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Smuggler's Blues

Dan and Klay arrived in Dothan, Alabama on Christmas Eve of 1999 to spend the holidays with John and his parents. John had long hoped that his two friends would meet and hit it off immediately, and they did not disappoint. The three spent many hours talking about music, speakers (John and Dan are consummate audiophiles), cars, code, and the turning of the millennium. After Christmas, the trio drove to Tuscaloosa, Alabama in search of an appropriately epic New Year's Eve bash at which to ring in the New Year and continue their fantastic speculations on life, the universe, and everything. A pervasive note of melancholy lingered over their celebrations, however; John's father was seriously ill. He was diagnosed with leukemia in 1991, but his condition had recently worsened.

An OSCAR class Russian submarine
An OSCAR class Russian submarine

The Tuscaloosa trip proved fruitful, if not in the discovery of a truly rockin' New Year's Eve party, then in the late-night brainstorming sessions held in a friend's art gallery where they spent several nights. Many ideas were put forth for the new company, but only two really stood out as both viable and fun: they could custom-build speakers for other audiophiles, or they could write a massively multiplayer online computer game. Actually, John mentioned a third option: using their language and military backgrounds to their fullest, they would "appropriate" a Russian nuclear submarine, hire a Chinese crew, and smuggle contraband between Australia and Southeast Asia. Needless to say, this third option might prove less than lucrative once Interpol got wind of it, and also clearly violated the one concrete stipulation about lawful business activity as set forth in the company's Articles of Incorporation. The idea was quickly scrapped.

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