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Slippery Id: Chapter Three
Knuckles was the one who mailed me a Hot File containing fifty tested passwords to "exotic" special interest sites.
Knuckles was my guy when it came to cracking code on pay sites. He sympathized with the fact that I wrote for the Web Edition of an already-bankrupt magazine and he knew they didn't have a budget for membership fees. He also knew that they lacked a strong relationship with the movers and shakers behind the sites, thanks to the candor of my column. I was persona non grata among the Pussy Patrol, and the poon police online would boot me in one stroke flat if they recognized my IP address. For this reason Knuckles allowed me to use a network that bounced off his own.
Knuckles also knew that the Web Rag lavished me with a meager expense account, one just reasonable enough to accommodate his expertise. When they talk about exploitation, they neglect that even low-down cunts like me get fleeced by their fellow greasers. Upon reviewing my receipts from the last fiscal year I could deduce that more than 75% of my tax write-offs went to keeping Knuckles in beef jerky, ball gags and topical lotion.
Knuckles had a rash. The old cunt's tale is that the awkward fat kid in the corner, the one who goes home and defies his parents and God by manipulating his own flesh, will eventually grow hair on his palms. Knuckles was living proof that the myth wasn't true. He was also living proof of a more accurate condition, that of the chronic masturbator whose genital chafing is second only to the eczema between his fingers. Flaky, red-freckled fists.
Despite his physical abnormalities Knuckles was an asset. He could get me in the backdoor more easily than a KY-covered heat-seeking missile at an All-Anal Bonfire Beach Party. When I fell ill with my third case of Mono Nucleosis this year, and my Editor refused to re-run an old column while I "convalesced" (see: avoided traveling thousands of miles to some disease-infested hotel-casino for the SMTA Porn Awards), Knuckles was the one who mailed me a Hot File containing fifty tested passwords to "exotic" special interest sites. The resulting column, "How to Arouse the Senses & Effect Change in the Flaccid Penis Without Propagating Mahogany Stains In Unwashable Fabrics," gave the site a spike in traffic that was so great my Editor actually soiled himself. When he stuck me with his dry-cleaning bill I forwarded it on to Knuckles as an emblem of my appreciation.
Knuckles was operating on a phantom server, completely untested territory, trolling around searching for access combinations for Taco Twats and Goo Gourmands, when he fucked his entire life up without even knowing it. Normally Knuckles would use the IP address of a friend in Taiwan whenever he was hacking, but tonight it hadn't occurred to him to do so. After all, what he was doing was hardly illegal; he didn't plan to share any passes he found with message boards or download content and distribute it across the Internet. He was simply doing some late night hack work for a colleague. Me.
At quarter past three in the morning, while exploring a beta version of Blind Bitches (a site promising "walking sticks for caning pricks"), a prompt popped up, asking Knuckles for his Username and Password. He tried the three codes he had slipped out of their only available hard-code directory, but it didn't do the trick. By now far gone on some guarana, taurine and tequila high, Knuckles felt laughable and decided to punch in some random words he copied and pasted from a SPAM email he had open in his Inbox.
In the SPAM mail, the words had appeared in unrelated paragraphs. First, "try the offer, you feel it, in painting the wilds of South African Bank of Omaha, a man's portrait in still life, you'll never get a better cum."
And secondly, "Manerva photography by the irrepressible, try trial access feel good about your blowjob she fucks hot steamy portions. Read me."
Random, Knuckles half-thought. Random just like every auto-generated SPAM mail in history.
Still_life and Manerva didn't open up the members page to Blind Bitches. Instead, it connected him to a plain-text site consisting of locations, numbers and other designates, each with cryptic phrases beside them in all CAPS. Knuckles didn't know what he was looking at, but his interest was piqued. He scrolled down until he reached a hyperlink that lead to a phone book. This little black e-book contained numbers and names, men's names, some recognizable immediately, others nondescript.
I've seen some things in my time. A double-jointed transsexual ejaculating on her own face. A multi-midget steamrolling festival on an Irish hillside. A nun plucking the nuggets from a priest's ass like a blind-folded brat bobbing for apples. Even a woman with a mouthful of dog splooge gurgling the lines to an Earth, Wind & Fire song. None of that shocked me. It either turned me on or made me laugh. Sometimes I grimaced, but mostly it was "Ha!" or "Ah!" And I won't tell you, Dear reader, which was which. But what Knuckles tripped over his own dick to stumble upon on the back page of this website was something altogether ball-busting and brain-shattering.
It's here that some history will help things along. Knuckles is a numbers guy. Before he got the boot from one of the world's top software development firms, before he dropped out of academia and spent the rest of his student aid on five dollar rim jobs and three dollar social diseases, before he lost all the hair on his head and gained an inordinate amount of it in less flattering places, Knuckles was a prodigy. He was Will Hunting, minus the Good, and far uglier than Matt Damon.
