dream.
“What do you mean, everything?” she pushes.
“My trading account. I blew up. Down to $25,000.”
She says, “Well, you didn’t lose EVERYTHING, you still have $25,000 left.”
And then I feel hope.
I CAN TRADE THAT 25K AND DOUBLE IT, TRIPLE IT, AND GET MY ACCOUNT OVER A MILLION DOLLARS. I CAN GET MORE BANK LOANS. I CAN JOIN ON OF THESE TRADING COMPANIES LIKE MAVERICK TRADING AND TRADE WITH THEM… I CAN COME BACK!
I ALWAYS COME BACK!
And suddenly, she says, “So what you’re really saying, what you are really trying to tell me here, is that you hit a bottom in your gambling addiction.”
And there it is.
Her words sink in.
“You’re right,” I admit.
And the instant I say it, it’s a load off.
We talk more.
At the end of the conversation, she asks if I know of anyone who has a gambling problem and suggest I reach out to them for help. And if you don’t know anybody who blew up worse than you have on Wall Street, you’re not a real trader.
So I call my friend Daniel and it’s like he was expecting my call. He has taken me to some of his Gambling meetings before and I hated them.
But what I hated worse was what I had become.
I didn’t recognize myself.
If you looked at me, you would think I spent every waking hour in a gym and at a tanning salon. My body was hard and tan and this was only because I had to carry groceries and I was so stressed out and had no other outlet in life but to run on the beach.
I didn’t see anybody and I didn’t talk to anybody. It was me and my trading, my writing, the beach, my cozy apartment.
I got what I signed up for.
I was living the dream.
I HAD GOTTEN WHAT I ALWAYS WANTED!
But truth was, I running a small $100,000 account and I was obsessed with it. And was trying to make it go back to $300,000 or $3,000,000 even worth this?
When would $3,000,000 need to be $30,000,000?
Was anything worth this?
What was I contributing to the world?
I felt sick.
I couldn’t go on.
So for the first time, I admitted, “You’re right. I have a problem. I will stop trading. I will get help.”
* * *
The next morning, I wake up and the first thing I want to do is check futures. I wonder where Apple is trading and if it’s higher and if I held on, would I have gotten more money?
Or would I be left with nothing?
But I don’t check.
I can’t look.
I feel sick and have no energy.
I need to reinvent myself.
I need to get a real job like a normal person and make a living. I needed a routine and I needed to be in the flow of life.
Maybe this is the best thing to have happened to me, I don’t know.
Am I embarrassed? Sure.
But there isn’t anything anyone can say to make me feel worse than I already do. I have scraped the bottom of the barrel and have found that small hole. I have fallen through it, I was in free fall and crashed hard.
Maybe reading this will help somebody.
I can’t say for certain that I will never go back to trading.
But I think I have to try.
Love, Citygirl 💕💋
To see some of the losses and trades, click here:
ANXIOUS AND DISTURBED
Written: November, 2019
She thought she had a little problem. At first she didn’t care. And she didn’t tell anyone. Not that anyone would care. Because who does? When things are bad, doesn’t everybody disappear? As if they never knew you? But that didn’t bother her either. She couldn’t stand people. In fact, she was in this position because she wanted to be as far from people as she possibly could.
That’s what money did.
Kept you alone.
Money was freedom.
She had three goals: No landlord, no employer, no husband.
Done and done.
Until the trade went awry. And it always does, doesn’t it? At first, it’s not bad. Thirty percent down. You tell yourself you’re gonna come back. It’s going to be okay. And so she took a week and waited and then averaged down with the rest of her money. But … it still went away from her. Far away. Quickly 75% down in her portfolio came the reverse split. 10 for 1.
This was horrendous.
But nothing a few bank loans couldn’t cure. Because if she was on margin, she would have blown up by now. Another account. Imploding like the wind. But by this time, she wasn’t trading the boring stocks: the twittah … which she rode from 14 to 28, or retail stocks, Tiffany which was always a good trade and Bebe… no, she had escalated to volatility. The mack daddy of trading. This was like going from smoking pot to freebasing crack. The gap up the gap up THE GAP UP WAS PHENOMENAL. INCREDIBLE. A wave you just wanted to ride AND RIDE. She’d go long a mere two thousand shares in the aftermarket the night before and by 5 am California time, she’d sell and clock 4 large. 4 thousand dollars. And she hadn’t even gotten out of bed yet. You think with that kind of P&L on a daily basis; making that much money before the market even opened, you’d call it a day. You’d leave it alone.
