Forever Spam
Forever Spam

(was: Re: 8000 nude celebrity pics)

Opening scene:

A vague shape hulks over a keyboard in a darkened room. Chuckling and drooling, we hear an acerebral chuckle(Hyuk-hyuk-hyuk!) as it types.

Neanderthal: Me make a funny! Me spam lotsa newsgroups! Nobody be smart enuf what figure out me be spammer!

Sparks fly as the looming figure slobbers onto the keyboard.

Cut to--Sunrise over Toronto. Familiar music.

Voiceover:
He was brought across in 1228.
Preyed on humans for their blood.
Now he wants to be mortal again.
To repay society for his sins.
To emerge from his world of darkness.
From his endless forever night.

Act 1.

Location: 96th Precinct. Nick and Tracy are at their desks. Nick is working at his computer when he sees something on the screen. He reacts in disgust and revulsion.

Tracy: Gee, Nick, what's wrong?

Nick: Spam!

Tracy gets up and looks over his shoulder. She reads from the screen.

Tracy: Re: 8000 nude celebrity pics . . . adult CD-ROM . . . I hate spammers . . . Tim Connolly.

{shrugs}

Gee, Nick, he seems like a nice guy, protesting spam. Especially some horrible stuff that's been posted to an innocent children's newsgroup.

Nick: Look at that header, Tracy. That Re: means In response to an earlier post. But there *was* no earlier post.

Tracy: No--you mean--he made it up? Tim Connolly lied? Tim Connolly forged a post? How naughty!

Nick: Maybe it wasn't Tim Connolly. Spammers rarely have the courage or honesty to sign their own names.

Tracy: Well, let's look at the header attached to the post.

{works the keyboard}

Download the message, turn it into a *.txt file, and open it.

Nick: And here's the header:

{reads the screen}

Path: ix.netcom.com!ix.netcom.com!news-res.gsl.net! news.gsl.net !nntp.coast.net!howland.reston.ans.net! vixen.cso.uiuc.edu! newsfeed.internetmci.com! mackrel.fishnet.net!dconnl
From: dconnl@mail.fishnet.net (Tim Connolly)
Newsgroups: alt.tv.er,alt.tv.fifteen,alt.tv.fishmasters, alt.tv.forever-knight, alt.tv.forever-knight.spoilers, alt.tv.forever.knight,alt.tv.frasier,alt.tv.friends, alt.tv.friends.puke.puke.puke,alt.tv.game-shows, alt.tv.hbo,alt.tv.house-of-elliot

Tracy: Wow, the creep spammed a lot of people, didn't he?

Nick: Yes . . . and look at that e-mail address under From. dconnl . . . could dconnl be his mommy?

Tracy: Let's not make any unjust accusations, Nick. What I want to know is, why would anyone want to post anything like this? What's the point in spamming a lot of newsgroups with a porno ad? Have you ever seen anything so disgusting, so revolting, so morally repugnant?

Nick slips into flashback mode.

Spain. 1492.

A throneroom in a royal palace. Ferdinand and Isabella are seated on their thrones. Nick and an ascetic-looking priest stand before them. Off to one side, LaCroix and Janette look on, clearly impatient with Nick's latest folly.

Nick: Your majesties, you must not listen to this man.

Ferdinand: But he could be the key to preserving our kingdom.

Isabella: Indeed. We have defeated the Moors and united Spain under our rule, but we are not secure. The good father will bring us security.

Nick: But the cost is too great, your majesties.

Isabella: The cost? A few Moors, a few Jews, a few heretics. None of our loyal subjects will come to harm--

{turns to the priest}

Is that not so, Father Torquemada?

Torquemada: Only the evil need fear me--and I will destroy evil.

Ferdinand: Tell us how you will save us, revered one.

Nick turns away in defeat as Torquemada describes his plans for the Spanish Inquisition. Nick rejoins LaCroix and Janette and leaves the throneroom with them.

LaCroix: Well, Nicolas, it seems once again you are unable to defeat the ineffable stupidity of mortals.

Nick: There must be a way to stop this monster.

Janette: My poor crusader . . . always fighting evil.

LaCroix: Yes, his intentions are as good as those of dear Father Torquemada--and we all know which road is paved with good intentions.

Nick: And I shall see this Torquemada follow that road to its end.

Act 2.

Captain Reese's office. The captain is fiddling with one of his hockey souvenirs.

