This episode of Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign, which first ran four years ago today, describes Johnny’s first interaction with an insider code named Deep Vote.
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SOUND: Landline phone rings once.
JOHNNY: Johnny Atsign.
DEEP VOTE: (Telephone Filter) Good afternoon, Mr. Atsign.
DEEP VOTE: (Telephone Filter) I have some more information for you. You’ll find an index card stuck inside your storm door when you get home this evening. Follow the directions.
SOUND: (Called Party’s POV) Line hung up. Dial tone.
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 Helpful Hints Matter.
JOHNNY TWEETS: (SYNTH VOICE) @DeepVote You’re being a bit dramatic, aren’t you?
JOHNNY: At 12:15 am, precisely, the next morning, I drove into the designated parking garage, parked on the second level, and took the stairs up to the fourth level. I began walking to the far end.
SOUND: Footsteps with echo.
JOHNNY: The voice came from behind me.
DEEP VOTE: Good morning, Mr. Atsign.
SOUND: Footsteps stop.
JOHNNY: I turned around, and, he was standing in the shadows. His breath was steaming in the cold February air.
DEEP VOTE: Thank you for coming.
JOHNNY: You said you had some information for me.
DEEP VOTE: Yes. I believe you have some clients who are being sued by The Bomber.
JOHNNY: Uh, huh.
DEEP VOTE: One of The Bomber’s goals with his lawfare is to inflict needless expense on them. How are they paying for their defense?
JOHNNY: Their lawyer is working pro bono, for free. There have been small donations to a legal defense fund that have covered most of their incidental expenses.
DEEP VOTE: Do you know how The Bomber is paying for his expenses?
JOHNNY: No. How?
DEEP VOTE: If I tell you directly, I could wind up compromising myself. However, I can tell you how to find out on your own.
JOHNNY: OK. How?
DEEP VOTE: Follow the money.
JOHNNY: You’re recycling Hal Holbrook’s line from All the President’s Men.
DEEP VOTE: Yes, but it’s good advice.
JOHNNY: As far as it goes, but where do I pick up the trail?
DEEP VOTE: PACER.
DEEP VOTE: Look carefully at PACER.
ANNOUNCER: Cool weather is coming. Either a Team Lickspittle hoodie or a The Grand Hog sweatshirt would be a great way to keep warm, and spending money at The Hogewash Store is a great way to support Team Lickspittle. Stop by today and spend some of your hard earned cash. Or hit the Tip Jar. They’re both ways you can support the Team.
JOHNNY: When I got to the office the next morning, I logged in to PACER, the federal courts’ online database and went through the docket for the case The Bomber had filed in the district court in Maryland. There was nothing there that fit Deep Vote’s information. I was beginning to think that I was being hoaxed, but I decided to search for other cases. I went back to the query page for the District of Maryland.
Nothing. The current case was the first thing The Bomber had filed there for several years. The lead was beginning to look bogus, but I decided to give it one more chance. I logged in to the nationwide search page, typed in The Bomber’s name, and, boom: there it was.
In the Eastern District of Virginia was a case with the same caption as the Maryland case, but a different case number. That seemed worth a look.
It was. The Bomber had been trying to get a third-party subpoena seeking information about one of the defendants in the Maryland case. He had failed.
When he filed his paperwork, he had paid the filing fee by check, and the Clerk had posted a copy of the transaction receipt on the docket. The Bomber wasn’t the payor on the check.
There was the beginning of the trail.
JOHNNY TWEETS: (SYNTH VOICE) @TheBomber Sometimes, it pays to use cash.
ANNOUNCER: Now, here’s our star to tell you about next week’s intriguing episode of our story.
JOHNNY: Next time? You can’t make this stuff up. 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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In the Real World, the Bad Guys are often tripped up by their finances. It was Treasury agent who nailed Al Capone.