Category Archives: Fly Story
Two thousand years ago today, the son of God became a zombie.
Zombie Jesus was pissed off because some greasy Italians had tortured and killed him. Being the son of God and all, he came back as “Zombie Jesus” to exact revenge on his enemies. Rumor has it, Zombie Jesus liked to catch his prey when they least expected it, on fishing boats, hot air balloons and even in outerspace.
One time he parted the sea and ate a Roman solider, who was scuba diving, looking at the pretty fish.
About 1,000 years after Zombie Jesus exacted revenge on the people who tortured and killed him, while in heaven, he created a man-sized rabbit to descend upon his enemies and dubbed it “The Easter Bunny.” Back in the old days, before the Easter Bunny was gentrified, doling out chocolates to well behaved Christian boys and girls, he’d bite off the heads (like a carrot) of the descendants of the original Roman soldiers who killed him.
A long time ago, every Easter, the city of Rome was wrapped in fear, as no one really knew who was related to those original Roman soldiers. They’d hide themselves inside cupboards, amphoras and sewers, to escape the Easter wrath. For Italian citizens, it was like playing the Wheel of Fortune, with the grande prize being a hideous bunny rabbit gnawing away at your head, like a carrot, until you dropped dead. This went on for many centuries until chocolate was invented.
Jesus loved chocolate so much, he became addicted to it. God would always tell him “to lay off that stuff. It will rot your teeth.” Jesus ignored his Father’s wishes and kept eating chocolate, until one day God snatched away his chocolate cows and sent him to his room to do penance for disobeying him. When it was time for the annual Easter killings to commence, Jesus was nowhere to be found. The Easter Bunny searched for him high and low; but God hid him well.
The Easter Bunny became panicked and started to spaz out in heaven, punching angels in the face and what not. Then he spotted Jesus’ chocolate cow, which was hidden behind the tablets of the 10 commandments. It was at that point that he knew Jesus had been punished by God and this pissed him off. He took the chocolate cow and made millions of pieces of chocolate, in his likeness, with it. After all, it was Jesus’ favorite food.
He then delivered the chocolate to millions of human children, God’s favorite form of human.
When God found out about this, he was pissed off- but could do nothing to stop The Easter Bunny, for he was hidden in Jesus’ old hiding spot, unknown by God. The Easter Bunny sent a letter to God, saying “release Jesus, or else every Easter I will deliver the chocolate cow pieces to millions of human boys and girls, much to your chagrin.”
God replied by making rabbit the preferred protein for the country of France.
To this day, Jesus is tucked away in his room, doing penance and The Easter Bunny is running amok, dropping off chocolate cow pieces to children all across the globe.
Now you know the true definition of Easter.
There I was, yet again, drinking brown acid with a little milk and honey mixed into it, watching the old portfolio rise, rather appreciate, in value–disrupted! when I started to hear something odd in my dining room.
What the hell could it be, god damn it!
Remember, I just finished renovating my house, after buying it in July. I’m a big advocate of moulding, always interested in making things look better, become more attractive to any prospective buyers. After all, there’s a reason why my house sold in one week.
I called a plumber. He stepped into the guest bathroom and declared “it’s a gasket, all is well.” He fixed it, then collected his $125–like the savage that he is, then wheeled off.
At the same time VHC started to collapse, the sound in my dining room grew louder. I said to myself “Fly, what could this be? Could I be hexed again by the Gods, testing me through arduous home renovations?”
I summoned the plumber back for a second time.
I complained of the sound and he chalked it up to “it’s the wind from the attic, traveling down the pipes, into here.” Then, like a gorilla with a wrench, he said, “no, it’s the heat. The heat is making that noise.” I dismissed his excuses with as much scorn as a fanatical muslim in bible class, asking him to “please refrain from partaking in ridiculous commentary.”
I said to him “the sound, my good sir, is pervasive and means there is a leak in the ceiling, chap.”
He took out his blade and sliced through the ceiling. Like cutting through a juicy grapefruit at a wrong angle, the water squirted in his face, drenching his worker blouse with cold water. Apparently there was a pinhole leak in the ceiling, caused by acidic water (yummy), of the municipal variety.
After further inspection, we found 6 pinhole leaks, which probably means the entirety of the cold water, horizontal, copper piping in my money pit needs to be replaced.
