FS Let No One Spam Us Under

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Let No One Spam Us Under

Nick's loft. It's dawn, and he clicks the remote control to close the shutters. He goes to the refrigerator, takes a bottle of cow's blood and fills a glass. He carries his breakfast to his computer, where he sits down and gets on-line. After a moment he shakes his head in disgust at what he sees.

Nick: Spam.

On the screen we see:

Subject: Win a Central Florida Vacation.
From:  juliana@sprynet.com
"Hi and thanks for checking out Central Florida Info. Whatever the subject of this Newsgroup, chances are, you will find this useful. Now, you can plan your visit to the Orlando Area through the Internet. You could even win a Vacation in Central Florida (details in next Newsletter)."

Nick: They're kidding. What could I do in sunny central Florida? Aside from teach someone about punctuation?

The phone rings and Nick answers it.

Nick: Knight . . . yeah, I know, Schanke. I just got spammed, too . . . I know, they probably want to sell a million acres of swampland . . . okay, why don't you forward it to postmaster@sprynet.com. See you tonight.

            {hangs up}

Schanke, you'll be the death of me yet.

Perhaps, but while his back is turned a greater threat appears on the computer screen: more spam.

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: Captain Cohen's office in the 96th Precinct. Schanke and Natalie are there as Nick comes in.

Nick: Trouble?

Cohen: Yes, there's been an unusual amount of spam lately.

Schanke: Weenie stuff, too, even dumber than that Florida vacation gimmick.

Natalie: When you think about it, that gimmick *does* sound nice.

Cohen: A vacation in the Orlando area? A little swimming, make some sandcastles with the kids, lie in the sun . . .

Schanke: Catch a few rays . . .

Natalie: Work on the old tan . . .

Nick: What is this? You know that "free vacation" will probably turn out to be a weekend in a cheap motel, while Flashy McSwindle cons you into buying the Okefenokee swamp!

Cohen: I suppose you're right.

Natalie: The place is probably swarming with mosquitos and leeches.

Schanke: Yeah, who wants to get mixed up with a bunch of blood-suckers?

Cohen: But it sure is tempting--

            {shakes her head}

Let's focus here. We've got to do something about this spam. It's getting out of hand. Did you see the one about the so-called "Good Times" virus?

Nick: I did. It's an urban myth, isn't it? Something that sounds plausible, but is really nonsense?

Natalie: That's right. There are no computer viruses that can damage a computer simply by being downloaded as e-mail.

Schanke: And this hoax stays alive because some sicko gets a kick out of scaring newbies, who get conned into "warning" the rest of the net about it.

Cohen: Which also gives them their first experience at spamming.

Natalie: All this spamming is getting on my nerves.

Schanke: So let's get out there, knock 'em down and lock 'em up!

Nick and Schanke leave the office. As they do, Cohen shakes her head.

Cohen: What were we thinking? Talking about that vacation offer as though it was legit?

Natalie: I don't know . . . but it would be nice, wouldn't it?

Cohen: Well, yes, it would be . . .

 

Much later, at the Raven. Nick walks up to the bar and addresses Miklos, who looks unhappy:

Nick: Where's Janette?

Miklos: In back.

Nick: Something wrong?

Miklos: We're having trouble getting enough of our favorite vintages. She's looking for new sources on the net.

Nick can guess what that means: trouble finding enough blood for the Raven's vampire patrons. He looks around and sees that some of the undead look especially hungry. Nick walks past them and goes into the back room, where Janette sits at her computer. She looks even unhappier than Miklos.

Nick: Miklos said you're having trouble.

Janette: Yes. It's getting impossible to obtain blood! I fear that hunger will drive some of us to openly hunt mortals. With modern police that could only lead to danger.

Nick: You'll find an answer, Janette--but something else is bothering you, isn't it?

Janette: Yes. Spam. An incredible amount of spam! Why do you not do something to stop it, instead of enforcing discriminatory laws that make death hard for poor but honest vampires?

Nick: I've been working on spam all night. With Schanke. After a while he gets to be a little too much.

Janette: Yes, I know. What has he done this time?

