When Life Gives You Lemons Make Lemonade Stonks

Evan Algo-Money had been Wall Street’s golden boy for the past two years. His ability to squeeze green out of seemingly insipid ventures was second to none. His most recent masterpiece was a millennial branded lemonade company-cum-lifestyle brand, Ade?. Evan had engineered its IPO through a Special Purpose Acquisition Company, known to Wall Street bros as a SPAC. A liquidity injection of several millions saw Ade? become the largest SPAC of the year. But none of that mattered to Evan. He missed making the Forbes 30 under 30 list.

His obsession with the Forbes list was almost maniacal. For Evan, it was more than a list; it was a validation of his existence, an homage to his genius. But now, in the dimly lit corners of a Lower East Side dive bar, Evan found himself drinking his disillusionment away.

Just when he was about to drown in another shot, a striking figure walked into the bar. The woman, in a geometric neon dress that appeared to be a living piece of digital art, was Ada. Ada wasn’t just an artist; she was a digital conceptual artist, a child of a well-established Manhattan artist couple. In an age where everything was transitioning to digital, Ada found herself at the forefront of the digital art revolution.

Ada had an aura that was a blend of eccentricity and elegance. Her hair was cropped short and dyed a fierce shade of teal, making her look like a bohemian cyborg from a dystopian future. She was known for creating art that questioned the very foundation of traditional concepts and societal norms, all under the pretense of a digital interface.

While Evan was brooding over his missed fortune, Ada was searching for an escape from the trappings of her privileged upbringing. She wanted to create her own identity, away from the shadow of her famous parents.

Their paths crossed when Ada, captivated by the downtrodden look on Evan’s face, approached him. She was intrigued by the palpable aura of lost dreams that seemed to surround this handsome stranger.

“Cheer up, handsome,” she said, “There’s more to life than a Forbes list.”

Evan looked up and was immediately drawn in by Ada’s piercing hazel eyes. In her, he found a refreshing change from the monotonous world of finance.

The stage was set for an unusual and delightful journey of an art-girlfriend and a finance bro-boyfriend. Their contrasting worlds were about to collide in the most comically existential way.

Their story was not one of love at first sight, but of finding the absurdity in each other’s worlds, a satirical jab at their own lives that was refreshing and almost liberating. From then on, the question was not about making it on the Forbes list or escaping the shadows of their heritage. It was about finding their worth outside of these societal benchmarks. The existential crisis was not an end, but a new beginning.

“Ada, I’m thinking of trading in my Patagonia vest, maybe moving out of Brooklyn Heights. I’m lost…” Evan confessed, running his hands through his meticulously gelled hair.

Ada studied Evan, her hazel eyes sparkling with amusement. Here was a man who was adrift in a sea of self-doubt, yet was considering shedding the trappings of his stereotype, the uniform of the Wall Street bro. She found it comically endearing.

“Trading your Patagonia vest? That’s a good start,” she responded with a smirk, swirling her glass of absinthe. “And Brooklyn Heights? Please, that place is a caricature of gentrification. You’re better off.”

“Easy for you to say,” Evan retorted, a playful edge creeping into his voice. “Your art is your escape. Mine was supposed to be my spreadsheet-filled success. Without that, I don’t even know who I am.”

A silence fell between them. The clink of glasses and the murmuring of other bar patrons formed a backdrop to their contemplative moods.

Finally, Ada broke the silence. “Evan, we’re more than the sum of our societal identities. Maybe, in a twisted way, not making the Forbes list was the best thing that could’ve happened to you.”

Evan frowned, “I don’t follow.”

Ada leaned in, “Art is about expression, about finding oneself. It’s not just limited to canvas or digital screens. Your life is your canvas, and you are the artist.”

He blinked at her. This was the most non-corporate advice he had ever received. It was baffling, yet curiously invigorating.

The prospect of exploring life outside his meticulously constructed spreadsheet-filled world was terrifying. But there was also an undercurrent of excitement, a thrill of the unknown. Maybe Ada was right. Maybe not making it to the Forbes list was indeed a blessing in disguise.

