“Did you hear that they’re they’re gonna kill off GameStop?” I asked the back of Brian’s gamer chair with lumbar support.
“Wha?” Brian said and turned to face me. “Who?”
“The big guys,” I said, “you know, the Wall Street types, they’re so fucking brutal.”
“Yeah,” Brian said, not sure what I was talking about but eager to agree.
“They’re gonna suck the value out and stick it in their own fat pockets,” I said.
“Stupid fuckers,” Brian said, still not over the finish line.
“I wonder,” I said, “what it’d take to make the price go up? That’d whip them. Kinda like a flash mob thing.”
Now that went home with Brian. He was obsessed with denial of service attacks and wouldn’t shut up about the ones he had taken part in, although his role had been nothing more than the flea on the back of the elephant yelling, “Hear how we’re stomping!”
“Let me ping Killer,” he said and turned again to let his fingers tap-tap across the keyboard with an elegance that seemed impossible for his frame. Killer was Brian’s biggest idol in the Reddit communities and I knew that Brian was onboard if he found it worthy of Killer’s attention.
Less than a minute later Brian announced,
“Okay, we’re gonna do it. We’re getting the betters ready on the hood. Killer says go-time in seven minutes. I’m gonna throw in the stash from Granny.”
Brian had inherited a little nest egg from his grandmother, who envisioned him turning into Charlie Sheen in the Wall Street movie. More like Charlie Brown Brian had kept the money under a virtual mattress safe from the deep state.
“Rad,” I said, “I wish I had something to float, but I’m down to my last fiver.”
“Bro,” Brian said, “I’ll source you a hundred, you can pay me back when this goes down.”
“You’ll be the first,” I said, but of course he wouldn’t.
Then the climb started. Buying and hitting friends up to get them to buy and hit friends up. I must admit that Killer was a better war general than I had expected. Whenever anyone hesitated and wanted to pull out, he talked them back in with an equal measure of sleaze and scorn. Higher and higher the price went. Brian was buzzing from excitement and caffeinated nerd drinks and stayed up for two days straight. On Thursday morning, when it seemed that both the bubble and Brian’s digestive system was about to self-combust, I said,
“Hey man, I’m just gonna step outside for a quick vape. BRB.”
“Sure thing,” Brian mumbled from so far within a chat about the likelihood of a discount when buying sex dolls in bulk that he didn’t notice I grabbed my backpack on the way out.
Up on the street, I pulled out my phone and started walking. At the end of the block, I had cashed in the thousand GameStop shares I had been nursing since the year before and deleted my user name on Reddit. Picaro2021 did not exist anymore.