The algorithm he wrote in junior high got him advanced to the tenth grade so that, when he wasn't even tall enough to see over a steering wheel, he was already being forced to chat up girls no less than a foot and a half taller than him. This accounts for his Napoleonic streak, one that manifests itself in his determination to crack any code, no matter how great.
Although he was thought to be a fat, diminutive joke, both by his parents and his co-workers at the software development firm, Knuckles surprised everyone two days after being fired, first by pinning a note to the water cooler confessing to his having climaxed in their drinking jug, and then by revolutionizing a device that could simulate the chief attributes of any software program installed in a nearby computer.
But the designers of this website, or at least the dim bastards who had left this cryptic code lying around on the ass-end of the site, didn't count on prying eyes belonging to someone of Knuckles' remarkable skill. Surely any casual password hacker would be here for creampie close-ups and myopic masturbation ZIPs.
Knuckles was as fast at backdoor action as he was at tossing one off. He used the webmaster's carelessness to his advantage and, at lightning speed, put his first deduction about the numbers and names to good use. Working on the assumption that the figures represented bank accounts, he visited each national bank's website, punching in "stilllife" as the username and "manerva" as the password. Sure enough, at each bank, he was granted access to an account and, in some cases, multiple accounts at the same bank, with only a numeral (starting with 1) differentiating them from each other.
From the bank account pages he yielded mailing addresses and phone numbers.
As soon as he rose from a Monster and Mallomar comedown, Knuckles got right back to work. He called the first number, one belonging to a Mr. Daniel Clifton, whose name he recognized from CSPAN crawls, and got an Administrative Assistant. The Secretary, as we still call them in the Porn RPG world, answered with a phlegmatic hacking noise, no doubt choking on a pretzel or other smuggled late-afternoon snack. "You've reached the Honorable Judge Clifton's Office," she answered with all the enthusiasm an overweight, underpaid receptionist could muster after countless introductory repetitions. "How may I direct your call?"
"Yes, uh, I was looking, uh, I was looking for, um, is David there?"
"Dan...niel. Daniel Clifton. Is he there?"
"Who may I ask is calling, sir?" she asked, condescension dripping off the "ir" in "Sir."
"I have, uh, this is Daniel Clifton's residence?"
"This is Judge Clifton's office. This is a municipal office, not a residence." There was that hard-bitten condescension again, so emphatically hateful that Knuckles' lobes felt clammy with reproach, provoking more stammer and stutter in his reply.
"Ubbuh ubbuh ubbuh, I uh, I-I...I must speak to Mr. Judge Clifton."
"Who is calling, Sir?!" She was losing what little patience she might have had.
Knuckles thought long and hard, his search for an answer no doubt apparent but hardly of interest to the Honorable Administrative Wench. Then, finally, gazing down at the print-out wrinkled between fat thumb and juicy forefinger, Knuckles found it. "Just a blind bitch."
"Excuse me?" She said. "Are you cursing, Sir?"
"I'm blind, you see." The words came faster now. "I'm blind and I can scarcely feel the instructions that were written on paper for me. They were written in Braille, but some of it seems to have worn away. Can you tell him that I am a friend of his colleague?"
"What colleague?" She snapped. "I would need to speak with this colleague before"
He cut her off with the next name on the print-out sheet. "Reynolds. Jared Reynolds. He said Judge Clifton would be expecting me. Expecting my call."
Debbie Desk Clerk's labored breathing slowed from a gagging wheeze to a nearly inaudible whistle. Clearly this name meant something to her, impressed upon her an importance that spelled urgency.
And with a click a stern male voice replaced that of the shrill harpy at the front oakwood.
"This is Judge Clifton. Jar?"
"It's not Jared, Sir." Now Knuckles with the sirs. The propriety was ridiculous, but that's what power reduces people to. The presence of bureaucracy makes children of the mentally incompetent.
"Well, who is it, dammit? Debbie told me this was a call from Doctor Reynolds' office."
Knuckles paused once again, not knowing exactly how to proceed. He could mention something about near-sighted tarts or hidden codes or, maybe, venture a guess as to what reason the Judge had for being included on the back-end of a porn site. He could have said, "I know you've been spanking it to the handicapped," or, "I'm calling about your subscription to Blind Bitches," but the gray, musty tone of the "Honorable" man had taken him aback and undermined his determination to get answers.
"Well?!" the Judge shouted. "What is this call regarding?"
Knuckles cleared his throat. "I'm from The Service."
"...Still life manerva." He said it without pause, like reading a band name off a bar flier.
The Judge fell quiet, clearing his own throat and, in all likelihood, turning a shade of white foreign even to a Caucasian of his WASPY pedigree.
"Sir?" Knuckles managed, to break the silence that was ear-piercing by this point.
"Is this for real?" the Judge asked in an octave so hushed he sounded more mousy than his Administrative Assistant.
