How to Lose it All in the Stock Market (And Why I No Longer Care)
I sigh softly, fumbling around my pocket for the key to my neohome. Inside, I can hear that my Neopets already home and playing with their Scourge of the Lab Jellies Home Version. I smile slightly to myself, pulling out a key, and frown again as it doesn’t fit the lock. I continue looking for the right key, standing in the cold for several more minutes before finally opening the door. “I’m hooooome!”
My Neopets look up as I walk in, each smiling and waving hello before turning back to their game. I walk over and sit on the couch behind them, emptying my Reusable Altador Cup Grocery Bag onto the couch beside me, revealing a small gift for each of them. I wait patiently for their attention and watch as they play.
When the game is finished, they turn and look to see what I’ve brought them. For Michael and Kehtry, I’ve brought them a Spotted Mynci Backpack and Mootix Backpack, respectively; they’ll be leaving for boarding school in Terror Mountain tomorrow, and of course I want them to be prepared. For Febow, the baby, who is too young to attend boarding school, I’ve brought a Cuddly Yoyo for his collection. They each accept their gift gratefully, and the two older Neopets return to their bedrooms to fill their backpacks with their school supplies.
Febow, on the other hand, plays with the yoyo off to the side, testing its spin, the strength of the string, and a host of other qualities he has trained himself to identify in a yoyo. After a moment, he looks up at me. “Thanks, Mum!” He smiles brightly, walking back to his own bedroom to place it with the rest of his collection.
I smile, watching as he walks away, then walk quickly to my own bedroom. I sit on my bed and turn my attention to my Calendar Planner, which is sitting on the end table. I flip through it to Febow’s birthday---only a few days away. I already know what I’m going to get him: a Gold Shoyru Yoyo, one he’s been looking at for quite some time but could never save the four hundred thousand neopoints for on his own. I close my Planner, thinking about work: the Stock Market has been going my way lately; all I need to do is sell, and I’ll have more than enough for the yoyo, with thousands left over. I sigh contently, lying back on my bed, smiling to myself and thinking about the look on Febow’s face when he’ll open his gift.
When I wake up the next morning, Kehtry and Michael are already awake and getting ready to leave. I quickly make them breakfast before seeing them off, then turn to Febow, who was clutching a yoyo and waving goodbye with his free paw. “Well, at least you’re still here,” I say, half-joking. “I don’t know what I’d do if I came home to an empty neohome every day.”
Febow chuckled, then walked back inside, playing with the yoyo. I wait for the neositter to arrive before leaving for work, humming brightly to myself as I walk down the street to the Stock Market headquarters.
I wave slightly to Marie, Nigel’s secretary, as I approach her desk for my portfolio, as well as a list of current stock prices and news stories that have to do with or possibly affect the stock market. “Good morning, Ameda.” She smiles as she hands me the stack of folders. “How are the Neopets? I hear the older two are off to school soon.”
“They just left this morning.” I nod my thanks. “Febow’s birthday is coming up soon, too. Tomorrow, actually.”
“Dear Queen Fyora in Faerieland!” The Mynci clasps her paws together. “They’re all getting so big!”
“Aren’t they, though?” I smile, walking back toward my cubicle to look over what I had just been given.
Spreading out the papers on my desk, I quickly scan my own portfolio before scanning current stock prices for all companies. I am about to turn to the news stories when something---or rather, the lack of something---catches my eye. One of my main investments isn’t mentioned on the list of current stock prices. I look the list over again, closer this time, to see if I had missed it. No, it still isn’t there. “This must be a mistake....” I shake my head, looking over my portfolio again to make sure I hadn’t imagined the company. There it is. I sigh impatiently. Nigel must have make a mistake. That Chia would forget his head if it weren’t firmly attached to his shoulders.
I stand, walking nonchalantly back to Marie, and wait patiently for her to finish writing a neomail before asking her about it. She takes the lists from me and looks them over briefly, before handing them back and shaking her head. “It’s no mistake, Ameda.” She frowns. “Didn’t you see the article? That company went bankrupt.”
“What?” I snatch the lists back, looking them over. “You’re playing with me, you have to be!”
“I wouldn’t play about that.” Marie shakes her head again.
“I had two million neopoints invested in that company!” I can’t help but raise my voice. “Where’s Nigel? I want to talk to him!”
“He’s in a meeting right now---” Marie stands to hold me back as I start charging toward Nigel’s office door. “I know you’re upset, but it isn’t his fault. Besides, didn’t I tell you to spread your neopoints more?”
