LNH20: Generation 2.0 #7
martinphipps2 at yahoo.com
Mon Mar 12 07:10:31 PDT 2012
Generation 2.0 #7
It was a sunny spring day in Netropolis. I flagged a taxi and
waited for it to stop in front of me. I got in the cab and told the
driver to just drive around.
“Seriously?” he asked. “For how long?”
“About a half hour or so,” I said.
“That is going to be expensive,” he said.
“No,” I said. “You are going to drive me around for free.”
“Okay,” he said.
I am the writer of this story. People do whatever I say they do.
Last issue Flashback asked May and Jay about their past. They did
not want to share, however. In actual fact, they had very little to
share: they weren’t around when their parents died. All they have
learned was learned after the fact.
Their father, Bao Nguyen, met General Baidu Tran immediately after
his release from prison. He was escorted by the local police to the
General’s office and told to sit down in front of the General’s desk.
“I apologize if they treated you roughly,” the General said in
“I’ve gotten used to it.”
“Indeed. You’ve been in prison a long time. How long has it been?”
“That is a long time.”
“Why am I here?”
“Good!” the General said. “Straight to the point!”
“It’s the dawn of a new era,” the General said. “The government is
encouraging a freer marketplace. They want more trade with the
Americans. We need people like you who have had experience doing
business with them.”
“That’s ironic,” Bao said, “seeing as how it was because I did
business with the Americans that I was put in prison in the first
“So what exactly do you want me to do?”
“For the first few years you will be working with me here in Ho Chi
Ming City. Then we will set up shop in America. In Netropolis.”
“Yes,it is an American city in the state of… oh dear.” The General
laughed. “Geography has never been my strong suit. Anyway, it is one
of the bigger cities in the U.S.”
“You agreed so quickly!”
“It is a choice between doing what I like best and know how to do
and going back to prison. It is no choice at all.”
Bao and Baidu worked closely together for the next few years. It
was during that time that Bao met his wife Lan. They quickly married
and had two children, May and Jay. Baidu then arranged for the four
of them to join him in the States. They worked together closely in
the States for a few more years. Then things went horribly wrong.
“I’ve been looking at the financial records.”
“Have you?” Tran asked. “Is anything wrong?”
“They are so very sloppy!”
“Under expenses, time and time again I see the word ‘whatever’.”
“Is that so?”
Bao nodded. “Our accountants need to more specific. What are they
talking about when they say ‘whatever’? We need to know what
expenditures can be used for tax write offs We need to know what
expenditures can be used for tax write offs and what expenditures are
just a waste of money.”
“I see,” Tran said. “I promise you I’ll look into it.”
“Thanks. I wouldn’t want any problems.”
“Neither would I.”
Bao didn’t think any more about it. Then, a week later, Tran gave
him theatre tickets. “Take your wife out,”he said. “Leave the kids
with their aunt.” Actually, their “aunt” was a relative of Bao’s who
had made it to America a long time ago as a refugee. Anyway, Bao
appreciated his boss’ generosity and accepted the tickets.
On the way out of the theatre, a man approached them and pointed a
gun at them.
“Give me all of your money!”
“I’m not carrying any money.”
“Sure you are! Hand me your wallet!”
“But all I have in my wallet are credit cards!”
“Just hand it over!”
Bao handed over his wallet. The man looked in the wallet.
“You’re right. There’s no money.”
“I told you.”
The man then shot him. He screamed and fell to the ground.
“Why?” his wife asked.
“Because he pissed me off.”
“Ha ha ha ha! You’re probably right.”
The man then shot her too.
The man’s name was John Smith. As you might have suspected, he was
hired by General Tran and his new partner, Mark Twitty.
“You did a good job,” General Tran told him later when he met the
two of them in General Tran's office.
“Ha ha ha ha! Thank you!”
“Must you always laugh like that?” Twitty asked.
“Why not? Why are you so serious?”
“You’re crazy,” Twitty said.
“Yes but you need somebody crazy, don’t you? Somebody who will do
the dirty work for you! Ha ha ha ha!”
I know what you are thinking. “How did he get those scars?” Truth
is, he’s always had them. It was a birth defect. He never saw them
as a disability. He always thought of them as being just a broad
That doesn’t mean he wasn’t sensitive about them though. One day,
one of the thugs he was working with made fun of the way he looked and
started laughing at him. He laughed too. Then he killed the guy.
Then he killed the other guys with him. Then he killed a few more
random people. Hey, once you start killing people it gets hard to
So just like that he wasn’t working for General Tran anymore. Now,
he was his own boss. Now he was The Yahoo. And that’s how he got the
attention of Google Man.
But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. How did Google Man meet
Google Lad anyway? Actually, it was, unsurprisingly, Google Lad who
found Google Man.
“Hi,” he said.
“Hello,” Google Man said. “Can I help you?”
“Actually, it is me who can help you.”
“Yes. You see, I have the ability to find anyone or anything.”
“And I can use this ability to help you fight crime.”
“I see,” Google Man said. “And when did you discover you had this
He sighed deeply. “My parents and I were in India on vacation and
we went down to Sri Lanka because we heard it had nice beaches. While
we were there, we noticed the water suddenly receding. We were
tourists so we didn’t think it quite so odd. Then I noticed the tidal
wave approaching. This was December 26th, 2004.
“’Get down!’ I said and I jumped down on the ground and laid as flat
as I could so I would be spared the full force of the tsunami. They
say it hits you like a truck, that it feels like getting hit by solid
steel. There’s no way the human body can endure it.
“Anyway, the wave carried me a long ways up shore. When the waters
receded I started looking for my parents. I somehow knew exactly
where they were. As you can imagine, when I found them I almost
wished I hadn’t.
“Anyway, people soon asked me to help them find their lost
relatives. It was a particularly grisly task.”
“I’m sorry. I can imagine how difficult it was for you.”
“Anyway, the American embassy helped me get back to the States. I
was born here, you see. I don’t belong in India or Sri Lanka. My
home is here. Except now I have nobody to look after me.
“So I was thinking that we could help each other: you give me a
place to stay and I help you find the bad guys.”
Google Man accepted Google Lad's offer of partnership. Soon, like I
said, The Yahoo attracted the attention of Google Man. The only
problem was that anybody with the name John Smith is going to be hard
to find in Netropolis. They were eventually able to track him down by
finding out the names of some of his known associates.
Anyway, that’s where you came in. You can go back and reread
Generation 2.0 #1 now.
The taxi driver spoke up. “It’s been half an hour already.”
“Yes,” I said. “Thank you. I’ll get out here.”
“Do you mind me asking who you’ve been talking to all this time?”
I wanted to say "the readers" but that would be arrogant. What if
nobody read this issue? It’s happened before.
“Nobody,” I said. “Nobody at all.”
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