Forever Spam
Spammier And Spammier

(was: 20,000 Internet...)

On the screen, Duncan MacLeod slashes his way through history with a real big sword.

Music by Queen:

Here we are!
"Born to be kings, we're the princes of the Universe.
"I am immortal! I have inside me blood of kings--

The view pans to Nick, who toasts his TV with a bottle of cow's blood.

Nick: Speak for yourself.

The phone rings. Nick walks across the loft to answer it. Behind him, the TV flashes an ad which offers uncensored access to 20,000 internet sites--something every Internet user already has.

Nick: Knight . . . Yeah, Schanke? . . . Hold it, Schanke, Jeannie is a TV character, she can't be in your room!

The scene cuts to Don Schanke's living room, where "I Dream Of Jeannie" plays on the tube. Barbara Eden as Jeannie hangs on his arm while Schanke speaks desperately into the phone.

Schanke: I'm tellin' ya, Nick, she's *here!* I was just watching the show when, bim-boom-bam and a puff of smoke, she's standing in front of me and asking me what my wish is!

Jeannie: What *is* your wish, master?

Schanke: That you go away before Myra kills me!

Back in Nick's loft, Nick hears a *boing* sound, and smiles at what *has* to be an elaborate put-on.

Nick: You shouldn't eat souvlaki before you go to bed, Schanke. You know it gives you nightmares. It's all that garlic. Vicious stuff, garlic.

A voice speaks from behind Nick.

Duncan MacLeod: Garlic is good for you.

Nick turns around, shock on his face as he sees the Highlander standing there.

Familiar music as the sun rises, then sets over Toronto.

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 endless, forever night.

Act 1.

96th Precinct. Captain Cohen's office. The station is in an uproar as Toronto's finest deal with the crisis. Amanda Cohen is expounding on the situation to Nick and Schanke. Unnoticed, Pinky and the Brain steal some blank forms from the top of her desk.

Cohen: It started around six o'clock. I was flipping the dial when the phone rang, so I put the remote down for a moment. The next thing I knew, I had the Three Stooges running around my living room, looking for *Martians,* for Christ's sake!

Nick: The Three Stooges In Orbit.

Cohen: Huh?

Nick: It's an old movie. You tuned it in, and they appeared. I got Duncan MacLeod. Schanke got--

Schanke: *Bugs Bunny.* Yeah, that's it. Bugs Bunny showed up at my place.

Cohen: Bugs Bunny?

She peers at him, sees a humongous bruise on his forehead.

Cohen: Where did you get that bruise, detective? It looks like you were hit on the head with a frying pan.

Schanke: Uh, well, uh--*Yosemite Sam!* Yeah, now I remember. Hit me over the head with an anvil. Man, has that little guy got a temper.

Nick: It's happening all over town, Captain. Impossible stuff. The Partridge Family is having a reunion concert in the Skydome. The Gardiner Expressway turned into a yellow brick road. On my way to the station I saw John Wayne leading a cattle drive down Spadina.

Cohen: I saw that, too--and I want to know who's going to clean up after them? No--I want to know *what is going on!*

Schanke: Hey, Captain, you got your two best men on it!

Nick: We're on it, too. Let's go, Schanke.

Next scene: The Caddy is parked outside the coroner's building. Herman and Lilly Munster are checking it out, while Eddy climbs over the front window and Grandpa Munster peers into the trunk. Marilyn sits behind the wheel, smiling.

Herman: I don't know, Lilly. A '62? Where would we get the parts if it breaks down?

Lilly: Oh, Herman, don't worry. Marilyn loves it. And whoever owns it must be a nice young man. Maybe we could fix them up?

Herman: Gee--do you think he's her type?

Next scene: Inside the coroner's building. As Nick and Schanke enter the lab, they find that Natalie is being harrassed by the Reverend Pat Robertson.

Robertson: Just give me all your money, and I'll squeeze my eyes shut real hard and pray to my good friend God for you, and then he'll work a real nice miracle and prove evolution never happened and women don't want equality--

Natalie grabs a big floppy hat from a lab bench and begins to slap Robertson with it, manically, a la Jim Belushi.

Natalie: Out, out, out! Out of my lab, you disgusting wanker! Get out before I give you a full frontal and backal lobotomy with a dull scalpel! Git, scram, ookhody, *OUT!*

Robertson retreats under her furious assault. As he scuttles out the door Natalie delivers a swift kick to his posterior, slams the door shut behind him, and jams the hat on her head.

