20 MISSION: THE DIRTY BIRTH OF BITCOIN
By Dave Reeves
Illustration by Simon McLaughlin
Photos Courtesy Missy Pulley
This story originally appeared in ISSUE1. Click here to buy the print edition
LAST NIGHT I MIGHT HAVE GOTTEN DRUNK WITH SATOSHI NAKAMURA
Got a tip that the man who invented Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamura, was bivouacked in a tech commune in San Francisco by the name of 20Mission. It seemed that Satoshi had come down off Mount Gox to be among his people.
My job was to find him. No small task, as no one has ever seen Mr. Nakamura.
Here’s what we know about Satoshi Nakamura: He sleeps between 05:00 and 11:00. He does British stuff, such as describe things as “bloody hard” and spell "favor" with a “U”. He's smarter than all the other geniuses. Everything else known about the man is conjecture.
My contact at the tech commune was known as "Onder.” I was shown a picture of a man with his hair slicked back, salt and pepper beard. Bar fight eyebrows. Long teeth to open bottles of grog; a pirate, straight from central casting. Yo-ho-ho. No problem. I’ll bring a bottle of rum.
When I arrived at Onder's leather crafting shop in San Francisco, Skin On Skin, he had yet to be notified of his role in helping me track down Satosohi. He stared through me with a vast, black, orthodox anger burning in his eyes as I faltered though names I hardly knew, writing for a magazine that didn’t yet exist.
"You say, Meeeesy? Meeeesy sent you to me?" he shrugged. Onder’s face, dress and broken English indicated he had no time for journalists or any other job having cunts. Furthermore, I didn’t expect a Turk.
“Who is Beetcoyunz?” he asks, leaning against an ATM machine in his shop with a bright orange banner which read “BITCOIN” on it.
Anticipating such resistance, I produced the holster for a little revolver I carry when I’m feeling insecure. I reasoned that I could get a leg up with an honest leather merchant through trade. Also, the hard use on the holster would be evidence that I was a pirate, too.
Onder took the relic from me. I recited my credentials, again.
“Fuck, I know about that shit? But this,” he waved the holster at me, “this cost… For you: 70 bucks."
I gave him $50. Onder looked the money over good before putting it in his front pocket.
“Take me two days,” he said. Then he shooed me toward he door. Interview over. I waved a bottle of whiskey at him. Yo ho ho? He licked his lips but shook his head. It was the last move I had. I was fucked. Should have brought the rum.
It was then that fate walked into the shop in the form of a man named Rudy. You’ve seen Rudy before because they use his face to sell expensive swiss timepieces. His leathered emaciation and cold blue eyes suggest a starving Panzer attaining beatification as he does the last of the meth with Russian winter closing in.
Too late, I hid the whiskey.
“Let me have some of that cowboy juice,” Rudy demanded as he took the bottle and drank from it.
Outside of blitzkriegs and watches there isn't a way to employ a man who looks like Rudy. So, he’s forced to hang around motorcycle shops, polishing chrome until babes show up. Once the Babes are in tow Rudy goes into raconteur mode, cadges drinks, cigarettes and screams until the sun rises or the cops come. Happens every time. I never thought I’d be happy to see him again.
Rudy wiped the whiskey off his chisled chin with the back of his hand.
“Onder, you know my boy from LA?” Rudy passed the bottle to Onder.
Onder drank while Rudy and I traded biker gossip about the dead and jailed. After a half hour the brown liquor succeeded in washing the enmity from Onder’s eyes. He beat me on the back and apologized for “acting tough guy” in clear pijdin english.
Onder held up his phone and pressed a button. The door buzzed and he led me into the 20 Mission. I was in.
The stairs to the living quarters above were lined with the daily detritus of 40 people: empty cat cage, mail stacks, barrels of weightlifting powder. The Welcome Wall at the top of the stairs had pictures of everyone who is currently staying at 20Mission. Onder slapped the white board.
“Look. These are people. Here living. Here is names. Whachoowan?”
I scanned the 40 faces up on the wall. Prejudice suggests Satoshi is Asian. Or Jewish. Practicality dictates that he’s got an iron butt and terrible posture from sitting a million hours writing 31,000 lines of Blockchain code.
