Teaser: A dark and stormy night in the forest. Rain falls, thunder crashes (clumsy weather!), horrifying shapes lurk in the dark shadows. Amid this overwhelming sense of terror we hear a sound no decent person would wish to describe. It's the sound of Screed humming and singing:
Screed: We're off to see the wizard . . .
Screed skips and hops along, then stops to sniff the air. He looks famished, but his face soon lights up:
He hesitates, then pounces on a small, scurrying shape. Screed laughs as he holds it up, and we see he's caught a skunk. Frankly, it's not much of a skunk--mangy, flea-bitten and pot-bellied--but Screed isn't the sort to complain. He bites into its belly and drinks its blood.
Alas, he is interrupted before he can lick the plate clean. Spying a rat, he tosses the skunk aside and hunts after his preferred vintage.
The skunk lies insensate on the forest floor. Then a vile red light gleams in its eyes, and we realize that Screed has unwittingly brought it across, turning it into a carouche.
What can a vampire skunk do? Why do we feel a sense of grim foreboding as the creature rises to its paws and begins to prowl the night? And why are we not surprised when this skunk heads straight for the nearest computer?
Familiar music as the sun rises, then sets over Toronto.
"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: The loft. Nick is watching a tape of "Near Dark." On the TV we see a clan of grungy hick vampires driving a car. The sun is rising, and they're desperately trying to cover the windows with spray paint, old aluminum foil and duct tape. Nick, who has been taking notes, offers a critique of their survival techniques:
Nick: That doesn't work . . . that doesn't work . . . Try the trunk! You people didn't even know the sun was about to rise? And you call yourselves vampires!
The phone rings. Nick turns off his TV and takes the call.
Nick: Knight . . . yeah, Schanke? . . . What? You're kidding. No, you wouldn't kid about that . . . Okay, I'll meet you at the scene.
Nick raises his remote-control and addresses the TV vampires.
Nick: Gotta fly.
The TV goes off, and then Nick's off.
It's an off-night at the scene of the crime: the Raven. The place has been rather explicitly spammed. A bewildered Nick slogs his way through the stuff to speak with Janette, who looks bored.
Janette: *Tres* nauseating, is it not?
Nick: This spam . . . Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
Janette: *I* did not invite such a person here!
I never expected to be *bored* by a vampire hunter. Good night, Nicolah.
Nick spots Schanke and Natalie, who are examining some of the spam's less-repugnant aspects. Nick crosses the dance floor to join them.
Nick: Anything solid?
Schanke: Just the chunks that came up with my lunch. Man oh man oh man, this may have turned me off forever.
He spots Janette as she heads downstairs. Adjusting his tie, he leers and follows her.
Natalie: At least *he* has a normal attitude toward sex.
Nick: Pornographic spam, of all things. What can you tell me about it?
Natalie: Aside from the fact that the spammer is an illiterate baboon who knows nothing about human anatomy and behavior, and really shouldn't crosspost and multiple-post from his mommy's computer, I don't have anything definite yet.
Nick: No user-ID?
Natalie: I have lots of ID's here. firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, a path line that says the spammer is on idt.net, an NNTP-Posting-Host line that says the sleazeball posted from ppps1.constant.com . . .
Nick: In other words, you have too much ID. I'll run an nslookup and see what I can find.
Natalie stifles a yawn.
Natalie: Good, you do that. I don't believe this spammer. How much of a loser do you have to be to make sex seem dull?
We find the answer in the apartment where thekeeper <firstname.lastname@example.org> sits in front of its computer. Okay, technically thekeeper should be referred to as "he." In fact, there is definite evidence that thekeeper is the male of the species, whatever its underevolved species might be. It has the evidence of its masculinity well in hand--okay, in tweezers. It is scrutinizing the evidence with an extremely powerful magnifying glass, but even so it has to squint to make certain it isn't really holding a loose, limp thread from its filthy diapers. At last it appears satisfied, in a manner of speaking.
Thekeeper: It be big! Not teensy-weensy like everyone say! I see it be real big! It be big enough to make impress real girl!
The spammer looks at its screen, which displays a picture of Tammy Fay Bakker. Naked. Thekeeper grows excited, although no real activity can be seen through the magnifying glass.