Nick: Nice hat, Natalie. I don't think I've ever seen you wear it before.

Natalie: Well, I don't usually wear sun hats at night, but this is a special occasion.

Schanke: You mean lunatic occasion. What's going on?

Natalie: UFOs, contagious insanity, mass history--how should I know? It's as though reality is falling apart. Things that don't belong in our world are somehow slipping in, and I can't find a scientific cause for it. All I know is, I watched a little TV on my coffee break, I flipped the dial--

Nick: And *he* showed up.

Natalie: No, first it was Pepe le Pew, then him. All in all, I prefer the skunk.

Schanke: Imaginary characters invading our world is crazy.

Nick: Nothing gets past you, Schanke.

Natalie: Look, let's be logical. There's nothing new in science. Everything has a precedent, no matter how outlandish. Whatever this is, something like it *must* have happened before.

Schanke: Well, *I* don't remember anything this wacko! How about you, Nick?

Ask a silly question . . .

1969. Woodstock.

Lots of mud, lots of hippies, not enough soap to matter. Real bad music fills the night air as Nick, LaCroix and Janette, attired appropriately for the place and time, stagger out of a battered VW minivan.

Janette: Far out . . .

LaCroix: I believe most profoundly that our indubitable host had a far greater than philosophical interest in the exquisite topic of recreational pharmaceuticals.

Nick turns and hugs LaCroix.

Nick: I love ya, man.

Act 2.

The broadcast booth at radio station CERK. LaCroix sits behind the microphone, a look of long-suffering patience on his face while, around him, the cast of Seinfeld carries on.

Jerry: No, we're not talking about nothing! We're *making jokes* about nothing! There's a difference!

Kramer: What's the difference between talking about nothing and joking about nothing? Quick, tell me before I hyperventilate!

George: Well, when you're talking about nothing, you're just talking, like this, but when you're joking about nothing, they lay on a laugh track, so everyone will know there's a joke in progress and it's time to laugh, because otherwise it sounds exactly like you're just talking, and nothing happens.

Elaine: Well, why don't we talk about something besides nothing?

Jerry: Okay, but what's the difference between something and nothing? I mean, when you think about it, when was the last time you actually saw nothing? So, really, what's the difference?

LaCroix has shown the patience of a saint--but now he recalls that he doesn't want to be a saint. He vamps out and grabs Jerry Seinfeld.

LaCroix: *Here* is the difference!

Scene: Nick and Schanke drive the Caddy through downtown Toronto. It's night and the full moon rides high in the sky. The radio is tuned to CERK and the Nightcrawler. We hear a vast sucking sound, then a few seconds of silence.

LaCroix: As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, what happens when the unreal intrudes upon reality?

We have all become acquainted with that particular disaster. What our orderly minds demand to know is, *why* does it happen? We expect our universe to exist in a neat, rational form, everything in its place and a place for everything. But when the walls break down, when Alice brings the Wonderland to us, unbidden, we find that we must know what causes this disaster. It is an emotional need, but it is the first step in correcting the situation.

So, dear listeners, what act has cursed us with the sudden intrusion of madness into our sanity? What monstrous deed has brought upon us this chaos? Whatever it is, it can only be caused--and I speak as an expert--by pure, unadulterated evil.

Schanke: Remember, you heard it here first.

Nick: He's right. Only evil could unleash the forces we've seen tonight.

Schanke: Evil, shmevil. How can you stand that guy? Let's get some polka music--

Nick slaps his hand as he reaches for the dial.

Nick: Don't! The last thing we need is a polka band in the rear seat.

Schanke: Okay, let's compromise. How about some Anne Murray?

Nick: Sounds good to me.

Schanke reaches for the tuner again, but before he can change the station the police radio speaks up.

Dispatcher: 81-kilo, code three, CN Tower.

Nick answers the call.

Nick: Copy, dispatch. What's the problem?

Dispatcher: King Kong is climbing the CN Tower with Fay Wray.

Schanke: Man oh man oh man . . .

Nick: It's going to get worse.

Schanke: Worse? *How?*

Nick: In half an hour Channel Ten is going to start its all-night Godzilla festival.

Act 3:

The CN Tower. Above, King Kong has reached the top and set Fay Wray down on a ledge, so he can swat at the Curtiss biplanes that buzz him. On the ground, the Keystone Kops are maintaining disorder. Nick and Schanke pull up and park the Caddy. They get out and talk to the nearest officer.

