Chapter 1 A new town, arriving under the cloak of darkness my eyes fixated on an ominous street lamp. The eloquence of the snow falling illuminated by the dim orange color seemed to dance in perfect unison with Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata filling a void inside me that I did not know existed until this moment. The first order of business is to find some WiFi. And then I think to myself “wouldn't a place to sleep trump internet access?”Nope, not with me, not here not now not ever, to us; the internet is our life blood. I have an unlimited supply of money due to the fact that I am a hacker, I take money from evil organizations and use it for good, I enjoy the parallels. This is the 333rd town I have ṤⱧǠᴆŐƜḛḋ. I made up that term on my first operation many years ago, I guess it just fit. It was terribly exhausting to quell government criminals in larger cities, in retrospect I should have chosen a smaller city. So what do I do you ask? I do what everyone would thoroughly enjoy doing if they weren't so obsessed with their distracting devices, I hunt government criminals, they live and work within county borders, insidious and corrupt. They are intelligent, well spoken, they have connections throughout the judicial system and police force. For the ordinary citizen, it is simply a money machine. The fuel that powers this machine is people. I am getting ahead of myself, let us focus on the first few days of this operation. I do not like prowling the streets at night but sometimes we have to exceed our own expectations and fears in order to accomplish our goals. Finding WiFi is not that hard in this little town and assume that the security with respect to computer networks is quite pathetic as usual. With the wind tearing at my ears and my feet starting to get cold, my mini-WiFi-finder, as I call it, detects a strong signal and I notice that very near is an apartment for rent. Perfect, I thought, it was on top of a long grueling hill, you know, one that makes your legs burn and your mouth dry when you have to walk up it in the summer. Since it was night time, I had to leave a message for the landlord, I had limited options so I walked the dismal streets looking for lodging. The blue motel sign spoke to me, it seemed to capture the snow as it fell with its unrelenting voice of cold emptiness. I do not like motels but they do serve a purpose sometimes. When I am in a motel I feel as if the room is more important than the human inside it. Everything they put in this room is cheap from the towels, shampoo, tiny bars of soap and toilet paper. I checked in at the front desk, snatched my key and made my way to room 333. Of course there is free WiFi and I take out my tools, plug in my laptop, login to the wireless network and start sniffing. I have so many tools, tools that were obsoleted, tools that were programmed by me, tools that were pirated from various security firms. Watching data from the motel network is just a way to pass the time, there is not goal here. Listening to the internet chatter at the hotel I can distinguish a multitude of goings on. For example; a drug deal, some wild sex, a prostitute checking her Facebook account, a man drinking while video chatting, a husband and wife sending test messages to each other with indulgent sexual overtones. Most people wear a mask when they go out into public, I am fortunate that I have that ability to know a person inside and out prior to seeing them in public. Between watching documentaries and decoding the internet chatter my night was pretty uneventful except for this one brief moment when, while, listening to video conversation chatter, I hear “Make sure the Judge Knows it's 3”. It is obvious at this point that I have selected the right town. The town itself, in the mountains of Pennsylvania, would be forever marked as a corrupt system. Unbeknownst to me, this data capture would be the catalyst that would send this town spiraling into the deepest darkest abscesses of human corruption and cruelty.
Chapter 2 The sun rose with a cold blanket of snow twirling like a hurricane, the snow dunes were high on the rolling hills outside the motel window with a gleaming colors that would make you think of biting into that first piece of bittersweet fleshy orange fruit, the taste and the texture almost never seems to get old. The cars in the parking lot were white, all of them with layered white pilled high clinging to the roofs and doors like a spider in the shower, crisp the snow is in the morning prior to being bustled about and plowed away by the salting demons. Getting your car free without a shovel at this time would be a feat in itself, I am glad I walked. Setting up an appointment to meet the landlord was easy as pie, I had called the night before and left a message furnishing him with an identity of some CEO in New York with a excellent credit score. Sufficed to say, I am confident that my lease will be approved without even a second glance. Don't worry fellow white-hats, I always clean up after myself, the identity would never be harmed nor abused. Most of us can justify anything given the proper circumstances, point and fact, here; a necessary evil must be used as a tool for the greater good. I do battle with my conscience every day, but then again, I look back to history remembering the many necessities of the greater good being serviced with indiscretion and at that moment a sense of warmness filled me. Of course this is just a psychological balance that is needed for us humans to carry on with an idealistic goal that in itself is unjustifiable. When in the company of tyranny, one must act I thought. I do not wish to make a political statement or some haphazard cry about injustice, I simply want to complete my operation. I do not wish popularity, praise or martyrdom; my wish is to help without a single sole knowing I was present, simply slipping into the dead shadows of the night like a fog that dissipates, swallowed up by a forest. All in all one gets dragged into this political game to the point that you are neck deep in bullshit and cannot escape, you are drowning in sinister black ash with sinister people hell bent on ruling the world one dollar at a time, one life at a time, one city at a time; destroying the earth one breath, one lake, one ocean one country until there is nothing left but the starving refuse of what once well called humanity. The putrid metallic smell of radioactivity invades our lungs and eyes so that we see nothing but despair and the once flourishing idea of hope slowly fades into clouded memories of times long ago that ride the waves of a flung and bounded rubber-band atop a candle slowly melting away its strength ready to release its stored energy to the world in one quick atomic detonation. Those whom caused this destruction are already looking forward to new frontiers to exploit and pick clean any and all resources to sustain their parasitic existence, ignorant to learning the lessons of the simplistic harmony that is needed to coexist in the universe with other living beings; only thinking of themselves leaving the rest of us with the scraps of their destruction. Whew, my rant is over, let us get back to the work at hand. I had fallen asleep at my laptop at the small desk aside the queen sized bed with my snooping programs running full speed. I awoke to my ring-tone of dogs barking on my black phone at around 9:00a the next morning from an unknown number. Still groggy, my voice cracking with phlegm, I answered. The voice sounded like an older man, compassionate to my surprise, he introduced himself as the landlord of the apartment I had wished to rent. We had talked for a relatively short period of time prior to setting up a meeting the same day at noon, funny, high noon I thought to myself. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the definition of a “black phone”, it's a prepaid untraceable phone we all use that is purchased from virtually any small market such as a 711 or grocery store. We must purchase call minutes that are in turn added to the phone account via a prepaid calling card, ironically the same size as a credit card; go figure. Counting the minutes I stare at the laptop screen, my eyes fixated on the encoded data flashing by with my burning red text and font inside the computers' terminal. This data will be saved for later, I may not even get to it at all, data to me is as cookies are to the cookie monster. I devour it and put it some place safe so I can analyze it later. I will pick it apart, try to interpret it, anything that will subdue
the craving of my information appetite. I try not to look at the clock due to the fact that I have always worked with the axiom in mind that time slows down if you watch it, or for some easier idiom, a watched pot never boils. Etymology of certain phrases interest me greatly but I will never have the time to seek out those that tickle my fancy. Multitasking is second nature to me. While sniffing the motels' data, I am listening to an audio book by Howard Zinn, A Peoples History of the United States. It never occurred to me to read this book or even search out this author until I watched the movie Good Will Hunting. I guess one could speculate that it was at that moment, an epiphany if you will, that kindled the inspiration to start operations for the common citizen with my laptop and microphone. I am debating constantly with myself the pros and cons of every situation, every question, every thought. Before I realize it, my alarm begins buzzing, time for the apartment interview. I packed my belongings, which were very light. A laptop bag, a small backpack and cellphone. I exited the motel and made my way to the front desk where a small Indian fellow greeted me with a smile. “Checking out Mr. Smith?” he asked. Yes, I replied handing him a fifty dollar bill. With the dings and clings of the old-style cash machine, he furnished me with my change and I was on my way with an abrupt about face. I did not hear what he said as I rushed from the office, I think it was “Have a nice day” or something to that effect. Following the directions given I weaved my way around to and fro along the back streets of Somerset County. Trudging in the snow was not my idea of a good time. I did however like the winter season, my favorite. The GPS smartphone, after what seemed like miles, guided me to a not too impressive house that sat just inside the outskirts of town and just a bit in the forested area. I could tell that the man enjoyed landscaping as the leafless trimmed bushes stared at me while the wind whipped through every little finger of the branches producing a slight whistling sound. The flower pots below the main front windows appeared to be untended due to one of them being broken and falling apart allowing the potting soil to seep through the cracks in the very old wooden ledge holder which engulfed the plants. The snow for some reason did not reach the flower pots, they were in plain sight, nothing above or beside to disparage the winds. Interesting isn't it, these little nuances I scrutinize from time to time? One simple extrinsic item and I am off living in another world where time stops and I begin to calculate the probabilities of such an event unfolding. I am sure you can relate if even for a nanosecond the dreams of day, the day of dreams, daydreams a fundamental unity of thought and perception at any given point in time. In the distance a snow covered old tractor with the giant tires exposed, a direct contrast to the bright white glistening crystals that lay like an old rug over the vista. muddy driveway, figures, in these boots I will track mud inside the house, I must make a mental note to tell him that my boots have mud on them. I knock on the door, of course not a simple knock as one would expect. A quick three taps, then a smack and two more taps. Sometime I do not know what comes over me. There if course is absolutely no reason for this, however, this is something beyond my comprehension and makes me laugh out loud; these silly little things why do I do that! A small part of me wants to hear the one that opens the door acknowledge the odd knock, to this day, no one has ever mentioned my obnoxious knocking habits. With the small time I had until he answered the door, I tried to picture what he might look like. I have never been good at putting the voice to the face, although my imagination would disagree. Even with such broad far reaching imaginary utensils, my mental image was nothing like the man. With a loud prolonged menacing creek, the door opened. I had imagined in that second the door shouting “pleeeeease for all that is sacred in this world don't open me”. Standing before me was a older gentlemen, he looked like my grandfather with silver hair, slim and fitted with his head slightly hanging low from his neck. He greeted me with the normal “Hi how are you.” I replied with the normal response and proceeded inside as he motioned. I tell you this, from the outside this house does not look as it does on the interior. I felt as if I were in a 1930s movie. Knickknacks on every table, eloquent mirrors hanging on the walls with gold
frames and green flower wallpaper. Technology was scarce here, no televisions on the walls, no fancy telephones and blinking router lights. No computers with ornate flat screens displaying some ridiculous screen saver. It was all as if this man was born in the 30's. Wait, I think he was, thought diversion again. I followed him, Mr. Gibbs, again laughing inside because Gibbs was a character on NCIS that I had at some point enjoyed watching on Netflix. Every time I said his name I attempted to say it as the character Tony did on that show, it kept me laughing on the inside and sometimes a laugh leaked out unexpectedly. Finally after trudging through many hallways and rooms we arrived at what looked like a conference room. A giant table in the center, oval shaped with a table cloth and that same ugly green wallpaper. We sat down at the table on one side of the oval. I had expected him to take the head of the table but it set me at ease that he took just the side I was sitting. It showed me humility, or perhaps he was desperate to rent the apartment, I do not know. He fashioned a thick packet for me to read, the lease I presume. It had all the bells and whistles do's and do-not. “How's your credit score?” Gibbs asked. knowing that he had already thoroughly investigated my, well some CEO's, finances already, I replied nonchalantly “Good I guess, never really paid much attention to it.” I noticed a little smile on his face, while he watched me peruse the document. I do not really know to this day if Gibbs knew that I knew he had looked up my credit score or not. Perhaps that was why he was so accommodating. After going through the lease with a fine tooth comb so that no surprises await me I ask Gibbs for a pen. I