/Whois - Chapter 12 - Hi Ho Hi Ho...It's off to the Meet I Go
Kali: So...are you going to come this time? You missed the last meet. I'm not taking no for an answer this time, sno!
For the fifth time in as many minutes, the drawer of my CD Rom drive slid out...
Snobird: Arch...cut it out!!
Snobird: Ohhhh...Arch. I want you...I want you now!
Growling I banged on my backspace button as ArchRival tried once again to take control of my keyboard and insert his own text.
Snobird: It...Iwant...don't...I'm gonna...jfaoiwehlsakneskslsjs.s..
*Kali falls on the floor snorting with laughter*
*Snobird kicks ArchRival from the room*
Snobird: I swear to god Kali...whose bright idea was it to allow these wannabe hacker punks into our room?
Kali: Well I tried to warn you not to open that Whack-A-Mole game he sent.
Hackers...the bane of chatters everywhere. For the most part, a lot of them were full of shit. While I could be completely gullible at times...I decided that it was safer to be a cynic when dealing with them. True, they could pull off some amazing stunts because they knew things that I didn't. But beyond that, I took the their tales of website hijacking and mutually assured computer annhilation with a huge chunk of salt. Far be it from me to tell them they couldn't fantasize about world domination while I was busy playing with an otter in a scuba suit fort. It just seemed hypocritical somehow.
Still, keeping one or even two in the room came had merit. There was always some twenty something year old guy out there eager to crack a code and take over your channel when you weren't guarding it. If you had a pet hacker...well you simple took off the choke chain and sent him off on a search and destroy mission. They loved that kind of work.
The imaginarium kept two hackers at their disposal...one in the northern hemisphere and one in the southern. No matter what time of day it was, there was always one available. Sometimes they were in a generous mood and taught us about firewalls and computer protection...and like little lambs we ate it all up and felt tougher for our newfound knowledge. Ha! Let somebody try to attack us now! We would give them a surprise...or two.
At moments like these, watching my CD tray go in...and out...in...out...as ArchRival threw his cyber tantrum, sulking outside the channel, I realized that as much as I knew...he would always know more and he would make sure he kept it that way. This is where the second hacker came in handy. When one got a little bit too megalomaniacal...we would simply turn them on each other. It kept them amused for hours...sometimes days.
I relented and let him back in...
Snobird: Behave Arch...or I'll get Cronos.
Arch was still smarting from their last battle. It had been close, but the Canadian was still a bit miffed that Arch had succeeded in destroying some crucial work files on his computer. In retaliation, he had wiped Arch's hard drive clean. Supposedly. I never trusted anything the two of them told me.
There was no question about wanting to go to this meet in Toronto. I just had to figure out how to convince Jerry that it was a good idea. There was no way he'd agree to let me go alone...
Snobird: If you want me to come...I'll need your help.
Kali: Tell me what to do...
That evening, after dinner, I waited until everyone was assembled in the room and then I went to get Jerry.
"Uh...hon?" I said hesitantly, leaning my head into the living room.
"Would you mind talking to Kali for a sec...she is having some sort of problem with her car and doesn't trust the mechanic at all. Thinks he's lying to her. When I told her what you did for a living...well, she practically begged me to come get you. Do you think you could help her out...just for a few minutes...please?"
"Oh! Of course...what type of car does she have?"
"Err..I'm not sure...you know how I am about cars."
"Yeah...that's true. So what do I do?"
"Well...what nickname would you like? I'll just switch over to you and then you can sit right here and talk to her. You just type in this box here...and when you have finished, just hit enter. It'll appear on the screen right here. Got it?"
"You want to be Cake?"
"No...Seagrams. THIS is cake."
Snobird: Okay Kali...I got him for you. Changing nicknames now...
*Snobird changes her nickname to Seagrams*
I patted the chair and watched as Jerry took a seat, cracked his knuckles and leaned in to squint at the monitor.
It was painful to watch...but like a good car wreck, impossible to ignore. While my husband pecked out a major novel to any questions, never looking up at the monitor as he typed...the girls barraged him with adulation, flirtation and proclaimed how lucky it was that snobird had such a knowledgeable husband. Why they just couldn't wait to meet him!
"They're typing so fast...how am I supposed to keep up?" Jerry said in frustration.
"You are doing fine, dear...see...I think you've helped Kali already!"