Nick: How bad is it?

Officer: Well, the big guy ain't potty-trained.

Schanke: And I thought the wind was just coming off Lake Erie.

Nick: Toronto is on Lake Ontario.

Schanke: I ain't so sure any more, Nick. Anyway, what are we gonna do about *that?*

He points to the top of the tower, where King Kong is thumping his chest and bellowing defiance at the planes.

Nick: We're going to do what we always do. You take the elevator, I'll take the fire escape. Meet you at the top.

Schanke heads for the base of the CN Tower, then stops.

Schanke: Hey, wait a minute . . .

Looking for cover to launch himself, Nick dashes into the nearest alley. In it he finds a phone booth. Before he can take off, a man in a suit, fedora and horn-rim glasses rushes past him, pulling open his shirt as he dashes into the phone booth. He calls out to Nick:

Clark Kent: Wait your turn! This is a job for Superman!

Nick: Sheesh . . .

Nick takes off into the night sky. We see him land atop a huge shoulder, one covered by knee-deep brown fur. King Kong turns his head to peer at the creature standing next to his throat. We see what he sees: Nick has vamped out. Then Nick hesitates.

Nick: I feel like a mosquito with delusions of grandeur.

Delusions notwithstanding, he goes for the jugular.

On the ground, people look up. In the moonlight, they watch King Kong tumble from the tower. Bigger, bigger--splat! An officer looks at the body in disgust.

Officer: It's bad enough this thing wasn't house-broken, but who's gonna clean *this* up?

Worse yet, a pair of feet wearing ruby slippers poke from under the furry body.

Next we see Schanke atop the tower, where a grateful Fay Wray hangs on his arm. His cell phone rings and he answers it.

Schanke: Schanke . . . yeah, hi. What have you got, Nat?

We cut to Natalie's lab. She has her phone in one hand. In the other hand she holds up a test tube as she peers at its disgusting, revolting, inexpressibly nauseating contents.

Natalie: I've found out what's causing the problem, Schanke. There's no question about it. It's--spam.

Act 4:

96th Precinct: Captain Cohen is at her desk, having a cup of coffee. She's being paid a visit by Captain Stonetree, Nick's boss from the first season. Outside the office, we hear an enraged scream.

Natalie: Dial *this!*

After a smashing noise Natalie comes in, rubbing her bruised knuckles.

Natalie: I didn't mind the Munchkins, or those flying monkeys, but I've had it with the freaking telephone company ads!

Cohen: At least Channel Ten canned its Godzilla festival. The movies they're running instead are an improvement.

Stonetree: You call Jerry Lewis an improvement? Ever have the Nutty Professor try to give you a sigmoidoscopy? I'd rather have a huge fire-breathing lizard stomp me into floor-pizza any day.

Cohen: Whatever. Anyway, what were you saying about Knight?

Stonetree: Just that there's something fishy about him.

Cohen: Yeah, he can be a little weird.

Stonetree: *Weird?* Did you hear that report from the CN Tower? *Count Dracula* put the bite on King Kong? *Don Schanke* got Fay Wray? Why is it that these nutso things always happen when Knight's around?

Natalie: Oh, come on, Nick is a great guy. A little intense about his privacy, but really, he's just like the rest of us--

Nick waddles into the room. He looks like he weighs maybe five hundred kilos. He barely squeezes through the door.

Natalie: *Nick?*

Nick: Don't ask.

Cohen: Okay, *I'll* ask. What happened to you?

Nick: Well . . . uh . . . I'm not sure, I mean, someone turned on a radio, and I heard Elvis . . .

Natalie: And then, wham, you looked like you'd been on a year-long jelly-doughnut binge.

Nick: Hunka-hunka-burnin' houn'-dawg.

Stonetree: And we're supposed to believe *that* turned you into the Goodyear blimp?

Natalie: Stranger things have happened tonight. And it makes sense, when you think about it.

Cohen: I'll let you think about it, Dr. Lambert. When you called you said you knew what was causing this.

Natalie: Yes. It's spam, no doubt about it. We all know what spam is.

Stonetree: Garbage postings on computer newsgroups. Totally brainless, worthless, illiterate crap that wastes your time and displaces worthwhile postings. Announcements of cleverly-disguised pyramid swindles, "evidence" for UFOs, begging letters, anything from dittoheads--that sort of schlock.