purposely did not bring a writing instrument precisely to force this money grubber to get up from his chair and fetch me one. Small victories I say, laughing in my head. After a short recess Gibbs returns with a golden cross pen. Cross pens are a brand for your information. Gibbs extended his arm ever so slowly trying to make me exert myself. Is this some kind of fantasy power play here? Is Gibbs repaying me for asserting dominance in the initial stages of the meet? Is he now trying to gain some kind of alpha position? All of this intensity and goings on happened in a matter of 10 minutes. I sit, idle, like a mannequin in silence waiting for Gibbs to hand me the pen. A comical thought ensues “The Pen is Mightier then the Sword”. Inside I am busting a gut laughing but I maintain my stoic presence. Eventually, what seemed like an eternity he placed the pen in my hand just the way I told him without voicing a word. I sign the document, which is just scribbles anyway that no one can read, and hand it back to Gibbs. We then began to talk about history, which is by far one of may favorite subjects. Talking and walking Gibbs leads me into a room filled with pipes, not the pipes of your sink mind you, but the pipes you smoke. Wall to wall there were pipes, all kinds, all colors. I have never seen so many pipes in my life. So, me being who I am, with all seriousness I ask Gibbs “So, you like pipes Mr. Gibbs?” I could not contain myself again I laughed inside furiously. We walked about the room viewing the pipes for a few minutes, I was pretending to be interested but pipes do not tickle my fancy. I picked one up just for fun and placed it backwards in the wooden holder that was attached to the wall. I wonder if he will ever notice. Finally we sat down in a small reading room and talked about the history of this county, what he did while enlisted. I knew he had served our country simply by viewing the flags and medals on the wall. The stories he told were very interesting. As a history buff, I was content to the extreme listening to this man dispel these happenings to which he alone was witness. I had spent about two hours with Gibbs listening to his stories, it was magnificent. I lose myself in the story and for a moment I am there, back in 1939 when Gibbs was serving in the Navy. The satisfaction is immense when one is able to speak directly to a serviceman without the news sugar coating and caramel coating. Time to go I said to myself. We exchanged phone and utility company numbers, Gibbs provided me a set of keys as I would be moving in as soon as I possible. Placing them in my inner chest coat pocket a thought intrudes, “Shit, I forgot to tell him about the damn boots”, I knew this would happen!
I wonder if mud is on his carpet. It is a long trek back to the apartment, the snow was deep and the wind died down a bit which was an extra added bonus. During the trip to the apartment I realized that I have no furniture or chairs, no dishes, nothing. It is amazing what we take for granted every day just moving about in our daily lives such as cups, toilet paper and cleaning supplies. One would think that after doing this for a living that I would have a plan in place, a certain algorithm from start to finish for specifically this purpose but alas, my mind is always elsewhere. Every new town is a new venue, a new challenge, it is a place to construct the framework for that which you will join in building a new intelligent class of people in the background. I had decided to get the necessities first, I would work on the other living furnishings and utilities with a full stomach and a wet whistle. I arrived at the new apartment relatively thirty minutes after leaving Mr. Gibbs' home. With my cheeks frozen and red from the bursts of crisp wind, not too intense though as I had stated before, the tip of my nose like an icicle with a bit of nasal mucus leaking from my nostrils thoroughly frozen to my small thin mustache, I placed the key in the door without wasting any time and emerged into an empty, warm two bedroom bottom floor dwelling that was once a basement converted into living quarters. It was wonderfully built into the ground, cozy and hidden by the geography of the landscaping. The lay out was efficient, but not an efficiency apartment like those wanting motel rooms being offered all around this town as one of those month to month economy deals. These were not deals at all, they were far too expensive for very little space offered and did not economically make any sense whatsoever. The heat was set at seventy degrees, inordinately too warm for me, I am a bit of a polar bear when it comes to my comfort. I was extremely enthused that the temperature controls were central airconditioning because lugging an air-conditioner around in the summer was not my idea of time well spent. The readout displayed seventy-five degrees, I immediately set the gauge at sixty-two degrees. I did however have other reasons that were not personal for setting the temperature at this level due to the fact that my equipment gets quite hot when running for long periods of time. My action would serve two purposes, one providing me with a comfortable working atmosphere and two simultaneously expediting a controlled environment ensuring my computer systems would not overheat. The floor was wall to wall carpeting, a light gray with symmetric darker gray knits parallel to each running its entire length. If one were to mathematically explain this to give an exact visual representation, one would ask that a two dimensional graph be drawn. Beginning at origin (0,0), each darker gray knits' position would increase and decrease by two up and down the (y) axis just like lines on notebook paper; for example, (0,2), (0,4) etc... and (0,-2), (0,-4) etc... At each point to the left and right beginning at origin on the (x) axis, the gray knits increased and decreased also by twos. Of course, this all depended on your viewing perspective. Whether you viewed the carpet horizontally or vertically, a gray knit would, or would not be present at origin, (0,0). The pattern was simply gray light gray, gray light gray. There was a semi-large kitchen with the normal amenities which connected to the living area directly without any such door or partition. The two bedrooms were to the rear of the living space with the doors spaced equally apart. The lavatory and shower area door was directly left by only a few feet if one was facing the bedrooms. The living area had a wonderful glass sliding door with a small patio outside just opposite the lavatory door. The dimensions were not important at for purposes of this description but were comfortable, not too small and not overly spacious. Every time I had moved into a new place, I had a small ritual in which I yelled “Hell World” in the center of the room and listened for that ever so interesting shrill echo that one could only get from an empty, furniture-less lodging. I had decided to call a taxi for my trip to the supermarket where I would fulfill the requirements of my meager shopping list. To my dismay, this town had not one public transportation service. The taxi service run by one solitary man was apparently the only way to traverse this area in the middle of nowhere if one did not possess an automobile. I rang the taxi service with my black phone and awaited his arrival. I was the third person in line to be picked up so it would take a bit of time for him to report.