Let me reiterate: I’ve been informed that my water is laden with acid and will eat my pipes like pacman eats ghosts.
So don’t feel bad, sad faced shareholders of VHC, “The Fly” got his comeuppance today too, with a direct hit upon his treasured coffered ceilings, which will lead to a complete and utter disruption of his way of life for the foreseeable future.
Back to my cup of brown acid. It’s rather delicious, actually.
After I left the firm of the wooden leads, my goal was to find a firm who’d sponsor me for the series 7 exam. The name of the firm was unimportant, just as long as I could buy and sell stocks. By that time, I’d been trading stocks–successfully– for many years, as I came into some money from an annuity that was set aside for me when I was only 4 years old. It’s not what you think. The money was won in a civil suit against a bar owner– because my father was killed in cold blood by the establishment’s bar tender.
My Mother set up the annuity so that it would be released to me when I was 18. My share was very little, but I used it to invest in the market. I’d been interested in stocks since I was 10 years old and had made small investments, with zero success, throughout the years. When I was a teenager, my best friend and I would play stock market, paper trading off of the events of the trading session with paper and pencil. By the time I was 18, I knew almost every stock symbol by heart and had a fair understanding of what made stocks move. I was ready to play. The first thing I did with my share was buy AMER, the ticker symbol of the original America Online. I did so, against the advice of all of NYC’s pension fund managers working for the NYC Comptrollers office, during my summer internship.
The top boss at the time warned me that MSFT would take over the space and that AMER was “nothing more than a fad.” As an aside, Jay Z’s mother worked in that office too, as a NYC municipal bond trader. I was the only one in the office who knew her son, since I was an avid fan in the arts of “underground rap music”– at that moment in time.
Needless to say, I was right about AMER; but it took a very long time to materialize. By 2000, my $6,000 investment ballooned to $250k. That’s how early I was to AMER.
Back to the subject at hand. I took at job at a firm, located at 17 State street in NYC, overlooking the water. It was a beautiful building, with a magnificent view. I really loved the office space. My new boss was not a big broker, but big enough to hire myself and two of my friends from “the wooden lead firm.”
We were the only one’s working at that place. All of the big brokers were holed up in offices and the pikers in the boardroom had little desire to do anything but get by.
As promised, I was sponsored to take my series 7 and given two weeks of “paid vacation” to study and hopefully pass it. I remember the evening before my exam like it was yesterday. My broker called me up and said “stop studying. This is it. Go drink a glass of wine, relax and do your best.” The next day I passed the exam and was given the privilege to recommend and sell securities to the public.
Aside from pitching new accounts for my broker, I had transferred my brokerage account to his rep, since I was not able to manage accounts yet. After I passed the series 7, I was obligated to this fine chap to open up 25 new accounts for him before I was given the right to manage my own business. It’s a right of passage thing and I believed it was a worthwhile experience.
I made 12 successful trades in a row and it shocked my broker. The bastard was making me pay $100 commissions per trade, so I was pretty much working for free. My gains became so prolific, the bigger brokers at the firm started to copy my trades. I was flattered and excited to contribute; but I was also bitter as hell because I wanted to get out from under his tutelage. As much as I liked him, I felt he was my inferior, in both money management skills and salesmanship. He had little to offer me, with exception to a $350 per week salary. It was a stretch for him. He liked the idea of having myself and two others work for him, as he too dreamed of getting big and starting his own firm. But his gross commissions couldn’t support the staff, no matter how many new accounts I opened for him, which was 8 in month 1.
He shared an office with two brokers, one legendary amongst the people who knew him. They were very big producers and my broker was obsessed with learning from them. Instead of working, he’d sit in the office with a pen and pad, listening to every word the other two brokers uttered when talking to accounts–jotting everything he heard down so that he could share it with me later. One day I walked in and he had a nervous breakdown. With tears streaming down his face, he was saying to himself “I can’t do this anymore. I am running out of money.” Everyone just looked at him with pity; but I knew it was time to make arrangements to leave.
While in my second month pitching new accounts there, I met a truly amazing talent. But it was wasted and I lost faith in him rather quickly.
