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The Nerd

The Nerd

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The Nerd

Lungime:
313 pages
4 hours
Lansat:
Mar 5, 2018
ISBN:
9781641387446
Format:
Carte

Descriere

David Markham, a Vietnam-era veteran, and a regular computer geek, wants to shoot guns, blow up stuff, have access to every digital device on earth, end terrorism, eat breakfast at Lowell's, and watch football, especially the Seattle Seahawks. Only his computer-Igor-knows how much money he has. Igor is the real brains of the operation. The computer organizes everything by having access to every computer and device on the planet including printers, cameras, microphones, GPS, and other satellite data. If David wants something done, Igor gets it done. David uses government agencies (FBI, CIA, Interpol, the Secret Service), the homeless, and teams of complete strangers to accomplish his goals concerning people. He uses Naw teams (naw is Welsh for the number 9) to carry out different missions in his plans to defeat terrorism on US soil. Teams of nine people only know their part of the mission and enough about the other team members to accomplish the objective.

Lansat:
Mar 5, 2018
ISBN:
9781641387446
Format:
Carte

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The Nerd - Raymond Meyers

The Nerd

Raymond Meyers

Copyright © 2018 Raymond Meyers

All rights reserved

First Edition

Page Publishing, Inc

New York, NY

First originally published by Page Publishing, Inc 2018

ISBN 978-1-64138-743-9 (Paperback)

ISBN 978-1-64138-744-6 (Digital)

Printed in the United States of America

1

George Schmidt’s office was lined with bookshelves filled with thick, leather-bound books. There were several tables around the room, mostly empty except for the table in the corner with the laser printer on it. His desk had a picture of his family, a few knick-knacks, and a pen holder. The picture of his family seemed to be the only personal mark on the room.

George was in his fourth year as the director of the Secret Service. He had spent fifteen years as an agent, and although he never spent time on the president’s detail, he made a name for himself as an agent in other capacities. More than that, though, he made himself known as a skillful manipulator of office politics. He was feared and disliked by peers and subordinates. Superiors kept him under close watch.

Sitting across the desk from him were two special agents: William Jones, a 6-foot-5-inch, 250-pound African American; and Patrick Miller, 5-foot-11-inches, 190-pound man with brown hair and brown eyes. Both men were in their mid-thirties, looked and carried themselves like professionals, and had no idea why they’d been called to the boss’s office.

The director leaned toward the two agents and said, You need to bring this guy to my office. He pushed a folder across the desk.

Agent Jones picked up the folder and opened it. There are six different pictures here. All of them can’t be David Markham. And who exactly is David Markham?

The director answered, Those are the pictures we have from various files. He’s sixty years old. He’s quite possibly the richest man in the world. His record of even existing is harder to find than a busboy in Omaha, Nebraska.

Agent Miller asked, What do you mean ‘quite possibly’? Is he or isn’t he?

The director said, Well, he’s the CEO of BEN Corporation. Most people haven’t even heard of it. I hadn’t until earlier this year. BEN Corporation is a holding company that holds holding companies that are major stockholders in every global market. He runs it. He’s been pretty much operating outside of the government’s control for thirty years.

Agent Jones asked, Government control?

The director said, Yeah. We need to know what he’s doing. We need to know he’s not a threat to our nation. We need to make sure he understands his responsibilities with that kind of wealth. That’s why I and other government officials need to meet with him. Anyway, here’s a partial dossier on him. He slid a somewhat thicker folder across the desk. There’s more, but it’s all pretty sketchy.

Jones and Miller looked at each other. Jones spoke, So are we supposed to arrest him? Has he broken laws? Are we supposed to bring him in chains? Or are we supposed to arrange an appointment?

Director Schmidt said, I frankly don’t give a shit how you get him here—just get him here. You guys are going to be the third team to attempt to arrange a meeting.

Jones asked, What happened with the first two?

They failed.

Failed how?

Either they didn’t make contact with Markham or he refused to come in. Neither of those are acceptable options this time. Are we clear?

Special Agents Jones and Miller answered in unison, Yes, sir.

They left the office, carrying the folders, and after walking a few feet, Agent Miller mumbled, Dick.

2

William Jones and Patrick Miller had been partners for almost a year. They had worked on counterfeiting and a couple of Ponzi schemes. This mission seemed odd to them.

On the fourth day of working on the files for David Markham, Jones looked up from the documents and said, I don’t see what we’re going to use to legally bring him in if he doesn’t want to come in. All I can find in any of this is that he’s really good at picking stocks and setting up corporations.