“Which one is Satoshi?”
Onder laughed and punched me in my solar plexis.
“Ha ha fuck to you!”
I scanned the candidates as I regained my breath.
Which face could invent a code so complicated it has yet to be hacked by the worst of the web? Which was capable of minting a puzzle into something that was, for a while, more valuable than gold? Who put the "new" back in numismatics?
Onder and Rudy handed me over to the house manager named Steve. Steve is not short, not tall, but square. His nose has been pushed around his face, and a 10-gallon head shaved bald for maximum head butt. Claims he is from North Carolina with a thick Brooklyn accent.
“Watch out for Heideiggah,” pointing out a cat lounging in the sunspot.
Onder and Rudy left me with Steve without so much as a fare thee well as it was inevitable that I’d see them later in the bars, in the halls and finally on the floor of this place.
Steve lets me know he's busy, cooking Italian food for 40 people, and runs through his bona fides without prompting as we walk down the hall. Steve met the founder of 20 Mission, a man named Jared, in Afghanistan, where they were employed as electrical contractors for Kellogg, Brown and Root. My eyebrows go up. KBR is a subsidiary of the famous war profiteering operation formerly known as Halliburton.
"Yeah. KBR. Keep bringing retahds."
After Afghanistan, Jared brought Steve to manage 20 Mission. Steve has been focused on bringing the old squat up to code, installing fire alarms and dealing with the city inspectors. Steve is a sheep dog, guarding the electric sheep. Good choice, Jared. All the best clubs are run by bouncers.
“Where were you stationed?” Steve averts his eyes, wary of journalist trash. But I'd come with solid commendations from two known public enemies. How could I be denied?
“I can’t really say where I was stationed. I guess it don’t matter now. You know. Sandbox. PB 2 and 1. Afghanistan. ”
“Oh…and where is Jared now?”
“He’s down in Medellin setting up the other co-working sight.”
Medellin. Afghanistan. KBR. A triangle of interesting names.
Could Bitcoin be a black operation sponsored by the government? Some say that the initial idea for Bitcoin comes from open source paper originally penned by a government agency, in the same way the internet was developed as a system of communication for defense industry computers before it became a porn delivery platform. In fact, despite being hyped as an undetectable underground currency, Bitcoin might prove to be a terrible way to move money for criminal enterprise. Every Bitcoin comes with a history of each transaction the coin has ever been involved in, along with a timestamp. The record of transaction is verified by every other Bitcoin in a public verification known as the Blockchain. This transparency could make it a dream currency for investigators following The Money.
Steve marched me down the hall to an industrial-grade kitchen where teams of people fried chicken and plated food. Nobody smelled the alcohol on my breath, because the schedule posted in the kitchen read "DAY DRINKING." I opened a beer to toast my good luck.
I met the den mother of 20 Mission, Diana, who claims to have lived there the longest, all of three years. She was there back when they had to throw out the junkies and exorcise the hooker ghost. Diana was there because the founder of 20 Mission knew one thing from his time in the Marines: it is important to have women around.
Steve is working the stoves and doesn't have enough time to vet me fully. His meatballs are being over run, parmigian [not sure what Dave means here] picked at. So, Steve introduces me to the welcoming committee across the hall, a man I will call Adonis, and returns to the kitchen.
“Hey! Wassyahguts! Just don't trow us under the bus is all I axe of you.” demanded Steve from across the hall.
Adonis twists his moustache as he tinkered with graphs, which parsed the beats of some horrible music and bubbled about how 20 Mission is a really inspiring place to live and work. Adonis can't stop working because he will get money if he can do it. If not—no. It’s that simple. Can he figure how many beats per minute are polluting our aural scape? Adonis doesn't know. He's trying. It’s certainly motivational that he can see coders who didn’t make the rent from his window, patrolling the mission district for cigarette butts and crapping between parked cars.
Adonis hunches over his keyboard, interactive table flashing at the sound of his voice as he gives the history of the place. 20 Mission used to be a shooting gallery, littered with needles and stolen wallets; it was called "Hotel Hell" or "Terror Hotel." You could rent a room without a door for 300 bucks, or 500 for a room with a door. Back then it was more Black Flag—all day video game binges and fomenting sedition through the invention of a new type of currency.