To my delight, only thirty minutes pass until my ears ring with a car horn. I went to the glass sliding door and and before me sat an older minivan with an off yellow taxi sign atop its roof. Laughing to myself I exited the apartment locking the door behind me. “Where to?” the old man rattled off with a smile. “Off to one our countries finest Walmart's stores!” I stated armed with a gift card in my hand. “Sure thing Mr” he grumbled. He put the van in reverse and backed out from the parking lot without haste. He did not turn on the meter right away which made me happy as I already knew in such a small town the fare would be outrageous. He tried to make small talk but I was not interested, I just kept nodding and offering two word responses to his inquiries as we inched slowly down the hill, I estimated that he would get the idea soon enough. I had figured that he was doing this on purpose, most taxi services are set on a mile to mile fee and a timer fee which added charges as you rode. The meter was already at $3.50 and we haven't even turned off of my street yet, how immensely disgruntling. After about fifteen minutes we had arrived at the monolith to human necessity, Walmart, the fee on the taxis' meter read $23.00 and I gasped. “Are you serious!? I asked, “Twenty three dollars!?” What a rip off I thought to myself. Handing him a twenty and a five, I held out my hand waiting for change. I would be dammed if I was giving this guy a tip. I grabbed the two dollars with a sneer and quickly opened the door to exit the vehicle. “Should I wait?” he asked before I could make a beeline to the large double sided automatic entry doors. “No thanks” I muttered and hurried away with brevity thinking to myself I will find my own way back. For ten dollars I could have bribed a toe truck driver and saved thirteen dollars, woe is me. A couple months back I figured out how to endlessly loop the transaction within Walmarts' point of sale system causing a logic error. The gift card instead of deducting funds when a transaction made would add the price of the items to my balance. This kept my balance on the gift card forever increasing. It's the little things in life that make me laugh, this would be one of them. I am not buying cars or expensive toys, I am just looking to get some basic necessities here. You know like, soap, some dishes, and one of those fancy little cup cleaning thingamabobs that whilst you push the plastic handle, the neat little brushes spin-clean the inside of the glass so that one does not get a hand stuck in the glass or perhaps more to the point, those of us with larger hands that are physically unable reach the absolute base of the inside of the glass. Next order of business was food & drink. With such an elaborate selection of processed foods from which to choose, one would literally lose sanity in this labyrinth of advertising hell. The products seemed to jump right off of the shelf at you pelting you in the face with an old leather glove screaming inside your ear subliminally to buy them or you will most certainly die this day. The endless research dedicated to the development of these relentless marketing campaigns giant shopping chains employ to sell us garbage, it astonishes me that the general public is able to function without driving themselves into unrelenting poverty. Wait a minute; a small laughing spell erupts inside me again. Cogito ergo sum should read “I buy therefor I am” instead of 'I think therefor I am” within our society. If anyone is wondering the etymology of Cogito ergo sum, I will define it so that there is no mistake as to the meaning I intend to convey. Cogito ergo sum[a] (/ˈkoʊɡɨtoʊ ˈɜrɡoʊ ˈsʊm/, also /ˈkɒɡɨtoʊ/, /ˈsʌm/; Classical Latin: [ˈkoːɡitoː ˈɛrɡoː ˈsʊm], "I think, therefore I am", or better "I am thinking, therefore I exist") is a philosophical proposition by René Descartes. The simple meaning of the Latin phrase is that thinking about one’s existence proves—in and of itself—that an "I" exists to do the thinking; or, as Descartes explains, "We cannot doubt of our existence while we doubt. I do not think or perhaps more so believe that if Descartes would have taken a trip to Walmart in our century or have been made privy to the way our society has become so indoctrinated into materialism, that this philosophical proposition would have taken on this form. This of course is just my mind wandering off on a tangent again. Equipped with my trusty metal, wheel squeaking, child seat outfitted shopping cart, I wander up
and down what seemed to be endless isles of refuse. I shift my brain mode into the ignore gear. I pride myself with the ability that I possess that prevents me from falling prey to sales gimmicks and marketing strategies whist effectively making purchases that provide my physical body with the vitamins and minerals needed to sustain life. This however is not to say that I refrain from purchasing items that do not please my palate. I made my way to the very posterior of the food section wherein the beverages reside. I despise shopping so I made it a point to be nimble. I snatched some iced tea and milk and tossed them in the cart while it was still rolling. Sufficed to say, I traversed every isle and tossed it into the cart. I do not wish to poetically describe in detail how I shopped so let us assume that I speedily acquired what I needed and leave it at that. If I loathe shopping, I detest writing about it even more. I arrived at the checkout register with a full cart of goodies. After unloading them to the black conveyor belt I awaited the cashier to tally up and bag my supplies. I always made it a point to try and guess the total before checkout, a little memory game I play to see if I can remember each items price as I put it in the cart along with the 6% sales tax in this state. My prediction was $122.56. When the final register beep occurred, the sales display read $122.57, damn, one penny short. Before I realized what I was doing, my hand inadvertently whacked the display sending it into a complete 180 where the total was now facing the cashier, quickly, say something I thought to myself. All I could muster was, “Oh, I am sorry!” “No problem” she said with a short grin placing the last few items in the bags on the turntable. $122.57 she stated with a practiced nonchalance. I just looked to my left shaking my head, I already knew the total, did she not see me intently admiring the sales pole as the total rose systematically with every scan of each items' bar-code? Following rules for the sake of following rules, a study in the obvious I thought to myself. Perhaps the title of a book I may write in the future. I handed over my gift card making absolutely sure that the cashier would not check the balance. This was a very important step in using this specific method of purchase. If the balance was checked, the available balance would read $0.00, something I did not want. I stated forcefully that there was no need to check the balance, I am in a hurry and with a swift swipe of the card through the credit