Nick: He keeps talking this one bit of spam . . . a get-rich-quick scheme. He thinks he's earning millions of dollars by watching reruns of "I Dream of Jeannie." He keeps staring at a TV that isn't there.

Janette: How foolish of him. He should know that the only true offer is the one made by Larry.

Nick: Larry? Who's he?

In response Janette gestures at her screen. Nick sees this message:

"Subject: LARRY will answer YOU!!!!
"Come and see for yourself!!!
"Do you wish somebody could or would answer
"a question for you truthfully.
"Then LARRY is your man.
"Any Question any subject. He WILL try to answer ALL!!

Nick looks horrified.

Nick: Janette, this is spam! I reported it to postmaster@intercom.net.

Janette: Oh, Nicola, how can you say it is spam! He has already answered my questions. Isn't that right, Larry? . . . Should Nicolas worry, Larry? . . .

            {turns to Nick and smiles triumphantly]

There! You heard what he said! And Larry will tell me where to find blood!

Nick takes her by the shoulders and shakes her. She seems to be in a trance.

Nick: Janette! Snap out of it! What's wrong with you?

Janette seems to sink deeper into her trance. Nick picks her up and flies off with her.

 

ACT 2: Aerial shot of Toronto at night.

Nick lands with Janette on the roof of CERK. Janette appears unconscious. Nick carries her inside to the studio, where LaCroix is making a broadcast.

LaCroix: We are surrounded by small people who would batter us into submission and drag us down to their level. And to what end? To help us, they say, to generously improve our lot in life. All they wish is our time and money--a little here, a little there, until at last nothing remains to us and they are the ones who have found a profit in their deeds.

We must resist them. We must fight them through every available means, punish them for their depredations into our lives, pummel them into retreat and surrender. It is in doing this, in refusing to go quietly into their night of petty fraud, that we emerge victorious.

            {sees Nick and Janette}

And now, mes amis, a favorite tune of mine, one which in fact served to introduce a famous Hungarian actor to an avid American audience.

            {puts his Swan Lake CD in a player and leaves the broadcast booth}

What has happened, Nicolas?

Nick: She was spammed.

LaCroix: And this was clearly no ordinary spamming. This way.

LaCroix leads Nick into a rear room, where he sets Janette down on a couch. LaCroix bends over her and brings his hypnotic skills to bear.

LaCroix: Awaken . . . you are my daughter, Janette . . . awake!

Janette looks up.

Janette: Larry . . . has all the answers. Tell him, Larry!

She lapses back into her stupor. LaCroix turns to Nick.

LaCroix: This Larry is our spammer?

Nick: One of many.

LaCroix: I see. I sense that Janette is somehow being drawn away by some strange power. Do you not sense it as well?

We get the sense that a flashback is coming on.

 

Ye Olde Germany. Nick, LaCroix and Janette walk into a village. Hordes of rats swarm everywhere. LaCroix gives Nick an especially displeased look.

LaCroix: You and your "directions." This is the *last* time we follow *any* yellow-brick roads.

Nick: Yet we have reached Hamelin safely.

Janette: Only to be inundated by rats! Let us get away from here.

As she speaks a mortal in an outlandish costume approaches the trio. He's past middle age and totally bald, and speaks in an outrageous Cockney accent.

Man: No needs ter go away, me loverly young skirt, not when the city fathers are shelling out the shekels to have ol' Screed take away the skittering squealers.

Nick looks puzzled.

Nick: Do I know you from somewhere?

Screed: Screed's the name, rat-killing's the game. Just an honest sailor, looking to earn his keep until he can get down to the seas again.

LaCroix: And how, pray tell, will you free Hamelin of rats?

Screed: With this.

He produces a pipe and begins to play--and at once the rats begin to swarm around him. He dances down the street, leading them away. As he goes away Nick returns to the present.

Nick: You don't think *Screed* is behind this?

LaCroix: No. But someone might have stumbled upon the same power he once uncovered. Why not question Dr. Lambert? She *is* rather familiar with modern science.

Nick leaves.

 

ACT 3: The morgue. As Nick comes in he is astonished to find the place flooded with light. He sees that Natalie has set up a beach chair and is clad in a bathing suit as she sips a piņa colada. Natalie looks over the top of her sunglasses in surprise.

