writing chapter 3.1
Dragoncon was over, and they slunk home on Monday with a couple of $25 t-shirts, a lightsaber, and an outrageous hotel bill. They spent a couple of days recuperating.
Anomia kept thumbing thru her notebook. It was a little discouraging how little they knew. The angel’s quest might have been doable if he’d given it to an established videogame developer, but of the two of them, only Josh had ever programmed a game, and it was an asteroids ripoff way back in high school. Anomia knew Photoshop and Flash, but that was just scratching the graphics surface.
Josh chatted up his hacker friends and asked if they’d be interested, but when he mentioned the game’s parameters, they shook their heads and said they were busy. They kept mentioning Kurt, an esoteric coder who was too bright to hold a steady job, and had worked on lots of programming teams for twenty minutes before walking out over some disagreement with the project manager. Kurt was said to be working on a quantum computer, and everybody Josh talked to thought he’d be perfect for a videogame to give players realworld superpowers.
So they went and talked to Kurt. Kurt lived in his van, and spent his non-programming hours riding the subway and hanging out in foodcourts all over town. They met him at the Suntrust foodcourt, which was in the heart of the Dragoncon hotel district, and was recovering nicely as the costumed throngs receded into memory. It was mostly empty, in fact, the office droids having returned to their cubes from lunch and the vendors doing their last business before closing up for the day.
Josh and Anomia sat at a table under the skylights and explained their game over coffee. Kurt drank and listened, fidgeting for a cigarette.
Nathan Rotenhals watched them talking as he waited for his third fast-food manager to tell him he wasn’t old enough to get a job there. But he simply had to, so he was prepared to go thru the same speech with all 196 vendors in the two block area. He could weasel his way into a job closer to home for sure if it was only about money, but he needed to be right here, where, even if his dad wouldn’t let him go to next year’s Dragoncon, he would be in the middle of it anyway.
Caroline Street watched them talking as she wandered around pretending to be a shopper. There weren’t too many pickpockets or merchandise boosters in the mall today, and she noticed right away that the chick was the same girl she took notes on at Dragoncon. So she loitered and listened, but mainly watched, enchanted. What a spoonful of jelly the girl was.
The middle-aged fat guy had a patchy beard and a ratty ponytail that was graying at the top. He had granny glasses that kept slipping down his greasy nose, and he kept pushing them back up with pudgy, nicotine-stained fingers. In contrast, the boy was almost unbearably handsome, with chiseled features and fashionably tousled hair. They were both evidently programmers, but one was the very picture of a socially inept geek, while the other looked like he could play one in the movies. The girl was just plain gorgeous, with a smooth, coffee tan, an athletic little body, and her hair in dreadlocks.
Caroline was in love.