Reese: Okay, what have you got?

Nick: It's spam, all right, Captain. Dr. Lambert just confirmed it.

Reese: Yeah, but what's the motive?

Tracy: We're still working on that. The trouble is--

{shudders}

Spammers make me want to puke.

Nick: Me, too. We've found out that the so-called original post was lifted from a porno newsgroup. Our microcephalic spammer snipped out the original addresses and most of the advertisement, and then posted them to a large number of family-oriented newsgroups.

Reese: Sounds like this guy is some kind of pervert.

Tracy: That's what we thought at first, captain. And he *does* act like a pervert, trying to tell children where to get this scummy porn. But even the sleaziest degenerate shows more intelligence than this caricature of a human being.

Nick: That's true. That Re: header was as clumsy as an elephant on a Balinese pogo stick.

Tracy: I'll say! It didn't even fool me for long.

Reese: I notice that this spam comes right after the collapse of the CDA. Any connection?

Nick: Well, it's possible. There's a certain type of personality that can't handle any kind of setback. Unbalanced, ignorant, unable to admit that it's wrong, has a tantrum when it can't have its way--

Reese: You mean infantile. So where do we start looking for suspects, people? In nursery schools? Kindergartens?

Tracy: I don't think so, Captain. When you think about it, the average six-year-old is a lot more clever than our spammer.

Reese: The real question is, what does this lead to?

Obviously, to another of Nick's flashbacks . . .

Spain. 1494.

A dungeon.

Nick watches helplessly down an alcove as Torquemada and his assistants torture a victim on the rack.

Victim: Madre a Dios! Why do you torment me? I am not a heretic!

Torquemada: I know, my son. But you might become one.

Victim: Jesus, Joseph and Mary! But I am not one! I am a true believer!

Torquemada: Then you can understand why you must be sacrificed. We must show we are ruthless in destroying evil. We were wrong to arrest you, but if we admit to error, we make ourselves look weak.

Victim: But--

Torquemada: Fear not. No one will learn of our error. You will be destroyed, and everyone will be told you were evil. Thus no one will have reason to doubt we are good and just.

Nick watches in baffled silence as the victim dies. He clearly wants to question Torquemada, but he seems to realize that fanatics are beyond all logic.

Act 3:

Toronto. Nick is driving along in his Caddy as he listens to LaCroix's Nightcrawler broadcast.

LaCroix: Throughout history the worst lies have been told in the name of good. Let us consider a certain spammer who made a fraudulent posting about a pornographic CD-ROM. Why did he do this? To convince people that pornography must be snuffed out. But in doing so, he broke the commandment, Thou shalt not lie. And his false posting was a lie, intended to deceive others into believing that another man, a verminous pornographer, had tried to spread his filth among the innocent. The spammer believes his lie was justified. But Thou shalt not lie is a complete sentence, with no qualifications. The spammer's God did not say Thou shalt not lie, except when thou thinks it might be a good idea. Lies are the tool of evil, and for good men to use the tools of evil, they must become evil. So I must admire what this spammer has done. In his demented quest to destroy a non-existent evil, he has taken the first step into evil. And, by showing that he is a clumsy liar, by trying to trick people into accepting his beliefs, he has sewn the seeds which will turn others against him . . . and turn them toward me.

Nick parks in front of the coroner's buildings and goes inside.

He finds Natalie Lambert, just getting off duty.

Nick: Nice dress.

Natalie: Thanks. How are you doing with the spammer?

Nick: Well . . . I feel very ambivalent about this case.

Natalie: That's progress. Your usual first reaction is to feel guilty.

Nick: He wants to stop pornography. Is that wrong?

Natalie: Not by itself. Erotica has its place . . . although the stuff I've seen lately is too degrading to be a turn-on.

Nick: Nat? *You?* If I had a pulse, I'd blush.

Natalie: Hey, I'm only mortal, I think about sex. But it's like violence in movies and on TV. Where does it stop being a legitimate form of entertainment, and turn into an incitement to evil? How do you define the difference between images of two consenting adults sharing love, and images of someone being treated like a side of beef?

Nick: You're asking *me* to make a moral judgment? All I know is, what this spammer is doing will backfire. He makes any legitimate fight against real smut look bad.

Natalie: And that's a damned shame. I'm tired of doing autopsies on rape victims, and you won't convince me there's no connection between smut and sex crimes. And if what this spammer does hinders that fight, he's evil. And you know what happens when you don't stop evil men.

