Forever Spam
The Spam Buddha

(was: earning $43740)

We see Natalie in her apartment, working at her personal computer, intent on her work. Suddenly a look of dismay disturbs her features:

Natalie: What's this?

She reads the screen:

Natalie: "From: Magmo magdalena.socha@viewer.se
               "Subject: earning $43740
               "The art of earning $43740 without any capital.
               "It may sound to good to be true--"
Sounds like spam to me. Why do they think anyone would fall for this garbage? Spammers!

She wipes the spam from her screen and goes about her business.

We now see Nick in his loft. Seated at his computer, he works quietly for a moment, until his attention is caught by a Usenet posting.

Nick: What's this? "Vampires: Regain Your Mortality NOW!"

Consternation shows on his face.

Nick: It's too good to be true . . .
          . . . but it *might* be true.

He stares at his screen as though hypnotized.

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:

The 96th Precinct. Tracy Vetter is working at her desk as Captain Joe Reese enters. He looks exasperated.

Reese: Vetter, where's your partner?

Tracy: Nick? I haven't seen him all night.

Reese: Same here. I called his place but all I got was a busy signal. Did he tell you anything?

Tracy: Who, Nick? You know how secretive he can get.

Reese: Well, he's picked a fine time for it. Word just came from the Feds. The Mad Spammer broke out of Bellview. He's coming here.

Tracy: That's terrible!

Reese: You're telling me? Get your partner and get on it.

Tracy: Right away!

She hurries out of the building, gets into her car and starts driving. During her trip through the night she repeatedly uses her cell phone, but she can't get an answer. She looks worried as she reaches Nick's loft.

Tracy: Nick? Hey, partner!

Nick: Over here.

Tracy sees him sitting at his computer. He looks very, very strange as he clicks off the machine and stands up.

Tracy: Are you all right?

Nick: No, half of me is left. *This* side, to be exact.

Tracy: What's happened to you? You seem . . . I don't know . . . kinda . . . perky?

Nick: Yeah? Well, maybe. I feel terrific. Hey, time to get to work! Another night, another nickel.

Unconsciously, Tracy places her hand on the butt of her pistol. Something is very wrong here.

 

We now follow Nick as he drives to the precinct. As must be expected, he has the radio tuned to CERK and Lucien LaCroix's Night Crawler broadcast.

LaCroix: The ways of evolution are mysterious. Consider for a moment the lowly bacteria. They enter a body and cause untold suffering in the form of diseases, and at every turn the body fights to destroy bacteria. Yet one day a bacterium becomes trapped in the digestive system, makes its home there, and survives the onslaughts of an enraged immune system. This particular bacterium, which biologists familiarly call "E. coli," swiftly becomes an asset to the host body. Indeed, the host will become ill and suffer if it loses its bacterial guests.

Yet what causes this transformation from adversaries to symbiotes? How does the war between invader and victim turn into beneficial cooperation? We can call it evolution, and see it happen, yet not fully understand how it comes to pass.

Perhaps it could be so with those of us who are denied the day. Perhaps the time will come when those who hate us, fear us, and seek to destroy us will find that our presence has wonderfully mutated into an asset, that we children of the night, a people who dare not speak our name, fill a need they never before realized they had . . .that we can serve a purpose which did not exist when we arrived on the scene, that--

Nick reaches out and switches off the radio. He giggles.

Nick: Aw, blow it out your ear, Q-tip-head!

ACT 2:

A conference room at the 96th Precinct. Nick, Tracy, Reese and a lot of other cops pack the room, while Natalie lectures them.

Natalie: We don't know much about the Mad Spammer. His condition has baffled therapists for years. The one certain thing is that he has this overwhelming urge to spam.

Reese: Back when he was a boy he wrote dirty words on sidewalks, didn't he?

Natalie: He did. That was before he had access to the Internet. It gave him the same moronic thrill as spamming does now.

Tracy: Why Toronto? Why would he come here?

Nick: Why not? Hey, it's a nice place.

Everyone looks puzzled by Nick's flippant attitude.

Natalie: Detective, everything the Mad Spammer does has a purpose. A twisted purpose, a vicious purpose, an evil purpose, but a purpose nonetheless. As I said, his driving need, his sole reason for existence, is to spam.

