"A Rogue Wave"  Swami's photo Jim Pidgeon

Tomorrow's Blues

By Thomas Takao

The story is based on a fictional what-if scenario,

and is not for financial or investment advice. 

 

A local surfer checking out the surf was blowing a bubble with his bubble gum before it popped. Sticking to his face and wiping it off, he is looking over the cliff and down below. Where the tide pools and a protruding sandstone slab where two people are walking along side of it. The couple are looking out at the surfers at Boneyards, then over to the crowd at Swamis. From the crowd a surfer having spent a few hours out in the water is walking up the access stairs from the beach to the parking lot. Ascending the stairs, he thinking about getting a new longboard that will take him to the next level in surfing. Five minutes later resting halfway up and looking back out.

He sees a rogue closeout wave catching quite a few people inside. Imagining if he had stayed out longer, he would be one of those guys out in the water sliding off and pushing his boards away from him. Being submerged before the white water rolled by and turning him into a rag doll underwater. Thinking that he was lucky, he continues up the stairs and reaches the parking lot. Laying his board down, he gets his car key from his wetsuit pocket, then opens the back door to the van, to get his board bag out. He put his surfboard inside of it and places it in the back of the van.

He grabs his gallon jug of warm water and pours it on his feet to wash away the sand, then onto his head and the rest of the body. Looking back at the waves and sees the guys catching waves as a few more surfers paddle out. A car pulls up and parks alongside the van. The guy gets out and looks at the waves and says "How was it out there." "Not bad, I had fun, It might be getting bigger" was his reply. The guy who pulled up gets a call on his cell phone. "Hello, yes, what, what do you mean. What the hell. Ok," the guy hangs up and turns to the guy drying off his head with a towel.

"What a day," the guy said after hanging up his cell phone and needs to talk to someone about what he was told. He wanted to share the message that he got. Looking at the guy next to him he continues "My friend says the stock market had just crashed. Now I have to take a running start and jump off the cliff. Just kidding, but I do need a stiff drink instead" he said. "There's a bar up the street, I think it's open," the guy said with the top half of his wetsuit off and is wrapping his towel around his waist to get his wetsuit off. He continued "Well there goes my new surfboard." "Do you have stocks?" asked the guy with the phone. "Yes I do, how bad was it?" said the guy with his wetsuit pulled down to his ankles. "It drop 85%," the guy said. After hearing that the guy got his boardshorts with his boxers inside of it, place one foot through, then the other and pulled it up and took off the towel and said "This is only the beginning if it is true. The repercussion of this is going to be huge" as he put on his T-shirt and sun glasses and stood for a moment letting what was mentioned sink in.

"Do you have stock?" the car guy asked. "Yes," the van guy said. "Well, it looks like a lot of people are up shit creek without a paddle, including me," the car guy said shaking his head sideways. "Is your friend sure about what he told you?" asked the van guy. "Yes, he is my stockbroker" answered the car guy. "Well, got to be going, I have a few things to take care of," the van guy said as he got into his van and waved before taking off.

Getting back to his house he goes in and gets online. What the guy at the beach told him was true. His wife comes into the room. "Morris the Stock Market has crashed. What are we going to do?" she asked. "Well Doris, the forecast for this to happen was supposed to be next year, but it looks like now, instead of later. They mentioned hyperinflation would be waiting for this moment and food is going to be expensive. if the dollar becomes weaker, it's a whole new ballgame" Morris said as he started writing down a list of things to do and looked up videos of the Great Depression on the computer.

Like a news bomb expanding outward in the community, the state, and the world financial center. The event would rock the mindset of everyone and word started to spread a depression was rearing its ugly head. There was a sense that the herd of news followers was in a panic and the merchants and suppliers began their moves of increasing prices on their inventory, putting a hold on orders, and reducie their labor force until they have a better picture of the economy and what might happen next.