"Still life manerva," Knuckles repeated.
The Judge laughed nervously. "Well then, I suppose there's a first time for everything, eh?"
"I want a boy who is good at the trapeze, you understand?"
Of course Knuckles didn't understand. Trapeze? Were we going to the circus?
"He's gotta be flexible, ya see, real flexible. And I want him to have rosy cheeks. Get me a boy with rosy cheeks real flexible whose nuts haven't descended. And I'm gonna give him a hot lunch, you got that? So don't send me some kid who's gonna run back to HQ and squirt tears all over the place, bitching and whining about the brown stains on his mouth, you get me?"
"No exceptions on that, Buster. He better be young and ripe and I don't want to see any peach fuzz on his pleasure patch. None. And, uh, lessee. Oh! Have them deliver some honey dew. I want four or six overripe honey dew and I want them sliced open by two malnourished Uruguayan immigrant girls.
"And they better be the real deal. I don't want something from central casting. They should have callouses on their feet from years of wearing sandals. Weeping callouses. Blisters really. I don't want to talk to them. The door will be unlocked. They are to come in, set the honey dew down on the carpet, slice them open and fist the contents into the boy. Fist em."
"If the boy cries he gets the switch. That's to be understood now. I don't want to repeat myself...Hello?"
Knuckles swallowed hard. For all the hacking he had done, all the smut his eyes and ears had been privy to, this was the limit he didn't know that he had, the kind of atrocity he thought was purely the invention of perverted historians with great and terrible imaginations. Surely the libertinisms of old were the work of de Sade's overactive super-ego, not something that was or would ever be played out in any reality.
"Yes," he responded unsteadily.
"When I'm done evacuating my bowels and bladder on the boy I want the Immigrants to bathe him with their tongues and, while doing so, stroke my ankles and tell me what a good provider I am."
This narrative inconsistency wrested Knuckles from his state of shock long enough to have something of substance to say in return. "I can't see how they'll be physically able to compliment you with their mouths on the child's soiled body."
"Do not contradict me," Judge Clifton said. "Do I have my druthers with your service or don't I?"
The Judge cut him off again. "It's my service after all. Christ!"
And, having rounded out his preternatural profanities with that succinct bit of blasphemy, the Judge hung up. Knuckles thought about calling him back, but instead reconciled himself to forging ahead, in the interest of the investigative journalism that he was, unfortunately, now mired in. Each name on the list, each call to their residence or office, produced similarly colorful atrocities, a veritable laundry list of lascivious misdeeds and malicious intentions. The dank and dirty details continued, until Knuckles had the full, sordid and soiled picture in plain view to him—This was an elaborate organization for the orgiastic urges of one and all of the City's most elite and affluent men. A private club for the public figures.
When he had completed his last call, and felt closer to vomiting than he had after that last Mallomar/Monster cocktail, he rang me up and relayed it all. Every pink sock. Every dirty Sanchez. Every double-nut quadruple-stuffed orifice avalanche of avocado-cum-custard surprise. It wasn't the acts that surprised me nearly as much as the names to which they were attributed.
I power-walked into my Editor's office, dumped the transcription from our conversation down on his desk and beamed at him. "This is it!"
"You're past deadline."
"You won't be disappointed."
He scanned the initial page and then set it down, shaking his head from side to side and wiping drool from the corner of his cankerous mouth. "This won't do. What happened to the human pinata from Tokyo?"
"This trumps that silly little whore in a million ways! Can't you see it?!"
"No," he said. "This won't wash."
"We have a monstrous bit of front page news on our hands, a truly Biblical scandal that could rock the upcoming election!"
The Word Hacker wouldn't have it. With two of our three biggest advertisers on the Blind Bitches Roll Call, running such a feature would be a "conflict of interest."
"So it's political," I said, annoyed and half-deflated.
"No," the Word Hacker insisted. "It's financial."
And so it is that I present you with this month's hard-hitting column: Skidrow Releasing has announced its Spring line of Venison Vibes (that's right, real vibrating meat hunks!) and Glow-in-the-Dark Ben-Wa Balls, and it's something to marvel at! Each scintillating sex toy is fitted with an oscillating egg of such ergonomic design that each houses a hidden bonus sheet redeemable for a FREE 1-Month Subscription to Skidrow's sister site...WWW.BLINDBITCHES.COM
Side Column: The body of a local computer engineer was found floating in the city sump late last night. A former-colleague identified the man as Charles "Knuckles" Walsh, an unemployed Web Tech who suffered from congenital heart disease. Mr. Walsh, 34, was discovered around 11:25 PM, face down in the sump, on the enclosed side of a mangled chain-link fence that separates the notoriously-toxic waters from an industrial complex.
A coroner's report is pending and police say all signs point to intoxication and accidental death. Mr. Walsh had no known kin.