THE BUTTON FACTORY – PART 2

Irene, Iowa – Stocks & The Election

Charlie’s Bar is a medium-size pub in Irene, Iowa.  It has been a fixture in Irene for thirty years.  Its rooms have held receptions, weddings, parties, a few illegal dance parties, and bachelor and bachelorette parties.  Tonight, it is allowing an investment club to use one of its rooms for their meeting.  Enjoy Stocks and The Election. 

CHARLIE’S BAR WAS PACKED.  Patrons could barely turn around without bumping into one another.  A few disagreements broke out when someone bumped into another too hard.  A challenge was often issued by one of the individuals.  Charlie’s Bar Traditions settled the dispute.  The person accepting the challenge would choose their method of response.  The methods of response could be arm wrestling, drinking one mug of beer the fastest, or a game of darts.  The loser buys the winner three beers or a burger of the winner’s choice.  Several patrons were seen settling their disputes.  A crowd would be cheering for one or the other. 

Inside the far room where Charlie’s Bar held parties and special gatherings was a group of people.  The group’s name was Charlie’s Stock Pickers.  The name did not totally fit the group.  Yes, they talked about and picked stocks.  But they drank and yelled about things that had nothing to do with stocks.  Sometimes they got so far off message half of the group walked out.  But sometimes they managed to pick a good stock.  Many of Charlie’s patrons said the group just got lucky from time to time.  But Bob Kilroy disagreed.

Bob was forty-two.  He was in the back room, standing on a stool and yelling about Apple’s sales.  He was rugged looking.  But people said he had the mind of a professor.  He fished in almost any kind of weather and anywhere there were fish.  He camped in remote areas.  His wife and children worried about him being in those places alone.  Bob joked that fishing was his job.  Being a machinist for The Button Factory was his hobby. 

“I’m telling you the damn analysts are wrong!” Bob yelled above the group’s talking.

“Excuse me, guys and girls,” Loll, Charlie’s Night manager interrupted them.  “Listen!  Listen!  You can’t yell like you’re doing.  We don’t have the door back on the room yet.  Until we do, don’t be yelling.  You’re a damn investment club.  Not cage fighters.  Keep it down.  Or you can’t use the room anymore.”  He left.      

A few people yelled to the others to stop talking and let Bob finish.  Most of the chatter and loud talking stopped.  Some people were saying how smart Bob was and how much money he made on Apple’s stock so far.  Someone yelled to Bob, “How did you double your money so fast in Apple?  That stock just took off.  Did you have some inside information?”

“It was the damn Federal Reserve Chairman, Powell,” Bob said.  “I told you guys Apple was worth four hundred dollars.  I did the math.  I keep telling you I use that formula that Warren Buffett uses.  You know the one.  Try and value a company using its owners’ earnings.  It’s in the book that most of you refuse to read.  I gave most of you copies.  But you want to make money fast by not doing the work.  I bought that stock at two hundred and fifty.  I bought it too high.  I should have bought it at two-hundred.  But when old Powell pumped all that money in the market, and the interest rates went to zero, I rode the wave.  I told you to buy it.  But no.  You wouldn’t listen.  Because you didn’t do your homework.  So you missed out.  That’s how I doubled my money.”

“You got lucky,” Sara Poker said.  She emptied the rest of her beer from the mug into her mouth.  Her cheeks were puffy and red.  She blamed it on Rosacea.  Most people said she had a drinking problem.  “Everyone knows that by the time we find the stock to invest in, all the news is already out about it.  And we’re Johnny Come Lately.”

“For all the drunk people and lazy people, I suggest you follow Sara,” Bob said.  “For all those who want to make some money by using your brains.  I have one word, banks.  And this time, pay attention!”

“Joe Biden is going to kill the banks if he wins,” someone yelled out.

“He’s from a banking state, you idiot,” Bob said.

“Screw you, Bob!”  Dale yelled.

The people from Irene, Iowa are just like us.    

I’ll see you next time with another part.

Please leave a comment.

Take care,

Stephen Wallace


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