Trading his Patagonia vest, abandoning his Brooklyn Heights apartment – it all seemed ludicrous. Yet, he was intrigued by the thought of embarking on a journey into the uncharted waters of existential rediscovery. It was a journey that was daunting, no doubt, but also one that held the promise of unparalleled adventure.

As Evan glanced at Ada, he found in her eyes a silent reassurance, an understanding that they were both misfits, trying to find their own path in a world that was so intent on defining them. Maybe, just maybe, they could help each other navigate the labyrinth of their respective existential crises. And perhaps, they would find in each other’s company, a satire that was as enriching as it was entertaining.

“Here’s a question I ask of any girl I’m attracted to, and yes I am very attracted to you Ada….What do you think of The Thin Man, of living like Nick and Nora? It’s a strange question I know, but for some reason it never steers me wrong in situations like this.”

Ada blinked at the sudden change in direction. The Thin Man? The classic detective series by Dashiell Hammett, adapted into a popular film franchise, featuring the suave, hard-drinking couple Nick and Nora Charles? This Wall Street bro turned self-declared existential crisis victim was certainly full of surprises.

She paused, her eyes growing distant as she considered his question. The Thin Man. Nick and Nora. Their lives were a whirlwind of cocktails, crime-solving, and ceaseless banter. Was it attractive, this nonchalant blend of danger, wit, and high society lifestyle? In some ways, it was indeed fascinating.

But Ada was far from a traditionalist. The idea of simply slipping into the established norms of a relationship was foreign to her. However, Evan’s question, odd as it was, had piqued her interest. Here was a man who, despite his high-flying corporate persona, yearned for something different, something more fulfilling.

“Nick and Nora…” she began, her tone thoughtful, “It’s romantic, in a way. Living life on the edge, indulging in excess, yet remaining incredibly in tune with each other. Their partnership is both exciting and balanced. But Evan, it’s also a fantasy.”

She leaned in closer, her hazel eyes reflecting the dim light of the bar. “Fantasies are a wonderful escape, but reality is far more complicated… and far more intriguing. We’re not Nick and Nora. We’re Evan and Ada. Why chase someone else’s story when we can create our own?”

Evan was taken aback by her response. In all his years of using this question as a litmus test for potential partners, never had he come across such a candid and insightful answer. Ada was right. They weren’t Nick and Nora; they were Evan and Ada. Two individuals grappling with their existential crises, their stories yet to be written.

“I’d say you passed the test, Ada,” he admitted, his lips curling into a smirk. “Here’s to creating our own story.”

As they raised their glasses in a toast, Evan couldn’t help but feel a strange sense of relief. Maybe trading in his Patagonia vest and moving out of Brooklyn Heights wasn’t such a crazy idea after all. And perhaps, in the company of this wonderfully unconventional artist, he would finally find the answers he sought.

One martini too many and Ada was running her hands through his hair, tussling the sculpted coif before asking, “Here’s my question of you Evan, are you a zero interest rate phenomenon?”

Evan laughed at the unexpected question, feeling the weight of his meticulously styled hair come undone under Ada’s playful touch. He could already tell that Ada wasn’t like the other girls he’d met. She had this unpredictable charm, a keen sense of humor, and a refreshing way of looking at the world.

“A zero-interest-rate phenomenon, eh?” Evan parroted, his blue eyes twinkling with amusement. He picked up his martini glass, swirling the remnants of the liquid thoughtfully. “Well, if you’re asking whether I’m a product of artificially low borrowing costs, leading to high-risk and inflated investments, then I would have to disappoint you. As much as my career might suggest otherwise, I am not a manifestation of a fiscal policy.”

A cheeky smile formed on his lips as he leaned in closer, matching her playful tone. “Now, if you’re asking whether I’m someone who provides immediate gratification with potentially long-term consequences…well, I guess that’s something you’ll have to find out for yourself.”

He glanced at her, his expression a blend of amusement and anticipation. This interaction was unlike any he had ever experienced. It was refreshing, exhilarating even. He found himself intrigued by Ada, her wit, her intelligence, her view of the world, and he was excited to see where this journey would take them.

“What’s bigger Evan, your bonus or your hunk of a heart?” Ada asked.

Evan chuckled at Ada’s brazen question, taking another sip of his drink before setting it down on the table.

