Nov. 24, 2009

Continued from Chapter 18: Frog

Carrie is laughing way more than makes me feel comfortable. And, not that jovial, "we're old friends," laughter, not even the "I'm being flirty!" laugh, no, she's laughing at our predicament, and it's causing tears to go down her eyes, and I am pissed off.

Carrie laughs some more.

Stan says, "I'm serious." He glances at the rest of us. We're all sitting on a set of comfortable vinyl chairs in something the size of a house. It's filled with all sorts of certificates and awards and thank yous and you're awesomes and so forth.

Carrie says, "Oh, oh, I know. Oh, dear. You really want..." and, she starts laughing again.

Great.

Stan says, "Perhaps you aren't appreciating just how illegal this is, what they did."

Carrie says, "Oh, oh dear. No, I fully appreciate it. It's just, I mean, what are you gonna do, start an online petition? Gain..." tears are coming out of her eyes, "gain online sympathy?"

Stan says, "Well..."

He's cut off by a burst of laughter from Carrie. I'm starting to think that maybe she has a laughing problem; maybe she can't help but always be laughing, all in court, half-way through her main point, and "Oh, hahaha!!" and everybody loses respect for her, and she can only make herself feel better by buying billboards and radio blurbs and street performers to talk about how she's the "best in the county" (honestly, she wanted "country" but misspelled it), and she shuffles a living by tricking people who don't know any better into letting her defend them, only to burst out laughing any time anything important happens. And, one day, when everyone knows to avoid her, that's when she'll find a guy who has about as much trouble not laughing as she does... and that's the true origin story of Harley Quinn.

Finally, Carrie leans back in her chair and stops laughing. She says, "So, you know that really long agreement about which you click 'I agree' without actually bothering to read it, well, each of these big companies probably has proof that you violated some minuscule, unimportant part of it, and that's the reason they're going to use for kicking you out, and they'll have some very fancy-dressed lawyers saying it for them."

Stan says, "Well..."

She says, "What I'm saying is, public sympathy or no, unless you've got a billion dollars lying around, or you are on excellent terms with some folks at the EFF, and I'm talking blackmail-level friendship here, there's just no way you're coming out of any kind of legal action against the biggest companies online with anything more than a humongous pile of lawyer's fees to pay."

Stan says, "But..."

Carrie says, "I'm sorry to say this; you all seem perfectly nice, and you're an incredible shenanigizer, Stan, but you're all basically screwed, like just completely sexed out of your minds. I mean, forget even suing them. These guys, they've got machine learning tools devoted entirely to figuring out if some new online user is really just an old one that they're still pissed off at, and then BAM, they ban that user."

Stan says, "That's not..."

Carrie says, "My advice? Just ride this out, and hope that something replaces the Internet real soon. Maybe try and invent that thing. Like the... I don't know... telepathonet. Whatever, just, please please please, don't try any David and Goliath bullshit, and if you do, don't mention me."

Stan says, "We..."

Carrie stands up. She says, "Not by name, not by face, not by address, not even by dress or skin color. Just, leave me out of this."

Stan looks up at her, "Carrie, please..."

Carrie says, "Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some clients coming."

She's walking to the door.

Stan says, "But, we've only been..."

She opens the door and says, "It was wonderful catching up. I wish you the best of luck with all your endeavors, and until this blows over, please don't contact me again."

Stan stands up, and the rest of us follow suit.

Carrie says, "And, thank you very much. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time."

***

Well, that was a fuck party and a half.

We're sitting in Sen's car again. I'm about as sure of what we should do as someone tied to the outside of a space shuttle is sure that she wants it to take off, and from the silence, I'd wager that I'm not tied up there alone.

Sen says, "So..."

There's a pause.

Gully says, "Uhh... anyone interested in lunch?"

Sen says, "It's... 10."

Gully says, "An early lunch?"

Sen says, "A very early lunch.'

Gully says, "Beat the rush?"

We go to the Alice in Chains SuperGrunge Fast Food on 12th and 13th.