Cop: So he must be coming here to further that effort.

Reese: Vetter's got a point. The Internet is everywhere. Why come here to spam people? What's the unique thing about Toronto?

Nick: Well, there are a lot of people here who worry about spam for no good reason.

Reese: There's a good reason to worry about spam. By clogging up the Internet, it makes communication more and more difficult. And not all spam is just nuisance postings, like semiliterate baboons insulting people or posting religious diatribes to sci.we.use.our.brains. A lot of it is actually criminal.

Tracy: Yeah. Chain letters, begging letters, Ponzi schemes, pyramid scandals, and other swindles nobody can even figure out.

Natalie: Just this evening I saw some spam from someone called Magmo <magdalena.socha@viewer.se>. I reported it to postmaster@netcom.com, but who knows how many unwary, innocent people have been conned into losing their hard-earned money?

Reese: People, let's focus here. The Mad Spammer is coming here. I want him stuffed and mounted.

Natalie: And do it *fast.* Before he was captured the Mad Spammer was recruiting people like himself, to increase the amount of spam in the world. The guy's a disease and we need to be the cure.

The cops start to leave the room. Natalie corners Nick.

Natalie: Nick, what's with you? You act like you're several graves short of a full cemetery.

Nick: Nat--I may have found the cure.

Natalie: The cure? For--your condition?

Nick: Uh-huh.

Natalie: What is it?

Nick: Tell you when it gets here. I feel really good about this one, Nat. I *know* this one is *it.*

Natalie: Yeah? Nick, be careful. If this doesn't work, this mood swing will slam you down--

Nick: It's going to work! Hey, speaking of work, I'd better go make Reese happy. Catch ya later.

Natalie watches him go, a baffled look on her face.

 

We now see a night street scene in Toronto, specifically, on Queen Street West. A funky band is playing something energetic for the crowd. We see Urs among them; she's really enjoying the music, and the company. A genuine party girl, our Urs. As the music pauses she smiles and tosses some coins into the lead guitarist's open case, and then walks down the sidewalk. As she walks along her smile suddenly turns to a look of concern as she hears the sounds of a scuffle in an alleyway. She hurries into the alleyway and sees two men in the shadows. One lies unconscious on his back, while the other kneels at his side, seemingly dazed. His right hand moves as he writes something on the ground with chalk. Urs approaches him.

Urs: Do you need help? Did someone attack you?

Then she recognizes the man lying on the ground, who we see has a stake in his heart. It's Javier Vachon.

Urs: Javier! Oh, no!

The kneeling man suddenly turns around and gets to his feet, and brandishes a crucifix.

Man: Die, vampire!

Urs shrieks in fright, then vamps out and lunges at the man. He stabs her repeatedly, but she gets her fangs into his throat and drains him like a politician going after a campaign contribution. When he's dead she drops his body and stands there a moment. We see that she looks dazzled, as though her victim's blood has intoxicated her. Then she comes to her senses and leaps to Vachon's side. She pulls the stake from his heart. As he groans she takes the attacker's knife, cuts her wrist and holds it to Vachon's mouth, feeding him. Vachon stirs and sits up.

Urs: Javier, are you all right?

Vachon: Yeah. Thanks, Urs.

Urs: How did this happen?

Vachon: I saw this punk writing dirty words on the sidewalk. I figured I'd stop him, and the next thing I knew, I was staring at the business end of a crucifix.

Urs: You're weak. Let's get you to the Raven. Lucien can help you.

She picks him up and flies off into the night with him.

ACT 3:

The Raven. Amid the usual crowd, we see Natalie seated at the bar as she downs a Scotch. LaCroix walks up to her.

LaCroix: Trouble, doctor?

Natalie: No, I'm just--

{she toasts him with her glass}

--communing with the spirits.

LaCroix: I assume I'm not the only one who finds Nicolas to be rather difficult at times?

Natalie: He says he's found a cure for his vampirism.

LaCroix: He has been finding such "cures" since long before you were born. I take it this particular "cure" displeases you?

Natalie: I don't even know what the "cure" is, but it has him acting very strange.