Thekeeper: You be impress, right, beautiful? Now me be make spam again, so everyone see that me be one who know what it be like to do the naughty-naughty with girl!
And, sure enough, thekeeper gets ready to spam again.
ACT 2: The streets of Toronto, which are thick with spam. The wheels of the Caddy make squishing noises as Nick drives along and listens to the Night Crawler on CERK.
LaCroix: Those who can, do. Those who can't, spam everyone with dull stories about their imaginary sex lives. The worse the spam, the worse their problem. The real question is, why do spammers reveal their shortcomings in this manner? What compels them to declare unto the world, behold, I know nothing of what passes between men and women?
And what makes this verminous creature fantasize about a vampire hunter?
Words which set off a flashback . . .
1890, aboard the Orient Express. Nick enters the dining car, where he sees two elderly gentlemen at a table. They are smoking cigars as they have a heated discussion.
Sigmund Freud: Tut, tut, the sexual symbolism of hunting vampires is readily apparent.
Abraham van Helsing: Tut you! There is nothing symbolic about this Count Dracula and his actions!
Freud: Ach, will you not see the hidden meaning of your actions? Is not the wooden stake a phallic symbol?
van Helsing: Sometimes a stake is just a stake!
Freud: And is not the driving of the stake into the heart, accompanied by spurting blood and energetic screaming, clearly symbolic of intercourse? And your pursuit of Dracula just as clearly symbolizes a lover's courtship, nein? Your obsessive need to pound a stake into Dracula shows that you have replaced sex with a symbolic act. Is this because you are not capable of the actual act?
The flashback ends with the blare of a horn and some shouted, angry words which would have intrigued Freud. Nick sees that he has almost hit another car, whose driver shakes a fist at him.
Driver: Watch where you're going!
Where Nick is going, is the abode of Larry Merlin, vampire and computer specialist. Nick finds Merlin working at his computer.
Nick: I need an nslookup of a spammer's address. The offender claims to be posting from traveltales.com
Merlin: Let's see what I can find. I'll just point my web browser to http://rs.internic.net/cgi-bin/whois, and enter the domain name--traveltales.com, you said?
Nick: Technically, http:/www.traveltales.com
Merlin: We can leave out the www and the http here; this site doesn't use them. Just set your cursor on the box, type in the domain name--traveltales.com--and push enter.
Nick: And get a response right off the bat.
Indeed, information has appeared on the screen, identifying thekeeper's server:
1323 Leavenworth #4
San Francisco, CA 94109
Domain Name: TRAVELTALES.COM
Administrative Contact, Technical Contact, Zone Contact:
Administrator, DNS dns@EMF.NET
(510) 704-2929 (FAX) 510-376-8638
Pierce, Steven steve@TRAVELTALES.COM
Record last updated on 18-Nov-96.
Record created on 24-Aug-96.
Database last updated on 20-Apr-97 06:09:36.
Domain servers in listed order:
Nick: Where does this take us?
Merlin: Not very far, I'm afraid. One could contact the domain's administrator and politely complain about the offensive spam, but there's not much he can do.
Nick: What? Why not?
Merlin: The spam is offensive and inappropriate, but not actually illegal. The spam was posted only to alt.* newsgroups, which are unmoderated and have looser standards than certain other newsgroups. The host may despise the spammer as much as we do, but his hands are tied.
Nick: But this spam is off-topic, and foul.
Merlin: Sad to say, it's the price of free speech. Nothing much we can do about it. Some people might want to letterbomb thekeeper, but even if you could get to his e-mail address and flood it with a huge number of large posts--don't.
Nick: Why not? He deserves to suffer!
Merlin: Yes, but letterbombing the impotent little twit will get *your* account shut down. Flooding an e-mail account can mess up an entire server and inconvenience its other users, so it's illegal. It's the sort of thing only a spammer would do, and what self-respecting vampire wants to act like a spammer?
Nick: So all we can do is--
A window crashes open and a young blonde vaults into the room. Nick and Merlin cringe in terror as she brandishes a crucifix.