Natalie: Nick, what brings you to Florida?

Nick pauses, then realizes that Natalie is under the control of a spammer. He'll have to play along.

Nick: I don't want to disturb your vacation, Nat, but I need some scientific advice.

Natalie: I'll bet it's about that spammer. Don't worry.

Nick: I need--

Natalie: What you need to do is relax. There's nothing like a little sun for that. Sit down and enjoy it!

Nick: Natalie, the spam is doing strange things to people. They're seeing things that aren't there. Living in hallucinations.

Natalie: Well, spam can have a strong influence on the unwary.

Nick: What causes it?

Natalie: Who knows? Hey, why don't you take a break and enjoy the sun?

Nick: Staying out of the sun is the one sure way to prevent tan lines.

Natalie: Right. Pass the Coppertone?

Nick hands her an imaginary bottle and leaves. He takes to the air and flies back to the 96th Precinct. When he arrives he finds much of the staff in a daze. Schanke is at his desk watching an imaginary TV. Cohen is busy trying to get 20,000 uncensored internet connections. Overcome by it all, Nick has a flashback:

Hamelin. Screed has led the rats away and drowned them in the river. Now Nick, LaCroix and Janette watch as he negotiates with the city fathers.

Screed: The thing of the thing, mytes, is that you didn't cross me palm-palms with enough of the glitter. Now as I view it through me squinters, you need to hand over a few more handfuls of old, cold-rolled gold.

Der Burgomeister: We have already paid you all you asked.

Der Meisterbrau: Plus ten percent! Now go away!

Screed: It ain't enough, you sorry sods! Pay up, or ol' Screed will up and tyke away your tykes.

Nicolas: You have no cause to vex these people. They have kept their bargain.

Screed: Sty out of this.

Nicolas appears ready to intervene, but LaCroix restrains him and takes him outside.

LaCroix: Do not meddle in the affairs of mortals, Nicolas. Take amusement from them, but do not think them worthy of your help. Otherwise you will cease to see them for what they are: prey.

Nick: But how can we stand idly by while this man threatens to abduct their children?

LaCroix: How can we involve ourselves, when that might expose us and destroy us? No, Nicolas. Think of our future, and our safety. Let events play out here.

Nick returns to the present, and the 96th. He tries to rouse a few of the zombied-out officers, but nothing works. At last he gives up and steps out of the building. As he comes out into the open he is accosted by a man with a gun.

Man: Die!

Nick recoils as the man shoots him. To conceal his vampirism he feigns being mortally wounded, falling to the sidewalk. The man keeps shooting him.

Man: Die! Die! Die!

Aristotle: You first, my talkative friend.

Nick looks up at a sucking sound and sees that the man has been attacked by Aristotle, the vampire who specializes in creating new identities for vampires who must move on and start new lives. Aristotle drains the attacker and drops his body.

Aristotle: Ech! He was about as delicious as he was eloquent. Still, waste not, want not, eh?

Nick: Glad to see you . . . but what brings you here?

Aristotle: Spammers, such as this one.
    {picks up the dead body; he knows better than to litter in front of a police station}
I believe I know what they are doing--and there is little time to stop them.

 

ACT 4: Nick's loft. Nick fills two glasses with cow's blood. Aristotle accepts the drink, but takes only a sip.

Aristotle: Not to cast aspersions on your hospitality, but your vintage tastes considerably worse than what the spammer had in his veins.

Nick: You said you knew what was happening.

Aristotle: Indeed. The spammers are numbing everyone on the net with spam . . . deluging them so badly that they are forced to escape reality.

Nick: And the nearest escape--

Aristotle: --was presented by the offers made by the spammers. There is a certain elegant logic here. You must admit that nothing could be further from reality than the claims made by spammers. And sane people do react rather badly to spam.

Nick: I always knew spam could drive you crazy. How many spammers are involved?

Aristotle: At first there was only one, but his spamming has touched off a wave of what we call "sympathy spam," not that anyone has sympathy for spammers. When a spammer sees someone else's spam, it thinks that it can create *worse* spam, thereby annoying people even further.

