The markets are bullish, Bloomberg reports at the crack of dawn. We’re the only ones awake at this time, and we know. We made the markets bullish.
Our apartments are tiny. We tiptoe around, getting ready for work, so we don’t wake our fast asleep partners and fast asleep kids. How we long to sleep in, hibernate even, but our bullpens await, and we must show up. Or else, the whips will come cracking down on our backs and the Bears upstairs will pull us by the nose rings they made us wear on orientation day.
Because the markets must stay bullish, we wear our yokes and go round and round, getting our bosses’ coffees and steak lunches, managing their calendars, and ruthlessly guarding their time with all of ours, until the crushers pull oil out of our tired bones.
We eat at our desks–cold sandwiches from the cafeteria, we guzzle coffee at our desks, and sometimes we doze off at our desks dreaming of fresh salmon, the quiet of the wilderness, sweet honeycombs, and sleep, sleep, and more sleep.
But right now, it’s a bull market, so we keep our heads, our horns down. Our dreams of salmon and honey can wait–we think about promotions and rewards.We need to play our cards right–then maybe we’ll be able to rent or even buy a bigger house, maybe in Manhattan, where we’ll raise a perfect family, with perfect kids, who’d go to perfect private schools. We’ll take vacations, maybe that’ll fix our fraying marriages, and we’ll be present–first row–at every school event.
So we go back to “providing invaluable support” (quoted from our performance appraisals every year) for our bosses who buy and sell securities–security, for their clients, even as whispers of a recession and maybe mass layoffs flit around us.
Our promotions don’t come. We have to pay “a nominal amount” for the cafeteria food, but hey, the vending machine snacks are free, HR says. We do without bonuses again. It’s “just this year” every year. We know the Bears upstairs get it all, but it’s okay, it’s okay.
We bulls are nothing if not patient. Someday we will be the Bears upstairs. Someday our futures will be bullish.
Until then, we see no red. We bulls are color-blind anyway.
Hema Nataraju is an Indian-American writer and mom, currently based in Singapore. Her work has most recently appeared in Booth, Wigleaf, 100-word Story, Ruby Literary, and Nurture Literary, among others. One of her flash pieces made it to the 2022 Wigleaf Top 50 longlist. She is a Submissions Editor at Smokelong Quarterly and tweets as m_ixedbag.