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Geek Mafia

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GEEK MAFIA

Rick Dakan

Acknowledgements

First and foremost, this book is dedicated to mom and dad. Without

their support and love none of this would’ve been possible.

Thanks to everyone who helped me with early drafts of this book

and for all their helpful comments and careful criticisms: Karen and

Stephen Dakan, Alan Dakan, Austin McKinley, Neil Hendrick, Becky

Woomer, Laurie Roberts, Rebecca Stultz, Poz, Charles Salzberg, and

Michael Neff. All of you gave valuable insights and your support

helped me see this thing through to the end (which is really just the

beginning.) Thanks to Austin again for his tremendous efforts with

laying out the book and designing this kick-ass cover and logo. Also

thanks to Jeff Bowen, for helping me get the word out and getting this

book into your hands. And if you enjoyed reading my babbling here,

you can read my babbles every day at

rickdakan.com.

Chapter 01

Paul Reynolds crisscrossed his sketchbook with furious pen-strokes. The

pages overfl owed with images of the vengeance he would take on his former

coworkers at Fear and Loading Games. He’d founded it three years earlier and,

just a few hours ago, his partners and erstwhile friends had fi red him without

cause or warning. He imagined their regret as his pen brought to life demonic

fi gures from one of the best-selling comic books he’d created, scythe wielding

cyber-men called Myrmidons who tore into surprised computer programmers.

Elsewhere on the page, computers assembled themselves into 21st century

Golems, crushing traitorous CEO’s and producers to bloody pulp as they cowered

beneath their desks.

Sitting at the bar in Señor Goldstein’s Mexican Restaurant in San Jose,

California, Paul’s own artwork engaged him for the fi rst time in months, maybe

years. Under other circumstances, that would have made him happy. But today’s

circumstances allowed only two emotions: despair and rage. Not wanting to succumb

to the former, and not quite wanting to buy a gun and go back to the of-

fi ce, he’d decided to draw.

Paul turned to a fresh page and had begun to sketch his most elaborate revenge-

scheme yet when a woman walked into his line of vision. There were four

or fi ve other women in the restaurant already (most of them employees), but this

one stood out. This one would’ve stood out anywhere. Her hair, cut short and

spiky, was dyed a magenta so bright it seemed to glow. She wore a tight, violet

t-shirt, baggy olive drab shorts that hung on shapely hips, and heavy black boots

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