Miller shook his head. Have you looked at his income taxes? The guy has never had taxable income over fifty K in a year. He doesn’t own a house. He owns a double-wide trailer in Colorado on five acres of high desert, thirty miles from the nearest town. It’s no wonder nobody’s ever heard of him. He’s invisible. And it sure doesn’t look like he does the ‘richest guy in the world’ thing.

So, Jones asked, do you want to go over Schmidt’s head and see if we can get reassigned to something else?

No. You know how that would end up.

Yeah. I guess we’re off to Colorado.

3

David Markham didn’t look like any of the pictures anyone had of him. He didn’t look like a sixty-year-old man at all. He could easily pass for under forty. He was 5 feet 6 inches and weighed 140 pounds. He had short blond hair without a hint of grey in it. All his life, he’d been a skinny little white guy. He was wearing his standard uniform—blue jeans, a white t-shirt, and white Reeboks.

Sitting in the trailer in Colorado with Mario, his caretaker of the grounds, he asked, So who’s coming this time?

Mario was looking at the computer screen in front of him. William Jones and Patrick Miller, Secret Service, again.

David shook his head, then said, This is pretty funny. What the hell are they expecting to change? I told the last two guys my phone number and told them to tell Schmidt to call me if he wants a meeting. ‘Oh, no,’ they told me, ‘you have to come to Washington with us.’ Well, kiss my ass. I’m not an indentured servant. Charge me with a crime and arrest me, or play nice. At least these are the two guys I wanted. I finally got the two agents I was after in the first place.

He thought for another minute, then asked Mario, When are they going to be here?

Could be anytime. They flew a red-eye into Denver and landed at five o’clock this morning.

David looked out the front window of the trailer and said, Speak of the devil. What do you suppose are the odds that Secret Service Special Agents Jones and Miller would be driving a black SUV and dressed like Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith chasing a giant cockroach right down to the matching sunglasses? I’ll go out.

David walked out onto the front porch of the trailer and sat down in one of the chairs. Miller and Jones parked the vehicle off the property and started walking toward the trailer.

Gentlemen, he said, opening the conversation, welcome. I’m David. I’ll be your host. Can I call you Bill and Pat, or do you prefer more formal addresses?

Agent Jones answered, We prefer to be called Agents Jones and Miller. You’re David Markham? You don’t look like any of our photos, and you don’t look old enough to be the man we were told to talk to.

David said, Stop right where you are at for your own safety. If you get any closer to the trailer, you might be perceived as a threat, and that’s not a good thing.

Agent Jones answered, We’re from the United States Secret Service. We go wherever we decide we need to go.

At that moment, Agent Miller tapped his partner on the arm and pointed at his jacket. Then he noticed his own. There were several red laser dots on each.

David said, Yeah. The little red dots aren’t for the cat. You guys are the third in a line of Secret Service details sent to bring me to Washington. I ain’t going. I gave the last two teams my phone number and told them that if your boss wants to meet with me, all he has to do is call and make an appointment. I’m either here, or I can get here whenever he wants to get together. I won’t be anybody’s prisoner, though. I haven’t broken a single law in almost forty years of investing and business. You’re going to work real hard to get a warrant to arrest me legally. And you’re not going to arrest me any other way. If you show signs of hostility, you’ll be disavowed by your bosses for the illegal infringement on my property, and I’ll probably have to bury your asses right here. Questions?

Agent Miller asked, So why does Schmidt want you?

David answered, "I’m not sure, but I’m guessing he’s in cahoots with several others in wanting to know why nobody has let me know who’s really in charge. Also, it’s possible that they don’t like the fact that I’ve never made any noise about what my positions are on anything. I’m living my life, and that pisses off the powers that be. I can do anything—and I do mean anything—I want to do, and that’s exactly what I do."

Your tastes aren’t extravagant, Agent Jones said.

Yeah. This is where I prefer to spend most of my time. No people to deal with except the occasional conversation with the neighbors about the weather and the local rodent population. The companies in the portfolio maintain more opulent digs for me when I travel. And I stay in nice hotels because I want things the way I want things. This works fine about three hundred days a year, though.

Okay, Miller said. Can we use your bathroom? We rode the red-eye in this morning, and the flight was hell.

Sure, David answered. Hike out to your SUV and put all your weapons away and come on back in. We have a pretty good collection of refreshments too.

The two agents turned and started to walk back to the vehicle.

David said as they walked, Don’t forget knives and the subcompacts on your calves. You’ll be magnetically scanned on the way back. I know how much change you have in your pockets.

After the trip to the car, they all went inside. Mario took orders and got drinks for everyone. The agents had coffee. David got a glass of bourbon and a cigar. He offered cigars around. No takers.

So okay, Agent Jones said, "you’re a mystery man who doesn’t match any of your pictures. You have no family history of money. In fact, the only Markham family we can connect you to was a laborer with nine sons. You’re sixty years old, but you look my age. This is all assuming you are David Markham and not jerking our chains."