She might say something more, but the Raven's front door crashes open and the music stops. All eyes turn to the door as Urs walks in, carrying Vachon's limp body in her arms (Urs knows how to make an entrance). She brings Vachon to the bar and lays him on it, and he groans as Natalie starts to examine him. LaCroix feeds him a bottle of blood while Natalie turns to Urs.

Natalie: How did this happen?

Urs: He was attacked by a vampire hunter.

LaCroix: He was identified by such? This is serious.

Urs: Don't worry, I killed him. But--oh, the body--

Natalie: Relax. Natalie's Recycling Service. Bring me your empties and get your nickel deposit back.

LaCroix: The good doctor has concealed similar indiscretions during her autopsies. And she is aware that a hunter would endanger Nicolas.

Natalie: Don't rub it in. But I have to know if this was self-defense or just a vampiric feeding.

Vachon sits up, then climbs off the bar.

Vachon: It was self-defense. The hunter ambushed me. At first I thought it was just a punk--he was scribbling dirty words on the sidewalk--

Natalie: He was? You're sure?

Vachon: I know dirty words when I see them. Only he wasn't just any punk; he was a vampire hunter.

Natalie looks alarmed.

Natalie: My God, *that's* why the Mad Spammer is here! I have to save Nick!

 

We follow Natalie as she dashes out of the Raven. She gets into her car and races across town to Nick's home. Once there she leaps from her car and rides the freight elevator up to his loft. She comes in and finds him lying on the floor, his flesh covered in pus-oozing sores while he clutches a shipping carton in one withered hand. A pained groan tells us that he lives, if barely.

Natalie: Oh my God, Nick! No!

She goes to the refrigerator, takes out several bottles of cow's blood and carries them to Nick. She helps him to sit up and drink the blood. Slowly, his injuries begin to heal, and she helps him to the couch. As he slumps on it Natalie returns to the carton and looks at its repugnant contents. She speaks in the sort of voice one uses when one first looks into "Mein Kampf."

Natalie: A spam Buddha.

She finds a set of instructions lying on the floor. She takes them and reads them:

Natalie: "You, too, can become mortal again, just as thousands of other vampires have done! Here's the secret, and if it worked for me, which it did, honest, hey, have I ever lied to you, then take my word for it, I guarantee it will work for *YOU!* All you have to do is send me $999.99 a month for the next 999 months, and in return, you will become the true owner of this rare spam Buddha!  After that, when you look on it and wish to become mortal again, you'll get your wish!"

She tosses the box into the fireplace, and it erupts into sulphurous blue flames, the sort of fire one expects to find only in the lowest depths of Hell. Natalie wrinkles her nose in disgust and returns to Nick. Nick is recovering, but she shakes with barely-controlled anger.

Natalie: You *idiot!* How can you keep falling for these scams?

Nick: I hoped that . . . this time . . .

Natalie: All the suckers think they'll score big "this time." But *you* know it never happens, detective! All these something-for-nothing, get-rich-quick deals are crap! Think about it--if they worked, why would the people who offer them need to work? Why would they need *your* money if they're already rich? Why would they have to snow you with lots of doubletalk and tell you not to worry, not to ask questions, to trust them? Why would they claim to be doing this out of generosity, and say they aren't in it for the money, when they're appealing to greed and demanding tons of your cash?

Nick: Natalie . . . I know I was wrong . . . but when you're desperate, you'll take any hope you find.

Natalie's fury subsides.

Natalie: Nick, you know there's no easy cure for your condition. You can't let these crooks use your hope against you.

Nick: You may have to keep reminding me of that.

He reaches out and squeezes her hand.

Nick: I'm glad you have your head screwed on tight.

Natalie: Be glad Dr. Frankenstein gave the bolts in my neck those extra twists. Are you ready to get back to work, Detective?

Nick: Yeah. Why? What's the problem?

Natalie: Vachon was attacked by a vampire hunter.

Nick: He was?

Natalie: He's fine now. But when he found the hunter, he was writing dirty words on the sidewalk.

Nick: That's the Mad Spammer's MO.

Natalie: Yes, but it may not have been the Mad Spammer; I'll ID the body later. And that spam Buddha--you ordered it over the Internet, didn't you?

Nick: I suppose the Mad Spammer was behind that, too.

