Dual Nature Chapter 5

Fear the Business World

Dual Nature Chapter 5

Valker sits at his little kitchen table, flooded in darkness. All of his curtains are closed. A ray of light enters the room through a tear in the curtains. Dust particles float around in that area. He rubs his hands over his eyes and feels the roughness of hair on his chin. He lifts his arm to scratch the top of his head and a sharp pain shoots into his shoulder. His whole body aches. He has not moved a muscle for two and a half days. He has not gone into work either. His boss called him yesterday to check in:

“At least stay with us until you find something else,” his boss told him.

“You don’t believe in me?” Valker replied coldly; and with that he hung up. Those were the last words his boss would ever hear from him.


He looks at his flash drive, containing his entire privacy network, sitting alone in the middle of the table. “What am I going to do with this thing?” he thinks. “Maybe this was a stupid idea to begin with.” He clenches his hands into fists, breathing heavily. He takes a long, deep breath, imagining all of the stress being pushed out of him like some kind of magical antidote to his life. He massages his temples, slowly and in circles.

A newspaper is strewn across the table, but it is not a new one. Instead, Valker is reading Monday’s edition, mulling over the article about Proton. He averts his attention to the bottom corner of the paper, to see who published the article. The name is faded, his thumb print smudging the black lettering. It leaves a streak on his thumb. Valker holds the paper up to the ray light and reads, Published by J.R. Fortner: Business Director of Proton.

Again, Valker glances at his flash drive. The possibilities are endless, he thinks. In that moment, a dream flashes before his eyes. He sees himself living at the top of the skyline, in an apartment made of glass, so he can open all the windows. Opening windows is a habit for Valker, a ritual of the sort. He has kept his windows open every night he goes to bed ever since he was a child, since his father left him. The last time Valker ever saw his father was through an open window.

It is always summer, for the apartment is somewhere in the tropics. He does not have to worry about petty theft and safety issues. Valker has money and he is happy. He feels a rush of warmth wash over him.

Then, he shakes his head and snaps back to reality. He knows what he has to do. He grabs his flash drive and stares at it. So much opportunity, he thinks, stored in a device so little.

Valker flips open his tiny, sleek labtop and looks up the number for Proton. Valker can feel his pupils contracting as the bright, white light flickers on. He dials the number into his flip phone, his hands shaking with excitement. He feels much too ponderous to press the tiny buttons. He sits back as the phone starts ringing, kicking his feet up and leaning his head back.

“Hello?” a friendly female voice answers.

“I am John Fortner’s brother. You must know him. There was a tragedy recently in the family. Could you transfer me?” Right as the words come out of his mouth he sees a flaw in his plan: “Wouldn’t I use his private number if I knew him personally?” Valker slams his fist onto his counter top,  rattling the dirty glasses that he has been meaning to wash. He hopes the secretary will overlook this detail.

“Um, yes, one moment.” He hears the transfer go through. Valker claps his hands and laughs to himself. His heart begin to pump pure adrenaline.

After a minute of classical music playing, a frantic J. R. Fortner answers the phone. “What happened?” Fortner is panting.

“Sorry sir, this is not your brother. I just wanted to present an idea to you.”

Silence follows this statement. Valker wants the man to ask him questions. Neither of the men talk for an uncomfortable thirty seconds—Fortner still panting—which is finally interrupted:

“Are you insane? Couldn’t you just shoot me an e-mail? Who is this? Tell me why I shouldn’t hang up right now or—”

“Because this is too important! My name is Jeremy Valker. I read your article about Proton’s privacy issues and I think I have a solution. You see, I learned to code before I learned to walk. I think I have made something that is unbreachable.”

“What do you want? A medal?”

“What I want is an opportunity to show it to you.”

Silence again follows Valker’s words. Valker’s heart is practically beating into his throat, using the same rhythm that his fingers are as they tap against his knee.

“Well, Mr. Valker, I must say—disregarding the fact that you called about my family—I am impressed. I got my job the same exact way, being confident, so I am going to give you a shot. Do you know about the convention on Saturday?”

“What convention?”

“It was on the back page of the article I wrote. I know a lot of important people will be going. You should sign up and present.”

“Well—I guess—” Valker stammers.

“Sorry, Jeremy, I’m getting another call. Do me a favor and don’t do rash stuff like this again. If you had called someone else and pulled the same crap on them, you could’ve gotten into serious trouble. Think before you act, okay?”

“Thanks” is all Valker manages to say before Fortner hangs up. He does not think about Fortner’s advice ever again.



Look out for another edition to Dual Nature coming soon: Chapter 6 Fear the Convention!