Nick: Which is why each new spam seems dumber than the last. It's the spammer version of creativity. So what do we do to stop it?

Aristotle: First we need to stop the spammer who had you attacked. He evidently recognizes you as an enemy, if not as a vampire. The danger to you is that he might learn your true nature, and--

Aristotle falls silent as someone enters the loft. It's Schanke.

Nick: Schanke, are you all right?

Schanke: Never better, partner!

Nick: Have you recovered from the spamming?

Schanke: That? Hey, of course, you can't keep the Schankinator down!

Nick: That's good, Schanke.
   {to Aristotle}
His "escape from reality" was the delusion that he could get rich by watching TV.

Schanke: What delusion? I *did* get rich! And you know what? Watching all that TV is work! But now that I got a few millions in the bank, I can afford to devote my spare time to my favorite hobby--detective work!

Nick: Uh . . . hey . . . that's great, Schanke. Uh, by the way--is your gun loaded?

 

At CERK, Janette gets up, unobserved, and goes to the computer. She gets on-line and contacts good ol' Larry, the Answer Spammer.

Janette: Larry . . . my thirst is incredible . . . I need blood. I need it *now!* Where can I find it? . . . Answer me!

An answer appears on the screen, but it must be unsatisfactory; Janette looks enraged as she puts her fist through the screen. As sparks fly she leaves the room and takes to the air.

LaCroix has taken to the air as well, in his own way. We hear his Night Crawler show as Nick, Schanke and Aristotle drive the Caddy through the Toronto night.

LaCroix: How can we let ourselves be so badly injured by creatures who are no better than lemmings, who lack even the wit of children who play follow-the-leader? Why do so many of us fail to rise above these fools, who are as the beasts that perish?

    And how shall we fight them? A rhetorical question, gentle listeners. Of course we must fight them by exploiting their weaknesses--and their greatest weakness is their lack of intellect. This shall be the key to their defeat. We need action, not words.

Which causes Nick to flashback:

Hamelin , where Nick and LaCroix are still arguing over the ethics of interfering with the Pied Piper's plans. As they debate Janette and Screed approach them, and the two men sense a change in Screed.

LaCroix: Janette, you brought him across?

Janette: What other action could stop him, *and* guarantee that no rats would return to plague us during our visit?

Screed: Rats, right! Nothing like 'em! Hoy, there goes a plump little nibbler right now!

Nick and LaCroix watch in amazement as Screed pounces on another rat and drinks its blood.

Nick: Why did you do that to him, Janette?

Janette: Because there are times when talk must end and action must start . . . and bringing him across freed him of his ridiculous greed.


Nick returns to the present, where LaCroix has just completed his broadcast.

Aristotle: I hope he's right. There is little time to defeat these spammers. Their spam is approaching a sort of critical mass. They could drive the whole human race into a permanent state of madness.

Schanke: Aw, bull! Those spammers can't hurt us!

Nick: Of course they can't.

Aristotle: But I think I see what can be done. If you'll excuse me?

He takes off. Schanke looks startled.

Schanke: Where'd he go?

Nick: Where'd who go?

Schanke: That witness!

Nick: What witness? You know we don't bring civilians along on a raid.

Schanke: Oh. Right. I forgot.

Nick: We're almost there.

 

ACT 5: A room in an apartment. Several spammers cluster around a computer as they spam.

Boss Spammer: We need dumber spam!

Flunky #1: Howzabouta 'nuther chain letter?

Flunky #2: No! Make spam with talk about phone sex!

Flunky #3: Yeah! Only make it sex with girls!

Boss Spammer: Got me a better idea! No other spammer get an idea as dummy-like as this one! Watch!
   {he spams all over the keyboard}
"You geke! Don't post messages what tell people how to make trouble for spammers! I love bean spammt! End eye LOVE reeding posts where other people complane theybean spammed! Especiall when thay uze dirtee werds & waste my time! Only I HATE posts where losers like ewe talk about forwarding spam to postmasters! What r u, some sorta goody 2shoes? Don't you know it taiks eleventy-six quazillion hours to forward spam to postmasters, not thirty secons?"