Cohen: I've seen things like that. Sometimes spam is posted by people who are careless about cross-postings, or accidentally put extra group names in their posting addresses, but usually it's a cold-blooded form of netabuse, done by someone who doesn't care about the misery he or she causes untold millions of net users. It's sheer, arrogant indifference to the well-being of others, evil in its lowest, blackest form.

Nick: I'd hate to have something like that on my conscience.

Natalie: Well, if you have a conscience, you can't be a spammer. The least little shred of decency will stop anyone from spamming. Only--

Stonetree pulls his pistol, chambers a round and clicks off the safety.

Stonetree: Screw talking! Where can I find this scumbag of a spammer! I'll rip off his head and shove it down his throat!

Cohen: Easy, big fella, don't go all weird on me! Dr. Lambert, what has spam got to do with what hit us tonight?

Natalie: Everything, Captain. You see, spam is an irrational intrusion into an orderly world. It's a form of chaos--and chaos spreads.

Nick: But spam exists only on computers!

Natalie: Yes, but it touches computer users, who live in the real world. It pisses them off, and when enough of them get steamed, boy, is there trouble!

Stonetree: You're saying that these computer users are like a conduit between computers and reality.

Natalie: Computers *are* reality. What effects them effects everything else. Look, I have a plan. Nick, let's go to my lab.

Nick: Okay.

Nick turns for the door. His new bulk causes him to stick in the frame.

Stonetree: We're trapped!

He grabs some Kleenex and starts eating it.

Natalie: Don't worry. I have a plan.

Act 5:

Natalie's lab. Nick and Natalie are there; Nick is slimmed down again, but he looks distressed.

Natalie: It's a good thing Cohen had a portable TV in her office.

Nick: Maybe . . . but did you have to tune in Richard Simmons?

Natalie: Drastic problems call for drastic measures.

Nick: I know . . . but perky people get on my nerves.

Natalie: Next time, don't pig out on any giant apes. Now let's get to work and call in some help.

She goes to her portable TV, turns it on and changes stations. We hear funky Sixties synthesizer music. Then there's a strange electronic sound, a shimmer of light, and Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Nurse Chapel beam into the lab.

Kirk: Spock, I thought you said we were beaming down to the planet of the green animal women?

Spock: Let me check my tricorder . . .

He takes the instrument and scans the lab.

Spock: Fascinating . . . We appear to have materialized inside a low-rated TV show which features excellent writing and ideas, minimal special effects, is doomed to be cancelled after only three seasons, has a devoted fan following and employs a talented cast--

Kirk: --led by a handsome, brilliant Canadian actor. I feel right at home.

Sees Natalie, grins.

Kirk: Very much at home.

Chapel: I'm sure we aren't here by accident, Captain.

Natalie: That's right. Our reality is being torn apart by spam.

McCoy: Spam?

Spock: An obscure and barbaric custom of the late twentieth century, which was one of the most outstanding signs of human savagery, and the last, great barrier to human civilization . . . or what passes for civilization among humans.

McCoy: Smart-ass.

Kirk: I recall studying spam at the Academy. Wasn't it Khan Singh's secret weapon in the Eugenics Wars?

Spock: Yes, it left humans so befuddled that they never noticed that he conquered a quarter of the Earth, then departed that world on the SS Botany Bay in 1996.

Nick: Natalie, what are they talking about?

Natalie: Never mind, they're on a roll. What can we do about spam?

Kirk: Well, it's the most pernicious psychiatric problem known to medical science. Spammers are a collection of every debilitating mental condition in the book, and the cure is handicapped by the fact that they have no redeeming virtues at all. Just getting a spammer to show even the faintest glimmer of normality is an awesome task that would daunt all but the finest medical mind.

Chapel: Fortunately, we have Dr. McCoy.

McCoy: You want me to cure a spammer? Wait a minute! I'm a doctor, not a . . . no, by gum, I *am* a doctor. Okay, I'll take a crack at it.

Spock: The first logical step is to identify the spammer. After that we must cure it, and then restore the natural order of reality. Have you identified the spammer, Dr. Lambert? Dr. Lambert?

She's busy evading Kirk.

Nick: Well--it isn't *the* spammer. We have lots of them.

McCoy: Lots? Dang, how many spammers are there in a "lots"? Five? Ten? Ah cain't imagine y'all would let the problem get worse than that, so how many--

Nick: Thousands.

Chapel: "Thousands!" How can you stand to be around so much evil?

Nick: I manage.

McCoy turns to Spock and speaks in a grudging tone.

McCoy: Okay, you win, the twentieth century was the pits.

