Born 1986, Portland
College at Berkeley, age 18, 2004
Drops out after junior year, age 21, 2007
Leaves Cybernetic Dynamics, age 23, 2009
Consulting, 2009 to 2014
Father: Robert. Mother: Francis;
Six feet, one inch tall, black hair, dark brown eyes, olive skin, wears contact lenses; rugged body, at home outdoors.
James was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. His father, Robert, was a college professor at Reed College, known for its high academics and offbeat students. Robert taught ancient history. His mother, Francis, was a surgical nurse at a local hospital. She was distant and never seemed to be able to engage with motherhood.
Robert: tall and chunky, black hair, dark brown eyes, Italian ancestry; looks like he could have played football, but is actually extremely non-physical. Keeps in shape by swimming in the college pool.
Francis: brown hair, green eyes, Irish ancestry, tall – 5’ 8”; thin, small breasted with very thin legs.
James had a lonely childhood. He was an only child and learned to entertain himself at an early age. His mother was often out in the evenings, and he spent a lot of time with his father. His father read or worked on student papers every evening and James was often lonely. He found refuge from loneliness in books, first the usual boy childhood novels: Robin Hood, Black Stallion, and then science fiction. James joined the boy scouts when he was a boy. There he learned to love hiking in the wilderness.
Wanting to get away from his family, James left Portland for UC Berkeley. Arriving in 2004, he majored in computer science and had completed three years of his major when he was hired for the summer by one of his professors to work at a new start-up software company, Cybernetic Dynamics. By the end of the summer, James had invented a new scheme for computer security, the company had filed a patent, and he had been offered a piece of the company if he would stay to work on the product. He stayed, and two years later, the company was purchased, and he became an almost independently wealthy at twenty-three. He is comfortable, but unless he lowers his life-style, he still needs to have some income. He makes a good income consulting about nine months out of the year.
James has been consulting for five years. He has become very comfortable with an upscale life style. Since his deal with Cybernetic Dynamics required that he stay out of the security area, he has come to specialize in distributed database applications. His first project lasted two years – distributing product catalog information using peer-to-peer distributed database. The next project lasted about a year – designing control processes for an asynchronous database application for credit verification. The third project ended after six months because the company that was developing a property database for real estate valuations went under. Project four was for an international construction company that wanted to coordinate projects around the world – eighteen months. Since that project he has been doing short stints here and there looking for the next good-sized project.
When he isn’t consulting, he climbs mountains or scubas. He has walked the John Muir trail, the PCT through the cascades, and last year did a trek in Nepal. He has climbed several of the mountains in California, mainly in and around Yosemite. In April he went on his first snow camping trip. Then he did a one-month feasibility study with a network management company. He expects that will become a big project. He finished the study just before Susanne called. He was headed for the Canadian Rockies for the second time. He planned to take a couple of weeks in the mountains and then pick up the network project when he got back.
While James was away at college, his mother left his father. His father called one day and said that she had left. Actually she had left three weeks ago. His father said that he had known that she was having and affair but thought that it would pass. Francis had quit her job and left town with the fellow and Robert didn’t know where she was. James’ father seems to be somewhat blasé about it. He seems to think that things will go on as before and that she will just show up one day.
It’s two months before he hears from his mother. She calls from Vermont where she and her friend are staying. It isn’t too clear how things are, but he gets the idea that she is supporting her friend. He doesn’t hear from her again for six months, then nine months. Each time she calls it’s a different place and a different friend. He hasn’t heard from her for two years.
James’ father seems to just keep going to classes and puttering around in his garden. James visits his father each summer for a few days. Nothing seems to change; ancient history is the same story, the garden is a little different, and his father can’t talk about Francis.
James lives in a house in Castro Valley. The house is not new, but he has remodeled it some. It is up a valley that mainly has horse ranches. Because it is somewhat rural, at night it is pitch black and quiet. He drives a three year old Miata sports car.
James has had several romances. They have all had the same pattern. He meets a woman and falls madly in love with her overnight. They see each other all the time. He thinks she is the one. She tells him that she has been with someone else. He realizes that she doesn’t feel about him the way he feels about her. Two weeks later he has forgotten her name. These whirlwind romances last about six months on the average. There is usually a breather of about a month. The pattern started in college and he has now just finished whirlwind number ten.
Throughout his romances he has had an ongoing relationship with Joan. Joan goes hiking with him. They have fun together, but he has never fallen in love with her. Occasionally they sleep together, but it’s not the same as the mad passionate relationships he has. Joan has had a few boyfriends. She lives in SF and is always complaining that the best looking men are gay. Joan is back in school. She dropped out for a while, but now her father is supporting her while she finishes up her degree in psychology.
Jennifer is the last woman he had a romance with. She is very assertive sexually. She asked him out the first time and was all over him on the first date. Her open sexuality turned him on a great deal. He was crazy about her until she told him she was going on a trip to South America for three months with another guy. He got angry, but she pointed out that she had not said that they were exclusive. Shortly after this incident, he realizes that the idea of her sleeping with someone else turned him on. She has been gone for two months when the story starts. She returns in the middle of the story.