What happens is, Nick has another flashback.

Spain. 1498.

A cell in a monastery. Torquemada lies on his deathbed. Nick enters the room.

Torquemada: Who are you? Ah--I have seen you before, when our king and queen re-united Spain.

Nick: Yes. And now you are dying.

Torquemada: I die in peace. My Inquisition has accomplished much. Two hundred thousand Jews expelled from Spain. Two thousand heretics burned at the stake. Countless Muslims made to accept the true faith.

Nick: Countless lives ruined. Jews, Moors, heretics . . .

Torquemada: They were nothing.

Nick: How can you call them nothing?

Torquemada: Because I did not like what they did, what they believed. That made me right. And now I die as I deserve. Peacefully, in bed, secure in the knowledge that God justifies all I did.

Nick: No!

Nick vamps out and moves to attack Torquemada. But before he can move in for the kill, Torquemada sighs, closes his eyes, and dies--peacefully. Then Nick hears a chuckle behind him.

LaCroix: Well, well, Nicolas. Once again you see justice denied, justice escaped.

Nick: It will not always be so . . .

Act 4:

Nick and Natalie are driving through downtown Toronto, clearly enjoying the night air. Then the radio goes off.

Radio: Eighty-one kilo, code 46352, Dieppe Park.

Natalie: What's a code forty-six-thirty-whatever?

Nick: That's police jargon for homicide by really disgusting means. It could be messy.

Natalie: You really know how to show a girl a good time, Detective. Let's go.

Nick answers the call and they go. When they arrive at Dieppe Park they find ambulances, police cars, flashing lights, Joe Reese and Tracy Vetter. Nick and Natalie get out of the Caddy and go to them.

Nick: What have you got?

Reese: It isn't pretty. Looks like he dropped ten miles from an airplane, then splashed.

He leads them to a sheet-covered body on the grass. Natalie lifts the sheet and turns green.

Reese: See what I mean?

Natalie: Oh, wow.

Nick: That's something, all right. Kind of reminds me of a Jackson Pollock painting.

Tracy: Looks like something you'd find growing on the bottom shelf of a really old refrigerator.

Natalie: More like something that would come out of a pizza oven. Have you ever seen anything like it?

Nick: I'll bet it hurt.

Someone calls for Reese, and he walks away.

Natalie: One thing's for sure. It won't take me too long to autopsy this guy . . . if it was a guy.

Nick: Yeah, the way they opened him up will be a real time-saver.

Tracy: Hey . . . did that used to be his throat?

Nick leans closer. He sees two holes in the bruised flesh. Well, he doesn't have to be Sherlock Holmes to know what *that* means, but he does have to cover it up.

Nick: It could be his wallet, for all I know.

Reese had been off the scene. Now he returns.

Reese: Well, people, we have an ID on road-kill, here. He used to be our spammer.

Tracy: You're sure?

Reese: Uh-huh. So now we know who the suspects are--everyone on the Internet.

Tracy: Not all of them!

Nick: Just the ones he spammed. That's still a long list.

Reese: Well, get on it. It's scary, thinking that somewhere out there is the kind of maniac who would do this to a spammer.

Nick: Okay. Let's spread out, see if the killer left any clues.

The police spread out. Nick moves off into the night. He pauses, hearing something, and creeps into the woods after it. Then he stops in astonishment.

Nick: *Janette?*

She stands in the shadows, delicately daubing her lips with a napkin.

Janette: Hello, Nicolas.

Nick: I thought you were dead.

Janette: You are such a child, Nicolah! It is a lady's prerogative to change her mind.

Nick: About being dead?

{shakes his head}

Janette . . . there's a dead body . . .

Janette: Dead body is so redundant, Nicolas. Of course it is dead.

Nick: You killed the spammer?

In reply, Janette lets out a ladylike belch, and puts her napkin away.

Janette: You drink cow's blood, I drink spammer's blood. Think of it as a public service . . . but--

{belches again}

It has given me horrible indigestion.

LaCroix appears.

LaCroix: I have warned you not to take too much, my dear. A spammer's blood is as foul as its deeds. And now, what will our detective do? Arrest you for littering?

The camera closes in on Nick, and before the scene fades out we see he's caught on the horns of a dilemma. What should he do about the unfortunate spammer?