***

Yeah, so basically, Stan doesn't have lawyer contacts; he has lawyer contact, and since she's about as keen to help us as Alice is keen on drawing another dirt butterfly to appease her captors. And, Gully "knew a guy a few years ago who was in law school." So, basically, part one of our two-part plan is a slam dunk, with the only unfortunate piece being that we're the basket. Good thing we took off work!

After lunch, we are fed to and then slowly digested by a Sarlacc, while being forced to read The Silmarillion and watch a CSPAN filibuster-thon and listen to also The Silmarillion, but just out of tune, so it's impossible to understand, but keeps drawing our attention. As we are consumed excruciatingly by stomach acids so basic they tickle for a day before they start to burn (but burn they do), we have the collective thought, "If I could fly, I'd pretend to be Mrs./Santa Claus in order to steal from people." I look at Sen. She is drooling. We die.

After lunch, we are back in Sen's car.

***

Sen says, "So..."

Stan says, "Perhaps nobody else has noticed, but we have a problem."

Sen says, "Really, Stan? I hadn't noticed."

Stan says, "Surprise, surprise."

Sen says, "So, what do we do?"

Gully says, "I am not giving up the Internet. I don't care what that lawyer lady says. Me and the Internet, we're best buds."

Stan says, "I am in concurrence."

Sen says, "Yeah, that's clearly not an option."

I say, "Yeah."

There's a pause.

Sen says, "And... well, unless Stan's ladyfriend is completely incompetent or an evil liar, we're screwed legally here."

Gully says, "Yikes."

Sen says, "So, what does that leave us?"

Stan shrugs. He says, "Blackmail?"

Sen chuckles. She says, "Yeah, that's a good idea."

Actually...

Sen says, "Any other bright ideas?"

I mean, not blackmail, exactly, but wouldn't it be great if we could have some kind of, like, crazy public boycott?

Sen says, "I guess not." She sighs.

Like, "you know what, big Internet companies? You need us, baby. We are your business model; we're your screws, your nuts, your bolts, your rubber, your metal, your electricity, we're everything. We are the tubes through which your Internet flows. And, when some of us go, we all go."

Sen says, "So... any thoughts on how to spend our day off at least?"

I mean, we'd have to get a sizable portion of Meetup.com's userbase to get angry and boycotty with us, or Meetup.com won't go all retracto octopus. They need to feel it.

Gully says, "Pudding fight?"

I mean, this would have to be a national-scale thing. We'd have to somehow motivate hundreds of thousands of people into boycottification.

Sen says, "Nah, I'm sick of pudding..."

Which... I mean, until someone solves the "How do you become a super popular Internet phenomenon" problem, that may not be possible.

Gully says, "How can you be sick of pudding?!"

Or, at least not probable.

Sen says, "Maybe a sorbet fight."

Or, wait... Something's not making sense here.

Stan says, "I'm not getting anywhere the fuck near sorbet."

I mean, Meetup.com is running out of money, right? So, I've still got no idea why they're hiring people to visit individual meetups. That seems really expensive and stupid.

Gully says, "Pudding is delicious, and it is the source of all happiness."

Unless!

Sen says, "Why are we fighting anyway? How about something constructive?"

Unless it's not going broke, but being sold, and their potential buyer is getting all prissy and worried-like about things like average meetup size and riots per year.

Gully says, "FACT."

Holy shit! Because, what's hiring a few suits part-time when you're looking at a several billion dollar buyout?

Sen says, "How about sorbet hugs?"

But, if I'm right, then we don't actually need a national movement. We just need a public movement.

Stan says, "I'm not getting anywhere the fuck near sorbet."

It kind of doesn't matter how big it is if we can get it into the right channels.

Gully says, "I would vote for pudding if it ran for president. I don't even care who the opposition is."

Like, it could just be some local small meetups and a shit ton of media folks.

Sen says, "Or, like, peace by sorbet."

I say, "Hey, uhh..."

Gully says, "'Congratulations, pudding, you are the most delicious president of all time.'"

I say, "I think I have a plan."

Everyone looks at me.

Nov. 25, 2009 →

Comments

  1. (Untitled)

    Written:
    Dec. 02, 2009, 06:42am
    By:
    Poppy

    ... and that's the true origin story of Harley Quinn.

    That line made my week.

    Also: I reeeeaaaally liked this part! FACT.

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