I had made up my mind. It was time to leave the firm and find a place that would permit me to manage my own accounts. I wanted to fulfill my end of the bargain, however, and open up 25 accounts promised to my broker. I looked at it as a learning experience. If I could open up 10 accounts, I could open up 100. I worked frantically, from 8am until midnight, almost every single night. I didn’t have any cold callers to feed me qualified leads, so I did it myself in the daytime and pitched accounts at night. My wife hated me, since I was never home to see her and our newborn. We nearly split up a dozen times, but held it together because we’re both traditional minded people.
One day my broker asked me to hang up the phone and to see him in his office. I was pissed off by this because I was in the middle of pitching a new account. When I got to his office, he was asking his office mates what they wanted from Starbucks, then proceeded to relay this dreadful message to me. Without a seconds delay, my response was “go f*ck yourself.” I told him “I don’t waste time fetching coffee for anyone. If you want coffee, you’re gonna have to get it yourself.”
Words cannot express how mad and slighted I felt at the time. I felt under-appreciated and humiliated. These traits were likely picked up from my pistol packing grandfather, who was known to pistol whip the other old men in the sitting area for looking at him funny.
The story continues, as I am not dead just yet.
In a brokerage firm there is a hierarchy. There is the boss, partners, senior brokers, junior brokers, account openers and the lowly cold callers. The cold callers work for the account openers, who work for the senior brokers. The junior brokers, generally speaking, are new and without coin. Therefore, they are pikers and cannot afford to staff up.
When I was a cold caller, I got paid $190 per week, working for the biggest broker at the firm, who employed an army of 6 account openers, a dedicated secretary, and about 10 cold callers. Typically, account openers were paid the princely sum of $400-500 per week. It was a machine. The cold callers got around 5-10 leads per day, which was then passed onto the account openers, who’d open 1 out of every 10 leads. After the account was opened, the senior broker would “second trade” the new account and try to raise big money. In the event the new account was a dead end, he’d send the account to junior broker to work, splitting the commissions 50/50.
In the brokerage business, time is money and senior brokers don’t have time to waste on clients who are small or unwillingly to gamble recklessly with his life savings.
This firm that I worked for was the Godfather of high sales tactic mentoring for young aspiring brokers out of college. It was a place that can never be duplicated, because it was the thing of legend.
The firm was situated so that every broker, big and small, was in the boardroom. There were no corners or cubicles. It was like a giant airplane hanger with men smiling and dialing, pitching people so that they could meet their monthly lease payments. There was about 100 brokers, 50-75 account openers and another 100 cold callers, all in one giant room. Only management had offices–but they were rarely in them– since they’d prefer to police the floor for brokers violating rules, such as looking at charts or not dialing for a period longer than 1 minute. EVERYONE was pitching, non-stop, from morning to night.
You had one job to do at this firm and that was to sell. We were told, ad nauseum “we’re not fund managers here. We are here to sell stock. That’s it.”
Morning meetings started at 8 am sharp. If you were a broker and walked in late, while one of the partners was giving a speech (always by way of microphone, at a podium), you were fined $1,000. If you were a lowly cold caller or account opener, more often than not, you were fired for such an offense. I recall getting off the train at 7:58, knowing that I wouldn’t make it in on time and resolving such a crisis by hopping back on the train and calling in sick. It’s also worth noting that this firm practiced Darwinism with regards to the amount of chairs/desks available in the cold caller pits. There was always 5-10 less chairs/desks available than actual employees. Those who didn’t have a chair were tardier than the others– and was sent home without pay.
If you were still on the phone as the meeting began, your phone call was put on the speaker system for everyone to hear. Everything you said was critiqued by just about everyone, especially the bosses. The top partner, who gave the morning and evening meetings, would often walk over to the person who was pitching and feed him lines. If that didn’t work, sometimes he’d take the phone from him and convince the guy on the other end of the phone to buy stock. Like I said, it was surreal.
After the meetings, it was time to get to work. Being a lowly, unlicensed cold caller, I was not permitted to solicit stocks. My job was to call as many people as I could, from leads provided to me by my senior broker, and qualify them. Some brokers are more lenient than others in this regard. But my broker insisted that a qualified lead meant the gent had to have 500k+ in the market, did business with more than one firm, and was receptive to doing business over the phone. You had to find out at least one stock that he owned and what firms he did business with. It was imperative that this information be credible, else the account opener would look stupid and lose the initiative when making a sales call.