But no. Because there was a long day ahead.
And that ticker and CNBC and the stock message boards were calling her name… The constant moving, changing, up down in out all over the place, the highs, the lows, kept her hooked. She loved it. She loved to trade. Lived to trade.
It became all she ever cared about.
And she loved it like she never loved anything in her whole life.
At first it was magical and then it was medicine, and then it was misery.
And that’s where the bank loans came in. Because what goes up, has to go down, doesn’t it? Yes, in everything – except VOLATILITY. Volatility decays. It goes down and down and then reverse splits again. Rinse repeat.
If she was smart, she’d realize you only short volatility. You never average down. You put in a stop loss, take the hit, and then you short the pop.
But she couldn’t take the hit.
Something about admitting she was wrong…
Don’t get emotional was rule #1 in trading. Along with many other rules: hope is not a strategy, don’t fight the fed, etc. etc.
But she wasn’t one for rules.
No… she had magical thinking: it will come back, I will come back, I’m a fucking trader. I can and do beat the market on a daily basis. And this time will be no different.
But this time was different.
She called the bank and this was now her fourth loan. But these were smart loans.
“It’s not a loan,” the Bank executive would tell her, “It’s a cash advance on your credit card.”
“I understand,” she’d reply, trying to hide the desperation in her voice. Don’t let them hear that you need this money…. You need it like a drug… and if you don’t get it… you’re gonna fucking die…
“But there’s no interest, correct? Not for 12 months?” Voice steady. Good.
So who’s the fool, she thought. They are. I’ll trade out of this position and pay back the bank before the fucking interest kicks in, so don’t even try to act like you hear this desperation in my voice. Because there’s not. I am in full control. I’m a fucking trading. Do you hear me? A TRADER.
“Okay and you say you wired the funds?” she asks, watching, waiting, her bank account opened on her computer and she keeps refreshing, refreshing, waiting, waiting, but they are not there…They are not coming.
“Well, I don’t see the funds!” Now she’s getting a little unwound. Where’s the money, huh?! You said it was immediate. I NEED IT NOW MOTHER FUCKER! NOW! WHERE ARE THE FUNDS?!!! She watches TVIX, the volatility ETN that she trades which is up on her other screen and she wants back in at 40 but it’s going higher…. 41…42… She needs to buy a lot more to take her average down, but lately, her average doesn’t even MOVE. She’s holding other lots at 120! 120! But she’ll never admit this to anyone. No, that’s too high. Almost impossible to trade out of. Nobody comes back from that. And the market’s been on a fucking tear. Now you have the Fed pumping billions into a market that’s at all time highs. Does this make any sense? Does ANYTHING EVER MAKE ANY SENSE?!”
But then – the money hits.
And the funds are there.
Before she can even catch her breath, she clicks “transfer funds” on her iTrade account. With one pull down menu, her bank account instructions are already there and she hits “transfer 40,000.” And BOOM. Itrade shows the money! It hits!
CHA-CHING. WITH LEVERAGE IT’S FOUR TIMES THE MONEY SO IT LOOKS LIKE SHE CAN TRADE WITH $160,000.
And she’s LOVING LIFE RIGHT NOW.
I’m back. I’m back mother fuckers so get out of my way.
“Thank you so much,” she says to the bank executive but she’s clicked off she realizes before he even hears her.
She looks back at the TVIX chart.
It’s flashing green and red… and orders move by fast and slow, and it’s a hypnotic blur of figures and numbers, charts and graphs, and she grabs her mouse with the ease of the way Adam took the apple from Eve, and buys in.
Buying 930 tvix, market! BOOM!
She gets printed at 43.32. Much higher than she wanted, and you can’t use your margin money because they won’t let you, it’s too dangerous, too many people implode trading volatility, but who cares, who cares! I’M IN MOTHER FUCKERS SO LET’S GO!
* * *
It’s 8:15 pm and she rolls into the restaurant. She’s late but he’s lucky she’s even there she tells herself, and he’s waiting, already sitting at the table waving.
