ANNOUNCER: From Westminster, it’s time for—
SOUND: Skype rings once.
JOHNNY: Johnny Atsign.
BRAINIAC: (Telephone Filter) Hey, Atsign, it’s Brainiac. Sorry I missed your call.
JOHNNY: Yeah, well you’re the one who stated the game of telephone tag. What’s up?
BRAINIAC: (Telephone Filter) You know that I’ve been poking some fun at The Grouch?
JOHNNY: Yeah. So?
BRAINIAC: (Telephone Filter) So I’m starting to get some attention from Goodguys Unmasked.
JOHNNY: Uh, huh.
BRAINIAC: (Telephone Filter) I thought it would be useful to find out who is really writing the stuff.
MUSIC: Theme up and under.
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!
MUSIC: Theme up to music out.
JOHNNY: The following is partial extract of the tweets sent and received during my investigation of The Illiberal Grouch Matter.
JOHNNY TWEETS: (SYNTH VOICE) @x3n0ph0b3 Come out, come out, wherever you are!
JOHNNY: Ever since The Grouch stepped down from editing The Bomber’s PR website Goodguys Unmasked, the editor had gone by the nom de cyber Xenophobe. About the same time The Grouch moved (or was moved) aside, it seemed that the @x3n0ph0b3 Twitter account was being used by multiple individuals being directed by The Bomber’s associate Kitty Boy. During the middle of last year, it appeared that account was mostly being used by a Miss Brewski, but it was completely abandoned for a while after her petty criminal record came to light. While it appeared that she had been a contributor to the Goodguys Unmasked blog, there was no evidence she was Xenophobe the Editor.
I needed to develop some leads, and that meant that is was time for another fishing trip. I headed for the Gulf coast.
SOUND: Surf in background.
CITRUS: Having any luck, Mr. Atsign?
JOHNNY: Nothing yet, my luck hasn’t been very good this morning.
CITRUS: Perhaps I can help you land something.
JOHNNY: You’re Pat Citrus, aren’t you?
CITRUS: Guilty as charged.
JOHNNY: Uh, huh. You probably can.
CITRUS: I know a great place for breakfast. The tide’s headed out in a few minutes. Why don’t you take a break? The fishing will be better this afternoon.
SOUND: Crossfade from surf to restaurant background.
CITRUS: Yes. I worked with the bunch at Goodguys Unmasked. We were also writing pieces for Kooks With Pliers.
JOHNNY: You say “we”?
CITRUS: The Grouch, Bunny Boy, Miss Brewski, Cannoli … that whole crew. There was some involvement by The Bomber and Kitty Boy. How do you like those pancakes?
JOHNNY: They’re good. I’ll put this place on my list of approved eateries. So what can you tell me about how Goodguys Unmasked operated?
CITRUS: (Fading out) I’ve got an extensive email trail. It deals mostly with …
SOUND: Restaurant background out.
ANNOUNCER: Tomorrow is the first day of autumn. Cool weather is just around the corner. Why not stay warm in a Team Lickspittle hoodie? There several styles and colors available—some of the goodies exclusively available for you to spend your hard-earned cash on at The Hogewash Store. Stop by today, and spend some cash to support Team Lickspittle. You can also show your support by hitting the Tip Jar.
JOHNNY: I left breakfast with a thumb drive full of information. I spent the rest of the morning reading on my laptop, and, after the tide turned, headed back to the beach. The fishing was better. I got a reasonable 60 pound or so tarpon.
JOHNNY TWEETS: (SYNTH VOICE) @PatCitrus Thanks. I landed a big one.
JOHNNY: Back in Westminster, the information provided by Citrus provided other leads to be run down. Which brings us back to Brainiac’s call.
BRAINIAC: (Telephone Filter) (Fading in) … find out who is really writing this stuff.
JOHNNY: I know this seems surprising, but Goodguys Unmasked actually told the truth about something. I’m pretty sure that Bunny Boy really is the editor.
BRAINIAC: (Telephone Filter) Are you sure?
JOHNNY: Yeah. The Bomber is trying to maintain deniability after he screwed up with those courthouse pictures. Kitty Boy’s on the run from both process servers and guys with warrants. Cannoli? I don’t think so? The Grouch? He’s past his sell-by date? No. It’s Bunny Boy.
BRAINIAC: (Telephone Filter) Uh, huh.
JOHNNY: But don’t expect much more from him.
BRAINIAC: (Telephone Filter) Why not?
JOHNNY: The wheels are coming off The Bomber’s lawfare wagon. I believe that you’ll see a lot of daylight open between the various web assets and The Bomber’s lawsuits in an attempt to keep them from being sucked into counterclaims.
JOHNNY TWEETS: (SYNTH VOICE) @BunnyBoy Cat got your tongue?
MUSIC: Theme up and under
ANNOUNCER: Now, here’s our star to tell you about next week’s intriguing episode of our story.
JOHNNY: Next time? More RICO Madness. Join us, won’t you?
Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign!
MUSIC: Swell theme and under
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.
MUSIC: Theme up to music out.
ANNOUNCER: Johnny Atsign is a work of fiction. If anyone thinks it’s about him, he should read Proverbs 28:1.
Be sure to tune in every Friday at 6 pm Eastern Time for a episode of Blognet or Blogsmoke on alternating weeks. This is LBS, the Lickspittle Broadcasting System.
And I’ll bet that crew thought that Johnny just sat around eating oatmeal for breakfast.
Good thing this is fiction because no one would believe that anyone as dumb as The Grouch could actually exist.
It’s getting that I can’t tell the players without a scorecard.
Hey, there’s a notion for The Hogewash Store — a scorecard about who the fictional characters ARE DEFINITELY NOT, but quite possibly LOOSELY INSPIRED BY REAL EVENTS, with NAMES CHANGED TO PROTECT THE GUILTY.
Some of the characters look and sound vaguely familiar, but a couple of the others come across as completely foreign.
Yeah, baby! So reality is finally going to hit them, that’s goodness in my book.