The boss-spammer posts the spam, and then he and his wretched minions fall down laughing at what they've done, for certainly it is a ludicrous thing to complain when someone reports a spammer. Then the laughter ends as Nick bursts in through the window, while Schanke kicks in the door. The boss-spammer attacks Nick while his sidekicks assault Schanke. As they do so Schanke indulges a long-held secret fantasy:

Schanke: Eat lead, running-dog lackeys of the imperialist spam-mongers!

In moments the spammers are either dead or handcuffed, and Nick turns to his partner.

Nick: One of these days we're going to have to discuss mood-swings.

 

Meanwhile Janette has hunted down Lamer Larry the Answer Spammer. There's no dialogue; what's the point in communicating with a spammer? She drains him.

 

At CERK, LaCroix finds that a spammer has broken into the station, where he is ignored by the hallucinating station workers. The spammer has the effrontery to do the dirty deed on Uncle's PC.

LaCroix: Quelle chutzpah!

LaCroix bites the spammer and the spammer bites the dust.

Nick and Schanke are driving back to the 96th precinct when Nick's cell phone rings. Nick answers it.

Nick: Knight . . . yes, Aristotle? You have a plan? . . . You *what?* . . . Let's talk about *that* later, okay? . . . Okay.

Schanke: What was that all about?

Nick: Uh--the witness who led us to that spammer. He's a computer expert. He says that the spam has receded enough so that people are returning to normal. Apparently something has happened to several spammers.

Schanke: Hey, I'm glad things are getting back to normal. Maybe I'll have time to catch "I Dream of Jeannie" tonight. Or at least scarf down some souvlaki!

Nick sighs; "normal" suddenly seems a vastly overrated state. They return to the precinct, where the staff is back at work, freed from the hallucinations induced by the spam overload. Nick checks out and heads for the Raven, where he finds Janette and Aristotle at the bar.

Nick: Aristotle, your plan--

Aristotle: Is a rather elegant solution, if I do say so myself. We need to rid the world of spammers, and the Raven requires fresh stock for its customers.

Janette: And what better way to capture spammers than through spam?

Nick: They actually fall for it?

Aristotle: Spammers have the cleverness to abuse the net, but not the wisdom to avoid trouble. And their arrogance forces them to respond to our little trap.

Janette: It is as effective as Screed's flute was in his Pied-Piper days. So effective that my cellar is becoming crowded with spammers.

Aristotle: It's the price we pay, dear lady. Each spammer we remove from circulation--by removing from their circulatory systems, one might say--lessens the threat civilization faces from their spamming.

Aristotle raises his glass in a toast to her.

 

The scene shifts to a spammer's lair, where the spammer gapes at a message on his computer screen:

"Spammers! The greatest spammer in the world can be found in the basement of the Raven! You think you're so hot? Our spammer can beat you any day or night! If you think you can out-spam him, come here and prove it! Otherwise quit spamming and admit you're a pathetic wimp!"

Spammer: Aw, what a crock! If this spammer is so great, how come he spells all the words right? And uses punctuation good?

He's about to wipe the spam from his computer. Then he pauses.

Spammer: I'll show them! I'll go to this Raven place and make them see I'm the best spammer! Nobody calls me a wimp!

The spammer gets up and, like a rat following the song of the Pied Piper, marches in the direction of the Raven and its thirsty patrons.

 

TAG: The morgue. Nick comes in and sees Natalie, who looks puzzled.

Nick: What's the problem, Nat? The spammers are gone and the mass insanity has cleared up.

Natalie: I know . . . but . . . where did these polaroids come from?

Nick: What polaroids?

Natalie: These. They show me here in the lab, in a bikini.

She hands several snapshots to Nick, who eyes them appreciatively.

Nick: You don't remember?

Natalie: The past day seems a little hazy--and why do I smell like a coconut? What was I doing?

Nick: You were trying to stimulate my interest in regaining my mortality.

Natalie: Did it work?

Nick: Now what do you think?

He hugs her and kisses her.

 

Fade to end theme and credits.


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Last modified: April 10, 2006