Linux saved my Life
Confessions of a Pornographer
Trade Show 4 In the morning I discovered that Mike left me behind at the hotel, which was in the middle of the desert, 20 miles from Vegas in a one traffic light town called Jean. Collins was fond of trading inconvenience for expense, and this hotel represented the epitome of that logic.
The clerk informed me that there was no Vegas-bound charter bus. I'd have to wait over an hour for an taxi to show up, which was an $80 ride into Vegas.
"No way in hell," I thought, and wandered out into the morning sun. I tried offering people who were getting into their cars $20 for a ride into Vegas. They all claimed to be either going the other direction or they'd just shake their head and dive into their cars and lock the door.
I knew what they were thinking. Nobody was going to try and rob somebody coming from Vegas. But going to Vegas was a sure thing. People headed that direction were certain to have some cash.
I spotted a limousine driver fishing around in the back of his black V10 Cadillac Stretch. "Hey," I asked him, "do you have any passengers?" He shook his head no.
"How about $20 if I can hitch a ride with you to Vegas?"
He wouldn't do it at first, something about insurance. But when I mentioned that I was writing for a magazine, he asked what one.
"I'm freelancing for a trade magazine called Linux Journal," I replied.
"Linux?" he said.
"Hop in. It's a long drive. Sit up front."
I climbed in. After we were tearing down highway 15 at 90 MPH, he introduced himself as Frank and asked, "What happened back there? Did your car break down?"
"No," I answered, "the people I'm here with left me behind this morning."
He laughed. "Vegas is a place where people come here to do what they normally never do. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. But that's what happens."
"I've been driving a car here for 15 years. We're family owned. . ." He thumped the dash twice with his hand. "I do it off and on. The shit that goes on in these cars, you wouldn't believe. Orgies, puking and fighting. . . . God damn, the puking. Puking with the window rolled down, all over the outside of my car. Puking inside the car. Seizers and puking. One guy and his girl were smoking something laced with PCP. He started to convulse, vomit was flying everywhere. I took one look and didn't hesitate. His girl was screaming and crying and pounding the privacy divider, but I made sure it was rolled up tight and locked, then I stepped on the gas and drove straight to the hospital. Later we found vomit in places you wouldn't believe. Way down behind the seat and inside the cigarette lighters."
"Yeah. But like I said, I do this off and on. Once I ran a sand and gravel business. That was going well, but my partner was embezzling. I had to file for bankruptcy."
"Are you working on anything right now?"
"I'm selling Chinese porn on the Internet. My brother does business in Taiwan. He always comes back with five or six CDROMs stuffed with all kinds of smut. My cousin runs the webservers. He uses Linux. Talks about it all the time."
"You use Linux to sell Chinese porn?"
"Yeah. Want some free samples? Grab a disc from the glove compartment."
After we exited the highway, Frank pulled over and stopped. "You have to jump in back," he said. "I can't be seen with people getting out of the front of my car."
I tried to hand him 40 dollars but he wouldn't take it. "Linux has saved me enough money already," he said. (Cont'd)