Back at a surf shop a day later the salesperson is talking to a friend at the shop. "Traffic sure been slow," the salesman said. "What do you think Jake, scary times ahead?" Oliver said looking at a board on the rack. "Yeah, it looks like a huge road sign of a right foot on the brake pedal to the floor and no brake fluid is what I'm thinking," Jake said. "Well, got to be going" Oliver said as he left the surf shop. In his car, Oliver is calling his girlfriend to tell her about getting fast food instead of the restaurant they had planned on going to. Meanwhile, Jake gets home and is planning on going to the supermarket to store up on food and other items before the price continues to go up. So he drives over to the supermarket, once inside Jake is walking around with the shopping cart.


He passes a couple who was going to another area of the store with their cart and talking about what to get. "Do you think we need more coffee?" Morris said. "Yes, we only have one bag left," Doris answered as she looked at Jake who was looking at his list while pushing his cart. He sees refrig section of the store and picks up a couple packets of cold cuts, and places it in his cart as continues his search for the items on the list. At the same time he is thinking about other items not on the list and how much money he has on him. He doesn't want to use a credit card, knowing their interest rate would soon be going up. 

Oliver is driving over to his girlfriend's house when a homeless person crosses the street in front of him. He slows as he passes slowly. Oliver looks in his rearview mirror to see the person disappearing into the bushes. He wonders about him, if he is on drugs and the lifestyle that he is on. Oliver sees the fast-food restaurant and goes to the drive thru order lane and orders what he and his girlfriend wanted. Getting out the cash to pay the cashier, Oliver is also wondering when the cash he is paying with, will be taken off the table and only digital currency will be accepted. But for now he pulls a twenty and waits for his change and food.

The guy Morris was talking to at the beach is at home trying to buy precious metals and sees silver is unavailable. He then looks up gold and it's unavailable. He continues his searches on different websites and they were the same being sold out. Then he gets the idea of selling his house and moving out of the area. He looks up house prices and sees that the real estate prices in his area were dropping. With his glass of scotch next to him, he continues surfing the web for other possibilities he might do.

Out in the water at another location on the West Coast, a few surfers are out surfing their favorite beach break and are oblivious to what is happening around them until a few days later. By this time many start holding on to their money and become more reluctant to buy items that they can go without. The same with places they went to before like restaurants and movie theater were now at the back of the list. Foreign countries are suffering too and wanted nothing to do with the dollar and stop buying Treasuries. With that being done the flow of dollars came back to the US, causing more devaluation of it buying power and price increase of consumer goods.

Two surfers are paddling out at their local break and talking about the economy and what they have done and what they are going to do for the long run. "Have you geared up for the long haul Tony?" Steve asked. "I have to cut back on my inventory and get my cash out of the bank, except having enough to pay for my bills. Then if I have to, I will let my lease run out and move my business to Texas and start over" Tony said. "Why Texas?" Steve asked. "They seemed more in tune with the people and aren't in a hurry to tax the living daylights out me. There is talk about secession there and wanting to become their own republic, to govern their future if the current administration is flipping out and doing the opposite of they said they were going to do. Other states are watching and they too might do the same and who knows they could join Texas and become a larger new country" Tony replied.

A few miles from the beach in a small house and yard lived another person who surfed was feeling the affects of the crash, his name is Billy Joe. A typical guy with a few boards in the backyard shack, worked at 2 jobs, and going to school at night to get his certificate in computer drafting. His day job was at a local boatyard doing shipwright work and being a waiter at a restaurant on Friday and Saturday nights. Surfing on Sundays and holidays and saving up for a new computer. Billy Joe knew he missed his first chance of getting ahead when he dropped out of high school to surf and partying while doing odd and end jobs.

Now realizing he needed to work hard to make something of his life. He was saving up to upgrade his computer system with a newer one with more ram and to buy the cad software program to practice CAD work on. He was renting the house where he lived and shared rent with his girlfriend Bobbi Sue. She too had been laid off but will be supplemented by her parents who were employed. Her father worked for the state and her mother was a grade school teacher. Bobbi Sure was going to school to get her BS degree in literature and had another year left.

Like everyone else, the news of the Stock Market Crash and the depression that was occurring was on Billy Joe's plate. Being laid-off from the restaurant and boatyard, but only having a few weeks from receiving his certificate in computer drafting, was on his mind. Waiting to graduate from the course, he was waiting to send out his resume, Billy was anxious about his situation and knew he needed to get some sort of income coming in to make ends meet. He got a job as a day laborer through a temporary hiring office. Showing up and being assign to a company that needed help.

He worked 5 days a week and surfed on weekends and read up on different books that he bought at the book store, regarding the different commands and techniques to use for architectural and engineering purposes. This is the setting that Billy Joe and Bobbi Sue found themselves in. Bobbi Sue said to Billy Joe "We can work it out as a team." Billy Joe agreed and kept on keeping his composure under the duress of the coming depression. The story of Tomorrow's Blues has just begun and everyone in it felt uncertain of where they would be when the dust settled.

Out at Igor's

A few guys were out and Jake was walking up the beach with his 5' 10" Monster Mash to join them.
He notices someone he knew on a wave going left. He was climbing up the wave's face and cutting back down with his foam trail following him on the long wall. Paddling out and over to the guys at the takeoff spot, Jake sees Dave who caught the left before coming out and says "Hey Dave nice wave you caught." "What's up Jake, how're things at the shop?" Dave asked. "Real slow, Ryan had to let me go yesterday and he's thinking about closing the shop. Howzit at the factory?" Jake asked. "It's starting to slow as well, were finishing up on the orders that started a couple of weeks ago and just a few new orders lately, after that I'm not sure," Dave said.

"They say it's going to be hard times for everybody. I'm going to start looking around online for job openings" Jake said. "Did you hear about the 5 banks that closed recently in SD and the credit card companies are closing accounts to a lot of people?" Dave said. "No, I didn't hear about that" Jake said. Another guy sitting nearby was listening to their conversation and mentioned "The dollar is on its last leg and the Fed has painted itself into a corner. The more they print, the more the dollars becomes worthless" said the guy paddling backward on his board and continued "That's why the Bank of International Settlements has been saying there is going to be a Great Reset."

"What is the reset you are talking about?" Dave asked. "The reset is when they take the paper money out of the circulation and replace it with digital currency. Kinda like Bitcoin, but their digital currency will be controlled by the central banks and they will know everything about the transition, I mean everything. The amount, time, where, to whom and a few other bits of information from then on" said the guy looking out to the horizon. "How do you know about all this?" Jake asked. "I use to work at a bank but got laid off yesterday like you," he said. "What's your name?" "I'm Pete," Pete said. "I'm Dave and that is Jake," Dave said as Jake lifted his hand in as a friendly gesture.

"What I don't understand about this reset is the timing. The Fed and others have been printing like there is no tomorrow, which is why the economy is collapsing. It seems if they take paper money out of the system, a big mess will occur is what I'm thinking" Pete said seeing a wave coming towards them and starts paddling for it. Jake and Dave watch as Pete catches it and glides down to the bottom before going into his bottom turn back up the face of the wave and slaps the lip with half of his board out of the water. "The guy is pretty good," Dave said as they watch him disappear from their view and reappear further down the line.

Another wave started to peak and Jake paddled for it and Dave said: "Go Jake go." Dave caught the next wave and would ride past Pete and Jake as they were paddling back out. "What are you going to do as this economy collapses, Pete?" Jake asked. "I had some backup plans in place, just in case this scenario did happen. I started prepping by buying food that lasts for a while and had bottled water. I kept my expenses simple and my credit card debt to what I can pay for the following month" Pete said as Dave came paddling up. All three were talking about the situation and waited for waves during a long lull.

