My Father The Commodore Part I - Business Is War
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Jack Tramiel is a funny looking man. Short, squat, and stout, his face resembles what you would get stretching human flesh over a misshapen bowling ball. Walking with him requires slowing your steps or else risking his wrath. Boiling rage starting at the base of his neck, the reddish veins popping through his skin as it travels overtop his scalp and eventually turning his squashed face turnip red.

Jack Tramiel is a cutthroat businessman. Beneath his throne at Tramel Technologies lays a pile of lesser men's bodies. Some of them were driven out of business by Jack undercutting their prices. Conquering rivals is how Jack gets his kicks.

Jack Tramiel is a survivor. You couldn't waste time growing up in German-occupied Poland. The Tramiel family were sent packing to a ghetto and from there, to Auschwitz. Coming face-to-face with the infamous Dr. Mengele, Jack ended up working in a Nazi slave labor camp. Lying awake at night, Jack couldn't stop remembering his father's cause of death: A Nazi doctor administering a gasoline injection directly into his veins.

Today, Tramiel is tap, tap, tapping a broken number two pencil atop a mahogany desk. Everbody else in the office was out celebrating their Independence Day but taking a day off for fireworks was really just an excuse to waste company time. Time that could better be spent think, think, thinking or tap, tap, tapping.

Jack's heart was beating slowly, but just below in his guts a seething fist was twisting itself into existence. It had been three months since Commodore, a company he'd been single-handedly running since 1953, kicked him out. Leading Commodore through a string of smashing products and the best-selling computer of all time apparently wasn't even worth thanking him for.

Now they weren't even mentioning his name.

Revenging himself was all Jack could think of. Destroying and smiting anyone who had even been remotely involved with betraying him. It was this all-consuming desire which almost caused Jack to miss the fact that his telephone had been ringing for God knows how long.

Pressing the cool plastic telephone receiver to his ear cools Jack's rage-induced facial reddening.

"Jack. Go ahead."

"Yes, hello, I'm calling on behalf of Warner Communications. We’ve been told your company may be looking for investment opportunities. Our asset of Atari Inc. would be fitting to such a venture. We’d even be willing to part with just the hardware or coin-op divisions. Is that something that might interest you, Mr. Tramiel sir?”

"Video games are dead. Go find some other chump to be your necromancer."

Jack found himself relishing another opportunity for slamming a phone. One more pile of splintering plastic would mean exceeding a personal record.

The call from Warner had been distracting enough to bring his boiling fury down to a simmering discontent. Scheming takes a lot of focusing and energy. Thinking about crushing enemies is more important than sniffing out whatever that smell is wafting in from the other side of the door.

At least, that is, before Jack thought of opening it. Swinging aside, a blast of sour fumes came erupting from the aperture once leading to the executive lobby. Coughing, stumbling forward, and blindly swinging his fists went Jack. The fact that he ended up connecting with a jaw is as surprising to him as it is to the other fellow.

"Jeez! Watch it, wouldja? I come in peace, I come in peace" cries a weaselly voice, straining with pain in the fog.

"Where the fuck is a fire extinguisher?" Jack, groping blindly forward, growling fist-first. "If you're not calling the fire department five minutes ago, you'll be billed for every burn."

A man's silhouette is emerging as the smoke cleared, shoulders heaving with silent chuckling. "Jackie, Jackie, easy. We're not in your pad, baby. These are my digs, and I'm here to make you an offer you can't refuse."

"I make a point of refusing, then." Through squinting eyes, Jack makes out a rat-faced head floating amid the curling tendrils of smoke. Smiling his crooked smile, the familiar face of Nolan Bushnell was pushing itself towards him.

"Follow me, baby. I've got something you might wanna see."

Jack, cringing, kept standing his ground. "Bring it here or take me back. I'm not playing your game."
Nolan's head was now close enough to see rusty red fluid dripping from the neck stump. "Have it your way, baby. Let's get in your head."

"Absolutely not, you stay away from my head."

"Haha! Metaphor! You're pissed off at Commodore for shitting on your whole life."

"No shit, sherlock. Where's the exit?" Barging forward, Jack's spiking of the disembodied head sent it hurtling back into the darkness. Countering his reckless rushing was the ground beneath Jack's feet, pulling him to a standstill.

Nolan's voice calls from the dark, a pigeon's cooing underwriting his soft tone. "Jackie, baby, baby, hey, gimme a chance to cut the bullshit. I'm coming at you hot and ready. Looking for a buyer. You can get a tech base for pennies on the dollar, brand recognition, along with added edge that is all the occult power money can buy."

"Bullshit."

"Jackie, let's be real, you're talking to a severed head."

"Call me Jackie one more time and you'll be a lot less than that."

Condensation from Nolan’s hot, giggling breath made the back of Jack's neck damp. "We'll help you, Jack. Do you know how much power can be gained combining a twenty-four-hour cocaine binge with goat's blood and everything history forgot about the Mayans? Hell is the furnace fueling an engine of hate, it can all be yours. A deal with the devil is always better when the Prince of Darkness pays cash."

"Let me go, and I'll think about it."

Instantly uncoiling itself from his legs, the ground's release begat Jack's turning. An inch away from Nolan's head's eyes, he is unblinking.

"If we're doing this, it's going to be my way. Got it?"

Turning his back to spit-shine his spectacles, Jack began grinning.

"My son will be coming down the road, so you'll have to clean up your act.

Nolan attempts clearing what remained of his throat. "Well, egh, ergh, um, so, baby, you know, old habits die hard?"

"Well, only as long as it takes me to start making heads roll."

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