Will Crowther, a.k.a. Willi Crowther, a.k.a. Willi the Thief, is, like Hermes Trismegistus, thrice great in the story I am tortuously telling now. Once for Adventure, the game which set me on the path of ruin. Once for his work on the cartography of Flint Ridge. And once for his work at Bolt Beranek and Newman, the Cambridge company which built the ARPANET, the computer network which would later become the Internet. And I have to admit, when, months after my trip to Nethaway’s Cave, I realized that the Crowther who had written the game was the Crowther who had mapped the cave, and that the same Crowther wrote the code which routed packets over the ARPANET, I wondered if I had stumbled on a modern myth: if all these feats had been attributed to Crowther for obscure reasons (convenience? coincidence of names?), in more or less the same way that the Asclepius, the Corpus Hermeticum and the Emerald Tablet are all attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, or, to use a more familiar example, the way the books of the Odyssey are all attributed to Homer. As I read further in the relevant literatures, I came to see how the parts of Crowther’s story fit together, but even so I thought of him as a mythical being. Even after I obtained his phone number (he wouldn’t talk to me) and his email address (my notes went unanswered) Crowther seemed like something more than a person, or something less. In fact, the more he didn’t respond to my queries, the more he came to seem like that most familiar of mythical beings: a father. Crowther the author of the maze through which my young imagination wandered, Crowther who, to be crude about it, penetrated deep into the cave before I was born. It was at that point that I stopped trying to reach him. I had two mystical unknown fathers already: Richard Ente and Swan. What did I need another father for? What good could I do Will Crowther, or he me? There he was, standing at the crossroads of all my important thoughts — and fuck him.
Hm, that thought has unexpectedly reached its end. What I am thinking now is, I know where he lives. Maybe one day when I’m done with this mess — the one you’re reading, I mean, not any of the several other messes in which I am involved, but which don’t concern you, and really don’t concern me enough either — maybe I’ll go visit.