terminal I was home free. The receipt printed out. As the cashier handed me the receipt without looking at it, I notably reviewed the charges especially gazing upon the balance of the gift card that was printed on every receipt from Walmart. To my delight, the balance read $122.57, the exact total of my purchase. I nudged my cart to get it rolling and with a swift but unnoticeable urgency I made my way towards the door and exited the establishment. The next order of business was to find transportation back to the apartment. The snow and low temperature enabled me some bargaining material to work utilize which gave me hope that this would not be an arduous task. I perused the parking lot looking for what I thought would be a decent person that I could detail my plight. My criteria for this good Samaritan based on many attempts prior to today had to fall into a very specific set of criteria. Young mid 20's, beat-up car, a wanting paint job, smoker, male and does not appear to be in a hurry. I almost immediately spotted my target loading his groceries next to the cart return rails with a lit cigarette hanging from his lips. I approached him leaving my cart at the cart return station and began to interact with him describing my dismal situation. He did not seem too caring but I knew this was normal as the younger generation were more interested in themselves than helping out others. I completed the tale of woe and then sealed the deal with “I can offer you some gas money, say ten dollars, I live just in town.” This worked almost every time. Most young people needed gas and cigarettes if they smoked especially with gas and tobacco prices these days. As I awaited his answer I pulled a pack of cigarettes fro my pocket and light one showing him that I smoked. This was just icing on the cake because he could at any time during the ride ask me for one. I could almost hear his thoughts at that moment. “Hmm, free gas and perhaps a few cigarettes, sounded like a deal to me!” “Sure, hop in, no problem!” he said after a few minutes. “Let me grab my things” I exclaimed not waiting a second for him to disagree. “Should I put these in the trunk with yours or shall I place them in the back seat?” I did not ask if I could, I did not
want to give him the opportunity to think about it. “The trunk he said.” I loaded my belongings next to his and placed the cart into the return area and then walked to the passenger side door smoking a my cigarette waiting for him to click the power lock. The lock popped up and I sat myself down in the ripped black leather seat that rocked to and fro due to a rusted out shackle underneath the base of the old seat framework. I was careful to hold my smoke outside the door until I had asked him if it was permissible to have it inside the vehicle. As soon as he sat down in the drivers seat I had asked my question. With a laughing smile he said “Sure, are you kidding?” with his own cigarette hanging from his bottom lip as if it were to fall onto his faded jeans. I distributed a ten dollar bill to him as he started the vehicle. He placed it into his center console appearing to act as if he was not interested when of course I knew it was the only thing on his mind. I closed the door with a hefty pull of my arm and we were off into the sunset. We exited the parking lot and began the quick expedition to my dwelling as I called out directions. He was quiet, a somber fellow to my liking. He spoke just once the entire trip to state that the weather was quite cold. I just agreed and nodded my head. He piloted the vehicle as if he were in the Indie 500, with the snow as it was, it made me feel uneasy. I made it a point never to critique someone whom is doing me a favor so I kept my mouth shut. It had only taken us ten minutes to arrive at my place due to his lead foot. To my bewilderment he asked if I had needed help unloading my supplies. “No no!” I said with enthusiasm, I can manage. Again to my awe he insisted. We exited the vehicle as he pulled the trunk lever to release the latch exposing our groceries leaving his car running. It struck me as odd but at the moment I did not think too much of it. He loaded up at least 5 bags by himself before I could even extend my arm into the trunk, there were only 2 bags left and the gallons of tea and milk. I felt partially useless or at least like I was taking advantage of his goodness so I had to state that I would get some of those. He didn't respond, he just started walking away from the car towards the entrance of my apartment that I had previously pointed our as we entered the parking lot. Did he not hear me? Did he ignore me? At that moment, his license plate caught my eye, Texas. It didn't phase me and I thought nothing of it. I followed him sneaking in front of him excusing myself to open the door with my keys that I had ready in my left hand. I slid the keys into the door knob gently kicked open the door with my trusty steel towed boots. The door swung open hitting the vestibule closet with a loud thump. He followed directly behind me with my belongings and sat them down in the middle of the kitchen floor where I had placed my load. At that moment, it had struck me that I did not know anything about this guy, he could be a killer, a thief, an escaped convict for all I knew. Why in the hell was I allowing myself to show him my back? I quickly did an about face placing my hand hastily but covertly behind my back unbuttoning the strap to my large Bowie knife. It was attached to the middle of my back inline with my spine by a small strap. It was sheathed and I of course did not expose it to him because I was not certain of his intentions. He looked at me and I looked at him. His eyes were cold, emotionless with a glare that could cut right through solid granite. I waited a few seconds to see if he was going to make a move. With the seconds passing like molasses flowing from a spoon onto a cookie, he began to speak. So, what happened to your furniture he asked. I without hesitation shifted gears within my mind to self protection mode. I stated indifferently that it was not my place and that I was helping a friend move in and these were his groceries. When I think about it now I probably shouldn't have said that because if he were a killer or something, this would be a perfect opportunity to practice his trade. Again our eyes met. With a malevolent grin on the side of his face, he reached into his breast coat pocket. Time nearly stopped and thought to myself this is it, he's going for a gun. He then abruptly equipped himself with 5 inch, double edged black boot knife and it all began to make sense; the license plate, the car running, the relative ease it was to acquire this transportation, his quiet demeanor, he was probably rehearsing what he was going to do when we arrived at our destination. I was standing about 5 feet away from him which for me was a considerable stroke of good luck because it enabled me to display my Bowie knife in all its glory whilst simultaneously creating one hell of a shock factor.
