Episode 17

Blogsmoke

SOUND: MODEM CONNECTING FADES UP TO FULL MIKE—SINGLE SHOT—RICHOCHET

MUSIC: UP AND UNDER—RECORDED—CUT 1

ANNOUNCER: (VOICE OVER MUSIC) Around Twitter Town and in the territory of the net—there’s just one way to handle the harassers and the stalkers—and that’s with an Internet Sheriff and the smell of “BLOGSMOKE”!

MUSIC: THEME HITS: FULL BROAD SWEEP AND UNDER—RECORDED—CUT 2

ANNOUNCER: “BLOGSMOKE” starring W. J. J. Hoge. The story of the trolling that moved into the young Internet—and the story of a man who moved against it. (MUSIC: OUT)

JOHN: I’m that man, John Hoge, Internet Sheriff—the first man they look for and the last they want to meet. It’s a chancy job—and it makes a man watchful … and a little lonely.

MUSIC: MAIN TITLE—RECORDED—CUT 3

SOUND: DOORBELL. FOOTSTEPS. DOOR OPENS.

MAILMAN: Hi! I’ve got a certified piece for you.

JOHN: I’ve been expecting it.

MAILMAN: Sign here.

SOUND: PEN SCRATCHING.

MAILMAN: Thanks. Here it is, and here’s the rest of your mail.

JOHN: Thanks.

SOUND: DOOR CLOSES.

JOHN: The large envelope with the certified mail contained the Complaint for a lawsuit that The Bomber had filed against a group of bloggers that included me. I had known that it had been filed, but almost two weeks had gone by since the suit had been announced on the Internet and my being served. The suit accused us of defamation, malicious prosecution, harassment, stalking, conspiracy, invasion of privacy, and intentional inflection of emotional distress. I was surprised that he had forgotten mopery with intent to lurk.

SOUND: PHONE RINGS. HANDSET PICKED UP.

JOHN: Hello.

AARON: (TELEPHONE FILTER) Hey, John, did you get any interesting mail today?

JOHN: As a matter of fact, yes.

AARON: (TELEPHONE FILTER) He’s losing it. This is the dumbest thing he could have done.

JOHN: Oh?

AARON: (TELEPHONE FILTER) Sure. He’s sued us. We get discovery in a lawsuit. Yeah, I know he’s got a history of dodging discovery requests, but he’s the plaintiff this time.

JOHN: So?

AARON: (TELEPHONE FILTER) If a plaintiff doesn’t produce discovery, that’s almost always grounds for dismissal of the suit. He’ll have to put up or shut up.

MUSIC: SCENE BUMPER MUSIC—RECORDED—CUT 4

JOHN: The other defendants and I immediately began to analyze The Bomber’s Complaint and found some fairly massive holes in it. We also publicized the suit and sought help from the blogosphere in finding legal representation. Several lawyers volunteered to be a part of the team, and two local lawyers volunteered as pro bono counsel.

One represented the anonymous blogger Bomber Unmasked. The second represented Aaron, The Other Defendant, and me. There was a fifth defendant who was never served.

MY LAWYER: It’s good to meet you, John.

JOHN: Thanks for taking the case. I’ll arrange for you to meet Aaron and The Other Defendant. In the meantime, what do we do about the suit?

MY LAWYER: There are a lot of technical issues with what he filed. I believe that we should file a motion to dismiss that points out several of the fatal errors and ask for dismissal on those technical grounds. (FADE OUT) It’s possible that the judge …

ANNOUNCER: Are you a loyal member of Team Lickspittle? If you are, you should be offering a toast to the Team’s fearless leader, The Grand Hog, and you should be using Grand Hog shot glasses for your toasting. Like all Team Lickspittle stuff, they’re available exclusively at The Hogewash Store. Drop by today and spend some money. It’s a great way to support Team Lickspittle.

And now back to our story.

MUSIC: SCENE BUMPER MUSIC—RECORDED—CUT 5

SOUND: (MUTED CROWD NOISE IN BACKGROUND. LARGE ROOM REVERB.)

JOHN: You may remember that I secured a peace order against The Grouch. He had filed a motion to have the order modified. On the day of the hearing for that motion, I was sitting in the lobby of the Historic Courthouse in Westminster talking with my lawyer in that case …

ZOA: So what is The Bomber doing here?

JOHN: The Grouch is one of his PR flacks. The Bomber is probably here to support and encourage him.

ZOA: He’s walking over here.

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS APPROACHING.

JOHN: And, sure enough, he was. He handed me an large envelope.

THE BOMBER: This is for you.

JOHN: Thanks.

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS RECEDING.

ZOA: Do you know what it is?

JOHN: I can guess, but let me look.

SOUND: PAPER SHUFFLING.

JOHN: Well, well, well … An amended complaint, and … look at that! He didn’t bother to fix one of the errors we cite in our motion to dismiss.

And … a federal suit? There must be 20 defendants … RICO? … Aaron’s right. He’s losing it.

SOUND: BACKGROUND OUT.

MUSIC: CLOSING TITLE UP AND UNDER—RECORDED—CUT 6

ANNOUNCER: (VOICE OVER MUSIC) The Bomber’s upping the ante again—as we will see in the next episode of “BLOGSMOKE”!

MUSIC: SWELL AND CONTINUE TO MUSIC OUT

ANNOUNCER: The Legal Department wishes the following declaimer read: “‘BLOGSMOKE’ is a work of fiction. Anyone who feels it might be about him should read Proverbs 28:1.” This is LBS, the Lickspittle Broadcasting System.

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