She quickly looks around, checking out the crowd, is there anything better here, anybody she would like to fuck. The answer is usually an inevitable, no. And as she sits down at the table, one quick glance at this guy, she asks herself the same question, and it’s also an inevitable no. This guy is a cousin’s friend. “Oh, please Jolette, he likes you so much,” she said after they met at her birthday party. The birthday party she didn’t want to go to out in Berkeley. And the one she brought another guy with to and nobody seemed to understand that she was already with somebody, but he was just another nobody, but usually when you show up somewhere with a guy, it cuts down on the attention you get, sometimes. Not always, but sometimes. And attention was something she loathed. She more she got, the more she wanted to hide. Hated to be watched, observed, analyzed.
But that’s what it seemed that all anybody ever wanted to do. But she’d usually get the last laugh. Never doing anything anybody wanted to. “Sure, okay, sounds good” were usually her last words. Along with, “Sounds great, I’ll be there.”
Only to never come, never show up, never be accountable.
Why should I be?
Other people needed people. Other people needed validation, praise. She wasn’t one of them. The only praise she needed was the green she saw in her account when she was right on a trade.
And that’s all she ever needed…
“How are you?” she asked, after he hugged her, tightly, smearing his cologne all over her.
"Good, great,” he said, launching into a diatribe of his meeting earlier. And like a switch, she turned it off… not even listening, looking around for the waitress so she can order a drink. She was starving too. It was October and the clocks had just turned so technically it was really 9:15 pm… and tired and hungry is never a stellar combination. Plus, the markets gapped up at the close as they have been for the past four months with the fed and the central banks rigging the whole deal. And TVIX closed lower than she bought it at with the bank loan and she was not happy
So now she was really underwater.
Underwater in the trade.
And underwater sitting here at the table with this guy she can give two F’s about. Why go, why bother with this?
Because I couldn’t sit around at home any longer and watch green futures all night. Or porn. She had been porned out. Guys think girls don’t like or watch porn. News flash: we do. And they provide, with a little help from ourselves, the perfect orgasm every time. So this guy is rambling on and on, and by this time, some fried calamari has arrived and she’s watching him devour it with his fingers, and he licks his thumbs from the oil that’s dripped all over the plate.
And it’s disgusting. And she’s appalled. And now he’s telling her about some lady in the workplace who pulled down her pants in from of him. “And all I see are these black pubic hairs coming out of the top of this white granny underwear,” he says, “and she goes, 'do you want some of this?' So I say no, and the next thing I know I’m fired from my technology job. I’m a victim of the ‘ME TOO’ movement,” he claims, and then boasts how he’s going on “CNN” to “tell his story.”
Jolette listens with a blank face and wonders by this point if she’s heard it all. She’s only 27. But the stories from these idiots are enough to make her feel 90. There were guys who tried too hard and then there were guys who didn’t try hard enough. She couldn’t figure out which was worse. Probably the ones who didn’t try, who couldn’t be bothered, the good looking ones; the guys who waited for the girls to drop into their lap. The lazy ones. They were worse. They had no balls. No game. They would never trade. Could never trade. Couldn’t fathom it. Little babies. But this guy, she couldn’t figure out which category he fell into – maybe the pathetic category.
Or I am just pathetic for sitting here?
She wanted to devise some story, to make up some lie to get up and leave after her grilled salmon was finished, but she didn’t have the energy. Just sit it out. And endure.
Just like she would sit out the trade.
Times would get better, she told herself. They had to.
* * *.......
It was over that fast. She accumulated six figures in credit card debt on eight different credit cards. The interest payments were rolling in and then the reverse split was announced. The SECOND for her. They took TVIX from 15 to 6 in a matter of weeks. Jolette sat every day watching her money erode before her eyes. It was surreal. Not that it was happening, but that it happened that fast. Not to mention the earlier pain of watching it tank from 86 to 15; at least that took nine months. It had been a grueling year. And with the Fed coming in with their BLATANT REPO MANIPULATION, it was the nails on the coffin. It was done.
Every day, her head hurt. Her stomach hurt. Everything hurt. She felt like a useless, worthless piece of shit. A LOSER. She poured her mind into her website where her dream was to showcase her trades and travel the world tasting lattes. She learned a lot during this time; coding, analytics, and working with her webmasters, she finally got advertisements up and running. She had the first website to achieve this feat out of all the other bloggers. Jolette had taught them. She had figured out how to write the code in an ad.text file and told the technicians and engineers where to upload it on the backend. And they got it all working. Her website was monetized. When she set her mind to something, there wasn’t anything she couldn’t achieve.