When the reality of the moment finally dawned on me, I composed myself and focused my thoughts. He spoke again, seemingly rehearsed, Give me all of your money and that watch right now if you want to see tomorrow! With my left hand raised moving it forward and back I said no problem, no problem, just don't hurt me. I knew how this was going to play out and I could hardly contain myself. Grasping my Bowie knife with my right hand to which he still did not see because I angled my body much like police officers are taught keeping their firearms away from the suspect during arrest so that the actor could not grab his weapon. I furnished myself with a small devious grin also and at this moment, for reasons that are beyond me, I decided to quote the movie Crocodile Dundee II. The scene played out when a gang thug attempted to mug Paul Hogan with a small knife. Sure enough, that is what I did. I jerked the 15 inch Bowie knife from its sheath while at the same time stating the quote from the movie “Oh that's not a knife, this is a knife!” as I patted the cold silver blade on my hand up and down. His eyes became wide, stoic and round much like the diameter of a standard poker chip. He took a slow step back, the boot knife lowered. I said, in a stern unmistakably pissed off voice; “You picked the wrong fucker to rob today didn't you?” I raised the blade and spun it around catching the sun that was shining through the window which I angled so that it was like a laser beam to his eyeballs. With every fiber in my being I was hoping that he would not say something to the tune of “Well, lets dance!”, after all, I had never physically hurt anyone nor did I want to. Just as I started to take a step towards him, he made a beeline for the still open door. I allowed him a 2 second head start as to allow him to get to his car so that I could appear to be chasing him. Out the door after him I went. I have never seen someone run so fast as he jumped into the car and had the door closed, the car in reverse spinning tire to exit the parking lot. I figured I would give him a going away present. Just as he passed me on the way out I took the butt of the Bowie knife and smashed his drivers window. The window shattered like movie glass into thousands of small chunks onto the lot, onto him and onto my arm. I continued to chase him to the road but before I could get there he was already down the road in a puff of thick exhaust smoke. The snow dust rose like a wave behind the beat-up sedan. Hmm, I thought to myself, I think I would like a hot pocket; ham and cheese would tickle my fancy. I secured the Bowie knife, buttoned it back up and went inside thinking to myself, all in a days work. This is not the first time something like this has happened to me which is precisely why I always carry a Bowie knife. To my immense satisfaction, op after op, I never had to use it. I love to calculate, I am always calculating. What are the odds that I, at this moment in time and space, pick up a criminal/killer or whatever he was? It is beyond my comprehension as to how such an event could have befallen me. The next order of business was furniture. I have had the same furniture since operation 1. Over the years I have developed certain procedures that I adhere to when running operations; one of which is storing my furniture at a rental storage facility near my target city. It is a long and arduous task to have my furnishings conveniently located at a storage area remarkably close to the city. The logistics of shipping these items is unfathomable so I must have help. I have a small group of dedicated individuals whom offer to assist with the small things like this which streamlines the process. 24 hours from now, I expect to be up and running with my scanning, sniffing, snooping, and some other nifty stealth tools. The sun was beginning to set behind an array of dim oranges and surreal reds as the time passed quite expeditiously as my groceries found their homes to the random antique cupboards and the old refrigerator awkwardly perched on the uneven carpet covered cement floor; it always appeared as if it were going to tumble over at any minute. I made it a point to place these items haphazardly about the kitchen area for no particular reason, perhaps because I wanted to give myself a bit of irritation when urgency rears it head which would remind myself that I do not follow the standard notions of conformity and order. Simple actions like these serve many other purposes, primarily one as memory enhancement and secondly statistical analysis. I would eventually create a spread sheet illustrating how many times I was able to find an item that I had craved on the first attempt giving me a way to calculate not only the percentage of times I was successful but the probability of me securing the item on the first attempt.