ACT 3: The alley outside Merlin's place. Nick and Merlin come flying out the window and leap the nearest building in a single bound. As they land on the other side Nick looks disgusted.
Nick: Other vampires have to do battle with van Helsing, or Captain Kronos, or priests and rabbis. *I* get stuck with Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Merlin: Just as long as you aren't stuck *by* her, if you get my drift.
Nick: It's still undignified. LaCroix will never let me live it down.
Merlin: At least she isn't a spammer. Let's get out of here.
They take to the air, and after some remarkably beautiful flying shots over nighttime Toronto they arrive at the Raven. They enter the club, and make their way through dancers, drinkers and lurkers to the bar, where Janette lounges with a drink. She sees that they look upset. Not wishing to look bad in front of Janette, they compose themselves.
Janette: Trouble, mes amis?
Nick: There's a vampire hunter--
Merlin: *Several* vampire hunters. They chased us out of my place.
Nick: We fought as hard as we could, and we barely escaped with our deaths.
Merlin: We almost beat them--
Nick: But between the crosses and the flamethrowers--
Merlin: Not to mention the hordes of spammers--
Janette: It sounds dreadful.
[takes a sip of her drink; pats Nick on the cheek]
Buffy the Vampire Slayer can be *tres* irksome, no?
Nick: You've heard about her?
Janette: Oh, Nicolah, you are such a child! Of course I have heard! And don't you always come here to find what I've heard? The police should put me on their payroll!
Merlin: Question is, what do we do?
Janette: First, let us hear no more exaggerations about the danger you two faced, or your prowess. Nicolah, *you* recall what happened the last time one of our kind became boastful when faced with a vampire hunter.
We focus on Nick, who goes into flashback mode.
1891, the Borgo Pass, Transylvania. Night. Nick, LaCroix and Janette watch as a band of Gypsies make camp. Their only vehicle is a flatbed wagon drawn by horses. The wagon holds a single large crate. The Gleesome Threesome walks into the camp. Ignoring the Romany, LaCroix goes to the crate and knocks on its lid.
LaCroix: Yoo-hoo, Vlad, time to rise and shine.
Count Dracula rises from the crate.
Dracula: Good evening, LaCroix. Vhat brings you to this neck of the voods?
LaCroix: Oh, just passing away--I mean through. I understand you had to leave London in something of a hurry?
Dracula: That damned van Helsing and his friends vere a bit troublesome.
LaCroix: Ran you out of town, did they? Well, have no fear. LaCroix is here.
Dracula: You may find them quite a problem. This van Helsing is werry vise, for one who has not lived even one lifetime.
LaCroix: Ah, a challenge. Nothing like sinking your teeth into a good problem.
Dracula: Of course, some of us can sink their teeth a bit deeper than others.
LaCroix: Indeed? I don't mean to boast, but on occasion I *have* managed to puncture *both* of a victim's jugular veins at one bite.
Dracula: Vell, *I* can take the jugulars *and* the carotids vith one bite!
LaCroix: With *those?* I've seen sharper points on crayons!
Dracula: And *I* have seen more impressive thumbtacks!
They get face-to-face and snarl, comparing the length of their fangs. While Freud might have found this intriguing, Nick and Janette look into the distance and see van Helsing and his companions as they approach the campsite.
Janette: Van Helsing looks very cross, doesn't he?
Nick: If you two don't stop trying to score points, those vampire hunters will make their own points--with stakes.
Dracula: Go avay, all of you, you hemosexuals! I can handle van Helsing by myself!
LaCroix: Fine! Go ahead and make an ash of yourself!
Nick, LaCroix and Janette fly off; moments later, they hear a meaty hammering noise as van Helsing stakes his claim to fame. And Nick emerges from the flashback to address Janette.
Nick: You're right, Janette. We have to face reality.
Merlin: But how do we fight a hereditary vampire slayer?
Janette: Never mind Buffy, what about the spammer?
Nick: I know someone we can call. Let's get to my place before the sun rises.
ACT 4: The loft. Early morning sunlight slants through the windows as Natalie enters the room. She looks around.
Natalie: Nick? I got your call. Nick? Nick?
She spots something on an end table. She goes to it and sees an ashtray, which is heaped with ashes. She touches a finger to the ashes and looks worried.