So far, so good, David said. How about my military record? Have you been there?

Agent Miller answered, "Army. You joined at age seventeen in 1973. The Vietnam War was still on, and a lot of guys were dreading the draft, but you joined voluntarily. The Army, no less. You took an honorable discharge in 1992 and named your holding company the BEN Corporation. In almost forty years of growth of the corporation, you’ve never shown a taxable income of more than $50,000. In spite of all this—and the fact that your home of record looks like it wouldn’t make the cut for an episode of Duck Dynasty or Hoarders—the federal government thinks you’re the richest man in the world."

Agent Jones asked, "Exactly why did you join the Army?"

David answered, "Dad was drinking buddies with the Army recruiter, and I was the family weirdo. I was a computer nerd. In 1973, talking about kilobytes and random-access memory in a roomful of people got you a lot of extra personal space. Whenever I had spare time, I wanted to play with computers. I built little gadgets. I learned how to do data entry on punch cards. There was a computer at the bank building in town, and I talked the bank manager into letting me do some data entry in the afternoons in the summer. I never liked playing sports. I have less musical talent than your average house pet. Dad was worried about me. The recruiter, God bless him, helped me get into computer systems. I spent my military career working on computers. I never left North America.

The only other things I did in the Army was learn weapons and martial arts. I got pretty good at both, but I spent all my spare time programming. I had an Apple-1 and an Apple-2 at the exact moment I could buy them. The Army is still using some of the programs I wrote for them. My spare-time programs and subroutines got sold to Apple and Microsoft and IBM and whoever else. There are a lot of companies that don’t even exist anymore that I wrote for. Since I didn’t have a social life, I didn’t need the money. It didn’t cost anything to live on base, so I bought stock in whatever company paid me if they had stock available. I had a pretty good base to sell to and a pretty good foundation of stocks, so I founded the BEN Corporation. The Army paid me enough to live, so I used my programming money to buy stocks by the scientific method of investing in the company that paid me the money. Not too complicated.

Agent Jones asked, Okay. That doesn’t explain the size and scope of the corporation, though. And what the hell does BEN stand for?

David smiled and said, "The size of BEN was kind of an accident, really. I think everything responds to mathematics. I honestly believe that everything except human behavior can be explained by mathematics, and Isaac Asimov may have been right that we can figure that out someday. I started studying the movement of stock prices. I studied technical trading and fifty-day moving averages and all the tops and bottoms and the candlestick graphs and fifty-two-week highs and lows. According to my figuring, they’re all bullshit. I developed my own system of variables on Lotus 1-2-3 that I later ported to Excel. It was a computerized buy-and-sell system that makes day trading look stodgy by comparison.

"The program took my variables, compared them in real time, and set up a moving range of prices for buy and sell. It was a little slow in the ’80s as we worked our way up from three-hundred-baud modems to DSL in the early ’90s. But it was still incredibly fast compared to watching tickers and doing calculations and making decisions and calling a broker. For the longest time, I was doing all the initial assessments of my data to build my initial variables for each company. It was time-consuming, but like I said, I’ve never really wanted a social life anyway. In ’85 or ’86, I did the code for the computer to do all the assessments for me. I’d download the file for a company at 1,200 baud, and the computer would do all the work. All I had to do was punch a button to let it start making trades.

I didn’t really pay any attention to how big it was getting until about 1989. That’s when I started establishing a second holding company and moving some money to it. In the mid-nineties when we got the Worldwide Web and trading got cheaper and easier to automate, it got faster and faster. Also, I put the computer more on automatic when I wrote the criteria that let the machine decide what companies to investigate.

So all you did for twenty years is program computers? Miller asked.

"Oh, goodness, no. I spent a lot of time learning more martial arts. In the Army, it was tae kwon do. I got bored with that, so I tried kenpo, jiujitsu, judo, kung fu, kajukenbo—you name it. Plus I continued to train with weapons. And I kept up with the state of war and warfare. I got interested in that while I was in the Army, and also in other technologies—alternate energy sources, battery technology, nuclear technology, medical technology. Something catches my interest, and I immerse myself in it. I used to read the dictionary on rainy days when I was a kid. We had a Grolier Encyclopedia when I was a small child. It had an anatomy section with transparent overlays of the different body systems—skeletal, muscular—and the organs. I learned it. When I was nine, I broke my forearm. At the hospital, I asked the doctor if I broke the ulna or the radius. The look the doctor gave my father was priceless. I’m studying the Quran at the moment and trying to plumb the motivations of terrorists. The more I read, the more sure I am that a hug and a home-cooked dinner isn’t going to be all we need to convince them to quit killing everybody who disagrees with them. That’s a discussion for another time, though."