The first night in any operation was more of a setup phase than anything else. My amenities would not arrive until the morrow, this meant it was pizza and movie night. My laptops accompanied me everywhere I traveled, they were a part of me as I them. Without me my laptops were useless, with my laptops, I was useless, a meager play on words from another favorite movie of mine, Full Metal Jacket referring to a Marines' rifle. Along with my laptops I lugged a large assortment of computer accessories, more of a “never leave home without them” collection. My inventory consisted of 3 2TB USB hard-drives, a pack of blank CD-Rs an blank DVD's used for writing data, external USB keyboard, a UDB hub, 3 RJ-45 network cables, 2 external USB gigabit network cards, a gigabit router, an 8 port gigabit network switch, an assortment of USB thumb-drives ranging in size from 512MB to 64GB, a WiFi network finder, external USB laser mouse, USB phone charger, computer microphone, headphones and finally a USB computer webcam. With this rather lavish set of tools I was able to conduct business anywhere in the world that provided internet access; or more to the point an internet WiFi connection to which was open security or secured with common encryption all of which I could break. The means by which such a large set of software tools were able to be carried was of course the inventory itself. For instance, the USB hard-drives carried most importantly my digital library. This library was by far the most important tool in my arsenal, it contained, to date, 250,000 electronic books ranging in such a plethora of topics that any question posed me would stand zero chance of not being answered. History, manuals, computer programming, aviation, military, philosophy, physics, psychology, law, and finally general novels. This was not the extent of the library as it contained many more topics but one could easily grasp the extensive information set to which I was privy. I had over the years developed my own web-based software that allowed me to search, as most do on an engine such as Google, MSN and more, that would match my query not to Internet content but to my vast library thereby eliminating the mass results of nonsense and garbage one would receive when using such Internet related searches. My own search results provided absolute answers with material that had already been fully researched allowing me to display results in 1/1000th the time. After I had ordered the pizza from a local eatery, I began to harmonize my inventory across the main living area's floor adjacent the glass sliding door. Classifying the items systematically in alphabetical order arching from left to right, a small grin exposed itself on my cheek. Drawing the parallels as to how I fashioned my computer equipment across the floor contrasted quite amazingly as to the method that I pigeonholed my groceries. My mind began to wonder asking if perhaps I actually did not care so much about order but rather order that only pertained to my own core values relating to technology. In a fit of obsession, with both hands, I haphazardly swiped the items too and fro much like throwing a deck of playing cards to the floor to shuffle them so that there was no discernible order which completely alleviated the sense of uneasiness that rushed over me like a wave of hypocrisy. While waiting for my extra pepperoni stuffed crust pizza to arrive, I surveyed the room deciding which electrical outlets would best serve my needs. I did not wish to hamper the setup of my workstation when it arrived the next day so I chose a small place in the corner, placed my bag against the wall as a back rest and fed my laptop its much needed energy to come alive. As the laptop beeped and ground to fruition slowly opening its eyes from a long slumber, I laughed silently with my hands raised in the air mouthing the words “It's alive!!!” a kind of ritual I practice after traveling in all types of weather as things go, 5 out of 100 times I power on my laptops, they do not work correctly requiring me to spend an hour troubleshooting. To my respite, the elegant ṤⱧǠᴆŐƜ logo appeared in the background with all its glory; the black, white and red color tones stared me in the face with the ever so common login prompt that the Linux operating system provided and seemingly began to whisper in my ear with the exquisite phrase “System Ready!” I typed my password and with a quick black screen transition, the desktop was displayed in all its ravishing splendor. The window manager, one of the most nimble of all windows managers for the Linux operating system filled the screen from corner to corner. Many Linux users have their own preference as to which window manager tickles their fancy
due to a wide range of considerations. My choice, in point of fact, was Window Maker. Speed was the defining factor to which led me to this choice after trying most all other available window management systems. Some of the technological terminology I employ may seem too advanced for some, however, I tend to do so not because I wish to patronize but rather be precise. I have many times been accused of a certain condescending behavior when speaking about technology when in essence it is a complete misunderstanding with regard to my intendment. At the moment I had plugged in my external hard-drive to peruse my movie selection, a knock at the door startled me. I have a tendency to get quite enthralled when working with computers that the perception of time ceases to have its normal continuity. Days appear to be hours, hours seem to be minutes and seconds, well seconds do not materialize at all. Everything outside the realm of my own reality seems exists in its own dimensional construct of quantum mechanics allowing me to be one with the moment to which I am present stretching infinitely into a paused state of time itself, it's just my laptop and I so to speak. I stammered to the door with a an annoyed strut because I had to cease my computer work; with my hand reaching deeply in my pocket for some currency, I widened the door and before me stood the ever so noble pizza delivery man. Thinking to myself that it was a bit sexist and politically incorrect due to that fact that the pizza delivery man was in fact a woman whom appeared to look like a man, I simply presented her with a twenty and said keep the change. I under no circumstances wanted to attempt to unravel this enigma of nature's folly seemingly being acted out on stage with myself as an audience member to which the actors were desperately awaiting my reaction. I purged this experience from my memory like a computers' volatile memory on reboot as I latched the door and walked away. I placed the aromatic pizza to the right of my laptop with the top open to allow the emanation of cooked pepperoni and melted cheese to fly about like an invisible dagger ready to pierce my nostrils with a formidable lunge and again began to peruse my movie collection attempting to find something that was indicative of my mental state and emotional appetite. After about 10 minutes, I had selected a favorite of mine, “The Emperors Club”, a movie depicting a group of privileged students at a private school being taught the by a dedicated teacher William Hundert played by Kevin Kline whom valued character above all else. It was filmed at Emma Willard School in Troy, New York, although St. Benedict's Academy is said to