That was years ago, however. "20 Mission has evolved from a place with one shower, a gas jet heater and flowered into the tech paradise of now" Adonis says, waving his hand, in a distracted manner, at the world outside of his door. Adonis had done this boilerplate routine for other journalists.
We smoked apple flavored smoke from a vape hookah. A Frenchman and two updated hippy chicks come out of their rooms to look at the new writer guy. One of them had an Ophelia vibe. The other knotted white leather around a piece of shell she picked up in Thailand. They were the new kids in the commune, still eager to hear the elders harken back to the Old Days of 2012.
Taking notes with a pen was an insult to them and they couldn’t stop themselves from blurting out, “there's an app for that!” every time I wrote something analogue.
The doorbell rings. There's and app for that.
They check their phones. Hit a button. Someone clunks up the stairs. It's Steph the geek.
Is Satoshi a woman? This has never even been postulated, so, it’s something he would definitely do. Of course—that sneaky fucker is so smart, he’s a woman!
Steph is opening a tech school for coding and wants to create a social network for independent porn producers. Why shouldn’t every lady have her own porn channel if she wanted it? I thought of some reasons, but kept them to myself as she led me to her boudoir. She opened the door to reveal that it was festooned with boustierres.
“This is where I do the cam girl thing,” she/he says, and points out a camera rig mounted under the top bunk of an Ikea bunk bed. Nope. She’s no Satoshi. If coding Blockchain is anything like writing for a magazine Satoshi would have to put the bed closer to the floor. I knew from long experience that climbing up a ladder after a couple days of Adderal and whiskey is a great way to break your neck. I bid the temptress adieu.
In the hall a large man called Tylor rolled up at me like a big hairy boulder, and herded me up a staircase to the roof. Tylor produces a web show called “Money and Tech,” which analyzes the ups and downs of the roller coaster ride that is Bitcoin value. As we clunked up the stairs he briefed me on the newest Bitcoin news: The Winklevosses—the infamous, Ivy League twins who commissioned Facebook—are in town trying to regulate the Bitcoin market. For what? Tylor didn’t know, but opined that if they could stabilize the market it could be used to launder that big, crooked, Ivy League money.
From the roof of 20 Mission Tylor pointed out the buildings where the "Burrito,", the "Fortune Cookie" and the "Twinkie Defense" were invented. The ladies struck yoga poses among the remains of a chicken coop. Tylor says that the city demanded they demolish the chicken coop, because “the city is a jerk.” This is true. In the place of a Statue of Liberty, San Francisco instead erected Alcatraz . The prison is set center stage to remind the poor, the tired and the starving that San Francisco don’t really want any of that. We got plenty, thank you.
More drinks. Something minty and strong. I was introduced to a trim ginger with some smart guy glasses on. Is this the guy? Maybe. I had given up on Satoshi being japanese
“So what’s your App do?”
“Allows you to watch stuff with someone in another location.”
“Porn. At first. Later, it will be for like a supervisor and his little buddy at work or whatever.” Is Satoshi gay? It doesn’t say a thing about that in his white paper.
As the sun goes down Steph the Geek announces that she has achieved new funding for her site. She waves a glass of wine around “and here’s to the success of everyone here!”
We drank to her success, and then our success. And how. Talk got loose. The last of the sunlight gilded the incoming fog as it blotted the ramparts of the Presidio. \
Tylor is one of the geniuses who bought Bitcoin off the top. So, when the price went from $20 up to $1000, he ended up paying about a $100 for a year’s rent. Tylor was smart enough to know that people like me don't travel to places like 20 Mission without there being a reason to be here.
Tylor fed me drinks. The fog obscured Sausalito. The other journalists had already covered the guy with the Hug-O-Meter. What was left to know?
The Golden Gate Bridge floated in the sky, unmoored. I admitted I had come to find Satoshi.
Tylor focused visibly and said, “I can’t tell you who he is because as soon as his name is known he will be killed.”
Bitcoin is an attempt to make the banks moot. As if to dispel any doubt of this intention Mr. Nakamura programmed a reference to the current banking system failure into the "Genesis" Bitcoin: "The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks."