Jones asked, Did your parents ever get you checked for autism?

"I don’t think we had autism yet in the ’50s and ’60s, at least not that anybody talked about. We had weird kids. I was one of them. We had bullies in those days, and I got picked on. Dad handled that. One day I was getting chased by two kids from down the street. I ran into the house. Dad told me to get back out there and whip their asses and that if I came in the house before I whipped their asses, he’d whip mine. I punched one of them. He started crying, and they both ran away. I learned a lot about bullying in that moment. It hasn’t been an issue since, but I still hate people—at least in groups larger than this."

Miller said, Explain what you mean about bullying not being a problem.

I mean, I don’t get bullied. Anybody who picks a fight without clear provocation is a bully. Terrorists are bullies. But the guys blowing themselves up and cutting off people’s heads and burning people alive and all that aren’t the real bullies. They’re the face of bullying, but bullies are scared of a response. The guys committing the actual acts of terror are all ready to die. Whoever pumps them full of that hateful and suicidal shit and gives them money to buy the stuff they need, that’s the bully. That’s the ass we need to whip.

Jones asked, Why do you hate people?

"People do things that can’t be calculated with math. Isaac Asimov wrote about a fictional guy he named Hari Seldon, who developed the mathematics of psychohistory. It was the idea that you could calculate the movement of large populations. I don’t think it really exists yet. If you want to guess what people will do next, you need to keep in mind the seven deadly sins—the main tools of marketing. Buy one, get one free—today only. Do you not have one because it was too expensive yesterday or because you don’t need one? Now suddenly you need two? That seems greedy. Enhance your manhood. Why? Is there an actual deficiency, or have you been made to feel artificially vain about a natural characteristic of your body?

Half the ads on television imply the promise of more and better sex with hotter partners if you have one of these things or some of this substance or a huge supply of this brand of beer. If you’re drinking beer to attract women, you’re destined for a lonely life. Fact. Then there’s sloth. My mother makes $53,000 a week sitting at her computer for an hour and a half a day. The list goes on. If it didn’t move money from your pocket to their pockets, they’d quit doing it. People suck.

Jones said, You still haven’t told me what BEN stands for.

Big, evil, nasty.

Seriously?

That’s what it stands for. Nothing serious about it. Another thing that pisses me off about people is the need for everything to be serious. If you can’t laugh at yourself, trust me, other people are willing.

Jones asked, Are you feeling bullied by the Secret Service?

Well, there is a bully trying to bully me. You can’t be bullied if you don’t submit to it, though, so the answer to your question is no. I intend to ignore the bullying aspect and focus on the legal issues. When there is a warrant issued by a judge, I’ll know about it before you do, and you won’t be able to find me. I can be in Nome, Moscow, or Beijing in the amount of time it would take you to get here. As long as there is no warrant issued by a judge, it’s some self-important bureaucrat doing an impersonation of a blowfish.

Jones smiled a little and looked at Miller. That’s a pretty good description of Schmidt.

Miller nodded. Then he asked, Why are you comfortable having us in here, even verified unarmed, when you have no security personnel in the building? Aren’t you at all concerned that we could physically overcome you and drag you out in a way that would make it too risky for your shooters to open fire?

David answered flatly, No.

What do you mean no?

Which part are you struggling with? Without weapons? Your martial arts knowledge would have raised an alarm if it were worrisome. It isn’t. Also, my guys have all the angles they need out there. They won’t take a too-risky shot, and you can’t get that many angles with two of you. If you want to try your luck beating up a little, old, skinny white guy, two against one, we can spar one of these days. Between now and then, there’s business to conduct.

You can’t be serious, Jones said. Two of us against you? I outweigh you by close to a hundred pounds, plus the height and reach advantages. Pat has height, weight, and reach on you as well.

David dropped the stub of his cigar into the ashtray on the table in front of him, took out another, cut the end, and lit it. He poured another glass of bourbon. I like you guys. You’re a lot more pleasant than the shitbirds who came the first two times. What did that pissant you work for tell you happened with the first two visits?

Jones said, He said they failed to bring you in.

Miller added, He also said that failure this time is not an option.

So what’s the alternative? Public flogging? Chasing wooden nickels in Ketchikan?

Jones said, Tell us about the ‘business’ we have to conduct.

David said, You two can come to work for me. You’ll have a core set of duties and then be free to do whatever takes your interest the rest of the time.

Miller asked, How do we do that without formally quitting with the service?

David answered, "That’s the easy part. I can make you cease to exist in any electronic record in the world with a keystroke. Well, I won’t do it in Apple’s system, and I’d have to be pretty concerned about you to hack

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