There was another person further out and missed the waves that had just happened. He looked like he was new to the area and paddled down the coast and soon went in. "What else, besides credit cards and keeping it simple?" Jake continued asking Pete. Putting his hands together and putting water into the chamber of his palms, he squeezes his hand and made a squirt gun, shooting off to the side. "I bought a small place in Puerto Rico and will be moving there soon, in between Crash Boat and Wilderness. I speak Spanish, so I lined up some interviews with some businesses when I get there" said Pete. "Right on," Jake said being somewhat envious of Pete's foresight and not knowing what he is going to do next.

Dave looked at Jake and knew he was in the same boat "Pete, I got some cash saved up, what should I do?" Dave asked. "If you haven't already done so, store up on food and water. I'm not a financial adviser so go online get as much info as you can. It's going to be difficult, you have to be ahead of the herd to get better deals at a reasonable price. But, that's not to say there isn't something out there that you might stumble across" Pete said.

Looking at Pete's board, Jake asks "Who shaped your board." "Oh, I had Clark shape it, It's a 6' 0" round pin, I like it," Pete said as another set was approaching. "I'm going in, nice talking with you guys," said Pete as he paddled over 5 yards and caught the wave in. "Pete sure knew what he was doing. I think I better get on the ball and get my ass in gear" Jake said to Dave. "I know what you mean, we are looking down the barrel and I don't mean a wave," Dave said as he and Jake would stay out unit it got dark.

Back at the surfboard factory most of the guys were going home and a few were having a beer to take the edge off of the day. "I don't know, next week is going to be slow," Al said as he took another drink of his beer. "How strange, a week ago I could care less about going anywhere. Now I have to figure how much gas I will need and to budget it into my driving schedule" Henry said as Will commented "I'll drink to that" as he grabbed another beer from the 12 pack. "Ok, got to be going," Henry said grabbing his beers in the paper bag and drove off thinking if he could barter his services to repair the leak in his neighbor’s roof that he was talking about the day before.

 

"TO THE STARS AND BEYOND" BUZ LIGHTYEAR

Printing Safari

"It doesn't matter until it matters," said a person in the mining business during a TV news interview. Jake oblivious to what is beyond his realm of Da, changes the channel. Those in the know are off in the distance watching Bitcoin blast off the launching pad. Being fueled by the suspicion of invocation of the dollar. With the mantra of look over here and not over there. The day of yup it does smell like it on the fan takes over the airways, with the monetary chairman having a hairstyle that looks like a question mark without a dot.

After the channel was changed, Jake is wondering about his situation. He is planning on moving back home in a week after his last month's rent is used up. Still looking for work online and waiting for his unemployment benefits to begin, Jake is starting to tighten his belt and wondering what to do next. He hasn't gone surfing in a few days and the refrigerator is growing lean. His cell phone rings and it is his mother. "Hi mom," said Jake. "Jake I talked to our neighbor about you doing his yard for cheaper than his current gardener. He said he wouldn't mind it. So go talk to him tomorrow and find out what you need to do" his mom said.

"Alright, I will see him tomorrow," Jake said as they continued talking about other things that were happening. On the other side of town, Morris is at work doing computer repairs at his shop. Billy Joe and Bobbi Sue come walking in with his computer. His hard drive had crashed and needed to get the data off of it. Morris quoted them a price to see if he can and copy it over to another drive or if he can't and they would have to pick it back up with the service charge. Billy Joe and Bobbi Sue took the receipt and ran, they saw a city parking control officer looking at his car being slightly parked in the red of the curb.

It was near closing time and Morris puts the computer on the incoming to-do shelf and looks online for surf conditions within his window of areas to go to. After viewing the locations and reports, he decides to go to the Reef. With a few guys out, he waxes up and paddles out for an hour. He forgets about his work the minute he starts paddling out. Doris was at her yoga class and was lying on her mat, switching back and forth about what to make for dinner and her next posture position. With their daily schedules being aligned, they both drive up to the garage at the same time with Doris being there first by 20 seconds.