Millions, one or maybe two, who’s counting, down the drain, and now there was this debt. She would lie to people as to how much she was down. It’s like drinking; when your friends ask “How much did you drink last night?” And you say, “Oh, I don’t know, maybe a bottle of wine,” but you know it was more like three or four. And then some tequila shots. But who’s counting. And what’s a million dollars down? Or was it two? But then again, who’s counting? It’s over. And she wasn’t playing the blame game – she had no one to blame but herself.
That afternoon as it’s all completely going to shit, with no mercy from the banks because they weren't loaning her any more money, Paul called. He wants to come over; he needs to use her “landline.” Jolette, one of the few people who kept a landline going, kept it as a convenience yet rarely used it. Because who wants to talk to anybody anyways?
“I’m busy, Paul,” Jolette says. Cutting him off. She was sick of him, bored. She watched him a few days ago on CNBC. He’s a renowned analyst covering the semiconductor space for ABLX Securities, one of the largest firms on Wall Street. He looked good. Confident. Assured. Spoke well. Hell, even she would buy the stock he was pitching if she had any dry powder left, which she didn’t.
“Come on, Jolette, it’s really important, I’m downstairs.”
“You’re what?” And then her doorbell rings.
Paul is such a pain in the ass. She buzzes him in. And moments later, he’s standing at her door.
She hands him a black cheap fold out chair and her remote landline, then shuts the door on him. “I’m working,” she says.
“You won’t let me come in?” he pleads.
“Use the phone out there,” she repeats, referring to the hallway. Like a dog.
She’s not about to let him in. She rarely let people into her apartment. She needed her space. Plus, she didn’t want the energy of the air interrupted. Paul didn’t have bad energy, he was just depthless. There was nothing to the guy. Yeah, he was good looking and had a lot of money; the sex was pretty good. It was the afterwards she couldn’t stand. The changing of the sheets, the dealing with the nonsense small talk, dealing with him. And Paul always wanted her to attend social events and galas... No. No way, Paul. Sorry. Find some other girl to go with you because it will never be me.
She’d see him all over the Society pages with this girl or another. It never bothered her. Jolette stopped caring a long time ago about a lot of things. Maybe it was after the accident of her mother, or when her college boyfriend beat her. The guy who came from a family of doctors. He was in med school training to be a doctor himself. They were living in Houston after spending the summer in Mallorca and Jolette despised Houston and being so far away from the ocean. She had no idea of his level of drug use until after she was living with him. And isn't that how it works? You never really know somebody until it's too late. Until you're trapped with them. On the day she left, Jolette would never forgot the look on his face as he stood in handcuffs. It was that fork in the road. “What do you want to do, press charges?” The police asked. Jolette stood there bleeding and broken and thought only of his medical career. She didn’t want to ruin that for him. The world needed more doctors and everybody deserved a second chance. But she would never be giving him one. "If you’re not going to press charges," the officer said, "then go now and get as far away from here as you possibly can. I watched my father to this to my mother my whole life," he said. "It only gets worse."
Jolette shook her head in agreement.
She would go.
She couldn’t return to Connecticut where she grew up. Her father said, “If you leave and go to Houston now, then you will be disowned. I will not be there to bail you out next time.”
So there was no going back. She had $1,000 dollars to her name and bought a one way bus ticket to San Francisco, California. She didn’t know anybody there and was 23 years old. She’d start over; get a job, get into grad school, and after three years and a Master’s Degree in healthcare, she quickly learned that she didn't like that industry. And unless you were the CEO of a major conglomerate, there was no money in it either. So she learned how to trade. Started with a small account and grew it tenfold. And then the implosion.
So when she slammed the door on Paul’s face, she didn’t feel any remorse. She wouldn’t let herself get sucked into another guy’s problems, codependency or whatever other issues were lying underneath. She was over it. She had herself to rely on. And that became enough.
Jolette went back inside her apartment and watched the ticker. TVIX hit new lows every minute. She scrolled through the message boards. She was the joke of them now. Everybody knew she was long and lost and the jokes were aplenty. But that didn’t bother her either. Just look at my website and click on the ads so I make money off of you. And I'll have the last laugh. She was making money, but it wasn’t enough. So she began to apply to jobs. Brokerage firm jobs. Anything that involved trading. She’d start on the ground floor and work her way up. There was no other choice.