If everything goes according to Satoshi's plan and Bitcoin remains unhacked until 2140, the banks will have to beg Satoshi to tell him how he did it. Bitcoin's proof that it is the best in cryptography is proven by the fact that, despite the worst intentions of every hacker in the world, Bitcoin still exists. It has legitimacy in the business press and trades. Also: In placing a premium on security, it appears that Bitcoin has employed a longer-term strategy than The Fed can even fathom.
What good are the banks anyway? How much longer will we pay for huge buildings full of fat-cat paper pushers and their security guards? The real question is this: Has Man evolved to a point where he can value the ability to solve a puzzle on a clock more than shiny, shiny rocks?
It doesn't really matter, anymore. The gold standard was abandoned long ago. Today the value of American Dollar is quantified by the primacy of our Seventh Naval Fleet, now parked around the Persian Gulf, in range of thousands of hostile missiles.
Tylor was right to be worried about Satoshi’s safety. Even bank executives must be aware of how quickly geeks killed taxis, landlines, the music industry, romance and proper journalism. But those things were child's play compared to messing with The Man's money. That's the type of sedition that gets you nailed to a cross. Don't forget San Francisco is a gold town, in the Golden State, built by 49ers and framed by a Golden Gate Bridge. It speaks to the Mister Nakamura's ambition to found his temple, here, upon the rubble of the old, golden gods.
The lens of fog crept over from the Haight, and reduced the landmark bridge to vague lines in the mist, which suggested the spars of a tall ship. Or a gibbet. The roof crowd clammed up. Night was upon us.
So, we trooped down the stairs to the kitchen where Steve’s feast was served.
Everyone enjoyed platters of home-cooked Italian food until Rudy loudly suggested that he would have sex with anyone at the table for "Just One Bitcoin!" No one even checked their phone to see how much they were worth at that time.
After dinner, Onder and Rudy slunk away, which allowed the geek party to get down to some serious networking. I spoke to a Chilean working on an app that would allow the user to see a "party" before he or she paid money to enter. Then a starry-eyed Hug-O-Meter guy starts fishing for hugs from Ophelias, the girl with bunny ears that perked up and down with her mood. A huge guy from Copenhagen, who acts as a tech Bounty hunter, spends his days hacking companies for fun and profit.
It a a veritable madhouse of original Netflix series ideas: There was also, not surprisingly, a Bob Marley coder guy; an Isreali and an Asian guy with an Austrailian accent; a funny Midwestern girl, and a guy with a machine that printed Bitcoin receipts;Den mother Diana and a cheerleader whose car battery had been stolen; a Justin Bieber look alike, in a Morrisey shirt, fixated on getting frat boys for being frat boys.
Then, I met a man who looks like the mask used by Anonymous. Mister Anonymous from Spain was a true believer in Bitcoin and saw it as a way to get rid of “banksters” in general; more specifically, he wants to get rid of the banks charging fees for transferring his money from Spain to more stable banks in the US. This is something he's doing with Bitcoin. It involves the use of local Bitcoin markets where Mister Anonymous meets a local buyer online, agrees to meet at a public location and exchange cash for Bitcoin, like a drug deal.
But he tells me “now we have the machine here, so, its not so how you say, sketchy?” Mister Anonymous offers to show me how it works.
We go down to the Bitcoin machine in Onder's shop. Mr. Anonymous puts a code in the machine.
"This money I bring from Spain where the economy is, how you say, shit?” The machine whirs and dispenses a stack of hundred dollar bills.
"I don't want to give no more of my money to the banks. Your money is, like, a vote."
The machine keeps whirring, more money as Mr. Anonymous arranged his cash in various pockets.
"We can get past a system where only psychopaths are the only people who are able to elevate. Some people want to make the world a better place."
"Who puts the cash in this thing?" I asked Mr. Anonymous. Instead of answering he put a finger to his lips, "Shhh. Shut up your mouth".
I felt it was a good idea to buy a Bitcoin. For the story. I gave the machine the day's market value of two hundred ninety some odd dollars. The machine got a scan of my hand for identification. Welcome to the machine. The scan took forever and all I got for my trouble was a piece of paper with some Rorschach dots on it and freedom from the oppression of the banking system.