Generally speaking, an account opener would call a “new lead” after literature was mailed out and introduce himself by saying “you spoke to an associate of mine and you said you owned 5,000 shares of GE with Piper Jaffrey, is that still the case?” Now if the information wasn’t accurate and the “lead” said “no I don’t know what you’re talking about”– the account opener would have to re-qualify that lead, which pretty much meant the sale was dead.
Cold callers were under intense pressure to get leads. During lunch, senior brokers would visit our confines to “skill mill.” Essentially, he’d teach us how to talk to people with money and test us by randomly picking on one of us to pitch him. You had to get up in front of 100+ cold callers and qualify the senior broker, who, more often than not, was completely irrational–just to make life hard for whoever was pitching him. We did this three times per day, morning, lunch and after the close.
If you didn’t get 5-10 leads per day, you were not going to earn the right to study for your series 7 and start making the real money. And, you’d probably get fired. Most cold callers were miscreants of the first order, totally devoid of honor and integrity. They’d simply make up stuff, write it on an index card, and hand it in. They hoped to guess right, putting popular stocks like Lucent and Microsoft on the lead, but it backfired very, very often.
If your lead was bad, it was called “wood.” If you gave your account opener a wood lead, he’d walk over to you, rip it up and throw it in your face. If you did it again, you were fired.
I made it a point to never lie about the leads that I got. I took pride in my leads and worked until midnight, if need be, to get 10 leads per day. No one worked longer hours than me because no one was as hungry as me, living in a basement apartment in Brooklyn with my wife and new born son. My family didn’t have money, since my Grandfather decided it was a good idea to burn his furniture stores down, as some sort of idiotic insurance racket. Shortly thereafter, he lost his vision and was unable to work. Karma can bite hard sometimes.
So I had no choice but to bank coin, else I’d end up being a loser and that was not part of my gameplan.
After nine months of working at this stock broker pressure cooker, I was granted the right to study for my series 7. It was a major accomplishment. I had to pitch the CEO of the firm for such a privilege. Things were going well and I knew it was only a matter of time before I too would be making 200k per month. I knew how to sell and that was all that mattered, at least that’s what I thought at the time.
Then one day a junior rep, who looked like a leprechaun, walked over to my cold caller desk, ripped up a lead and threw it in my face. He said “stop writing wood” and walked away. Back then I had a very bad temper, being that I felt the world was always working against me. So I got up, walked over to my senior broker, who I respected immensely, and quit. He called me that evening in an attempt to get me back, but I was gone. I couldn’t go back to that place after being insulted–a small pet peeve of mine picked up by my Italian Grandfather who fancied arson to get ahead in life.
By the end of that week, I had a new gig at a much smaller firm, working for a much smaller broker, who once tried to order me to get him coffee. That didn’t work out well for him.
To be continued.
I had just started iBankCoin 2 months prior to the meltdown. You can say iBC was born in the fires of the country, as its financial apparatus crumbled to a cinder. My business was humming along, but I suffered egregious losses towards the end of 2007. If you recall, the market soared to new highs after the Bear Sterns scare in the summer of 2007. I remember being in Lake George, NY–watching the carnage from a low speed internet connection. I even blogged about it, something to do with Important Matters of Mountain Vacations or something.
I knew, with every fabric of my being that the market was in serious risk of going lower. For awhile, I played the game and traded the long side, just to keep my ax sharp and my knife bloody. Moreover, the general consensus of all tabbed bloggers was for a lower, much lower, stocked market. I believe I penned my first bearish piece on 8/14, following Cramer’s retard attack on CNBC.
So I had these big short positions in December of 2007 and I was down large. The odd part about those underwater double inverse (triple inverse wasn’t invented yet) positions was that I didn’t have a care in the world about them. I had conviction.
January of ’08 came and hit the market like a bag of rocks upon the heads of disabled old men in wheeled chairs. I cleaned house. I was on my way to making a fortune.