Nick [off-camera]: Up here, Nat.
Natalie looks up and sees Nick, Janette and Merlin, dangling upside down from a rafter.
Natalie: I hate to interrupt the party, but could you bring this down to my level?
Nick: There's a problem. The battery in my remote died and I couldn't get the shutters to work.
Natalie: First time I ever heard a man complain about not being able to get it down.
Natalie takes the remote, finds new batteries and presses the right button. The shutters respond, and as darkness descends the three vampires drop from the rafter.
Janette: Nicolas believes you can help us fight both a vampire hunter and a spammer.
Natalie: Uh-huh. In fact I've already solved half the problem.
Natalie puts a couple of fingers in her mouth and whistles. In response Buffy enters the loft. Nick looks askance at Natalie.
Nick: You know the oddest people.
Natalie: She won't be a problem. I made sure she knows that in Canada it's against the law to destroy a vampire.
Buffy: It's, like, they said in geography class you Canadians had some weird laws up here in Canadia, but it's so grody that your Endangered Species Act covers vampires.
Natalie: But it *is* the law. Fortunately, we don't have any laws against hunting spammers.
Buffy: Fer sure? That is like so cool! I really want to get the spammer who said those gross things about me! Like anyone would really have fantasies like that! Gag me!
Janette: Don't tempt me . . .
Merlin: We know that this spammer calls itself thekeeper, but how do we track it down and punish it?
Nick: First, we have to draw it into the open. We can do that tonight.
Next thing you know, it's like, real dark, you know? It's just as well, because it keeps us from getting a bad look at thekeeper (you can't call it "a good look" when it involves a spammer). Thekeeper slouches in front of its computer and picks its nose as it tries to read something on the screen (and, no, I don't know why it picked *that* nose, although the warty, slimy, zitty thing *does* blend in with the rest of its "face"). Finally it mumbles to itself.
Thekeeper: Someone be make answer to my sexy post about
how Buffy want to make dirty deed with--with--whoever it be I talked about in spam! Me be
real happy when me read answer, because me know everyone on net be liking my spam!
Dear thekeeper: If you know as much about sex as you do about grammar and netiquette, you must be so ignorant that you don't even know why people laugh at you when you tell them you're still a virgin. Don't you know that longer isn't better when it comes to many things, paragraphs included? And you sound especially pathetic when you beg people not to flame you. Begging hasn't helped your sex life, so you should know that it won't help you avoid flames.
If you don't like getting flamed, tough. I'm going to spend the rest of my life laughing at you, because you don't have a clyew. In fact I'm standing atop the CN Tower right now laughing at you. The Tower is laughing at you, too, because it is everything you will never have: big, tall and hard. Get it? You're being insulted.
Oh, and the CN Tower is the real big thing in Toronto. Toronto is a city in Canada. Canada is that real big place north of where you live. You can see it on the map.
Thekeeper stares at the screen for an hour. Then he gets angry.
Thekeeper: Me no like this! Him make fun of me! Me go to this CN Tower place and give him piece of my mind!
Thekeeper grows so excited by this idea that he prepares for it. He cracks open his skull with a chisel and mallet, takes some tweezers and removes a piece of his mind. You might think he would miss it, but you're wrong. How can you miss what you've never used? Thekeeper now prepares to make good on his words, but he realizes he has a teensy, itty-bit, minuscule problem--and, no, it's not *that,* at least not this time.
thekeeper: But--message talk about map. What be a map?
A new message appears on the screen:
Dear Dork: You live in San Francisco. Head east. Turn left at Ohio.
Thekeeper: East? Left? Ohio?
Spamboy may die of old age before he gets it.
ACT 5: The CN Tower. Nick and Schanke are at the top, with Buffy.
Schanke: Clue me in, Nick. If this kid is in danger, why are we exposing her like this?
Nick: Because it's the only way to trap the psychokiller who's been harrassing her.
Schanke: Whatever. How will we recognize this slime when it shows up?
Nick: It's the same spammer who nailed us with that porno-spam, so you'll kinda know when it gets here.