“Well, Ada, I’ve got to say, my bonus is pretty substantial,” he began, his eyes glinting with a combination of amusement and sincerity. “But my heart, well, let’s just say it’s not leveraged by market trends.”

It was a surprisingly heartfelt response from the man who had, until recently, been known only for his financial acumen and drive for success. His blue eyes softened, betraying a depth that the world of finance rarely got to see.

“Besides,” he added, leaning back against the bar stool, “the value of a heart isn’t measured in numbers. It’s about the kindness, empathy, and love it holds. And I’d like to believe mine holds a lot more than any bonus could ever compensate for.”

In that moment, Evan seemed to break away from the archetype of a Wall Street finance bro, presenting Ada with a glimpse of the person he truly was – a man with dreams, insecurities, and, indeed, a hunk of a heart. His authenticity was a refreshing change, a pleasant surprise that only made Ada more curious about this enigmatic man she was getting to know.

“Run away with me, Evan,” Ada suddenly blurted out, the alcohol loosening her tongue and freeing her adventurous spirit. “The two of us, we could make it as far as Provincetown for a weekend. What do you think?”

Evan’s eyes widened in surprise. “You want to…run away? To Provincetown?” he repeated, his lips curling into a grin. “Now that’s a capital idea. My portfolio would be in shambles. My clients, in chaos. My assistant would probably lose all his hair worrying about where I’d disappeared to.”

Ada leaned back on her stool, a smirk playing on her lips. “Well, your portfolio is resilient, your clients are adults, and your assistant… Well, bald is in these days.”

They both burst into laughter, the sound of their mirth echoing through the dimly lit bar. It was a moment that neither of them would forget, a moment of pure, unadulterated joy that was seldom found in their respective worlds.

“What about your art?” Evan finally asked when their laughter had subsided. “Wouldn’t your fans miss your avant-garde digital pieces? What about your next exhibition?”

Ada waved a dismissive hand, the green glow of her neon dress reflecting in her playful eyes. “Oh, I’ve always believed that art needs a little bit of chaos to truly thrive. A little time off, some change in scenery, who knows what it might inspire?”

Evan looked at her thoughtfully, admiration creeping into his gaze. Her disregard for convention, her unapologetic pursuit of adventure, was something he found both bewildering and enthralling. In Ada, he saw an echo of the man he had always wanted to be, a man unburdened by societal expectations.

“Alright, let’s do it,” he finally agreed, reaching for his phone to check his calendar. “Let’s throw caution to the wind and let’s do it.”

Ada clapped her hands together in excitement, her eyes sparkling with delight. “Excellent! And Evan, put that phone away. We’re not planning a merger here. We’re planning an escape.”

Evan laughed, tossing his phone back on the bar counter. “You’re right. My apologies. Old habits die hard.”

As they bantered on, planning their spontaneous weekend getaway, the mutual attraction between them grew stronger. Their conversation was punctuated by shared laughter, playful teasing, and an unmistakable air of flirtation.

“Let’s promise one thing though,” Evan finally said, raising his glass for a toast. “No talk about art or finance. We’ll be just Evan and Ada, two ordinary people on an extraordinary adventure.”

Ada raised her glass to meet his, her hazel eyes twinkling with anticipation. “To Evan and Ada, ordinary people on an extraordinary adventure,” she echoed, their glasses clinking together in a toast to their upcoming adventure.

In the confines of the dimly lit bar, the finance bro and the art girlfriend found a common ground. It was a space filled with laughter, genuine companionship, and the exciting promise of a shared adventure. It was the start of a journey neither of them had anticipated, a journey filled with witty banter, flirtatious exchanges, and a connection that went beyond their societal personas. They were no longer just Evan and Ada. They were two individuals ready to explore life beyond their comfort zones, two individuals ready to embrace the unexpected.

“Ada,” Evan began, turning on his stool to face her. His gaze was steady, serious. “I want you to know how serious I am about this weekend with you. I’m going to nail my Patagonia vest to the wall of the bar.” He reached for the infamous vest draped on his stool, the symbol of his Wall Street persona. “It’s my Sun Valley one. You do know what that means, don’t you, sweet darling?”