Spock: Now that you have admitted the superiority of my logic, I suggest we address the problem of repairing contemporary reality. These events must have been initiated by one abnormally pernicious spammer. Let us identify the entity and proceed to correct it.

Spock goes to the lab's computer terminal.

Time passes. We see panic shots of Toronto: The dead rise from their graves. Vague, monstrous shadows prowl the streets. American tourists consult their English-Canadian phrasebooks. Then we return to Natalie's lab. Spock, Kirk and McCoy are laboring at the computer terminal while Nick looks on. Natalie and Nurse Chapel are chatting in a corner.

Chapel: He's such a brick! Takes me for granted, never remembers my birthday, hardly acts human--

Natalie: I know *exactly* how you feel. And that conflict between his human and non-human sides--

Chapel: Isn't it a pain? And the things he eats! Have you ever tasted plomik soup?

Natalie: Count your blessings. At least *he* does it once every seven years.

The camera pans back to the terminal.

Spock: I have identified the spammer, through a process of--

Kirk: Leave the technobabble to lesser souls. Who is it?

Spock: It calls itself 20K@usenet.com, and it offers to sell people something they already receive from their servers. I find its claims to be misleading and improper.

McCoy peers at the screen. His eyebrows arch up.

McCoy: By gosh, I recognize that name. It's a textbook case of an incurable spammer. There's not a thing I can do.

Kirk: The best ship in the fleet--hundreds of scientists and technicians--the finest labs and sensors--and you're saying we're helpless?

McCoy: I'm a doctor, not a--oh, forget it.

Spock: It may not be necessary to cure the spammer.

Nick: No? What can we do about it?

Spock: There is a theory . . . the creator of a chaotic event is linked to the chaos it creates. Isolate the creator, and we isolate the chaos.

Kirk: But will that work?

Spock: Yes . . . if we can create an isolated matrix of chaos . . . then force the spammer into that matrix.

McCoy: You mean--doom the spammer to an eternity in a private universe of total chaos?

Spock: Precisely.

McCoy: You green-blooded fiend! That's the most vicious, evil, sinister, cold-blooded, monstrous thing I ever heard! Who could be so cold and callous as to subject anyone--even a lousy spammer--to such a fate? Who could even consider such a damnably brutal act?

All eyes turn to Nick.

Nick: Ah . . . what the hell.

Tag:

Nick's loft. Natalie reclines on the couch in a low-cut evening dress while Nick fiddles with his entertainment center.

Natalie: Well, Toronto is back to normal, so I guess you took care of the spammer.

Nick: I did. No more huge apes plotzing on the city, no more televangelists endangering sweet young things, no more Munchkins shrilling about seeing the wizard.

Natalie: But . . . what about the spammer?

Nick: I took Spock's advice and created a matrix--snippets from all the worst TV shows ever made. My Mother The Car, Battlestar Galactica, Punky Brewster, Turn-On--

Natalie: Never heard of it.

Nick: It was on ABC back in '69. Cancelled after fifteen minutes, yanked off the air during a station break, it was that bad. And I found even worse things. The ultimate in schlocky chaos, the quintessence of the rubbish the spammer tried to inflict on the world--

Natalie: You're starting to sound like LaCroix.

Nick: He helped create the matrix. When it comes to evil, it pays to consult an expert. Anyway, we patched the worst of it onto a VCR tape, and it formed what mathematicians called a strange attractor. Sucked up our spammer and all the chaos he created, right onto a tape.

Nick takes a casette from his entertainment center and holds it up.

Nick: *This* tape. Want to watch?

Horrified, yet strangely compelled, Natalie nods. Nick inserts the tape into his VCR, and a chaotic mishmash of images appears on the TV as he sits down with Natalie. Disgustingly cute kids, brainless "adults" accompanied by pathetic canned laughter, icky monsters on crappy, bogus sci-fi shows, no-talents on prime-time soap-operas, televangelists, screechy commercials, daytime talk shows--and through it all, slammed around like a hockey puck in a match from Hell, is our spammer, desperate in his effort to escape the moral and intellectual vacuum that he tried to inflict on others.

Profound silence prevails in the loft as the tape ends. Then Nick chuckles.

Nick: And they say there's nothing good on TV.

Natalie: My God, Nick, that was hellish! The way that spammer suffered was agonizing!

Nick: Uh-huh. Want to watch it again?

Natalie: Well . . . can I get some popcorn first?

Fade to credits and end theme.