After the Bitcoin receipt was printed Mister Anonymous and I repaired to the kitchen to get drunker than we already were with the others. We spent the most of the evening playing a game. Evidently, the rules of the game were to drink every time the value of Bitcoin fluctuated until we blacked out.
The notes from the night are heavy with arcane data about the Breton Woods Treaty, and future words like "gigaflops" and "terraflops," numbers so big that they have yet to enter the common lexicon.
The occupants of 20 Mission were unaware of the science fiction of the place. They didn't need William Gibson telling them to take math meth and invent the new money to overthrow the Nationstate. And this is how humanity progresses: Like-minded people living together in close quarters allows the unconscious to collect. Members of such group can become a conduit for the desires of a generation. (The V2 rocket program, the Manhattan Project, The Left Bank are all examples of places where people lived together to achieve the Next Thing.)
History proves again and again that the fastest way to get to the next level is you got to get down with the other freaks. Talk to them. Love them, hate them, figure out what they want. You got to smell their crap and throw fireworks at them in the hall, which is what we ended up doing. Or ,what I ended up doing. Or that’s what some guy with dreadlocks was yelling at me to stop doing.
"No fireworks after midnight!"
I told him about how it's strategy, using loud noises to flush the Bitcoin guy out from his cover. A leader of his caliber would have to come forward when his dojo was attacked.
He shakes me off—no he is not Satoshi. His name is actually Hugo. The halls were thick with firework smoke. I beat the fire alarm into the drywall with a broom until it stopped the infernal screeching. Hugo watched me pour beer over a fresh firework burn before asking if I had heard of Hunter S. Thompson. Comparisons are odious. I ask him if he's ever heard of Bob Marley. He laughs and holds up a picture of Bob Marley on his lighter to light a joint. The profile on the lighter, a cameo of Bob Marley with a joint in his mouth, was identical to his.
“Yah mon. I get it. We even,” he says.
Hugo is not the man I’m looking for. Breaking even in a battle of wits with a minor hack would not happen to man who created the block chain.
Hatred from the inhabitants of 20 Mission roiled over me like squid ink. It was time to find my door to hide behind. In a rare flash of foresight, the magazine worked out a deal with the pit bull at the door for a room where the writer might crash in the unlikely event that he is voluntarily overserved.
My joy dissipated when I realized the door numbers had no order. Maybe it was a puzzle code or what the fuck?
I found Onder and Rudy in front of a computer with a young lady named Breeze and yet another Motorhead guy watching the wart on Lemmy's face getting bigger. (The Ace of Spades, The Ace of Spades!) Where did these people come from? I hadn't heard the door app buzzer go off for hours.
Onder ran at me and grabbed me by the collar. "You must respect for firework hour!"
I tried to explain about how the numbers were wrong on the doors as he and Rudy dragged me down the hall. Rudy fleeced me of my weed as they threw me into a room with an upside down number "3" painted on it.
The flat light of dawn dissipated in the nearest fogbank in the Bay. Nice, until it burned off, and the sun showed it’s blistering glow. I stumbled out to the bathroom. And there they were—the lot of them. The walk of shame is shorter and more concise in a commune.
Steve was making breakfast and listening to “Margaritaville” without any sense of irony as Onder fried breakfast in his underwear. Ophelia and the jewelry twister ignored me. The mood was different now. They had seen my handwriting get worse as the night wore on, and they knew they had nothing to fear. My "getting drunk" routine, and my inability to use apps convinced them that I was, at best, capable of writing another puff piece about the how 20 Mission is "The All Stars of Asbergers."
Breakfast chat was very technical. A thin, wild haired guy named Chris pitched the new thing he was working on “Bitcoin mining for your mom.” It was then that I saw the Bounty Hunter make a deal to see if he could hack the system set up by Chris. It was akin to a leopard making a deal with a gazelle around the watering hole.
I followed Chris back to the common room where he explained how underlying gestalt of the Nakamoto consensus and the block chain creates trust among humans. Trade is what civilized us, what made us men. The Blockchain makes trade into trust.
