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Thomas Bulkowski’s successful investment activities allowed him to retire at age 36. He is an internationally known author and trader with 30+ years of stock market experience and widely regarded as a leading expert on chart patterns. He may be reached at

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Chart Patterns: After the Buy
Getting Started in Chart Patterns, Second Edition book.
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Visual Guide to Chart Patterns book.
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Bulkowski's Soul Ambulance

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Candles Chart
Small Patterns
Industrials (^DJI):
Transports (^DJT):
Utilities (^DJU):
Nasdaq (^IXIC):
S&P500 (^GSPC):
As of 12/13/2018
24,597 70.11 0.3%
9,673 -161.07 -1.6%
760 6.01 0.8%
7,070 -27.98 -0.4%
2,651 -0.53 0.0%
Tom's Targets    Overview: 11/28/2018
25,350 or 23,650 by 12/15/2018
10,600 or 9,650 by 12/15/2018
765 or 730 by 12/15/2018
7,350 or 6,750 by 12/15/2018
2,750 or 2,580 by 12/15/2018

Written by and copyright © 2005-2018 by Thomas N. Bulkowski. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: You alone are responsible for your investment decisions. See Privacy/Disclaimer for more information. Some pattern names are the registered trademarks of their respective owners.

I wrote this story to be included in a book about Christmas tales (orchestrated by another author). It's two years later now, and it still hasn't been published. Contributors are pissed, especially when they see how editorial mangled their work.

Written: September 2009
Estimated reading time: 5 minute

Soul Ambulance

"Don't tell me to calm down, missy! Do your job and get me on that plane!"
The man's outburst startled me. His voice was pitched too high for a body shaped like a blimp with a double chin that hung as loose as a chicken's, but without the neck. Mr. NoNeck, I thought and smiled. When he checked his watch, diamonds surrounding the dial became miniature flashlights. Probably a gold presidential Rolex. Very expensive. Very snooty.
As I approached, winds blew through the curbside check-in area, and I gripped my hat. Why I decided to travel on Christmas Eve was beyond me. People stomped feet and pulled coats tight as they waited their turn behind NoNeck. With one hand, he gripped the metal counter, and with the other, his fist pounded it. He pointed at the agent. "Fix it!"
Noise from a jetliner on its take-off roll drowned her reply, but her lips said, "Sorry." She yanked an instruction manual from the shelf, but it slipped through numb fingers and crashed onto the metal counter. People scurrying by stopped to look. She blushed.
She hurried over to the man hurtling bags onto the conveyer belt.
He listened for a moment, glanced over at the computer terminal, and then shrugged.
She bit her lip.
NoNeck's fingers drummed the countertop, then he rocked from side to side like a balloon tethered by squatty legs and powered by hot air.
The agent returned and spoke to him.
"I don't care about that, you stupid cow! Just get me on that plane!" He looked at his watch and then turned to the line behind him. "The world has a million geniuses, and I get a moron." He rolled his eyes.
"Sorry," the agent said. "I'll try again."
"Do that!"
He put his hands on his hips, one foot tapped, looked at his Rolex again, and then shook his head. He kicked the counter.
The noise startled her and she jostled the keyboard. She stepped back and clasped her hands over her mouth, eyes wide and drifting up from the screen, struggling to avoid looking at NoNeck.
"What now?"
"I accidentally erased..."
"You idiot! You f..." An announcement spared my ears.


