Truth is stranger than fiction, but even fiction like Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign can get pretty strange. This episode first ran five years ago today.
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SOUND: Skype rings once.
JOHNNY: Johnny Atsign.
AARON: (Telephone Filter) Johnny? Have you got them all?
JOHNNY: I sure do.
AARON: (Telephone Filter) When can you bring them by?
JOHNNY: Meet me at the law office. Make it around 3.
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 Short-Fused Dud Matter.
JOHNNY TWEETS: (SYNTH VOICE) @ProBono Pick a card. Any card.
JOHNNY: I had been on the road gathering background information on a guy called The Bomber who was suing a group of bloggers. His complaint boiled down to being upset because telling the truth about his past and present activities painted an unflattering picture of him. From what I could tell from the stuff I had dug up, the story told by those bloggers was a rather benign version of this guy’s history.
The bloggers were being defended in the lawsuit by a lawyer working pro bono. That meant he’s doing it for the public good. It also meant that he wasn’t charging the bloggers for his time. I had been brought in to develop leads on evidence and to provide technical analysis. I had to farm some of the tech work out to my resident geek.
SOUND: Phone ringing. Caller’s POV.
GEEK: (Telephone Filter) Yeah?
JOHNNY: It’s Johnny Atsign. Whatcha got for me?
GEEK: (Telephone Filter) Well, the obvious thing is that those copies of that green card mailed in January show different markings on what’s supposed to be the same card. That’s clearly bogus.
JOHNNY: Everyone’s picking up on that. What else have you got?
GEEK: (Telephone Filter) Oh, there’s more. I sent you an email a few minutes ago. Have you got it?
JOHNNY: Let me check.
SOUND: Typing on keyboard.
JOHNNY: Yeah. Here it is.
GEEK: (Telephone Filter) Scroll down to the blow up of the check marks on that green card.
JOHNNY: OK. I’ve got it.
GEEK: (Telephone Filter) That’s from the green card he mailed back in September. Look at the two check marks. The one in the Certified Mail check box is the same weight as all the other writing and marks on the card. Now, look at the mark in the Restricted Delivery box.
JOHNNY: It’s a finer line.
GEEK: (Telephone Filter) Bingo. Not only that, but the RGB values of the pixels in the two lines are enough different to convince me that they’re different colors of ink.
JOHNNY: Which means …
GEEK: (Telephone Filter) A different pen made that mark.
ANNOUNCER: Are you a proud member of Team Lickspittle and a fan of Johnny Atsign? You can show you support by wearing Team Lickspittle gear. The Grand Hog, Johnny Atsign, Team Lickspittle, and Res Judicata merchandise is available exclusively at The Hogewash Store. Drop by today, spend some money, and show your support for Team Lickspittle.
SOUND: Door opens.
PRO BONO: Good afternoon, Johnny. Come on in.
JOHNNY: Good afternoon, gentlemen.
AARON: Hi, Johnny.
PRO BONO: I read your email with the report on the green cards. That makes three different case he filed bogus exhibits in.
JOHNNY: Yes, but there’s nothing really new here.
AARON: What do you mean?
JOHNNY: Forgery is a running theme with this guy.
PRO BONO: We know that. One of the crimes he’s on parole for is forgery. That’s one of the things that makes this whole case so weird. I wouldn’t think he’d be stupid enough to get caught committing one of the crimes he’s on parole for in front of a judge, let alone three of ’em.
JOHNNY: Well, his background says he’s clever but doesn’t really think things all the way through.
AARON: So what’s in that fat envelope?
JOHNNY: Hard copies of evidence from his past trials. Hard copies of forged documents from when he was paroled the first time around. Interviews with people who knew him back in Indiana. I figure that you can use this stuff to show a pattern of behavior stretching back over decades and continuing to the present.
PRO BONO: OK. Give us a brief outline of the package, and we’ll go through it over the next few days.
AARON TWEETS: (SYNTH VOICE) @JohnnyAtsign We just drew an ace.
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 week? I’m not making this up, you know! 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. This is LBS, the Lickspittle Broadcasting System.
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You know, sometimes it’s better to lose a civil suit before it goes to trial so that certain things never have to be brought out during testimony.