Jolette could hear Paul’s voice through the door. He was talking about a stock and the buy recommendation he was coming out with. She knew she could milk Paul, she always had. She borrowed tons of money from him in the past, 40k here, 25k there. She’d always pay him back and what’s a couple grand between friends. But now she could ask him for more money and trade ahead of his announcement. But no. That was unethical. A classic case of insider trading. Illegal. Jolette believed in karma. Some things in life just weren’t meant to chance.
She brought Paul a glass of water. Standing over him, she watched him. He sat in the wooden chair with his head leaned back against the wall. He looked tired, worn out, like his job was beginning to take a toll on him. Maybe he was losing control, just the same way Jolette lost control. Things in life can go awry so fast; one trip to the doctor for a routine checkup could wreck havoc with bad news, or one misstep in a car can cause an accident that’s life changing. Jolette is well aware of this and always believes on many levels that she is blessed. With a guardian angel or two watching over her. Live in the moment, she'd tell herself. Do I have a roof over my head, yes. Am I alone and free? Yes. Is there food in my cabinet? Check. Then all is good..
Paul sat confidently, with two legs set on the ground. He looked sexy sitting there, continuing his phone conversation as if she wasn’t even there. Jolette could tell so much about a man by the way they sat and the way they walked. She was a master observer of human behavior. People behaved like stocks, with predictable reactions, patterns, and fluctuations. And Paul, with his legs spread apart and his eyes staring up at her, looked strong and weak at the same time.
Jolette brushed her hand over his thigh. He grabbed her hand and put it over his crotch. He was hard. She could hear the other guy yelling through the phone. Margins, revenues, numbers were mentioned and argued about over and over again. Paul brushed his hand through his hair, exasperated. Jolette, wearing short shorts and a t-shirt climbed on top of him. She rubbed herself against him already wet. She leaned down and whispered in his ear, “Does this feel good?” And kept going despite the fact that Paul was ignoring her, “Does it, Paul?”
Paul leaned farther down in the chair so she can keep going, giving her more space. “I understand,” Paul concludes, closing his eyes, as Jolette moves up and down on him watching his eyes roll back in his head. She takes the phone from Paul as his conversation ends and lets it drop to the ground.
“Paul, can we do this here?” she asks. Little girl voice. The voice he loves. The voice she manipulated him with over and over and over again.
“Yes.” She unzips his pants and at the same time, slips out of her shorts. She sits down on him again and with experienced fingers, lifts him inside of her, playing with him, teasing him, slowly, and Paul, going with it, presses her down on him harder, grabbing her by the waist, "Ride it, I want you to come all over me."
It was on and Jolette smiled inwardly. She controlled the pace, the angle, and once she leaned forward and pressed herself against him in that certain spot, it would be over. She wants it to last, she tries to wait..and DING goes the elevator, and in seconds those elevator doors will open and somebody’s going to be coming down the hall... Instead of stopping, Jolette keeps going, fast now, picking up the pace, squeezing him harder beneath her whispering Paul, paul paulllllllllll and then the fire doors burst open and Jolette and Paul turn to look at the neighbor, a single girl who lives in the three bedroom next door, and they all catch eyes and the girl turns away, taking out her key and enters her apartment as Jolette, mid orgasm, let’s out a groan and collapses into Paul. Paul, stunned and spent, looks back at Jolette like a deer in the headlights.
Jolette grins, climbing off of him. She goes back inside and locks the door. She walks over to her computer and checks her emails. One particular email catches her eye. It’s from ABLX Securities.
She landed an interview...!
They request that she call immediately and Jolette realizes Paul still has her phone.
She opens the door, grabs the phone off the floor and shuts the door again.
“You’re not going to let me come in?”
But she’s already heading for the shower. Then she’d return the call to ABLX.
Maybe things were about to turn around after all.
* * *
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This is a work of fiction. All the characters and occurrences herein are the product of the author's imagination. Though real life locations feature as settings throughout the work, the incidents that occur herein are exclusively fictional. Any similarity in characters or events to real life people, living or dead, or actual occurrences, are coincidental.
Copyright, Juliana 2019