The Advisor #8: Beyond All LimitsApr 5, 2012
Mountain View 11:00 AM
Jared looked incredulously at his friend, Vishnu Indra Pagdala, whom he had nicknamed VIP back when they had first met as undergraduates at Stanford. He pointed at the ridiculous cat-shaped hat complete with faux whiskers crowning VIP’s head. “What the hell are you wearing a kid’s hat for?”
VIP scratched at his itchy cap. He spoke with a distinctive British accent. “I had a mishap with one of my inventions in the la-BOR-a-tor-y.”
Jared smirked. “You mean you singed your hair off in your converted carport?” Jared felt comfortable joking with VIP about his converted carport which had far less security than the famed converted garages chosen by a number of Silicon Valley’s legendary inventors.
VIP shot daggers from his eyes back at his friend. “Laugh. Laugh, Jared Golden. Someday, one of my inventions will save your life.”
Jared and VIP drove to Mountain View’s Castro Street, a local hot spot well known for its numerous Asian restaurants. “Why do you keep saying that I’m in danger?”
“Wake up, my friend. Your coworker’s sudden death was no accident.” VIP walked briskly towards his favorite Chinese restaurant oblivious that Jared was trailing behind him.
“Lucy Mincer and I just worked in the same office. There’s no connection between us at all.” Jared knew that hanging out with his former classmate was an indulgence that he really couldn’t afford. But being together with VIP felt like old times.
“Just the same, you still could use some of the devices I have just created.” VIP smiled like a little boy as he spotted the restaurant’s hostess, an attractive Chinese woman in her early twenties with long black hair.
Jared tried to pull the cap off of VIP’s head and quickly saw that his friend’s hair had indeed been singed. “How the hell did you do this to yourself?”
“It was an experimental laser. I hardly fear the loss of a little hair atop my cranium in order to advance world technology.” VIP immediately pulled the cap he had borrowed from his ten-year-old nephew back over his head.
“Whatever you say.” Jared noticed that VIP followed the hostess’s every move. He was obviously intoxicated by this woman and she didn’t even seem to know he was alive.
After finishing their lunch, Jared promised his friend that the next time he was down in Silicon Valley that VIP could demonstrate some of his latest inventions. He gave VIP a quick man hug. “I appreciate your looking out for me, man. But I’m going to be fine. Trust me.”
Jared opted to take the scenic 280 back to San Francisco instead of the more industrial 101. As he got close to South San Francisco, Jared noticed that someone was following him. He tested his theory and changed lanes only to find the dark black car trailing behind him. Was VIP right? No, he was just being paranoid.
Jared decided to play a new CD and tried to forget about everything except getting home to his wife, Michelle. Suddenly, he felt his car moving towards the side of a ravine as the black car that had been following him ran along the side of his car.
“What the fuck?” Jared tried steering his car, but it was unresponsive. He began darting in and out of lanes narrowly missing cars as he felt like someone else was at the helm of his vehicle.
Then, without any warning, Jared’s car crossed over several lanes and began moving toward a lane of oncoming traffic. He tried to apply the brakes, but to no avail. He quicly switched to the emergency brake, which to his relief seemed to begin to slow his car.
As soon as he thought everything was under control, the car that had been following him rammed his car from behind edging him closer and closer to the oncoming cars. It was at that moment that Jared realized how very right his friend had been. And not recognizing VIP’s astute deduction was now going to cost Jared Golden his life.