I’m not sure if you know it or not, but Cronkite (the news guy on iBC) and I used to work together. Despite his interests in space rockets and Kennedy conspiracy theories, he has a really good grasp on the general market trends. We’d go over the internals every morning and afternoon, almost in shock by the absoluteness of the decline. But we’re both gentlemen of the first order and always maintained a certain cool demeanor through it all–naturally. I recall the market crashing, literally, and at the same time feeling depressed about the turn of events, despite being 250% short (leverage). I was thinking ahead and felt that the money I was earning by betting against banks and everything else was going to be pointless. It was to be a giant exercise in futility if our way of life collapsed. Clients would lose their jobs and take all of their money back, providing the dollar was still relevant.
Cronkite and I would marvel at blue chip stocks trading in the low single digits, saying “this has to be a bottom or else we’re all going to die.” It felt like the end, especially at the bottom.
Food wasn’t going to be delivered because credit was on the verge of being a thing of the past–vapor lock. I showed a much more jovial face to the public, on iBankCoin, bragging about killing people on my way to work and snatching the purses from old ladies who were trying to cash their social security checks.
It was a dark time for the world and I profited from it. My book of business went to new highs. I stopped accepting new clients and told my small ones “to go play with a bag of marbles” and to leave me alone or else I’d kill them. I had work to do and it had to be done.
Then the government started to intervene, which made shorting stocks very, very dangerous. One day they banned all short selling in banks, because they could, which completely screwed over the inverse ETF racket. That same day, the market was down huge and SKF down 20% too. Go figure. There was a liquidity crunch in the ETF because it was illegal to short. People got mugged that day.
CNBC served as a propagandist network, on behalf of the federal government. They’d leak information to Charlie Gasparino, who’d time his rumor mongering at 3:30, just to cause a squeeze in the markets. It worked every single time and it was never fair.
It went something like this (no large marge).
The market once soared by over 900 points (that’s 11%!) on news that the government would bail everyone out. It was impossible to short the market, which is why the market bottomed out and went speed chopping carrots with balls on the table to the upside in 2009.
iBankCoin took off. Readers all made a King’s ransom and we all lived happily ever after–at least most of us did.
Sometimes I am grateful for the manipulation in the market (sometimes). I’d much rather stay my execution, than suffer from the firing squad now.
Long live Benjamin Bernanke.
The city square was buzzing with onlookers, as the dick-guillotines were dragged and pushed to the center of the city. One by one, short sellers of all kinds were rounded up by law abiding citizens and placed inside of ‘penis liberators’, all the while the good tax payers of the city threw cabbage, garbage and bales of hay at the accused.
I sat there with pen and pad, and nothing more than a cup of tea to keep me warm. The weather was furious, well below negative 40 degrees fahrenheit–but the crowd of city tax payers and members of the great working class union behaved with the same zeal as a vacationing pleb somewhere in the tropic of capricorn. It was mandated long ago by our leader, Benjamin Bernanke, that ‘any and all short sellers shall be castrated and pushed from fertile lands, outcasted by society and labeled pariah by all who are good and just.’
NOTE: A portrait of the days events can be seen here.
Top picks: JRCC, EXK, HMC
I tend to obsess over things, micro-manager extraordinaire. Last night I lamented over my stupid fucking broken Macbook Pro, because “it’s brand new” and “I was so careful with it.” Bad things happen to good people all the time, total randomness, unpredictable ‘black swan’ events. I know a person who owns a fairly large natural gas business in New Mexico. He is my age, making millions per annum. Fifteen years ago he was living in his car, destitute and without coin. Then the natural gas boom came and he got ‘rich as fuck.’
From 2002-2007, he bought 10 homes, mostly for rental income. He took the rest of his savings and put it in stocks. He entrusted me with a very small amount of money, reserving the lionshare of his $3 million for his own caprices. He started to buy some penny stock, not because he had an edge, but because it was going down. I promised him he’d go ‘back to the car’ if he continued his reckless investment philosophy. We’d talk for hours. I’d chastise him, continuously, for his behavior. With 5 kids, you’d think he’d treat his money more carefully.
The natural gas boom ended, with the collapse of prices. His account fell 100%, losing it all in a penny stock scam. One stock, one bullet, and his investment career died.
The market can provide you with an incredible amount of wealth– and by extension happiness. But it’s gambling. Don’t think it isn’t–because it is. Control your inhibitions and never ‘go back to the car.’