"But I didn't tell her much."
I looked down at the screen and noticed about thirty or forty lines of car advice waiting for the press of the enter button and decided to have pity on my channel-mates.
"Well, obviously it would seem that way to you because you are an expert...right?"
Kali: So Sea...you WILL be there at the meet in Toronto? You wouldn't disappoint me now would you?
I held my breath. Had he bought it...?
Seagrams: Why not...it'll be fun and I'm sure uh...sno...would love to go.
Hook, line...and little stinkers.
With that accomplished, Jerry went back to the television and I sat back down at the computer, double-checking with a glance over my shoulder to make sure we were alone.
Snobird: It worked...like a charm. You guys were great! Guess I'll be seeing you in Toronto in a few weeks.
Kali: Yay!!! Oh...btw...Iva is coming up from Sydney too.
Snobird: No kidding?! Wait a sec...
Snobird: Good for you Kali...good for you.
As the time for the meet drew closer, I grew nervous. What if they didn't like me in person? What if I didn't like them? Would they be the people I thought they were...what if they weren't? Why oh why hadn't I lost a few pounds before agreeing to go to this stupid meet!? Of course, I kept all these doubts to myself as Jerry was having his own misgivings.
"You realize they could all be perverted drug-using sex fiend losers, don't you?"
"Well, yeah...but they're still my friends."
The long drive from New Hampshire to Toronto was hellacious. I don't usually believe in omens, but when Jerry managed to splatter ketchup from his hamburger onto his fresh white polo shirt, eating as he drove, I didn't take it as a good sign. Always conscientious about his appearance, he swore a blue streak and muttered about how he now looked like some hick piece of trailer trash.
I didn't want anything spoiling my good mood. The butterflies in my stomach, I could control...but I wasn't going to let Mr. Doom and Gloom ruin this moment of well-earned semi-emancipation. For most of the trip, I leaned my head against the window and indulged in daydreams. As a result, when I suddenly yelled, "Stop! Stop the car. Jerry...stop the car. NOW!" he did...thinking I had developed a sudden, lethal case of car sickness.
We were at a pinnacle point in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Outside it was pitch black and we seemed to be the only car on the road for miles. But it wasn't the curvy mountainous roads that had made me demand an unplanned stop...it was something else.
The car had no sooner come to a bumpy halt at the side of the road, when I opened the door and scrambled out. I didn't stop scrambling until I was pretty much up to my knees in tall, wet grass in the middle of a field. I didn't care...I was too busy looking up.
Have you ever seen a night sky that was so incredibly beautiful you HAD to stop and look at it? It was so dark that even at just fifty yards away, I could not see the road, the car, or Jerry standing by it wondering what the hell I was doing. There were stars...there were stars beyond those...and still more beyond those...all so painfully clear it made my soul ache with the beauty of it all. For a moment it made me feel so very small, one little being on a big chunk of rock slowly spinning in this glittering void. A snow globe...no...a star globe. I wanted to shake it up and watch them dance for me.
"Oh...Otter," I breathed, "how I wish you could see this right now."
And then I spun around, spun around, spun around....until I fell down, laughing. Yes, I felt truly mad...but it was a wonderful, wonderful feeling.
"Are you done now...we're already late," Jerry's disapproval of my sudden craziness was evident in his tone.
I smiled...and walked back to the car. It didn't matter that he might be getting the straight jacket ready for me. I'd gladly spend the rest of my days in a padded cell in exchange for that moment. Oddly enough, I still feel that way.
We arrived on Kimbrr's doorstep in the wee hours of the morning. She opened the door before I could even knock and grunted at us. Charming. Dressed for bed, she had obviously been sleeping on the couch waiting for us, and was not inclined to be very social. I couldn't blame her...I was exhausted too. Still, despite the less than exuberant greeting, I was happy to see that she was rather ordinary looking...and certainly not the blue-eyed vixen of my imagination.
"This is your room," she said yawning, "just knock the teddy bears and shit off the bed."
I smirked. She glared at me...
So the all powerful Kimbrr had a teddy bear collection...I wondered what other interesting things I would learn this weekend.
"Get some sleep...tomorrow will be an early day...and long. I don't wait for anybody so be ready."
"Nite Sno...and...it's nice to finally meet you. Oh...you too Seagrams."