"How many people do you trust right now?” wisely, Chris didn’t wait for an answer. “What if I told you, that, with this box," and he pointed to a black box with a button that read "remember/forget" and "I can trust millions of people and they are trusting me. The number of people and machines involved will only go higher. Think about it, if trade marks the beginning of civilization isn't enabling faster trade a type of evolution?"
As we spoke, every transaction occurring in the Blockchain scrolled by on the screen in sums, enormous and sundry.
“The Blockchain is the amazing thing at work here,” says WHO? “The intended consequence of Blockchain is that it will create a system for a mega computer. Every new computer in the chain can be used as part of a super computer. After 2140 this block chain will get a chance to teach us how solve the great problems facing mankind like curing cancer or figuring out where to put the Palestinians.”
As he said this three equal amounts of nine hundred and $99,000 caught my eye.
“Sure, but… Who’s sending that amount of money? And for what?”
“Well it doesn’t really matter… it is simply a means of transference. If you are insinuating that this is an illicit transaction then the perpetrators will use American hundred dollar bills, Francs, Baht, Dong, whatever. Crime takes all roads. Who cares if it's in Bitcoin or what?”
Articulate, libertarian, no time for hair care. Everything about Chris was screaming that this was my man.
“In addition,” he says, “Bitcoin happens to be emerging at the same time as China is wakening from it's slumber… The currencies are destined to develop together." He leaned back in his chair and it gave a loud creak. The chair was some rust job from the 1950s. Nope. Satoshi would have to a Herman Miller chair with the lumbar thing, the adjustable arms—the works. No man could write 31,000 lines of impenetrable code with swamp ass.
I bade him farewell, and treaded the halls, peeking in at various geeks. Some of the doors were layered in graffiti, emblematic of how long each freak had lived there. The benefit of coders living in a co-working community is evident to me. Coding is, essentially, the same job as writing for magazines or “web sites.” Both require lots of time alone—too much. The writer who spends his time socializing gets nothing done, but if he spends too much time by himself he'll just drink, masturbate, cry—and repeat. At a co-working environmments, a coder can shut the door and get weird as he or she wants. Open the door, and five geeks and a cheerleader will ask how their app is coming along.
I stepped out to sample the local nightlife at a nearby bar called “Benders” where a pitcher of Anchor Steam was $12. The place was full of clean, nervous nerds trying to drink enough to get over a Tinder date. It occurred to me that when these couples consummated their relationships their children (God forbid) would be the by- product of an App. If a child is engendered by Tinder how could she not believe in the intrinsic worth of the Internet? It’s the Alpha and the Omega. This child will want Bitcoin because it's made of the very stuff from whence she came. No coins to lose. No god to trust. No banks to fail. Just filthy lucre. Finally, we can render the gold back to Caesar. Algorithms knit us together nowadays. It's Evolution. No man is an Alcatraz. It’s wryly an art exhibition about ATK Wei Wei’s fugitive art.
I came back to 20 Mission way too late. Evidently, quiet time had been cancelled because Onder and his miscreants were listening to Motorhead at peak volume. Onder grabbed me by my face and forced me to drink the black liquor used in gypsy brothels.
“Why are you steel heeere, man?”
Little did Onder know that I have learned to drink the black liquor. The trick is to bite through your tongue in order to retain consciousness. In a twilight of pain I was able to snatch bits of conversation. Onder flexed his fist into one of his signature creations, a set of leather knuckles and stood over me on the couch.
“You know we have things to do!”
Girls laughed. Someone dragged me down the hall to smoke something I’ve never heard of. What’s it called? More laughter.
I was in a new room. Blue velvet and black carpet. Black lights. I stumbled over a hydra headed whippet machine.
Dub Step crunched out from a stereo hidden under a pile of dirty clothes. This “music” is the new patchoulie, ubiquitous, cloying and woven into the very fabric of San Francisco. We smoked. I don’t know what it was, but the effect was sudden clarity. My setting came into sharp focus.
The ginger guy was there, and a muscular Asian guy, too, bouncing around, feet sticking to the carpet, “I love house music.”
The room smelled like bong water. Men’s underwear, Grape KY jelly. Nasty. Where am I? I search through my notes: ginger App—watch porn with other person. I tried to piece it together. House music, whippets. Didn’t seem like something Satoshi would have the time for.