I’m too angry to listen to her. Before I can stop myself, I push violently past her and rush Nigel’s office, nearly breaking the door off its hinges. Nigel looks up from the presentation he is giving, shocked. Four other important-looking Neopets turn around to look as well. “What is it?” he demands, infuriated. “Where is Marie?”
I open my mouth to begin my angry rant, but before I get the chance, Marie hurries in and clasps her paw over my mouth to keep me quiet. She pulls me back out of the office, apologising several times to Nigel as she does so. After we are a good twenty feet away from the office door, Marie releases me. “Look, Ameda, I know you’re upset.” She places a sympathetic paw on my shoulder. “I understand where you’re coming from. You have your expenses, and two million neopoints is nothing to snuff a candle at. But it’s the nature of the Stock Market---companies are created, companies go bankrupt. It’s just the way of things. You knew that coming in---I know you weren’t expecting it to happen, but you knew it coming into this that there was always the possibility of losing neopoints. But now you know for next time: don’t invest so much in one company. Perhaps listen to Marie when she tells you to spread your neopoints out a bit more. But there’s nothing you can do about it now, I promise you that. Just accept the loss and move on.”
I sigh, shaking my head, still enraged. “It’s not that easy....”
“I understand.” Marie sighed sadly. “Look, why don’t you take the rest of the day off? Spend some time with Febow. I’m sure he’ll appreciate it, and it’ll help get your mind off of this.”
Not knowing what else to do, I nod, and trudge slowly toward the door. What am I going to do? Febow’s birthday is tomorrow, and I’m short two million neopoints. There is absolutely no way I’ll be able to come up with enough for the Gold Shoyru Yoyo now. As I walk slowly home, trying desperately to think of what to do now, I can’t help but think of the look on Febow’s face that I had imagined last night, which, of course, doesn’t help me at all. It simply makes me want to cry at the disappointment of not seeing the face actually happen.
I look up, feeling a raindrop on my forehead, and frowned as a million raindrops followed it. “Of course it would start pouring,” I mutter as I trudge on. “Why wouldn’t it?”
As I reach home, I fumble in my bag for the key. I try one, then a second, then a third, none of them fitting. Finally, with the fourth key, I push the door open, dripping onto the wooden hallway floor.
Febow and the neositter both look up from the Destruct-O-Match Chess Game. “You’re home early.” The neositter stands, waiting patiently.
“Rough day,” I mumble, handing her two thousand neopoints for watching Febow. “It wasn’t my idea to leave early.”
“It’s all good.” She shrugs, accepting the payment, and rushes out into the rain.
I look over at Febow, who stands and hugs me, delighted. Then he pulled away and frowned. “I broke my yoyo today,” he said sadly, looking over to the two pieces of plastic and pile of string laying together on the floor.
I frown with him, and pick up the broken yoyo, looking it over briefly. Just a plain yoyo, nothing special about it; it was one of his favourites nonetheless, simply because it was his first. “Well,” I say, taking a small breath, “let’s see about fixing it, then.”
I bring the yoyo into the kitchen, with Febow following faithfully behind. He looks over my shoulder as I dab a small amount of paste onto the plastic, and press the two pieces together, making sure they are even with each other. When the paste is dried enough, I loop the string around itself and restring the yoyo. When I am confident that it won’t fall apart again, I try the yoyo to make sure it works properly, and hand it back to Febow. “There,” I say with a slight smile. “Good as new.”
Febow looks down at the yoyo in his paws, and tries it out for himself. After a moment, he looks up at me, smiling gratefully. “Thanks, Mum!”
There is something about the look on his face as he turns and walks out of the kitchen, playing with the yoyo. He’s smiling much wider than usual, unlike any smile I’ve seen from him before. His eyes are lit up much lighter than usual, and his excitement with the yoyo is greater than I’ve ever seen before. It makes me smile to see him; and I smile even wider as I realise how much his reaction resembles the one I had imagined last night, the reaction when he would see the Gold Shoyru Yoyo.
I can’t help but chuckle slightly to myself as I follow him back into the next room, where he is setting up a new game on the Destruct-O-Match Chess Game. He looks up at me and invites me to play. I sit across from him, and make the first move.
He tilts his head at me. “Why are you so happy all of a sudden?”
“Hm?” I look up at him and shake my head, smiling. “Nothing. I’m just happy that you’re happy.”