be modeled after Phillips Academy, a preparatory school in Andover, Massachusetts. Kline, discussing the film at his Alma mater, St. Louis Priory School, said that he modeled his character after the Rev. Dom Timothy Horner, an English Benedictine monk and headmaster of Priory when Kline was enrolled there (Wiki). I tend to use Wikipedia quite a bit for some easy backgrounds on such subjects such as movies and actors. “It's not enough to live but to live rightly” and “Great ambition and conquest without contribution is without significance” were two quotes from this movie that solidified my belief in moral actions regardless of rules. A favorite quote regarding following rules blindly I quote Robert A. Heinlein: “I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.” I started the movie, turned the sound to its maximum, laid back in my makeshift backpack lounge chair. Nothing else mattered at this point, I was hopelessly submerged within this epic journey of the moral ethos being played out, imagining myself as a student heeding the wise declination of this master of history and singularity. Soon my eyes would fall victim to the hour, heavy, weeping like a willow tree. My mind would slowly become detached from reality as microchip dreams and computer screens filled my consciousness. The movies' auditory script metamorphosed into nothingness and the world ceased to exist. The sun shone through the slats on the sliding glass door penetrating my eye lids. It seemed that no matter where I lay, no matter the position and orientation, the birth of the day would find my eyes with absolute accuracy like a laser beam. I arose irritable and petulant chastising myself for not
remembering to staple a blanket over the glass door in order to shield myself from the day. I do not wish that my slumber be interrupted by the suns' rays, I am a night person, I relished every bit of darkness bestowed upon me by the earths rotation. Immediately I grabbed my staple gun, I carry a staple gun everywhere strictly for this purpose, and a thick blanket from my backpack fastening it with four ½ inch staples, two on each end of the wall, completely covering the large glass door separating me from all visualizations that lay no more than 6 inches away. Blocking the outside world from intruding into my perfect corner of time was an obsessive need, one that I had always managed to maintain throughout every operation. As the last staple was fastened to the wall, a mechanical symphony of a truck engine, an old loud rusty exhaust, the squealing of the wheels being turned too far in one direction by the driver filled my ears. It was extremely obnoxious and drowned out every other sound present in the room. Hearing this many times before I did not have to gaze upon the old white box truck with bald tires to know what it was, my crew had arrived with my furnishings. For some unknown reason I could not help myself, I peeled back the blanket that I had just placed over the glass door to be sure it was whom I was expecting, sure enough two of the staples fell from the wall exposing that which I had wished to separate myself. I grabbed the stapler with fury and plugged 8 staples into each side of the wall; bang, bang, bang, snap, snap, click, click, bang! Tossing the stapler to the floor with a sense of accomplishment, I mouthed under my breath; fall down now you bastard! Just as the stapler hit the carpet and rolled into a unique position standing straight up, a knock at the door. Tripping over the power cord to my laptop shaking my head as I regained my balance, I kicked the stapler onto its side with a pure sense of relief and as a sign of protest to reality; grunting to myself, I imagined Murphy's Law scrolling across my forehead like an endless stock ticker. Before I welcomed my crew inside, I walked to the kitchen counter and counted out three piles of 500 dollars from my pocket, I still have on the same cloths from the night prior so I knew the exact amounts of cash that resided in each pocket. The crew and I had a very strict methodical routine, we did not speak, our eyes never would meet, we had already done this 332 times before; after so many setups, there was nothing really left to say to each other. I did not want them to know what I was doing and they did want to know what I was doing, a perfect match. Together over the years, these two men and one woman were already privy was to where I wanted the furniture placed, how it was to be angled, how far from the electrical outlets, nothing was left to chance. It was also a good idea that we did not speak as these folks had been with me for quite some time, it would be unsettling if one of them were culled and forcefully coerced to provide information on this or any other operation, It was prudent that my crew had plausible deniability to any such activity. Opening the door, our eyes immediately wend dead and directly to the floor. They knew what to do. I stood back, allowing them to visually inspect the apartment while I surreptitiously made my way to the freezer and extracted 2 ham and cheese hot pockets from the box and tossed them into the microwave. I stood silently and stoic against the kitchen counter as my belongings were promptly unloaded from the truck, carried inside and setup in a flash. The whole process had taken no more than 45 minutes after which, one by one each member collected his or her stack of greens from the counter simultaneously with their eyes to the floor stamping their right foot on the floor as they passed me as a thank you and as a sign of trust. They closed the door behind them, pilled into the truck and were on their way in a cloud of white exhaust fumes, that truck burned a hell of a lot of oil I thought. My furnishings consisted of a small assortment of entertainment and necessity. A small couch, a flat screen TV, a PlayStation 4, sound system, my large L-shaped desk, my emperors office chair as I had liked to call it, two mattresses that were thrown on the floor in the bedroom, pillows, a shower curtain and finally two suitcases of cloths. My crew had setup everything; my laptops, routers, switched, RJ-45 networking wiring, PS4, TV, sound system and all electrical needs. I was ready. The next order of business was to acquire Internet. I powered on the TV and the PlayStation, logged into Netflix and began to search through the different episodes of Star Trek – The Next
Generation, selecting one of my favorite episodes “The Defector”. As the main theme began to play, I sat down in my emperors chair, leaned back, opened a Linux command line terminal with a Bash shell and opted to run Kismet, a WiFi scanning program that allowed me to view every wireless network within range of my setup. The hall was rented, the orchestra engaged, it was now time to see if I could play as Q would say in Star Trek The Next Generation. The conductor tapped his baton, raised his arms, the orchestra raised their instruments. For every operation I assign a classical piece of music. Each note is moment in time, an action, a piece of data captured until the final bar is played. Every operation is a unique composition filled with happiness, melancholy, fear, and anger. Music tells a story and one just need know how to listen. Operation 333 is hereby assigned Johann Sebastian Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. Crack your knuckles and take a deep breath, it is time to play.