VAMP: 6 The New Hire

Zaira just makes the 7:25 a.m. commuter train at the Salem station. She’d arrived home from New York only hours earlier to find Sandor at the computer in the library, engrossed in the details of Python. The lad needed a bath, but she didn’t bring this up and took precious minutes to let him show her his weekend’s handiwork; a bare bones but functioning web content management application. He’d learned there were open source sites where applications could be submitted and he planned to submit his when he believed it had sufficient capabilities to be of general interest.

It was impressive how quickly he’d taken to writing computer code and encouraging that he was so taken by it. Zaira had discreetly checked the remaining case of blood from Ambrus to see whether Sandor was consuming enough nourishment; his apparent consumption was not great, but probably sufficient.

Zaira had taken a hot bath, slathered on her special skin care lotion, and donned an outfit from Sam’s wardrobe — gray jeans and a black pullover. She made a note to herself to show the skin products to Sandor; he was genuinely young now, so his skin had a natural tolerance for daylight. That would diminish with time. Investing in dermatological research and founding her own skin care company in the mid-20th century is where Zaira had earned her first millions.


Now she rides the train toward Boston with the hundreds of other commuters, some still sleepy, some slurping hot cups of coffee and chatting amiably with their daily companions, some reading newspapers, others enshrined in personal digital cocoons of iPods, laptops, cellphones. Zaira leans back in her seat deep in thought. It’s going to be a hectic week. She doesn’t feel wholly comfortable leaving Sandor to his own devices in the big house by the ocean for a week by himself. But, her little Somerville rental is small, with only one bedroom. He could sleep on the sofa, and Boston and Cambridge would be close-by for him to explore. Then, Joska’s words come back to her: Sandor has been speaking of outing us to the local villages and towns.

Would he really do such a thing? He’s young, he has never lived through one of the Confrontations, his moral compass is driven by idealistic naiveté, not experience. Would an attempt at outing them in this diverse, urban center of universities, research labs and computer firms have the impact it likely would back in their historically-rooted rural community in the Carpathian mountains?

She can’t risk it. She needs more time with him to build some rapport. Only then will it be wise to pursue the hard topics. She’ll just have to do this commute to and from Marblehead all week. But, hopefully Dean will be signing the term sheet with KFR and she can quit her guise at BubbleTrendz. Maybe she’ll take Sandor on a trip to see California or the Pacific Northwest. Or maybe Brazil. Expand his horizons.


Time to be Sam. Zaira walks the last block to Kendall Square gradually adjusting her expression and attitude. Psychology dial set to perky she laughs to herself.

Sam enters the front door of BubbleTrendz, and as she passes the conference room, she sees Mary talking to a young blond guy in there. He’s signing forms that Mary is passing to him. Sam turns the corner and sees Dean pouring himself a mug of coffee in the kitchen area.

“Morning!” She gives him her most cheerful smile.

“Hey Sam!” Dean looks happy. Has he read their term sheet?

“Do we have a new hire? I saw Mary with someone in the conference room.”

“We do. A superstar Python guy. He’ll be the programming project lead on the Star app suite. Can you set him up in the office next to Gil’s? I’ve ordered new equipment for him, UPS should be delivering it this morning.”

“That’s great that we’re expanding,” Sam continues, hoping he’ll tell her more.

“It is. We’re also going to be looking for a couple of programming interns to work with the new guy Evan. Mary is putting together the job reqs. Think about where those folks could work, maybe the area across from your station? We may be looking for a larger space soon, but we’ll make do for right now.” Dean turns and heads toward his office.

Looking for a larger space can mean only one thing, Dean has acquired fresh capital. Sam decides she’ll text Deborah and Anatol as soon as she’s at her desk to find out if Dean has responded to their term sheet. She doesn’t want to consider the other possibility yet.

She sees that Gil is already in his office and decides to drop in. He’s a night owl and usually doesn’t come in until after eleven in the morning. Maybe that’s why he looks particularly disheveled today, being here at nine.

“You’re here bright and early!” she tells him. “Did you interview that new programmer?”

“No. I didn’t have any input in the process.” He’s clearly unhappy about this.

Sam is surprised at the news. Gil is a top Python hacker, Dean would surely want his opinion about the programming abilities of new technical hires.

Gil continues in a crestfallen tone. “You left early on Friday. Dean stayed late and I overheard him talking to Mary at one point about bringing in a new programmer on Monday. Monday! I figured he’d come by my office and say something, but after he talked to her, he just left.”

Sam lowers her voice to tell him confidentially,  “There was a fax on Friday that came in from a venture capital firm. Did you hear anything about that?”

“Yeah! He told Mary we’ve signed on Anderson and Cunning as partners.”

With s sinking feeling, Sam realizes the hard truth: Dean has signed on with Joel Anderson. She has made a major miscalculation. A little stunned, she asks Gil, “I”m really surprised Dean didn’t want you to interview this programmer.”

Gil shakes his head. He looks wretched and baffled. “Me, too. He’s being put on the Star apps suite. I wrote the whole thing! It just doesn’t make sense.” Gil swallows, finding it difficult to say out loud the thing that hurts the most. “And they’re getting the guy a 12-core Mac Pro.” Gil looks downright sick and says softly, again. “Twelve core.”

Sam knows enough to realize that this means the new hire is getting lots of computing power for his own use, a lot more than Gil, apparently. She ponders the situation; she likes an entrepreneur who moves quickly and decisively as Dean seems to be doing. But something feels out of whack here.

— to be continued —

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