"Steve Jobs is not dying! That means I can still make some money out of his ass!"
Jerque Rathbone, 10 years in Wall Street and perhaps another 10 in emotional years, expressed his feelings a little louder than a normal person might have.
Mike Johnson, Jerque's lunch companion, knew how to handle situations like this. A web designer fallen on penal times, Mike had once known the good side of Jerque and these days he pretended it was still there.
"But Jerque," he said, "isn't that a little, um, harsh? I mean the guy's a human being. Don't you feel bad about squeezing the last dollar out of a sick man?"
"Feel bad?! Feel bad?! You kidding me?!" said Jerque with a shriek that threatened the wine glasses. "Apple lied through their teeth about his health! What was it they said?! He had a bug?! Bug, my ass! Jobs had to tell the truth in the end because Wall Street made him!"
"So you think Apple is nothing without Steve Jobs?" asked Mike, as innocently as he could muster.
"Apple is Steve Jobs! Steve Jobs is Apple! He's the whole damn Granny Smith! He goes down, it all goes down!" decibeled Jerque.
"Because you'll decide Apple stock will be worth less?" asked Mike.
"Worthless! You bet! I'll buy IBM, HUD, whatever the hell three-letter friggin' companies are out there!" declared Jerque, as if he was suddenly making a speech to undecided voters.
"Hold on, let me see if I understand this. He announced he's not dying and the Apple share price goes up. But by doing that, what you're really telling the world is that you don't think he has anyone in place to take over from him. It's a negative statement. How do you know he has no succession in place?" said Mike.
"Because if Wall Street hasn't been told, it doesn't exist!" explained Jerque, his face contorting in something that strangely resembled pain. "You tell Wall Street what's going on and Wall Street makes its bets on what you say! On a daily basis! On an hourly basis! That's how it works! We don't take real risks! We take calculated risks!"
"Calculated on the basis of what?" wondered a confused Mike.
"Of knowing everything that's happening, so that we can be sure we'll make money! This guy is so self-obsessed, I bet he thinks he's gonna live forever!" wailed Jerque.
"So he has no right to keep his illness secret? I mean, it's not as if his performance is slipping all that much, is it?"
"He has no right to catch a cold without Wall Street knowing about it! Who does he think he works for?!" hissed Jerque, still loudly.
"But when you had the inside of your nose replaced with that new plastic gizmo, did you tell your bosses? Or your clients?" asked Mike, hanging on to his innocent tone like a child gripping his last cookie.
"None of their damn business! I'm not a CEO of a public company! I'm just a guy trying to make a living in a world populated by cheats and liars!"
"So do you hold out any hope for Apple without Steve Jobs?" asked Mike.
"I didn't until this morning! Did you see the footage from Macworld?! The guy standing in for Jobs! What's his name, Diller?!"
"Yeah, right! I think he might be a good bet!" chirped Jerque.
"Yeah?" said a surprised Mike.
"Yeah! That guy's carrying at least 25 pounds over! No way he's got some hormone imbalance! We'll need to know his cholesterol numbers, though!"