Ada chuckled, not used to hearing such terms of endearment from the usually stoic Evan. His actions, however, did not go unnoticed. The Sun Valley vest. The holy grail of Patagonia vests. The symbol of an invite to the annual gathering of business leaders and billionaires in Idaho.

“Yes, I do,” she replied, her eyes widening in mock horror. “You’re not just any finance bro, you’re a Sun Valley finance bro! My, my, Evan, you’ve been holding out on me.”

She laughed at the dramatic gesture, clearly delighted by his commitment to the cause. “But Evan, remember, I’ve left gallery openings for less than this. You’ve set the bar pretty high, darling.”

Evan couldn’t help but laugh. The prospect of leaving his world of spreadsheets and SPACs behind, even for just a weekend, was increasingly exhilarating.

“Well, then it’s settled. We’re going on an adventure,” Evan said, holding up his vest as if it were a trophy.

He got up and, with the help of the bartender, secured his vest to the wall of the bar. It was a comedic spectacle, drawing chuckles and claps from the other patrons. But for Evan, it was a symbol of breaking free, an oath of dedication to their upcoming escapade.

After all, a Sun Valley Patagonia vest didn’t simply adorn a wall every day. It was the hallmark of a serious intention, an undeniable commitment. Evan was stepping out of his comfort zone and inviting Ada to join him. Their banter, their flirtations, all of it was leading them to an unexpected journey, the echoes of their laughter weaving a shared story on the walls of the dim-lit LES dive bar.

“Now, Evan,” Ada began, her voice filled with a playful challenge. “One last test. Are we on our way to LaGuardia and Cape Air, or are you taking me via Teterboro and a private jet?”

Evan choked on his martini, caught off guard by Ada’s question. Teterboro? A private jet? Suddenly, the reality of his decision started to sink in. He was Evan, the SPAC king, the leading force behind the millennial branded lemonade company, a man whose lifestyle was defined by the extravagance his wealth afforded. But in that moment, he was just Evan, the man sitting across an avant-garde artist in a dive bar, about to embark on an impromptu adventure.

He glanced at Ada, her hazel eyes twinkling with mischief and curiosity. He couldn’t help but laugh. “Well, Ada,” he started, flashing her a teasing grin. “As much as I’d love to whisk you away in a private jet, I believe our deal was to be ordinary people on an extraordinary adventure.”

He paused, taking in her surprised expression. “So, my dear, it’s Cape Air for us. You did say you wanted chaos, didn’t you? And there’s nothing more chaotic than commercial air travel.”

Ada looked at him, her surprise quickly replaced with amusement. “You’re right, Evan,” she conceded, raising her glass. “To chaos and commercial air travel.”

Their glasses clinked together, the sound muffled by the general hubbub of the bar. They found themselves locked in a moment of understanding, their shared laughter creating an intimate bubble around them. Their banter flowed naturally, the flirtatious undertones adding to the electric connection that was gradually building between them.

As the night wore on, they found themselves delving deeper into their lives, peeling away the layers of their public personas. Evan spoke about his early days on Wall Street, the challenges he faced, and the toll it took on his personal life. Ada, on the other hand, spoke about her journey as an artist, the resistance she met, and her quest for meaning in her art.

Their stories intertwined, creating a tapestry of shared experiences and lessons. Despite coming from different walks of life, they found a strange commonality in their experiences. Both were strivers, both had faced criticism, and both had questioned their paths at different points in time.

Evan found himself looking at Ada in a new light. She was more than just a digital artist. She was a woman of substance, a woman who had challenged the norms and created her own path. And Ada saw beyond Evan’s finance bro facade. He was a man with dreams, a man who had experienced disappointment and had come out stronger.

As they shared more about their lives, they found themselves drawn closer. Their laughter echoed through the bar, their eyes met more often, and their conversation flowed effortlessly. The night turned into a dance of flirtation and understanding, and as the hours ticked by, they found themselves not wanting it to end.

When it was finally time to leave, Evan offered Ada his arm, a gallant gesture that made her smile. As they stepped out into the New York night, their hearts were lighter and their spirits were high.

“Are you ready for chaos, Evan?” Ada asked, her voice filled with anticipation.

Evan looked at her, his blue eyes mirroring her excitement. “As long as it’s with you, Ada, I’m ready for anything.”