Top pick: VHC
So there I was, minding my own business, merrily picking away at the rock in search of coal when two men, one French (credit agricole) and the other Japanese (nomura), came up to me and said “your mine sucks dick, hahahahah.” Well, you could imagine how’d that make me feel, darn foreign varmints getting in the way of a little coal production. In these parts, significantly less will get you shot in the face, with a sawed off 12-gauge.
Anyway, I told those two gents (heavy appalachian accent) “why don’t ya’ll get the hell out of here before I hit you with this pick ax. I don’t want no trouble; but if you want some, I got it. Plus anyway, we don’t take too kindly to your type around these parts (spits chewing tobacco onto the ground)”
The two gents said to me “we are downgrading your mine. We don’t think it’s worth as much as people think.”
Aside from not knowing what in the hell they was talkin’ about, I didn’t take to that tone very kindly. The nerve of these two celestials telling me what my business was or is worth. I done had enough of them and asked them boys to kindly leave.
The French fellow said to me “oh yeah, Monsieur, tell your friends down the block we are downgrading them too. We don’t think their coal mines are worth as much as people think either.”
By that time I had enough. I hit the two invaders with my handy union pacific railroad pick ax and buried them in my backyard. It makes for good fertilizer. Just last week a good friend of mine said there was a guy from New York, some yankee fellow, who told him the same thing! I’m not too sure what’s left of him. But I know Arch isn’t exactly the type you start trouble with, if you get my drift.
In 50 years from now young children will run up to me asking “good Sir, how did you make such an immense fortune? How were you able to amass such wealth in your lifetime?”
With top hat and cane in hand, whilst smoking on my pipe, I will tell these chaps the following.
“Back in the summer of 2012, see, I was losing money in VXX for the 4th time in so many years. I was obsessed, mind you (puffs on pipe), with it because it had taxed me for millions of dollars and I wanted revenge. It would torment me, see, on down days, as well as up, okay? I’d cry foul and wave my tightly clenched fists in the air, demanding the CEO of VXX, or whoever the fuck made it, was thrown inside of a prison cell, shared by a famished crocodile. I’d go on the internets and lament over my losses, all the while offsetting them with unprecedented winshippery in other venues of course. I was a man with numerous financial interests, always keen to smell out the next hot stock or future insolvency (vigorously puffs on pipe).
Then it hit me. I had a vision that I’d end up being a very powerful and rich man. I had to put this vision into action, and do so at once (puts pipe down on world map). I’d be able to own islands and drown Bentleys into carp infested lakes, that I own. I would own aircraft carriers, accompanied by attack submarines, armed with lasers. The works.
(the children will interrupt to ask: good Sir, please, I beg of you, tell us what you did”?)
Very well, listen to me very quietly (picks up pipe and smokes it intently): this is what I did.
Every morning, during my ritualistic cup of Early Gray tea (honey with milk, never sugar), I’d open the portal to my brokerage account– and when the market opened– I’d sell short shares of VXX. I did this every day until I was 47.5 years old and made billions of dollars doing it. That, small plebs from the sewer pipe, is how “The Fly” made the fortune that you see so gallantly and deliciously displayed before your eyes (no homo) today.
The allure of extravagant price runs to the upside persists, as shit floats to the top–led by the likes of GMCR and FSLR. I regret not buying into YELP’s earnings, as planned. But then again, my average sale price is still $2.5 higher, even after today’s banana run.
The market was supposed to crater today because the ECB failed to act. However, buyers are stepping in, propping up garabgio, climbing the great wall of worry.
Nevertheless, I want you to focus on the bigger picture. TLT is still higher and the Dow is off by 40.
Make believe the market is a giant mouse-trap and you are a mouse. The cheese smells very nice and other mice are noshing on it. You want to run on over to take a nibble, before all of the cheese is gone. The other bastard mice are getting fat from the cheese, hamming it up, having a grande old time as you watch in agony. If you are patient, however, you will get to see all of the other mice decapitated by the arm of the snare. There will be blood everywhere, engrossing all of the cheese, making it inedible for those who are made from a weaker constitution.
I will have you know, “The Fly” intends to pick up the pieces of cheese, left behind by the dead mice, and eat it–blood and all. I understand the blood makes it rather delicious, almost like a beurre blanc sauce atop of grilled shark.