Indeed. There's a foul stench in the air. It's horrific enough to gag a maggot, so it can only mean that thekeeper has at last figured out how to find Toronto and the CN Tower--to the deep regret of the Tower, which begins to wilt from the stink. We get a look at thekeeper. It walks on its hind legs, an evolutionary development which regrettably frees its forepaws to work a keyboard. It has beady eyes and a bushy, if mangy, tail. It is covered with rank black fur, marked by two white stripes running down its back. One might think it has fleas and lice, but as we watch a flea hops onto it, bites into its rank hide, then falls to the ground and pukes its guts out.
The CN Tower goes limp from the stench, a response one might call symbolic of thekeeper's private affairs. Nick, Schanke and Buffy step off the Tower to the ground and confront thekeeper.
Buffy: Gross me out! Like, why do I slay vampires when there are grody things like this on the prowl?
thekeeper: Me bee want no y u know like what eye right!
thekeeper: Me maid a grate spam! Whatfor you flame, huh?
Buffy: What are you saying?
thekeeper: Eye putt in spam that know won wood wont to reed spam if their knot happy it, sew what argh ewe bitching 4, huh?
Nick: This calls for desperate measures.
Nick and Schanke grab thekeeper and handcuff the sleazeball. Once they secure him Natalie appears, carrying a stack of books. She opens one and shows it to thekeeper.
Natalie: First lesson, dipwad. *This* is a man and *this* is a woman.
thekeeper: Me no be able make see the difference!
Natalie rolls her eyes and tosses aside the biology textbook. She now picks up a basic English text and turns its pages in front of thekeeper's (you should excuse the word) "face."
Natalie: Paragraphs! Spelling! Grammar! Punctuation! The difference between verbs and nouns! The ability to communicate your ideas clearly!
thekeeper: Why make bother? Me be great writer, so all things me ride heart not like you know what I mean kind of like things sum peepul canned think they dont' C no nonsense! So guy like me no need no about English!
Disgusted, Natalie trades the English text for a huge dictionary, and pounds thekeeper over the head with it--until she hits the sleaze square on the top of the head. The dictionary becomes impaled on his pointy head. This makes thekeeper smile, because it's the first time in his pointless life that he's ever (*ahem!*) "impaled" anything.
Nick grabs thekeeper by the lapels and slams him around.
Nick: Listen, you little worm, mind your manners around decent people or you're going to end up many quarts low--and I'm not talking about draining the five liters of pus sloshing around between your ears!
thekeeper: Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh! You say "pus!" That sound a lot like--
Nick cuts off the impending obscenity by grabbing thekeeper by its ankles and swinging it like a baseball bat, smashing its head against the CN Tower. The much-abused Tower loses the confrontation and falls to pieces, while the self-abused spammer seems to enjoy the experience.
Schanke is about to take his turn at it when LaCroix appears.
LaCroix: You should know by now that it is pointless to argue with a spammer.
Nick: We have to do something, LaCroix.
LaCroix: We must do something appropriate. It will please all of you to learn that I have prepared an appropriate measure. Now, step back from this spammer, leave it where it is.
Everyone backs off and watches thekeeper, who lies on the ground. In moments we hear the sound of a bomber flying overhead. This is followed by the whistling of a bomb. Thekeeper looks up and screams in horror as it sees the weapon that dooms it.
It strikes--splat! And thekeeper begins to wail and scream.
thekeeper: Me be shrinking! Me be shrinking! All me beautiful spam be melting and shrinking away!
Indeed, thekeeper is shrinking rapidly. Soon he fades away. Buffy is the first to comment.
Buffy: Like, what hit him?
LaCroix: I used the Preparation-H Bomb.
Schanke: What's that?
Nick covers Buffy's ears as Natalie explains it:
Natalie: It's what they use on assholes.
TAG: The Raven. Nick and Janette are speaking in a corner as the nightlife swirls around them.
Nick: So Buffy has given up her hereditary calling. She's decided that spammers are a greater menace to the world than vampires.
Janette: And to think I disliked her. Perhaps she has potential after all.
Nick: So it would seem. Speaking of potential, I feel a definite charge building between us.
Janette leans forward and they kiss.
Fade to end theme and credits.
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