Dream of: 19 January 1998 "Has And Hos"

The walls and ceiling of the room were painted white, lending to the bright atmosphere. Perhaps 30 people were seated in student desks lined in rows, in the fashion of a typical classroom. I was still standing, uncertain of myself, not recognizing anyone here. I only knew these people were interested in the stock market and they gathered regularly to discuss stocks in general and which stocks in particular were good buys. Although I had been aware of the group's existence for quite some time, I had never joined them, primarily because in general I avoided joining any kind of groups or organizations. But finally I had capitulated and decided to see what these people were like.

Scanning the room, I noticed one other fellow hadn't yet taken a seat. He was only a few steps from me, and when I looked at him more closely, I realized he was Bill Gates. Dressed in a casual brown shirt and brown pants, he looked not more than 30 years old and was staring right at me with a big smile on his face. I was quite surprised to see him here — certainly the richest man in the world didn't need to be in a place like this. As he started to move in my direction, I recalled that I had previously met him, and was on a friendly basis with him. But I didn't anticipate the way he effusively greeted me, as if we were long-time friends. Maintaining his broad smile, he walked up to me, wrapped his arms around me, and held me tight.

I was somewhat flattered. I thought all the other people in the room would surely be impressed to see that I was on such good terms with Bill Gates. Surely everyone would now want to know who I was. But I was also a bit concerned that the others in the room might think that my relationship with Gates was a bit too intimate. He was pressed up against me so close, I could feel the bulge in his pants between his legs. I felt acutely uncomfortable being so close to him, but since he didn't seem to want to disengage, we continued to hug each other in front of everybody in the middle of the room.

Since Gates was being so friendly, it occurred to me that I might be able to make good use of this opportunity. With my mouth close to his ear, speaking low so no one else could hear, I asked him if he had any tips he could give me about which stocks I should buy. I figured that his company, Microsoft, was constantly involved in deals with other companies, deals which caused the price of the stocks of the other companies to go up. If I simply had the names of the other companies, I could possibly make a killing.

Without hesitation, Gates began rattling off the stock symbols of several companies – I counted five. I concentrated as hard as I could, trying to memorize the letters. One was "INTIS." I knew the letters were going to be difficult to remember, and that I should pick up a book and write the names down inside the cover. But I thought I probably should not do that; if Gates was giving me insider information, such information was highly illegal. If I wrote the letters down, my writing might be later used against me in a criminal prosecution. I would just have to do the best I could to memorize the letters.

Gates continued speaking, and rapped out the stock symbols of three more companies. The last two were "HAS" and "HOS." I had never heard of any of the companies. With Gates still pressed up next to me, I again whispered to him, asking him if he was giving me the names of these companies based on insider information, or whether he was just suggesting the companies because he thought they were good companies. The difference was critical; insider information would be illegal, but would be extremely valuable. However if Gates were simply suggesting the companies because he thought they were good companies, the information wouldn't be illegal, but would be of little valuable.

Gates backed away from me with a wry smile on his face. He didn't say anything, but it was clear that he wasn't going to answer my question – he wasn't going to commit himself to say whether he was giving me insider information or not. I wasn't going to be able to question him further. Someone called him from across the room and he turned to leave. Obviously he was an extremely busy man, and now he needed to turn his attention to other affairs. As he walked away, I reflected that I might never have such an opportunity to speak with him again.

***

The meeting had ended and most of the people in the room had departed. However, several people had gathered around the chair where I was sitting, apparently wanting to know more about me. They sat down near me and asked a few questions about my involvement with the stock market. I protested that I actually knew little about the stock market, and that I wasn't a long-time investor. I explained that I generally only bought and sold on a short-term basis. It was my usual tactic to become familiar with a stock by watching carefully the movements in price. When I saw an opportunity to buy at a good price, I would do so, and then sell the stock as soon as I could. However, as I explained, I hadn't been terribly successful. Over the entire course of my buying and selling stock, I had only managed to break even.

Thus I was interested in knowing more of the methods which these people used for picking stocks. I was under the impression that they were all long-term investors, and that they had been rather successful with a portfolio of about 20 stocks. I thought I would like to know more about those particular stocks.

***

I awoke and realized I had spent the night in a back room of the building where the stock-group had met. In the course of the night, I had listened to some cassette tapes which were scattered all around me. I busied myself with picking up the tapes and putting them back where they belonged. I didn't want anyone to know that I had stayed in the room, and I simply wanted to put things back in order and leave as quietly as possible.

Once the tapes were in order, I slipped out the door back into the room where the group had been gathered the day before. No one was in the room, but a television was turned on to the financial channel. I noticed that the stock ticker on the screen showed that the S&P futures index was minus over 2,000 points. Such a figure was shocking. Normally the S&P futures index didn't go down by more than five or ten points. Two thousand points was unheard of. But finally I realized it was Saturday and that the ticker was obviously registering a wrong number. Besides, the S&P stock index was only around 1,000 points — it couldn't possibly go down 2,000.

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