Natalie: And you know what this means. He's coming to Toronto for one reason, and one reason only.

Nick: To hunt vampires.

ACT 4:

The next night at the 96th Precinct. It's in an uproar, phones ringing, cops dashing here and there, computer terminals blinking crazily. Reese is talking with Nick and Tracy.

Reese: The whole metropolitan area is going bananas. These spammers are everywhere, overloading systems left and right. Half the computers in Ontario are down.

Tracy: What I want to know is, where are all these spammers coming from? They're multiplying like rabbits.

Nick: Or like bacteria.

Reese: You got an idea, Knight?

Nick: No . . . just thinking of something I heard. Tracy has a point, though. Where are all these spammers coming from?

Tracy: Maybe Natalie will find a clue for us when she finishes the autopsy on that John Doe. They found him next to some dirty words on a sidewalk, didn't they? Sounds like more than a coincidence to me.

Reese: Yeah, and look at the words he wrote.

Reese picks up a photograph from Nick's desk; it shows the dead body and the chalked words.

Reese: "Spam Buddha . . . undead . . . vampire." Plus a few things I won't repeat.

Tracy: What's a spam Buddha?

Nick: It's obviously a reference to spamming.

Reese: Get on it.

Tracy: Right away. Nick, I know someone who may know things.

Nick: Fine. I'll check with Natalie.

They leave, while Reese continues to study the crime-scene photo. He looks puzzled, and speaks in an appropriate tone.

Reese: "Undead . . . vampire." What's that supposed to mean?

He shakes his head and walks back to his office.

 

We now see Nick's Caddy parked outside the morgue. In the lab, he talks with Natalie, while a sheet-covered body lies on a gurney.

Nick: So this is the John Doe who attacked Vachon.

Natalie: That's right, and I found some *very* odd things when I carved on him.

Nick: Such as?

Natalie: Look.

She pulls back the sheet, revealing a sinister face, its features contorted by a look of vicious contempt. Its beady, ratlike eyes stare up at them, somehow giving an impression of utter, brutal selfishness that not even death can erase.

Natalie: Looks like a typical spammer, doesn't it?

Nick: It looks like the FBI pictures of the Mad Spammer.

Natalie: I know. But this isn't him. Or--considering what I *didn't* find during my autopsy, maybe I should say this isn't *it.*

Nick: You mean--

Natalie pulls the sheet back all the way, revealing a certain shortcoming typical of spammers.

Natalie: That's exactly what I mean.

Nick: Then how do spammers reproduce?

Natalie: Through a process of fission, like bacteria or amoeba. Totally asexual. That's what you'd expect in a lower form of life, and spammers are *the* lowest form of life in the world. For proof, look at its face.

Nick does so, although he's clearly revolted.

Nick: Natalie . . . this looks like a mirror image of the Mad Spammer's face. The warts, scabs, zits and clumps of rank hair are all reversed.

Natalie: DNA mirroring. It happens sometimes during mitosis. Instead of splitting into two identical creatures, the parent organism splits into mirror images. One like itself, and one reversed.

Nick: Meaning what?

Natalie: It isn't significant in itself. But it's a rare phenomenon, which means . . .

Nick: That the Mad Spammer had to reproduce a lot before this could happen.

Natalie: Which would explain the heavy spamming in Toronto tonight. The city must be swarming with these beasts.

Nick: But how could this happen?

Natalie: Well, the Internet created a new ecological niche, one best filled by spammers, the same way rotting bodies created a niche for molds and maggots. It was there, and something moved in. I'd say this started out as a normal human--most spammers do--and then there was some sort of genetic freak-out, and the ecosystem ended up with something ideally suited to that niche.

Nick: So the Mad Spammer isn't just recruiting new spammers. It's spawning copies of itself.

Natalie: And every vampire in Toronto is in grave--I mean mortal--I mean a *lot* of danger.

 

We now see Tracy's car parked outside Vachon's abandoned church. Inside, Vachon and Tracy talk while Vachon looks around nervously.

Tracy: It's a disaster. The spammers have shut down almost all of the Internet in Ontario. Air traffic control, banks, telephones, radio and TV--who would have thought a little spam could turn into something so dangerous?