Dave is at the factory finishing up on a few boards as evening turns to night. "See you tomorrow Henry, just have to fin and hot coat tormorrow," Dave said. "Ok, I have 4 boards to sand and will be locking up after that" Henry said as Wayne stopped by to drop off 3 boards to be glassed. "High Henry, Dave, I got 3 boards to be glassed. The glassing sheets have been filled out and pinned on the blanks for Larry to glass. I put them outside the glassing room. How are things here?" Wayne asked. "So, so kinda slowing down," Henry said as Dave waved and said "Got to be going" as he's slipped out the door.

Henry and Wayne talked about the waves and where they both surfed over the weekend and how they are keeping their heads above water. "Got to be going I'm having a get-together at my in-laws," Wayne said without being too specific as he left. Not wanting to be disturbed Henry locked the front door and went to work sanding away. A cloud of resin dust developed and was being sucked out by an exhaust fan into the dust closet.

Pulling the trigger of his sander as he lands the spinning pad for a moment on the bottom of the board before taking off and doing it again a few times to sand half of the area. Moving around to the other side and does the same thing over again. Flipping the board over he sands the deck. Doing the same for all 4 boards beforehand sanding the rails, nose, and tail. Blowing off each board and himself of the dust with the air hose. He calls it a night and goes outside to lockup and goes home to his apartment to take a shower. After which he would have a couple of beers while watching TV.

The next morning Dave and Jake are waiting for the person to open San Onofre gate so they can walk up to Churches. "I don't know if I can afford next's year annual pass, they raised it some more. The state seemed to be trying to make up its deficit each year with higher fees and taxes. It sure getting expensive to surf" Dave said as Jake is looking in the rear-view mirror and seeing more headlights in the dark behind them.

Once they get down to the beach and start walking. They see Lowers breaking and it looks good. Five minutes later they are at Church's and stop and watch the waves. After a short time, noticing the crowd developing at Lowers compared to where they are, they decide to go out at Church's. With the tide being low, they did the slow-moving rock dance until the water was deep enough to paddle their boards. Once out, they would catch quite a few waves to themselves until around 7:30 when the next bunch of guys showed up and the dawn patrol crew was going in.

Still out in the water, Jake says to Dave "You know Dave, no matter what the economy does, the surf will continue to break with or without us. It's just the way it been since who knows when." Dave looks at the beach and the bluffs behind it, then down the beach to the inactive nuclear power plant and back up at Lowers. "Yeah, that can be said of all surf spots and surfers. It is, what it is" Dave said before going in.

 

Into the Mystic Fog

 

Sue said "I wished I would have listened to my old boyfriend who first started getting into bitcoin when it was at $2.00 a bitcoin after bottoming out in November 2011. He bought 100 coins and put them on a paper wallet. He bought more I think, not sure after that we broke up in 2012. He told me it was going to be a good investment. But I didn't listen to him" as Oliver just shrugged his shoulder, tilting his head and jesting with his elbow near his body and his palms facing up, and said with a smile "I have you and you have me. That's all that matters." She smiled back.

Out in the water Morris is seeing fewer surfers lately after work and knows many are having a hard time making ends meet. After looking up the Great Depression, Morris found out that it lasted until 1954 when the baby boomer economy started to take off. With that in mind, he would need to come up with a plan for himself and Doris to make it through the turbulent years ahead. He noticed a set coming and paddled into position and took off on the second wave.

After the ride, he hears his car alarm went off and paddles in and went in to see what caused it. His driver side door window had been broken into and his pants, shirt, and towel were stolen. He had hidden his wallet and cell phone in a secret compartment so he was safe with those items. Leaving the beach with his radio on he hears that silver went to the moon and some major banks went bankrupt, for their shorts were exposed. The Greatest Depression in history had arrived and the scramble for the next "Reserve Currency" was on the agenda.

 

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THOMAS TAKAO