“I love house music,” the Asian man said, once again.
The ginger strapped a dildo on his head and then tossed it in a suitcase, “I’m going to South By,” he said by way of explanation.
It was then I remembered the other thing that made San Francisco famous: That late night indulgence that all real men crave when the fog rolls in, and no one can see you. You know what I’m talking about—Tommy’s pastrami at the Original Tommy's Joynt on Geary. So tender. So juicy. Cash only. Gotta GO.
I fought my way through the curtains until I found the door and stumbled into the hall.
Onder's picture on the welcome wall has the words "these motherfuckers" falling out of his mouth in a cartoon balloon. I remembered that Onder had my holster and where was that freak anyway?
The hall was quiet outside of his room. Evidently, the Motorhead app had stopped functioning. I tripped over Tesla the cat—this is how I ended up looking under Onder’s door. I saw Onder rock his Motorhead Altar on a hinge so he could descend into the floor of his room. I thought this was funny, like a mime show, so I opened the door and called his name. Then I peered down into the trap door and realized that Onder really had descended on a ladder built into the floor.
I followed him down. The wall of the offices below were festooned with whiteboards garbled over with mathematical equations. I never knew leather work was so complicated. I opened the door and came down a set of rickety stairs in the back of the leather shop.
There on the floor was a set of identical twins with too many teeth, and muscles —it turned on me. The twin with the bigger head held what appeared to be a severed hand on the scanner of the Bitcoin machine as the other twin jammed stacks of money into the cash slot. They froze. I had caught them, dead handed.
“Um. Hey. Just looking for my holster. ”
“I thought you said we'd be alone!” the smaller one brayed at Onder.
Onder grabbed me by my shirt and shook me until my teeth rattled as he screamed in a plummy British accent, “Okay, you found me! I’m the Dread Pirate Roberts and Satoshi whoseewhatsit too! I’ve been called several bloody names over the years.”
The twins advanced, snorkle chins jutted dangerously close to my face.
“Come with me, David! We will overthrow the banks! The gods! The monsters!”
I looked at the twins. The smaller headed one tried to hide the shriveled hand.
"We didn't do the hand."
It was then that I snapped to something Tylor said earlier.
“Wait a minute, Onder… are these people… The Winklevosses?”
The big -headed twin made a cutting gesture across his neck and I was struck by something hard, but soft, like a set of leather brass knuckles.
There was a bright light and then, all was quiet. Faintly, I heard Rudy claim he knew just what to do with me.
I awoke in the Ginger’s sex palace, hose from the whippet machine still in my hand. The room empty. Fuck. The buzz of blacklight was the only sound that kept me going. I peeled myself from the carpet, and skated around, there were spent nitrous cartridges. As I picked a melted Twix bar out of my hair, I realized it was a good night.
Again, I pushed the velvet curtains away to find the door. Was there some way out of here?
I ran the down halls, beat on doors, like a mad man. No one answered. No one in the kitchen, I should clarify. Yet even Adonis was gone from his labors.
Finally, I noticed a new leather holster duct taped to the Welcome Board. The words “GET OUT” were scrawled across the faces of my fellow commune mates.
And I did, finally: I got out of there. Geeks are the kind of people who will call a SWAT team on you for fun.
Should you see Onders, stitching leather at the corner of 20 and Mission Street, listening to Slayer in the hot dog wind. Know that he is The One who shoots the rats, scares the junkie bums off and enables 20 Mission to become a tech bohemia so that geeks—and the women who love them—can co-work mankind to the next level.
He's the reason that nerds are allowed ride long skateboards with backpacks full of technology without getting mugged in the Mission District of San Francisco. The Tenderloin, too.
And, thanks to him the Blockchain will supersede the nodes of the present the web to create an Internet where your information is no longer monitored by Facebook, Google or NSA types. He is the reason computers grind away at crypto puzzles in the snowy wastes of Norway.
Make no mistake: the entirety of the crytpo rebellion has always rested upon his shoulders. So, don't bother him, unless you have legitimate leather concerns. Onder is a very busy man. Be careful when approaching him. Bring a gift. Don’t ask too many questions. Because, after all, he only knows three or four sentences to cover the topics he will talk about, before he sends you on your way.