Norm Nowrecki was mortally pissed.
Fudgepacker had played him like a two dollar banjo and that jangling
metaphor had induced a cognitive and musical dissonance unlike
anything he had ever experienced before. He hummed the NYW theme as
loud as he could, in an attempt to drown out the Dueling Banjos that
had screwed itself in his mind like the worst worm that had ever been
"I have to focus!"
SMEGMA (Subsentient Maniacs Encouraging Gibbering Mindless Arguments)
had many haunts. Norm's 133 was downloading the postings to
alt.usenet.kooks, a known SMEGMA hangout. Fudgepacker was undoubtedly
using an alias but Norm knew his style. Fetus Fudgepacker had a very
limited vocabulary that was all too well known to Norm and so, he set
up filters to trap all postings using the obscene expressions most
favored by Fetus. Once the qualified postings were directed into
Norm's looneybin, he would parse each one in an attempt to catch
Fudgepacker's noxious scent.
Norm walked over to one of the many Jatoba piles that crowded his tiny
office. This particular one had been arranged into a rough simulacrum
of a couch. With a Janka side hardness of 2820 pounds at six percent
moisture content, the Jatoba couch was hardly a place to rest one's
head, although the natural germicide contained in the wood was a
definite plus in an office such as Norms'.
"Where is Fudgepacker hiding?"
He'd already gone through all the postings on the newsgroups most
frequented by trolls; alt.troll, alt.flame, alt.sexuality.confused -
no sign of Fetus or SMEGMA. It was no wonder that he was feeling
disoriented. He contemplated Nietzsche's quote, which had become a
mantra to all troll trackers:
"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby
become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss
gazes also into you."
The cheesy winmodem smelled like fried halitosis - the download was
Norm was running IP numbers through the Sam Spade tools when his
Motorola chirped out the NYW theme. Could this be Fudgepacker calling
to taunt him? He banged the Motorola on the Jatoba pile that served
as his desk, hard enough to pop the outer layer of duct tape - he held
the Motorola to his ear as a voice whispered.
"Tage Frid" was the password used by his friends. Like the biblical
"shibboleth", it could not be properly pronounced by their enemies,the
"Momma's Basement. Midnight."
The line went hollow with silence.
Momma's Basement was a troll club on the Southside. Norm had been
there before when tracking down other trolls. The trolls gathered
there and celebrated their iconoclastic individuality by dressing all
in the same clothing. Black on black on black. The place looked like
a convention of pimply-faced, cross-dressing, Roy Orbison
impersonators but the music was by the house band The Defecators, who
had made their mark by spot welding their guitars into a B flat cord
that was played over and over in accompaniment to the hoarsely shouted
lyrics of Wanker's Melody.
The place stank of Yoohoo and the remains of half consumed Twinkies.
He hated this part of the job.
Norm gathered up his troll disguise and headed for the door.
(next time - "Momma's Basement".)
Thomas J. Watson-Cabinetmaker
Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania