SOUND: Skype Ringing Once. Handset picked up.
JOHNNY: Johnny Atsign.
STRIDER: (Telephone Filter) Johnny, it’s Strider.
JOHNNY: Good morning!
STRIDER: (Telephone Filter) I’m calling to remind you of the hearing today.
JOHNNY: Is it still on?
STRIDER: (Telephone Filter) Yes. The Grouch can’t be there, and the Judge should grant a continuance, but you need to be there as a witness in case the judge goes ahead anyway.
JOHNNY: OK. I’ll meet you at the courthouse just before 1.
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ANNOUNCER: The Lickspittle Broadcasting System presents W. J. J. Hoge in the transcribed adventures of the man with the action-packed Twitter account, America’s fabulous free-lance Internet investigator …
JOHNNY: Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign!
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JOHNNY: The following is partial extract of the tweets sent and received during my investigation of Short-Fused Dud Matter. It turned out that what I thought would be a busy morning tying up loose ends was less complicated than I thought. I found myself not far from the courthouse in Ellicott City just before noon. There’s a good burger joint on US 40 near the turn-off toward the courthouse. I stopped and got some lunch to go. Then I drove over to the courthouse and sat in my car eating lunch, doing paperwork, and listening to a local NPR station.
JOHNNY TWEETS: (SYNTH VOICE) @Strider Sitting in the parking lot.
SOUND: CLASSICAL MUSIC THROUGH A SMALL SPEAKER IN BACKGROUND
JOHHNY: We still call it “paperwork,” but these days most of it is electronic. I had my iPad out and was checking my email. Just before 12:30 a gold Prius drove into the parking lot. As it drove past my parking spot, I noticed the driver. It was The Bomber. At first, I wondered what he was doing at the courthouse. Was he going to attempt to intervene in the case as he unsuccessfully tried the week before? I watched him. He slowly drove to the back of the lot and then drove up and down each aisle, except for little side lot I was in. There was only one other vehicle there, a plumber’s truck. When he had finished scoping out the cars in the lot, The Bomber drove away. Was he looking for Strider’s car?
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Just before 1, I had my answer.
The same gold Prius pulled into the courthouse lot. I turned on the camera in my iPad and took video of The Bomber as he again drove through the lot. This time, he did pull into the now-crowded side lot where I was parked. As he drove down the short aisle I was on, I could see that he had his phone out, holding it as if he were going to take a picture. I could also see the look of frustration on his face. He wasn’t finding what he was looking for. He backed out of the aisle and drove away.
SOUND: CAR DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES. FOOTSTEPS. DISTANT CAR DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES. FOOTSTEPS APPROACHING.
JOHNNY: Well, that was close.
STRIDER: Yeah, I thought he’d seen me.
JOHNNY: He wasn’t looking for you. He was looking for your car or another car with out-of-state plates.
STRIDER: He was looking right at me.
JOHNNY: And all he saw was a rental car with Maryland tags. Let’s get inside.
SOUND: FOOTSTEPS GOING AWAY.
ANNOUNCER: My friends and I will be toasting the New Year using a set of Johnny Atsign drinking glasses from The Hogewash Store, and on the 1st, I’ll be recovering, drinking coffee from my Team Lickspittle mug. They’re both available exclusively at The Hogewash Store online along other Johnny Atsign and Team Lickspittle merchandise.
STRIDER: Your Honor, given The Grouch’s family circumstances, it makes sense to continue this matter for two weeks.
LAWYER: We’re fine with that, Your Honor.
JUDGE: Yes, that makes sense, but before I order that, I’d like to know about this motion to dismiss.
LAWYER & STRIDER: (SIMULTANEOUSLY) What motion?
JUDGE: I have this motion to dismiss submitted by your client.
LAWYER: You do? I’m not aware of it.
STRIDER: It was not served on me, Your Honor.
JUDGE: Really? Well, I’ll have the Clerk make you copies for both of you, and I’ll hold any ruling on it for two weeks. Do we have anything else to do today?
LAWYER: No, Your Honor.
STRIDER: No, Your Honor.
JUDGE: (FADING OUT) Good, then I’ll see you gentlemen in two weeks.
SOUND: FOOTSTEPS IN PARKING LOT
STRIDER: This motion looks like the sort of thing The Bomber has written when he’s acted as his own lawyer.
JOHNNY: I wonder if he was looking for you in order to serve that on you.
STRIDER: Could be.
JOHNNY: That’s the way I’d bet. He’s been trying to stick his nose into this case since you filed it. Well, give me a shout when you know more.
SOUND: CAR DOORS OPEN AND CLOSE. CARS START AND DRIVE AWAY.
STRIDER TWEETS: (SYNTH VOICE) @JohnnyAtsign Guess what I just got in the mail.
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ANNOUNCER: Now, here’s our star to tell you about next week’s intriguing episode of our story.
JOHNNY: Next week? Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. And some losses are more painful than others. Join us, won’t you. And have a Happy New Year!
Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign!
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ANNOUNCER: Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign, starring W. J. J. Hoge, is transcribed in Westminster. Be sure to join us next Monday, same time and URL, for the next exciting episode of Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign.
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ANNOUNCER: Johnny Atsign is a work of fiction. If anyone thinks it’s about him, he should read Proverbs 28:1. This is LBS, the Lickspittle Broadcasting System.