Vachon: It's always like that. One day he's a funny little geek with a big mouth and a butt-ugly mustache. Next thing you know, he's turning people into soap bars.

Tracy: And this spammer almost destroyed you?

Vachon: Yeah. He's hunting vampires. I got lucky, though.

Tracy: I'll say. But--

There are no buts about it: she is interrupted by a loud crash and the splintering of wood as someone--no, some *thing*--smashes through the church's front door. It looks almost like a man. Kinda short, kinda pudgy, black hair going bald, bulging eyes above a well-picked nose, protruding yellow teeth, wax-filled Mickey-Mouse ears. Needs a bath, a shave and a tailor. It's the Mad Spammer, and it brandishes a crucifix and a wooden stake as it comes in.

Mad Spammer: Die, vampire!

Vachon is driven back by the crucifix. Suddenly inspired, Tracy looks at the Mad Spammer, and lets out a shriek that would have done Fay Wray proud. The Mad Spammer stops to look at her, and as it shows her the crucifix she turns away quickly.

Mad Spammer: Die, perky blonde vampire!

As Tracy cringes she puts her hand on the butt of her pistol. She waits as the Mad Spammer shambles closer to her. Then, in one smooth move, she draws her pistol, spins around and blazes away at the Mad Spammer. The bullets cannot kill it--slime is immune to such things--but it is bewildered to find that Tracy is not acting as a vampire should. Its confusion gives Vachon the opportunity to leap onto it, bite into its throat and drain its blood. After it dies Vachon stands above it, a look of bliss on his face. Tracy rushes to him and hugs him.

Vachon: Trace . . . now I know why it's hunting vampires!

ACT 5:

Outside the morgue. Natalie is walking to her car, alone. Without warning, she is accosted by one of the Mad Spammer's spawn. She is taken aback only for a few seconds, and as it rushes her she draws a spray bottle from her handbag and sprays it. It shrieks and falls to the sidewalk.

Natalie: A little disinfectant works wonders on fungus like you.

But before she can savor her victory another Mad Spammer charges at her, and then another, and another. As they move to the attack, however, Nick, Urs and LaCroix fly in and tackle them before they can produce crosses or stakes. In moments the vermin are dead, while the vampires stand around in obvious surprise. Then LaCroix speaks.

LaCroix: You were correct, Urs, my dear. The flavor is exquisite.

Nick: Not even human blood tastes this good.

Natalie sees the implications.

Natalie: The taste of the blood--of course! That's why it hunts vampires!

Nick: Yes. Spammers are our ideal prey, even more suitable than humans.

Natalie: So they wanted to wipe out vampires to keep you from holding their numbers in check. It's as if rats plotted to exterminate cats.

LaCroix: An apt analogy, Dr. Lambert, although rats might take exception to the comparison.

Urs: So vampires have a place in the mortal world.

LaCroix: Just as white blood cells do in the human body. We are needed to counteract the vile infection of spammers.

Nick: Mortals can't do it as efficiently as vampires can. And spammer's blood gives us a unique incentive to hunt them.

Natalie: Yes. Evolution always creates checks and balances like this. Spammers arose, and nature provided a way to destroy them.

Urs: It did? But vampires have always existed.

Natalie: Yes . . . and nature made spammers evolve blood that you would find delicious. Evolution always takes the simplest approach.

LaCroix: And we need feel no guilt over killing spammers.

Nick: Unless . . . if spammers somehow mutated back into humans . . . then this would be murder.

Urs: Will you for Pete's sake lighten up!

LaCroix: Indeed. There are many spammers, Nicolas. Our service to humanity has merely begun.

LaCroix takes flight, as does Urs. After a pause, Nick joins them, going in pursuit of more spammers. Natalie, surrounded by drained spammers, shouts after them.

Natalie: Hey! Who's going to clean up this mess?

TAG:

A spammer hunches over a keyboard.

Spammer: Chain letter! Me spam net with chain letter! Me be funny and make me real rich!

Suddenly a hand clutches its shoulder. The spammer looks around, and fear spreads on its repugnant face as it sees LaCroix smiling down at it.

LaCroix: Guess who's coming to dinner?

Fade to end theme and credits.