One tear caressed her cheek. She wiped it away, looked up, and blinked to help dry the other tears.
I didn't see a wedding ring. Why had I even noticed? My company was in trouble, layoffs coming -- maybe even bankruptcy -- and all I could think about was her.
She extended her hand as if waiting for a credit card, but it reminded me of a drowning victim unable to reach a life preserver.
Two cars screeched to a halt and horns blared. Above the noise, NoNeck shouted, "I won't pay that!" and slapped her hand. "You erase my reservation, and now you want more money? Forget it!" He turned around. "Don't fly this airline. It's staffed with imbeciles!"
She rubbed her hand.
I clenched my fist.
Vans from Hyatt and Marriott unloaded streams of adults carrying bags, pulling strollers, and towing children. I lost sight of the battle, but I could still hear NoNeck shouting. "Twenty bucks? Are you kidding? I don't care if they hired you this morning. I won't pay another cent! Do you hear me, you stupid twit? Not another cent!"
Like Moses parting the Red Sea, a bag lady pushed a grocery cart overflowing with possessions through waves of humanity flowing around her. She wore socks as gloves, a cracked leather coat, and reindeer antlers!
I smiled.
When she docked at the counter, NoNeck turned to her and then jerked back. He sniffed the air and grimaced. "Tramp."
I thought she was going to pull a knife and stab his heart, but decided the blade wouldn't find one. She dug into her possessions and smiled after uncovering her weapon.
He turned back to the agent. "This is your fault, missy. You pay the twenty bucks because I won't!"
The bag lady handed the agent a twenty. "Merry Christmas," she said in a voice that commanded attention. She faced NoNeck. "Your mother must be so proud!"
When she turned to go, her antler poked his face, leaving a brown smudge that was his Christmas present. She winked at the people shivering in line behind him.


I watched her go, saw the tattered ends of slacks shoveling two paths through the snow, and wondered if God were female. With antlers. Her grocery cart became a soul ambulance with squeaking wheels as sirens and possessions as bandages, racing to another accident.
I walked up to NoNeck. "Is there a problem?"
"Mind your own business!" He turned to confront me, his eyes two slits filled with anger. And still no neck.
His color faded.
"Aren't you the owner of...?"
I cocked an eyebrow, stared at him, but said nothing, preferring to let him sweat.
He smiled so widely that you could land a plane on it. "Percy Butler. Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the western region. S & M, I like to call it." He grinned and thrust out his hand.
I ignored it. "I should fire you right now, Butler, but tomorrow's Christmas. After the holidays, we'll discuss your future with my company."
His stupid grin disappeared just like his neck.
When I looked at the agent, our eyes locked in an embrace that made both of us blush.
She winked.
I felt so happy I was miserable. I pulled out a pen and scribbled, "Call me," then handed her my love note in the form of a hundred dollar bill wrapped around my business card. "Merry Christmas," ...I read her nametag... "Susan!"


I wanted to stay and share her life, but I had a plane to catch and one more errand.
I followed the tracks leading to the soul ambulance and stopped the bag lady.
Before I could say anything, she said, "The economy is bad, Tom, but your company will prosper. No layoffs. Now watch this."
We turned to see NoNeck waddle onto black ice and then slip, emptying his briefcase onto a snow bank.
"And one other thing," she said and nodded toward the check-in counter. "Marry Susan."
I turned to look at Susan toiling behind the counter. Our eyes connected, she winked again, and then mouthed the words, "Thank you!" accompanied by a wave that was more than a wave. It was a kiss.
NoNeck stood up and fell again.
Susan tried to hide her smile, but failed.
I turned to give the bag lady my business card wrapped in the blanket of another hundred, but she and her soul ambulance had vanished.
That was last Christmas. This year, Susan is giving me a lasting present. I'd tell you about it, but they're calling my flight. I'm on my way to our wedding.
The End

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-- Thomas Bulkowski

See Also

  • Green Soap. Reading time: 1 minute. This story is about getting a kid to wash his hands.
  • Red Truck. Reading time: 1 minute. This story is about what happens to a kid's toy truck.
  • That which cannot be said. Reading time: 7 minutes. Lovers discover a common connection between them.
  • Twenty at a Time. Reading time: 5 minutes. A CEO steals money and has to repay it in an unusual way.
  • What Does Bequeath Mean? Reading time: 7 minutes. A little girls believes she's a princess.


Written by and copyright © 2005-2018 by Thomas N. Bulkowski. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: You alone are responsible for your investment decisions. See Privacy/Disclaimer for more information. Some pattern names are the registered trademarks of their respective owners. Next to surviving an earthquake, nothing is quite so satisfying as getting a refund on your income tax.